On Legitimacy

In the Declaration, right after the familiar bit about unalienable rights, there’s a passage with more than a little relevance to our travails some 240 years later:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

This provides a simple, enduring definition of what qualifies as a legitimate government: Lacking the consent of its citizens, no government can claim to rule. Anything less leads to despotism.

The United States is, by the definition of its founders, an illegitimate, despotic government. This was blindingly true at its founding: one race was enslaved, one sex denied the franchise. The high ideals of our founding were not fulfilled by their implementation.

Much remains illegitimate today. A President can be installed without winning the votes cast. Half the Senate represents only 16.2 percent of the population — even less, since citizens in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico lack any representation at all. The House, nominally divided by population, is prone to such deliberate, precise gerrymandering as to render “consent” a figleaf at best. The franchise itself, supposedly available to all citizens over 18, is subject to all means of undermining — including registration itself.

The United States is a democracy in name only.

For white Americans, a declining majority of citizens, soon to be a plurality, this has not been noticed — that is, where it hasn’t been deliberately ignored, or more deliberately abetted. The legitimacy of the national government has not been questioned, even though an electorally illegitimate President will soon have a second Supreme Court nomination approved by a structurally illegitimate Senate.

And really, what’s for whites to notice? They voted for Trump by 21 points — and Romney by 20. No wonder whites felt oppressed by an Obama presidency. He wasn’t their candidate.

Whites will never acknowledge the illegitimacy of the United States government — much less advocate changing it — because they are the beneficiaries of the undue power an illegitimate government bestows on them, simply through their representation in it.

This includes Elites, accredited participants in the National Conversation, voices that get heard — and widely distributed — not because of the power of their ideas, but the financial support of their sinecures. Why would they question the legitimacy of a government and societal structure that rewards their place in it? Why, having attained a seat at the table, would they declare the table itself to be bogus?

But there it is: Illegitimate by design and practice, illegitimate by the very principles of its founders, hiding in plain sight. The governed do not provide their consent, just a polite fiction of it, a simulacrum.

We have wondered, since late 2016, how long this will take to be noticed, widely noticed, broadly accepted as fact, seen for what it is. And honestly, given the power behind the illegitimacy, the sheer inertia of two centuries of pretense, we don’t know that it will ever be. All we can do is point out the Emperor’s lack of clothing, the nutritional content of Soylent Green, and hope for the best.

14 comments:

11:41 am • Monday • August 6, 2018

All of this insane bullshit could be put to a stop if people just vote. The Millennials could terminate the toxic, malevolent, destructive Republinazi party at the ballot box if they collectively choose to and hopefully they will.

11:46 am • Monday • August 6, 2018

Breaking news over the weekend: Patrick Stewart will reprise his role as Captain Picard in a new Star Trek series!!! OMGOMGOMG.

Please, please, please sweet FSM let this show be Murder, He Wrote, in which the grand captain launches a second career as an acclaimed mystery novelist who flits about the galaxy being erudite and witty while solving crimes with Ian McKellen.

1:31 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

@¡Andrew!:
Star Trek: The Geriatric Generation

1:31 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

Alex Jones finally banned from most legit places now.

Still on Twitter.

1:35 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

I also should add that there is a Grand Canyon-sized chasm now between what the majority of Americans want (strong labor laws, fair pay, affordable healthcare, public infrastructure spending, the list goes on), and what the GOPnazis want (kleptocracy, world wars, white supremacy). This rubberband is gonna snap back in an epic fashion.

1:46 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

The Right’s propaganda has exploited public apathy and ignorance. Then they used the flaws in our not-so-democratic republic for a far Right coup.

I ranted on this subject for my 4th of July piece.

Will enough voters wake up? I’m old. It’s their asses, not mine on the line.

“This country is finished” George Carlin

1:51 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

@Dave Dubya: I feel the “I’m old” part. Maybe things will hang together just barely until I check out, but I don’t envy the kids who will have to endure this mess mid-century and beyond.

7:53 pm • Monday • August 6, 2018

Rick Gates confessed to being a witch while on the stand at the Manwhattafart trial today, along with how they committed all the crimes together, like lovers do.

I’m no lawyer, but I take it this is not good for the defense.

Also, it appears that Prezinazi AntiChrist excitedly admitted via twits that there WAS collusion in fact. Prepare the smelling salts at once, since this is easily the biggest shock in the last two days.

12:22 am • Tuesday • August 7, 2018

@¡Andrew!: the Millennials have been gerrymandered out of existence, at least where it counts. The Republic, such as it is, is likely toast.

1:42 am • Tuesday • August 7, 2018

@blogenfreude: Oy. I forget the details of that projection that made the rounds, but basically it was the Youngs moving to big cities in big states — gerrymandered by the Constitution.

9:57 pm • Tuesday • August 7, 2018

@nojo: my votes here in NY will not change anything, yet I go.

11:57 pm • Tuesday • August 7, 2018

@blogenfreude: Good for you, but why won’t they change anything? That’s the problem.

3:28 am • Wednesday • August 8, 2018

@blogenfreude: Voting in the US is like a multiple choice exam in which all of the answers are wrong.

10:29 pm • Thursday • August 9, 2018

@¡Andrew!: If the past 2 years have taught us anything, it is that Hillary was the right answer.

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