Category Archives: Democracy

Executive Tyranny: The Problem’s Bigger Than Obama

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

Barack Obama is threatening to bypass Congress and use executive orders to achieve the policy changes he can’t get through legislation. “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need,” he said during the State of the Union address. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Here seemingly is one more item in the indictment of Barack Obama’s arrogant dismissal of the Constitutional order, and his contempt for mixed government. Read more →

The Progressive Reality Is Here

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

The Republicans are feeling confident these days. The slow-motion debacle of Obamacare promises to keep that albatross around the necks of the Democrats at least through next year’s midterm elections. The IRS, NSA, and Benghazi scandals are still simmering, and any day new information may emerge that puts them back on the front page. Obama’s disapproval rating is at 53.4%, according to the RealClearPoliticsaverage of 11 polls. The Republican Party’s approval numbers are still lower than Democrats’, but they are trending up while the Dems are moving down. Read more →

The Political Debate We Need to Have

Today, we treat politics as a sport, but it’s really a conflict of ideologies between federalists and technocrats.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas 

The media and pundits treat politics like a sport. The significance of the recent agreement to postpone the debt crisis until January, for instance, is really about which party won and which lost, which party’s tactics are liable to be more successful in the next election, and which politician is a winner and which a loser. But politics rightly understood is not about the contest of policies or politicians. It’s about the philosophical principles and ideas that create one policy rather than another—that’s what it should be about, at least.imgres

From that point of view, the conflict between Democrats and Republicans concerns the size and role of the federal government, which is no surprise to anyone who even casually follows politics. But more important are the ideas that ground arguments for or against limited government. These ideas include our notions of human nature, and what motivates citizens when they make political decisions. Our political conflicts today reflect the two major ways Americans have answered these questions.

The framing of the Constitution itself was predicated on one answer, best expressed by Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli: “It is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity.” Throughout the debates during the Constitutional convention, the state ratifying conventions, and the essays in the Federalist, the basis of the Constitution was the view that human nature is flawed.

As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 6,men are “ambitious, vindictive and rapacious,” and are motivated by what James Madison called “passions and interests.” These destructive passions and selfish interests were particularly predominant among the masses, whose ignorance of political theory and history left them vulnerable to demagogues. Read more →

Needed: A Different Sort of President

Charismatic career politicians don’t make the best commanders-in-chief.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The second terms of the latest three presidents have not been successful. Bill Clinton was impeached after his infamous lie to Americans, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

Photo Credit: Loomingy1 via FlickrGeorge W. Bush was blamed for the postwar violence in Iraq.

Barack Obama’s scandals — with his accompanying “limited hangout” denials — are ruining his second term: the growing IRS messes, the Associated Press monitoring, the NSA embarrassments, the Benghazi killings, the Syria bluster and backdown, and, of course, the Obamacare fiasco and the misleading statements about it.

What are other common denominators of this collective tenure of our recent presidents?

After popular first terms and reelection, they seemed to have lost public confidence and the ability to continue an agenda.

Do two terms wear out a president?

Maybe the hubris of getting reelected convinces our commanders-in-chief that they are mostly beyond reproach. Overreach ensues. Then the goddess Nemesis descends in destructive fashion to remind them that they are mere mortals. Read more →

Barack Obama and the Bad Ideas of Progressivism

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

Barack Obama’s serial gross incompetence has elicited all sorts of explanatory theories. He’s a closet socialist, an Alinskyite radical, a secret Muslim, or an anti-American internationalist. Though some of Obama’s words and deeds give support to all these speculations, I prefer a simpler explanation. Obama is a Progressive––not a vague “progressive,” the elastic moniker liberals started using when the word “liberal” became politically toxic. Read more →

What Would the Founders Think of Defunding Obamacare?

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

800px-Constitution_We_the_PeopleA few days ago CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, speaking about the Republican House bill defunding Obamacare, commented, “Certainly not the way the Founding Fathers maybe drew this thing up.” It’s certainly a surprise to hear an anchor on CNN, an organization biased in favor of progressives, appealing to the authority of the Constitution. Read more →

Democracy’s Dog Days

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

We all want democracy to thrive and flourish, but can it?

The Obama administration was quite pleased that the anti-democratic Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood had come to power through a single plebiscite. That confidence required a great deal of moral blindness, both of the present and past. Read more →

The Lost Meaning of Independence Day

by Bruce S. Thornton

Front Page Magazine

362px-Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986Independence Day is a time of backyard barbeques and fireworks, department-store sales and blockbuster movies, patriotic bunting and flying the flag––in short, a time of leisure and consumption, with a few obligatory nods to the momentous event that July 4 is supposed to celebrate. But as the years go by we have lost the significance of the Declaration of Independence, and that amnesia has made it easier for the progressive leviathan state to encroach upon our freedom. Read more →

Lies Subvert Demovracy

Obama and his team have subverted the government they pledged to serve.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Truth is the lifeblood of democracy. Without honesty, the foundations of consensual government crumble. Read more →

Margaret Thatcher and the Death of Feminism

by Bruce S. Thornton

FrontPage 

The death of Margaret Thatcher will no doubt generate much deserved recognition and discussion of her historical significance. Read more →