It was way back in Once-Upon-a-Time Time and the people of Israel grew tired of the anarchy that reigned when they were loosely ruled by individuals known as Judges. They desired order and material benefit, even if it came at the expense of their personal liberties. Thus, the people of Israel asked their current Judge and High Priest Samuel for a king in the following manner.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
Samuel responded to such concentrated and direct disrespect in a predictable manner. What follows is one of the more amusing epic rants in the entire Old Testament.
This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:
He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
So Samuel gave them all a good (expletive)-chewing, but they listened not. The LORD told Samuel to just give them their king and let them get what they deserved. * They paid – and so do we…
The cost to taxpayers of flying one man, his wife, two daughters, and a dog to Hawaii is estimated at $3,639,622. For purposes of comparison, the total bill for flying the entire royal family (Queen, princes, dukes, the works) around the world for a year is £4.7 million — or about enough for two Obama vacations. According to the USAF, in 2010 Air Force One cost American taxpayers $181,757 per flight hour. According to the Royal Canadian Air Force, in 2011 the CC-150 Polaris military transport that flew William and Kate from Vancouver to Los Angeles cost Her Majesty’s Canadian subjects $15,505 per hour — or about 8/100ths of the cost.
And these are just the mere trappings of our imperial presidency. It wasn’t the gaudiness of Versailles that eventually bankrupted the French Monarchy. What ultimately spurred the French Revolution were the decisions made secretly within. We see this process also increasing in modern America. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)** describes the current state of how the Amerikan Monarchy gets funded.
Washington has become possessed by the idea that a small group of negotiators, meeting in secret, can solve the deep, painful and systemic problems plaguing this country with a single “grand bargain,” produced at the 59th minute of the 11th hour. This is a siren song. Instead, we have seen an endless series of secret conclaves: gangs of six, committees of 12, meetings at the White House, at Blair House, in the Capitol’s labyrinth of hallways and hideaways. Meetings everywhere but in the committee room and the open air of the Senate floor.
The Good Senator from the same great state as Repair_Man_Jack goes on to describe how the fiscal process would work in an actual Constitutional Republic.
Proposals should be worked up in committee, where senators appointed by their colleagues have developed expertise in the issues that come before them. Amendments should be offered as part of an open process to modify and perfect legislation. The debate should be brought to the Senate floor. It may take dozens of votes, even scores, to reach a consensus. But the American people need to be in on the process and have the opportunity to voice their opinion on concrete proposals. Have we forgotten that it is their future that is at stake?
Dozens of votes! That could involve effort and political courage. It’s a good thing we no longer practice that form of government. It’s easier when The Central Committee gets together in secret to hand out the swag. This form of government, where omnipotent leaders are elected to “redistribute”*** other people’s wealth to the favored classes could be described as entitlement democracy. Here the citizenry elects their king and his peers to argue over just exactly whose property gets stolen by the government to satisfy the competing political interest groups.
Yet this form of government runs afoul of basic logic and ultimately sets us up for the failures and burdens described by Samuel. People have their wealth and their incomes looted to pay for strap-hangers and ne’er-do-wells who just happened to vote for the side that won. People getting treated like that evade the responsibility, stop planning for the future, and even decide to stop having the children that make the continuation of entitlement democracy possible. Bill Frizza describes the trend below.
It takes a live birth rate of 2.1 children per woman to maintain a stable population. Birth rates across Southern Europe have plunged below 1.5, and are expected to drop even further as Euro Zone economies continue to contract. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan are converging on birth rates closer to 1.0, literally halving their population each generation. Even the Black Plague didn’t do that….The government of Singapore has begun begging women to have babies. There are now more adult diapers sold in Japan than baby diapers. In America dogs are the new kids, so much easier and less expensive to train and care for….And what will happen to Western civilization when the only people left having babies are those who plan to raise them on welfare and food stamps?…
And none of this was supposed to be a problem. I thought that’s what we just finished electing the king for. Maybe that’s what Samuel was talking about when he railed against Israel’s desire to crown themselves a king. Indeed, the day has come when many of us cry out, and the LORD does not hear us – unless he does. And his message is quite bluntly “Mene, mene, tekel upharsin.”
*-The H. L. Mencken version would read “The LORD said ‘Let them have a king – Good and hard.’”
**- Roll Tide!
***- The term burglarize has such nasty moral implications.