I was puzzled by Prof. Trevor Hancock's guest editorial. Of course, as a Tory, I do appreciate "thinking beyond the next election," which is why I support the monarchy. But as I struggled through his left-wing talking points and cliches that might have been written by any short pants staffer on that side of the spectrum, I wondered what the alternative was and, more importantly, how that alternative form of governance would be properly checked?
The one world state, the wise ruling the vulgar, the philosopher-king and his guardians - such ideal societies of perfect merit and justice have been discussed since before Christ, and attempted in every century of recorded history. Yet each one has failed, often spectacularly.
Of course, the reason Plato's Republic and its many imitators never succeed is due to human nature. And given that idealists, whom are often intellectuals like Prof. Hancock, imagine a regime of total power wielded by benevolent experts, the problem arises that if any nefarious people do manage to seize control, violence is the lone recourse of the citizens. To quote an entirely original man, Mark Steyn: "where do you go to vote out global government?"
It bears repeating that in modernity, as leading nations drew up constitutions, debates raged about the whims of the mob as well as the fancies of autocrats. In the Anglosphere, we chose representative democracy, where elected members are held accountable by voters. Our current system's failings can best be traced to our abandonment of the two bulwarks protecting our rights: Judeo-Christian ethics as well as the rule of law. Hopefully we correct course soon.
Then there is the other half of the equation - who invented not thinking beyond the next election? We on the right are guilty of it economically, as Manchester Liberalism's "rip and ship" praxis displaced Burkean sensibilities. But at the political level, it was the radical movements on the left, from Rousseau to Marx to Foucault, that began denying human nature, then blaming institutions for our sins, and finally declaring any idea of justice or truth as a social construct.
Politics followed slowly behind, at first simply wishing to alleviate the suffering masses, then trying to make everyone equal, and finally declaring utopia within reach if only we would destroy everything older than today. This created the mountains of corpses that covered the globe throughout the 20th century everywhere but the Anglosphere. Thus, switching emphasis between "beyond this life" and "beyond the next election," was a recipe for unleashing hell.
Within the English-speaking world, instead of presidents-for-life or polit bureaus, we have a tyranny of technocrats, whose purview reaches from the air we breath to the water we flush. If one needs a model of "thinking beyond the next election" run amok, let us tour the hospital that used to have an elected board of governors and a miniscule number of administrators: does that institution seem the model of productivity and innovation we were promised when voting ended?
Indeed, the very bait and switch Prof. Hancock is accusing the right of are the same tactics of the left but in reverse. Voters were promised a free lunch if they chose a certain party or approved a certain treaty. Decades later, as costs rise and freedoms decrease, citizens in the old and new worlds are beginning to question the orthodox consensus experts preached for almost a century. And an intellectual dares to posit electoral democracy might be overrated?
"Thinking beyond the next election" easily justifies obtuse and unaccountable programs. And the more out of touch policies appear, the greater reaction they will inspire at the ballot box. In the West, a great deal of blood was spilled until we all agreed to use non-violent means to rule ourselves.
Again, I ask what is the alternative and what will keep it in check without a revolution?