Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breadless Circuses

Is there a kind of archetype of rulership? And, for that matter, what is an archetype? In practice it seems to mean what most people understand by some concept, thus a widespread meaning, understood at once and essentially in the same way—without further elaborations, nuance, and learned exceptions. Rulership? Well, whoever can say, “Off with his head!” would appear to manifest it—provided, of course, that it really happens. It means ability to accomplish at the highest collective level what the person actually intends.

The American way of government as embalmed in the constitution ignores the archetypes that float about. By contrast the American way of electing its ruler makes maximum use of the archetype—thus in effect ignoring that a presidential election is not, repeat not, the election of a ruler at all. It is the election of electors who in turn elect an executive charged with executing the laws passed by Congress. Quite a contrast. Genuine rulers—the off with his head kind—tend to elect themselves. If that’s not the way they get there, they get there on a vast swell of popular hysteria so great that riding rough-shod over flimsy pieces of paper is quite easy—and easily enforced by thugs in shirts of the same color.

Ours is a kind of corporate model, in effect. At the archetypal level. At the corporate level the board composed of ownership selects the executive who runs the company; the board can also remove the chief executive if he doesn’t deliver. The cowardice of most boards is just a fact; but it happens. The difference in our governing structure is that the power is entirely in the hands of Congress—but not the at-will removal of the executive.

But people want to keep things simple—and as I’ve remarked elsewhere before, If you keep it simple, you are stupid. Therefore, at this season, we have political circuses. The Romans insisted on more. Bread and Circuses. We only get the circuses. The bread is supposed to come from G — no! Make that the Market.

No comments:

Post a Comment