Time for Predictions Is Over
by Karen Kwiatkowski: Bill
of Rights, R.I.P?
It is fun to
reflect on whether your predictions for the previous year were on
target, and take a shot at calling the next one. Last year at about
this time, I predicted 2012 would be a bad year for D.C. bureaucrats
and the political establishment, a bad year for war, a good year
for sound money and small government, and that it would be fun.
How’d I do?
Not very well. But if all politics is local, perhaps so are predictions.
In my county and in my congressional district, it really was a bad
year for bureaucrats. Our county supervisors (all Republican) were
on every local conservative’s hit list for their incessant taxation
without representation – or something like that. Mainly they borrowed
millions of dollars for new government buildings and facilities,
effectively raising taxes and/or refusing to lower property assessments,
all in the face of public outcry. They had their feelings hurt,
and several won’t stand for election again. But wait – isn’t that
the story all over the country?
In the 6th
Congressional District of Virginia, our man Bob Goodlatte, a staunch
"conservative," faced his first-ever primary since being
selected by his progressive Republican elders in 1992 – and 1/3
of the party loyals, when given the chance, rejected the ten-term
establishmentarian. This came as a shock to the congressman, to
say the least. It was not his best year. After winning the seat
in our solidly Republican district in November, he received an order
from the district GOP unit chairs to cease immediately his support
for his friend John Boehner as Speaker of the House! A bureaucrat
being put on notice by the help was something different, very awkward
and very 2012.
didn’t see any of this coming because the paradigm has changed,
alignments have shifted, and the memes are increasingly written
by individuals for fun, rather than by the state, for power enhancement.
it would be a bad year for war and the war machine. Financially,
it wasn’t a bad year at all – every year for the Pentagon and State
is bigger and badder than the year before. But with the public bogeymen
largely dispatched before 2012, Americans, especially conservatives,
quietly plate-shifted from flag wavers to peaceniks overnight –
and Washington didn’t really notice until it was too late. Suffice
it to say that Romney’s empire maintenance and "global leader"
approach may have – more than anything else – fundamentally lost
him the election. He was afraid to say what we all know to be true,
and cowardice isn’t attractive. America cannot afford our empire,
and those who lend us 50% of what D.C. spends each day, much of
it on empire-related activities, are largely tapped out. All that’s
left is the money printing. Empire is boring, unsustainable, and
stupid – but most of all unpopular.
Did we make
progress on sound money and limited government? Yes we did, and
instead of waiting for political leadership – we all got personally
smarter, thanks to Ron Paul and millions of others working on and
talking about sound money and limited government. Plus, sound money
really is about as simple as you can get – because as our parents
and life have taught us repeatedly, money doesn’t grow on trees,
fall out of helicopters, or get created from thin air. At least
real money doesn’t.
Washington devised more and greater tax schemes, increased regulation
and intrusion and launched even more police state activities – we
quietly bought guns, gold, silver, and started hoarding those "37
Things You Should Hoard," for starters. By the way, as the
vast majority in this country are not professional central planners,
we didn’t need to be told what those things were, nor be limited
bureaucrats salivated and worried and schemed, we paid down debt,
simplified, got healthier if we could, and shifted our interest
in national citizenship with genuine interest as to what our neighbors
were up to, and whether we should be doing that, too.
2012 would be fun – and for me it was. I sincerely hope it was an
enjoyable year for most people. But what is "fun"? What
is it that makes life interesting and exciting, cursed or blessed?
in a way, are for people who are watching from the sidelines, taking
bets and choosing sides. What I am seeing, just glimpsing really,
is a new emergent attitude all over the country, and the world,
that is extremely good for liberty, for capitalism, and for the
It isn’t an
attitude that is unified, or particularly collective – rather, it
is simple and individualistic and caustic. It is captured, for the
readers of Ayn Rand, in Howard Roark’s famous answer to Ellsworth
Toohey’s question, "What do you think of me?"
We are becoming
bored with the state, and bored with our rulers. When we watched
a few years ago Jay Leno’s "man on the street" interviews
and chuckled at how these "young people" could know so
little about their government, increasingly we see them as strange
and unerring visionaries of the respect and attention our political
It is captured,
for fans of The
Hunger Games, in the scene where the two survivors prepare to
publicly eat the deadly Nightlock berries. When faced with the undeniable
and public assertion of the individual’s ultimate power over the
state, that is, our consent to live as subjects, the state folds.
This driving need for our consent is the hallmark of all state systems,
in all times, a fundamental truth
Etienne de la Boetie realized, incidentally, when he was the
same age as the fictional Katniss.
entertainment TV generations, we have as our guide the irreverent
and irrepressible Honey Boo Boo – and Honey, a dollar (real, not
fiat) makes me holla too!
the Facebook generation – and by the way, that is most of us in
many generations – it is captured in a million viral images and
cartoons and videos. Mothers and daughters, siblings, friends, relatives,
and coworkers all share the many memes of the honey
badger, which is to say, "Honey badger don’t give a sh^%$."
It’s so tempting
to make a prediction, and I will give in – but it’s a simple prediction.
We – rich and poor, those educated about liberty and those who assumed
we were free, working more or working less, those who think about
human systems of organization and those who are oblivious to them
– all of us are emerging from comfortable caves of false citizenship
into our real lives. Like hungry bears, we are looking beyond our
stale state-stamped identities and into our real lives with a new
enthusiasm. We are taking risks we would never have considered in
our dreaming hibernation. We are a force to be reckoned with, one
that frightens the state, even as it may also frighten us a bit,
in that good way we like to be frightened, like children at play.
As we dance
and explore and live, the unsustainable state will tremble, shudder,
and begin to annihilate itself. Brother, can you spare a bureaucrat?
Yes, we can, but we probably won’t.
columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send
her mail], a
retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty
and Power and The
Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles,
here or join her Facebook page. She
ran for Congress in Virginia's 6th district in 2012.
2013 Karen Kwiatkowski
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