22 Comments

I'd question if they even want the trust of the American people. They seem not to care. They seem more like the enemy of the people, whom they hate.

Expand full comment

At least Confucius isn't a dead white guy, just white-adjacent.

Expand full comment
Feb 15·edited Feb 15

The mandate of heaven = the trust of the people.

Our fearless leaders have not just lost that but knowingly abandoned it. They haven't forgotten anything; they've turned on it.

In my opinion, we are now at the end of the democratic age, the democratic revolution from 1789 until now, an era that Tocqueville saw was deeply rooted in European history all the way back to the Investiture Contest. A doctrine of popular sovereignty in one form or another has underwritten modern politics from 1688 and 1776 to 1917 and 1933--from Hobbes to Schmitt. There are two preeminent versions, the Lockean-representative which inspires liberal democracy, and the Rousseauvan-incarnational (if I may put it that way) which inspires totalitarianism (the vicars of History in history or of the General Will). Even Lenin and Hitler appealed to "the people," if in perverted ways. They felt they had to speak the language of democracy in order to be legitimate. Even Schmitt is in this sense a "democrat."

What's striking in the new idiom of Our Democracy™ is that it really signifies a rejection of the last vestiges of popular will constitutionally registered. Indeed "populism" is a bad word for it. Our elites think they are entitled to rule without popular consent or even a verbal homage to it. They tolerate elections only so long as they yield the right outcome. They have formed a Schmittian friend-enemy grouping, as Mr. Lyons has pointed out, and it is against the people itself.

Expand full comment

Correction: it's not that our rulers can't protect the border, it's that they won't. This is not mere negligence, nor incompetence, no, it's a destructive spirit that guides our rulers. They don't have the mandate of heaven. They have the mandate of satan.

Expand full comment

I adore you. You remind me why it is so important to read.

Expand full comment

When I shared your article, I got this comment and wondered if you'd like to add anything for me to share. Or, should I just tell him to buy a subscription??? Lol. That would be the easiest.

Comment: The question is the meaning of 民 as used 2500 years ago. Here, and in many translations over the past century, the meaning offered is “the common people,” understood by modern Westerners to include all human beings. I long ago sold my reference library of pre-Qin scholarly works, but if I remember correctly it meant only the aristocratic families surrounding the throne and certainly not the peasantry. The translation is crucial to the understanding of the meaning of the philosophy offered by the itinerant consultant Confucius to his client. I’d make this comment directly on the essay but a subscription is needed.

Expand full comment

Wise words. Substitute “insect protein” for “Brawndo” and you will realize we basically are living in a less funny version of the film “Idiocracy”.

Expand full comment

At least peasants are revolting…

Expand full comment

A government who has lost the weapons and the food and has not lost the trust of its people, where is that?

Expand full comment
founding

They hate us. Our leaders hate us.

Expand full comment

Short and to the point. You've convinced me to start reading Confucius.

Expand full comment

Liz I would taken exception to your use of the word "rulers", as technically they do rule but are they not dangerously, horrendous managers? And are not many of these "elected officials" returned overwhelmingly? What is the average re-election rate? You get what you (we) deserve by returning so many of these folks again, and again and again. We appear to no longer liver in a constitutional republic, nor a democracy but more of a kakistocracy. Where so many members appear to be in full loot and plunder mode.

Expand full comment