There is no god but democracy and the Founding Fathers are its prophets.

Last week in Our Best Days Are Behind Us, Patrice Lewis (whom I generally admire) wrote:

Individual liberty corrected many of our nation’s wrongs over the subsequent century.

So here’s a question – what changed? Why should America’s best days be behind it?

…Today we’ve reversed our good-to-bad ratio. Many of the things that were very bad (slavery, etc.) have been corrected. Many of the things that were very good are being crushed.

Belief in, and reliance upon, God has dropped precipitously. Government interference in our personal lives is high. Morals and responsibility are low. Illegitimacy has skyrocketed. Men make babies and walk away. Women have turned to government handouts to support those babies, or have government-funded abortions to kill them. Thrift and self-sufficiency are distant memories. Handouts are now multi-generational legacies.

The trouble is that progressives have taken over. They’ve gone far beyond the notion of correcting legitimate grievances to the creation of a fake “utopia” based on goals that can only be achieved through coercive force […] Our nation will continue its decline unless its people recapture the qualities our Founding Fathers envisioned: minimal government, a balanced budget, maximum personal responsibility, thrift, strong families, hard work and an unshakeable faith in God.

I suppose this is all cyclical. After all, the famous quote attributed (probably incorrectly) to Alexander Fraser Tytler remains eerily prescient for America:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

 

I admire Mrs. Lewis’ homesteading skills and enjoy her social commentary, and she comes so close to getting it, understanding that liberalism is the crux of the problem, but then she just couldn’t connect the dots that the Founding Fathers were the original American liberals.   I think of this blind faith as Founding Father Worship.

The disconnect is so odd because it’s like saying, “Hey this democracy train is actually heading straight for Tyranny-ville and I’ve got the Tytler Train Schedule right here telling me that’s where this train is bound for, but if we can just somehow throw the democracy train in reverse for a spell, surely we will somehow get to some other destination instead,  as opposed to just taking longer to getting to Tyranny-ville!”

Trying to back up the democracy train, which is what the most conservativey conservatives want (as opposed to plain ole’ conservatives who just want to slow it down a little), is kind of like the Ferris Beuller kids trying to turn back the odometer on Dad’s Ferrari by setting its wheels up on blocks, throwing it into reverse, and putting a brick on the accelerator:

Which, as you know, worked oh so well:

Odometers by their nature go forward.  It’s what they do.

But people just can’t seem to let go of the idea that democracy itself would be an awesome form of government if only it didn’t keep doing what democracies by their very nature must always do – collapse into tyranny.

But point out that there are other forms of government – such as monarchy, for instance -and even the most conservative folks look at you with bafflement and even horror:

“B-but what if the king is a tyrant?!”

 

When it comes to urban farming and renewal, “left” and “right” are mostly useless political terms.

Recently I attended a lunch hour talk given by Drew Philp, a young man who is a fellow University of Michigan alum, a journalist, a home renovator, a teacher, and an all-around renaissance millennial man. His talk was based on an article he wrote last year which was published on BuzzFeed entitled Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500:

After college, as my friends left Michigan for better opportunities, I was determined to help fix this broken, chaotic city by building my own home in the middle of it. I was 23 years old.

Being the young, idealistic, U of M educated sort, I’d say Mr. Philp probably considers himself fairly liberal, whereas I consider myself an orthospherian sort of reactionary. Nevertheless, I found much to admire in this young man and had a brief, interesting chat with him about urban farming after his talk. He told me that Detroiters he knows have had their goats taken away due to Michigan’s recently-passed (and signed by our Republican governor) regulations denying Right-to-Farm protections to small scale farming in urban and suburban areas (i.e. your backyard chickens are no longer protected by Right-to-Farm laws; also, see this interesting article: Right to Farm protection denied for Michigan farmer’s goats, greenhouse).

He also wrote about an incident that exemplifies something I too have noticed:

One of the [United States Social Forum] events I did see was a march staged by professional protest coordinators who had come in from California opposing Detroit’s trash incinerator, the largest in the United States. It’s located in Poletown. We have an asthma hospitalization rate three times the national average. If you would like an inside look at Detroit’s Third-World level of corruption, a good place to start is the incinerator. You can safely say there is a culture of corruption in your city when the top two politicians, including a former mayor and city council president pro tem, have been, or are currently in, prison for corruption, racketeering, and the like. One former city councilwoman allegedly requested a bribe including 17 pounds of sausages.

The protest would march down Detroit’s main thoroughfare and past the incinerator, presumably raising holy hell and sticking it to the man. They needed a place to stage the making of the props — hundreds of spray-painted sunflower pickets, miniature incinerators, signs. One of my well-meaning neighbors offered The Yes Farm, an abandoned apothecary where we occasionally staged art and music shows.

I guess no one saw the irony in cutting down real pine trees to make fake sunflowers. Or that a protest to demand clean air would use so much aerosol spray paint. But the real irony came when the Social Forum was over and it was time for the out-of-towners to leave for the next protest.

“What are you going to do with all this stuff?” we asked.

“Why don’t you just recycle it?” they said.

“Where?”

They left it all in The Yes Farm and split, leaving it for us to deal with. Now we had another pile of trash to clean up and nowhere for it to go. So while they were gallivanting off to the next good deed, that shit went into the incinerator and into our lungs.

Gee, annoying liberal white people, thanks for adding to the pollution of Detroit’s air. Image source

Our Republican governor had no problem removing Right to Farm protection from small scale urban farmers, and Democrats and other leftists have no common sense and are not only useless but actively make things worse, as Drew’s protest march anecdote demonstrates.

I don’t know the answer, but there’s got to be another way. The left and right – conservative and liberal – ideologies in this country are not serving us well. Conservatives have sold their souls to capitalism and liberals have sold their souls to debauchery and destruction, but both sides seem to love the rebellion against kith and kin that democracy always seems to bring wherever it lands.

What I admire about young men like Drew Philps is that they have become relatively apolitical; they no longer seem to trust that the government will necessarily make wise decisions, and they aren’t waiting around for government and capitalism to solve everyone’s problems. Drew told us at the talk that most of them try to stay off local government radar because it just ends up causing headaches and they just want to get stuff done. They don’t want to govern, they don’t want to march, they don’t want to protest.  They want to work, they want to build and rebuild, they want to plant and grow.