If Lenin had helped draft the Constitution …

When the Drafters of the US Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation did their work, the issues front & center in everyone’s mind were the then-current depredations & threats from Evil England.  But by the time the Constitution was drafted, that situation had changed.  Unfortunately, the Constitution as written had gaps, and is now observed mostly in the breach.  As Hillsdale College has pointed out, the DC Swamp bureaucracy is now imposing many of the same kinds of burdens on Americans which led to the Revolution in the first place.

Leon Trotsky’s 1936 book “Revolution Betrayed” about the perversions of the ideals of communism by incompetence and by Stalin has some interesting quotes from Lenin.  Perhaps if Lenin had been there for the drafting of the US Constitution, that document might have included some barriers to the growth of the DC Swamp bureaucracy which is now destroying the former United States.

As Trotsky tells the story, Lenin followed the thinking of Marx & Engels that it would be necessary to abolish the parasite of bureaucracy after the revolution.  From 1917 onwards, when faced with the challenge of translating communist theory into practice in post-revolution Russia, “Lenin was continually occupied with the thought of liquidating this “parasite”.”  Lenin recognized that there was a need for some kind of structure – but it would be essential to take measures to prevent officials & regulators from turning into bureaucrats who would themselves become a new ruling class, exploiting the people while protecting themselves.  Trotsky quotes Lenin:  “measures analyzed in detail by Marx and Engels:  (1) not only election but recall at any time;  (2) payment no higher than the wages of a worker; …

Lenin might have got on well with the more far-sighted of the drafters of the Constitution.  Trotsky noted that Lenin’s “…[Bolshevik] party program demands a replacement of the standing army by an armed people.”  Maybe the National Rifle Association should confuse its Far Leftie opponents by reminding them that NRA supporters are the true followers of Lenin?

Since Lenin’s day, the nature of bureaucracy has evolved and spread from government into business.  Now, it is difficult to see any difference between the bureaucrats in FedGov pushing the fear of “Climate Change” and the bureaucrats in, say, British Petroleum planning their exit from fossil fuels.  For the rest of us, whether as citizens or shareholders, as we peek in the windows of those burgeoning bureaucracies, it is difficult to tell the pigs from the humans.

Where was Lenin when the Founders needed him?

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10 Comments

  1. The Left would not at all care to hear about how their policies and philosophy are in disagreement with Lenin. Many of those on the Left who are rank and file members have never heard of Lenin.

    The Left’s litmus test for all policies and all philosophical matters regards feelings, nothing more or less. And the absolute notion of if to save even one life, we must destroy the system, then that destruction has been worth it.

    Better we all starve and die, equally, than that we live in a society where 98.8% of Americans survive. Because according to Leftist reasoning, if having most people survive remains an unequal outcome due to the 1.2% of Americans who aren’t making it, then we are morally wrong.

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  2. Very insightful and thought provoking. This gets to the heart of why – as currently constituted (actually un-Constituted if you get my drift) – America’s course unsustainable (to use a word I have come to detest). I have been thinking of the malignant (as in cancerous) nature of bureaucracy in our so-called republic for quite some time. The depth of the problem resulting from the insane degree of metastatic hyper regulation emerges from Charles Krauthamer’s “Defining Deviancy Up” essay, which drew upon Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s “Defining Deviancy Down”.

    The impact of this pincer movement of law and regulation has resulted in the effective outlawing of much of what had been considered normal middle class behavior. Practically every act of ordinary life can be construed as unlawful. At the same time, clearly anti-social behavior is no longer prosecuted at all (like guilt-free theft of less than $1000 worth of goods/services in California as official policy)! Examples of this are legion. This also explains why no one who actually tries to act lawfully can survive an investigation – either of government (“offenders” are ground to a pulp even if they “win” – watch what happens to poor Trump going forward) or “journalists” (twitter convictions are near instantaneous). We have achieved Lavrenty Berea’s “Bring me the man and I will find you the crime” wonderland. A recipe for anarchy. How fast and far we have fallen. If history books are ever written about the post WWII decline the West, especially in the US, this half century will be seen to have been an astoundingly precipitous decline of what used to be humanity’s last, best hope. Cancer in humans can often be managed for long periods with remissions possible. The nervous system acts to some extent to fight the disease. The bureaucratic malignancy affecting society, on the other hand, is invariably fatal. If the media represents the “nervous system” of society, perversely, it is fervently acting to enhance the metastasis of the state’s minions. We are terminal.

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  3. Today’s progressives make the communists look reasonable.

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  4. There is nothing which the Constitution lacks that might be provided by Lenin. The fact that our bureaucracy has metastasized is already addressed, as the federal government is supposed to be limited in nature. Witness some old dead white guy declining to provide for some charity from the US Treasury because “I cannot purpose to lay my finger upon that article of the Constitution which would allow such a thing” [closely paraphrased].

    This point of view is now literally laughed at. Too bad — it was the key. As with many modern criticisms of the Constitution, the fact that the bureaucrats would always seek greater power in the guise of charity — and the success of that drive — is no shade upon the Constitution, but upon the weak and flabby (literally!) public which allowed itself to be sold thus, one swell-sounding but unworkable idea at a time. No purported improvement to the Constitution would be of any assistance whatsoever if it is to be monitored and executed by such a people. I NEVER want another Constitutional convention or any other amendment process — we will only screw it up.

    The ridiculous idea of paying a skilled brain worker no more than a potentially unskilled laborer is at the heart of not only the de facto Marxist theory of value, but of every murderous half-wit scheme which tries to implement this “worker’s paradise”. As E.O. Wilson of ant fame once said of some egalitarian scheme, “neat idea — wrong species”. This is seen by the left as advice on an obstacle to be somehow overcome, rather than the utter and final condemnation it obviously presents.

    Universal Basic Indolence is just around the corner. It always has been. Late European settlement on this continent began as a commune and when half of the people had starved, they discovered the virtue of property and its salutary effect upon the work ethics of the species.

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  5. BDB: “The ridiculous idea of paying a skilled brain worker no more than a potentially unskilled laborer is at the heart of not only the de facto Marxist theory of value …”

    It is not so obvious that the idea is really ridiculous. Supply and demand. I have known guys who started as laborers and worked hard to become “brain workers” so they could get out of the rain & the cold & the scorching summer heat and into an air conditioned office. Working environment was more important than money.

    Personally, I am a believer in the discipline of markets. Every time I see a report about some CEO getting paid $30 Million, I ask — was there no competent person who would have done that job for $20 Million? Or maybe even for $10 Million? But we don’t use markets to determine the salaries of CEOs or “brain workers” — we use committees of other “brain workers”. Surprise! Surprise! The gap between what “brain workers” get paid (set by decree) and what laborers get paid (generally set by the market) has grown. That is a classic consequence of bureaucracy, where bureaucrats look after themselves.

    I do not often find myself in agreement with Lenin — but when it comes to keeping bureaucrats on a very short leash, I am with him all the way.

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  6. An inadvertent glimpse into the country’s future on display in the present #1 show on Netflix: “The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. This hotel in downtown LA has been riddled with crime and death for decades. Briefly mentioned, in passing, is the fact that the hotel cannot be improved or upgraded by its owners because the city and the state of CA, has deemed it a “residential hotel” occupied mainly by a clientele middle class people work hard to be able to purchase housing so as to avoid. Criminality has been rampant in the hotel for decades. The entire surrounding neighborhood is skid row, with several thousand homeless in tents or just blankets.

    By way of analogy, Obama, by executive order, made local ordinances requiring single family homes illegal everywhere. Trump reversed it. It is or will be back under whoever is running the shell, Biden. Make America California Again. You see, in the eyes of our betters, we are required to live (not work, because these people don’t have to work, somehow), unarmed, among the criminal, mentally ill and dangerous who are free to assault, maim, rob and murder us, while they are fully armed with their “rights”. Videos of the lawyers – soon prosecuted – trying to defend themselves and their property in St. Louis from vicious threats from a mob show precisely the future prescribed for us by progressives. California is already there.

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  7. Gavin Longmuir: It is not so obvious that the idea is really ridiculous. Supply and demand. I have known guys who started as laborers and worked hard to become “brain workers” so they could get out of the rain & the cold & the scorching summer heat and into an air conditioned office.

    This has nothing to do with the Marxist labor theory of value (LTV). It is almost the opposite of the market forces of supply and demand. Someone digging a ditch and filling it back up repeatedly has expended much labor and yet his efforts have no value. The market is more objective and useful in establishing value than the computations of an academic or bureaucrat.

    In the LTV scheme, someone has to determine that the labor is economically relevant and what it’s worth. Since value is subjective and not even the same from one person to the next, the idea of assigning a value to a good or service based on a formula or algorithm is silly. Market pricing neatly accounts for all these variables and is adaptive: the value can change even though its labor content remained the same. Under LTV, the value is fixed by its labor content, whatever that means.

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  8. drlorentz, we are in violent agreement about the foolishness of the Marxist Labor Theory of Value. Supply and demand in a fair open marketplace is the right way to set the price of labor for each job.

    As far as I can tell, plumbers can now earn more than the average lawyer. Yet intelligent people choose to run up huge student debts acquiring a JD instead of earning a wage while qualifying as a master plumber. There is more involved in the supply of labor than simply the price.

    Fun story — At a company for which I worked, when it came to major expenditures — $Millions or tens of $Millions — the company would go through an extensive process of pre-qualifying multiple bidders, such that the company assessed any of the bidders would be capable of doing the job. Then the company sent out the project specifications to all the pre-qualified bidders and awarded the contract to the lowest bidder. At an open company forum, I suggested we apply the same market-based approach to the compensation of executives. I no longer work for that company. 🙂

    To be more serious, we now see that working for government as a tax-consuming bureaucrat pays more than working for a private company as a tax-generating producer. Lenin was right to want to keep bureaucrats under control.

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  9. How do you not see Marxian supposed (because he never finished one for OBVIOUS reasons) LTV and government setting wages as the same thing?

    “I believe in the efficiency of markets BUT…” To say that executive salaries are a cabal, outside of mrket forces is just special pleading.

    Compare apples to apples. What “gaps” there may be in our Constititution are not addressed by the utterly unrealistic diktats of the communists, no matter how smooth it may sound when pen hits paper. That’s not the test — that’s not even the faculty lounge — that’s English 101 with the morons dabbling in economic treatises so that the grad student running the class can assess their *English usage*.

    I’m just at a loss to understand any proposal that would read Lenin to edit the Constitution. It’s utterly without merit. Even if you assume that Lenin was all sweetness and light and only mean old Stalin screwed the whole thing up, then doesn’t that make their system ever much more game-able than ours? And at any rate, Solzhenitsyn will tell you — there was no economic there there. Not for humans.

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  10. Civil Westman:
    Very insightful and thought provoking. This gets to the heart of why – as currently constituted (actually un-Constituted if you get my drift) – America’s course unsustainable (to use a word I have come to detest). I have been thinking of the malignant (as in cancerous) nature of bureaucracy in our so-called republic for quite some time. The depth of the problem resulting from the insane degree of metastatic hyper regulation emerges from Charles Krauthamer’s “Defining Deviancy Up” essay, which drew upon Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s “Defining Deviancy Down”.

    The impact of this pincer movement of law and regulation has resulted in the effective outlawing of much of what had been considered normal middle class behavior. Practically every act of ordinary life can be construed as unlawful. At the same time, clearly anti-social behavior is no longer prosecuted at all (like guilt-free theft of less than $1000 worth of goods/services in California as official policy)! Examples of this are legion.This also explains why no one who actually tries to act lawfully can survive an investigation – either of government (“offenders” are ground to a pulp even if they “win” – watch what happens to poor Trump going forward) or “journalists” (twitter convictions are near instantaneous). We have achieved Lavrenty Berea’s “Bring me the man and I will find you the crime” wonderland. A recipe for anarchy. How fast and far we have fallen. If history books are ever written about the post WWII decline the West, especially in the US, this half century will be seen to have been an astoundingly precipitous decline of what used to be humanity’s last, best hope. Cancer in humans can often be managed for long periods with remissions possible. The nervous system acts to some extent to fight the disease. The bureaucratic malignancy affecting society, on the other hand, is invariably fatal. If the media represents the “nervous system” of society, perversely, it is fervently acting to enhance the metastasis of the state’s minions. We are terminal.

    I was watching C Span some years ago, as I needed to sleep and it often cures my insomnia. This man was on a pre-recorded film of his explaining traffic safety and various things he had learned while in the employ of the US Dept of Transportation.

    I forget the name of his division inside the DOT. But I found it interesting that his division grew from having a budget of around 50 million to over one billion, in less than one decade. This money was well spent, right? As without that expansion of monies, he would never have had the salary to be on C span espousing such topics as wearing one’s seat belt and occasionally buying new window wipers.
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