The collapse of the social contract

In the days following events at the Capitol, we’ve been flooded with statements from media talking heads and Congresspeople clutching their pearls and vehemently denouncing the violence. Images of Congressmen and women donning gas masks and fleeing through underground tunnels have circulated via social media. The attack sent our leaders scurrying to their bunker and resulted in four lives lost. 

Trump supporters have been completely demonized, with calls for post-9/11 surveillance methods to be used on “domestic terrorists.” The summer’s riots, which claimed 30+ lives and caused $1 billion in property damage, have been largely forgotten since the election. Down the memory hole. 

Joe Biden and the Establishment, their power cemented in all three branches of government, are eager to dispose of Donald Trump and continuously call for “unity and healing.” In the D.C. machine, the attitude is one of victory: Events on January 6 successfully purged the Republican Party and American politics of Donald Trump. 

But have they?

The riot at the Capitol was a sign of something far more troubling than angry voters expressing their contempt for legitimate election results. It was evidence of a complete loss of faith in the institutions. 

The Left gave up on “the system” long ago. The constant calls for socialism, the anarchy in the streets, the “defund the police” movement -- these are demands from people who have given up on the traditional ways of politics. Republicans long defended the institutions from these narratives. These Leftist proposals were perceived as vicious attacks on the core of Americanism. Dismantling the system would result in pure chaos and the perfect conditions for malignant actors to seize power. Better to fill the institutions with politicians who will defend them. 

But what happens when the people lose the power to fill those institutions? When the vote becomes merely symbolic? That is what the Left believes happened in 2016, and now the Right in 2020. The vote is meant merely to placate the people into believing that their government works. Meanwhile, elected officials carry on, keeping corporate donors and D.C. pundits happy, largely ignoring the reality that exists outside of Capitol Hill. And nothing can stop them. 

We are seeing the systemic failure of the two-party system and all three branches of government. This election convinced the citizens who still had faith in the American system that voting doesn’t really mean anything. The Establishment always wins. America is neither a democracy nor a representative republic, and it hasn’t been for some time. Those who burst into the Congressional chambers didn’t do so because they sincerely believe in the politicians who inhabit them. 

Trump played a crucial role in unveiling the corruption within D.C. Despite his flaws, he revealed a “swamp” deeper than anyone could have imagined. His anti-war, anti-establishment policies preserved the Tea Party’s shaken faith, temporarily stopping the gradual radicalization. His removal has opened the floodgates.

D.C. is no longer full of Democrats and Republicans engaging in debate on behalf of their constituents. The Capitol has emerged as a Uniparty, neither Left nor Right, but deeply corrupted. This Uniparty has succeeded in establishing an international war empire that George III would have drooled over.

Our leaders have taken on the same tyrannical qualities that Washington and Adams fought against. They engage in policy, not for the betterment of the people, but to line their bank accounts. Their obsession with “exporting democracy” has little to do with democratic values and everything to do with buying their next summer home. 

Strangely, the far-left Socialists correctly identified these issues, seeing them before many on the right did. Still, leftist solutions are unreasonable and likely to lead to America’s demise. Abolishing private property, defunding the police, amnesty, no borders...these are not winning ideas. 

There is no clear remedy. A Republic cannot function without the consent of the governed. When citizens believe that voting is merely symbolic and that our government is more a front for foreign trade deals than a representative body, that consent diminishes every day. Without the consent of the governed, the social contract falls apart. Elected officials can continue governing, but no one outside of D.C. will acknowledge their authority. America will not necessarily descend into anarchy, but the emperors will lose any shreds of legitimacy. Daily life will carry on with little importance assigned to Capitol Hill or the Oval Office. 

That still is not a solution. If the Establishment always wins elections, there is no point in voting. If the masses don’t vote, the system will collapse. That seems far-fetched, but it happened in Georgia -- half a million voters stayed home for the January 5th runoff election. Staying home, though, works only if everyone does it. This is implausible, given the virtue assigned to casting a vote. It’s more likely is that the Establishment will keep on winning, with fewer voters to worry about. 

What makes America great isn’t the government. It’s certainly not the Establishment. It’s the people. The people possess an incredible American spirit. Americans fought to abolish the evil of slavery, stormed the Normandy beaches, and ended systemic racial inequality via the Civil Rights movement. Demagogues cannot strip this spirit, which is why they despise us. 

America is in a difficult position, one that will likely last for several years. We are at the tip of a cultural battle. Two opposing sides, both with no faith in the body that governs them. Two competing philosophies, as different as night and day. The future looks turbulent. 

The good thing is, we can see the truth: The Ruling Class has no clothes.

IMAGE: The Capitol on January 6. YouTube screengrab.