On November 5th, the Wall Street Journal published an essay by Scott Adams, creator of the “Dilbert” character series of cartoons. The title was “What If Government Were More Like an iPod?” Therein, Mr. Adams gives his opinion regarding what ails the American body politic, and how we might cure it, if only we were willing to update our antiquated approach to the campaign and election processes. Precisely how this is to be done is not fully revealed. But, what troubles me more than that is his seeming disregard for the Constitution and disdain for the Founding Fathers. The whole business is outdated and we really need some Constitutional modernization. And so, Adams begins his quest for a spiffy new government user “interface.”
However, he seems unaware of the fact that the American government user interface has been continuously updated since around 1895. For the most part, these changes have occurred under the guise of legal decisions and judicial practice rather than as legislation or constitutional amendments. The continuous replacement of U.S. of common law with the codified variety has removed many of the basic tools that assured our liberty, and has placed us at the mercy of an ever expanding and more tyrannical federal government.
Before we go off and attempt new, untried experiments, why not abandon those that we have tried and found dangerous to liberty? G.K. Chesterton once offered the following assessment: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” On the other hand, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” has been tried and found wanting . . . by the ruling classes.
Mr. Adams concludes his essay thus:
If you think my ideas for fixing the republic are ridiculous and impractical, you’re probably right. If you have better ideas, this would be a good time to share them, because whatever you’ve been doing until now hasn’t been working. And who knows—with hard work and some luck, someday you could be like James Madison. And by that I mean not on a coin.
Well, here’s my two-cents in .pdf format: “Fisking Dilbert”
Finally, today being Veterans Day, I want to send my thanks and a salute to all my comrades in arms, past and present.
Capt. USAF (fmr)
P.S. My approach to this subject required that I include the entire text of the Adams essay. I trust that this transgression proves not to be a cardinal publishing sin. Furthermore, as compensation, I grant to the Wall Street Journal and Scott Adams free and unrestricted use of this posting.