In an irony unappreciated and probably unforeseen, Europe finds itself on the cusp of revolution as faith in its governments and financial institutions erodes. Bureaucratic officaldom, with its panoply of strangulating regulations, suffocation of entreprenuerial ambitions and onerous taxation has at last revealed the utter barreness of socialist philosophy and practice of the last century.
Europes' governments are ossified--dead skeletons devoid of the flesh which once enabled their animation. Socialism, once a chief driving force behind governmental change, has, once firmly established, killed Europe. The continent which fed the religious, philosophical and political thought that was to revolutionize the West, including the United States, now finds itself paralyzed and on the verge of societal breakdown.
Looking at the situation today, it is hard to recall that Europe had a long history of revolutions that were fought in order that more just and equal societies be formed; societies in which the governments paid heed to the people they ruled. When the governments failed to take notice of the governed, revolutions followed--uprisings of the people like the Revolution of 1848.
While we may be more familiar with the French Revolution of 1789, in which the ancien regime was repudiated by a enraged and disenfranchised populace, the Revolution of 1848 has an eerie resemblance to the current situation in Europe. It also holds lessons for the contemporary political scene in our own United States.
One observer of the political scene of 1848 was the great Alexis de Toqueville, who wrote he believed the major cause of the revolution of '48 was the hostility the working class felt toward the ruling bourgeoisie, who were seen as remote, uncaring and privileged as the aristocracy of France before 1789.
Though a constitutional monarchy had been put in place after the Napoleonic era, the class of people who replaced the old aristocracy were just as unconcerned as the ancien regime was concerning the fate of the people it represented. The people were not heard because they could not participate in political life. They were completely excluded. Once again, it was as if the people did not exist.
Tocqueville realized the government could not retain its legitimacy if society at large was not included in the government, for the public would see their rulers as "incapable and unworthy to rule them." He concluded, "Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror."
The result? Because the public saw no peaceful way to make their voice heard or to change things, revolution followed.
Today in Europe, 1848 is about to be revisited, and dress rehearsals for revolution have already begun.
But perhaps even more importantly, conditions in our own country resemble those which presaged the European Revolution of 1848 and what in the future may be termed the European Revolution of 2010.
For our country, too, is presently governed by a dynastic, aristocratic government ruled by those who exclude by attitude, policy, directives and commands the very people they are supposed to represent.
Our government is no longer a republic. It is dynastic in character and behavior. The elevation of a ruling executive branch has been accompanied by mastasticizing cancers revealing themselves in endless, deadly and suffocating permutations such as countless agencies, departments, czars, executive orders, and special interest groups.
Our government has become the equivalent of a monstrous and bloated aristocracy.
Term limits have no particular meaning as career politicians are re-elected time and again, thanks to gerrymandering, pandering to special interest groups which pour in monies for re-election, and pork barrel projects which keep their various constitutencies placated.
Corruption is rampant as government officals help themselves to largess while the public, present and future, groans under excessive taxation which destroys personal initiative and dooms future generations to inherited burdens which vitiate the life of the country. Meanwhile, as our legislators contemplate legislation that garners yet more power over the public, they vote themselves privileges only an aristocratic few could dream of. To cite just two: Luxurious pensions guaranteeing full salaries until death and cadillac medical plans stand in stark contrast to the meager and rapidly disappearing social security and universal (and minimal) health care doled out to the unwashed masses.
Meanwhile, the president and congress agree to ever expanding debt to finance an ever expanding bureaucracy which parasitically feeds off the productivity of the very people it taxes, exploits and ignores.
As if the above were not outrageous enough, when the people petition and write letters, they are ignored.
When the people ask questions and get angry at evasiveness and downright refusal to answer, they are characterized as unruly, ignorant mobs.
When the people peacefully march on Washington by the hundreds of thousands, they are maliciously slandered.
When the people protest against unpopular legislation, they are ignored as a small elite decides in closed chambers what is best for the people.
In sum, the situation in the United States today is very like that of Europe before the Revolution of 1848. Our elected rulers are no longer representing the society they govern.
The United States has become what Tocqueville described: It is a society cut in two.
The result is that new conservative movements and organizations are sprining up all over the United States. The people want a government that hears and responds to them.
As in Europe as well as in the United States, a revolution is brewing. A shaking of national foundations is already happening.
Thus far, the peoples of Europe and America are seeking peaceful change through the ballot box and reformation of political parties.
But if history proves anything, it is this: If governments continue to be deaf, continue to refuse to respond, continue to remain brittle skeletons, it can be predictably be said that more violent eruptions of the public disaffection will transpire.
Let us hope and pray our leaders and those of Europe do not wait to act until blood is in the streets.
Part II: The Resistance