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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Challenging Abramoff's "Artificial Aristocracy"

Published on Monday, January 9, 2006 by 
by Thom Hartmann
That Jack Abramoff exclusively gave his money to conservative Republicans shouldn't surprise us. While the RNC will try to spin this as "politics" and not as a Republican scandal, much as Bush called his old friend and business associate Ken Lay an "equal opportunity corruptor," the reality is that it's not a corruption that has infected both parties, nor could it be.
To understand why, we have to understand the core conservative governing principle - aristocracy.
In 1760, the conservatives in North America were those who were loyal to the hereditary aristocracy of the British Crown. By the 1780s, as the Constitution was being written, the royalists had left the country for Canada or the UK and the remaining conservatives had shifted their advocacy of aristocracy from one based on genetics to one based on wealth.
The liberals who dominated the Founders and Framers of this nation, however, disagreed. They thought that if there should be any sort of an "aristoi" it should be based on merit, and change from generation to generation.
John Adams was among those who believed in an aristocracy based on wealth and privilege. His concern was that if "the rabble" were allowed to completely govern the country, they would vote themselves all the wealth in the nation, reduce it to bankruptcy, and collapse the American Experiment. In support of his viewpoint, he often quoted the essentially anti-democracy Greeks like Plato and Aristotle. The conservatives represented by Adams have, since the founding of this nation, argued for an "artificial aristocracy" based on wealth.


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