Jonathan L Rudd on the FBI and Loyalty

Jonathan L RuddIt is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity. This is true for the simple reason that the Constitution is based on lasting principles of sound government that provide balance, stability, and consistency through time. A government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other. The founding fathers sought to avoid these extremes and create a balanced government based on constitutional principles.

The American colonists were all too familiar with the harmful effects of unbalanced government and oaths to individual rulers. For example, the English were required to swear loyalty to the crown, and many of the early colonial documents commanded oaths of allegiance to the king. The founding fathers saw that such a system was detrimental to the continued liberties of a free people. A study of both ancient and modern history illustrates this point. One fairly recent example can be seen in the oaths of Nazi Germany. On August 19, 1934, 90 percent of Germany voted for Hitler to assume complete power. The very next day, Hitler’s cabinet decreed the Law On the Allegiance of Civil Servants and Soldiers of the Armed Forces. This law abolished all former oaths and required that all soldiers and public servants declare an oath of unquestioned obedience to “Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German Reich and people.” Although many of the officers in Hitler’s regime came to realize the error of his plans, they were reluctant to stop him because of the oath of loyalty they had taken to the Fuhrer.

–Jonathan L Rudd
Our Oath of Office: A Solemn Promise

2 thoughts on “Jonathan L Rudd on the FBI and Loyalty

  1. The danger, though, is that a clever strongman can finesse something similar while preserving the public trappings of a republic-of-laws. Think late Roman Republic instead of Nazi Germany. If you have a senatorial class determined to cement their oligarchy against the possibility of populist irruption – what the hell, let’s call this group “Republicans” – then you can get very close to caesarism before you get the actual Caesar. And then the imperator can maintain the formal trappings of the Republic while ruling.

    To drop the screen…I doubt that Trump and his idiot minions are smart enough to do this. But the GOP has a bucketful of people of the McConnell and Ryan stripe who will back any Republican Caesar as far as he and they can go to advance their New Gilded Age agenda.

    • I think this is exactly right. Trump is too stupid to be Mussolini. Yet his myth of being a magic man makes his most fervent supporters (the American fascists) ignore all of his brazen incompetence. So anything he does is in the interest of strengthening the country — the correct people in the country. (Which in fact is only rich people, but his supporters believe he’s weakening liberals, something they delusionally assume benefits them.)

      It’s been building for awhile. I’m not old enough to remember Nixon, just old enough to remember the crazed support by right-wingers of Ollie North. He paraded himself in his uniform and God, and so anything he did was good, he was one of the Correct People for whom laws should not apply. There was a similar wagon-circling around Bush II, especially when it came to Gulf War II. Remember what a litmus test believing in “the surge” was? If you didn’t say the magic words about “the surge,” you were harming our troops. And now the magic words apply to terrorism (tough talk defeats it), “the wall,” “political correctness.” (What used to be called “good manners.”) Simply holding the chosen views makes Trump immune from criticism; outcomes and consequences do not matter to his supporters. It’s become a system of belief; those who think the preferred way are good for us all, those who don’t a threat. Actual policy choices do not register.

      It’s a terrifying trend. However, there is a bright side. Republican dogma is so outlandishly dishonest and cruel (tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves! People with disabilities should die!) that the Republicsns who are somewhat bright (Ryan, McConnell, etc.) are mealy-mouthed dullards when shilling for them. They come off like Harold Hill minus a sense of rhythm. While the true believers (Trump, Bachman, Walker) are dumb. Right now it’s hard to imagine a Republican who is both charismatic and competent enough to be an effective dictator.

      If the party wasn’t insane, it would do what Fascists did — provide some kind of tangible benefits to people of the “in group” while targeting and tormenting the others. A Medicare-for-all bill, say, that found some way to exclude many non-whites, perhaps by denying service to anyone convicted of certain crimes (which a competent government could easily find ways to selectively prosecute non-whites for). This divide-and-conquer stuff is always effective, and many people (not you or I, naturally) would respond with rank enthusiasm, and then the GOP could go about its quest for utter plutocracy unhindered.

      The party is stuck, ideologically. It can’t offer anything at all to anyone who isn’t rich. I suspect that’s going to keep it from achieving any real dictatorship. Offending “liberal snowflakes” and professing to be more beloved of God than the opposition (while ignoring every good think about Christ’s teachings) will reach quite a few, yet I think those numbers are maxed out. They can keep winning elections as long as the Democrats refuse to take principled stands on basically anything, but they won’t have the rabid enthusiasm behind them that dictatorships require.

      Or that’s how I see it. I’m choosing to be grimly optimistic.

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