Angelo Codevilla's Manifesto For Taking Back America

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution

The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.Honoré de Balzac

Just a few days have passed since Barack Obama shockingly won reelection and the resulting numbness has remained in place among American conservatives who are suddenly without leadership. The 2010 mid-term elections saw rise of the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party which effectively wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats but the changing of the guard could not be accomplished in 2012.

Looking backward, the failure of the revolution-minded but loosely organized TEA parties can be traced to failure to promulgate a manifesto which could effectively unite the disparate parties seeking regime change through a bloodless coup, first at the ballot box and finally through the dismantling of a too big government structure. But the TEA parties and conservatives simply were not paying enough attention to an essay published in The American Spectator in July of 2010.  Back then, Dr. Gary North wrote in American Vision:
Every political movement needs a manifesto.  The Tea Party surely needs one. So do other grassroots political resistance organizations. They don’t have it yet, but they now have its preliminary foundation, Angelo Codevilla’s essay, “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution.”
I have long regarded Dr. Codevilla as America’s smartest conservative political analyst. He has been unknown to the conservative public until last week, when Rush Limbaugh began promoting the best essay of Codevilla’s career. I regard this essay as the finest statement on the two-fold division in American political life written in my lifetime — more than this, in the last hundred years. He has laid it out clearly, accurately, and eloquently.
Essentially, Professor Codevilla refocused attention on the Marxist paradigm for American politics. In 1891, Friedrich Engels viewed America thus:


We find two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means for the most corrupt ends — the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality dominate and plunder it.
Charles Cartier has done some good "Ayn-Rand-like" work in explaining the concept of "class analysis" that serves as the basis for Angelo Codevilla's masterpiece.
The government’s coercive taxing power necessarily creates two classes: those who create and those who consume the wealth expropriated and transferred by that power. Those who create the wealth naturally want to keep it and devote it to their own purposes. Those who wish to expropriate it look for ever more-clever ways to acquire it without inciting resistance. One of those ways is the spreading of an elaborate ideology of statism, which teaches that the people are the state and that therefore they are only paying themselves when they pay taxes.
So the book, "The Ruling Class" puts all governmental rent-seeking leeches into the classification of the Ruling Class and everyone else into the Country Class. Dr. Codevilla obviously was testing the concept as early as July 6, 2009 when he wrote in National Review Online:
The distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, are being overshadowed by that between what we might call the “Court party” — made up of the well-connected, the people who feel represented by mainstream politicians who argue over how many trillions should be spent on reforming American society, who see themselves as potters of the great American clay — and the “Country party” — the many more who are tired of being treated as clay.
Codevilla describes the American Ruling Class as possessing  inexhaustible contempt for the majority of their countrymen who are not part of their clique. In his book's Forward, Codevilla begins to focus the reader on  his own class analysis:
America now divides ever more sharply into two classes, the smaller of which holds the commanding heights of government, from which it disposes in ever greater detail of America’s economic energies, from which it ordains new ways of living as if it had the right to do so, and from which it asserts that that right is based on the majority class’ stupidity, racism, and violent tendencies. 
This is why millions of Americans are now reasserting our right to obey the Constitution to which officials swear allegiance upon taking office, rather than to obey any official. The most obvious evidence of the American people’s desire to be responsible for our own lives and to govern ourselves is the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party movement. But that desire transcends all organizations, joining Independents, Republicans, and not a few Democrats into what we might call the Country Party. This party does not have and may never have an organization.
Ancient and ubiquitous is the division between the Ins, who benefit from closeness to the king’s court, and the Outs in the rest of the country, who must pay for the king’s largess.  Like countless others, America’s Country Party is the party of the Outs. But there is a difference: America’s Outs— the two-thirds of Americans who feel that the Ruling Class is demeaning us, impoverishing us, and demoralizing us— are the people who embody the ideas and habits that made America the world’s envy. And they want the Ruling Class off America’s back.
The Democratic Party represents the Ruling Class well. A majority of people who vote Democrat tell pollsters that they feel represented by the officials they elect. But only a fourth of Republican voters feel represented by Republican officials. This means that many, if not most, Republican officials are in an untenable position, with their hearts and personal hopes pushing further into the Ruling Class, and their roots withering among their voters. Most of these voters, along with Independents (and a few Democrats), make up the vast Country Party. Sooner rather than later, for better or worse, this super-majority of Americans will get its own political vehicle, either an obviously reformed Republican Party, or a new one. The Tea Party movement is part of the soil in which it must root.
Because removing the Democratic Party from positions of power is necessarily the Country Party’s immediate objective, it has no choice in the short run but to channel most of its electoral energies through the Republican Party. But getting non-Democrat majorities in Congress and state Houses is the easy part. Such majorities will surely be tempted to try to impose on America the reverse of the “revolution from above” that the Ruling Class has inflicted on us. Yet the American people do not want partisan government. They want self-governance. That means putting government power in the hands of elected officials rather than bureaucrats— for example, either dismantling administrative agencies or electing their members. For elections to be meaningful, however, citizens would have to take much more responsibility for knowing the issues and keeping officials honest than they have lately exercised.
It is even more essential to self-governance that citizens de-professionalize government by holding elective offices themselves. No legislation would restore parent control over education as much as allowing each neighborhood to administer its school. This would require breaking America’s school districts into as many units as needed. This and other measures to restore citizens’ control of their lives would be truly revolutionary, because every elected non-professional who sits on a school board or a county commission would be a physical re-affirmation of the basic, self-evident truth on which America was founded: “All men are created equal.” In sum, by taking so much power into its self-selected circles, the Ruling Class has gone a long way toward destroying the habits of Americans for economic self-reliance, for citizenship, for family life, and for reverence. Ousting the Ruling Class will not be so difficult or important as reclaiming the habits that made us Americans.
The Ruling Class is made up of anyone who is associated with an depends upon the government for livelihood.. So it includes any elected politician, U.S. government employee, state and local employee, teacher, contractor, politician, police, military and any of the millions upon millions of government program beneficiaries. While many of these people may sympathize with the Country class, they simply cannot be counted on to vote against their vested interests. In today's world, the Ruling Class may be a much higher percentage than Codevilla's estimate of 1/3 of Americans.

Unfortunately, the book stops short of providing organizational answers as to how this manifesto could best be implemented  --- but he was nudging an idea forward in 2009 in the NRO piece.
Far be it from me to suggest that Sarah Palin should be or is likely to be our next president. She has not shown the excellence of cognition or of judgment that would recommend her ahead of other possible candidates, nor does her path to the presidency look easy. But as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of 1776, every presidential hopeful should realize that in the next election Sarah Palin — or someone like her — could be the vehicle for another revolution.
We can see the nature and power of today’s Country party by noting how little Sarah Palin did to become its head. The person whom candidate John McCain introduced on August 29, 2008, struck the nation like James Stewart in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: somebody like you, who speaks your language, unlike the politicians and bureaucrats who talk, act, and live as if they were better than you. To confirm that impression, Palin hardly had to do anything. The Court party did it for her, and she leads the Country party because highly placed people have demeaned her and everything she stands for more than they have anybody else. They heaped contempt on her for the unpardonable sin of being an ordinary American.
America’s “Best And Brightest” — the media’s haughty personages, the college towns’ privileged residents, affirmative action’s beneficiaries, the “mainstream” politicians who supported billions for bailouts and “stimuli,” the upscale folks who look down on the rest of us and upon themselves as saviors of the planet — these are the people who made Palin into a political force by making her a symbol of everything they are not. They did this despite her lack of brilliance when it came to communicating her ideas on the issues.
More recently, after Sarah's efforts in the 2010 mid-term elections, the professor raised the ante when he said: “Sarah Palin is a political talent we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan.”

Critics may well question the stark, wide-eyed innocence of this oversimplification of a most certainly complex ideological/political conundrum that would be the Country party. How do you convince lifetime doubters that political alliances of any kind are useful? How do we turn the momentum back toward the concepts that made America great? How do you convince moderates and fence-sitters that alignment with conservatives and Big L libertarians could ever be a good bargain? What financiers, outside of the Koch brothers, can be depended on to provide the cash needed to get this endeavor off the ground? The answers for all these questions and more , of course,  is a grassroots efffort to first find and then focus on a voice (Palin or someone else) to sell the concept and to organize the remnants of what was the TEA parties into a political force. The word will have to be spread through allies in the new internet media, since established media outlets are already co-opted

As for Dr. Codevilla's belief that the Republican party could serve temporarily as basis for a political revolution --- we know know that losing two presidential elections in a row has changed nothing among establishment Republicans who direct the party.  Indeed we now can determine that establishment Republicans are an integral part of the Ruling Class.

A final question: Who will start the ball rolling?

  • I note your site promotes AngryWhiteBoy.org

    AngryWhiteBoy.org is not only homophobic and racist, the site has a history of personal attacks against my libertarian, conservative, and Republican friends.
    It appears you are endorsing Danny's never-ending cyber-bullying and hate.

    (Note the current smear article about Brian Howey as the most recent of many such personal attacks.)

    PLEASE CONSIDER REMOVING the link to Danny's hate site from your blogroll.

  • Anon:

    Thanks for your input on my blog list which really represents the ones I personally read most often.

    Blogs are about opinions and as is common among Columbus, IN libs, you seem to believe that the 1st Amendment does not apply when you disagree with someone.

    Dan and I both run Fort Wayne blogs and you will find my blog listed on his blog list. While we often disagree, his blog provides useful updates on the local goings on.

    As for Brian Howey, even some national blogs like Legal Insurrection thought he was over the top with his obvious Lugar campaign bias and he held back from supporting Mourdock after Obama's favorite Indiana Senator. who lived in Virginia, lost.