Well, no surprises in the Iowa caucus. Gingrich, Bachman and Perry beat themselves into irrelevance and the voters remain undecided whether their priority is to be impoverished by Wall Street wh*res like Mitt Romney or burned at the stake by puritanical simpletons like Rich Santorum. If the Democratic Party’s Achilles heel is a lack of conviction and willingness to fight for its stated beliefs, the Republican Party’s fatal flaw is its love of stupidity.
But that’s just us, the electorate. Supposedly the great education and ethical commitment of professional functionaries should mitigate against the creeping culture of mediocrity that’s overtaken American culture in the last 50 years. Does it really, though? For example, do the judges deciding the fate of Bradley Manning have clue # 1 that their nation’s very founding legal principle owes its existence to a state department leak in 1773? Do any of them remember the Hutchinson Letters Affair?
On the face of it, the late 18th century should, by all rights, have represented a gratifying period of peace and contentment within the British Empire. The vicious civil wars that marked the 17th century had finally been resolved with the decisive defeat of the Jacobite rebellion in 1745. A remarkably stable political settlement had been achieved which conclusively destroyed the arbitrary power of absolute monarchy…