Florentine aside

Rules are for the little people, in art as in life. Those who have the power, whether by genius or strength, only obeyed them when they were little. Breaking rules was a coming-of-age. When a Nancy Pelosi, or a Justin Trudeau, act openly above the law, in a way that no little person could dream of, we (that small minority who notice) accuse them of hypocrisy.

But on their own small, toothy scale, they are doing what a great original artist does. They are being transformative. The only difference is that the great artist — a Fra Angelico — lacks the criminal tendencies, and is utterly sincere. He craves no pelf. Too, he is being creative, in partnership with God. He is bringing something new and living, true and beautiful into the world. Whereas, Pelosi and Trudeau are just helping themselves to the groceries.

Connoisseurs of rightwing media will know to what events I refer. I find them tedious to relate. From ignoring their own Batflu regulations, to siphoning millions from the tax troughs, it is all one continuity of habit. You have the power to do it, and no one to stop you. Discretion is unnecessary, if you pose as a progressive; the choral yapping of your meejah lapdogs protects you.

The elected politician who does not leave office rich, earns only the contempt of his colleagues. The one who was rich to start, and leaves office ruined, wins no sympathy. On the contrary, he will be hated by the whole political class, and their hysterical poodles. Trump may end like this: his sincerity dooms him.

Do my political examples show bias? Of course. The authors of the Nanny State have always been the principal beneficiaries of it. All socialist systems are built around an élite, a master class. There was a time, very brief, when a Christian could be a socialist, in the foolish belief that it would establish some kind of monastic equality.

But as my old Czech drinking buddies knew, “Communism is only possible among friends.” They picked up each other’s bar tabs voluntarily, without paperwork. Whereas, dirigisme in politics is not only the opposite of freedom; it produces monopolies of wealth in which the masters can bathe. It makes the little people littler, and more interchangeable; it makes the big ever less accountable. As history will bear me out, this has been true in one hundred percent of cases, and will remain true while the world wags.

My party political bias is transparent, however. It is also transient. The Left is always lunging for control, with a shopping list of policies to impose. But this is true of all politicians; every one is a socialist at heart.

The only break comes when one of them is genuinely Christian, and thus discerns an interest higher than himself. He may prophesize civic glory, oppose trash in culture and art, denounce corruption and despotic rule. He will champion the poor, against their actual oppressors. And he will go down in history as Savonarola.