There has been a lot of talk about the appointing of and use of Czars in the current Obama administration. Quite frankly, I had no idea what the connotation of this word was, nor what the historical power of that title really meant throughout history and today.
And so, being the ever-curious soul that I am, I did a bit of research.
I’d like to share that with you now:
(Emphasis mine throughout!)
What is a Czar?
According to the 1984 Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition – the term Czar is defined as:
- An emperor: title of any of the former emperors of Russia, and at various times, the sovereigns of other Slavic nations.
- Any person having great or unlimited power over others; autocrat
- The Russian government under the Czars.
- Absolute rule; despotism
Hmmm… I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very good to me. It certainly doesn’t sound like a Democracy or a Republic, where leaders are voted upon before entering office. And I refuse to believe that America has fallen so far as to be so ignorant of the past that their jaws don’t drop at the mere mention of the appointment of multiple “Czars” into their government.
Since this was a hard cover traditional dictionary from 1984 (a fitting year for this information, if you ask me) I thought this might be a biased, older, or out of date description of the word used to describe the people who are now advising our president.
So, I checked the Internet.
Here’s what I found there…
I went to Wikipedia, a site I would never use as a source of accurate information, but one none the less that many people do, despite it’s ability to be changed by even the most moronic of its users. But I figure that at least this is the going public opinion of what a Czar might be. Never the less, after some fact-checking… here’s what it said:
Tzar or Czar (Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian): Term with Bulgarian origins used to designate certain monarchs. The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria.
Originally, the title Czar (derived from Caesar) meant Emperor in the European medieval sense of the term, that is, a ruler who claims the same rank as a Roman emperor, with the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch).
Occasionally, the word could be used to designate other, non-Christian, supreme rulers. In Russia and Bulgaria the imperial connotations of the term were blurred with time and, by the 19th century, it had come to be viewed as an equivalent of King.
“Tsar” was the official title of the supreme ruler in the following states:
- Bulgaria in 913–1018, in 1185–1422 and in 1908–1946
- Serbia in 1346–1371
- Russia from about 1547 until 1721 (replaced in 1721 by imperator, but remained in common usage until 1917).
Under the heading “Metaphorical Uses” Wiki-Pedia states:
Like many lofty titles, e.g. Mogul, Tsar or Czar has been used as a metaphor for positions of high authority, in English since 1866 (referring to U.S. President Andrew Johnson), with a connotation of dictatorial powers and style, fitting since “Autocrat” was an official title of the Russian Emperor (informally referred to as ‘the Tsar’). Similarly, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed was called “Czar Reed” for his dictatorial control of the House of Representatives in the 1880s and 1890s.
In the United States the title “czar” is a slang term for certain high-level civil servants, such as the “drug czar” for the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “terrorism czar” for a Presidential advisor on terrorism policy, “cybersecurity czar” for the highest-ranking Department of Homeland Security official on computer security and information security policy, and “war czar” to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More specifically, a czar refers to a sub-cabinet level advisor within the executive branch of the U.S. government.”
Under the political term explanation page, WikiPedia states the following:
Advantages cited for the creation of czar type posts are the ability to go outside of formal channels and find creative solutions for ad hoc problems, the ability to involve a lot of government players in big issue decision-making, and the ability to get a huge bureaucracy moving in the right direction. Problems can occur with getting all the parties to work together and with managing competing power centers.
One explanation for use of the term is that while the American public rebels at terms like “king” and “dictator”, associating them with King George III or fascist figures of World War II, the term “czar” is foreign, distant, and exotic enough to be acceptable. And the fact that czar positions are often created in times of perceived public crisis makes the public eager to see a strong figure making hard decisions that the existing political structure is unable to do. Another is that Americans of the era adopted exotic Asian words to denote those with great, and perhaps unchecked, power, with “mogul” and “tycoon” being other instances.
The increase in czar positions over time may be because as the size and role of the federal government has grown, so too has the difficulty of coordinating policy across multiple organizational jurisdictions. Indeed, czar positions sometimes become important enough that they become permanent executive offices, such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy or the United States Trade Representative.
Wow! So how many Czars do we have now?
Well, buckle your seatbelts… for in July of 2009, The Daily Citizen reported that:
“It has taken President Barack Obama less than eight months to do what imperial Russia could not do in 400 years.
“Taxpayers for Common Sense reports that: Obama has appointed 31 “czars.” That’s more than ruled Russia during its entire imperial history.
“Obama has appointed a California water czar, a Mideast peace czar and a Mideast policy czar, a pay czar (to determine how much the private sector should pay, not the government), a health care czar, an energy czar and a green jobs czar, a Sudan czar, a climate change czar and numerous others, with the promise of more to come. And, if you can’t keep track of all the czars, don’t worry. Obama has also appointed an information czar.
“… Few of these czars require any congressional approval, but Obama has given many of them power over cabinet-level officials who are subject to confirmation.”
(Source: The Daily Citizen – http://www.northwestgeorgia.com/opinion/local_story_189163602.html?keyword=topstory)
Steve Forbes is quoted while speaking about Czars:
“It underscores the inefficiency of government that you keep … having people, hoping that maybe they will get something done that the massive government bureaucracy cannot.”
(Source: “Questions Raised Over Influence of Obama ‘Czars'”. Fox News. July 13, 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/13/questions-raised-influence-obama-czars/)
So who is paying these “Czars” salaries?
Why the taxpayers of course!
How much power do these Czars actually have?
Good question… As stated by the Daily Citizen above:
“Few of these czars require any congressional approval, but Obama has given many of them power over cabinet-level officials who are subject to confirmation.”
So much apparent power do these Czars have, that Rep. Jack Kingston [Republican-GA] introduced a bill – H.R. 3226: Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009 – on July 15, 2009. Apparently this bill is so important to the members of the House of Representatives that it currently has 116 co-sponsors, all of them Republican. The one co-sponsor that was a Democrat was withdrawn at some point. When the whole of the Republican Party, including my personal hero Ron Paul supports a bill, which would reign in the Democratic President and party, one should not take such legislation lightly. The same would be true in opposite party circumstances. See the contents of the bill here:
The main concern here, one that is generally lost on the American people, is that these Czars are appointed without Congressional or Senate approval by one person: the President Of The United States. This alone should be enough to warrant extreme caution about the man who is for all intents and purposes in charge of our country (or more correctly: the man who signs the legislation and corrupt laws in the stead of lobbyists and wealthy elite bankers and corporations who funded his campaign and are incrementally taking control of our country). For the appointment of these men and women, of whom many have considerably tarnished and controversial political, economic, populist, and global oriented views, is a violation of the governmental and constitutional values we once held so dear to our hearts.
President Obama continues to keep in place and head the advice of such Czars as Paul Holdren – the “science czar” who co-wrote the book Ecoscience – “which proposed and supported such ideals as “compulsory sterilization,” and the creation of a “Planetary Regime” that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet.” (infowars.com). Strangely, these ideals were not brought to light in Holdren’s Senate confirmation hearings. Unfortunately, this begs the assumption that the Senate is equally complicate in the appointment and support of these Czars, whether they are approved or not.
In conclusion, Obama appears to be out of control! While the gullible masses who support him are still admonishing him as the Savior of America, his empty promises of “hope and change” continue to ring – like a false Liberty Bell, whose crack is ever-widening and is about to break in half, along with this now condemned and nearly broken country. These Czars are the specters of false prophets; ghouls who resemble the character portrayal of Worm-tongue from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I for one am sickened by the ill-boded direction our electorate has taken towards the support of these tyrannical and unconstitutional, unelected rulers.
Quite frankly, the words of a fictional but oh so relevant news anchor perhaps best suit the stance we should all be taking towards the president and these unelected psychopaths who advise him…
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Clint Richardson (realitybloger.wordpress.com)
October 5, 2009