Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The bitterest losses are those handed to you by your fellow supporters.

Blame is a tricky thing to assign in an election, and most of the substantial reasons for the difficulties of this election, I went over in a previous post. But there's no doubt that one key reason for why Cruz lost this one, was the inability of his supporters to convert those who weren't inclined towards him, to him. And one of the key reasons I've seen for that, and tried to warn against from early last summer on, was the ineffective and counterproductive obsession that many of his supporters had, to either begin their every comment with, or give prominent place to, an insult to those that they should have been trying to persuade.

So come on all of you out there (many of you Rubio supporters too, you know who you are) who've so enthusiastically enjoyed your memeing and shouting of 'Drumpf!', 'Stupid!', 'Cultist!', take a look at Cruz's loss and withdrawal from the race, and take the bow for it that you so richly deserve.

I'll do my best not to be bitter about it.

No promises.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

It's time to vote - Why? The Primary reason for Voting

It's time for a number of states to vote again, and so it's time to ask the question that few seem to give much thought to - Why Vote?

If any of the following reasons, are the fundamental reasons for who you're voting for, then you're voting for the fundamentally wrong reasons:
  • Voting for your political party - wrong!
  • Voting for who you think can win 'the' election (primary or general) - wrong!
  • Voting for who you think is the most [intelligent or principled or effective or conservative or ___] candidate - wrong!
Nope. No. Huh-uh, wrong, all wrong. Sorry, but although those may be factors, when taken as reasons for voting, they are amongst the key reasons for why we are in the mess that we're in today.

So why should we vote?

For that one reason which does not change from election to election, from year to year or from crisis to crisis, for that reason that does not change as candidates come and go, or even as political parties rise up and fade away - it doesn't even matter if we're talking about a popular vote or the voting by delegates. Through it all there is one thing that is constant and remains the same, and that is that the office which the candidate is being elected to, is there to serve a defined purpose for your (Ward, Assembly, City, County, State, Nation), and the fulfillment of that purpose, in as most favorable a fashion as is possible, is why you cast your vote.

That's it. Candidates are merely a means to that end.

If you're voting for any other reason, then every vote you cast is miscast, and can, in some sense, even be a harmful one. It can also be harmful if you fail to distinguish between the purpose of a primary (and oh my is there ever a lot more to say about those, in an upcoming post), and that of the general election.
  • In the Primary election, you cast your vote in order to fill that office with the candidate that is, in your judgment, best able to fulfill its purposes, and will most responsibly utilize the powers of that office.
  • In the General election, you are voting on how that office, and its powers, will be occupied and utilized.
If that difference isn't clear, in the General election, you are no longer dealing with your personal wish lists, but with reality; not your preferences for it, but the actuality that will follow from the results of that election. In the general election, it is incumbent upon you, as a citizen,  to give full and careful consideration to the matter of who that office will be occupied by,  as a result of that election, rather than as another means of giving vent to your personal feelings about the options remaining for you to choose from.

And given that the purpose which that office fulfills, is the reason for your voting, then in all elections,  you should be looking at what that office's purpose is, and at the powers it entails,  and only then at how well, or ill, a particular candidate might be able to fulfill it. Since for most of us the most recent election just passed, or held today, or coming up soon, is a primary election for determining your political party's candidate in the general election for President of the United States of America, lets start with the oath of office that the winner of the general election will take, and the oath of office, says:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
, which, it seems to me, means that in order to judge whether a candidate is a good candidate for executing the duties of the office, they, and you, ought to be familiar with what the duties of that office are, right? And to do that... you might want to bone up on the rest of Article 2, beginning with Section 1, Clause 1... not to mention the rest of the constitution too, of course.

Spoiler Alert: The Constitution doesn't say anything about health care insurance, student loans, making America great again, who can marry who, building fences, minimum wage, or much else about what is being talked about in this election cycle. No, it pretty much sticks to limiting govt to its defined powers (see Article 1, Section 8 (clauses 1-18), the roles of the Commander in Chief, and defending the constitution by passing no laws that violate its laws or infringe upon our individual rights, especially those noted in the Bill of Rights.

Just sayin'.

Although if you'd like to broaden that view somewhat beyond the oath of office, you could do worse than following the admonition that Congress used to issue to territories that were petitioning to be admitted to the union as states, that they should order themselves so that they,
"... when formed, shall be republican, and not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence..."
Meaning that, in considering whether or not the office of the President of the United States will be faithfully executed, shouldn't a part of your consideration involve taking into account how that candidate might further those principles, or be repugnant to them? And what is your responsibility in the matter?

And what if none of the available candidates shows an understanding and commitment to the principles of the Declaration and the Constitution... or to the Rule of Law, or towards Liberty itself? What then? Do you stay home? Vote for a negligible candidate? Write in someone else's name?

In the Primary, where selecting the candidate that is, in your judgment, the best for executing the duties, responsibilities and powers of that office... you could make a case for those options, but what about in the actual election, where it is not about your preferences, but about the actuality of how that office will be occupied? Can you then legitimately consider staying home? Voting for a negligible candidate? Writing in someones name?

Leaving aside whatever strange stroking that might give to your own ego and vanity, ask yourself this: Will such a 'vote' contribute anything towards how the principles of the Declaration, the Constitution, and our liberty, might be employed, or abused, through that office, or to the benefits or damages that will result because of who succeeds in entering the office?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say... no. Not at all, and you're blowing smoke up your own butt if you think it does.

Why do I say that?

Well, if this were a card game, or maybe a game of monopoly, and you noticed that one or more of your fellow players were cheating, you could, in good conscience, leave the game and refuse to play along, right? Why? Because you can leave the game!

You cannot, however, short of leaving the country, leave 'the game' of a Presidential election, or its effects on you, on your fellows, or on your position and responsibilities as a citizen. You are encompassed by it. You cannot opt out, while remaining within the nation's geographical boundaries. Pretending as if you can, is not only a sophistic pretense more worthy of petulant children than responsible adults, but worse, it cannot fail to aid that office holder who will do the most damage to the nation through that office... which you made no meaningful effort to oppose their being elected to.

Oh, sorry, what's that? Are you saying:
  • 'At least I'm not helping XXX candidate!' I'd never violate my principles to do that!'?
Are you not listening?

#1, you do not, Should NOT, ever, in any meaningful way, VOTE FOR a Candidate! Not for any Candidate!

We should only elect candidates for the purposes of executing the duties of that office as effectively as possible, in order to fulfill its purpose as defined by our laws. Yes, the office will be filled by a person, but they aren't the purpose of your vote, it is - candidates are but a necessary means to that end.

Note: Casting your vote for that candidate which you judge will best execute the duties of that office, or bring about the least harm through it, is not the same as voting for a candidate - it involves putting your focus on the office, rather than on the officeholder.

Voting primarily for a candidate, or a party, or even a pet litmus issue, is a short cut to disaster. Why?

Because Voting for a candidate, immediately and necessarily means that rather than focusing primarily upon the purposes of the office and the principles and policies best suited to executing its duties, your focus would instead be upon personalities - both theirs and yours. And if you let yourself get sucked into voting for candidates, becoming personally invested in them, then you are prone to being blinded by your passions for them, and you will almost inevitably be sucked into defending that individual person or party, or issue, rather than upon the purposes of that office, and the quality of the principles and policies which the officeholder will support, and - see if this sounds familiar this year - you will be drawn into petty disagreements and arguments and fights that have very little, if anything to do with those purposes which your vote is intended to serve, such as, oh, I dunno, things like "... you know what they say about small hands...", or "...their face annoys me...", or "... he's a little liar...", etc., comes readily to mind for some reason.

And if you focus upon the candidates personally, then you might even wind up saying incredibly poorly thought out statements such as: "I'll NEVER vote for ___! They're a ____ Scumbag! Hashtag #NeverTrump, #NeverCruz, #NeverKasich", even at the cost of putting a potentially worse candidate (hello Hillary or Bernie) in that office, who very may well be committed to horrendously more destructive purposes, principles and policies those candidates you are so upset at, which would that office, and its powers, upon the entire nation.

Choosing not to vote, or casting your vote in a manner that can have no impact on who the winner will actually be, are actions that make it more likely that the greater evil will win - that is what it means to choose the lesser of two evils.

Never choose the lesser of two evils! Don't Do That! Don't be that guy!

Instead, being mindful of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and the Liberty of We The People which our laws derive their just powers from, and being mindful of the Power which the resulting holder of that office will have over all of those, and all of us, due to their being elected to that office, you must cast your vote where it will best advance, or most thwart the greatest threat, to them.  Nothing less can provide any service to any of them, at all!

Being Principled doesn't mean being destructive
If one of the candidates poses a more immanent threat to our liberty than the other, then it is your duty as a member of the republic (not of a Party, but of the Republic) to oppose them with as much power as you have available - and assuming that you stand for the Rule of Law over mob violence, that means voting, and it also means that staying home or writing in a useless name as a 'protest vote', can and will do nothing to thwart the greater threat to our republic, and there is no excuse for that.

Please, don't give me any crap about your being too 'principled' to vote for XYZ candidate, if they, and not your guy, win your primary! Hogwash!

Principles by their very nature require you to be mindful of the bigger picture, focusing on the whole, and not obsessing myopically on a particular part. By failing to take into account the primary purpose of your actions - you are not demonstrating that you have a sound conception of what principles even are, let alone what they are for. That is Not making a principled stand, and that is Not making a stand for Liberty - it is deserting it in its greatest hour of need (and probably because of your feelings for a candidate... am I right?).

Principles are not ends in themselves.

Principles are not substitutes for thinking.

Principles are guides for thinking well, they are a means to, not the ends of, principled thought.

Principles are what virtue and experience have shown to be reliable guides to wiser thought and actions - what do you suppose qualifies as 'wiser' thinking? Thinking that primarily strokes your ego and polishes your vanity, doesn't, I'd hope, qualify, does it? Principled thinking - what was once commonly known as Prudence, practical wisdom, means guiding your thoughts along principled paths, towards sound, long-range actions, ensuring that the best outcomes are most likely to be achieved. But if you are aiming your thoughts and actions at no further point than the guides to those actions, such shortsightedness cannot be wise, and they cannot be described as acting in a principled manner.

To focus upon you guides themselves, as if they were your ends, is but another form of the ends justifying the means - and isn't that what a principled person most recoils from?!

Employing Prudence in the voting booth, requires focusing upon the long-range intentions and effects which the office being voted upon will be turned towards; what will be brought about through that office, is what your choice in the voting booth should reflect and be striving towards. It is not about stroking your own vanity, but about giving as much aid as you're able to give, to, in the case of either the primary or general election for the President of the United States of America, the preservation of the constitution and our republic for which it stands; if you don't understand that that is the wisest course of action to aim towards, or that you'd prefer to allow your own shortsighted pride to take precedence over such considerations, then you are, politically speaking, no matter how many doctoral degrees you might have behind your name, an uneducated rube.

Are you voting for a candidate who is knowingly, avowedly, serving Socialist, Communist, Marxist and/or 'Progressive' aims?
If so, then you are voting in direct opposition to our Constitution and to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and it is a self evident fact that you and I have little at all in common philosophically or politically; that you are in pursuit of regressing our nation, friends and family, towards a land that will be ruled over by those who are primarily in pursuit of power, and that you would prefer to give them power over your own choices, than to suffer making them yourself, that you would rather be ruled over, than to rule over your own life; that you are willing to subject others to that same fate, because you fear having responsibility for your own life. You, like some of my friends and family, may very well be a nice person in most respects, but, IMHO, the state of your political thought is a putrid wasteland. You are voting for regress, you are avowedly pro-regressive, and advancing towards what is evil - may God have mercy on your soul.

Are you still abstaining from voting because you refuse to choose the lesser of two evils?
You should Never, EVER vote for the lesser of two evils. You should either cast your vote in service to that which is the greater Good (qualitatively speaking, not in the quantitative or utilitarian sense), or in opposition to the worst evil - that is all. If you are unsure why, take a few moments to think about the meaning and implications of the word 'evil'.

Will your vote aid the best, or thwart the worst, use of the office of the President Of The United States? Or not?

Worst of all, refusing to vote for either, means deserting the field and letting that greater evil advance unopposed - deliberate passivity in the face of evil, is evil. Choosing not to vote, is choosing the lesser of two evils. Choosing to cast your vote for an avowed leftist, rather than a flawed or even foul candidate from the right (and if you find the two comparable, you need to examine your premises), is choosing the greater of two evils.

If there is not someone in the race representative of what you can comfortably vote for - one which will best serve the office's purposes through appropriate principles and policies - then you must cast your vote for that candidate that will best serve as opposition to the Greater Evil - not for the person, not for the candidate, not for the party, but with an awareness of those ideas and policies they will be brought to that office if you don't oppose them - meaning once again, though from a slightly different perspective, that you Do Not choose the lesser of two evils, instead you consciously, with full awareness and consideration for how that office will be employed, you use your vote to pit the lesser evil, against the greater evil, but you should never, ever, cast your vote for an evil.

Anything less, is so much less than zero.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Primary Stupidity and Political InTrumpretation: "But wait, there's more!"

Yes, I too am fed up with this Primary - it's been, to say the least, aggravating. It's deprived us of the benefits that a worthwhile primary should have brought us, it's turned friend against friend, and brought smart people to condemn themselves with the stupidity of calling those they don't agree with, stupid.

This primary has brought out the worst in the entire electorate, but the one most blamed for it, Trump, he hasn't caused it - he's revealed it. He's an effect, not a cause, and if he goes away, 'it' remains. Donald Trump, when held up to our problematic electorate, is, however, a startlingly useful prism of political optics, and as you turn him this way and that, he reveals the full hued spectrum of where it is that We The People, think that everyone else is standing, and is exposing the problems we'd all thought it'd be so much easier... to just ignore.

Worst of all, for me... it, the politics of it, are of no interest.

And yet, it's been living rent free in my noggin for a couple months now, and with the exception of a couple rants, has dragged all of my other blogging interests to a standstill. I've been wanting to get this damn post out of my head, but it keeps trying to sprout more pages, and as I try to chop it down to size, from out of the scratch of a single comma, out it bleeds another 2,000 words. Well this time it's going down and staying down.

Chop. Chop. Chop! If you're seeing this, I finally succeeded in cutting it down as close to the bone as I can (yay!).
"The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 1 - By Hannah Arendt

"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or  the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exists.”
Totalitarianism: Part Three of The Origins of Totalitarianism By Hannah Arendt
Note: This post is not about Trump - I'm not talking about the arguments against him or the arguments for him, but about the arguments about Trump, which, for the most part, are simply unhinged. Especially on the part of those new political interpreters on the scene, both those for and against Trump - let's call them 'InTrumpeters' - who regale us with how 'Stupid!' or 'Dishonest!' the opposing side is, when the sad fact is that neither charge - especially that of 'dishonest' - truly applies, and for worse reasons than you might think (which I'll get to at the end of this post).

So let's get down to it. The first issue that just has to be gotten out of the way, is the stupid 'Stupid!' charge (other equally 'legit' terms being tossed at each other, such as 'cultist!', 'liar!', apply as well, but let's keep it simple and stick with 'stupid'). Taking Webster's simple definition,
Stupid: not intelligent; having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things; not sensible or logical
Hopefully I don't shock you, but even though most people who hold their fellows up to the Trump Prism, see any signs of disagreement as proof of 'Stupid!', I've yet to see a single person (and I'm even including those in the video at the end of this post) who could truly, justifiably, be called stupid. BTW, that should be far more disturbing and scarier for us all, than if they actually were stupid. So, let's get to banishing the "Stupid!" with, appropriately enough, a thought experiment.

Stupid Test Part 1: The question of the stupider stupid
What do you suppose these supposedly stupid people would do, if we were to make these propositions to them:
  1. Will you allow me to put a lethal dose of cyanide in your drink, which you'll then drink, if I add enough sweetener, or if I promise to provide you with a secure job, and a fabulous increase on your investments, after you've died?
  2. If it were proved that the nations water supply were suddenly poisoned, would you want to know how to test and purify the water before drinking it, or would you rather not be bothered?
The person who would go along with the first, or not want to be bothered with the second, could justifiably be called stupid. I'm willing to say that neither Trump, Cruz, Sanders, nor 99.9999% of their supporters would make those decisions (I'll leave it to you to decide about Kaisch).

IOW they grasp the operations and importance to their lives of 'If this, then that' logic. They also implicitly understand what many would prefer to deny: that they grasp the reality of Reality; they grasp the meaning and importance of Identity, and they attach a reasonably high value to their own conscious self awareness and its active application to their lives - none of which a stupid person would, or could, do.

Note: I do not mean to excuse those, on any side, whose words and actions are vile - there is no excuse. This also doesn't mean that I think that their positions and actions are intelligent, only that they aren't arriving at unintelligent positions because they are stupid or otherwise incapable of doing so (that too should alarm you). There is most definitely a point of disconnect, where their ideas, and
their perceptions of reality, part company - what I am saying is only that the issue involved isn't one of stupidity, and I'm cautioning that if you mis-define the problem, as most people that I've observed on both sides are enthusiastically doing, then a solution that solves the actual problem, is not what your efforts are going to provide you.

Or in other, other words, if you willfully fail to identify either their disconnect, or the basis of their decision, then you are effectively disconnecting from reality as well. Get it?

Of course any of us might let fly with a Stupid! charge in the heat of the moment, but that's less an evaluation than an exasperated four letter word in drag, and is of no real consequence - an expletive is but an expletive and easily deleted, and is not our concern here. But an expletive that's used as an explanation, or as an excuse to avoid an explanation... that's something entirely different, and should
be deeply disturbing, especially as it becomes the rallying cry for your actions.

And seriously, consider some of the people that you're attempting to slur with your 'stupid!' ('ignorant', 'cultist', etc.) charge, and from either side of the Trump aisle, with Thomas Sowell(!) on one side, or Phyllis Schlafly on the other?! Seriously? These are the people that you InTrumpreters, pro or con, are trying (explicitly or implicitly) to see as being stupid, uninformed, ignorant of the Constitution and unconcerned with the Supreme Court? Are you kidding me? Of course you can disagree with them - vehemently so - but to include them in that type of name calling, sorry, but it's simply bouncing off of them and sticking to you. Get a grip.

So tell me, you inTrumpeters (pro or con) who are throwing out the Stupid! charge, are you doing that to excuse yourself from having to do the work of figuring out exactly what your disagreement is about?

Sorry, rhetorical question - the answer is yes, you are throwing out the 'Stupid!' charge in order to spare yourself the effort of understanding their position, and of having to make your own argument more understandable and persuasive... to those you're trying to persuade. (?!).

Who Benefits? Do you suppose that makes your argument more capable of getting through to more people, or does it leave it weaker?

Again, rhetorical question - the evasive Stupid! charge leaves Your argument weaker, and just as deliberately disconnected from reality as you claim that theirs is. And if you really do want to persuade the maximum number of people to your point of view as possible, then your Stupid! charge is in fact stupefying to your own argument. Which is... sorta... stupid... isn't it?

And how do you suppose your 'argument' looks to the person you're calling 'Stupid!', and to their

Monday, March 21, 2016

Moderating either between which cheek a victim is punched upon, or the speed of your retreat, is no virtue - Judge Garland and the U.S. Senate

Regarding President Obama's nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. I know the Senate has wussed out and said that they won't consider any nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, until after the election (I ranted against the Right gone Wrong here), but it'd be nice if they would give this nomination the consideration it's due - two, maybe even three hours - and then simply issue a statement, such as:
"After a brief review, it is obvious that Judge Garland has a preference for ruling in favor of regulatory agencies exercising their power over, and against, the interests and rights of the American people. He has shown a questionable lack of respect for the individual rights that are protected by the 4th & 5th amendments, and a clear hostility towards the protections of the 2nd Amendment. We therefore see no need for further consideration of this judge potentially having a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of American, where his views could further endanger the individual rights of our citizens.
Our consent is denied, and our advice to the President, is to fuhgedaboudit.

Sincerely,

The United States Senate. "
Alas, our Senate lacks the intestinal fortitude for such a statement, so we'll have to settle for the (hiding beneath the) blanket rejection which they've re-affirmed.

Note to my Conservative friends: I'm not saying that the Senate must vote on a nominee - ignoring a nominee is not only constitutional, but a feature, several nominees have received no consideration, let alone a vote, in the past, as the Democrats know full well, having pushed it themselves, and more than once. What I'm saying is that the GOP's position to oppose 'any nomination' to the SCOTUS, even before a nominee is made known, doesn't look to me like an example of taking a 'firm stand', it looks more like a cowardly retreat, it looks like someone seeking to flee from not just confrontation, but the fear of stating their reasoning and positions for all to see. I see it as a dereliction of, if not their constitutional duty, then at the very least as a dereliction of their moral responsibility to advise the nation of the substandard, harmful, candidates for the Supreme Court of the United States of America, which the President of the United States of America, is nominating to sit in judgment over our beleagured liberties.

Note to my Pro-Regressive friends: this is not about me disagreeing with a nomination simply because it was President Obama that made it, or about the 'impeccable reputation' which Judge Garland enjoys - he does seem to be quite a scholar and a gentlemen.

What this is about, is whether or not the ideas and judgment of the nominee, and of the President, demonstrate a respect for, and an understanding of our Constitution and of the Individual Rights it was designed to uphold and protect. And as it is my judgment, based upon the evidence of their opinions and actions of record, that they have no such respect or understanding of either, and that they have instead demonstrated a desire to disregard both in pursuit of their shared pro-regressive ideals, which are explicitly in opposition to both a written constitution and to Individual Rights as such. Nominees such as these, pose real threats to the preservation of our liberty, and to our ability to enjoy the pursuit of happiness under a sound, limited, constitutional representative form of government, securely bound down through the Rule of Law.

To say that Judge Merrick Garland, fine person though he undoubtedly is, has an undoubtedly fine legal mind, is as frustratingly uninformative about how he uses that mind, as it is to say that someone is a fine sharpshooter and leaving it at that, while withholding the knowledge of whether he is a soldier or an underworld assassin - a person should not be called a paragon of fine legal reasoning, without first knowing the purposes and principles, if any, which his reasoning skills are aimed at serving. Do those aims comport with the Constitution? IMHO, no.

Judge Garland's fine legal mind is not aimed at legal reasoning, but at legalism. He supports the idea that laws, in and of themselves, are the sufficient basis for, and justification of, other laws (what I've called the Doppelganger's Rule of Rules to rule the people by).

Legal Reasoning, on the other hand, is only achieved by proceeding from an understanding that no law is a valid law, which violates Reason, and that in respecting the reality of the nature of being human, the necessity and importance of our individual Rights become self evident, making it necessary
"... to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
, and so become the basis of our laws, which all additional laws must integrate with. If you ignore that, or disregard that, then you devalue and disregard Individual Rights as such, let alone the defense of them.

We don't need to make an exhaustive examination of Judge Garlands judicial opinions, when a brief inspection shows them to be at odds with the understanding of the 'conservative' majority in the senate (just don't play coy when such dismissals comes back to bite us in the future). For instance, in the New York Times,
"If Judge Garland is confirmed, he could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years. Measures of ideology by four political scientists show where the justices stand in relation to one another. Judge Garland’s score is based on the score of his appointing president, Bill Clinton. This methodology is considered to be a “reasonably good predictor of voting on the Supreme Court,” says Prof. Lee Epstein of Washington University."
, a position that places him far to the left on the court, nestled snugly between Justice Ginsberg and Justice Kagan, and despite the NYT's seeing that as bringing a 'new perspective' to the court, it's a new seating chart that I'm not all that comfortable with, and there's no constitutional reason why a conservative majority should approve of that.

This is not, and should not be about jockeying for political power, but about how the law is to be interpreted and applied, and the effect that will have on our liberty. The fact is, that Judge Garland's opinions and rulings consistently show that he sees that the purpose of the court to be to uphold the interests of the state, over the interests and individual rights of the citizens, and demonstrates insufficient interest in keeping the power of the state securely within the boundaries set out for it by our Constitution, and it is for that reason, that I say his rulings, especially if elevated to the SCOTUS, would pose a grave threat to the safety and integrity of our individual rights.

For instance, this is from a SCOTUS Blog entry in 2010, that was intended to portray him in a favorable light,
"Judge Garland has strong views favoring deference to agency decisionmakers. In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time. ."
That's a problem.

Numerous times he's voted on the side of the National Labor Relations Board, against the interests of both the employers, and the employees, in favor of the NLRB and of Labor. He's voted with the Dept Labor, with the EPA, with the FCC, the SEC, the Army, FED, Commerce Dept, and in opposition to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) - and those are just the cases mentioned in an article that was written in glowing approval of his judgment, aiming to show how moderate he is.

This is what we're supposed to see as 'Moderation'? An attacker who moderates between between using the left hand and the right hand to punch you in the face with, is not being moderate. Such moderation is of no benefit to the person - We The People - who's being punched. Such 'moderates' aim only to appeal to the powerful of both the left and right, which is no virtue, it is only a progressive grinding down, of our rights, favoring giving those in power, even more power over us - that is no virtue,

In the the case of 'NRA v. Reno' in 2000, Garland refused to require President Clinton's DOJ to follow federal law and destroy the records of legally purchased firearms, intruding upon and arguably seeking to aid in the abridging of the Second Amendment's defense of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. His lengthy defense of the attorney general's policy of retaining the records of firearms purchases for six months, despite the law saying that they must be destroyed, amounted to, as the dissenting Justice Tatel ably characterized as the protests of petulant children:
"...In no case has a court held that power has been granted to a federal agency by Congress's failure to enact a limitation to a directly contradictory statutory command.   Congress said, “destroy all records.”   Congress said, do not “require that any record ․  be recorded.”   Brady Act § 103(i), 107 Stat. at 1542.   The Attorney General asserts, “Congress did not say that I have to destroy the records immediately.   Therefore I am empowered to retain the records.”   The Attorney General's position strikes me as reminiscent of a petulant child pulling her sister's hair.   Her mother tells her, “Don't pull the baby's hair.”   The child says, “All right, Mama,” but again pulls the infant's hair.   Her defense is, “Mama, you didn't say I had to stop right now.”

I do not think that the parent's command to the child is ambiguous, nor that of Congress to the Attorney General.   I do not find the child's response reasonable;  nor is that of the Attorney General."
IOW, he went to a great deal of effort to rationalize giving govt the power to do what its functionaries desired to do with that power, despite what the law told them to do, at our expense, pecking away at our liberty, violating not only the letter of those laws, but the spirit of the 2nd Amendment and arguably the 4th amendment as well.

He also voted to retry the Heller Case,
"...But Garland has a long record, and, among other things, it leads to the conclusion that he would vote to reverse one of Justice Scalia’s most important opinions, D.C. vs. Heller, which affirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Back in 2007, Judge Garland voted to undo a D.C. Circuit court decision striking down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The liberal District of Columbia government had passed a ban on individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense. A three-judge panel struck down the ban, but Judge Garland wanted to reconsider that ruling. He voted with Judge David Tatel, one of the most liberal judges on that court. As Dave Kopel observed at the time, the “[t]he Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights” in a previous case. Had Garland and Tatel won that vote, there’s a good chance that the Supreme Court wouldn’t have had a chance to protect the individual right to bear arms for several more years...."
Thankfully, in the Heller case, Justices Scalia and Thomas' opinions prevailed (BTW, in the opinion of myself and others far more suited to such opinions, Justice Thomas' opinion was the better opinion), reaffirmed the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. Justice Garland opposed, and opposes that view.

That doesn't make him a bad man, or any less the scholar and gentleman that he was before, but it does make him someone whose ideas are in direct opposition to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution - which 'conservatives' supposedly want to conserve - it makes him someone who prefers the Pro-Regressive view that administrative 'experts' in government should hold power over the choices, rights and lives of We The People, for the greater good - as they define it, rather than as we choose to live our own lives by. That doesn't make him a bad man either, but it does make him unfit to hold a judicial chair with such great power over the laws that are supposed to uphold and protect our Individual Rights.

Our Bill of Rights were amended to the constitution, because We The People
",,,expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added,,,"
in order to prevent the federal government from infringing upon our rights and liberty, and in too many ways, Judge Garland has supported, aided and abetted, the government in encroaching upon at least three of them:
, and that's only what I came up with after only a couple hours of digging. For that reason alone he is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court, and is cause enough for the U.S. Senate to issue a statement such as I noted above.

And the failure of our Senators to make such a statement, and to list the reasons for it, is, IMHO, negligent, cowardly and despicable.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Opposing ANY Nominee?! A righteous rant against the Right gone wrong

With condolences, sympathy and appreciation to his family, Justice Scalia's passing couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation, or for the interests of the conservative Right. If you have even a small understanding of the Constitution, and of how close recent opinions of the Supreme Court have come to overturning or even eviscerating numerous constitutional protections of our rights, then the potential of President Obama placing yet another justice on the Supreme Court... is chilling, even blood curdling.

But.

I can tell you right now, that if the current President was a Conservative, and facing a similar sudden vacancy on the court, I guarantee you that if he even publicly entertained the possibility of foregoing his power to nominate a replacement because it was his last year in office, I assure you that I'd be first in line calling for his head on a platter... or at least the immediate resignation of his office.

Now of course, if you'd like to urge the President to 'play fair' and leave this next appointment to the incoming POTUS, by all means, feel free to do so, I wish you luck. I get it. Seriously. But to call for the Senate to misuse its power of 'advice and consent', to deliberately delay and block an appointment - any appointment - 'for the greater good'... get thee behind me and begone!

This has nothing to do with any interest I have in 'fairness', and even less to do about "If the tables were reversed the Left would be doing everything it could to delay and block!". Given the fact that the Pro-Regressive Left despises our Constitution and the very concepts of Individual Rights and the Rule of Law, I've no doubt that they would do just that! In fact, they have sought to do just that, as Sen. Schumer did in 2007, as did other leftists before him.

Explain to me again how that puts this in a better light, for wishing to behave just as the leftists would? Oh... Sen. McConnell is calling to block a nominee that has yet to even be named? I see... and you have a long history of deeply respecting Sen. McConnell's judgement, do you?

Do you?!

How does a person claim to have respect and allegiance for the Constitution, and a reverence for the Rule of Law, while deliberately setting out to misuse, twist and thwart the stated language and intent of the Constitution, for blatantly political purposes?

By all means, oppose a bad nominee, absolutely - knock down, drag out, tooth and nail; but any nominee? On what basis, and with what lawful power, do you propose to invalidate and revoke constitutional powers from the office of the President? Under what authority? According to what Law?

The Constitution does not say that the Senate should only offer advice and consent on the President's nominee, if that nominee is likely to be of the right sort, but... otherwise it should just go ahead and nullify the Presidents powers for the greater good, does it?

Well Sen. Cruz seemingly thinks it does:
"This should be a decision for the people," Cruz said. "Let the election decide. If the Democrats want to replace this nominee, they need to win the election. But I don’t think the American people want a court that will strip our religious liberties. I don’t think the American people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortions on demand, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding and no parental notification and I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution."
Believe you me, I get it, I thoroughly understand and sympathize with the desire to delay, postpone, block, what any new appointment by this President is likely to be. To date I've found his judgment to be repulsive and his taste in nominees even worse. But I do not know how you go about finding the warrant to oppose an elected President of the United States of America from carrying out his constitutional powers and duties, as granted to him through the Constitution, because you don't think the people would like his choice, and so propose misusing the Senate's obligation to give 'advice and consent' to him, in order to do what you think would be best for them.

Elections do have consequences, and sometimes they are terrible ones. Teddy Roosevelt. Woodrow Wilson. FDR. Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton. But our ends don't justify the means either, not even if we're really sure that we know best and that we reeeally want them to.

I feel your pain. But travelling in this direction, is only going to intensify it.

I hasten to repeat, that if President Obama nominates someone unworthy of the highest court in the land - someone of the likes of Elana Kagan or Sonja Sotomayor for instance - then by all means, dig out their records and evidence of previous unworthy or even anti-American and anti-constitutional statements and activism, and hold them and President Obama's judgment accountable, hold them up to ridicule and vitriol and torpedo their nominations in a fully justified rendering of that base new practice of 'Borking', which then Sen. Biden, led against Reagan's nomination of Judge Bork.

That would be all well and good and proper and in accordance with giving the President "Advice and Consent" upon his nomination.

But to state your intent to block any nominee, without even knowing who, to declare your intent to oppose the provisions of the Constitution on the basis of your own political sympathies...THAT is the siren song of doom, not only for this coming election, but in the precedent that it will set for every President elected from here on out, where Congress will set limits on executive power based upon it's current comfort levels on the coming election.

The Constitution was ratified by We The People, not We The Right or We the Conservatives or We the GOP - just who in the hell do you think you are?! And if that is your declared intent, then what is there in you that I should have any respect for?

That entire train of thought, by the way, that same willingness to forego proper constitutional regard and judgment in order to save political appearances, is exactly why Kagan and Sotomayor are on the court today. Craven cowardice on the part of political hacks, seeking political advantage at the expense of right and proper constitutional responsibility. Such behavior is not even up to the sub-par level of political correctness, it's more like pure political squeamishness.

Not to mention the fact that any such talk today, will only call into question and disrepute any real, and justified questions that there are very well likely to be with the next nominee, tomorrow, empowering the entire media heavy pro-regressive left to carry the tide of public opinion up and over your every valid protest to come.

Then what will you do? What will be your cry then? Will you dare claim to stand for the Rule of Law, for respect for every clause of the Constitution? Will you really have the standing to call any action or effort of the Left 'unconstitutional'? Seriously?

/rant

Monday, January 25, 2016

Artificial Reason turns the Pen into the might of the sword - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.7

Penning Laws mightier than the sword...
Hopefully over the last three posts on the Three Key Steps required for the Rule of Law, you've not only followed along, but also felt some concern about where I've been going with this. In New Year's Eve's post, I emphasized the importance of Philosophy and questioned the common assumptions that the Big Ideas of the West have little or nothing to do with everyday life, and in New Year's Day post we looked at how, through the ideas of men like John Locke, The Law, in a general sense, functions as applied Philosophy. But then at the opening and close of my previous post on Property, showing how it is central to those steps being completed and a society able to enjoy the Pursuit of Happiness, I cautioned that,
"... you should be uneasy about the "♫ ♪ ♬ it's as easy as 1,2,3...♬ ♪ ♫" nature of these three steps to the Rule of Law that I've given."
And you should be cautious towards anyone promoting the idea that 'Men of Reason know what's best!' - if you know anything about the French Revolution, or even the PC Culture of our Wackademic Universities, that should be cause for serious and well founded alarm. Stick with me, because in this post, as we look at how The Law does have a very real and direct connection into our daily lives through the concept of Property, and the West's Big Ideas, we'll also see that the Rule of Law, as our Founders understood it, provided an antidote to the very real threat of 'those who know best!'.

As we've seen, the initial hardships and innovations of the first colonists in America, were hard and clarifying experiences, which made their way back to the old world through the actions and words of men like Thomas Hooker (see the previous post), and they helped in establishing clearer understandings of what Liberty required, as well as the need for limits to what the Law could and should do. Such experiences had an influence on the pens of men like John Locke, who, decades later, distilled those essential principles of life, liberty and property, into a clearer understanding of the importance of the Rule of Law. Americans drank those ideas in, embodied and refined them even further still, as an 'expression of the common mind' through the pen of Thomas Jefferson, as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that phrase expressed far more than simply swell sounding words.

In this series of posts, we've traced a line from Aristotle, to Cicero, Coke, Locke and our Founders and has stressed the importance of knowledge and reason, but there is a very real danger in giving the impression that Reason alone is fit to describe or lay down the law - and in fact letting it do so comes dangerously close to violating one of the first maxim's we noted, that above all else,

'No one can be judge in his own cause; Hear the other side'
To ignore that, to put your exalted 'Reason' above that, is the path of self inflated elitism, be it of Kings, Experts or Talking Heads, and it is our Laws themselves, when respected, that save us from that. On the other hand, Reason, when given power to depart from the wider reality of a nations laws, not because an error has been found in earlier judgments (which is a valid basis for overturning precedent), but because a judge, legislator or executive has a 'better idea' for 'the greater good' in spite of their existing laws, that is when 'Reason' becomes just as dangerous a beast as any other predator in the jungle. The French Revolution was a good example of that, where for all its talk of 'Reason!', it brought unreasonable rivers of blood and mounds of severed heads until finally, it provided sufficient reasons for the greatest tyrant since Alexander, Napoleon Bonaparte, to come to power and plunge Europe into a decade of devastating war and conquest.

The English Jurist Edward Coke, understood very well, the dangers of individual men's reason being given power to define or direct the law, and his unique formulation of an answer to that, helped him in holding his own king at bay:
Notes on Coke: 1608 "Then the king said that he thought the law was founded upon reason, and that he and others had reason as well as the judges. To which it was answered by me that true it was that God had endowed His Majesty with excellent science and great endowments of nature; but His Majesty was not learned in the laws of his realm of England, and causes which concern the life or inheritance or goods or fortunes of his subjects are not to be decided by natural reason, but by the artificial reason and judgment of law , which law is an act which requires long study and experience, before that a man can attain to the cognizance of it "
Meaning, that it was not enough for one man, one king, one executive, or even an entire legislature, to consider and declare the law to be this or that, separately from the body of the law - that would be every bit the 'rule of rules' as any other arbitrary whim someone justifies to themselves - it is placing you as a judge of your own cause.

Artificial Reason, as Coke spoke of it, required reasoning along with, and in concert with, preceding judgments that made up the common law, which served as a steadying rudder against the whims of the moment's 'Good Idea!' from steering society in a new, unexpected and rash direction. It is not

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

No despair over the State of the Union - how sad.

The State of the Union, should be in a state of despair, but sadly it doesn't seem to be. If you're not sure what I mean, I mean that those who could listen to President Obama, a man who said 37 times... over and over and over, that:
"If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan."
, while knowing that to be a lie; that those who could listen to the man who forced ObamaCare's passage through without compromise, who trotted out his officials to push the lie that the Benghazi attacks were caused not by terrorists, but by protests over a video - knowing That to be a lie; those who could listen to the man who has compared supporters of the Tea Party, Republicans and even returning veterans, to terrorists; those who could listen to the man whose administration has sought to prosecute reporters for reporting opposing views and sought to expel a News network that expressed more conservative opinions than his own from the White House Press Corp - those who could listen to all of that, and could then approvingly listen to that same person say this in his State of the Union speech:
"Democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. It doesn't work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic. Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us. Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention."
... I mean that those people are a people who are without concern for, or respect for what is true - is that something to feel optimistic about? What can the State of a Union be, whose people not only feel no anger or despair over being lied to, but will applaud those lying to them?

I sometimes despair of finding the right words to describe the state of such a union as that.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Property - The Progress of Cause and Effect into Life and Law - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.6c

Step Three
I made a claim in my New Year's Eve's post that there were three concepts that were key steps to the Rule of Law, which if missed or denied, would saddle you with its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, instead. That post looked at the First Step as being the importance of Philosophy and emphasized the need to question the common assumptions that the Big Ideas of the West have little or nothing to do with everyday life. In the New Year's Day post we looked at the Second Step, how, through the ideas of men like Cicero and John Locke, The Law, in a general sense, functions as applied Philosophy. In this post we'll look at the Third Step, that the revolutionary concept of Property (as opposed to possessions), brings The Law into the very real interests, concerns and smallest details of our daily life - whether that's good or bad, depends upon how well the previous steps are taken. BTW, if you're a little uneasy about the "♫  ♪ ♬ it's as easy as 1,2,3...♬ ♪ ♫" nature of these three steps, good, you should be. We'll get into some of the Why's of that in the next post, but for today, first things first: Step Three, following the reality of our thoughts and actions in the world, and the vital connection between them, Property, the Biggest Ideas of the Big Thinkers of the West, and your ability to live your own life as you choose, and in society with others.

Ultimately what it comes down to when we're talking about the importance of Property to our lives, can be looked at, believe it or not, as a recognition of the unity of cause and effect in human actions.

Think of the concept of Individual Rights as a recognition of those actions which the nature of being a human being requires of us to choose to take, in order to live life as a human being
(Chief amongst those actions being: thinking, acting, speaking, associating, retaining the fruits which those actions produced, and a recourse to arms to defend them all if need be)
; and of the concept of Property as the recognition that, those effects which result from our actions having been taken, would not be as they are, in that way, in that context, without that person's time, decisions and actions having been contributed to it, and that involves that person's life in those effects which resulted from their having taken those actions. That unity of cause and effect is easily observable (whether or not they recognize it) in any people, of any time, and in any place, and it establishes the principle of a man's right, not just to, but in his property (Aristotle's recognition of four causes is better suited to this, but that's a whole 'nother post), rather simply the possession of it.

More simply put, to see a clay pot is to know that it was caused to come to be - someone did build that. The pot is the effect of the potter's thoughts and actions; you get no pottery, the effect, without its cause, the Potter, and to take that pottery by force, is taking away what some portion of that person's life went into creating.

Property, in its original understanding, wasn't only an indicator of possession, or of monetary value, but the rightful recognition of a relation established between a person and that which they acted upon. Those actions which you legitimately take, establish your Property in your speech, in your actions, in your associations, in your effects and most of all, and first of all, in your life, in your right to it, and in your right to defend it. Importantly, to recognize and respect one person's right to their property, is to implicitly recognize every person's right to take those actions that are required by the nature of being human, and that by virtue of being human, every person shares in those same rights - and each owes

Friday, January 01, 2016

Locke's Lab for DIY Political Science Experiments - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-6b

Step Two - The American Locke on Liberty
America in the 17th & 18th centuries was a living political 'State of Nature' laboratory, perfect for tweaking old formulas, making observations, and serving as a state of the art lab for carrying out revolutionary real life Do It Yourself Political Science experiments. The philosopher of political science who was the keenest observer, and who contributed the most, and the most sound theories, for unlocking the liberty that America was formed from, was John Locke (1632-1704), who, as a child, lived through the violence of the English Civil War.

Few issues were actually resolved during that conflict, and so as the fatigue of it passed, the political climate began heating up once again, especially with questions surrounding ideas of royal power and the still developing ideas of liberty, even as the Colonies in America were being established abroad. The period that Locke grew up in was rife with political turmoil, executions, persecutions and exiles, which would eventually be resolved with the 'Glorious Revolution', and see England switching out its own monarch, for a pair more open to the idea of putting even the King's power under that of the Law. But up until that point, Royal Power ran rampant in England and those who questioned it, would become the painful focus of it. Locke, together with his compatriot and employer, the Earl of Shaftesbury, felt the sharp focus of royal power because neither one of them believed in the 'divine right of kings', and worse than not believing in it, and worse even than daring to say so, Locke explained why it wasn't so, and that, the exercise of Freedom of Speech, is something which those employing the Doppelganger's Rule of Rules cannot tolerate, and will soon seek to resolve their discomfort with orders of 'Off with their heads!' - and so off Locke and Shaftesbury went, into exile in Holland.

During that six or so years of exile, Locke devoted serious consideration to practical political philosophy (the 1st of the the three steps which we reviewed in the previous post), Richard Hooker's "Of the laws of ecclesiastical polity" found its way into his writing, and he could not have missed the strange new political developments coming from the colonies in America, particularly the likes of Thomas Hooker (possibly related to Richard Hooker) and his Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, with
"...the first written constitution known to history that created a government..."
, establishing representative government with the freedom to think and worship as a person saw fit, without interference from the government. Such ideas percolated for years in Locke's brain, and were refined into principled form, and, helping to give much weight to the adage that 'The Pen is mightier than the sword', would help contribute to that coming revolution, as well as our own, decades afterwards.

The primary work that John Locke ultimately produced, "The Two Treatises of Civil Government [1689]" (published anonymously), was the first to propose and give clear expression to the concept of Individual Rights and the critical importance of Property Rights to them, and on top of that, in his view, upholding those rights were the primary purpose of Govt and its laws (the 2nd key step pointed out in the previous post, and the focus of this one). The linking of those three together: law, rights and property; brought the highest ideas of Law into direct contact with nearly every concern of every person living under it, but now as a benign a promise to defend their actions, rather than as a malignant limitation upon those actions they'd be permitted to take (the 3rd key step pointed out in the previous post). It also established a palpable link from each person's daily concerns to the highest ideals of Western Thought. Locke's ideas found recognition and appreciation in England, but it was in America that they were taken most seriously and were given the most direct application and formal expression and expectations of (see the 1733 Freedom of the Press case of Peter Zenger).

Life in the American colonies had little or no patience for niceties without substance, in thought or deed. It was a place where the matter of a couple careless steps off the beaten path would put you face to face with raw nature and/or hostile peoples, conditions which served to clarify the importance

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Snapping snap judgments, lest auld acquaintance be forgot - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-6a

Give me three steps...
As the old year slips out and the New Year opens up, it's a particularly good time to ask questions that have to do with what is timeless... lest auld acquaintance with them should be forgot. And while it might not seem so, on the surface, these questions we've been asking most definitely involve issues that are timeless - see if you can see how. For instance: Where do you think you fit in, in today's world, are you Pro-Progress, or Pro-Regress? Are you for the Rule of Law, or the Rule of Rules? Are the 'Big Ideas' of Western Civilization something you think much about, or do you mostly shrug them off and just kinda make a snap judgment on various news stories that happen to flit into your view, now and then... and then forget about 'em? Or are you one of the many of us who don't see the point of considering such questions at all, especially not in the midst of the current events raging around us today - ''I'm not getting sucked into THAT mess!'? I hate to cast a pall upon the coming New Year, but I have a sad suspicion that what most people think doesn't matter, isn't going to matter much longer.

Can anyone really think that the precious snowflakes on our college campuses, or the SJW (Social Justice Warriors) brigades in our streets who are openly advocating to eliminate the Freedom of Speech, or 'unbiased' newscasters talking openly of how those they violently disagree with are 'enemies of the state', can anyone really think that these types are going to be tolerant towards those who say 'Oh, I don't pay attention to that stuff' for much longer? How much longer? And when that vocal 'majority' refuses to allow others the choice to either disagree or evade deciding, what do you suppose is going to be the reaction of those who do disagree with them, and what options will they have to do so?

Will the one side have any option left open to them, but to take the other side at their own words, as being their enemies?

No, the time is coming where all will have to decide, one way or the other, where they stand on these issues, because they are what is driving our current events, and your place within them, and brushing them off cannot remain an option much longer. Each person is going to have to choose what they support, and what they will reject. But for those who haven't been paying attention, those - Left, Right, Libertarian and the target rich Moderate center - who've been coasting along on the strength of their snap judgments on this and that - what are they going to base those decisions upon?

A snap judgment? Based upon popular memes? Or a headline? Written by who?

For those who haven't been paying attention, or have, but haven't given much thought to the ideas driving our current events, or even worse than that, those who have been paying attention but have simply assumed that they understood what was best because of what they've familiar with, or comfortable with, or someone dear to them had said was so and so they assumed it was so - however it is that you are coming at these questions, what I hope to do in this post is to prod you to make some of those snap judgments on one of three key positions that, from my own experience in studying and engaging in discussions, disagreements, debates and out and out freak outs with people, I've found to be solid indicators of where their inclinations and assumptions lie, and then I'll toss a little contrast into the mix to hopefully snap your snap judgments open to a perspective you'll find worth considering further.

Especially as the New Year we are entering into, is an election year that will set the course for so many years to come, whether you pursue Progress or Pro-Regress is no light or laughing matter, what you are deciding is whether you will lend moral and physical support to living under the Rule of Law, or to being Ruled by Rules - politically, yes, but intellectually, psychologically and spiritually as well - and your own Progress or Regress will follow as surely as one moment will tick you into the next.

Humming the right tune
Beginning at the beginning, what's your snap judgment on the idea of The West's Big Ideas being somehow important and involved in your everyday life? Far fetched? Pedantic? Outlandish? Duh?

Contrast that question with

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thoughtful Images - Turning to the Rule of Law without turning away

Navigating the turns in the fog
How do you bring the clouds down to the ground, without bringing a thick fog along with it? Those higher principles and maxims of law that I sketched in the last post, they've helped define the nature and trajectory of Western thought on law, and the next post is going to have to touch on broader, higher ideals than those... but what do they have to do with our daily lives? How could they have anything to do with your daily struggles to pay the bills, raise the kids right, plan vacations and college, and so on... and on and on and on? Well... not all that much... other than having everything to do with every single bit of every one of those daily concerns.

But who could, would, or will, believe that? Do you?

I'll betcha that when you read "higher principles and maxims of law" a certain mental image came into your mind just at the thought of it. Hold that thought. Hold it, and be aware that many peoples thoughts are full of it. The image I mean. An image, some image, sometimes several images, rather than the thoughts themselves. That's where the fog comes rolling in.

I'd intended to finish this series of posts on the Rule of Law vs its Doppelganger in the Rule of Rules, before Thanksgiving, but I could see that in trying to distinguish between the things as they actually are, and how they are popularly made to appear to be, I couldn't get around taking note of another factor that I'd hoped to leave for later, and that's the mental images which we picture such ideas with, which often keep us from actually considering such ideas at all.

For instance, when I say Philosopher, or Roman, Law, John Locke, Founding Fathers...Republic, Democracy, Socialism... there are images that come to mind for you. Such mental images are  normal, useful tools of thought, they serve as the icons or captions in our mental Wikipedia, linking to the judgments we've arrived at as a result of thinking things through, making it possible to mention such topics in conversation and proceed on to further thoughts without having to rehash all of the facts and arguments behind them every time a subject comes up; they guide and speed our thinking.

But if you're not careful about what types of mental images you associate with which ideas, or where those images came from, or even whether there is any of your own thinking behind them, the thinking they are useful for, might not be your own.
What's an image selling you?

Mental images are useful as links or even placeholders, but they are no substitute for information, let alone thinking, yet that is exactly what they are sometimes used in place of. Francis Bacon isn't one of my favorites, but despite differences with the details, I think he would have gotten the difficulty here, particularly with his 'Idols of the Cave', and even moreso with the frustratingly little there is that we can do about it, that is, there's nothing that "We" can do about it, only "I" can.

What you can do about it, begins with noticing the types of mental images you associate with topics - if they take the form of conclusions or ridicule, they tend to divert further thought, rather than encourage it. For instance, the mental image you associate with Socialism might be that of 'Fool!', or 'a threat to a life worth living', or on the other hand 'Ideal!' or 'Making society more fair!'. The first on either hand tends to hurry your thinking along, the second can as well, but they also leave an opening for further thought - 'What makes a life worth living, and how is that a threat?' or 'What is meant by fair, and how does it make society fair?' Either question is useful for further thinking whether you are in favor of or opposed to it, but 'Fool!' and 'Ideal!' guard against any such openings for further thought.

As Bacon said, there's not a lot you can do, but that little bit, drawing your attention to the problem, the failure to question, can help a lot.

Just don't get your hopes up.

For it turns out that when forming their mental images, many people do accept that a picture is worth a thousand words, not realizing that in doing so they accept all of those words meaning without ever really considering or understanding them, all of which helps us to convey much less than words can say, and then conversation and thought can make no further progress, as your go-to mental image steps in to do your thinking for you.

This is less a matter of Left and Right, than of being human.

The mental images you associate with Socialism, for instance,

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

President Obama finally stands up... to the Oval Office.

So President Obama gave a speech from the Oval Office, while standing at a podium, instead of sitting at his desk. Whatever image or sensitivity that was suppose to display... I don't much care. What I do care about is what he actually said, and so, I'm going to reply to it with about as much care as he seems to have given to writing it. IOW: Here comes yet another rant. Damn this is getting tiring.

The speech's transcription is here if you'd like to read along, but either way there are a few sentences, from the opening, and one from the close, that I'd like you to keep fixed in mind - these from the opening:
"So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people."
, and this from the ending:
"...Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL..."
What President Obama is acknowledging, is that there is no evidence that these terrorists were directed by terrorist organizations, that they were motivated by islamist radicalization, that they are at war with America and the West, and that we are at war with ISIS. While I'm amazed that he got that much right, it is nearly the only thing he got right in his speech, and even so he fails to give it any meaning.

Let's go through it, and then you can let me know if you think I've missed something - just be prepared to explain why.

Moving on.
"As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino."[emphasis mine]
When did President Obama first realize this? Why was he so reluctant to state it openly? Why did it take an act of Congress for those wounded in the attacks at Fort Hood to be recognized as being the result of 'terrorists... less complicated attacks', rather than the lesser designation of 'workplace violence' fought for five years to label them as, depriving them of the status and benefits of war related actions?
"As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people."
Damn right. BTW, upholding our Laws is first on that list. But if President Obama does realize that that's the case, then please explain this:
"Well, here’s what I want you to know: The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us."
I refer you back to the quote above. In that President Obama said that San Bernardino wasn't the result of an organized attack, and that we are at war with ISIS. Is he unaware that ISIS's chief strategy, stated openly since their inception, and demonstrated again and again (Paris, etc.), is to incite and call for 'lone wolf' attacks? If not, he should resign. But if so, why is he now proposing a strategy designed entirely around organized attacks coming from established organizations? Has he never heard the folly of fighting the new war by the rules of the last war?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We hold these truths to be self evident - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-4

"We hold these truths to be self evident..."
As with the question of 'Who will watch the watchers', one of the driving quests of Western Civilization has been how to have a government of laws and not of men, when it is men who must write the laws? We touched upon a couple of the fundamental maxims of Western Law in the preceding post, and one in particular, which puts us on the right path for that - so long as we follow it. They do so by bringing the concept of external limitations to the law, through reasons that are accessible and comprehensible to all men who have a respectful consideration for reality and to the reality of human nature, yet at the same time are not written by men. The maxim I'm referring to is "No one should be a judge in his own cause" - a truth of human nature which takes only imagining whether a bully should be asked to judge whether he was justified in punching your child, to be grasped - the obviousness of which an English jurist, in a case from the year 1620, noted:
case of Day v. Savadge,5 2, where Chief Justice Hobart declared that
"even an Act of Parliament, made against natural equity, as to make a man Judge in his own case, is void in it self;"
IOW, there are principles and concepts available to us from outside of the Law, which are eminently suitable for applying reasonable limits upon all of the laws that men may desire to write for the 'benefit' of other men. And should those in power ignore those limits and write their hearts desire into law in spite of them, and even succeed in having their entire society voting upon and passing them, even with all of that, such laws will in truth be no law at all, they are empty of substance, they are void.

It is open to any man who dares to look at the emperors nakedness with his own two eyes and honest mind, will readily see that that emperor is wearing no clothes at all, that his so-called laws are nothing of the sort, merely the Rule of Law's Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, made by those seeking to rule over others, and which should be struck down at the very first opportunity to do so.

In other, other words, the Laws of men, are not exempt from complying with the laws of logic, or of math... or as Jefferson put it '...the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God...', and while such a thought might very well cause the modern Pro-Regressive leftist's head to explode, it was once a common understanding, an understanding that our nation (upon which every comfort and technological delight you possess resulted from) was founded through, and is an understanding that successfully kept the Doppelganger at bay for well over a century.

You can even see an example of this, much to my surprise, in the movie "Lincoln". There's a fine scene (though not without some tarnish, which we'll look at in a moment) where President Lincoln explains to a couple of aids, what he means by Principle, and he quickly demonstrates the great steps that are readily able to be taken by all honest men through their observations of nature, which, for those willing to see them, will lead a man from the geometric principles of Euclid, to Self Evident truths for all men:
“Abraham Lincoln: You're an engineer. You must know Euclid's axioms and common notions. I never had much of schooling but I read Euclid in an old book I borrowed. Little ever found in its way in here, but once learnt it stayed learnt.

Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works - has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see there it is even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other."
The looming shadows
But even here, we have the modernist skew creeping in, and much as I enjoyed this scene when I first watched it, something about it dragged at my attention. The wording used seemed less like that of Lincoln, than of the modern screenwriter; philosophically it doesn't belong to the Realist school that Lincoln would have been familiar with. Few in Lincoln's day would say that something is true simply because it works, that is a far more modern notion, the darkly pragmatic approach which was still being formulated at that time, and I doubt it would have sat well with him. To be sure, we do confirm that things are true through verifying them, but philosophically, epistemologically, it is only because the reality IS true, that we are able to verify it - verification, logically, has to come after the thing being verified (that is Self-Evident, is it not?) - our experimentation , like the anthropologist's broom, only brushes the dirt from the bones - it doesn't create the skeleton, it only serves as a means to our discovering it. The self evident fact is that it works because it's True, and because it's true, we are able to observe and verify it.

While Hollywood added their spin to the scene, they didn't spin the substance of it from nothing, and minus the pragmatism, that was just the sort of comment that Lincoln often used to make a larger point. In fact, if you do some googling on Lincoln's speech in the movie