I spent the other day in Missouri's capital, Jefferson City, sitting in the Senate gallery and biting my tongue while listening to a number of Senators burn the clock and showboat to each other while trying to draw out the opposing Senator into making a slip of the lip that they could politically exploit.
Not particularly noteworthy in and of itself.
The bill being debated, SJR25, proposed by Sen. Jane Cunningham, which is noteworthy, would pose some significant hurdles for ObamaCare, and so it's not too surprising that the Democrat senators would oppose it, however, why they oppose it, and on what grounds they oppose it, goes to the root of not only what is wrong in politics, but of all that is wrong in the world today.
The bill is for an amendment to be submitted to the people to vote on amending Missouri's state constitution, so that,
"Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that no federal law shall compel a patient, employer, or health care provider to participate in any government or privately run health care system, nor prohibit a patient or employer from paying directly for legal health care services."While their opposition in itself is not all that newsworthy, there's more in the senators arguments and opposition to the bill, that is revealing about their beliefs, and that of the left in general.
Sen. Days aggressively and obnoxiously tried to taunt Sen. Cunningham into making a slip of the lip and admit that the right secretly wants the poor and minorities to writhe in the streets for lack of healthcare and for their babies to die of hunger in gutters, and so forth. What really seemed to get Sen. Days, and her fellow democrats, incensed, was Sen. Cunningham admitting that she thought people should be allowed to make their own choices, that she sought to,
...protect the right of Missourians to make a choice regarding their healthcare without fear of penalty"- which apparently to these democrat senators minds, is just not to be allowed - and that is horrifying. This was the core of what they attacked and they spent the entire day and night either challenging Sen. Cunningham to admit that it meant that she hated the poor and minorities, or in mock inquiry to each other, over how amazed they were that the Right could be so heartless as to think people should be able to make their own choices - the entire ten or twelve hours of their jabber and pathetic amendment attempts can be boiled down to these comments:
Sen. Bray: "A sick person is not free! If you can choose to take away their healthcare then I don't know what freedom means anymore!"Now their 'arguments' are as easily refuted today, as they were when Frederich Bastiat refuted them in the mid 1800's, and in making these statements they display their ignorance of economics and for the very basis of our system of government in America, but they also display something much worse, something which makes them able to not only aggressively assert their ignorance and flagrantly disregard the fact that they are demonstrably wrong, but one also gets the distinct impression that they are proudly wrong (you see it in the smirks on their faces when the opposition exasperatedly demands 'how will you pay for this!?') - and that is the core of the matter which I want to get into with this post. To that I'd like to draw the attention of the Senators to a quote upon the wall of their chamber, which kept drawing my eyes as I listened to their 'debate', it is from Daniel O'Connell, a man, known as "The Liberator", who fought for freedom in 19th century Ireland, and reads in large golden letters hanging above their heads:
Sen. Justus: "If you can't afford something you have no freedom. and All children under the age 18 should be cared for by the state!"
Sen. Days: "What option do people have who don't have health insurance!? That's not freedom! I want the freedom to purchase whatever I want to choose! Having to pay for healthcare insurance, that is not *freedom*, that's oppression!"
Sen. Shoemyer"This is a freeloader amendment, I'm opposed to freeloading, all rural healthcare should be funded by the govt to give them all they might ever need."
Sen. Green: "What is the use of so called 'Sovereignty', didn't we deal with that in the Civil War?"
And last but not least worst,
Sen. Callahan: "The value of the constitution is that it can be changed... it's a living document... we need to call another constitutional convention so we can change it."
"Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong."First though, lets go through the simple fly swatting task of refuting their assertions.
The Leftist Toolkit: Playing Cards and Fly Swatters
These 'arguments' buzzed about in #'s 1, 2, 3 and 4 by the superbly named Sen. Bray, the ironically named Sen. Justus, the should have been named Sen. Dazed and the self refuting Sen. Shoemyer, amount to minor variations on the old saw: "A hungry man is not free!"
This regurgitates the oldest play in the proregressive playbook, which rests on performing a rhetorical game of Three Card Monty. Three Card Monty is the street game where you are shown three cards which are then placed face down on a table, and you bet that you can keep your eye on the one you picked at the start; you select your card, the bet is placed, and as the dealer swirls them around with a high speed flourish, through some slight of hand he has changed out the card you'd selected for another. He stops moving the cards - you touch the card you thought you'd selected, and he flips it over to show it's another, and you lose your bet.
Instead of using cards, the leftist plays this game with familiar concepts such as Power, Freedom and Generosity, so that , whether due to either sloppy thinking or deliberate intent, they are flourished about in a swirl of rhetorical fallacies in such a way that the conceptual card you thought you'd selected turns out to be something else entirely - your vote is cast, the bill is passed, and you lose.
So here's a look at the main cards, and their common substitutes,
This slight of hand is accomplished through the technique of equivocation, the mechanics of which are to deliberately confuse two related terms, substituting one which appeals to the person you are talking with, with another one that would be less appealing to them, but because they think they are dealing with the first, they willingly go along with the implications of the second. Think of a street vendor selling you a gold Rolex watch, for $100, while giving you a cheap knock off in it's place. You wouldn't have given him $100 if you knew how cheap the watch which you are actually getting was, but because you think you are buying an expensive gold Rolex, you pay him the $100 for the cheap knockoff.
- The first of these conceptual playing cards, is to equivocate between Economic power, and Physical power - which is to deliberately confuse persuasion with pistols. Economic power in a Free Market depends upon the choices freely made between buyers and sellers to exchange one good or service for another, in contrast to Physical power, whose only offer is the 'choice' given to one party to comply at the threat of force, injury or even death for not complying.
- The second is to confuse what we mean by Freedom by equivocating between what is metaphysically given us in life, and which we have no choice about whatsoever, such as the earth, moon and stars - with the man made - that which men choose to create through combining metaphysically given materials, with their own intelligence and effort, in order to create materials that wouldn't exist except through the chosen efforts of men, such as plows, bread and guns to defend them with.
- The third card is to confuse Charitable Generosity with Physical Compulsion, through equivocating between what is freely given by you towards what you consider to be a worthy cause, with the action of forcibly taking some amount of your time, effort and wealth, in order to give some of it to a cause you are told is worthy (and the rest of it to political players in the form of cash and favors).
Equivocation, which is the most valuable and heavily used tool in the leftists toolkit, is the equivalent of performing an intellectual swindle via a game of conceptual Three Card Monty. Ok, so lets flip their cards and nip their arguments in their collective buds.
One of the oldest ploy of proregressives and socialists of every stripe, is that of "A hungry man is not free!", and it's implication that the state must take something from you, in order to satisfy the hungry man's hunger so he too can enjoy the basic human freedoms you do - after all, it's only fair. This is an assault upon the very heart of freedom - not only on your ability to choose your own actions, but by implying that your freedom to choose depends upon the government giving that freedom to you and your fellow man.
The core technique is to equivocate between the metaphysically given, and the man made. The metaphysically given is the reality that we find ourselves in and have no choice but to accept. The man made is what we as people choose to do in, and with, the reality we are given. Freedom is concerned only with what you can conceivably be said to have a choice about. You can have no conceivable ability to 'choose' whether or not gravity affects you, or whether or not the earth undergoes seasons, or whether or not your body requires food - these are metaphysically given facts of reality.
Freedom is exercised in considering whether or not you will choose walking off of a cliff or to be mindful of the trail?, whether or not you will choose to seek shelter and clothing, or perish from exposure to the elements?, whether or not you will choose to sit and starve or hunt for food? If you can't find the things you need lying about you, will you choose to do what is required by the facts of reality to create or acquire them?, or will you blame others for your troubles as a pretext for robbing them of what they've taken the trouble to create or acquire?
A hungry man may have no choice about whether he feels hunger, but he is no less able to choose his actions than you are, and indeed may have a bit more motivation than you typically do to put forth the effort to make his choices and actions productive. A hungry man is free to seek productive work or charitable giving - the only one who is not free in this old leftist trope is you, who are forced into supporting a govt program which may or may not succeed in feeding the hungry, and which may or may not succeed in feeding those who are deserving of your generosity (How'd they become hungry? Through a financial crash or a narcotic one? Charity may help the first, but may actually worsen the state of the second as they have less and less reason to regain control of their lives) but is considerably more likely to be successful in providing various favors and wealth to a selected few of the politically connected.
Generosity is the motivational theme here which is used to exact voters consent for these programs, and another key point of equivocation, seeking to blur the difference between what you might generously choose to give, with that which is forcibly 'contributed' from you for 'doing good'.
As free men, you have the freedom to be generous with the fruits of your labor, which Americans have demonstrated like no other civilization in all of history, when we see people struck by circumstance, it is a common reaction among us to offer them what aid we can. Through Church's and numerous private charities, Americans are famous for offering what aid they can to those in need, both at home and abroad. But such generosity - which rests upon your choice to be generous - is destroyed when it is forcibly taken from you, just as there is no generosity involved when a pickpocket steals your money even if he does so to give some of it to a person in need. What leftists attempt to do through a perversion of the force of The Law, is to take your money (which you may or may not be able to afford), and give it to who they think needs it (whether or not you agree they are worthy recipients), and tell you that you are being ungenerous for objecting and especially for not enabling them to take more from you.
Far from it being the case that 'a hungry man is not free', in fact it is you who are not free when you are prevented from choosing how you will respond to the facts you find in the world around you. A hungry man, or any other man, has the freedom to choose what actions he will take to satisfy his hunger and provide for his food and shelter, unless a government steps in to restrain him within a leftist gulag or buries his industry under thousands of pages of incomprehensible tax codes, healthcontrol laws and volumes of regulatory agency directives. Freedom itself is infringed upon when an otherwise free man is forced to request government permits, pay for business licenses, numerous additional permits and various govt approved materials, in order to be allowed to offer his services in everything from manual labor to operating a hotdog stand, to becoming a teacher. A free man would also not have to pay 20+% of what he earns from the sweat of his brow, to pay for others to rest more comfortably, or for Govt to 'provide for his retirement' - these are the very things which tend to rob a free man of his wealth and force him into a state of hunger.
It is the over regulated, taxed and unauthorized man who is not free!
Stating the obvious: Left is separate from Right
A few basics to start with regarding the chosen root causes of poverty, power, property, freedom and tyranny:
The nugget at the heart of the leftist misrepresentation of how they view Power, Freedom and Generosity, is that in their view, one that is twisted 180* around from that of Americas founding - Freedom is something that is first created and bestowed upon us by society, Generosity is what the state forces you to 'contribute' and it is the responsibility of government to use its Power to force society to spread these freedoms around as it sees fit.
- Choosing to sit and do nothing is the default state of nature - poverty.
- Choosing to 'acquire' what you want from others by force, is the default state of savagery - Might is right.
- Choosing to protect what property a persons efforts have enabled them to acquire, is the chosen state of basic civilization - it is not a default, it always requires an active choice from the people within that civilization - Might is for Right.
- Choosing to create and respect laws which preserve a peoples inalienable rights, is the higher State first envisioned by Western Civilization, and perfected by our Founding Fathers in the United States of America - it is in no way a default, it always requires not only an active, but a moral choice, to participate in and sustain the benefits of liberty and freedom - Might, under Rule of Law, defends the Right
- Choosing to write and impose laws which strip people of the property which they have attained through the exercise of their inalienable rights, is the default choice of savages who've never learned the meaning of Western Civilization, who have never learned the proper role of Laws, and only slightly modifies the default choice of those who under the pretext of 'doing good' act to reduce our civilization to the savagery of power - Might, under the rule of men, makes right
Society, in the view of the left, provides you with freedom, and determines what you are are and are not free to do, or as Rousseau, the father of fascism, described what the Legislator must do to the common man: "This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free".
In their view, it is only because society says so, that you don't have the freedom to kill, you don't have the freedom to rape, you don't have the freedom to take whatever you want, because society says so (for all their apparent differences, this is a view which Rousseau and Hobbes would agree with, and endorse).
The leftist holds the view that 'A hungry man is not free!' because in their view, you are only free to vote because it is society which decides whether or not it will give you the freedom to vote, and if society hasn't decided to give you the food, or healthcare that exists within that society, then you have been denied the freedom to have them... and if other people are able to choose to feed themselves or to pay for the healthcare society has denied to you, then some in that society have chosen to prevent society from giving you your fair share; and so because society controls freedom, that society has failed to fairly distribute those 'freedoms' to all those within society, and in such a society the freedom to 'choose' is oppression of the many by the few.
The number of equivocations, errors, falsehoods and outright lies contained in this convoluted 'reasoning' are too numerous to list, but you'll be better able to locate and swat them down if you remember to look for their equivocations on those key concepts of Power, Freedom and Generosity. How and why they do so, I hope to get to later in this post, or (seeing my page count so far) in the next.
The uncommon sense of our Founding Fathers
Far from it being Society which empowers individuals, society is made up of Individuals, it can have no powers or rights which do not find their source in them ("... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."). Without jumping a couple posts ahead in this series, this, and other core principles from which the United States of America developed from, were enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, that individuals by their nature as men are, in Jefferson's wording "...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...", and it is those rights which individuals bring to society, and which it is the purpose of society to protect for them from all enemies, foreign and domestic ("...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."). The support of your rights, are dependent upon a sound government and rule of law, but the success or failure of your individual pursuit of happiness, depends upon your choices, and having choices depends upon your having the ability to choose to act upon them without the threat of physical force (Not simply the consequences of competition and disagreement, but from the Force of thuggery from outside, or inside, the law), and with the freedom to succeed or, inseparable from that, to fail. The success of any one person or group of people, can not be guaranteed without taking the means of satisfying their wants, from those who have earned theirs - and that would negate everyones right to their own property - a principle which any society violates at its peril.
That society which does not recognize that all Individual Rights depend upon the security of their Property Rights, will soon lose all rights, as John Adams put it when considering what would happen to a society whose property laws were dropped,
"...Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free."If 'society' takes away that ability of its individuals to choose, to make their own choices, and to keep secure that property which is the productive benefit of their good choices, then that society is not free and it's people cannot be free, and if that is your ideal for society, then you are not pursuing freedom or happiness, but instead you are pursuing a measure of safety and pleasure purchased at the price of slavery and you will have given those you will have sold yourself to, the power to enslave all of those in your society, even if only a few will feel the lash - for the moment.
(Full volume online here)
When any person can be denied their inalienable rights, then no one in that society can be said to have any rights, only those certain few favors bestowed upon them by their government - for the moment.
Freedom means the freedom to make your own choices, and the attempt to deny other citizens the freedom to make their own choices, is to use force to deny them their freedom.
The fact is that the reasons why you do not kill, rape and steal, is because you recognize that other people have a natural right to be secure in their persons, in their thoughts and in their property, just as you do, and in those societies that have developed beyond the rule of the club, they have done so only because, to one degree or another, their society recognizes this.
What it is that actually defines and separates Left from Right - is that if you believe in inalienable rights derived from your nature as man, you are on the Right (and that leaves enough latitude of interpretation to accomodate views as diverse as those of Madison from Hamilton), if, on the other hand, you feel rights are instead a creation of the society and government, you are on the left. No matter your apparent agreements, they are incidental at best, politically speaking - no matter your religious beliefs, economic stances, or party affiliations, This is what defines and separates Left from Right.
For those leftist Senators who might sniff at such quaint terms as 'Natural Rights' and 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' such as are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, as the left has done from Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson on down through to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, might want to take a glance at their own states constitution, very likely they are going to be similar to ours here in Missouri, which states:
"Section 2. That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design. "Senator Callahan thought it was particularly important to point out that Sen. Days was black, and she agreed (yes, of course it should be irrelevant to any discussion of ideas - hence the leftists fascination with it), and so he thought she should be particularly concerned with any loss of freedom and mention of slavery... if that is so, then Sen. Days, why are you so intent on denying all of the people in our society the ability to make their own choices? Why are you so intent on denying people their freedom? Why do you want to compel them to do what you think they should do? Why do you wish to make the government the master of the American people? The difference between a people who are compelled to act against their wishes for the benefit of a favored few, and that of actual slavery, is a distinction which I for one don't think is worth measuring.
These 'Senators' might want to take Missouri's state motto of "Show Me" a bit more to heart, and have another glance at their state's constitution
"Section 1. That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole."That last part in particular, does not mean for the benefit of some few, whether rich or poor, but for the good of the whole, and that act which singles out any favored part to bestow favors and goods, is opposed to your own states constitution.
Senators. As if.
States, Laws and Constitutions
The later two 'arguments' voiced by Senators Green and Callahan, and chimed in on and agreed to by the other three, gets closer to the heart of what I ultimately want to deal with in this post. It's their clearly expressed contempt for 'State Sovereignty" (Sen. Green: "What is the use of so called 'Sovereignty', didn't we deal with that in the Civil War?") and for the constitution (Callahan: "The value of the constitution is that it can be changed... it's a living document... we need to call another constitutional convention so we can change it"), that was particularly breathtaking to me. That and their apparent lack of recognition for what such statements mean to the rule of law, the administration of justice, and of potentially loosing tyranny upon us all.
Sen. Green's comment shows a complete and total lack of comprehension for the American form of government - not surprising, since he has chosen to be in the democrat party and affirm its most leftist positions which are, in every fundamental aspect, Anti-American - and yes I did say that. America is a Nation created from a set of ideas such as those I've already linked to in this post, and if you oppose those ideas, then you are - by your choice - Anti-American.
That we live in the United States of America, you'd think would lend a certain sense of emphasis to the word 'State', and maybe it should prompt some interest and concern for its meaning - at least from a Senator representing it. But if such obviousness is invisible to the 'common sense' of the leftist mind, here's another useful bit of trivia from the Constitution of the State of Missouri, of which these rubes are Senators(!) of,
"Section 4. That Missouri is a free and independent state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States; that all proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States qualifying or affecting the individual liberties of the people or which in any wise may impair the right of local self-government belonging to the people of this state, should be submitted to conventions of the people. "Huh. Wow, bet he didn't see that one coming (blink.... stare... groan). Assuming the best case scenario, that these fools in senator's clothing, do know not only what the law is, but what the foundation of all of the laws of their state rests upon, "That Missouri is a free and independent state" in a word - Sovereign - and yet Sen. Green chooses to put his personal half baked whims and prejudices above not only the rule of law, but that which the rule of law rests upon in his states constitution, as well as the nations constituiton, then he must be doing this so that he can masquerade and strut about as a puffed up little tin horn tyrant drunk with the power to 'do good' to his fellow man.
And that's the best case scenario. A worse case scenario is that he never bothered to even read the constitution of the state within which he campaigned for, and won the trust of enough of the citizens in his district to elect him to represent them to - that would surpass pure reckless abuse of power and verge on criminal negligence, and it is just such a combination of ignorance and negligence that is leading us down the leftward path towards being ruled over by would be tyrants - tin horned or otherwise.
Here's another useful nugget, it being from the aforementioned Constitution of the United States,
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."IOW: We the People of these States that are united - not one giant and uniform state partitioned into districts with quaint names like "Missouri", but several states, united - and which united to establish this Constitution for thes several states. And that means that the people who are living in the separate states, each of which derives its just powers through the consent of the governed, ordained and established a Constitution under which they would unite to form one nation of united, though sovereign, states.
Why? Why do you suppose they did that?
Sen. Callahan demanded in a long pretense of discussion with Sen. Shoemyer, 'What is so important about sovereignity? We gave it up to form a nation because of things like Schay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion (Believe he got his dates a bit mixed up there, the Whiskey Rebellion coming after we became the United States of America, but no matter - or surprise) Sovereignity didn't work!'. Which goes to show that his reading of history is aobut as weak as his reading of his own states constitution - probably got both from a state approved and endorsed textbook, no doubt.
Yes, prior to adopting the Constitution, the Founder's were worried about war, and even of some states allying themselves with European powers such as England, France or Spain, but they were not worried about sovereignity - frustrated over how best to respect it, definitely, that really comes through in the constitutional debates, especially over the matter of apportioning representation between the House and Senate - but far from attempting to discard soveriegnity, the Constitution is designed with sovereignity in mind so as to enable the states to operate in concert together - in harmony, not monotone.
Our national government was created and designed to avoid having their 13 states replay the Peloponnesian War - the details of which the founders were very familiar with, having had the benefit of an actual Education (meaning one which wasn't determined by, mandated and served up in prechewed Govt approved textbooks), and their fears were well founded, many states were already starting to arm... and not against a return of the British, but against eachother, such as,
"The unlicensed compacts between Virginia and Maryland, and between Pena. & N. Jersey--the troops raised and to be kept up by Massts... Trespasses of the States on the rights of each other. These are alarming symptoms, and may be daily apprehended as we are admonished by daily experience. See the law of Virginia restricting foreign vessels to certain ports--of Maryland in favor of vessels belonging to her own citizens--of N. York in favor of the same."These Sovereign States instead chose to unite, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity - they felt that by uniting under a constitution which would define their relations to each other, and would secure their mutual interests under a common power - the Federal Government - (Federal is another one of those words worth looking into), while retaining their sovereignty to govern their internal affairs in a way which did not conflict with or infringe upon the rights of other states, that this would best serve their mutual interests.
But why unite as separate states, Federated under one Federal authority having only specific limited and enumerated powers over them; why not just blend and become one seamless Super State? One practical reason was that by remaining distinct independent and sovereign states, they would all benefit and prosper not only from their mutual association, but from the the experiences and attempted innovations undertaken by other states - for instance if one state, like Massachussetes say, attempted a State Healthcare system, the other states could sit back and watch to see whether or not it worked out as planned (BTW, it didn't). And especially in those cases where one states innovation went awry, the other states would be spared the widespread damage of implementing what might turn out to be a deeply flawed premise and plan, or on the other hand, if the innovation was proven to be a good idea and a successful plan, they could then benefit from the experiences of that first state - IF their people should so choose - and if some didn't so choose, they would be free to 'vote with their feet' and move to another state which better suited them.
But even more than this, by virtue of each state retaining the principle of sovereignity within a confederacy of united states, they would be more likely to escape the widespread passions of faction (such as those stirred up by and agitating for mandated healthcontrol, and those against it - ya know what I mean?), by the states retaining their sovereignity such factions would be stopped at the state lines, rather than being flamed and spread over and throughout all of what would otherwise be seamless and indistinct states, fanning over and consuming the entire nation, as Madison stated in Federalist #10,
"It is in vain to say, that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm: Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all, without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another, or the good of the whole.And by what means is the object attainable? A Federated unity of sovereign states.
The inference to which we are brought, is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controling its effects.
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote: It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government on the other hand enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our enquiries are directed: Let me add that it is the great desideratum, by which alone this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.
By what means is this object attainable? "
Now... you may well ask, if Federalism worked so well, why it is that we are now so beset by these clashing interests as never before? The answer is The 17th Amendment, which was the progressives greatest assault upon the constitution and the system of Federalism which helped to preserve it - but that's for another post.
The Federalist AND the Anti-Federalist papers (both of which, and much more, are each referenced under the relevant clauses of the US Constitution in the links above) express the benefits of a Federal union, and the fears which many, such as Patrick Henry, had OF union, that the initial structure of a federal nation of sovereign states was not stated strongly enough, they were deeply concerned that the initial wording of the constitution would quickly dissolve into a monolithic national power, reducing existing States into mere partitions of Federal Power, as were the provinces under the old Roman Republic. These were real fears, whose importance was grasped by both sides, and because of which the Constitution would not have been successfully ratified without the promise that it would immediately be amended with a Bill of Rights to address these (and other) concerns, as can be seen in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which were added to emphasize and secure both the sovereign powers of the states and the rights of the people, so that they would not be defined or limited to only those few powers and rights listed in the Constitution.
It was, and IS vitally important to the prosperity of all, that each State be free to order and govern it's interests as it's citizens see fit, that the federal government be restrained as much as possible from infringing and imposing upon the sovereign powers of the separate states - Differences between how each state might handle its own affairs, was seen as a vital component, and benefit, of uniting under a Federal Government as 'a free and independent state' - Sovereign. The Federal Govt was designed to contain and restrict the powers of the States to their own interests, to enumerate the powers the federal government would have in their shared interests, and leave each state free to make such innovations as they might see as being valuable, and the success or failure of which, would be valuable for other states consideration, without one or more states failure inviting war and invasion from it's neighbors.
To which Callahan would undoubtedly feel compelled to point out to those of us who are blind, that Sen. Days is black, and Sen Green would note that we had a civil war over this matter, and what about the slavery of the blacks by rich white people which all that sovereignty and 'states rights' brought about?
Well... first a couple points. Although at the time of the Civil War all slaves were black, not all slave owners were white, of course the vast, vast majority of them were, there still were numbers of slave owners, but even in the south, who were free blacks. Second, not all of those slave owners, white or black, were rich. Third, Sovereignty was not the issue - after all the Northern states were also sovereign states, and determined to remain so. States Rights and Property Rights, were also not the issue, though pro-slavery apologists eagerly sought to clothe their arguments in them, but what they actually meant were not Property Rights, those rights fundamental to all Individual Rights, and stemming from the Natural Rights of the individual, no, what men such as Justice Taney (see not only his opinion in Dred Scott, but in the issue of 'mere property rights' such as in the Charles River Bridge case (which I noted in a previous post), which Daniel Webster lamented as being the "death of Property Rights", and which made Taney's judgment' in Dred Scott possible) had in mind was a mockery of 'Property Rights', dressing up the mere possession of something as conveying a right to that thing, be it land, bricks or people, and the 'right' to retain that property rested soleyupon the legislation of the government which not only allowed you to retain possession of them, and was competent to, and had the authority to, determine how much control you could have over your property, and when it was ok for the 'greater good' to take that property, or some benefit of it, from you (unless of course the legislation had something to do with the Constitution of the United States asserting that all individuals were born with inalienable rights, in that case those 'laws' (Natural 'Rights'! Pshaw!) were regarded by them as being merely tools of northern aggression and suitable for disregarding.
The key point here is that the southern slaveholding aristocracy, much like the modern leftist bureaucratic aristocracy, derided 'Natural Rights', and any claim to inalienable rights and the importance of property rights rooted in them, and instead claimed that 'rights' were bestowed, and withdrawn or diluted by, government legislation - or in other words "Might Makes Right". As I said above,
"What it is that actually defines and separates Left from Right - is that if you believe in inalienable rights derived from your nature as man, you are on the Right (and that leaves enough latitude of interpretation to accomodate views as diverse as those of Madison from Hamilton), if, on the other hand, you feel rights are instead a creation of the society and government, you are on the left. No matter your apparent agreements, they are incidental at best, politically speaking - no matter your religious beliefs, economic stances, or party affiliations, This is what defines and separates Left from Right. "In short, Callahan, Green, Bray, Justice and Days share a deep affinity with their Democrat forebears who asserted the propriety of Slavery.
Yep. I did say it. Sen. Days, and the rest, have much more in common with ideas of the slavery promoting Jefferson Davis, than with the rights and liberties represented in that government seated in Jefferson City MO, or in Washington D.C..
Ok, enough of Senators Green (with envy), Justice (!), Days ('d and confused), Shoemyer (who would leave his footprint smeared upon all of our rights) and CallaHun, they are worth no further attention or consideration here.
Enabling the Arbitrary
More interesting for this series of posts on Justice, is how these outrageously ignorant and willfully stupid statements can appear to these Senators, and to those who vote for them, as if they were sensibe? The fact is, that to most anyone with the basic knowledge and understanding of Western Civilization and the history of Natural Rights and Individual Rights, these statements should leap out at them as clearly wrong - but to those lacking that knowledge - what was once considered the requisite basics of an education worthy of the name Education - in their blindness, they appear to have a certain amount of common sense all their own.
How is that possible?
In previous posts I've touched on some of the surface knowledge which those concerned with Justice must have, but it's time to dig in a bit deeper towards what it is that all such knowledge rests upon, because without it, all the edifices of civilization will continue crumbling down around all of our heads.
Before a person can reason well and soundly in matters beyond their daily scope of concerns and experiences, you need a way to check and ensure that your reasoning is valid and true, without that, you'll easily accept whatever has the appearance of truth. An easy example? Say, the sun revolves around the earth for instance - has all the appearance of being obviously true, doesn't it? But what you build upon such assumptions will take your further and further from the truth, and require more and more convoluted epicycles of justifications in order to maintain the appearance of truth, and all the while what you take to be 'common sense' moves further and further from what is trully sensible. You might even find yourself in the position of attacking those who have checked beyond the surface appearances and found that is true... Galileo for instance... or even Fox News (oh I know that ticked a few people off!).
To avoid that, you need to check and square your assumptions with proven experience - especially when it seems to be obviously true (remember the sun), or else all that you think you know may be little more than thin appearances strung together for the convenient satisfaction of appetites (you want it to be true), and on feeding, those appetites will grow into a ravening hunger. The stringing together of those conveniences and appetites rely upon one central error, that which Descartes unknowingly (I believe) helped to unleash upon modernity, the Arbitrary; a seemingly sensible statement, without basis in fact, which soon works it's way into the scaffolding of your every thought.
For example, from a site someone recommended to me, see if you can see what is wrong with the following example, and I don't mean this persons comedic talent. The problem has much to do with what enabled the earlier Senators comments to be made - proudly and knowingly ignorant and unconcerned about it... see if you can pick it out:
"...Mind Screw enough? Let's simplify;Do you see what it is? It reflects much of what is wrong with the world today in politics, in education and in faux science. What is wrong with this, is not in the structure of his premises and conclusion, it's found here: "Please note: the truth or falsehood of any of these premises or conclusions is not the point; the logic is perfectly sound"
Lets take the following (comedic example!) syllogism;
PREMISE 1: "Ayn Rand was a woman."
PREMISE 2: "All women are bitches."
CONCLUSION: "Ayn Rand was a bitch."
(Please note: the truth or falsehood of any of these premises or conclusions is not the point; the logic is perfectly sound)
The conclusion logically depends on the premises. The premises can thus be said to imply the conclusion. The conclusion assumes the premises to be true."
No, the logic is not perfectly sound. While it's true some steps severed from the totality of the full logical syllogism might grammaticaly follow the basic rules, but the perfecting of such logic chopping is not an example of performing sound logic. You must not allow to be separated, or to ever allow yourself to focus on one to the exclusion, or even the inconsequentiality, of the other. The Premises must be sound and the form of the syllogism must be well constructed, before you are able to say "the logic is perfectly sound".
It seems a small thing, a minor problem, a technicallity even, but neglecting this, and enticing readers into allowing it, has been the stock in trade of men like Rousseau, Hume, Godwin, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Marx and Dewey. It is a method which relies upon, and imports into your thoughts, the unconscious acceptance of the arbitrary, a logical solvent which disconnects ideas from reality and turns thoughts to mush.
For all the so called innovations of Bacon, or 'improvements' of the likes of Kant & Mill, it was Aristotle who first, and best, laid out the basic rules of logic for all to see (Prior Analytics and the Posterior Analytics), and it has been the heftiest power tool in the toolbox of Western Civilization ever since (and more often than not, those 'innovations' and 'improvements' to his Organon, have been to our undoing). He simply laid out the conscious steps which a person needs to follow, in order to check their understanding against reality, and by it's rules even today, though we are often unaware of them, even usually unaware of them, we still examine and check the likelihood of whether or not the information we've gathered is true - or not. Aristotle also worked out a pretty exhaustive list of way's in which people might unintentionally, or intentionally, fool themselves or others, into making errors in our reasoning, which he lists as the common forms of fallacies (On Sophistical Refutations). If your reasoning contains fallacies, then your statements and conclusions based upon them, cannot be reliable - but following those rules, while necessary, is not enough (BTW, if you think you don't ever mess with such concerns, if you ever use "If.. then..." as I just did (and as you probably just did as well), then you are using them).
Salesmen, Politicians and the Press engage in these fallacies of sloppy thinking all day long, and they can lead to some really disastrous results (Glowbull Warming anyone?), especially if concerning the doings or promises of someone having power over your life. The curious thing is that many people do check for the presence of fallacies in the statements of influential people, you'll often hear politico's and talking heads talk about "Strawman arguments", and such, which is all right out of Aristotle. But, the problem is, like the example above, they very rarely check beyond whether or not the technical rules of the the syllogism have been satisfied, and if not, of which fallacy was committed - but that is only doing the bare minimum - and it isn't enough.
Have a look here, Aristotle, at the start of his Posterior Analytics that,
"...What I now assert is that at all events we do know by demonstration... a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, a syllogism, that is, the grasp of which is eo ipso ["by that very fact"]such knowledge. Assuming then that my thesis as to the nature of scientific knowing is correct, the premises of demonstrated knowledge must be true, primary, immediate, better known than and prior to the conclusion, which is further related to them as effect to cause. Unless these conditions are satisfied, the basic truths will not be 'appropriate' to the conclusion. Syllogism there may indeed be without these conditions, but such syllogism, not being productive of scientific knowledge, will not be demonstration. The premisses must be true... The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it; its causes, since we possess scientific knowledge of a thing only when we know its cause; prior, in order to be causes; antecedently known, this antecedent knowledge being not our mere understanding of the meaning, but knowledge of the fact as well. "What he means by "The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it", is that if one portion of their statement is false, then the others which are developed upon it, cannot be trusted, even though the rest of the argument seems to follow all the rules.
To follow the 'form' of the syllogism, checking the rules and for the presence of fallacies - but not the validity of it premises, is like a pilot doing a thorough check of his plane before taking off, but forgetting to see if he has enough gas to get beyond takeoff. Do not allow it. Refuse it's many manifestations, do not accept the the notion of the contingent vs necessary. Learn to check for not just the appearance of sense, but for the validity of its premises, and refuse to engage in those conversations which are based upon false ones, it is the Reason destroyer and the sower of evil (not that I feel strongly about it or anything).
Someone out there might say "Oh... come on Van... that's crazy, isolated exercises in logic don't really mean anything in real life"... well... first off, I'd suggest you have another look at the statements of the senators which I opened this post with. If that's not enough, then I'd suggest you take a look at this from the L.A. Times,
"The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.Obama's statement of "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA." was accepted as being uncontroversial and 'perfectly sound' when he made it, as was nearly every other apparently sensible thing he said during his campaign... despite the fact that nothing in his record as senator or candidate suggested that he had ever practiced any such thing. School records, scholarship records, real estate records, economic policy records, relationships with people such as Bill Ayers, Rev Jeremiah "GD America" Wright , etc, and such showed complete antipathy to 'transparency' and honesty, and were further borne out right away in his nominations of Geitner and each and every Czar put in place. There is nothing about Obama's person or record that has ever suggested that his words bore any resemblance to reality, or that he cared if they did, but if you accept that an argument or statement can be 'perfectly sound' without reference to, and in the face of abundant evidence which at the very least suggests that it has no foundation in fact - your words and thoughts do not, will not, and cannot, have any relation to reality.
Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office, he dispatched a much-publicized memo saying: "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA."
One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year; the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush's final budget year."
That is not sound, perfect or otherwise. And neither is this,
"On March 16 to mark annual Sunshine Week, designed to promote openness in government, Obama applauded himself by issuing a statement:The Press, which should know better, it is its job after all, accepted Obama's statement,
"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever."
However, a new study out March 15 by George Washington University's National Security Archive finds less than one-third of the 90 federal agencies that process such FOIA requests have made significant changes in their procedures since Obama's 2009 memo."
"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever. ". without question, without checking to see if his premises had any basis in fact. Can you square that with Aristotle's "The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it"?
I sure can't. Is there anything in Obama's past that gives any credence to his concern and pride in being 'open and transparent'?
Now of course anyone can be lied to, but when the facts and evidence is clearly available to indicate that you shouldn't even remotely accept such an assertion, and yet you do, unquestioningly, there is a problem here, and the problem goes far beyond the surface of 'mere logical technique', this is an indication which goes beyond syllogisms and logic chopping, and deep into the heart of your very relation to reality, to truth, morality and Justice.
Where do we start with this?
Why, at the beginning of course. The first questions that must be asked are, What is Real? and How do we know it? These were once the foundations of knowledge, during the era of our Founding Fathers for instance, and if you weren't aware of them, you couldn't credibly claim to be 'educated', and your preposterous assertions of "A hungry man is not free!" or "Having to pay for healthcare insurance, that is not *freedom*, that's oppression!" " would have had you laughed at by everyone from the butcher to the baker to the candlestick maker. If you don't know the answers to these questions, or worse, if like most moderns you claim 'no one can really know that', then you will not be able to tell whether someone is telling you the truth or blowing the mere appearance of sunshine up your butt. My proof? This,
"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever. ", came as a surprise to the L.A. Times and to all those who put stock in what it, and the rest of the lamestream media, has to say.
Need I say more? Really? Ok...then how about the many cases of falsified 'Hate Speech' such as this at GWU?
...or the Columbia Prof who noosed herself?
And why not? This shouldn't be surprising to anyone, if you don't believe reality is knowable (and from Hume & Kant on through to post modernism, few in wackedemia, or 'educated' in it, think we can really know anything at all), then why not fake what you know 'bad people' must be thinking of doing, so they can pay for their crimes? Why not? It's not as if anyone is likely to try and look further than what appears to be true... right?
As I was sa;ying, the first question that must be asked is, What is Real? and How do we know it? Enter Aristotle's Metaphysics... next in these posts.
[Note: I've changed the 'Obamao' witticisms that peppered this post, to 'Obama' - what once seemed cute, is now only tiresome]