Thursday, October 19, 2017

What if I told you, that guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment? To Keep and Bear Arms Across Time - pt1

What if I told you, that guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment? Heads would be exploding in bi-partisan living color, right? Well, that's what I'm saying: Guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment (... 3... 2... 1...BOOM!). And while that will cause heads on both sides of the aisle to explode, they will do so for very different reasons. The Right side will explode, because they'd assume that such a statement intends to weaken, and/or limit our access to guns - which is the opposite meaning, purpose, and affect which that statement would have. The Left side (and not a few on 'The Right') - those who get the tactical point of their spin - will explode because they'd realize that such a statement, if widely understood and adopted, would not only lead to the loss of decades of their hard fought limitations upon arms, but would also explode their primary tool for making those restrictions: equating Arms, with Guns.

You see, despite the fact that firearms are the most effective, efficient, practical means with which to keep and bear arms, they are, as that simple fact implies, not the actual point of the 2nd Amendment, but only one means of our carrying out what is protected by that amendment. Despite what often seems to be the best efforts of those on all sides, the 2nd Amendment is not primarily about gun rights - in fact there is no such thing as 'gun rights'. Nope. Not. Things, of course, do not have rights, but by claiming a right to things, it eventually eliminates all rights, because it means that someone, somewhere, is obligated to supply what others have claimed a right to, whether they want to, or not - that's not how rights work! BTW, that's the same strategy behind demands that 'Healthcare' be treated as a 'Right'.

What the 2nd Amendment is all about, is securing the right of each individual to be able to act in the defense of their community, persons, property and interests, by freely choosing the personal arms which in their judgment is best suited to that task. That's possible, because the 2nd Amendment assures We The People, that the government will neither infringe upon those actions we deem necessary to take, nor will it make any law that would come between ourselves and those arms we may choose from in order to act.

With that in mind, take note of the word 'Arms' in the language of the 2nd Amendment :
'...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'

And no, the 2nd Amdt is not about 'bearing arms against foreign militias'
If you keep in mind that this amendment was written during a time when 'gentlemen' still wore swords at times, and occasionally still used them, it becomes less surprising that the term refers to the general category of Arms, and that it was not, and is not, limited to only Firearms (or any particular quantity of them, for that matter). I've no idea why anyone should be surprised, in that the term Arms, predates the existence of firearms by many millennia, and examples are readily available from all quarters, existing and persisting across multiple nations and languages, from history and the birth pangs of Athenian democracy in 550 BC, when the radical democrat leader Pisistratus, forcibly disarmed the people 'for their own good', to Rome in around 20 BC, and the first line of Virgil's 'Aenaid',
"I sing of arms and the man who of old from the coasts of Troy came..."
, and we can trace a lengthy line for the general concept of 'Arms' ahead in time to England, before the English, spoke English. As James Wilson (a signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Constitutional Convention, one of the original members of the Supreme Court, and a significant legal theorist and a key founder of America's system of jurisprudence) noted in his Lectures on Law, given a few short years after the Constitutional Convention which he played a large part in, the first 'legal' recognition of the vital concept of self defense not only predated our Constitution, but the English language, and even Norman England, reaching back into the the time of the Saxons,
"...With regard to the first, it is the great natural law of self preservation, which, as we have seen, cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution. This law, however, is expressly recognized in the constitution of Pennsylvania. “The right of the citizens to bear arms in the defence of themselves shall not be questioned.” This is one of our many renewals of the Saxon regulations. “They were bound,” says Mr. Selden, “to keep arms for the preservation of the kingdom, and of their own persons.”..."
Keeping arms in general, for the preservation of life and community, was commonly understood to apply to any number of personally held or carried weapons, for thousands of years before firearms ever came to be. The first common usage in the English language, as early as the year 1400; was of Arms, or 'to arm', having the non-weapon-specific meaning of "provide oneself with weapons" in order to extend the reach and power of your bodily arms, which was exactly the meaning that would later be developed and clarified into the language of Individual Rights, which is how the 2nd Amendment uses the term, in keeping, and bearing, not firearms, but Arms.

Importantly, the real heart of the 2nd Amendment is not weapons, but the right of self defense; or as Wilson more properly termed it, self preservation. That is the principle that the 2nd Amendment is safeguarding for us, and weapons are but the vital means to its ends, which can be seen to have been clearly understood in cases such as the Kentucky Supreme Court Case, Bliss v. Commonwealth (1820), which overturned a law against concealed weapons, as showing the broad understanding of what Arms referred to, and why,
"...In truth, the right of the citizens to bear arms, has been as directly assailed by the provisions of the act, as though they were forbid carrying guns on their shoulders, swords in scabbards, or when in conflict with an enemy, were not allowed the use of bayonets; and if the act be consistent with the constitution, it cannot be incompatible with that instrument for the legislature, by successive enactments, to entirely cut off the exercise of the right of the citizens to bear arms. For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise...."
, and again in Nunn vs. Georgia (1846) (as referenced in landmark SCOTUS case of D.C. v. Heller), that the arms which we could 'keep and bear' were understood through their roots in the experiences of English history, to refer to far more than just firearms,
"..."The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, re-established by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Charta!"..."[emphasis mine]
So?
Had it been the intention of the Americans of our Founder's era, to limit our weaponry access to only firearms, they would have used the term Firearms (as they often did in other contexts), rather than the more general term 'Arms'. Arms refer to all manner of weapons available for use by an individual, whether clubs, bow & arrow, knives, swords, bayonets, or any of the various forms that arms have, and will, technologically evolve through across time, which an individual person might choose from to personally keep and bear, in order to extend the power of their body's arms in their defense against threats to them, whether from their own govt gone rogue, or from the likes of mobs, or criminals.

As long as we retain that concept's original meaning, it will continue to benefit and apply to us, protecting our right to keep and bear the arms of our choosing, so that long after gunpowder has gone the way of stone axes, the choice of arms available to us will continue to be safeguarded from being bound by legal restrictions to any one particular passing - and soon obsolete - form of arms.

If you don't get what I mean, ask yourself if you've ever heard someone say 'The 2nd Amdt was meant to apply to muskets, not AR-15s!'. Or 'The 2nd Amdt was meant to apply to militias, not civilians!' Yep That's what I mean, which is at the heart of the "So?!" that we so desperately need to understand here.

Willingly going along with the notion that arms, mean guns, doesn't protect your right to guns, it instead enables the discussion of 'which guns' are to be protected, and who will be permitted to keep them - and which will not. OTOH, adhering to the meaning of arms as being "...any thing which a man takes in his hand in anger, to strike or assault another.", and why, reminds us that the 2nd Amendment was made to render our govt powerless to restrict our keeping and bearing any personal arms that we might choose, for our individual and communal defense.

Common Sense Limitations
Protecting the individuals right of preserving and defending themselves (and by extension, the community), was so important to our Founder's era, because they were well aware that most legislative references to arms, up to and including their time, were specifically made in order to legally disarm the public, as was done in this English decree from 1328,
"...come before the King's justices, or other of the King's ministers doing their office, with force and arms, nor bring no force in affray of the peace, nor to go nor ride armed by night nor by day, in fairs, markets, nor in the presence of the justices or other ministers, nor in no part elsewhere, upon pain to forfeit their armour to the King, and their bodies to prison at the King's pleasure..."
As the concept of Individual Rights became better understood, particularly after England's "Glorious Revolution", government power, royal or otherwise, steadily began to become limited by the rights which the people were coming to be recognized to have... though, with some 'common sense' limitations upon them, as with the English Bill of Rights, of 1689, which allowed,
That the subjects which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.
As Blackstone explained, this wasn't only about arms, or firearms, it was about the purpose and importance of the people having a right to them:
"... having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st. 2. c. 2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression..."
But as great a leap of progress as that was over that of earlier decrees, it didn't require a great deal of thought to see that the 'common sense' limitations which those protections retained (you know, keeping those Catholics, or Puritans, 'sensibly' disarmed), were too easily turned against one and all (hello Lexington and Concord!). We Americans rejected allowing such common sense limitations upon our right to keep and bear arms, keeping the 2nd Amendment worded as it still is, because we knew that all such good intentions had the effect of leaving unprotected, those who most needed their rights to be protected from those well intentioned sentiments which, in anxious times, drive public opinion and curry government favor, to the detriment of the individual, the minority, and by extension, to their collective liberty.

We The People rejected such 'common sense' limitations because we understood that those rights are not themselves things, or the things we associate with them, but are our liberty to act for the betterment and preservation of our lives - and that to be able to continue to do so, they as citizens, needed their fellow citizens in government, to know that those outside of government were fully able to 'keep them honest', should they ever be tempted to attempt limiting some people's rights, 'for their own good'.

And though that early understanding was still present as late as 1828, when Webster's Dictionary defined 'Arms' as:
"...To take arms is to arm for attack or defense....In law, arms are any thing which a man takes in his hand in anger, to strike or assault another...."
, a shift in popular understanding was beginning to be felt, certainly by the 1830's, as the newly fashionable German philosophies of the likes of Kant & Hegel, swept through our educational systems, and through its pupils, into society and our systems of government. Under that burgeoning pro-regressive leadership, that old 'modern', and 'common sense' , pre-American, sort of talk began popping up again, expressing a growing desire to regress back away from the responsibilities of individual liberty, and towards more centrally consolidated powers. Despite the resistance shown to it in the previously cited cases of Bliss and Nunn, and well after the time that our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, debated, and ratified, judicial decisions began to reflect the rising ideology of pro-regressive Positivist Law, especially after the Civil War, which inclined to narrow and restrict the understood definitions of what rights, and arms, were.

Given that, it wasn't too long before Arms became accepted to mean what it is now defined as in Black's Law Dictionary, that arms:,
"...cannot be made to cover such weapons as dirks, daggers, slung-shots, sword- canes, brass knuckles, and bowie knives. These are not military arms..."[emphasis added]
Swords, knives, and other forms of arms were still understood to be arms, of course... just not military arms. Sadly, for the integrity of the right of keeping and bearing arms, we didn't have the equivalent of a National Rifle Association for Swords, or Bowie Knives, or any of the other forms which were no longer standard militarily sidearms, and so they were gradually separated in the public mind from the protections of the 2nd Amendment, enabling Arms to become identified with only firearms, rather than as a means to being armed - things, rather than concepts or actions.

One perhaps not so obvious reason why this matters, is that whenever you allow a general, high level concept, especially one that is an important principle of law, to be taken to refer exclusively to a set of particular physical things, then the true meaning of that concept becomes lost, and if we fail to understand the danger in permitting our timeless rights to be tied down to the transitory particulars of things in time, be they quill pens, parchment, swords, or muskets, then our sacred rights are put on a ruinous path to submission and obsolescence.

A prime example of just that process can be found in what is intended to be 'accomplished' through the most destructive of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals', his lucky Rule #13:
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it"
There are few things more dangerous to a society of laws ( as I've touched on before), than permitting those higher abstractions, to be frozen to material objects, because it soon turns them into easy targets of cheap rhetorical tactics and demonstrations.

Where this has effectively brought us to today, is far down the path where the Individual Right 'to bear arms' which the 2nd Amendment is meant to protect and secure against government aggression, was first transformed into a permission to keep and bear one particular form of arms (those currently in military use), later was reduced to only one particular form of those arms, Firearms, and then only under certain 'common sense' conditions, which eventually enabled great swaths of the We The People of today to confuse those dimly remembered 'rights', with the sensationalized criminal abuses of our persons and rights, that are hyped as having been committed with the likes of a .38 Special, or an AR-15.

At the same time, another handy side effect of this verbal ju-jitsu, is that it elevates that particular material thing that you're claiming to have a right to, over and above the original right (that of self defense, self preservation) itself (in many cities and states today, you can be punished for exercising your right of self defense, or even be effectively denied that right, because of the particular firearm you use to accomplish that), enabling all of our rights to be that much easier to be rhetorically, and politically, targeted, and diminished, a path which will, if we continue to follow it to the end, will see those rights being struck from the books.

Even if we somehow manage to adopt what some states already have, the so-called 'Constitutional Carry' permit, it will almost certainly be understood to refer to only a particular form of arms, rather than to the Individual Right to be armed - and how will Tazers, or someday, Lazers, fit into that 'right', and who will say so? A Right that has been transformed by its being successfully attached to a thing, becomes a thing that can be restricted, regulated, and eventually retired.

In case you haven't noticed, that same process is being applied to our other individual rights, such as through a 'right to health insurance', and now to the Freedom of Speech, which is being reduced to the anti-concept of 'hate speech' (meaning conservative speech), effectively transforming the action of speaking, into the 'things' being spoken, which are then easily polarized as something which we all must be protected from, by those in power over us, and will eventually be eliminated. Alinsky's Lucky #13, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it", strikes again.

That 'modern' de-conceptualized, pro-regressive reading of the protections which the Bill of Rights in general, and the 2nd Amendment in particular, is meant to secure for us, would not have been taken seriously in the era that the 2nd Amendment was formulated, proposed, and ratified by We The People, in part because they understood that our individual rights are inherent in our nature as human beings, and not conveniences of time and place. Our Individual Rights are timeless, because they are derived not from particulars of time and place, but from the nature of being human, and as such they extend across all time (even in those times and places where they go unacknowledged), enabling us to both take those actions necessary for living as a human being, and to be free from the actions of those who'd take unwarranted actions against us.

Because that is true, I, you, and every American (or otherwise), has a natural right to defend their lives as best they can, with whatever personal arms they deem most appropriate, be that a sword or a .44 Magnum, and it is because America alone has that right safeguarded, our govt - on paper, if no longer in our minds - is powerless to infringe upon our ability to secure the arms of our choice - be they swords, crossbows, guns, or whatever exotic weaponry that tomorrow may bring.

But because that truth is no longer widely understood, we are continually beset with frightened and angry questions of 'What can be done?! We must do something!', about the sorry state of our affairs, where Individual Rights are trampled, and empty platitudes are praised. Still, it is true that something must be done, but what can, or should, be done, is a question that depends a great deal upon what it is that you mean by 'can' and by 'done' - which we'll get into in the next post.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Constitution at 230 years old - for Patriots, Protesters, and even Rioters

[Re-posting this date adjusted post from last year, on what is now the 230th anniversary of our Constitution, because it asks those few questions that are really worth asking ourselves today. And especially after two days of rioting in St.Louis, supposedly over 'Justice!', it's worth asking yourself today, 

  • What do you think of the Constitution, and why do you think that? 

Not which favorite catch phrases come so readily to mind, or repeating what someone else wrote, or said, but what do You think, and why do you think it? You might even find a few points that you've never thought upon for yourself. 

Hard to imagine a better activity for the day.]


Today marks the completion of what both Patriot and Protester, knowingly or not, are unified in referencing. What was signed as completed upon this day, two hundred and thirty years ago, September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the fifty-five Framers, was the Constitution of the United States of America, and whether you stand in respect for, or disrespectfully turn away from, the Flag, the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, you do so in reference to that document which is the oldest existing instrument of its kind, still in operation.

Why?

Is it simply a list of rules for governing by? Is it nothing more than a favorite fossil of 'white people'? A document of oppression? Frederick Douglass once thought so, but because he was a thinker in order to understand what was true, he didn't stop with answers that were given him by others, but continued on thinking upon the matter, and discovered the Truth which such vile falsehoods seek to smother and erase.

But today I'm really not much concerned with your answers to those 'points', but am only interested in whether or not you are familiar with the ideas, principles and purposes which animated the writing of it - are you? And if not... what worth can your opinion - pro or con - have for me, or for anyone else?

Whether you mouth its praises, or make showy protests against it, without understanding what it is you are referencing - your praises and protestations fail to even rise to the level of being wrong, they are but verbal dust to be brushed away, meaningless and of no consequence. But if you are one of that thoughtless many, you may take comfort in the knowledge that you are in the happy company of millions of such Pavlovian 'Conservatives', Pro-Regressive Leftists and Libertarians, for whom the United States Constitution is little more than a paper bell which they bark at.

But for those of you who do see it, not as a mere object of ink upon paper, for those of you who don't insult the memory of they who strove to produce it as having been anything other than men of flesh and blood, for you who understand that it was written so as to give physical form to, and to best enable, the implementation of some of the greatest political ideas of Western Civilization -
  • that Individual Rights result from the nature of being human("...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."),
  • that men who understand that are capable of self governance,
  • that well ordered argument can lead to a self-correcting means of governance,
  • that such a system, established by such a people, can enable lives lived in liberty while in society with others, so long as the beast of Power is bound down and limited by laws whose purpose is to uphold and defend the Individual Rights of every person
, and that for such a people, intellectually armed through a document such as this, Liberty is possible.

But it is only possible for those who understand that.

For those intemperate folk who simply wish to sing the praises of, or rain curses down upon, that which they know little or nothing of, so that they can 'do what they will', as they want, because they desire to... well for them, as Edmund Burke said in the face of the debut of Fascism:
“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Whether you are 'for or against it', especially on this day, in our day, you'd be wise to consider what would happen if we should lose the last vestiges of it, and those protections it uniquely extends to both sides.

For those of you who already do, or who are at least willing to make the effort to, understand those ideas which animated the framing of this document, those of you who understand that such principles and ideas as these cannot be owned by any race or culture, but can only be discovered by some for the benefit of all, then by virtue of that understanding, you and I are unified through these thoughts which were so well formed, written down, and 'completed' (and not to forget the first debate on amending its completion), on 'the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven'.

One final point, whether you are an old hand with, or relatively new to, this document and its ideas, I take it as an obvious point that your reading of it can be greatly improved and informed by those arguments for, and against it, that were in the minds of those who debated the writing and ratifying of it. One of the best tools I've ever found for considering and reflecting upon the whole or particular parts of the Constitution, is the University of Chicago's site "The Founders Constitution". Scroll down on the contents page and you'll find that it goes through the Constitution clause by clause, and that each is supplied with a list of links to those relevant portions of not only the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, but to documents which the Founders had in mind when writing the Constitution, to what the Anti-Federalists objected to (this is particularly helpful in understanding the arguments for the Constitution which the Federalist Papers make), as well as early Supreme Court opinions and judgments that were relevant to that clause being acted upon, as well as the commentaries by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (which are fantastic).

Without further ado:

Constitution of the United States and the First Twelve Amendments 1787--1804

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, 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.

Article. I.

Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected as follows

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"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."

Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article. III.

Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.
Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of it's equal Suffrage in the Senate.


Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, The Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page. Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Go: Washington--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia
New Hampshire { John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
}
Massachusetts { Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
Connecticut { Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman
New York Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey { Wil: Livingston
David Brearley.
Wm. Paterson.
Jona: Dayton
Pensylvania { B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris
Delaware { Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
Maryland { James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl Carroll
Virginia { John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
North Carolina { Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight.
Hu Williamson
South Carolina { J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler.
Georgia { William Few
Abr Baldwin
Amendments to the Constitution
Preamble to the first ten Amendments:

Congress of the United States; Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789. 
The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;--


Article I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article VII - In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article VIII - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 1, Document 9

The University of Chicago Press
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States. Edited by Charles C. Tansill. 69th Cong., 1st sess. House Doc. No. 398. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Justice follows from a judicial process, not a mob's demands.

Quick note regarding the verdict in the latest "Trial of the Day": Unless you can point to credible reasons to suspect that established procedures weren't followed, or that there was improper influence involved, jury tampering, bribery, etc, I'm highly unlikely to be following or to give a rip about the "Trial of the Day" that you are so worked up about.


We have a judicial system with established procedures that are designed to test, admit and present evidence and arguments for, and against, the person or persons charged with a crime, and assuming that system was followed and applied, what results from that, is what, in our judicial system, constitutes a 'fair trial'.

In our system of justice, the person or persons charged, are considered innocent, in regards to the Law, until proven guilty. That means, that the best possible methods of rendering a Just decision by those who were not there, has been followed, and we cannot justly do any better.

If you want to assert that you didn't like the verdict, and you want to demand that your biased preferences should take precedence over a system such as ours, then you are advocating for the passion driven, unreasoning, use of force, to appease the sensibilities of the aggrieved and the angry. There is no possibility of Justice in such a system as that, and that approach is nothing but a leap backwards in time, to lynch mobs and barbarity.

If you view a single snippet of a statement, and based upon that alone, judge that "This is Not Justice!", then what you are demanding, is not justice, but an end to the possibility of Justice, you are advocating savagery, and in that respect: you disgust me.

Period.

As for those taking their unreasoning angst to the streets to forcibly control the lives of others, surrounding cars and their terrified occupants in traffic, stopping highways, blocking the entrances to a major hospital (absolutely jeopardizing lives) and or to intentionally do actual violence to them, I'll leave you with John Adams' comments on how to handle rioters:
"...I will not at present, look for any more authorities in the point of self-defence; you will be able to judge from these, how far the law goes, in justifying or excusing any person in defence of himself, or taking away the life of another who threatens him, in life or limb; the next point is this, That in case of an unlawful assembly, all and every one of the assembly is guilty of all and every unlawful act, committed by any one of that assembly, in prosecution of the unlawful design they set out upon.

Rules of law should be universally known, what ever effect they may have on politics; they are rules of common law, the law of the land, and it is certainly true, that where ever there is an unlawful assembly, let it consist of many persons or a few, everyman in it is guilty of every unlawful act committed by any one of the whole party, be they more or be they less, in pursuance of their unlawful design. This is the policy of the law: to discourage and prevent riots, insurrections, turbulence and tumults...."
We can have a Judicial System that seeks justice through reasonable laws, known and fixed methods of justice, or we can permit the mood of the moment to normalize exceptions to our laws whenever popular angst demands it - but we can't have both.


If We The People fail to hold onto our understanding and regard for our system of justice, if we let the mob have its way 'sometimes', what we are inviting is a politically correct mob mentality that will routinely exercise extreme or even deadly violence to get their way, and when that becomes the norm, then, as so often before, we will usher in a Napoleon to resolve the matter.

Trust me - we don't want to send out that message in a bottle:

UPDATE: I just read the Judge's reasoning in his verdict, and I find nothing questionable in it, and much that compellingly, well, justifies his judgement that the prosecution failed to make a compelling case (on the basis of it's own evidence) for convicting Stockley on charges of 1st degree, pre-meditated murder. Take especial note of pgs 18, 22, 24, 27 & 28. The evidence simply does not support the charge of premeditated murder (an extremely foolish charge to make on the basis of their own evidence) - the evidence just doesn't support it.

As the judge notes on the last page, a lessor charge of excessive force might have at least some credible basis to be argued, but premeditated murder, doesn't wash at all, from what I see. If the Prosecutor intended to secure a lawful conviction, they failed miserably. If, on the other hand, they intended to instigate a political event, they chose wisely.

PS :The charge that many 'conservatives' and 'libertarians' have floated, that his entire judgment depends upon his comment about 'urban heroin dealer', is ludicrous. It is in no way central to his judgment (all the rest of the evidence is). And, just out of curiosity, I've two questions about that:

  • 1) what is at all unlikely about an urban drug dealer carrying a gun? 
  • 2) How in the world do they seemingly conclude that 'urban heroin dealer' indicates, and is limited to, Blacks? Are there no White or Hispanic heroin dealers? And do they not also have a 'history' of carrying guns?
Get a grip.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Copying The 9/11 Copybook Heading

[A repost from 09/11/2012] There's no doubt that we will remember 9/11 for quite some time to come, but what we remember and why, is far less certain.

More than remembering where I was 11 years ago, I remember how we got there. By denying the reality of what we faced in the World Trade Center bombing, the hijacking of airliners and cruise ships, the bombing of our interests around the world and of the USS Cole, by refusing to deal with evil as is required, evil strolled up and gave us a hug on 9/11, 11 years ago.

Have we learned the lesson? I don't even need to turn on the News to know that the answer is: Not even close.

The cost has been, and no doubt will again be, the likes of 9/11, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limp up to explain it once more... reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, enables the evil to harm the good. Remember this 9/11, that 'measured responses' are why those who attacked us on 9/11, 11 years ago, were still alive and able to attack us - the fruition of a decade worth of 'measured responses'.

Leftists deny the existence of Evil, and 'Conservatives' deny the necessity of dealing with evil as the evil that they are. Fearing that Just retribution brings us 'down to their level', they insist on 'reasonable' and 'measured' responses, blind to the fact that such measures extend a hand up to evil, which it will use to reach up and hammer you in the face - the face they never could have reached without the aid of those 'measured responses'.

Conservatives like O'Reilly are the reason why I'm uncomfortable calling myself a Conservative. For conversations sake, I use the term as a shorthand, half-step towards the more accurate term, Classical Liberal. And I have a holy hell full of spite for the ProRegressive Leftists who have made it necessary to tack 'Classical' onto that.

If the policy of the interviewee in this video, Leonard Peikoff, had been followed back in 2001, I believe we'd have been done worrying about Iran & the Middle East a decade ago. Instead, we followed the lead of dunderheads like O'Reilly, whose 'measured responses' have drawn the conflict out, strengthened Iran and put us in the position we are in today.

A proper foreign policy is "Mind your own business & we'll mind ours. Mess with us or ours, and we'll destroy you. Period."

Anything less, reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, etc., are concessions and only serve to enable those who wish us harm. The history of the last couple decades is that of those who wish us harm, understanding this truth, and understanding that we don't understand it, and using it to play us to their benefit.

And the cost has been, and will be, the likes of 9/11, as once again, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more:

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Please, try to remember 9/11 as the lesson we won't have to learn once more.

Reality will not be denied, and Evil will not be turned aside because you choose to turn away from it. Deny that, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return. Please. Just face the facts and learn the lesson so we don't have to learn it once more.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Toppling History - You do not change the future by ignoring the past, you only bring it back to life, behind your back

For those of you out there who are honestly thinking over your opinion on the issue of removing statues relating to the Confederacy, or slavery, etc., consider what kind of history, and history lessons, we would be teaching to our present and future selves, by removing those names and statues that are unpleasant reminders of who We The People once were, and may still be.

If we were to look into the histories of other peoples, what historical lessons do you suppose we would find, in peoples who've tried to eliminate their current problems, which they see as having been created by who they'd once been (and might, to some extent, still be), by ignoring or removing any and all reminders of their present and past faults & failings? If Stalin, the USSR and George Orwell's 1984 didn't immediately come to mind... then maybe put the matter into more personal terms: what do you suppose a psychologist might tell a patient, who's attempting to repress their unpleasant memories? Does denying and repressing your failings sound like a psychologically healthy idea? What do you suppose will be accomplished, by an entire nation of individuals, frenziedly tearing down, and kicking(!), those statues, which remind them of their past and present faults and failings?

You do not change the future by ignoring the past, you only bring it back to life, behind your back.

I'll grant you, it might aid the Democrat party, to not have so many reminders of what the Democrat party stood for, before and after, the Civil War, and publicly well into the 20th Century, but I'm doubtful if doing that favor for them, will have much benefit for the rest of us.

I have no love for the figures that had first been named, Teddy Roosevelt, Roger B. Taney, or any of the figures of the Confederacy. While I recognize that TR was a 'larger than life' figure, I despise him

I don't give a damn who or what you oppose, I care about what you support

My sadly unpopular opinion:
I don't give a damn who or what you oppose, I care about what you support.

Do you support the constitutional rule of law, dedicated to upholding and defending every one's individual rights, without regard to qualifiers such as race, creed, gender, wealth, etc?
If so, I'm with you. 
On the other hand, if you oppose one bad 'ism, while supporting another that reduces or eliminates the equal protections of another's individual rights, your views are NOT what I think of as 'good', and I do not see you as being on 'my' side.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"We are Americans first" - Really? The first step towards resolving a problem, is admitting you have one.

I saw President Trump's statement on the rioting in Virginia, and it was as good and as to the point, as can be expected. But unfortunately, it rested upon the line
'We are Americans first'
They say that the first step towards resolving a problem, is admitting that you have one. Well, we have a problem, and the problem is that I fear that phrase is not only no longer true, but is perilously close to having no meaning at all. Why? Because in order to truthfully say that we are Americans first, a person has to first be able to say:
'American'
, with some understanding of the word that's coming out of their mouth. From what I can see, in looking at what other words are coming out of people's mouths, I'm seeing very little to indicate that most of us do know the meaning of American, beyond the shallow legalistic sense of having been born within the geographic borders of the United States... and if that's the extent of your understanding, when you come up against racist organizations advocating for 'America'... well... do you see the problem?


Sure, you're given a legal status by being born within our borders, but you do not, in any meaningful sense, become an American by such means alone, at least not in a way that is any different from how a person becomes a German or a Russian, i.e. by being born of parents on American soil - aka: by 'blood and soil', which, BTW, also happens to be the traditional rallying cry of fascists.

Now do you see the problem there?

Being an American that understands the meaning of that word, American, requires understanding that the meaning of that word, is not gained by means of osmosis through your ancestors blood, or through the soil that your mother gave birth to you upon, which were features and events which you yourself had absolutely no hand in, knowledge of, or choice in. If that and your "[insert your favorite color here] Pride!", are the extent of your claim to being an American, then you are not, in that more meaningful sense, an American.

To understand what it does mean to be an American, means understanding, and accepting as best you can, the fruit of that particular set of ideas that were expressed in our Declaration of Independence, especially, that:
"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."
Those phrases of our Declaration, have deep philosophical meaning, which gives voice to the meaning and purpose of America, and yet, as Jefferson later wrote to a friend, they weren't meant to be especially impressive, or 'deep', or as an exercise in edgy literary or philosophical virtue signaling, but simply as expressions of something much more commonly profound:
"Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
If those ideas and 'harmonizing sentiments' or the 'elementary books of public right' are foreign to you, then you necessarily stand mute before them, making you intellectually, and spiritually, foreign to America, no matter what the legal status of your physical ties to its 'blood and soil' are.

Am I being too harsh in this? If we look about the land today, what evidence do we find for the sentiment that 'We are Americans first'? If we look to Charlottesville, Virginia, for instance, what did we see on display there last weekend? When I look at the center of these heinous events, I'm seeing prime reasons for the fears that I'm talking about, as racist, socialist, anti-American sentiments were on display in abundance, with very few visible examples of those 'Harmonizing Sentiments' which are what made it possible for the contents of our melting pot, to want to see themselves as being "Americans first."

For Instance: