Monday, October 17, 2016

Trick or Treating like it's 1984 - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.9a

Trick or Treat
I began this series of posts at Halloween last year, with the point that the 1st Monday in October (opening day of the Supreme Court) was a far more frightening day, for adults, than Halloween was for their children. For the adults, our 'Trick or Treat!' gives us shocking sights of the Rule of Law being replaced by its evil twin, the Doppelganger's Rule of Rules, and if that's so, and it is, how much more frighteningly true has it become of our Presidential elections? But to understand which candidate is truly the most frightening this year, you can't simply judge from the candidates, their campaigns or the reporting on them - you have to understand what ideas will guide their use of political power over (and in) our lives, and that takes a wee bit more time than saying 'BOO!' - which is about all the media wants to tell you.

In the last few posts of this series, I've been sticking to the nature and development - the progress - of Law, but in order to see where, under a Pro-Regressive ideology, the Law is both leading to, and being generated from, we need to look over in the direction of Education. Why? Because The Law is but a means of binding, and giving order to the use of power in a manner that reflects the philosophy of the times, and on its own it will range somewhere on a scale between judicious restraint and savage barbarity. What informs the direction which that will to power takes, however, mostly enters our past, present and future lawmakers heads through our schools - they are the drinking fountains of philosophy, and directly or indirectly, that is where our culture cultivates itself from.

What is being cultivated is on display in these videos, but keep in mind that these aren't simply a charming new addition to the genre of late night comedy show's 'Stupid Student Tricks'. Take a closer look at these college student videos with an eye, not to laughing or dismissing these people as fools or pansies, or to taking aim at Millennials (as if your generation look better if smart phone video existed then. Please. I actually think they're more likely to outshine us all), or to mock the ignorance that's been educated into them - we do a disservice to ourselves, and to them, when we look at videos such as these and dismissively chuckle at them in that way. Instead, try looking at them as evidence of seeds that are and have been germinating across our land for over a century - and just imagine the harvests that are soon to come. Do that and I think you'll see that laughter is less warranted than a cold chill of fear.

In some ways the outrageous Social Justice Warrior videos are less alarming to me, than those of the more coolly 'reasoned' responses such as these "Georgetown students who say that the Constitution is outdated, overrated’", as they are surer indicators of the shape of the coming establishment, who seemingly have no sense whatsoever of the dangers inherent to the holding of power, or of the need to restrain its use by those who would use it to 'do good, to help you!' even, or especially, against your will. Even worse, they seem so well versed in justifying the abandonment of restraint and of justifying the exercise of political power over others, with little awareness of either the best, or most dangerous methods, of managing and restraining political power; something which used to be one of the central themes of a college education - how is that absent from their minds - yet these students are in college, and no matter how little respect I have for the content of what they are learning, they are there because they are deemed to be the least foolish, stupid or laugh-at-able members of American youth.

I repeat, you should be chilled, not amused, by these videos.

You're going to be tempted to laugh though. Way it is. Don't. These aren't funny. At all. Seriously

Ok, the first video opens with a young lady at Georgetown University stating that:
"Yeah, they definitely take it too seriously. it's not... 250 years ago... when the constitution was about written... I'm not sure what that date is..."
There are several things that come to mind to say to that, on a scale ranging from grammar nazi to chronologist, but what I'd really like to say to these students who are pursuing 'higher education' has more to do with their demonstrating what one of her fellow students unironically states, later on in the same video:
"I feel like sometimes, people use the 'Constitution' as an excuse to not... think."
, with which I completely agree... though in the reverse of what he intended it, of course.

These students, as most students over the past ten+ decades, have had their heads pragmatically

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mutating Justice into injustice: the far reaching properties of Property - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.8

Mutating Justice into injustice
You’d probably not be surprised to know that I was highly aggravated that the FBI didn’t recommend Hillary Clinton's prosecution for the crimes related to her email server - but for me, that wasn’t the most disturbing part. There was of course plenty to be outraged over, with the FBI stating that her actions had violated the law, that she was extremely careless with classified materials, that she was not truthful about her handling of them, and yet in the face of all of that, the FBI would not recommend that she be prosecuted for those violations of the law (and gave much of her staff immunity from prosecution). They didn't dispute that she’d done what she should not have done, only whether she should be prosecuted for the violations that they’d determined she had made.

What was even more disturbing than all of that, for me, was that Director Comey made a point to say that his conclusions should in no way lead other (meaning someone less important?) govt functionaries (oh ... such as a sailor, for instance, gotcha) to think that the laws won't be applied to them, if, someone else, in a position of power, feels like they should be applied, in their case.

That, my friends, is a demonstration of the Rule of Men, being raised above the Rule of Law. BTW, on a related (by marriage) point, the reason why a person of influence, such as Bill Clinton, tries to get away with questioning what the meaning of 'is', is, is to encourage, exacerbate and exploit this very inversion. When men in positions of power can arbitrarily rule over the application of those laws that rule over all of the rest of us, based upon the power and influential relations of those who are involved in or have an interest in, themselves, that is Might Makes Right, and with little or no effort to conceal it. That is the reign of the Doppelganger (the evil twin of the Rule of Law), which is the default societal baseline that civilizations only become respectable civilizations by fruitfully struggling to progress away from… and yet here we are, busily progressing 'forward!' in the wrong direction, at breakneck speed.

Seeing all of this, many people have naturally asked:
“What is the point of having laws if those who break them at the top never face consequences?”
, and although I get the sentiment, surely they must realize that the question contains its own answer, right? Once upholding and defending Individual Rights for all is no longer the purpose of your laws, then as surely as night follows day, defending the wealthy, powerful and influential few, has already become the point of those rules by default, no matter how persistently we continue in calling such rules ‘laws’ ('LINO'?).

For those wondering how and why this has happened, it's worth considering a few questions which, IMHO, help explain how and why we are where we are today:

  1. Can you tell me what it is that connects you to your Property (IOW: if you think you have a Right to it... why)?
  2. Do you know what anchors the Law into protecting everyone's Individual Rights?
  3. What is it that enables those in power to turn any and all of the laws against whoever they wish, as they wish?
These three are tied together, each dependent upon the other, and if unanswered, result in extra-legal situations such as those we're seeing here, so let's work our way through them from the bottom up, taking it from the present into the past, and so get a glimpse of our future. In considering the last question first, a better question to understand it here and now, would not be 'How does this happen?!', but how could it not happen? And a question that'll help provide the answer to #3 above,

  • How much can what is Right and True matter to people, when Lies are acceptable to them?
How we got to where we weren't going to
Have you forgotten about Gruber admitting that Obama’s entire ‘If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor’ line was a lie they’d consciously concocted and told in order to pass ObamaCare over

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Constitution at 229 years old - for Patriots and Protesters

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 twenty-nine 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.


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.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Translating Reality - From Marcus Aurelius to Hillary Clinton

So something odd that struck me today while watching headlines fly by my newsfeed, is that trying to figure out what is going on in the world around us today, seems in many ways to have a lot in common with trying to find out what someone said in a different time, and in a different place, and in a different language, through the many translations that are available to us, of what they themselves had to say.

Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need translations?

I'm often frustrated with the fact that I've never learned to read Greek or Latin - I've taken a couple feeble stabs at it, but the usual excuses find there way into the moment, and... then the moment conveniently passes you by... and you need someone to translate that which interests you, for you, which means that I continue having to take my classical era 'food' in, second hand. In trying to counter that as best as possible, I enjoy reading different translations of the same work, sometimes, like today, at the same time, so that the differences that come through the different translators translations often seem striking, giving you a wider perspective on, and, hopefully, a fuller understanding of, what you're reading.

This morning I was reading the 2nd century Roman Emperor,Marcus Aurelius's, 'Meditations', through one 19th Century translation by George Long, and another recent translation by someone I often enjoy disagreeing with on other topics, Jacob Needleman, and John P. Piazza. Anyway, the different flavors that come through the translations range from mild to startling, but an example of mostly the routine, 'small' differences, that you come across, is this one, from section 1.7, where Aurelius's is reflecting on his thanks 'to a Stoic philosopher whom Aurelius valued highly', where he says, through these two different translators,

George Long translation:
"... and with regard to persons who have offended me by words, or done me wrong, to be easily pacified and reconciled, as soon as they have shown a desire to be reconciled; and to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book; nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch; and I am indebted to him for my acquaintance with the discourses of Epictetus, which he gave me out of his own collection."
Needleman/Piazza translation:
"...Also, to be eager for reconciliation and meditation with anyone who, having lost their temper and caused trouble, wishes to return. To read with precision and not be satisfied with the mere gist of things, nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters. Finally, to have encountered the discourses of Epictetus, which he provided for me from his own library...."
The differences in the translations of this passage seem like fairly straight forward differences of choice, and one does seem to complement the other, but that is often not the case with those who we've trusted to translate the words and wisdom of past masters, so that we can benefit by them. There are some translators (and in fact many of the celebrated translators of the 19th century), as Allan Bloom notes in the forward to his excellent translation of Plato's 'Republic' who often took it upon themselves to, in their translations, 'correct' the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, etc., by literally (!) putting those words into their mouths which they themselves felt sure should have been said by them, rather than simply translating those words that they actually wrote, and which they the translators were supposed to be translating, for our benefit.

A further interesting note, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, like most Romans of his time, did not use his native tongue, Latin, to write or converse on philosophic matters, because they found it to be too 'clunky' of a language. So they wrote, even privately to themselves (as Aurelius was doing - his meditations were more like a personal diary of his thoughts, than something meant for public publication), in Greek. So here's lil' ol' me trying to learn from a Roman Emperor, who was writing in Greek, in the years between 167 - 180 a.d., which was then translated into English by a scholar in 19th century England, and by an American academic philosopher in 21st century America, which, for me, is fascinating. Fascinating to see the words that they agreed upon, fascinating to see the similar but not quite same terms they used in others, and how the choices of one, shed light upon the choices of the other, especially in regards to the (Long)
"nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch"
and (Needleman)
"nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters".
Anyway, what brought this to mind in more stark relief than normal, was that while reading these translations side by side, I was also seeing and hearing the different accounts of Hillary's leaving the 9/11 ceremony this morning, ranging from:
, and it struck me how in hearing news reports from the likes of CNN, MSNBC & Fox and all the other options, our position as Americans attempting to find out what is happening in America, here and now, is very much akin to the difficulties, challenges, and fascinations to be found in reading different translations of a book that comes down to us from a long dead author in a different era, a different language and a different culture and land, where we have to rely upon how a translator not only picks and chooses to translate the words which the original author used, to match the translator's own sensibilities, to which they often add, drop, convey, or go to pains to explain what the author 'must have meant', rather than telling us what they actually said. So remember folks, that when reading or even (especially) watching the NEWS, do remember that we are engaging with our world through the translations of translators who are trying to tell us not only what was said and done, but through their interpretation of what was said and done (or should have been).

Bottom line, in reading the News of the day, or in reading what was once new, ages past - whether in your own language or on being translated into 'your' language - you must try your very best to not only understand what has been said and done, but to then think it through yourself in order to truly understand what needs to be understood, by you, in your life, here and now - otherwise it might as well all be Greek to you.

The 9/11 Copybook Heading - Doubling down (Again)

[I first posted this back in 2012, and I haven't seen anything from then thru now, to alter my opinion. Worse, especially in light of the GOP not only ignoring warnings but permitting the Iran Deal to not only go forward, but to schedule the vote on it on Friday, Sept. 11th, 2015 - I can do no less than double down on it.[and of course the newest 'Iran Deal' in 2016, and with paying billions of dollars in ransom... nothing's changed]]

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Flyover Nation: You Can't Run a Country You've Never Been To

I had the pleasure of reading Dana Loesh’s ‘Flyover Nation’ not too long ago, and while I don’t really do book reviews, I have been noodling a bit on what struck me most in reading it, and as tomorrow(today), Friday the 12th of August, she is wrapping up her book tour in St. Louis (signing books at 6:00 at Gander Mountain), now might be a good time to post those noodlings (‘better late than…’ ‘ahhh shaddup!’). However if you’d like a brief (on my blog?), noodle free thumbs up or down on whether and why you should you buy Flyover Nation, I can give a definite two thumbs way up, and a couple quick points as to why:
  1. It's an enjoyable read, humorous, insightful and informative.
  2. Her first hand descriptions of both Flyover and Coastal America, both of being a child and raising her own children, and the battle to live and work as adults in our two Americas', provides you with a lot of perspective to think about both.
  3. The observations in this book cover the map, clarifying what life is like in both Flyover and Coastal America, what it is that fundamentally divides them, and the importance of realizing that the divide is real and is there for all to see, and what it is that best equips us to both understand the other, and to let them be.
  4. It’s an engaging and often funny book to read. I won't try and reproduce the humor, but to pick out one issue, if you can pass through the discussions of the differences between funeral's in Flyover and Coastal America without laughing out loud, you're a far stonier person than I am.
  5. If the understanding of Flyover Nation that Dana conveys, were better understood by those on the coasts, it would be a far better nation for us all to live in, no matter where you settle down within it - read this book - and get a copy for your neighbor!
For those of you who didn’t land on this blog by accident, lets get to digging a bit into one of the core distinctions which intrigued me in what Dana identifies in how Flyover America and Coastal America see themselves, and how they behave towards each other. Interestingly, I think she hit on a point of their divide that is actually shared by most of the Coastal persuasion, though of course they understand it from a very different perspective.

This leapt out at me in reading her account of how, as a newly uprooted young girl, having moved with her single mom away from the close knit community of Flyover Ozarks, for the anonymous opportunities of the city, she characterized that absence she felt in the city, as if:
"I had no tribe."
You might recognize this sense from another perspective, through a term that has long been central to Coastal views: their angst over the ‘alienation’ that individuals supposedly suffer in Western Society in general, and America in particular. This is a theme that came out as far back as Rousseau (particularly in contrast to the ‘noble savage’); it was a key device of Marx’s, that of individuals being 'alienated' from society, and it has been a staple of academia and the sniffy set ever since.

As Coastal's generally engage in this 'alienation' attack on the West, they tend to see it as an inherent feature of Western Civilization, and of America in particular, while, as Dana’s despairing comment highlights, those in Flyover tend to see it as the effects of that same civilization being diluted or painfully withdrawn from their lives and communities.

Why such mirrored reflections of us?

Life in Flyover Nation revolves around family, religion, community and the support and defense of them; the standout experience is that you are a living part of something that is bigger than yourself – not because you’re small (as the Coastal’s tend to prefer you to feel), but because of the chosen and/or accepted obligations of those oft mocked institutions of family, religion and community, as well as a shared history and reverence for those principles and ideas that our nation is formed from, and the moral need to actively support and defend them, and those in the military who do defend them even at the cost of their lives. This all translates into thousands upon thousands of little sparks of connections for each person, and even with each pulling this way and that, with and against each other, all of which creates a very un-uniform appearance, yet it palpably links them all together, knitting each person into an individual part of that greater whole.

Where the coastal views prevail, on the other hand, family tends to be devalued, its roles blurred and permanence shattered – not just through divorce (that sadly is nearly universal), but their regard for it. Religion is either disdained or sterilized, their community tends to be corporatized, and talk of our nation is mostly shunted out to the schools who discuss it antagonistically, if at all, and serving in the military is commonly either disdained or feared, which can be summed up in this quote on the prevailing Coastal attitude towards military service, from a report referenced on pg 92 of Dana’s book,
" idea expressed by many, including many in the upper classes, that it is somehow more moral to refrain from military service than to serve, because that way one can avoid an 'immoral' war."
The differences that results from these differing perspectives are stark.

It may be ironic, but it is no fluke that the angst over individuals in Western Society in general, and America in particular, as being 'alienated' from society, is something felt most intensely in the coastal areas and inner cities in particular; as their people feel that alienating anonymity most – but how surprising is that actually? Seriously, what’s not to alienate you?

The approach of each America to these and other problems, is just as distinctive. While Flyover tends to look to each other in order to overcome and strengthen their communities from within, the Coastals tend to look outwardly to their collective society through the powers of Govt, or through other large and impersonal organizations or foundations, to bind them together in satisfying conformity. In the introduction, Dana notes that:
"I've noticed on the East and West Coasts, whenever a problem is identified the solution is always to appeal to government, and the more the solution costs, the better the solution. Not to mention that these solutions always include some limitation of the rights of others."
, and you don't need to look far for examples of that, as Medicare, 'No Child Left Behind', and so on, are examples of Coastal approach to solving their (and our) problems – from outside and above, either through government or other equally anonymous, distant, large, foundations (Note: GOP and Democrat are not reliable means of telling Flyover from Coastal, nearly all of Dana's family in the Ozarks are Democrat). There is an anxiety among the Coastal mindset, even a fear, in allowing each individual person to act on their own decisions – somehow they miss the fact of human nature, that real community can come into being in no other way.

Where do the Coastal’s suppose that their connection and sense of belonging, is to come from? In practice, they think and behave as if they expect them to come through obtaining things provided to them, often through the efforts of one anonymous agency of the collective, or another. Their problems have no means of being felt through the connections of family and community and their mutual efforts and shared experiences in response to them. Instead, their anxieties come to them, again, anonymously, from the news media, through economic indicators, through crime reports, and so they run, not to each others arms and heartfelt interactions, discussions or even heated arguments, but to where power is most centralized and anonymized: into the hands of an ever more centralized power, preferably by way of Govt.

Correspondingly, their own power to connect and act on their own initiative, and in cooperation with other people in their community that they may have some real connection to, is removed from the very hands of people in the community they are a part of, and handed over to those in some position of ‘authority’, in those ‘communities’. As a result, belonging to something that might be seen as being 'bigger than you are' is most likely to be felt through its forcing people down into predefined niches and slots, compressed into a one size fits all, faceless group conformity. Those thousands of points that would bind you together in Flyover, are withdrawn and given to others to manage for you – how could that not nurse a bitter sense of alienation?

An important effect of this tendency to give power and control to anonymous others, comes out in a passage on the moral necessity which our 2nd Amendment protects, that of the need, especially by women, to have the ability to defend themselves, and what seems to follow when we don’t take that necessity to heart ourselves,
“…They’re what our moms and dads teach us to use to defend ourselves against someone who wishes to do us evil. To us women, they’re the difference between being a victim and being a survivor. I sometimes wonder if living dependent upon the company of others and in proximity to others for so long degrades and devolves our innate instinct for individualism and survival….” [emphasis mine]
That is something that I think is huge. In cases of one-way dependency you relinquish some or all of your input, your control, into your own life, you give it to another, and when there is no personal relationship, no reciprocity, no human connection in an actual relationship to them, it is just gone. It degrades and devolves your individuality and you become anonymous, alienated from yourself and those around you.

In Flyover Nation that something 'bigger than you' is kept from overwhelming and stripping you of yourself, by their common respect for the customs of family, religion and community, and through laws which conform to our Constitution and so preserve and defend each person's individual right to live their own life, to enjoy it, and to defend it, as they choose to.

So who's alienating who?

Coastal blindness to Flyover, doesn’t mean Flyover is blind to Coastals
The full name of this book is "Flyover Nation: You can't run a country you've never been to", and I heard one talking head, who obviously hadn't read the book (sorta like the 1 star reviews on Amazon (you should read them, sensible people's replies to them are a delight), try to turn the book's subtitle "You can't run a country you've never been to", against it, with the comment:
"Isn't the reverse true? Can't you say that Flyover Nation can't run Coastal nation, because it doesn't know it either?"
, and the answer to that is a loud and clear: No.

Why? Well for one thing, Flyover Nation virtually has been to Coastal Nation, they have its 'New York Values' put in their faces throughout the day, every day, through the news, media, academia, entertainment, fashion and of course, more and more every day, by law. Flyover Nation has been deeply immersed in the country of the Coasts, and has decided that while they might be nice places to visit, they choose not to live there. It is worth noting that those values of Flyover Nation, are what enable them to let their Coastal Cousins be, and without feeling their Coastal Cousin's compulsion to force them to live as they do, which makes them fully able to 'run their country' without ruining their lives.

Unfortunately the Coastal's simply can't return the favor. Instead they give free and exuberant reign to their compulsive need to dictate who you must bake cakes for, and who has to be allowed in the bathroom with you, that 'live and let live' attitude of Flyover is a practice that Coastal's simply have not mastered, and without that, they can only run the entire nation into the ground.

The view from across the Coastal Divide
While the topic of tribes and 'alienation' aren’t explicitly addressed in Flyover Nation, they are implicitly there in countless contrasting observations she gives on life in Flyover and Coastal America; they engage you, and lead you, to wander about with them in your own thoughts for a bit. It was in doing that myself that I began comparing my impressions from her book, with another book I’d just read, and brought these points to really stand out. This other book, a little 'Sociology' book called "Tribe - Homecoming and Belonging", is specifically about that theme of Tribes and Alienation, which caught my eye in the bookstore, with its comparisons between tribal societies and military veterans, and what they can tell society about 'healing today's divided world'. The Amazon blurb describes it:
“Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations...”
Unfortunately, his is a book that I can’t recommend very highly, and without going too far into it, it does still provide an interesting case of the blinkered views of the Coastals, of their tendency to see all things by their own sterile lights, and to assume that competing views are known, understood, categorized, and easily dealt with through the occasional snide remark, and then safely dismissed in order to pursue their own views. It’s a little 138 page book with 30 pages of footnotes, written by a war correspondent and "New York Times Bestselling Author!" (‘The Perfect Storm’, and others), who tells an engaging tale but manages to get his conclusions, for the most part, painfully short of the mark or just wrong.

It has some interesting observations, but it's incredibly tone deaf and almost deliberately misses the point of its own thesis, by way of its glaring and exclusively Coastal perspective, that of materialism, socialism, anti-business, etc – that ‘Govt can make us more connected through more programs to bring us together’, etc.

Naturally he starts right off attacking the West in general and America in particular, in how some early American colonists after being kidnapped by Indians, when rescued, didn't want to return to Colonial society. And naturally it attacks Christianity and while he goes into the gruesomeness of Indian atrocities, he ultimately excuses and even romances them above the West, since, after all, the Church used the Inquisition to 'burn people at the stake regularly', etc., and so on. Leaving the leftist wacademic hysterics aside, credible estimates are that 3,000-10,000 people over the course of 400-500 years, were put to death, with most of those done by Govts, not the Church. Which of course is still not good, but... c'mon, the single Indian raid he discusses so sympathetically by Chief Pontiac, claimed over 2,000 lives~ how does that even compute?).

One of the things that struck me right off in reflecting on these two books of our two Americas, was how much more clearly Dana’s book identified the reality of our society's problems, which, with his 30 pages of footnotes, he almost entirely misses. Nearly every interesting point that he almost made, missed any real value by seemingly deliberately avoiding the core of his own thesis, by materializing every benefit of 'tribal society'. For instance, this passage identifies real hardships felt by returning soldiers… but it is blind to their cause, while blaming modern society as such (and by ‘modern’ in disparaging terms, he means Rule of Law and Free Market) for those problems, when in fact his ideals – centralized power – is what is responsible for them:
“…A modern soldier returning from combat – or a survivor of Sarajevo – goes from the kind of close-knit group that humans evolved for, back into a society where most people work outside the home, children are educated by strangers, families are isolated from wider communities, and personal gain almost completely eclipses collective good. Even if he or she is part of a family, that is not the same as belonging to a group that shares resources and experiences almost everything collectively. What-ever the technological advances of modern society – and they’re nearly miraculous – the individualized lifestyles that those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.

“You’ll have to be prepared to say that we are not a good society – that we are an antihuman society,” anthropologist Sharon Abramowitz warned when I tried this idea out on here.”
What Junger fails to acknowledge, or even to see past his ideological snowblindedness to realize, is that it is precisely the ever growing centralization of power and authority away from individuals, separating them from society and responsibility, is what is directly responsible for people working far from home and neighbors, for children being educated by strangers, for families being isolated from their society. It’s worth pointing out that his fellow anthropologist, Abramowitz, belongs to more NGO’s (supposedly well intentioned groups that siphon money from govt, to private entities, separating representation and responsibility from those it ultimately depends upon, anonymously), and other monolithic institutions is difficult to count, but which all can be summed up as the enthusiastic support for centralizing authority, distanced from those it is taken from, to carry out ‘good intentions’. It is precisely the Coastal ideals that are responsible for taking power away from individuals, giving it to anonymous, unknown authorities over their lives, and creating that dreaded sense of alienation.

An interview with NPR highlights this:
JEFFREY BROWN: Does the notion of tribes allow us to have a cohesion that we also think we need as a country?
SEBASTIAN JUNGER: Yes, it’s a great question.
I think what you’re seeing in this political season are political camps deciding that they are their own tribe and it’s us against them. And I think the trick — and this country is in a very, very tricky place socially, economically, politically — I think the trick, if you want to be a functioning country, a nation, a viable nation, you have to define tribe to include the entire country, even people you disagree with.
Disagreement is great, debate is great, conflict is great. It’s how we all get better.
SEBASTIAN JUNGER: What you can’t do is have contempt for your fellow citizens. That is destructive. [emphasis mine]
The tragedy is that they mistakenly equate larger and larger swaths of enforced conformity, providing institutional services, and goodies, with the responsible individuality that a healthy ‘Tribe’ must have, or otherwise collapse into their dreaded alienation.

They don’t know it. They won’t know it. They refuse to look deeply enough to see or know it. They prefer reality to be as anonymous to them as they themselves are to their fellows, except to posture as figureheads, visually recognized, but as unknown as celebrities, or pawns. What that produces is profound alienation. Coastal’s tend to think of power as a causal tool, rather than as a result, and mistaking it as a democratic cure-all, and somehow they don’t see what it does to people and communities, when such distant power is exerted anonymously upon them, from far above, and distantly outside their sphere, rather than flowing from own efforts, sentiments and desires, guided by their connection with those ‘other’ people known to them.

Without that, it becomes anonymous, and, surprise, alienating.

What the Coastal mindset produces most is humanity in a mass, but without the actual connections that people make between each other on a person to person basis, without their actively sharing in their shared values, instead, what they think we need instead, is govt, and even entities a step removed from govt (NGO’s, centralized foundations, etc.) to care for people, and to produce even more programs for industrializing person to person interactions, and for govt to do more things for them ‘for their own good’, yada yada, woohoo. Unfortunately they miss out on all the good they intend to do, because the means of connecting one person to another and establishing relations, are replaced by people performing with an official title, the role of one centralized functionary or another, filling out forms, passing out food stamps, pills, checks, band aids. The people under the Coastal system are anonymized, the ideas they promote are abstractions which have no real connection to those they intend to help, except through those anonymous functionaries, which has the effect of truly sucking the life out of all of the good they would do, leaving them to settle for anonymous things, from anonymous people, serving non-existent relationships in service to anonymous ideals.

The Coastal enthusiasm for the noble savage, would do well to be leavened with what the views of those they prefer to flyover, and especially to take to heart Dana’s comment quoted above, that,
“… I sometimes wonder if living dependent upon the company of others and in proximity to others for so long degrades and devolves our innate instinct for individualism and survival….””
What connects people to each other, and which when lacking, produces emptiness, misery and alienation, are points which Dana's book nails over and over again in examples from Flyover society uniting through family, church and local community, with the expectation that individuals should retain their own power to live and defend their own lives – in concert with others, not alienated from them or self - rather than yielding that all up to distant and anonymous powers and principalities.

Just mind boggling the Very real divide between Flyover and Coastal.

Govt’s Blue Light Special
Dana's Grandpa made a comment about that compulsion that draws people to Washington D.C., like flies drawn to the bugzapper:
"...That light attracts people, even the good people, and it kills 'em."
It seems that that tantalizing lure of govt power, fires them with a certainty that, because they feel that what they think is best for themselves, it has just got to be best for everyone else, they arrogantly and with great self satisfaction, push their ideals onto Flyover with little real regard for, or knowledge of, those lives which it is made up of - and who wants to be governed by such a sad, sad country as that?

Glenn Reynolds, remarking in regards to Brexit, referenced Dana's book, in that:
"America, of course, faces the same kind of division, as Dana Loesch writes in her new book, Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run A Country You’ve Never Been To. Every once in a while, she notes, a publisher or a newspaper from a coastal city will send a reporter, like an intrepid African explorer of the 19th century, to report on the odd beliefs and doings of the inhabitants of the interior. But even the politicians who represent Flyover Country tend to spend most of their time — and, crucially, their post-elective careers — in Washington, DC.

Over the past few decades, Washington has gone from a sleepy town with restaurants and real estate priced to fit a civil servant’s salary to a glittering city with prices that match a K street lobbyist’s salary. The disconnect from regular Americans is much greater. And the public expressions of contempt toward ordinary Americans — Loesch’s book collects quite a few — make things much, much worse"
A last reflection on the blue bug zapper sums it up:
"... spare a thought for the folks you see scurrying in and out of the government buildings in Washington, the folks who've been there too long. Maybe they had dreams once too. They were like those bugs I saw droning toward the zapper on my grandparents' porch - they got sucked in and had the life zapped out of them."
I highly recommend you read Flyover Nation - especially if you are a Coastal Cousin - you'll better understand why Flyover is a place that is not only worth visiting in person, but is worth your personally understanding it, for the good of the entire nation.

Or not.

Flyover wishes you the liberty to make that choice yourself.