Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 21, 2016

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

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

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

But.

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

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

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

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

Do you?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

/rant

Monday, January 25, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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

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

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

Thursday, January 07, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 01, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contrast that question with

Sunday, December 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just don't get your hopes up.

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

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

The mental images you associate with Socialism, for instance,

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who Benefits from transforming Rules into Laws - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-3

Is having laws to rule by the same thing as having the Rule of Law?
So a couple key points noted in the preceding post, was that judging the laws by their outward appearances alone led to confusing the Rule of Law, with its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, as well as the importance of having laws that are universal in nature, laws that apply to all, rather than to only a favored, or frowned upon, few. That lack of universality, the adding of exceptions and loopholes to the laws, is partly what Ben Franklin had in mind when he declared himself to be a "mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power". Arbitrary, here, means:
"adjective - based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."
When government acts arbitrarily, it takes on the assumption of power unrestrained by proper limits, which is the raw status of savagery at the societal baseline, where a ruler (one man or many) exerts power over others by their word alone, and may change form one moment to the next with the desires of that ruler. The chief distinction between whether that power flows directly from the mouth of a single leader, or through a process of extended discussion through councils and representatives to be written down for public display, is the placement of some deliberation and delay upon their execution, but neither puts real limitations upon the scope and reach of that power. Finding what can properly supply those limits, has been the holy grail of Western government since the establishment of the first democracy in Athens.

What can properly limit the powers over those who are living under them?

Other laws?

There are many who do believe that it is enough to have one law that limits the extent of another. Proponents of this, which include most of the law school faculty of the last one hundred plus years, might say (and many do),
"Having an interconnected set of agreed upon laws, publicly available, 'transparent', and written down is sufficient to qualify as Law, eliminates the 'arbitrary' and establishes a Rule of Law."
I disagree.

And so did those revolutionaries who, unimpressed with the fancy red coats and gold braid which that primitive ideal had been dressed up in by the British crown, banished it from our shores, in order to establish a revitalized body of laws in their place on these shores.

But was that all they did? Were the 13 new state's laws, and the later Federal Constitution, limited by nothing more than their own laws? Before asking what those limits might be and where they might come from, lets look a bit closer at what is, or isn't accomplished, when a law is agreed to and written down - and does that act alone make it proper 'Law'?

What is it that writing a law down accomplishes, does it somehow add depth and respectability to them? Certainly not in the act of

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why a Govt of Laws, and not of men? - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-2

So we left off in the previous post with pointing out that two very different creatures, the Rule of Law, and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, are being mistaken for, and appealed to as being, one and the same thing. Because most people do not distinguish between the two, the resulting confusion spills out well beyond the courtroom and into our daily lives - evidenced by the Mizzou journalism student asserting his rights as protected by the 1st Amendment, and his fellow journalism students and professors asserting their right to 'bring muscle' to silence and banish him - and all will seek to justify their positions through the 'Rule of Law!'.

We're in this situation, because too many of us look no further than surface appearances to support their own passionately held and self justifying beliefs, and if you go no deeper than appearances, then the two do seem to be nearly indistinguishable - both are written in law books, both may be presided over by judges, both embody what people feel to be right, and both will result in a response of force should you violate them - but the fact is that they are in truth as different as night is from day, and our mistaking them for each other is serving as the means for dividing We The People into We The Peoples.

So... how do you distinguish between the Rule of Law and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules? If opposing points are given as answers to the same question, then maybe the problem lies less in the answers being given, than with the questions being asked? What is it that even prompts the question which the 'Rule of Law!' is so often given as the answer to? And is it in fact the answer? What's the point of having a Rule of Law? And having chosen to seek such a thing, is 'a nation of laws' a sufficient answer to the question of "What type of nation are we?".

Is the sort of answer that students are typically expected to give in our classrooms - ticking off multiple choice questions, or completing a fill in the blank answer - are they enough to stir an interest in getting beneath the deadly shallows of appearances?

It requires a bit more than that, doesn't it?

Put it this way: We have people offering opposing answers to define the same term, because we accept appearances as being sufficient, and the more shallow the appearances are that we are willing to settle for - multiple choice, fill in the blank - the less likely it is that people will look past the surface, and the more likely it is that the answer we will wind up with will be the Doppelganger, instead of the reality we were seeking.

Our answers are much less of a problem than the questions that we customarily do, and do not, ask of ourselves. Maybe a better approach would be, before asking why the Rule of Law is desirable, we first noodle a bit on why Laws are thought to be desirable at all.

If your answers aren't the answer, ask different questions
It was John Adams who famously stated that we were a ' government of laws, and not of men' - do you accept that as a 'fill in the blank' answer and move on with no further thought, or have you, or do you want to, ask 'Why?' What was the point of that statement? How are the two different? What does it mean to understand that they ARE and SHOULD BE different? The answers are tied up with what we've been looking

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Don't stand with victims - Wage pitiless war against their murderers

 To those who've suggested that I change my profile picture to display the colors of France's flag, while I understand the sentiment, I must respectfully refuse, and for the same reasons that I refused, after the last terrorist attack in Paris, to 'Stand with Charlie!', or to 'Stand with Garland' after the attempted terrorist attack in Garland, TX. What I said in my post then, applies just as much today:
"...We do not need to stand with Charlie, or even with Pamella for that matter, instead we need to stand up for, and defend against any such attack, upon anybody, because all of the numerous particulars point to a vital principle which every aspect of Western Civilization depends upon being vigorously defended, and that is far more important than the particular wrongs that have been done in Garland TX, Paris, FR, or any where else in the world. What we should clearly see, now, especially after these latest events, is that it needs to be made very clear, that standing 'with' Charlie, is something that should not be done, instead we must all stand united against those who would silence any amongst us, and especially against those who would excuse their doing it!

Standing with those who were killed, rather than against those who killed them, is less than worthless, it is counter-productive. If you understand that a wrong was committed which must be addressed, and if you understand the nature of what that wrong was, then the civilized response, and the responsibility of a civil society, is first and foremost to eliminate the ability of the perpetrators to commit such barbaric acts towards your people, it means to take the words never again to heart.

The notion that there could be some reasonable 'cause' for the attacks, which the victims should have expected, is, technically speaking: Bullshit...."
At the Battle of Tours near Poitiers, France,Frankish leader 
Charles Martel, a Christian,defeats a large army of Spanish Moors, 
halting the Muslim advance into Western Europe.
And you better believe that the Salon scum are already blaming the victims for the latest attack in Paris, and blaming the West in general. The only sentiment I'll stand with is - and I'm absolutely amazed at my saying this - what the President of France said:
"We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,"
That I can get behind, I think even Charles Martel would approve, but, if it's all the same to you, I'll do it while standing with our own flag of the Red, White and Blue.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Lawful scares of October... and beyond - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress

The Lawful scares of October... and beyond....
“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” - Edmund Burke
From our vantage point here in mid November, I've got to ask, is the last night of the month really the scariest, spookiest part of October? I don't think so. Halloween's Trick or Treating is ghoulish fun for children but it's typically done and gone by midnight, or at least by the end of the next day (your mileage may vary as per the neighbor's decorations). What else is there, you ask? I realize that this might sound silly, at first, but stick around and you just might be surprised into realizing that while children get their gleeful scares from Halloween, the adults, those who are awake, are in for much spookier fare than they are, beginning at the other end of the month, when on the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court comes back into session. The frights raised up on this day are more tangible and linger on well after that day, last on through the month, and they will haunt those who're paying attention throughout most of the coming year as well.


And of course it's not as if these lawful scares are confined to the SCOTUS alone, no, no, no... that's just the glowing head of the horsemen, frightful spin-offs abound from the Federal courts and agencies, and on down to the State and local levels in often unexpected ways, our educational system for instance - all in the name of the 'Rule of Law' they're sprung on us without benefit of candy, delightful spooks or jack-o-lanterns - Tricks a plenty, but very few Treats.

Boo!

What, not scared yet? Ok, sure, you might scoff, lawful SCOTUS stories are a very different sort of thing than children's ghost stories, and no one after all is ever going to go curl up in the gloom telling SCOTUS stories on All Hallows Eve... but... if they tried to... they just might be surprised at how easily it could be done; and we wouldn't have to dress up the language either, no need for:
"In the land of D.C. where the congress lies, Nine judges robed in black sit upon the highest court - One court to find them, One court to rule them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of D.C., where the congress lies..."
, nah, that's not necessary, not when there are better, more realistic ways to build suspense and fear - through real fears of:
"...will the lawful ones permit this...? Will they outlaw that...? Will we still be allowed to do...?'
No need for Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King or R.L. Stine, the NEWS alone will make you want to turn the lights on while listening to its spine tingling tales of those who oppose the Rule of Law, and of those who defend it, and how, like changelings, they are oftentimes one and the same people.
Bwa-Ha-HaHAHAAA!
No? Still not feeling it yet, ok...I get it, but...there's a more significant problem with the thought of turning SCOTUS stories into ghost stories, in that with children, if the story gets too scary, they can turn on the lights. But for the adults... turning on the lights isn't so easy or even all that pleasant to do, after all, while a gloomy SCOTUS story is scary, it isn't make believe.

Turning the lights back on will not only not make the scary things go away, it's likely to bring you face to face with a dilemma that has been standing before you all along, unseen or ignored: the twisted twin images of the body of the Rule of Law, and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules. Both possess the same appearances, both are written in law books, both are presided over by judges, both will result in a response of govt force should you violate them, but they are as different as night and day - and which one is actually which? Can you tell? Which one's the body of the good Law and which that of the ghoul of the West whose tale we'd sought to escape from?

I wonder how many would resist the urge as the lights come on, to turn them back off again?

You might wonder if I'm being too dramatic. If so, I wonder if you've been paying close enough attention to the reality around you. For instance, if you were to ask your fellow Americans to help you tell which one is which on any number of recent news stories

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For Veterans Day - The Harder Right (revisited)

[For Veterans Day this year, I'm going with a re-post from four years ago, which isn't - for me or others - the typical Veterans Day post, but for me it really goes to the heart of the occasion. This post came back into mind a couple days ago when a 'Memories' app popped up some pictures from the 2011 Veterans Day parade in St. Louis that I took part in with Chris & Dana Loesch, "Patch" Po/ed Patriot and our kids [Patch just confirmed my sketchy pictureless memory, Stacy Washington was with us too). The memories were a nice tug - I mostly only see Patch online now, and the Loesch's have since moved to Dallas (catch "Dana" on the BlazeTV), but more than the sentimental value, was the point of this post, well illustrated in the movie clip, of the importance of choosing the Harder Right - not only in the sense of putting your life on the line for it, but the importance of choosing the harder right to a life worth living, and that is what I associate most with our Veterans.

Our Veterans volunteer their lives onto the line, and in pledging their lives to support and defend our Constitution, they serve to secure to us the ability to live a life worth living, should we also take the harder right, and choose to.

To our Veterans - Thank You.

And now, back to 2011:]


For Veterans Day, a clip that doesn't at first appear to have anything to do with Veterans or Veterans Day. It's the climactic scene of a movie that's really grown on me over the years, The Emperor's Club. In this, the point of not only an Education, but of a life well lived - or squandered - is conveyed in just a few moments.

The now aging Mr. Hundert, a Classics Professor, is found in the restroom after a debate competition, by his former student, Sedgewick Bell, who is now grown and launching a campaign for the Senate. Bell was a student he'd tried far more than he should have to help, and Hundert has realized that Sedgewick has yet again cheated in the "Mr. Julius Caesar" debate, which Mr. Hundert was moderating.

video
He lets his former student know that he knows he tried to cheat, again...
Mr. Hundert:"I'm a teacher Sedgwick, and I failed you. But I'll give you one last lecture, if I may. All of us, at some point, are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, and see who we really are, and when that day comes for Sedgewick, you'll be confronted with a life lived without virtue, without principle - for that I pity you. End of lesson."

Sedgewick Bell:"What can I say Mr. Hundert? Who gives a shit. Honestly, who out there gives a shit about your principles and your virtues. I mean, look at you, what do you have to show for yourself? I live in the real world, where people do what they need to do to get what they want, and if that means lying, and cheating... then so be it.
So I am going to go out there, and I am going to win that election Mr. Hundert, and you will see me EVERYwhere! And I'll worry about my 'contribution' later.
(Sound of a toilet flushing, stall opens, Sedgewick's little boy comes out, stares at his dad in disgust)
Sedgewick Bell:"Robert? Robert...."
(Robert turns and leaves)
Sedgewick stares after him, stares down, glances at Mr. Hundert, and leaves.
What Mr. Hundert has, he has without need of power, position or wealth... what Cedric threw away, he can't replace through any amount of power, position or wealth.

The best things in life are free... but you've got to earn them, and sometimes fight for them; and some worthy few even choose to risk their lives for your chance to enjoy them.

Thank you to all those who chose the harder right, and especially the Veterans who agreed to risk their lives for it, if need be.

UPDATE - Pictures from the St. Louis Veterans Day Parade
Special thanks to Dana Loesh for inviting us to march with her crew in the parade, my daughter & I were honored to show our support.

Dana Loesh (in a strep throat burqa), Me, Patch Adams and Chris Loesch , ready to roll

... coming around the corner... (pic swiped from Patch Adams)
Parading past Soldiers Memorial
The best message of all!

Patch posted a video that should be an alarming shame in contrasts to all. For those who did turn out for the parade yesterday, thank you, your quality isn't questioned, but for the quantities of others who couldn't be bothered, shame on you.