Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Representation Without Taxation!... Yea...(blink)... WTF?!

No Representation Without Taxation!... Ye...(blink)... WTF?!
Well, another post developing out of some replies. The rapid fire and usually sure shot Gunslinger had a post which, while I fully understand the sentiment, I very much disagreed with. Responding to some truly aggravating news that nearly half of US Households pay no Federal Income Tax, The Gunslinger fired off a shot in response, that if you don't pay the taxes the rest of us do, then you shouldn't be allowed to vote,

"You don't get to decide who pays how much in taxes, what it goes for, and to whom... if it ain't your money."
There was some back and forth between a number of us, over everything from the danger of giving the ability to determine who would be 'allowed' to pay taxes - and so vote - and who would be conveniently loop-holed out of the electoral process... it would be a proregressive's wet dream.

The immediate backlash of maybe excluding anyone who depends upon Gov't for their income, likewise ran into other obvious issues (which I missed) such as what about the military?

But I think the post was simply an understandable outburst at the general injustice of the current system, and as she noted later in the comments,

"Actually, I think the whole problem is the monstrous government we've allowed to grow.
If we had a Republic that ran according to, I don't know, the Constitution of the United States, for example, the government would be too small and powerless to bother bribing and trying to influence."
Which is exactly so.

The only 'safe thing' would be to restore the property qualifications (economic property, not only real estate) which were originally in place in all states, you had to have attained a minimum threshold of property, indicating a sober amount of ties and responsibilities in the community and so a direct interest in seeing that government remained good government, government which was respective of, and diligent in respecting the property rights of its citizens... and so you can guess which measures were among the very first targets of early proregressives, yep, striking all property qualifications for voting from the constitutions of all of the States.

A worthy goal for the near future perhaps, but other issues are on the boil at the moment.

There is another angle from which the issues of Representation and of Taxation bears watching though, the cry of the original Sons Of Liberty, was "No taxation without representation", not because the taxes being imposed upon them were of such ruinous percentages - they were laughably small compared to what we pay - but because they were imposed upon them without their having any voice in the process; they were not represented in the decision, and so they began to realize that the government ruling over them was not theirs since they were barred from being a part of it - they were not of the body politic which had power over them. Soon after that, they realized that not only were they were not of the body politic which controlled them, but that they were thought of by that body as being merely a convenient body to be fed upon by it - and that they didn't like. Not one little bit, and so the Boston Tea Party soon led to the confrontation on Lexington Green, and the rest is history.

I've certainly no, zero, zilch, interest in seeing that bit of history updated and replayed out again. No Thank You.

So I ask you, as we hit the point here today, where one portion of the body politic is coming to the realization that not only is it being unfairly used for the support of others, both big businesses and little leaches, but also that our voice is not being represented in the process (two or three thousand page bills unread before being voted upon by our 'representatives' allows NO representation, not for Republicans, not for Democrats and not for Independents)... what do you suppose the result is going to be?

TEA Anyone?
As upside down as "No Representation without Taxation!" is, that perverted view is and was but a mile marker which we are already rapidly moving past, and we are now coming full circle towards the point where "No Taxation without Representation!" is becoming relevant once again.

And I noted that while on the one hand, we've got congresscritters who think like this genius from across the river, Rep. Hare (D), who neither knows nor cares about the constitution, but on the other hand, and why I don't see the inevitability of history exactly repeating itself, is that we've got people, very many people, more each day, who are like this guy that embarrassed the hell out of Rep. LoBiondo (r) at his town hall, they know, or are learning about our Constitution, and they don't like what is being done to it.

These folks aren't beholden to party politics and the status quo, they don't give a rats ass whether you've got an 'r' or a 'D' or an 'I' after your name (or their own), if you don't care about the constitution, they're coming after you.

And for the people whose historical knowledge was vacuumed out by public schooling, a great many of us are offering and teaching classes on a weekly basis on what the constitution is and means, and people are showing up for them, young and old, and are themselves talking about what they learned with their friends, etc.

Will this make a difference? Well, we'll see... are the odds against us? Sure they are. Are they as stacked as much against us as the were for us in 1776? Well, I said that if you think that things are as dark today as they were then, then you're a girly man! We've already got the Constitution we want in place, we've already got the right to peaceably assemble and demonstrate and challenge our elected officials. We've got ready and easy, easy access to every bit of wisdom and argument to refute our opponents spin as anyone could ever hope to have.

And we've got not only a fixed constitution, but one that is repairable - one that was deliberately designed as such - so that when things get out of whack, we can amend it - if the amendments prove faulty or stupid, as did the 18th (prohibition), we can repeal it with another, as we did with the 21st.

People get entirely flummoxed about the thought of something requiring a constitutional amendment - what is the big deal about constitutional amendments? Do realize how many were passed in just the last 100 years? We've had something like 10 or 11 passed in that time, with five in the last fifty years, It's not easy, and it shouldn't be, but a shaking in your boots type of daunting task?

Gimme a break.

At the risk of getting all Nike on you, all we have to do is to just do it!

However others have a problem seeing that as feasible. I've had exchanges with Trubolotta about the nature of power before, I say at root, it's Ideas that move things, even armies, he says it all comes down to money, force or the threat of it. Trubolotta zinged his point in with,

"Prior to 1776, the American colonists fought a war of words against the greatest empire on earth. King George and the British Parliament, seeing the wisdom of those words, gave the colonies representation to participate in the process of formulating the laws under which they would live. Of course it never happened and someone had to fire that first shot heard around the world."
, and that Gandhi wasn't entirely successful in peaceful revolution in India,

"...Britain responded to civil disobedience with violence and Indian patriots were killed, maimed or jailed. That brought the British people and Parliament to their senses in granting India independence."
, and that our Civil Rights movement required years of unrest, double dealing and unfulfilled promises before,

"... the conscience of a nation was awakened by the brutal response to civil disobedience.

In each case, the girly men were still talking while real men (and women) put life, limb and property at risk."
Well, those are all good points, if, with the partial exception of the Civil Rights movement, a bit out of context with our world today. But even so, what are we to do about it? Dump Chevy's into Lake Michigan?
Or to those chattering about secession and revolt, are you really going to face down Apache Helicopters and M1 Abrahm tanks with shotguns on the village green? My Son and yours will be piloting them - and you're damn sure not getting my support with that, will you even have your own?
If those are the ideas you've got in mind, you really need to have another look at history. Ladies and Gents, we all know the phrase that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but part of the lesson that should be learned from watching history, is that history doesn't repeat itself like episodes of Gilligan's Island, it repeats similar themes in different settings, nothing but the plot remains the same - the characters and setting and action change even more than did Cyrano here and Roxanne there, it is far more a case of Rhyming, as Mark Twain said, than repeating.

So what are the new historical plot devices that are to take the place of stores of ammunition defended upon Lexington Green? Well, first I can tell you what it's not, it is not piles of black powder and lead shot. That was for the time of a traditional war for the control of real estate - that is not the battle suited to the struggle over America's soul. America is not a nation of boundaries or blood types, it is a nation of ideas, and that is where the battlefield is, and as is true of every war, that requires weapons suited to the landscape.

The oldest mistake of those who plan for the next war, is to do so with the tools and strategies of the last one.

The last one doesn't apply anymore. The new battleground is the same one on which we have been fighting on, unawares, for the last nearly two centuries - the field of ideas.

What are the tools suited for such a battlefield? First of all of course - Ideas. Second of all, the communication of those ideas. Third, just as overrunning the enemies territory is demonstrated in traditional war by capturing some plot of land and planting your flag, in this modern revolution, we must demonstrate the breadth of ground which your ideas have taken control of, and that is done here in America, through the Vote.

Ya Can't fight city hall - what use is one vote?... and other concessions to the enemy
Another commenter to the exchange though, John, came in from a different angle on this, he said,
"I understand, but that is how democracy is designed to work." and also "Voting, I think, is going to fail America, and a more voluntary system of societal cooperation must be instituted. This needed change will be difficult, at times chaotic, but it can only occur if individuals voluntarily agree to the change needed.
I don't have all the answers as to how to make this happen, but I am doing all I can, voluntarily, to make it happen. I won't vote on it."
Well the first thing I thought needed to be done there was to remind all that we are not a democracy, but a Constitutional Representative Republic, which I won't rehash here, having done so recently, but his actual view, and that of Tubolotta, turned out to be not that we were designed as a democracy, but that our Republic is no longer one because it is being run as if it were a democracy. Now there is far more truth to that perspective than the other - but IMHO, to think that is a fixed matter of substance and fact, is to mistake mere appearances for facts, which is just what those slight of hand artist's who deal in appearances, such as Houdini and Obamao, would be very pleased for you to accept as fact.

It is not.

And every time attention is drawn to some 'new' boondoggle or abuse of power (such as the Corn husker Kickback, etc), there is a flurry of action and words trying to either recast it, or express shock over it and move it as quickly out of the spotlight as possible. But back to that in a moment.

Another thing that concerned me about that comment, was the whiff I thought I detected coming off "a more voluntary system of societal cooperation must be instituted", which if I'm correct, needs to be identified right off as some hint of ultra libertarian anarcho-whateverism (anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-syndicalism, and so on), which to give just a brief check to here, I said,

"There is no surer prescription for the complete loss of liberty, than a Rothbardian form of libertarianism.

And it isn't 'Voting' that has failed America, it is Americans that have. Americans who have allowed themselves to forget the meaning of their Constitution, and why it is the greatest political document ever written. I don't have all the answers either, but knowing the next guy, I'm pretty sure I'm closer to getting them than he is, and IMHO, I think the road goes through the repeal of the 17th amendment, and the 16th amendment, and then, bit by bit, nearly all of the legislative output of the 20th & 21st century."
John replied that,

"Voluntary cooperation between individuals must start somewhere, no matter how small.

I think you, I, Gunslinger, and other individuals are standing at the same barricade attempting to restore liberty and freedom in America, even though our weapons of choice may differ."
I read through a number of his posts and links (including some to Ed Cline, whom I generally like a lot), and his post is worth reading, a well written vignette of how things should be between individuals - how one should seek to help them self, and how another may choose to aid him - and the truth of the message that people should be decent towards each other, is, I hope, obvious - but that is not enough in itself, and while such voluntary cooperation and generosity which John and his unknown friend displayed is vital (and was once far more the norm than the exception (before govt agencies inserted themselves between the charitable and the grateful recipients - more later)), and I'd even say such habits and sentiments are necessary for a society to have any hope of remaining one, but even if such good will was the norm, it would still not be sufficient to replace Laws or the Rule of Law. More to the point though, it also points towards why the anarcho-x theories won't work, and would be more likely to result in the doom of liberty in society.

Individual decency and a sense of justice is not sufficient to maintain the peace, for as his own post showed, he was mere split seconds away from a misunderstanding - an honest misunderstanding - but if he had spoken first with the sharp words he had in mind on answering the door the second time, the scene would have gone differently, even though it would still have involved two, decent, honest, well intentioned people. Now, very likely that instance would have quickly resolved itself into a similar conclusion; but such things often do not resolve themselves well, and so they escalate, and without the existence of a single entity which both parties involved, and those who may be observing, can turn to for either arbitrating the dispute, or reining in anger and retribution, even a society of good and decent people would soon reduce to the tribal warfare which Hobbes represented as lives that are

""solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short", and eventually, after untold bloodshed, a Hobbesian State, where the Sovereign is all powerful, and no Rights exist but what he divines to be useful."
For those reasons and more, Laws are necessary for a peaceful society, and a government is needed to declare and maintain them (which I touched on in "What does Athens have to do with Justice?"), ideally that should be a government rooted in Reason, Natural Law and the consent of the governed. By far, of course, the best system ever constructed to "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" was that of our Constitution (I will defer the rest of the argument on the hyper libertarian view of anarcho-whateverism issue to the end of my series on Justice, since that was the very issue which prompted it in the first place, and which I'm still building up to an answer for - a short answer is totally inadequate).

If a Vote is cast in an election, and nobody pays attention to it, was a Vote ever really even cast at all?
Though the Vote of the people was, and should be, a much more limited and defined qualification (such as some property measure of your means) for being exercised (which unfortunately was cast aside early on by We The People in our own States - most of these issues, such as property qualifications, were repealed in the states - they can be re-amended and done so far easier(we've nearly got one finished here in Missouri, and several other states have amended their constitutions to conflict with ObamaoScare on grounds of the 10th amendment) than the 21st amendment corrected the idiotic 18th amendment to the US Constitution), and a lesser input into the system, it is still a vital component of our system as a Constitutional Representative Republic, and its importance extends far deeper than a recorder of yays and nays.

"America was designed to be a Constitutional Representative Republic, but today America is far from that."
Well... the fact is that even with the damage of the 17th amendment, America is still a Constitutional Representative Republic... on paper... it's just that We The People have allowed those we Vote into power, to ignore that fact and to do as they please, because We The People were pleased to let them do it, we were foolish enough to think that Laws existed on paper - they do not. They are recorded on paper, but they must exist in the hearts and minds of the people, they must live there, or they do not live at all and can exercise no restraint on power at all.

It is not the Vote that is the culprit here, and the Vote alone will not be the solution. The Rule of Law requires that the the Law should live in the hearts and minds of the people... for the law to have the true force of Law, it must be a...

law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts...Jeremiah 31:33
No matter how fine and pure the Constitution and it's Laws are on paper, if the people are not intent that it be revered and followed, then you will have in its place, the rule of Men, not of laws.

Where I just asked "If a Vote is cast in an election, and nobody pays attention to it, was a Vote ever really even cast at all?", I didn't mean that if you vote, and your representative doesn't listen to your vote, then the system is broke - no - I meant that if you vote (or not) and do nothing else at all to communicate with your Rep to let him know your judgment and that you are paying attention to his votes and reasons for them, and if you do nothing to ensure that others in your community keep at least some focus and input into the system... then YOU failed the system, YOU let your vote fall unheard into the system, and if that is the case, then it is YOU who are the problem... not your crooked congressmen, he's just the one with the wit to take advantage of your moral and civil negligence.

No matter the two and three thousand page bills or blatantly unconstitutional statements and actions your congresscritter may engage in, if you let that happen, then something like the 'Pottery Barn rule' applies, you accepted it being broken, and so you are paying for it.

Oh, is it hard keeping tabs on politics? Wahhhhh... poor baby. Shut up, stand up, look in the mirror "You are a Girly Man! We must pump your civil sense up! We must put muscles on your voice and make it more powerful! You are WEAK! But vee vill pump you up!

Pumping up the Voting FUNduh!Mentals
Starting with some basic reps... grab those dumb bells, here we go. Voting, Rights, Law and Govt are all derived from our nature as human beings, from the observable requirements of living a human life, and I think I need to make a quick review of that process.

  • Our Rights begin with thinking. As with a cow in a snow filled pasture which its said will starve to death, being unable to think of looking under the snow - no thinking, no eating. But thinking alone won't do it, it's got to be productive - you may not get much for your efforts if your thinking tells you digging & refilling a ditch will spontaneously produce food and shelter - don't laugh, FDR based a program on it - your thinking has to respect reality, be purposeful and to be effective it should follow orderly methods of self checking to make sure it's worthwhile from start to finish - in short Reasoning.

  • Respectful awareness of your surroundings is vital for creating any wealth - wealth being food, shelter, relationships, gizmos to perform tasks efficiently and productively - aka Property, and our individual lives as well as society, are based upon it.

  • To be able to reason, and to be reasonably productive, you have to not only be able to act on your conclusions, but to do so without being forced to act against your own reasoning. You have to be able to say what you think needs to be said, do what you think needs to be done, make the choices which you see and believe need to be made, without being forced to act against your own better judgment.

  • Being free to think and act to produce property is all intertwined with your need to confidently retain what you've spent your time and effort in producing, confident that your efforts won't be stolen from you, and in realizing the necessity of that, you must recognize the necessity of extending the same consideration to others - in order to enter into civilization, rather than just preying on it.

  • All of your productive actions are based upon, and directed towards getting, keeping or consuming the wealth of property which you have created, and you have succeeded in doing so to the extent that you see and respond to the nature of things as they are - what is true, benefits you, what is false, hinders or harms you. Honesty and integrity contributes to the wealth of all in society, while thievery steals from all in society.

  • Thievery, legal or otherwise, destroys not only your wealth, but the purpose of all of your practical actions and thoughts, which are required by your nature and ability to live as a human being.

  • To prevent or deprive someone of their ability to think and act as they see fit, and retain what they've produced, is no different than plucking the wings off a bumble bee or removing the fangs & claws of a lion - neither would then be able to do what they need to do in order to live as their nature requires.
So in that rapid fire summary of our Rights and Liberties and the criminality of violating them. Our Rights are nothing but the recognition of what is required by "nature and natures God" in order for us to live as Men, and from that fact we are able to derive our rights of property, free speech, self defense, sanctity of contract - and most important of all is the fact that all of our Rights come not from words on paper, but because of the nature of being human - Natural Rights from Natural Law.

It is because of not seeing, or denying, those simple facts that entire societies have been condemned to rise no further than that of tribal savagery and piracy and widespread poverty.

It was the recognition of these basic rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' in our Declaration of Independence, and given structure in the Constitution and particularly the first 10 amendments to it in the Bill of Rights, for all to see, know and follow - that has formed the basis of our nation and our laws to translate those Rights into the guardrail rules for societal interaction known as Law, and Govt is the institution for upholding and enforcing them within society. Just don't mistake the means of recording and displaying the law, for the real law itself.

Clearly defined laws animated by the spirit of these rights, written and enforced by some few whom most agree will honestly oversee them, observe the laws to settle disagreements and misbehaviors, and this gives us the incomparable value of objective law, and that institution charged with maintaining and applying it - government.

Note that Govt produces nothing itself, but it enables a sense of trust and security to be enjoyed by all people, enabling them to work, to safely live in proximity to each other, to invest in each other, and to grow their society and expand their wealth and prosperity.

Any honest study of political science and fact based economics, will show that infringing upon or forcing someone out of their basic rights and property, will damage or destroy their prosperity, lives, families and eventually their entire society.

The Vote
However, however fine and well reasoned those documents and rules are, People will have to administer them, modify them and/or add to them, and monitor the administering of them - and one of the most absolute genius features of our Constitution is how those people are to be put into place, and how they are to reach their decisions regarding them - by Vote.

It shouldn't be necessary to say, but we are not a direct Democracy we are a Constitutional Representative Republic, and in our Republic the Vote is used to transmit the reasoned judgments of a representative group of the population at each level of government upwards, and then back in the form of law, which is to be respected and obeyed by the people, in order to open and close a reasoned circuit of judgment from the individual, on up into the govt and back down into our lives.

There are a number of layers within our representative republic within which voting occurs, each is an attempt to guage the optimal level and quality of decision making appropriate for the quantity of citizens represented within it. That process begins at the individual level as we vote for our local and state legislators and executives, as well as our Representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. Within those bodies there are other layers, such as in the States house and the U.S. Govt House of Representatives who vote and send the bill up to the next layer, the Senate, and again with the President - and there is a feature which allows the people to engage with the finished results of the layers, by calling a piece of legislation to the attention of a meta-layer in the Supreme Court (since the collosally bad judgment of the 17th amendment, the Senators are voted upon directly by the people, upsetting the structure structure of checks and balances so carefully crafted... another amendment to be repealed).

Did I leave a position out of who we directly vote for? The President? No, I didn't. Your vote isn't cast as a vote for the President, your vote is talleyed and guides the vote of an Elector in the Electoral College, and the electors of your state then cast their votes for the President, and yes, it is a good thing that it is done that way.

The President is not elected directly by popular vote alone! Leaving out the issue of delegates, the popular vote determines who the states delegates will be awarded to, and it is not only very possible, but has happened several times, that the candidate elected President, is NOT the one with the most popular votes, but the most delegates via the states - or maybe more to your understanding, the President is elected via the popular vote within the states, and then (typically) by the majority of the total votes of the states - as determined by each State.

There is a purpose behind this, though every few years, some would-be demagogue makes another stab at eliminating the Electoral College (I believe Hillary made a few speeches to that effect). You ought to ask yourself why.

Their purpose is, that by making it possible to eliminate the necessity of getting votes from the interior flyover states like Missouri, Nebraska, Idaho, etc, you could elect a president through the most populous states like New York, California and a few of the urban areas of major cities (read: likely by fellow elites and easily swayed poor inhabitants), and the rest of the counties and suburban areas, and indeed entire states themselves, could safely be ignored.

If the president was elected by popular vote alone, there would no longer be any need to refer to him as the President of the United States of America, but as President of a few populations centers and the rest of the states be damned! One way you can identify would be tyrants in America, is by their eagerness to push for, and rely upon, the 'popular vote!' (btw, the 17th amendment was their last big victory).

Try as the Progressives have to eliminate the states influence in the federal government (we came perilously close to having the electoral process dumbed down to your level in 1970), they do still play a major part in our federal system.

The Point of the Vote
The important point to take away from this review, is not that Votes are used to elect people and pass or fail legislation, the Vote is used as a method for the transmittal of judgment, which, as on the part of the elected officials IS NOT to tell them what to do, but selects them as being who the voters judged to have the values, ideals and ability of judgment they think will enable them to vote and act in a way worthy and justifiable.

NOTICE: to my fellow Tea Partiers, even if everybody in a district told their Representative they want him to cast his vote a particular way, while that may influece his judgment, he is IN NO WAY obligated to vote as the vast majority of his constitutents demand he does. Not even if a million plus show up on the mall in Washington D.C. shouting "Kill The BIll!" (as I did locally). Candidates aren't voted for so that they can behave as virtual vote-a-grams, delivering this or that vote as a majority of their constitutents demands, but to use his own judgment to vote as he sees best - just as it is wrong for them to force us to buy their obamaocare, it would be wrong for us to force them to vote against what they saw fit - they are Representatives, not proxies. Now, it might be politically wise for him to consider his constitutients views, especially when it came time to vote again come election time; if the constitutency disapproves of their voting record, then they are free to exercise their vote for or against the person, and that is part of the due diligence each voter owes to his vote in each election.

The Vote doesn't garauntee that elections will go your way often or ever, it only garauntees you an opportunity to participate in the process of governance - how much you participate in the process, is up to you, but rest assured, punching the ballot card, or carrying a protest sign - or sitting it out - are the barest minimum of input open to you.

That is a dead Parot! It couldn't oomph those bars apart with 3,000 votes!
But, again, we are NOT a direct Democracy, and not only for reasons of size and practicallity, but because we are a representative republic, we elect our officials to use their judgment as they see fit, within the structure, rules and guidelines of the constitution.

We do not vote to elect parots. We cast our votes to become part of a process of reasoning, not as an exercise in bubble testing.

If you feel your vote didn't matter, there are two likely reasons in play, one, you never understood the place of the Vote - or that of yourself - in the process in the first place, or you didn't pay enough attention to the principles and character of the person you voted for, and/or the person you voted for felt no particular requirement to present himself honestly to you, or to pay attention to the constitution which should guide their reasoning and actions.

If your representative doesn't feel concern over his office when you are displeased - it is probably your fault for not giving him Reason to - Note: Reason - not threats or threats of force, Reason.

The real problem here is those of us who have enabled this disregard of the part of the office holders for their constitutents and our constitution by not ensuring that these officials remain fully aware of the need to present their opinions and beliefs to the voters in an election. Those who not only pay little attention to their vote, but who enable their elected officials to think there is no need to worry about paying attention to them or the constitution, are at the root of our problem today.

If you pay little attention to your vote, and/or if you pay little attention to seeing that your elected official is aware that you will hold them responsible for their actions, and if you pay little attention to ensuring that your fellow citizens are aware of the candidates and issues, or if you cast your vote, by NOT voting, for officials to have even less concern for their constitutents, issues and constitution - then when you next moan that the system is broke, you can easily discover how and why it is broken by following these steps:

  1. Walk up to a mirror.

  2. Open eyes

  3. Gaze into your own eyes - quary found, mystery solved.
The Vote is not simply a mechanism for tallying checkmarks, it is also a mechanism for registering the will, or lack of such, of We The People. Yes, quite often, our vote for candidate or issue "A" or candidate or issue "B", may both damage our freedoms, but that doesn't mean opting out of the process is a sensible option. If the issue on the vote is to put you to death by chugging bleach, or by injecting you with a long term degenerative disease - and your not voting is not going to take the issue off of the table - the issue is still going to be voted on - then voting for the long term degenerative disease is your only rational option - however, it would be irrational to leave the issue there, pleased and satisfied that you've bought some time before being put to death, which has been the behaviour of Republicans and of many Conservatives as well.

If the only issues on the table are a swift and gruesome death or a prolonged and lingering death, then it is your responsibility to, at the very least, to do your best to see that another issue is put upon the ballot, that of promoting Life. And it is up to you who see the problem to rouse those who haven't been aware of the issues being voted upon at all, to open their eyes and see what they've been allowing to occur through their negligence. It is up to you who are aware and who do see the danger, to slap into awareness those who were mindlessly comfortable and satisfied with the prospect of a lingering death, to snap out of it and realize that that is an idiotic position to hold, and that a healthy political life, because it does affect your actual Life, is worth demanding and fighting for!

It is up to you to not only wait and see what other such choices the ballot will bring next, but to attempt to affect the available options that will be considered for putting onto the ballot (LOCAL ELECTORS). But even more important than that, it is up to you who do see, you who are aware, to educate your fellow citizens to understand that it simply isn't enough to have an option to choose between instant or slow death or life, and that it is insane to allow such a decision to even be considered. Issues of sudden or lingering death are entirely inappropriate issues to be debated at all, but in order to do that, you've got to help make your fellow citizens become aware of what the requirements are for Life, before they'll realize the folly of even considering choices that can only lead to their deaths.

Casting your ballot is the least part of the voting process. Learning about the candidate, the issues, communicating to your fellows, letting your officials know that you are, and if dissatisfied, taking part in the process, are all needed for a balanced political life.

There Is No (long term) Political Solution
The System doesn't create the people, the people create the system - or through innattention, abandon themselves to it, but even so, it IS answerable to them, and the way it is seen to be answerable to them is through voting. Voting, and working to affect what will be voted upon, and working to have the best options win the election are vital things to do, but they are short term tactical actions, they are not a long term strategy - win the battle, yes, certainly, but don't forget that there is a war going on.

The United States of America is at war, and though it may be a news flash for many, it was invaded, long, long ago. As with our situation with the islambies where we were being warred upon long before we finally became aware of it on 9/11, We The People have only recently roused ourselves to realize in the last two years, that there is an enemy is here among us, but it didn't just parachute in two years ago, it has been here and warring upon us for a very, very long time, at least 200 years, and here in strength for 150 years.

The enemy we are at war with is a smart one and the battlefield chosen by this invader has had nothing to do with territory, either real estate or electoral - those are just where the smoke from the skirmishes become visible, it has been attacking us in the only area that any enemy ever could have hoped to damage a nation founded upon Ideas, laws and liberty - on the field of ideas - in a sustained attempt to invade and topple the American mind.

Anti- and Pro Americanism
Generally speaking there are two tactics people will tend towards, or away from, which whether or not the people involved are philosohpically aware of why they do so, nevertheless they still will, because of the philosophy which influences them (knowingly or not), itself inclines towards; and those are on the left hand

  1. laws which are based upon opinion and legislation, and opposed to Natural Law

  2. as well as a fetish for x-spurts and consolidation,
On the Right hand they will

  1. tend towards Natural Law, reflected in opinion and written into legislation,

  2. and a distrust of experts, preferring something which reflects common experience, as does the Common Law.
If the legitimate function of National Gov't, is to provide for the defense of the Rights of its citizens against enemies, foreign and domestic, and to arbitrate disputes, etc, that government which is closest to the people, their wards, townships, etc, is going to be most appropriate and able to properly make the arrangements they think useful for their general population, being more likely to reflect and be influenced by their common experience, but the further removed from their direct input, the more centralization and consolidation of power that takes place, and the less that individual interests and concerns can or will be reflected in them. This was a deep concern of the Founders, as Jefferson wrote,

"What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate."
What we need to do today, is to focus on our concerns, not try to mimic their concerns and tactics - they don't fit together. The MSM has a near mania for trying to consolidate the various Tea Parties under one umbrella - they can't fathom it's decentralized 'structure', it is the very opposite of their ideals. We need to be thankful for that, and not seek their approval or be always looking towards top level ends like changing all of Govt, while we do need to do our best to halt it's advance, that isn't where we will win any long term victories.To win the war, we need to focus on changing not only govt on the lower and local level, but the minds and understanding of the people who make it work - only then can we work within the system, to bring the system into it's proper alignment with the rights of its citizens again.

DeToqueville remarked so long ago upon our willingness and ability to form voluntary association, we naturally seek to voluntarily associate with people who you may or may not know but are united on in one area of interest or another. Whether it be book clubs, church groups, Rotary Clubs, or Shriner's... people not so much concerned with fixing, as with doing what interests them... the American people tend to spontaneously unite along a shared interests and work together to promote those interests and goals and the Tea Parties form in the exact same way... a heartfelt issue draws people together from out of the woodwork, and soon you've got thousands of people joining together across the country, to accomplish something.

The progressive leftist can't comprehend this. The invisible dark hand of the anti-american philosophy instinctually attacks that local individual level of associating, they want to replace local concerns with national ones, They keep coming up with things like Coffee Talks, formed by A person at the top, looking to add followers to oppose Tea Parties... they don't work - to adapt to their mindset, it would need to have followers assigned and given tasks to accomplish, their concern is to Fix other peoples problems, not to pursue their own interests - other peoples issues are their interests - but with no pay, and no power to be gained or exerted, such efforts fall apart.

Such associations to be successful require self starters, and that also doesn't mesh with such groups.

But through the drumming in of the progressive, the proregressive, mindset in schools, govt, etc, that model has become the default assumption for how to get things done, even among those of us who dislike it, we find ourselves looking at our vote being ignored, and reach for a top down explanation "They control things", "They have the power", "They have Acorn and we can't fight that", or even "We must replace it from the top down"... snap out of it guys!

They don't have the skills, knowledge or mindset which we do, and as the Tea Parties over the last year have shown exceedingly well, with little or no coordinated or mandated effort, in less that a year we very nearly stopped the century long effort of ObamaoScare in it's tracks... we at the very least dragged out what was expected to be a slam dunk effort of a season, to a year long death march and from which Democrat Senators and Representitives are still dropping like Stupak flies from the exertion, announcing retirement, after retirement, after retirement.

We are winning. It is happening. But it needs your help, it needs your efforts, it needs your voice... talk to your neighbors, talk to the folks who come knocking on your door to offer their services - offer yours right back to them.

Our system is understandable, and theirs is easily demolished. Be a verbal wrecking ball to their ideas, and a sower of the ideas of our Constitutional Representative Republic of Natural Law, Liberty and Free Markets.

If you attempt to propose an alternative, an alternative is what you will end up with.


Ex-Dissident said...

Van, I made it through 1/3 of your post....I will try reading the rest later....
Always inspiring and full of hope, but here is my concern. There is so much money being wasted today, that no matter what government replaces these progressives will be unable to overcome this debt. The future republican or conservative president will be forced to collect ridiculous taxes to pay for this spending spree.

xlbrl said...

American was not a nation of ideas, America has become a nation of ideas. America was a nation of custom. Because the custom was so good, Americans could occasionally see things for the first time that no one had seen before.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl said "American was not a nation of ideas, America has become a nation of ideas. America was a nation of custom."

Gotta quibble with you on that one. America developed its customs based upon the ideas which those who came here, came here for.

60 years or so before John Locke's Second Treatise, Rev. Hooker helped break away from Massachusetts to establish the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut because he, and many others, disagreed with the ideas of near theological rule which had come to power in Massachusetts. Coolidge noted this in his speech on the Inspiration of the Declaration with,

"Rev. Thomas Hooker of Connecticut as early as 1638, when he said in a sermon before the General Court that:

The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people
The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance.

, and which I noted more in .

We are a nation founded upon ideas, tempered, tested and refined by experience in to custom, over the course of nearly two hundred years prior to the Founding Fathers, and then clarified even further by James Otis, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, etc and expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Hayek wouldn't like it either. But it is true all the same.

Van Harvey said...

Ex-D said "There is so much money being wasted today, that no matter what government replaces these progressives will be unable to overcome this debt. The future republican or conservative president will be forced to collect ridiculous taxes to pay for this spending spree."

I don't think that's avoidable, but if we can do so After doing away with the canker's on the Constitution, it will be worth it.

To let my gloomy side out a moment, I hope we can do that, otherwise I don't see avoiding the type of situation which brought Solon to power - and such a case would be the best case scenario if it comes to that point.

xlbrl said...

I'll quibble you back, and raise you a quibble.
The English settlers came here with settled ideas based on custom. They were largely Puritan ideas based on a custom that was still young. They were not experimenting with ideas, as we are now; they were forced to evolve carefully, and had the opportunity.
This custom may have been overwhelmed by the great immigration of the nineteenth and twentieth century, and more so by the plans of European socialist intellectuals.
Custom is what you do automatically, without having to think or consider. Classical liberal conservative ideas are always superior; it is our custom that is in question now. We hold a winning hand in a game that is no longer being played.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl said "I'll quibble you back, and raise you a quibble."

Lol... I Call your quibble and raise you three points!

The Puritan settlers were neither the only early settlers, nor the first - that'd be Jamestown, and the Pilgrims who tried to establish a colony on new religious customs alone, collapsed, abruptly, there was no careful transition there, the new Puritan 'customs' collapsed, and were hastily replaced by, and were rescued by, the more reasoned Liberal inclinations of Winthrop, regarding freedom of association, speech and property.

Thomas Hooker, and many, many others, left England specifically because of the English idea that the state had a say in religious practices, which Hooker, and many others, had no problem explicitly tying to early ideals on free markets, speech, and private property, etc. One fellow, Vernon L. Parrington (a progressive historian and not inclined towards many of my views), I think gets it right in Volume I of his "MAIN CURRENTS IN AMERICAN THOUGHT, 1620-1800" (1927), puts it this way,

"OTHER ideals than those of Winthrop and Cotton, fruitful or feculent according to the special bias of whoever judges them, came out of England in the teeming days of the Puritan revolution to agitate the little settlements. A Hebraized theocracy could not satisfy the aspirations of advanced English liberals who were exploring all the avenues to freedom, and who, now that the old feudal bonds were loosening, were projecting a more generous basis for the reorganization of society. The democratic elements were beginning to make their voices heard in England; the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers was bearing fruit in the minds of obscure Independents; and the eventual outcome would be the shouldering aside of a snug Presbyterian order, and the clarification of a program for a democratic commonwealth. In those excellent words commonweal and commonwealth-words much on men's tongues in the creative later years of the Puritan revolution was fittingly summed up the political ideal of Independency. English liberalism had come to believe that social conformity, established in the practice of coercion, with its monarchical state and hierarchical church, must give way to an order founded in good will, that conceived of the political state as a public service corporation, concerned solely with the "respublica," or public thing, careful of the well-being of all, allowing special rights or grants to none. The state, it was coming to be argued freely, rightly understood, was no other than society organized to further the great end of the commonweal; no longer must it remain a private preserve for gentlemen to hunt over. "

Roger Williams, who established the colony of Rhode Island, espoused Natural Law and Free Will and finally left England under ridicule about his ideas that English government should be subject "to the free will of the promiscuous multitude", historian Paul Johnson "The creation of Rhode Island was a critical turning point in the evolution of America. It not only introduced the principles of complete religious freedom and the separation of church and state, it also inaugurated the practice of religious competition". These ideas, were already rife in England when Milton published Areopagetica in 1644, having a gotten a good start with people like Erasmus's Free Will from the early 1500's... the Reformation, Machiavelli, Bacon, through John Lilburne who fought for private property, free trade, association, speech... the ideas were hot and loud in the coffee houses and pubs and many who had the energy, early on tired of being persecuted in an England which wasn't going to embrace them, and so came to America to explicitly start afresh under their ideas of how society should be structured.
(@#$!!#& blogger size break)

Van Harvey said...


The old fashioned colonization templates of the Greeks and Romans transplanting age old customs onto new shores, didn't apply here, the printing press was the internet of the age, and everyone was 'online', and we are the result of them explicitly putting their ideas into practice (look at the charters for the original colonies), testing, and refining them into what the Founders produced.

Many, such as the Virginia settlers, came partly for adventure, partly for commerce, but again, they were led by people who explicitly held their ideals, and vocally acted upon them - and in the conflict between explicitly held ideals, and implicitly held customs - as the proregressives have proven out to our detriment here - the explicit ideals will triumph, even if they are wrong.

John Venlet said...


I see you've gotten the post, posted. I can't get at it today, but I will.


xlbrl said...

Since we are speaking of Paul Johnson, he makes his opinion clear on this--it would be the Puritan settlers of New England that would set the tone for the commercial republic that became America, while those English settlers in the South would come for different reasons, and pay the price for that.

Alfred Nock-
The tenant with which Puritanism managed to evangelize the world of English-bred civilization is its tenant of work. This erection of work into a Christian virtue was an invention of Puritanism. It was something never heard of in England before the rise of the Puritan State.
Richard Tawney--
Puritanism was the schoolmaster of the English middle classes. It heightened their virtues, sanctified, without eradicating, their convenient vices, and gave them and inexpungable assurance that, behind virtues and vices alike, stood the majestic and inexorable laws of an omnipotent Providence, without whose foreknowledge not a hammer could beat upon the forge, not a figure could be added to the ledger.

That had become custom in the New World, and new ideas evolved out of that. Now, new ideas do not evolve out of our custom, because we have lost it and spend all our energies dealing with the wreak of new ideas.

John Venlet said...

Afternoon, Van.

Read through your post and have posted my comments at my site. Mostly because of the number of links in my response.

I agree with you about the importance of ideas, they are vital, but disagree with you about voting.

I titled my post on this subject Slaves Cannot Vote Themselves Free.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl said "... it would be the Puritan settlers of New England that would set the tone for the commercial republic that became America..."

Oh I agree (with the partial exception of the Virginians), I didn't mean to 'dis' them, was only pointing out that they and the Pilgrims weren't the first ones on the block.

"The tenant with which Puritanism managed to evangelize the world of English-bred civilization is its tenant of work. This erection of work into a Christian virtue was an invention of Puritanism. It was something never heard of in England before the rise of the Puritan State. "

True, but as I tried to point out in What never was and never will be..., I think what gave to their intent a solidity and follow through which they otherwise would have spent in laudable spiritual aspirations and pretentions, was the fact that there was no buffer between them, and reality - as the disaster of the initial Mayflower settlement soon displayed. There was no one available to lend a hand, no one to appeal to that they were in any way "too big to fail" - they obeyed reality, or they died.

That gives a certain emphasis to the praise of hard work which the words themselves can easily lack.

"That had become custom in the New World, and new ideas evolved out of that."

I suspect our views on this won't find an agreement without a steady stream of Sam Adams brew and at least a weekend to argue and worry it back & forth over face to face... if even then - or maybe because we see the same point from different angles... let's see if this can serve as an 'agree to disagree' point,

By custom, I mean that which is done out of tradition and habit and for the most part without intellectual attention. When the Greeks and Romans colonized new lands, they set them up in particular fashions because that was the way it was done, it was customary with them.

What the original settlers of America brought with them were much that had become customary, but which was also challenged and derogated by their home countries (primarily England), and which they were very much intellectually aware of and still actively discussing and expounding upon. Their ideas were still actively ideas, even though much of their meaning had become customary to them.

And because those ideas were still active and alive to them, they were able to further shape and refine them, they were in a position to see that some thing's worked well, and some things were better served otherwise - Hooker's establishment in Connecticut were examples to all, much of which was picked up on because their ideas were not only frozen into the actions of custom, but still alive and open to further development.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl said "Now, new ideas do not evolve out of our custom, because we have lost it and spend all our energies dealing with the wreak of new ideas."

I'd say that new ideas do not evolve out of our custom, because, number one, they are false and bear no relation to reality. Two, the dead stupidity of our intellectuals ideas have been so driven into the top levels of our people, and have now worked their way down even into the upper middle class, that those lingering areas where the original wisdom is still recognized, are less and less able to shove them aside, and it is sapping more and more of their time and energy to do so.

But those smothering ideas are in fact, false, they are dead weight, and having ready access to true, tested, tried and true ideas, those intellectual zombies are able to be dispatched with a crystalline shot to their virtual foreheads.

There are swarms of them shambling towards us however, and it is difficult to see how we put them all down without getting infected in the process.

I am, however, about to head out to a rally of people who haven't lost those customary American ideas, or for those who had let them sleep into simple custom, are and have been actively resuscitating them. Their numbers and energy are enough to give me hope that all is not yet lost.

We shall see.

Van Harvey said...

John, thanks - I probably won't be able to look at it today, got some TEA to put on the boil, but I look forward to it and will reply asap.

xlbrl said...

I've never doubted that my very occasional disagreements with a point you've made are not terribly important.
What I see is that there is little that we have to learn that has not already been learned once, and forgotten. How could a people who do not know the past be expected to invent ideas for the future? The Left wishes to erase the past because it is a drag on their fantastic intellects and ability to invent; it will not do for the Right to not truly understand the lessons of the past, and then expect to have ideas that will compete in an environment that they are strangers in.
A small but growing number of people seem to understand, but that number does not include politicians. I wonder if it can, given how far this thing is out of hand.

The Gunslinger said...

Van...I can now see why using only ONE comment word-allotment, is a misery for you...

Great Post!

I might add that I did say (in a comment)that my idea was dependent on reforming the tax code to a flat tax that everybody with an income paid.

Just sayin'

Van Harvey said...

Yep, you said "Of course for my idea to work at the Federal level, you'd have to reform the tax code. By which I mean simplify it with a flat tax. Anyone who gets a paycheck pays. Anyone who gets welfare, or doesn't work, doesn't pay, and doesn't vote. Simple."

Which I do still tend to want to allow... except that it would restrict the vote to those who'd pay an income tax, which would exclude those who are rich, who have a great stake in society, but who are paid no income... which is what sends me back to reinstating, in and by the states, property qualifications to the right to vote.

And speaking of "...I can now see why using only ONE comment word-allotment, is a misery for you...", here I go again.

In addressing the question of standards for voting, John Adams said,

"It is certain in theory, that the only moral foundation of government is the consent of the people. But to what an extent shall we carry this principle? Shall we say, that every individual of the community, old and young, male and female, as well as rich and poor, must consent, expressly, to every act of legislation? No, you will say. This is impossible. How then does the right arise in the majority to govern the minority, against their will? ..."

and the slippery nature of where the right comes from and who it applies to and why it carries,

"...a motion is made and carried by a majority of one voice. The minority will not agree to this. Whence arises the right of the majority to govern, and the obligation of the minority to obey?..."

and, this which is often taken as his opinion that women weren't fit to vote, but was more showing the slip by slip nature of the issue, not particularly as it applies to women, but why it should exclude some men,

"...Whence arises the right of the majority to govern, and the obligation of the minority to obey? from necessity, you will say, because there can be no other rule. But why exclude women? You will say, because their delicacy renders them unfit for practice and experience, in the great business of life, and the hardy enterprises of war, as well as the arduous cares of state. Besides, their attention is so much engaged with the necessary nurture of their children, that nature has made them fittest for domestic cares. And children have not judgment or will of their own..."


Van Harvey said...

but he immediately follows that with,

"But will not these reasons apply to others? Is it not equally true, that men in general in every society, who are wholly destitute of property, are also too little acquainted with public affairs to form a right judgment, and too dependent upon other men to have a will of their own? If this is a fact, if you give to every man, who has no property, a vote, will you not make a fine encouraging provision for corruption by your fundamental law? Such is the frailty of the human heart, that very few men, who have no property, have any judgment of their own. They talk and vote as they are directed by some man of property, who has attached their minds to his interest…

... What reason should there be, for excluding a man of twenty years, Eleven months and twenty-seven days old, from a vote when you admit one, who is twenty one? The reason is, you must fix upon some period in life, when the understanding and will of men in general is fit to be trusted by the public. Will not the same reason justify the state in fixing upon some certain quantity of property, as a qualification.

The same reasoning, which will induce you to admit all men, who have no property, to vote, with those who have, for those laws, which affect the person will prove that you ought to admit women and children: for generally speaking, women and children, have as good judgment, and as independent minds as those men who are wholly destitute of property: these last being to all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents…

Society can be governed only by general rules. Government cannot accommodate itself to every particular case, as it happens, nor to the circumstances of particular persons. It must establish general, comprehensive regulations for cases and persons. The only question is, which general rule, will accommodate most cases and most persons.

Depend upon it, sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation, as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters. There will be no end of it. New claims will arise. Women will demand a vote. Lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to, and every man, who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks, to one common level....

There does need to be a general rule, and I think it should be restricted to a general rule of maturity - which should at least be back to 21 - and to having 'a stake in society', I think history has proven out that Adams was right, again.

As hopeful as I am on our ability to roll back other measures, 16th & 17th amendments, etc, I don't think it's likely that we'll ever be able to return the age or property restrictions to the vote - I think that'd require some crisis to occur, the size of which I'd rather not think of.

Van Harvey said...

Xlbrl "What I see is that there is little that we have to learn that has not already been learned once, and forgotten. How could a people who do not know the past be expected to invent ideas for the future?"

We can sure agree with that. And at least hope (combined with effort) on this,

"A small but growing number of people seem to understand, but that number does not include politicians. I wonder if it can, given how far this thing is out of hand."

Van Harvey said...

Not that it matters, much but the above quotes from Adams can be found whole, at my fav site here.

Van Harvey said...

John, thanks. I did read your post, and through the links and several of their links, which I think can be boiled down to,

"Individuals have rights which do not depend on the outcome of elections. Majorities of voters cannot vote away the rights of a single individual or groups of individuals."
"Voting is implicitly a coercive act because it lends support to a compulsory government."
"Voting reinforces the legitimacy of the state because the participation of the voters makes it appear that they approve of their government."

, which I was not surprised to discover, and which go hand in hand with the "all taxation is force" arguments of the radical libertarian anarcho-whicheverism of Rothbard and the like.

As I said, this is the very issue which sparked the series of posts I'm still working out, and I can't, especially as longwinded as I am, give a quick sound bite answer that makes the full argument against such ideas. But the direction from which the answers can be found, are that as pro-property rights as such libertarians think themselves to be, they in fact fundamentally undermine property rights, as can be seen in their opposition to intellectual rights (copyright, patent, slander), their lack of understanding of the full nature of Rights, and of the fact that the Individual, though an individual, is still part of society. I don't mean to be insulting, but can't think of another way of stating it within the time my 10 yr olds impatient stare ('you promised to make sausages & hash browns this morning!') is going to allow me, but their 'me me me' refrains are more akin to 'wah wah wah' to my ear.

There can be no Right to not support that which makes the defense of Rights possible, and that is Government. The fundamental laws which outline the boundaries of conduct within society are not the proper basis for transactions, they must be the outcome of reasoned discussion and decisions of agreed to in a manner which gives all concerned a voice, and which requires civil and adult willingness to abide by those decisions (themselves made within a respect for broader Rights, such as outlined in our original Bill of Rights) made according to reasonable rules, and the manner which best describes that schema is our constitutional representative Republic, wherein some representatives are elected, and some decisions are made, by the the defined scope of Voting.

xlbrl said...

"There can be no Right to not support that which makes the defense of Rights possible, and that is Government."

Choice by the people themselves is not generally distinguished for it’s wisdom, so it is that we attempt a republican form of government in which you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. But the natural progression of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground when one precedent in favor of power is stronger than a hundred against it. Most bad government results from too much government.

It is a melancholy reflection that liberty would be equally exposed to danger whether the government has too much or too little power.