Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Setting Tyranny Free

In case you haven't noticed, tyranny is all around us today, unfortunately too many of us mistake the tyrannical actions in the headlines for the actual source of tyranny which is rarely, if ever, noted in those same headlines. That truer tyranny is far more prevalent than even our recent headlines would suggest, such as the 'hot five' I pointed out in the last post ("Touching on Tyranny - A Declaration of whose Independence?"), or the bumper crop of NSA, IRS & State dept.. scandals that have leaked since my tornado two-step & they are coming to light seemingly daily from a slew of government agencies - but by mistaking the actions for the actor, and with our attention directed towards the minions and away from the actual tyrant, the guilty one continually gets away, free to tyrannize us another day.

And no, I still don't mean Obama.

The confusion comes in part from the fact that Tyranny in a Republic wears a strikingly different mask, in the early stages anyway, than it does in the more familiar despotic governments of the banana, tin horn or royal crown variety, and when you focus so hard on finding someone to pin it on - you're not only going to miss it, but risk being overpowered by a tyranny that even the most power mad dictator can only yearn for.

I gave one example in the last post which, to my mind, comes much closer to identifying the real tyranny in our midst, closer even than that of the IRS's harassment of (conservative) 501(c)(4)applicants, or the NSA snooping, and that was the recent case of Eric Holder's DOJ going out of their way to reverse the political asylum that had already been granted to the Romelke family.

Haven't heard of the Romelkes? How odd.

“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy”

Charles de Montesquieu quotes (French Politician and Philosopher, 1689-1755)
The Romelkes' are the German family who moved to America, legally and properly, in order to escape their government's threat to take their children from them for the crime of wanting to provide them with an education outside the control of the state. They were awarded asylum, largely because and deporting them back to Germany would clearly have meant that their children would swiftly be taken away from them - the threat of that is what caused them to emigrate to America.

Atty. General Holder's DOJ fought to reverse that judgment of asylum, because they don't feel that any 'human rights' were being violated by a government taking a parents children away from them, simply because of differences in educational policy.

What's that got to do with tyranny in America? Their judgment was not that the German government had a right to take a parents children away from them because of a dispute over educational policy, but that government as such, ours most definitely included, has the power and duty to take a parents children away from them, in cases of disputes over educational policy, for their own good.

Let that one sink in a bit.

Surprisingly, Atty. General Eric Holder is being honest in this case, believe it or not, and that should be a tip-off to you that 'human rights' have little to nothing to do with 'Individual Rights', and more often than not are in direct opposition to them (details of that will have to wait for a later post).

This is an Individual Rights issue, and not incidentally, Holder's DOJ is using the cover of Education as the means of carrying out a deliberate strike upon the nature, meaning and application of Individual Rights, asserting a power disturbingly similar to that which our own Common Core Curriculum Standards implies as well, though, at the moment, less visibly.

If you are not seeing the relation between government having the power to take a parents children from them for what it considers to be their own good, and the security of your individual rights... well... it's worth noting how the justification for one action tends to lead to more of the same. For instance, prior to our nation ratifying the 16th, 17th & 18th amendments on the federal level (which, respectively, put the govt 1st in line to your paycheck, destroyed the structure of federalism and outlawed alcohol 'for your own good'), nearly every state had, and most of them only shortly before, established local laws that made state approved schooling of our children mandatory. By law. That perhaps not so obvious (!) repudiation of property rights (which our Founders saw as the basis for all of our Individual Rights), were instrumental in ushering in the ProRegressive era, whose hallmark was opposition to individual rights in general, and property rights in particular, in favor of expanding the powers of the administrative state, in order to take an active hand in promoting "the greater good".

I know, I can hear some of you, 'Slippery Slope' fallacy, right? 'Before you know it! Cats & Dogs living together! Anarchy!', right? Correlation is not equal to Causation? True, true, all very true.

In other cases. But not this one.

This is not a case of a slippery slope, it is simply a recognition of the natural affects of intellectual gravity in drawing our actions acceptability down to the lowest conceptual level that can tolerably be reached. This is not simply causation, but the recognition of the fact that when restraints are removed, what they had once restrained is no longer being held back, and what they had once protected, will then be exposed to potential abuse - and how long is that 'potential' to remain unrealized? If you can't guess, you aren't looking at the matter properly, for just as leaving food uncovered doesn't cause ants and flies to descend upon it, that does not alter the fact that the removal of a restraining barrier is an implicit invitation to an infestation of pests.

Maintaining and upholding your Rights protects your property, life and lifestyle from the pests of power who hunger for them because they hold powerful influence over your life - your Rights are not just an impediment to their power, consuming them is itself an exercise, a savoring even, of Power. What your Rights protect, are the natural food and fuel of power. Failure to recognize that, similarly leads to Tyranny - not through causation, but through an unprotected, negligent, exposure of that which tyranny thrives upon - that which is important to your ability to live your life. Those who wield power are drawn to those ethical delicacies, and if you don't cover them you can rest assured that you will soon suffer an infestation of ever more powerful pests.

When We The People had acknowledged that the state could intrude upon our rights at the most fundamental level of the parent-child relationship, for 'the greater good', then, as water 'seeks' its lowest level, so does the political protection of our Rights seek the lowest allowable level so as to utilize and distribute the surplus, for the greater good, enabling the ProRegressive Era which followed from that normative settling.

Keep in mind that Eric Holder's DOJ has not exactly defined itself as having an interest in deporting aliens, nevertheless it has shown itself, in this case to be very interested in removing any official judgments from the record that might give the precedent for parents having more of a say in their children's education than the government does. That is something which the Obama administration's signature Common Core Curriculum Standards is heavily reliant upon, to say nothing of what that says of the idea of parents having a Right to their own children.

IOW - while We The People were all busy watching the glad hand of govt as it doles out goodies such as our 'free public education', the unseen and far more calloused hand was busily taking away our most fundamental rights, clapping and back slapping as it went.

Which brings us back to a quotation I included in the previous post from, John Locke, and from which I had removed one sentence - now's the time to look closer at that statement and the sentence I removed.

Lockeing in on Tyranny
Here's the quotation as I gave it then, first without the sentence in question, from John Locke's description of what tyranny, from his The Two Treatises of Civil Government (Hollis ed.) > CHAP. XVIII. Of TYRANNY.
" AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to. [this sentence removed to be addressed below]. When the governor, however intitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion."
So well put, tyranny is "...the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to..."; such a pity that the next phrase undermines it so thoroughly.

And here is the following phrase,
"...And this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private separate advantage ..."[emphasis mine]
Do you see the implication? The idea that using power " for the good of those who are under it", as long as it's not for your own benefit, invites and encourages not only self deception, but a never before imagined total tyranny over the lives of others... for their own good. This get out of conscience free card, claims that as long as you are doing whatever it is you are doing is for the good of others, then you are absolved from cares over exercising power beyond right and over your fellow man. This should be terrifying because it is corrosive of all legal and ethical barriers and Rights as such. "For their own good" was not only the justification for ObamaCare itself today, but for state mandated public schooling, income tax withholding and it was the justification for the 18th amendment banning alcohol, not to mention for that venerable Legal icon of the left and right, Judge Oliver Wendel Holmes, in ruling that govt had the right to sterilize a woman (Buck vs Bell), for her, and our, own good - because HE thought it would be best for Her.

As I noted a few years ago:
"... a women considered to be feeble minded, should not be allowed to burden society with her off spring... that means that in his opinion, and that of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, he thought is sensible to force her having her tubes tied because she was, in the unstated opinion of the court 'poor white trash', or stated in the politicaly correct way of the day, 'feeble minded'. Holmes stated,

"It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
(BTW, she was subsequently found to not be 'feeble minded'. Sorry. You can read a bit more about these well intentioned proregressives in American history here.)..."
What the meaning of Locke's errant sentence invites, is what has proven to be the worst kind of tyranny over mankind, the kind where a person can feel good about being tyrannical, without a hint of guilt, because their tyrannical acts are excused as being done for your own good. Incidentally, I do forgive Locke for not having thought of that, since in his day, the modern sort of men who'd tyrannize you for your own good, had yet to make much of a splash in history. The tyrants of his age were more of the old school head-chopping-off sort, which he was intimately aware of.

What is so dangerously seductive about that sentence, is that it enables people who believe they have your best interests in mind - and I do believe that most of the people behind the most tyrannical actions believe and tell themselves this - to put what they want for you, in place of whatever you might want for your own life, for your own good and happiness. You can just imagine the thinking of the DOJ, and others, running along the lines of this, can't you?:
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?

Thomas Jefferson: First Inagural Adddress, 1801
'Sure the Romelke family means well for their children, but what they don't realize, due to their narrow (and intolerant) beliefs, is that we know what is best, dut to our more scientific understanding, what is best for them, look, here's our statistics proving it. And not just for them, but for all our people, and if we allow them to do what they want, then people will get it into their minds that they can just do whatever they think is right too, despite what we can clearly see is best for them and for the greater good... and if that is allowed, then... people will do whatever they want... cats & dogs living together... anarchy!'
Locke's phrase was a 'common sense' observation which Locke failed to pursue the implications of. To his credit though, he did not fail to identify the keystone, which if withdrawn, brings gravity's free fall fully into effect, from John Locke, The Two Treatises of Civil Government (Hollis ed.) > CHAP. XVIII. Of TYRANNY.
" It is a mistake, to think this fault is proper only to monarchies; other forms of government are liable to it, as well as that: for wherever the power, that is put in any hands for the government of the people, and the preservation of their properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the arbitrary and irregular commands of those that have it; there it presently becomes tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many. Thus we read of the thirty tyrants at Athens, as well as one at Syracuse; and the intolerable dominion of the Decemviri at Rome was nothing better."
All of the ProRegressives plans for your own good, would be and should be (are: See the clauses under Article 1, Section 8) ) pre-empted by the constitutional restraints upon government, keeping it within its proper bounds of upholding and defending the rights of its citizens to live their own lives, rather than allowing govt to enlarge its powers to see that our lives reflect the life that government sees as being for their and the greater good.

Natural Law, and its barriers for keeping your property, which ultimately means, because it is derived from, the property which you have in your own life, safe and secure from those who'd seize it for their own purposes. From James Madison's essay on Property,
"...In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage. In the former sense, a man's land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.
He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.
He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.
In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho' from an opposite cause.
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own..."
That is what Liberty is and what it represents, and it is only from an understanding of the full meaning and import of Natural Law, and the implications of violating it, that our Rights, and the Constitution itself, can be defended.

Tyranny Today
Power, freed from our understanding of Rights, is free to keep you unfree. As I said back in January, the actions so apparent under this administration, weren't assaults upon religion, free speech, the 2nd Amdt, freedom of association, or any other particular right, rather they have been a blatant attack upon Individual Rights as such, and especially their political root, Property Rights. And because they weren't called upon it then, we are seeing such a wide scale of abuse as the news brings to us afresh every day.

Tyranny results, just as water wets and fire burns, from not restraining power from that which it naturally seeks to extend itself over - whether it is for your personal benefit or theirs is immaterial. Marx wanted to abolish Private Property, he identified that as the basis for his entire 'philosophy', but he lacked the imagination to explain how, and amateurs like Lenin & Stalin, were to clumsy to conceive of any way other than brute force and murder, to carry it off.

Pro(re)gressives, on the other hand, saw how to pull it off, and that is what the administrative state accomplishes, it is the bureaucratic means of abolishing private property by removing the power of choice from the possession of material objects or lives. While you might nominally retain possession, and believing the fairy tale that 'possession is 9/10's of the law', they retain power over your right to use it as you see fit - what right of possession do you possibly retain, if you do not have the right to use it when and how you choose? Ironically, the Progressives saw what the original liberals (referred to as Classical Liberals today) only glimpsed, that Intellectual Property is the root of Property, and without the identification and defense of that - no property, and no Rights, can ever be secure, and no laws can consistently defend them.

The regulatory state is a violation of your rights by its very nature, and by its existence alone, and its purpose is to interpose the governments will over your ability to choose what to do with what is yours. If we do not abolish the IRS, the EPA, the Dept of Ed, etc., our government will use the mechanism of The Law, which was designed to protect our Rights, to wither them away.

And it was with that in mind, and in reply to those who attempted a defense of rights and property without fully understanding either, that Madison said:
"There cannot be different laws in different states on subjects within the compact without subverting its fundamental principles, and rendering it as abortive in practice as it would be incongruous in theory."
In a Republic, tyranny arises either through laws that have been written without respect for their true purpose - preserving the rights and property of their citizens - and their unlawful powers outlive the lives and times of those who write them, accreting and permeating every aspect of our lives, through the EPA, Dept of Ed, IRS, FDA, DHS, which impose their choices over yours, for your own, and for the greater good, over everything from the legal size of Big Gulps, how a Doctor shall be allowed to prescribe care - or not - for their patients. They are the means of nationalizing a nation.

The other track tyranny can take in a Republic, which the first track will eventually lead to, is that through too many laws of unlimited scope and ill defined powers, the law itself soon loses the respect of, and so its authority over, the people. In either case, power is unleashed to run wherever the ever more restless will of the people can be led, and in that anarchy of mega law chaos, a leader, a single ruler, is very likely to be sought out. Both approaches though, entail and .... the discrediting and unprincipled use of the law.

Which brings us around to those misguided few who are seeking to defend the constitution by destroying it, through the nullity of nullification - in the next post.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Tornadoes suck... but people are pretty darn cool!

Well the tornadoes that struck St. Charles MO last Friday, included our house in their tour, and while it didn't flatten our house, as it did to so many, it bashed us up pretty good all the same - still, though shook up, we're all ok.

You know the old saying "You find out who your real friends are when the chips are down?" Well I'm pleased to say that the ones I thought were my friends, proved me to be right about them (that's a little poke at me, on behalf of J & D :-) ). We had numerous calls, messages and tweets from friends far & wide who were eager to drop everything and come help out, and while due to space & frazzled brains, we kept it to a small number of nearby friends and old neighbors, it's nice to know that so many others would have showed up just as eagerly to help, lift, pack & , intoxicate & clean.

Thank you all so very much! Tornadoes definitely suck, but people proved themselves once again to be pretty darned cool.

The last few days have been a stressful, sleepless blur, especially now at 3:00 a.m., but I'd like to take a moment of semi quiet, and  pass on a little of what happened in the last 48 hrs, especially to those I haven't been able to reply to yet.

A couple of my wife Carol's TWA friends, Jerry & Dereck, had come to St. Louis Thursday to attend an event and spend the night with us. After the event that night, we'd driven home through some very nasty weather, but Friday evening seemed like any other overcast night; it seemed likely that we'd get a little rain, a little wind, some lightning & thunder, something to ooh & ahh over, but no biggee otherwise.

Missouri weather changes fast.

Jerry headed back home to Illinois, & I'd just driven our daughter Rachel to go rollerskating with some friends a couple miles away, and everything still seemed relatively normal. But coming home the lightening started flashing and right as I was turning back onto our street, the weather warning sirens were going off and the clouds were darkening quickly.


It still wasn't raining when I walked in the house, but Carol & Dereck were on the deck tying down the gazebo cover in case the storm picked up, and right about then we noticed the clouds were forming into a circular bank... hmm... and then between walking over to help tie them tie the last knot, and looking back up, the sky'd gone deep dark. We stepped back and checked the weather radar and it didn't look so great, to put it mildly. I pulled out my cell phone to call Rachel and tell her I was going to spoil her night and come back and pick her up, and as I was talking with her I glanced over my shoulder and saw the sight no one wants to see in their neighborhood, the debris foot of a tornado, a tall wall of swirling grey, rushing towards us from behind the tree line... sooo... I'm hollering at Carol & Dereck that we needed to get in the basement quick, calling the dogs and while I'm also telling Rachel to "...stay calm, all's well..." and right then the power went out.

As we rushed into the music room in our basement, and knelt down in the corner, we could feel a huge pressure build in our ears, and then as I'm telling Rachel on the phone, "It'll be all right Rachel, I'll be..." there was a loud WHAMMM!!!!, and the house shook, there was a bone wrenchingly loud blast of breaking glass & splintering wood and a swirling white noise for several seconds, and then it was past.

We came out of the room and it was full dark, outside and in. The doors to our entertainment area were wide open, there was rain streaming in where the atrium windows had been on the back wall of the house, and the dining room windows, frame & all (Jerry had a few choice words for our builder afterwards) had been torn out of the front of the house and was laying in the yard. Shattered glass was everywhere crunching under our feet, leaves were all over, and there was some weird puffy stuff all over the floor, the furniture, the walls, and every where else. Once we got flashlights we could see that the puffy stuff was the insulation from our attic, and it looked like Christmas Tree Flocking - anyone remember that stuff? - the entire house, everything, every nook and cranny, the mirrors, were all pasted with this fiberglass insulation.

Still, all in all, especially with the recent devastation of Moore Oklahoma fresh in mind, things didn't seem so bad for us in our house, other than the mess of course. But as I looked outside, things didn't look so good. Our neighbors roofs were banged up, huge chunks of siding were gone from their houses, deck rail & sections of deck were thrown down, a couple garage doors had been smashed in by the tornado, which kept on going, taking out the entire side of their garage walls. but as I pounded on their doors, everyone came up safe & sound and happy to be able to say that.

Then I turned around I saw the right side of our house - the siding was all gone and the upper half triangle of wall, everything between the siding & the eaves, was gone... nothing there except for the inside of our attic.


I began walking around the side of the house, the satellite dish had taken out a couple rows of garden bricking, our patio furniture was gone, our full sized stainless steel BBQ was gone, the gazebo we'd knotted down on the deck was amazingly still there, but the deck chairs, were gone and the deck dining table was pasted into  what remained of the deck rail under the gazebo... ahh... crud.

On the other side of the house, the siding was gone and the wall was bowing out. In Chad's room, the front bedroom on the side with the missing section of wall, the ceiling had collapsed and there was nothing but open air through the missing wall, same with bathroom, and water stains were quickly appearing throughout our living room ceiling.

We began making calls, and our insurance agent, John Knecht (he's awesome) found a disaster recovery crew, and then found a way past their initial "Sunday will be the earliest..." and had them out there within two hours; they pro-boarded up our attempts at filling the windows, tarped the house & began the inspection.  The entire time the crew is climbing all around the house, nailing, tarping, assessing... with the entire house coated in fiberglass insulation... Carol is cleaning the kitchen table; she's rattling off insurance & account details to John helping arrange this and that, but all the while cleaning and pledging the kitchen table & snapping at anyone who set something on it, wiping, polishing... I managed not to laugh out loud, but it was surreal, we soon had this spotless, sparkling table in the midst of complete chaos. That's my Carol ;-)

We finally got her & the kids to a motel around 3:00 am, Dereck & I stayed, against the disaster folk's warnings, in the basement guest room, where he got some sleep. Dereck did. Snoring? Think of a tuba being blown into a big bass drum & played back with full reverb through a concert quality PA system... if I got an hour of sleep, it was only through totaling up all the individual minutes of head noddings. LOL.

Our house is a mess, to say the least, perhaps structurally unsound. I've got a lot of books, many that are irreplaceable, either because they're collectors items, or from my Grandpa, or have my notes in them... sure, the insurance can write a check for them, but they can't be replaced. Other family stuff, pictures, etc... we got a storage locker and moved them into it... we're all fine.

Perspective - somethings really put priorities clearly where they belong.

Tornado's suck, no doubt about it, but people are pretty darn awesome. We had lots of friends calling, tweeting and emailing offering everything from themselves, food, materials, in order to help. We had several friends there Saturday, Jerry who'd left earlier on Friday (and was nervously trying to stay ahead of the weather), turned around and drove back from Illinois, so he & Dereck to could stay on and help and tolerate my moaning & grumbling (I'm a real jerk when I'm focused on something that's bothering me and anyone interrupts me, it's ridiculous, I know, fortunately family & friends brush it off. I'm sooo lucky). Everyone wanted to help, everyone from Dana, Hoft , the Kruta's, our GGI Crew, to Tea Party friends like Patch at Poed Patriot , Gretchen of Mo Ed Watchdog to Ed of Ed's Beds who offered Chain Saw's & Mattresses (ya gotta know Ed, if we'd have needed a civil war cannon, loaded, and an industrial grade power transformer, I've no doubt they'd have appeared) and many more, all of whom are deeply, deeply appreciated.

Jerry & Dereck - sometimes a visit turns into more than you bargained for!
Tornadoes suck, but friends are awesome!
Wall separated from roof
Neighbors hit too
Fiberglass insulation everywhere

But we kept it to a small handful of friends who live close by... it's almost more stress trying to coordinate each person, having them do something while overseeing what takes a knowing individual eye on each piece, yes, no, stay, goes, etc, so we kept it small (and who are familiar with my jerkiness), and our old next door neighbors showed too up with coffee & helping hands, as well as our insurance agent, who brought himself, his daughter (partner), food and manpower, picking through what was important to handle rescue right then, the rest is covered to either be cleaned, refurbished or replaced.

All in all, we're as lucky as it gets, we're all fine, and if all we've got to worry about is sentimental stuff... damn that's lucky, and to find out on top of that, that the people you counted as friends, really and truly are - that's priceless. And Dereck, who flew out from California, got a much more action packed visit than he bargained for, and now finally understands that tornado's ARE worse than earthquakes!

Ok, I'm way passed stupid-tired, thank you all who offered help and well wishes... there will soon be a need for Scotch!