Friday, December 29, 2006
I suppose this is because I'm sort of a serial self-improver. This can be annoying to others, I know. The key to making resolutions work for you - not just now, but anytime of the year - is to be realistic and make sure they're measurable. I think those two qualifying characteristics are the difference between success and failure in changing something about yourself.
So what do I resolve this year? I resolve that I'm going to not let my professional life influence my personal life. That should be an easy one to measure - ask me how happy my family is anytime in the coming year, and the answer will be a pretty good indication of how well I'm doing. Being a good husband and father are top priorities.
I resolve to watch less TV and read more. I'll keep track and let you know how many books I read in 2007.
I resolve to jump in with both feet to more political activities. If you've been reading here, you know what I'm going to be doing in the coming year. I hope that I can reach out to more people and share my - our - philosophy on government.
I resolve to try and make reading the Bible a habit. I had a good stretch this year when I was reading it every day, but I'll have to work at it again.
Of course, I'll work to exceed the successes I had this year and eliminate the disappointments.
Here's a toast to you, Dear Reader: may the coming year bring blessings innumerable, good health, happiness, and of course, success. Enjoy the coming holiday, and as always, be safe.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Even the favorable Kwanzaa entry at Wikipedia acknowledges some of the less-than-shiny aspects of the "holiday."
So when your kid's school is insisting on teaching about Kwanzaa, rather than object, simply demand that in the name of true multiculturalism they also teach about Festivus.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
So it may look different for now, but rest assured, nothing is changing that counts - still the same three guys you know and love, bringing you the new American Revolution.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
And am I alone in thinking that surely there must be a circle in hell for spammers? Is there a bigger waste of time, talent, or money?
Daniel Webster adds:
Sorry for the minor inconvenience this presents the posters, but we've experienced a problem lately which we figure called for nippin' in the bud. Additionally, and particularly for all you "anonymous" posters, you'll note the following information beneath your posts - "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." Simply stated, if you choose to post as "anonymous," you gotta get the content by me first, so it dang sure better be worthwhile as well as clean.
Friday, December 15, 2006
As Sara closed down the house for the night, Ebenezer was making his rounds, tucking in his children one by one. He began with the eldest, Horatio, whose bravery and marksmanship earlier that week had single-handedly saved the herd and won the family three of the most prized pelts the county had seen in their generation. His father’s face still beamed with pride as he moved on to his second, Ephraim, who, was blessed with a vocal acuity that had already earned him renown for his ability to sing as dulcetly as he could carry a message from one hamlet to the other without taking a step—but everyone was also aware of his running prowess, as well. Third and last was little Abigail, who was already being tended to by her mother; the sight of the two loveliest of creatures was simply too wonderful for Ebenezer to put into words.
A second-generation immigrant, Ebenezer had grown weary of the depressing influences of the city and had ventured west with the simple goal of living free. The desire to dwell, as his ancestors, in the hills was strong in him, so he did not stop traveling until he had reached a modestly mountainous region, happily populated with a few like-minded native dwellers who welcomed him to their small community. His self-sufficient independence earned him much respect among the people and won him the heart of the blacksmith’s daughter, Sara. They were wed five years to the day of his arrival, and produced the three children mentioned above in the next seven. The independence by which Ebenezer lived would be put to the test on this night of his twentieth year in the mountains.
Suddenly, and in precise compliance with his training (and not a little instinct), the voice of Ephraim was heard, obviously on the very loud setting, “MOMMY!” He had seen through the slightly ajar doorway to his room, a shape moving away from a window that had been left open, curtains blowing as they never normally would at this time of the year. Ebenezer, in the same instant, scolded himself, pulled the shotgun from beneath Abigail’s crib, and handed it to Sara before jumping into the master bedroom to prepare himself for battle. The shadowy shape immediately knew the jig was up and that he had to act fast, just in case there were more than the loud voice and its mother to deal with. To his great misfortune, there were.
Making his way swiftly toward where he though was an eight-year-old boy’s room, he was brought to a sudden and complete stop by the unmistakable sound of a hand-held firearm being prepared to fire, and the sound did not come from a distance of any more than a span. The image of what modern observers might describe as a pre-pubescent Clint Eastwood—yet with the concentration and scowl of the middle-aged version of the same—materialized before him; and between he and the focused, young subject was the remarkably steady business end of a Colt 45 (or other handgun to be named later), open for business. But where was that accursed light originating? “Hold your fire, boy.” The intruder needn’t have wondered long about that as the soft but urgent whisper of a grown and angry man behind him informed him that he had indeed selected the wrong house to invade. Ebenezer, brandishing a lantern and a hatchet, mercifully turned backwards, loomed behind him and ended the intruder’s short-lived venture with one well-placed stroke.
What, if any, is the role of the state on the issue of illegal immigration? It is often bandied about that the state and local police should butt out of it because it’s a federal issue. To that I say, Nuts!
Consider, in the above story, that Ebenezer is a type of the federal government, and his children types of the states. Like the federal government, it is the responsibility of the father to guard and defend the whole of the property from intruders, whether they intend to steal, kill, destroy, or even get a job…the law of the house is clearly posted: “No Trespassing, period.” (or, as I’ve stated earlier somewhere, “…comma, ‘period,’ period”). It’s clearly within reason for the reader to infer that the rules of the house are that no one is allowed—whether a member of the family or otherwise—to steal, kill, or destroy anything either in the house or on the premises except in self-defense. From time to time, there will be crafty scoundrels who thwart the father’s effort to keep them out. When such scoundrels do make it into one of the boys’ rooms, he will then have to deal with at least one of the boys…in addition to the holy hell that is still overdue in coming down upon his head by the hand of the father.
But in a world where the father does nothing to stop the intrusion, the boys are free to handle the intruder as meanly as they see fit, which is not necessarily as humanely as the more attentive father might have been (instead of a mere debilitating shot to the knees, the boy might miss the knees and hit—or deliberately aim for—the crotch or the temple).
And then, go on to consider what abject injustice it would have been for the father to suddenly take the gun out of his own son’s hand just as the intruder is about to do untold evil either to him or his mother, scolding the boy for being racist.
As per usual, kind reader, your comments are more than welcome—they are requested.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Second, courtesy of the Federalist Society, you might enjoy this link. I haven't checked it out, but I've heard Scalia speak before and he's enjoyable, to say the least.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So here's what I got to thinking with respect to the ISG. Bush knows Baker really well, and the results of the report are a surprise to no one (if you actually meet someone who is surprised you really ought to have them checked into a hospital). So, why? Why go through all of this? What's the point? I've got my theories, and the one I've been batting back and forth like some sort of really awesome cat playing with a ball of string is this: Bush and Rove are outflanking the surrender monkeys. Sort of like how the House Republicans demanded a withdrawal vote on Iraq a while back that was defeated something like 10,000 to 2 (hyperbole, people).
All Bush hears is how we're losing, victory isn't an option, we need to withdraw, I mean, re-deploy the troops (which Jean-Francois Kerry actually said; so in addition to botching jokes he also botches party talking-points - and they wanted this guy to be President?), and he says: OK, I warned you not to mess with Texas, so tell me what you've got.
We can all see the ISG's recommendations for what they are: more foolish ideas that result in America losing.
Here's a thought, and you can play along at home. Bush gathered all of those big brains to come up with ideas on how to handle Iraq from here on out. I figure the readership here is easily... three times as smart as those dullards. So, I'm commissioning you, dear Reader, to tell me what our strategy should be in Iraq to win (which wasn't the scope of the ISG, by the way).
Dust off your thinking caps and fire away. I'll compile the recommendations and send them to Bush and then we'll see some results.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
While we shall not attempt to define a balanced approach to government reform in every particular - an exercise that would be as impossible as it is unwise - we do recognize that an overall explanation and understanding of the idea of balanced government is indeed necessary and warranted, and completely within the purview of our overall mission. Once more, my friends, we would direct your attentions to the archival posts dedicated to this particular subject as part and parcel of developing a better understanding of the idea of balanced reform. As has been said, these posts in particular have generated a good deal of dialogue and debate on the subject, and that debate in itself is fairly instructional as to what we mean by the term Balance, or as Mr. Tams so aptly puts it: "the Cornerstone of Federalism."
One such post is entitled: "Why Libertarians have it wrong." In this particular piece, Mr. Tams puts together a reasonable argument in favor of Balanced Government as a means to an end generally sought by the idea of libertarianism - a return to limited government. As Tams explains: while limited government is a fine goal, it is indeed a goal; not a strategy. Let us momentarily pause here to reiterate, our strategy or means for reforming this government can be reduced under one overarching and common theme - Balanced Government. But what does this mean?...
By "Balanced Government" we intend a return to the original balance of political powers, and the balanced distribution of those powers among the several branches, levels and spheres of our government. Herein you will note, dear reader, a twofold objective: 1. Proper balance in the distribution of political powers among the several branches of our government, and 2. Proper balance in the distribution of those political powers among the various levels and spheres of government. The idea is simply this - achieve the goals of limited and overall legitimate and effective government through the means of a wide distribution of the powers of government among the various levels and spheres of same. We submit that the closer to the individual American government is, the more involved in the political process is the individual American likely to be....as a general rule, of course: The closer to the individual government is, the closer to government is the individual...
Do pause to reflect on that thought for a moment. It has a nice ring to it no doubt, but think on it awhile. If the individual is close to his government; that is, if he is aware of the general (and certain particular) workings of his government, not to mention what it is doing or is likely to do under a given scenario, and etc., then he is much more likely to be more politically aware, and more politically activated. In other words, he will take particular care to protect and defend his true interests under a balanced scenario. And his general interests are the same as his neighbor's interests, incidentally. And it works the same way in the inverse. The closer to the individual government is, the more aware government is of the individual's needs, his wants, what his priorities are, and so on and so forth. Now, I recognize that this is a rather simple explanation of a rather complex idea. But I like simple; it suits me very well. And I'm in no way attempting to thwart your own imaginative process here. Indeed, quite to the contrary.
...And while government power becomes more widely distributed among the levels and spheres, so too will individual Americans, being closer to the functions of government themselves, begin to experience in a more personal way the impact or effects of bad (and good) governmental policies instituted over the governed. The governed under a balanced scenario would be defined, and confined, more strictly to those individuals finding themselves under this and that particular sphere and level of government. This is what we mean by "Balanced Government." It is fundamentally an approach which seeks to re-establish the Constitutional boundaries originally confining the national government in particular to a clear and definite sphere of operation. In so doing, the lower levels of government take on more constitutionally consistent responsibilities thus bringing "government" ever closer to the people themselves where it may be more finely adjusted to the unique circumstances and needs of those more localized governed to whom it is confined. Therefore, and by these very principles, the balanced method of government reform, in theory or put into actual practice, appears to me to be a top-down, as opposed to a bottom-up approach. It also appears to take on an external to internal kind of a quality. Not too awful long ago those facts might well have sealed the fate of balanced government to my own mind. However, my investigation into the matter has convinced me that not only is this possible, but that it is also quite appropriate given the state of governmental chaos in this nation. And truly the method itself proves quite the contrary on some reflection. But let's proceed with our investigation.
The various levels and spheres are further expounded on in yet another archival post which is somewhat instructional on this point. It is entitled, interestingly enough: Expanding Upon the Concept of Balance. As the title would lead us to believe, the point of this particular post is to expand upon Mr. Tams's formal introduction of the idea of Balanced Government as a means to our common ends. And as becomes strikingly evident in reading this particular post in light of Tams's foundational piece, the concept is indeed expanded upon insofar as the Federalist approach to government reform is an extensive and a sweeping approach. By the term "sweeping" we intend here to say that it becomes fairly evident upon reflection that while other approaches to government reform tend to be rather, and by their very natures "limited" in their applications and extent of application (though quite the contrary in the extent of their effects), even by design, our approach which we've merely borrowed from the founders is rather unlimited in the extent of its application across the governmental spectrum thereby earning its very descriptive because, first and foremost, it possesses the unique quality of limitlessness; which is to say that honest adherents to the concept of reform will recognize that reforms of any kind, limited in application and well intended as they may be, are inherently far-reaching in the extensiveness of their effects. This is generally an undesirable characteristic possessed of "limited" methods of reform because it imposes upon the natural order of things, leaving to chance occurances that which a more discerning eye would most probably resign to the realm of dangerous and insidious doctrine. And herein is an ever-mindful flag to would-be reformers: any method of government reform that proposes, and/or imposes strict limitations to its designs and purposes, well intended and attractively clothed as it may be, is steeped in the deceptive influence of imbalance. That is; whether the strategy is shown to restrict government, or whether it possesses itself the restrictive characteristic, it is an inferior and a hopeless method of governmental reform. It creates more problems than it cures, in other words, continuing the cycle of imbalance. Balance possesses no tendency to limit itself, except in the pace at which it displaces that of imbalance. And that is not properly a limitation on itself as much as it is a strict adherence to natural laws. This unlimited characteristic unique to balanced government, coupled with the double security of its natural tendency to slow, yet purposeful and decisive application, and its recognition of the cause-effect relationship, my friends, is what lends to balanced reform its most outstanding and superior aspects and qualities.
There exists a striking contrast between balanced reform and any limited method of reform. As to the latter, each and all of these have one common and inherent flaw which we've already identified - limited extent and applicability. As I said before, this is undesirable, deceptive, and insidious; it is odious to the very idea of reform itself. This common characteristic of limited approaches to reform in itself leads us to identify yet another flaw in such an approach - the dangers inherent in seeking changes applicable to singular aspects of the whole of government. These dangers are most evident in thier effects - that one aspect of government is subject to an attempt at alteration and improvement, while the remaining aspects are supposedly left unaltered and unaffected. This is simply an impossibility and therefore an imprudent, not to mention imbalanced, method of approach. As to the former, no such flaw, nor any such inherency exists. By the very nature of this method the whole of government undergoes simultaneous reform, slowly, methodically, and perhaps above all, peacefully.
Let us here pause to reflect that our condition is not yet a hopeless one. Many would argue differently, and to be candid, I've come real close to arguing that myself a time or two. I have good reason to believe we haven't degenerated to the depths of hopelessness, however. But one specific reason fits this context very well: This government and this People are not yet completely and utterly out of balance. Were that the case we would indeed be on the precipice. But that's not the case. There still exist under this system many remnants of balanced government, and many Americans who conduct themselves overall to accord with the principles of balance, yet their vital influence is anemic due to the effects of imbalance. And this, my friends, should be a source of great comfort to us as we seek to restore the principle of balance on those very remnants, and by and with the aid of those very souls. And incidentally, if we are to have any sense of urgency to our purposes, it must be to halt the degenerative process while remnants of balance still remain; while our most powerful asset (The People) remains in a state not altogether corrupted. For once we've lost those remnants, those structures and surviving institutions; those very souls, I can imagine nothing short of all out war to follow. We're a more imaginative people than that, are we not?
I will conclude this edition with one final thought on the balanced approach to government reform: Having put quite a lot of thought to it, I have concluded that there's a quality inherent to balance that is somewhat elusive under a mere cursory investigation. For my own purposes I have denominated this "the non-deceptive quality." For the sake of putting a definition to it, I will say this: Balanced Government does not abide deception, or the practice thereof. Deception itself is incidental to imbalance, not balance. It may well be that it's an actual product of imbalance. In some cases I think it truly is. There are few instances that my imagination can contrive of deception finding many havens under a truly balanced scenario. It may hide itself in the far corners, but it cannot survive long at the forefront. Under imbalance, however, not only is deception provided safe haven, it is actually encouraged and aided in its destructive tendencies. And as I said, in many cases it may well be an actual product of imbalance itself. In stark contrast to this, balance has no such tendencies. Where there is imbalance there is always deception in direct proportion to, and vice versa. Balance and imbalance are opposing forces. So too are those elements incidental to them. This very quality inherent to Balance is striking in its implications once balanced reform is underway. My friends, Balance itself is its own best security. Balance exposes deception where it lives and roots it out; it drives it to the far corners where remnants of imbalance (that which provides it succor) still survive. No; I have no utopian vision that the natural world under any circumstances can exist absolutely free from the evil of deception. On the other hand, I do not deny the connection between imbalance and deception.
Finally, as with other postings to this blog, we seek to find some common ground with other reform-minded individuals. We believe there are a great many untapped human resources out there who would agree with the idea and method of balanced reform were they familiar with its concepts. It is not our purpose to put a negative spin on, or to deligitimize any method of reform - most of us seek the same goal. Rather, our purpose, as with balance itself, is to expose inherent weaknesses and dangerous tendencies incidental to limited methods of reform. While it would be disingenuous to claim that we have no bias on the subject, it would be wrong not to expose the general weaknesses and dangers inherent to limited methods of reform as they become evident to us. We believe then that common ground lies in a balanced perspective on reform. The choice then is between balance and imbalance, and we hope to have herein offered some bit of clarity to the question.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
That is, of course, assuming that the New York Times doesn't get tipped off before then. At least that wouldn't be damaging to national security, like so many of their other scoops.
That they are suggesting talks with Syria and Iran doesn't bode well for the group's recommendations. Nor my blood pressure, but I'm glad they've given me a week to prepare for it.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
However, we believe the point is not really whether or not term limits are a good idea. Our position is rather that the attentions of would-be reformers should be directed more to the point of what is the most viable of our alternatives for accomplishing the shared goals of both camps. While we do not doubt the good intentions of those who advocate for term limits, we cannot stand idly by and allow the road to h*ll to be paved with those intentions. On the other hand, whenever this question comes up, there is generally a notable perspective often overlooked by the members of both camps - that of common ground. In other words, dear reader, from either perspective (advocating for term limits or advocating against them), the point is that the desired results, or effects, are in a general sense, shared desires of both perspectives. Both perspectives claim a common desire, and state as their goal more positives accomplished at the national level than we are currently getting. It is that common ground that we shall seek to emphasize.
It would be less than useful though, to offer up a common-ground alternative to term limits without first laying out in a rational fashion our reasons for which term-limits have not the potential to effect our common and desired goals. Nor would it be useful or honest in emphasizing this common-ground perspective to lend the slightest pretense to our having an open-mind with regard to the institution of Congressional term limits. No, dear reader, we do not believe term limits have the potential to effect our common goals. Indeed, we believe term-limits have the exact opposite potential, virtually guarantying the worsening of our national condition as opposed to the desired effects of making anything better.
In the conversation at the aforementioned blog, something of a unique perspective was offered on the subject. "Unique" I say, because whenever this subject raises its head on occasion, it is rarely, if ever, discussed from this perspective. In short, dear reader, the perspective amounts to this - our Congress, under term limits, would be perpetually comprised of a bunch of inexperienced sophomores. In fact, at the very moment that the upper house of that body gained its greatest experience, by law under term limits, the very members possessing the most experience in that body - fully one-third of the United States Senate - would all be replaced with persons possessing zero experience in that body. And that, my friends, can never be appropriate to our form of government. Allow me to rephrase that: It can never be appropriate to our form of government to have as its legislative arm a body of people with an overall sophomoric understanding of government, good intentions notwithstanding. The reasons for this are briefly covered under the following headings:
1. The Necessity of an Experienced Congress:
Among the nations of the world, the United States is arguably the most powerful, stable, and self-correcting of all the governments of the earth. One characteristic of our government which gives it such overall favorable qualities, internally and externally, is its tendency to reform, correct, and adjust itself to the ever-changing world around it slowly, methodically, and peacefully. With few exceptions, we may look to the most successful and stable corporations within and without our country and identify the same basic elements marking them, as well as our government, with the same outstanding qualities. Among these is an internal governmental structure which by design creates an air of stability with a singularity of purpose in mind - the best good of the whole. While one wouldn't argue that such a design compromises the basic integrity of a company or corporation, it seems that a large segment of our society would argue along those lines with regard to our national government. In any event, reason itself is assaulted whenever we, by inference and extension, argue that there exists no need, and indeed quite to the contrary, for the stabilizing influence experience and a knowledge of business is uniquely capable of providing in our national legislature.
2. Internal Stability is of Primary Concern:
Anyone who knows anything at all about the founding generation, knows that they were thoroughly persuaded that violent and sudden changes could rarely, if ever, be considered good for the country. By "violent and sudden changes" I mean to say - creating a situation (in this case, by the institution of term limits) wherein there is a rapid and regular turnover in Congress; the bringing in, on a continual and regular basis, of fresh blood, fresh ideas, and folks driven by the "fire in their bellies," yet, in so doing, and indeed as a goal in itself by the very institution itself, retaining no effective check against an overzealous approach by which to control that passion. In doing so, it does not take a large leap of faith to imagine our Senate, after two or three successive election cycles, being largely comprised of a bunch of zealous "reformers" bent on overthrowing certain national traditions the people have become rather accustomed to, only to have their "reforms" overthrown by a new group of zealous reformers bent on the same destructive practice. The internal disorders that would necessarily and regularly accompany such as this are too frightening to contemplate.
3. Too Much democracy; not enough Republicanism and Federalism:
Since we already find ourselves in the precarious position of our Senate being chosen by direct vote of the people, it could never be appropriate to that body specifically, to allow us through term limits, to slip ever closer to that of a pure democracy. We beg your indulgence in allowing us an explanation here: If term limits are ever instituted at the national level of our government, effectively we would be usurping the very foundations of federalism by throwing the whole government completely and utterly out of balance. What remnants of federalism (balanced government) we have left must be carefully guarded at all costs, until that day when we can re-establish balance as a central idea under this union. To grant the People term limits is again to give them more direct control over the national business, when they can be little knowlegable as to the vast array of details in which that national business operates and consists. And let us be clear in stating that while our argument that term limits restricts the voters in their choices seems at first blush to contradict our argument here that such an institution gives them more direct control, the fact is there is no contradiction to be found in the two arguments. By the institution itself voters would be restricted in their choices, there can be no doubt about that. However, by the same institution, Constitutional restrictions on their having a direct say in the national business would be virtually, and finally overthrown. On the one hand, their rights would be materially and really restricted. On the other, and by the same institution, they would assume a more direct and leading role in the conduct of the national business. This latter is a dangerous pursuit, and shall be further expounded upon in the remaining arguments.
4. External Wars would result from Term Limits.
Our Senators and representatives are called to perform specific Constitutional duties. By the Constitution of the United States, our Senate is called to confirm or reject the President's nominations for such vitally important posts as ambassadorships, seats on the Supreme and lower courts, and etc... This duty in itself requires a Senate that is very knowledgable of its business. Consider for instance that our national government is tasked, first and foremost, with the national security and defense of this nation. Part of that duty is comprised in our relationship with other Nations and States around the world. I ask you, my friends, what comfort could a friendly, not to mention a rogue nation derive from a Senate which exhibits no stability; which doesn't even as much as exhibit the appearance of being firm and knowledgable - indeed, much to the contrary? Yes, my friends, the simple institution of term limits would result, I doubt not, in effectively compromising the security of this nation. It would do so because in addition to the natural tendencies of other nations to distrust this one, and vice-versa, term limits would overthrow that one element to which heretofore other nations around the globe have looked upon our government with the most faith and certainty - stability. When we consider that we have international treaties that this nation has long committed itself to, not to mention that we are sure to form new alliances in the future, there can be no doubt about the detrimental impact term-limits would have on our national security. This nation has never seen the kinds and numbers of wars that would likely result from merely instituting term limits. We needn't give ourselves any more occasion for wars, just or unjust. Not only would it not be in our national interest to do so, but it would be a concurrent violation of our national duty to the international community to institute term limits at the national level.
5. An Exercise in Futility; A Surer Method of Reform.
Had term limits the slightest potential to effect the desired results of their advocates, we would be the first to acknowledge it, my friends. By the same token, if term limits are found to be so wantonly devoid of any such potential, upon even a rather cursory inspection, then we count it among our highest duties to do our small part in resigning the idea to the ash-heap. It is our firm belief that there exists a far superior alternative to term limits. This alternative offers all of us real potential to effect the designs generally intended by the institution of term limits. As was said before, we do not doubt the sincerity and the good intentions of advocates of term limits. We merely disagree that term limits are the best means to our common ends. Our common ends, or goals, can be summed up in these words - to reform and strengthen this government; to effect the kinds of changes that have long-term, positive results. We believe there is a way to accomplish this which would not require compromising our national security, our internal stability, nor the overall knowledge and experience of our legislative branch. The violent and sudden changes incident to the institution of term limits would be avoided by this method, and perhaps most appealing of all, this method would not require that anyone violate their core values. And once more, my friends, such an outstanding method is it, that in the very midst of internal reform, our nation would remain in the eyes of the world, and this very people, as strong and stable as ever it was. In a word, my friends, our common goals could be met in the fullest extent via the resurrecting of a simple, yet pure American idea - Balanced government. For more on this, see the other articles posted to this blog. Your comments and questions are as always, welcome.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Today, I'm especially thankful for my faith, my family and friends. God bless my Brothers here - my kindred spirits - and all our Readership. You folks are the "early adopters" in the renewal of the Republic, and may His divine protection always surround you for your selfless love of your fellow man.
And the milestone? Not planned this way, for sure, but this is the 100th post to the blog. Everyone have a glorious day, and I'll have more thoughts on this milestone later, most likely tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
He hammered on how well things went in the county, which is a strong GOP bastion. Of course, patting ourselves on the back for holding our county is a hollow victory when one reflects on the failures of the party statewide. The time for patting ourselves on the back... well it didn't seem like that's appropriate given the overall outcome.
He highlighted some competitive races and how the party learned some valuable lessons:
One of which was that "we" (quotes used to denote that I'm not necessarily thrilled about being part of the we) are losing the middle-class suburban woman to the Demos on the stem-cell issue. I was a little surprised by this comment, which in spirit was a challenge that we need to re-think the issue. His example was that the successful Roskam used a cancer survivor who was treated with adult stem cells in their treatment, to counter Michael J. Fox stumping for Demo Tammy Duckworth.
I not only strenuously object to the Demos politicizing disease as a means to forward an agenda, but recoil in horror that instead of countering such shamelessness with outrage, reason, facts and objectivity, that we instead trot out our own victim. If indeed we're losing voters to the Demos on the stem-cell issue, the voters are wrong. Absolutely, and without qualification, dead wrong. Our duty, then, is to explain how the Demos are wrong on the issue and how we're right on the issue.
Secondly, and as big a surprise to me, was the chairman's comments that 80% of the Latino vote went Demo in the election which is something we should be "very concerned about" - and the spirit of his comments again was courting these voters, with respect to immigration reform. I was, once again, speechless. Understanding demographic changes, I acknowledge, is what political candidates, operatives and consultants need to do. I cannot find a single reason, upon near-constant reflection since last night, to violate these principles to sway voters. Either we stand for something or we stand for nothing. We should vehemently explain, clarify, and argue for our positions. But compromise them? Deliberately lie, or worse, do the wrong thing, just to stay in power?
I concluded at the night's end, that there remains an enormous amount of work to be done to further the principles of federalism and return the Republic to the proper balance as the framers intended. I take some comfort that elected officials are merely a reflection of their constituents, and when the electorate changes, so shall the elected.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The members of this space have uniformly asserted - in this and other forums - that the key to renewal as we have defined it lies in education. Now, for each person a word like renewal can conjure very different images. It's important for us to explain then, as specifically as we can, what this means when we say it.
Renewal then, to this writer, means a return to the intended balance between the spheres of government. As I have quoted time and again, Federalist 45 holds the answers. The framers of our Constitution had very clear ideas - as clear as one can be without a functioning crystal ball - about the role of each sphere of government. Although this brief description doesn't do justice to the content of that essay, generally, those areas that can be considered domestic should be the domain of the smallest spheres of government (the largest of such small spheres being the several States), while the federal sphere focuses on national security, defense, regulation of commerce, and, I would add, protection of our inalienable rights. This concept of inalienable rights is a decidedly American concept; thus, when one marries the American ideal to the Federalist system, why we consider ourselves American Federalists.
Such a renewal will take a massive education effort, which can be further divided into separate categories. This blog, for one, has as its purpose the dissemination of these ideas and principles. Hopefully, these ideas have merit (we think they do) and the readers of this blog adopt these ideas as their own. Readers then speak to their friends and family about these ideas, and more people are drawn to the blog - and maybe even some different blogs that espouse the same ideas.
All of this is meaningless without the desired effect of education: action. I can tell you that personally I have become involved - have volunteered - in local politics. My goal will be to faithfully work for the furtherance of the ideals I believe in. And like the bottle of shampoo reads: Repeat steps 1 and 2.
So what do I think will happen? I think things will continue to worsen before they improve. What do I hope will happen; or, what will be the effect of this worsening condition? I think that enough people will adopt these ideas that it will either transform a current political party or result in the creation of a new one.
Either that or the whole experiment will go straight to h*ll, but I'm sublimely confident that we're here for a reason, and that we're not done by a long shot.
As always, I welcome your comments Dear Reader, and I'm also reachable by e-mail as well, if you want to challenge me privately on these ideas (you know who you are).
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I think where most people go wrong - either Democrat and Republican - is that they elect people to legislate their point of view with the idea that this will accomplish something. It often results in short-term change, but no change instituted thus is long-lasting, by any measure.
Take the current Congress for example (please, take it!). We might very well see the Demos roll back some recent (think: last 6 years) legislation. This happens all the time with taxes, as a ready example. Capital gains tax cuts may be repealed, only to be instituted again in a few years.
I can speak most effectively from a conservative point of view, but from either the conservative or liberal perspective, Federalism is the answer. I think that our system of government would function best - as it was intended - with a limited federal government by design, along with the concurrent ability of the citizens to decide how much local government they want. This can be achieved by re-establishing the principles of federalism as outlined by James Madison in Federalist 45. Let's allow states and communities to have as much government as they want, I say! If my town wants to provide universal health care for all residents (or JetSkis, or Cadillacs, or whatever), I can choose to live in that type of community or pick up and move one town over. I can't pick up and leave the United States... correction, I won't, although I could. It is this ability for citizens to determine how much government they want, be it a little or a lot, that evidences the moral superiority of Federalism.
After all, if most people can acknowledge the superiority of free markets, why shouldn't there be a free market for human capital?
According to Reuters (motto: "America: Just another land-mass"), this is the latest "swipe" by a U.S. community at illegal immigrants. Swipe? Really?
I'm glad to hear that the measures passed included denying services to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants can get government-provided services, you ask? Yep, and it's about time that stopped. I don't like supporting criminals, and that goes for criminals that are behind bars or criminals who the government isn't currently prosecuting. In addition to supporting myself and my family, I'm also paying taxes to support people who can't support themselves (another post altogether), so forgive me if I balk at supporting people who have broken the law and have no business in this country. Also, call me a wild-eyed radical, but that in addition they put their flag above Old Glory or fly their flag alone bothers me.
If Mexico (or the Dominican Republic, or the Third Ring of Saturn or whatever) is so great, how about you take your flag-waving self back there?
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Here's a letter - specific information carefully deleted - from the local Chamber of Commerce. I've got some observations, but here's the letter...
"A Message from the President:
I'd like to thank each of you who took time out of your day on Tuesday, or before to cast a ballot in the election. As I write, the exact balance of power is still uncertain.
There are a few things that are certain. Each of the officials who will represent us in Springfield and in Washington will have to tackle issues such as the health care crisis, energy policy, budget deficits, pension plans and taxes, among others.
The Chamber will continue to reach out and offer to work with all of our officials to find solutions to the challenges we face. We can't do it alone, we need your input and your assistance. I hope you stay informed, stay engaged and stay active. You can't win in a democracy by sitting on the sidelines and the Chamber plans to be an active participant on your behalf.
Sincerely, President and CEO Chamber of Commerce"
OK, so you get the title of the post, right? The last sentence of his letter says it all.
I'd like to focus on the second sentence, second paragraph, and pose the question: how would a government respectful of the balance intended between the spheres handle these issues? Clearly, more effectively than an imbalanced government like the one we have.
God bless James Madison! As I have said many times, well, how about we just go to Federalist 45, shall we? The whole thing is inspiring, but let's focus like a laser on this...
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. "
Is there a more bulletproof principle of government; is there anything more true that this? Is there a weakness in the design at all, save from the viewpoint of one who places the State above the Person; the same one who values conformity over Liberty? We're in the mess we're in because of a deficiency in self-government and the resulting changes that must have transpired, simply had to, surely as gravity causes the apple to fall from the tree. Only a return to the principles of Federalism can effect the lasting changes necessary to the continued health of the Republic.
I'll re-phrase and second the sentiment: you can't win in a republic sitting on the sidelines.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I've had an on-again, off-again thing with De Tocqueville's political analysis of 19th century America. When I'm into a book, I put it aside. When I'm between good books, I pick it up.
He discusses at length the progress of democracy and Liberty, and inexorably relates the advances of such with the designs of a benevolent Creator; that indeed, all things serve His ends, of which the advance of Liberty is one.
(Let's pause now, to reflect on how much this must irritate both secularists and francophiles, and how this must especially be an irritant to secular francophiles. Are you reflecting? Good. Interesting, isn't it?)
So I'm getting philosophical here... the disappointment of yesterday's election is gone. In less than 24 hours, I've gone from disappointed to angry to reflective to optimistic to hopeful and finally resolved. Thank God Almighty, I say, for the peace of mind that comes with Faith and His guidance. As Alexis might say, if he could talk to us now: remember that all things serve the Lord, even those that do so unwittingly.
I've made an appointment with the head of the Township Republican party for Monday. I already told him I'm excited about volunteering and getting active in the party. You can bet your *ss that I'm going to be talking with everyone I can about small-R republican principles and the concept of balanced government - and citing Federalist #45 with regularity. In short, I'm taking myself off of the sideline and into the game. My fervent prayer is: may He use me as His instrument.
I'm getting involved - and am thankful for the wake up call!
Monday, November 06, 2006
My buddy Mr. Light Bulb - ever the leading beacon - was where I heard this.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Any thinking person will acknowledge that there is increasing sectarian violence in Iraq and the country may be on the verge of civil war. Yet, good news is there if you look for it.
Especially the part about... one of Saddam's lawyers. Just goes to show that despite our many cultural differences, intelligent Iraqis and Americans can unite in a common refrain: Ramsey Clark, get out.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
There are such things as misunderstandings and innocent mistakes. As long as you're a reasonable person and a human being, this is pretty self-evident. Kerry's failure to apologize for even a potentially misunderstood statement reveals his contempt for the non-elite, and validates the decision the American people made two years ago. Give yourself a pat on the back if you voted for Bush.
But, knowing J-F, he'll flip-flop and apologize in a day or so. Still feeling like staying home to punish the GOP next week?
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
While Mr. Hamilton devotes his attention to the highlighted portions of the respective mission statements, I will endeavor to get to the root of our differences between the two approaches.
In reading Hamilton's piece it is quickly apparent what the crux of the issue is, on the surface, between libertarians and federalists. Likewise, if one reads the debate that ensued it becomes apparent what the crux of the issue is between the two at its roots. This, my friends, is what we need to get to. And thankfully for us, Mr. Hamilton anticipated that his revealing the differences apparent on the surface, would ultimately reveal those underlying causes responsible for those differences.
While we federalists tend to see government as a vehicle to preserve liberty, yet powerless of itself to effect good or evil of any kind, libertarians tend to see it, above all, as an institution possessing the tendency to be evil. This is the reason libertarians tend to want to limit government, first and foremost, thus limiting the evil it can do, while federalists tend to see balance as the better option, and precipitous to limiting it. Both perspectives wish to limit the perpetration of evils generally attributed to government.
However, Governmental power being what it is, - nothing more, nothing less - it is indeed a superior quality to balance the distribution and the separation of those powers exclusive to government. Those powers are: 1. The legislative (or the lawmaking, or decision making power); 2. The executive (or the power to execute the laws); and 3. The judicial (or the power to judge the intent, and/or the effectiveness of a law). These are the powers of government; the only powers of government. The phantom power of government to rape, pillage, steal, and kill citizens under its protection is simply an exercise of arbitrary power regardless of what level we're talking about, or what form of government happens to be the subject of our discussion. This is due to the human condition, having very little to do with government, except in its capacity as a vehicle to effect these evils.
We may also divide the levels and spheres of government into three broad categories: 1. The Federal (or National); 2. The State; and 3. The Local. While the separation principle is vital to our Contitutional Republic, so too is the balanced distribution of those powers of government among the respective levels and spheres of same.
While libertarians tend to see government as an enemy to liberty, Federalists tend to see it as as necessary to liberty as is oxygen to fire. And while fire can certainly be destructive, it can also be weilded and utilized for many good and essential purposes. While libertarians are quick to point to abuses of governmental power throughout history, making few, if any, distinctions between the different forms it takes in solidifying their points, Federalists are rather apt to consider the different theories of government, and to categorize and balance them. These theories of government can be reduced to three basic ideas and philosophies: 1. Aristocracy; 2. Monarchy; and 3. Democracy. These can be further broken down into sub-categories under their respective headings, but that's beyond the scope of this piece.
Interestingly enough, and opposed to conventional wisdom on the subject, the United States incorporates all of these forms into its uniquely "balanced" governmental structure, which can be termed a "Federal Representative Republic." Just as interestingly, too, these same governmental structures take shape in churches across the fruited plain, though the terms we use for them are a bit different. They are: Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Congregational, respectively. In broad terms, the central goverment takes on the monarchial aspect of government, the State governments take on the aristocratical feature, while the local governments take on the aspects of democracy. Once again, these are very broad categorizations, and in no way intended to be a minute detailed accounting. And it is in these very aspects of governmental form where the imbalance generally takes shape.
Over long periods of time, and in an effort to "limit" government, as opposed to, and at the expense of maintaining its balance, the people, who possess ultimate power in a Constitutional Republic, have shifted the powers of government in such a way as to make the federal take on more democratic characteristics, while the State and local authorities have tended to take on more of the remaining aspects of government as mere agents of the federal head. In effect, the United States has experienced a reversal in the "proper role" of the respective institutions, levels, and spheres of government. And this, being the root of the problem, is where we must make the necessary adjustments and corrections.
Indeed, it would be quite counterproductive of us to seek to continue to limit government at the expense of balance.
Regardless of whether we choose balance, or limits, however, either case involves the exercise of authority. In our peculiar instance the ultimate and final authority rests on the people themselves, and to paraphrase Mr. Jefferson: "I know of no better safeguard."
Sunday, October 22, 2006
My first thought on the matter was: I must debate this Osama character.
From the distinguished Senator's website:
"He believes firmly that health care should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few."
"Senator Obama is committed to providing every American with the opportunity to receive a quality education, from pre-kindergarten to college or vocational school to job retraining programs." (he's providing?)
"Senator Obama played a key role in the crafting of the immigration reform bill that the Senate passed in May 2006. The bill, which President Bush supports, would provide more funds and technology for border security and prevent employers from skirting our laws by hiring illegal immigrants. The bill also would provide immigrants who are now contributing and responsible members of society an opportunity to remain in the country and earn citizenship."
Of course, he's an intelligent man, for everyone will tell you so. Yet, I fear that a side effect of his smarts is that he's convinced himself of so much that isn't true.
I hold out hope that the Senator weighs his chances and decides against it. But if he decides to run, I challenge him, here and now, to a debate on the issues above or any of his choosing. I am sublimely confident that inexperience notwithstanding, I'd give him a debate he wouldn't soon forget.
THE MONARCHIST ADDS: As of this weekend (11/5/06), the man with nothing on him finally admits some remorse over his dealings with IL power broker and confidence man Tony Rezko. As Borat would say: Niiice.
Thanks to your pal and mine Mr. Light Bulb for posting this on his blog, here's a link to what the House of Representatives might be up to should it return to the Democrats.
Be sure to check on the "about" information at the bottom half of that link. I don't know about you, but someone who votes with the Anti-Christian Lawyers (affect a Southern drawl and pronounce: Liars) Union 100% of the time seems a little... out of the mainstream.
Share this information with as many people as you possibly can, even if you've had it up to here (gestures) like I have with the GOP. At least they're not going to actively destroy the country.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
For your entertainment pleasure, check out this political ad, which you're probably not going to see on a television near you anytime soon (courtesy of the Patriot Post). Although a little, well, silly (esp. Madame changing a tire) the underlying message is a good one.
Take it from me, I'm as disillusioned as anyone you could possibly meet about the GOP (the three of us created this blog because the GOP is driving us nuts, for Pete's sake), and yet, I recognize that until there is a viable conservative alternative, the GOP is the best option we've got.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Read the link, if you're not aware of the history, but here's the quote that pays:
"The Tet Offensive is frequently seen as an example of the value of propaganda, media influence and popular opinion in the pursuit of military objectives."
You can read about the MCA of 2006 right here.
Of course, the MDM has whipped itself into a lather over the inevitable human rights abuses. **yawn** Oh, excuse me! What's that you say? Oh, that? That's mentally deranged media, something I think I lifted from the Michael Savage show.
It's funny that the Left is troubled by this. Remember how smug they were when Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was decided? Which, for the record, was one of the more ridiculous rulings in recent memory? This was the Court's desired response.
But for the Appeasement National Committee, no terrorist is safe until we're forced to provide 48 hours notice that we plan to attack them.
Memo to the Demos: the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Let's all just moveon.org, shall we?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Update: I have...edited my list of the damned. Behold...
Mike Matisow, The New York Yankees, PETA Members, Ted Turner, Phil Helmuth, Democrats
Circle I Limbo
Senator Byrd, Militant Vegans, Barbara Streisand, Al Franken
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind
Cynthia McKinney, Harry Reid, John Murtha, Chuck Shumer
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The San Jose Sharks
Circle IV Rolling Weights
Bill Clinton, Oakland Raider Fans
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled
Nanci Pelosi, Osama bin Laden, Dennis Rader
Circle VI Buried for Eternity
John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Tim Parry
Circle VII Burning Sands
Hugo Chavez, LBJ, Hillary Rodham Clinton, NAMBLA Members
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement
Uday Hussein, Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein, marc with a c, Kim Jung Il
Circle IX Frozen in Ice
Monday, October 09, 2006
A few weeks ago I met a socialist. I don't mean an American-style liberal; I'm talking about a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool True Believer. This guy could quote Marx, Hegel, and Marcuse with the same facility which my hosts here quote the Founding Fathers. I was very excited and tried to engage him in debate about human nature and the moral superiority of liberty, but he was mostly interested in looking down his nose at me. I was unable to find any common ground with him whatsoever. My idea of liberty was nothing but a form of slavery to him; his notions of a scientifically planned society and economy were silliness and wishful thinking to me. I did gain some insight into how Marxism attracts followers, however, particularly the type of followers it attracts.
My socialist friend is an elitist, which may strike some as odd in light of the fact that Marxism is an anti-elitist philosophy, at least on its face. He isn't a social elite (Kennedy, Rockefeller), nor is he an economic elite (Gates, Soros), but rather an intellectual elite. To accept and believe in the idea that society can be "scientifically" planned in such a way as to benefit everyone, and even change human nature, requires a monstrous ego and an absolute faith in the human intellect. Marxism thus appeals to those who think they're smarter than the rest of us. Here's another little ray of light into Marxist thinking: My friend said (I paraphrase here) "Of course I think the evolution from feudalism to capitalism was a good thing. I just don't think the revolution is over." This was in response to my observation that socialist/communist societies in the 20th century have largely been economic failures, especially compared with countries that have been closer to the capitalism end of the economic spectrum. In other words, these actual failures aren't proof of any sort of theoretical failure. They are only imperfect first attempts. Think about that for a minute. If consistent failure can be dismissed by saying, "Oh, they just didn't do it right," then the socialist can never be proven wrong. Thomas Edison made thousands of unsuccessful attempts to create a light bulb before he hit upon the right combination of elements. Rather than consider these failures, he instead said that he'd learned thousands of different ways in which it wouldn't work. Marxists think exactly the same way. For these True Believers, hope always lies in the future.
In closing, allow me to direct your attention to Hong Kong. After World War II, Great Britain assigned John Cowperthwaite to direct Hong Kong's miserable financial affairs. He was so committed to a policy of non-interference that he refused to collect economic statistics for fear that they would provide incentive to meddle in private affairs. The result of this non-interference was that within a few decades Hong Kong was richer and freer by far than her colonizer, Great Britain. Hong Kong's current leader, Donald Tsang, has vowed to continue this policy, except in those areas where "there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism."
Raise your glass to Hong Kong, because it will never be the same. There are True Believers everywhere, and for them the revolution is defintely not over.
In keeping with the style and content of their article on the Foley "scandal," the writers seem to be under the impression that the readership there at the Federalist Patriot -- generally quite an intelligent audience -- somehow needs to be reminded of, not only the exploits of certain scoundrels who have in the past, or do currently, occupy seats in the legislative and executive branches of our national government, but also the way these particular scoundrels in question handle(d) their own misdeeds, and those of their fellow compatriots.
First of all, my problem with that style and angle of approach is that the readership at the Federalist Patriot, once more, being a pretty bright and engaged bunch, certainly doesn't need to be reminded of the exploits of these individuals, nor of the way in which they handled their particular scandal(s). Second, such an approach not only completely misses the mark, from my view of the target, but in so doing it also insults the intelligence of the readership.
Now, in the words of a friend, I hate to sound like a broken record here. But don't we all sound like broken records when it comes to our particular, sometimes peculiar, perspective on a given subject? So, let me rephrase....
At the risk of firing yet another round thru' the same hole -- a risk I'm perfectly willing to take in this case -- while Congressman Foley is solely responsible for his own actions/indiscretions, the great weight of the responsibility for his acting out on his inordinate behaviorisms while holding the entrusted position of U.S. Congressman, falls squarely on the shoulders of the electorate populating his district in the State of Florida. Now, I ain't gonna take the time, nor exert the effort to do a background check on Congressman Foley -- that, again, was originally up to the good people in Foley's Congressional district. But now, as we all know, a Congressional investigation is underway, the justice department is sure to get involved, and etc. -- so much for reducing the size and reach of government, eh? But I'd lay good money down that he's left plentya signs along the way. As they say: "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, and so on....it's probably a duck."
If the people of this country truly wish to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, while simultaneously effecting gains in its efficiency, one thing they/we must do is accept the initial responsibility of learning all we can about the person(s) seeking to represent us in Congress. Either way, whether they simply neglected to do so, or they chose to ignore certain tell-tell signs, the responsibility for Foley's actions as their representative in Congress, not as an individual, is all on the shoulders of those who elected him. And as is invariably the case, their initial neglect has placed an undue burden on their fellow citizens at large, just as a parent's neglect to properly love and discipline a child has similar effects at length.
The people of Foley's Congressional district should take this latest scandal very personally indeed. Foley was their representative, duly elected by them, after all. And the way democrats have historically come to the aid of their own wounded ducks has very little to do with it, except this -- the people who elected those democrats to represent them, elected their character, among other things. They didn't check their vices at the State border when they went to Washington! Washington simply exposed those vices to the nation, and the nation to the dangers inherent in ignoring them at the lower levels.
That's the point.
THE MONARCHIST ADDS: I added some links, DW. I hope you don't mind, and I hope it directs the reader to the specifics on what you're talking about. As DW knows, I'm reading Team of Rivals right now, which probably isn't the editorial staff's favorite book (hint, hint).
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Just as the absence of a person's right is the inevitable consequence of the absence of his responsibility, the most effective way to usurp the liberty of a free people is to remove the people's motivation to govern themselves. What will this look like when it is accomplished? It is the entitlement mentality, and it is already hear. It is plainly seen in the history of those who fled Louisiana for Houston and in the sad behavior of many of the people who died in New Orleans.
By-and-large, the survivors of Katrina fled without the need to be alerted again because they were well-prepared to handle adversity; either to return and build anew or to start fresh elsewhere, confident in their own abilities to provide for themselves and their families or willing to reach out for help and committed to earning the real kindnesses of their fellow American freeman.
Others (and you'll have to pardon my French-Canadian for a moment) bitched and moaned until government rolled over to expose its teat yet again, and took advantage of your forced generosity to pay for lap dances and cheap booze in cities from Houston to Dallas to Kansas City to Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, and every where in between. They have made their marks in the telescoping crime rates and the 100+ increase in murders in cities like Houston. Has the socialism of NOLA prepared them to wreak havoc on their generous American neighbors?
Still others--and this is the saddest and truest legacy of a conquered people--stayed behind to tough it out because they just could not see how they could get by without their regular delivery of welfare...come Hell or high water.
When it comes time to remember Katrina again, remember who was least "prepared."
Saturday, October 07, 2006
But they're missing the boat when it comes to government, and here's why.
Take a gander at the Cato Institute web site (really: do it, it's very informative) and it won't take long to see what they are all about. Here's the mission:
The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government." (emphasis mine)
On the surface, not so bad. But dig a little deeper and you'll see where Libertarians and Federalists differ (besides the fact that one of the lead articles on the Cato site is why Libertarians might consider breaking ties with the GOP and supporting... Democrats? Dear Lord!).
Now, there's no comparable Federalist think-tank, with perhaps the exception of the Federalist Society. That this is primarily a group of lawyers sort of makes it... less accessible than Cato. But here's the meat of their mission:
"The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be." (emphasis mine)
And here we have the crux of the issue: between limited government and balanced government, balance in government is primary in both order and importance. Balanced government, upon a thoughtful reflection, is the evident cause of a limited government; balanced government will lead naturally to limited government. The equation does not work in the inverse.
I've quoted Federalist 45 here before (most recently, here) but we'd do well to remember the importance of balance in government. If domestic matters are the sole domain of the states (limited exceptions apply; although this itself merits a separate discussion, suffice it to say in brief that in matters of inalienable rights, the general government is charged with the protection of our God-given rights), it follows that the relationship or interplay between taxation & spending and free markets will lead to a competition between the states for human capital.
Some states, of course, might wrongly choose to have unlimited government, and assume a great influence in the domestic matters of the people; however, such a burden - carried by the people of that state as it must be - will in short time become cumbersome and effect in the citizenry a fondness of and return to self-government. Such a sentiment will naturally lead to a change in elected governors who will promote this sentiment of the people.
Not to mention naturally leading to a government best described as limited.
Monday, October 02, 2006
There are two very compelling arguments against a strict interpretation of what the Constitution prescribes as the proper domain of the federal government with respect to spending.
The first is that not all Constitutional law is derived from the Constitution, and that indeed one would find that the majority is derived from case law. Without getting into a long dissertation on the value of stare decisis, I think that most spending reform can be accomplished via duly enacted legislation. That's the "democratic process" that constructionists are always referring to when railing against liberal activism in the judiciary, and there's no reasonable basis to suppose that while the genius of our system has been used to lurch ever leftward towards socialism, that the reverse cannot be accomplished using the same mechanisms.
The second argument against a strict interpretation is a little bit harder to refute, but it can be done. It is that where there are powers enumerated, there are also powers implied. There was a great debate early in our founding between Jefferson and Hamilton regarding the constitutionality of a national bank. The Republican didn't want such an institution; the Federalist did. Unless you've been living under a rock your whole life, Hamilton obviously won that debate, and he won it by asserting this same argument. The only problem with this argument - despite its validity - is that it was subsequently used by elected representatives who knew not, or cared not, in what spirit the Constitution was ratified. In other words, sound reasoning was essentially hijacked by inferior minds, or by ill-intentioned characters.
It is evident when we carry ourselves back to the time when the debates on ratification happened that there are clear distinctions between the domains of the federal and the state. I would strongly recommend the Federalist Papers to anyone who is interested in the topic but hasn't read these indispensable essays. Federalist #45 applies in this case, which I quote here:
"The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them."
The American Federalist position (if such a term must be used) on government spending, then, is evident in the above guidance. A return to the plain meaning of our Constitution by all branches at the federal and local levels of government would yield the right and proper result.
Friday, September 29, 2006
A website that I like is the Trinity Forum, and they send out these regular e-mails and post the same on their website. You can see this week's right here.
After reading this week's piece, I felt compelled to respond. Here's my comments back to the Trinity folks.
"It was Thomas Paine who once said:
'As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.'
A reason-based objection to lax immigration standards is just this: we are ineffectively administering our current government and its entitlement programs. Given the inequity of our progressive system of taxation and the inability of our elected governors to ascertain independently the relative constitutionality of any specific piece of legislation, adding immigrants to the mix without proper restrictions endangers what most people would agree is the last best hope for mankind: this Republic.
With Liberty in retreat around the world - with some notable exceptions - we have the unique luxury of being able to be selective in who we allow to come to the United States, bearing in mind that assimilation and citizenship should be the natural goals of any immigrants. And, most importantly, that citizenship in the United States is not a civil right, nor a human right, but a honor and privilege to be earned."
Not my most deep analysis, but I think it sums up pretty well my state of mind on the subject. I for one would support closing the borders for some period of time and dealing with the problem we've got before rushing to some ill-conceived "solution." It is our moral obligation to protect that which was paid for with sacrifice and the blood of patriots, after all.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Of course, one soul did venture a question about Starr's role as independent Counsel, which pertained to the scope of his inquiry. Rather deftly, he replied that his scope was limited to the accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Hearing Starr speak brought back all sorts of memories of the Clinton fiasco that was his presidency. Got a favorite? Let me hear it.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
See, we've become too selfish as a people. Now, I recognize as plainly as the next person that there is some good that comes from selfishness. For example, the person who lives a good and pious life to please God and reach heaven is being selfish, of course. It is important to focus on the results of our actions, after all, because that's what counts. Suffice it to say that the goodness/motives/results conversation is a long one that we can undertake another time.
When the contributors to this blog found each other at this board and started talking over a year ago, our goal was - and remains - a renewal of this Republic. Through what can only be best described as an iterative process, we sharpened our thinking and made some clear conclusions about where we were, what needed to be done, and what a renewal would look like, over time.
Back to my point: the problem lies with the people. We've been fooled into believing the things that we were taught were true, and been institutionalized by public education and the MSM. Unionized teachers taught me their agendas, which were reinforced by watching the evening news. It wasn't until my mid 20s that I started to see things as they really are, my late 20s when I began to re-teach myself by seeking out material on the subjects that interested me, and not until my early 30s that I started making connections with others who were doing the same. And now, two months into my thirty-fourth year, I find myself looking for the next challenge.
The purpose of this blog - as described early on, if you're interested in going back through the archives - is to educate, first and foremost. When people are aware of how our system of government was created; what it was intended to be; what sustains and invigorates it; what historically has happened to change that and make it less than it was intended to be; and how we can begin returning to the intended functions of our government and the plain meaning of our Constitution, then all that is required is a catalyst. An action. Some event, some person, or some group of people who can plainly say: we know, you know, and now let's act on the truth.
Which naturally led me to the title of this message. Although we've been pleasantly diverted from the point of the blog, I am going to focus on getting back to the heart of the matter. There are two parts, again: education and action. Let us not put the cart before the horse. There is much that needs to be done to educate people on the proper nature of government. You, Dear Reader, will play a part in that. When you read something here that you like, share it with others. When you read something here that you don't agree with, challenge us on it. If we're right, we'll be able to show that. If we're wrong, we'll rethink our ideas.
I do eventually think that there will need to be another choice for voters, which I affectionately think of as the American Federalist Party. You'll probably begin to see us shaping what might be the early stages of a platform. As always, your comments and questions are welcomed. If you have something to say, but do not wish to comment on the blog, you can always e-mail me, or any of us, and we'll do our best to respond thoughtfully and promptly. God bless us all, and make us His instruments.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Furthermore, the Church's stance on "peace and social justice" issues really drives me nuts. Well-documented is the role the Church has played in the illegal immigration issue. Furthermore, the legal plunder that is taking my private property (in the form of taxes) against my will for ill-conceived programs is stealing, pure and simple. Because the federal government is doing it matters not in the least; that the Church supports Congress passing social legislation indicts the Church just the same with that charge. Experience and logic can show that the care of our fellow man is best performed as locally as possible, and forced charity is not charity at all. And again, although I admire the sentiment in my faith that drives people to be concerned about the quality of healthcare for the imprisoned, I beg you: don't speak to me of this until we have forever ended that peculiar "right" to exterminate an unborn baby. Or, "choice" as the left prefers to call them.
Lastly, at least in my Church, the silence has been deafening about the Pope's comments on Islam. Is not faith compatible with reason? Is not the House of the Lord a place where Truth is welcome? Do not the leaders of the Church have an obligation to educate their parishioners? Is it true that Islam is just as valid a religion as Christianity - and if not, why aren't the faithful instructed on the truth?
I suppose the appropriate thing to do is to take up my issues with our priests, and I may yet do so. In the meantime, inquiring minds want to know: regardless of your faith, has the topic of Islam come up in any of your churches, Dear Reader? If so, in what context? If not, am I alone in finding this troubling?
Lastly, come to think of it, I'm acknowledging a past error. I used to call John Kerry a "buffet Catholic" - taking a little of this, a little of that, but hold the pro-life, thankyouverymuch. I suppose upon a candid reflection of my rather inflexible opinions, I am much the same.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Well, I can understand their rage. I mean, every time the New York Times or the People For the American Way or the Anti Christian Lawyers Union attacks Christians, we burn effigies of lawyers and members of the Sulzberger family, firebomb law offices, and vow that the only thing acceptable will be conversion or death.
Hmmm. Wait, that's not what we do. But do you think they'd respect us if we did?
Friday, September 15, 2006
It's often called a rhetorical question when you know the answer, folks. But do check out the speech, it's very good.