Michael Ramirez Strikes Again!
On Saturday I posted the “Quote of the Election” excerpted from a piece at Forbes.com by Peter Robinson. The piece was a discussion of Thomas Sowell’s theory of “Competing Visions” as applied to the upcoming election. As I quoted in the previous post, the “Competing Visions” theory holds that two competing philosophies underlie Western thought:
Sowell calls one worldview the “constrained vision.” It sees human nature as flawed or fallen, seeking to make the best of the possibilities that exist within that constraint. The competing worldview, which Sowell terms the “unconstrained vision,” instead sees human nature as capable of continual improvement.
You can trace the constrained vision back to Aristotle; the unconstrained vision to Plato. But the neatest illustration of the two visions occurred during the great upheavals of the 18th century, the American and French revolutions.
The American Revolution embodied the constrained vision. “In the United States,” Sowell says, “it was assumed from the outset that what you needed to do above all was minimize [the damage that could be done by] the flaws in human nature.” The founders did so by composing a constitution of checks and balances. More than two centuries later, their work remains in place.
The French Revolution, by contrast, embodied the unconstrained vision. “In France,” Sowell says, “the idea was that if you put the right people in charge–if you had a political Messiah–then problems would just go away.” The result? The Terror, Napoleon and so many decades of instability that France finally sorted itself out only when Charles de Gaulle declared the Fifth Republic.
Today I found that Robinson had interviewed Sowell for his Hoover Institution video series “Uncommon Knowledge.” The interview is in five parts being posted this week at NRO. Yesterday’s was quite interesting. Here’s my transcript of the pertinent exchange:
Peter Robinson: Let me give you a couple of quotations. John McCain in the presidential debate of October 16 on the kinds of judges he would nominate to the Supreme Court:
“I will find the best people in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution and not legislating from the bench.”
Barack Obama during the same debate:
“If a woman is out there trying to raise a family, trying to support her family and is being treated unfairly then the court has to stand up if nobody else will, and that’s the kind of judge I want.”
Thomas Sowell: That’s unconstrained. That somehow or other there are people with the judicial robes on who can just decide these things ad hoc, which among other things would mean we would no longer really have law. You would discover, once you got into the courtroom in front of the judge, you would then discover what the decision is, but you would have no clue beforehand.
Robinson: So that would. . . A full embrace of the Unconstrained Vision, which Barack Obama seems intent on, would overturn the fundamental basis of American law which is a nation of laws, not of men, . . .
Robinson: . . . it would be a nation of men, of judges.
Robinson: Alright. September of this year the Rasmussen polling company asked this question: “Should the Supreme Court make decisions based on what’s written in the Constitution and legal precedents, or should it be guided mostly by a sense of fairness and justice?”
Eighty-two percent of McCain supporters said that the Supreme Court should base its decisions on the Constitution, 29% of Obama supporters agree, 11% of McCain supporters said that the Supreme Court should make its decisions on fairness, 49% of Obama supporters said that it should.
Now, here’s the question: You’ve said McCain constrained, Obama unconstrained. But what this would seem to indicate, this polling data, that this is not just a debate taking place among politicians or American elites, it’s reached very deep into the American public.
Sowell: Oh, absolutely.
Robinson: Forty-nine percent of Americans think the Supreme Court should. . .
Sowell: Of Obama supporters.
Robinson: Excuse me, 49% of Obama supporters, exactly. Does that startle you? Does it alarm you?
Sowell: It doesn’t startle me, it depresses me. But you know this has been going on for a long time. People complain about a court decision on the basis that they wish it had turned out differently, but that isn’t the judge’s job. There’s a wonderful case, and I wish I could remember what the title of it was, in which Clarence Thomas said that he really agreed with the position taken by one of the litigants in the case, but that he wasn’t there to decide that issue. He was there to decide what did the law say? And the law said otherwise, and so he voted against them. You see the same thing in Oliver Wendell Holmes where in a number of cases he makes very cutting disparagements of one of the litigants in the case, and then votes in favor of them, because “I’m not here to decide what the merit is.” One of his decisions, he says “I am not at liberty to discuss the justice of the Act. The Act is what it is, and once I know what that is, that is the decision I have to make.”
Robinson: Well then, if you see . . . Well, one more question here. You write “The unconstrained vision” – again, I’m quoting you – “has tended historically toward creating more equallized economic and social conditions in society, even if the means chosen implied great inequality in the right to decide such issues and choose such means.”
Inequality and the right to decide issues. Does that tell us why the Left in the United States seems so much more comfortable with having courts make social policy?
Sowell: Oh absolutely.
Robinson: That’s what’s going on.
Sowell: Absolutely. They want equality of outcomes and they will choose how to make the outcomes equal. But they don’t want equality of choice on the part of the people themselves. Many of the liberals say that they’re for the familiy because they’re for creating all kinds of goodies to give to the families, but they want to take away the family’s fundamental function which is making decisions for members of the family itself, particularly the younger members who aren’t yet grown.
I am reminded of some quotes from Antonin Scalia that I’ve used here before:
It is literally true that the U.S. Supreme Court has entirely liberated itself from the text of the Constitution.
What ‘we the people’ want most of all is someone who will agree with us as to what the evolving constitution says.
We are free at last, free at last. There is no respect in which we are chained or bound by the text of the Constitution. All it takes is five hands.
What in the world is a ‘moderate interpretation’ of the text? Halfway between what it really says and what you want it to say?
The only reason you need a constitution is because some things you don’t want the majority to be able to change. That’s my most important function as a judge in this system. I have to tell the majority to take a hike.
And Justice Thomas when faced with an “Unconstrained Vision” decision by the Court:
Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. – Clarence Thomas (dissenting) Kelo v New London (2005)
They didn’t interpret the Constitution, they used two previous bad precedents and ignored it.
And got a decision that the five Left-leaning Justices thought was “Just.”
Without regard for, you know, THE LAW. Just like Barack “I’m Not a Socialist” Obama wants. “Justices” who think that the headline “World to End Tomorrow: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit” is not a joke.
The fact that 49% of Obama supporters polled want the Supreme Court to ignore the Constitution depresses me as well. As I have written about endlessly in here previously, this is a reflection of the fact that we don’t teach philosophy as a subject in schools here, though there’s a lot of indoctrination going on undercover (and often openly) that promotes this kind of thinking. (And not a lot of indoctrination going on that counters it.)
It goes back to one of the earliest themes of this blog: What is a RIGHT?
I got to listen to a little of Rush Limbaugh’s show today, specifically the part where he played excerpts from an FDR speech (he was a little vague on the source – a fireside chat, or FDR’s fourth Inaugural address?). Here’s the pertinent part:
We have come to a clearer realization of the fact, however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry, people who are out of a job, are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic proofs have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a Second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all, regardless of station or race or creed.
This could have come directly out of Marx’s mouth, or out of Das Kapital
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industry — our shops, our farms, our mines of the nation. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation. The right of every family to a decent home. The right to adequate medical care. The opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. The right to adequate protection from economic fear, from old age and sickness and accident and unemployment. Finally, the right to a good education.
Well hell, what about the right to feel safe?
But more and more people believe that it is the job of government to provide these “rights.” And, as I noted back at the beginning of this blog, a “Right” is what the majority of the population in a society believes it is.
At least until they smack their noses on concrete reality.
Or crater in from a much higher falling point.
Tribe’s announcement came April 29 in a letter to Justice Stephen Breyer, who had asked him casually how he was coming on the second volume, which was scheduled to cover individual rights issues. (My emphasis.)
Tribe decided to write Breyer back. His “Dear Steve” letter and a 12-page elaboration will be published by Green Bag, Davies’ law review at George Mason.
Tribe, 63, said neither personal factors nor ennui were at issue in his decision not to proceed. “It’s not my health, which is fine,” he wrote. “Or that I’ve lost interest in the questions the unpublished chapters would have discussed or the drive to pursue them doggedly.”
Rather, Tribe said he had made his decision because, as he told Breyer, “conflict over basic constitutional premises is today at a fever pitch,” moving rapidly in unpredictable directions. “No treatise, in my sense of that term, can be true to this moment in our constitutional history — to its conflicts, innovations and complexities.”
As Thomas Sowell noted above: “That’s unconstrained. That somehow or other there are people with the judicial robes on who can just decide these things ad hoc, which among other things would mean we would no longer really have law. You would discover, once you got into the courtroom in front of the judge, you would then discover what the decision is, but you would have no clue beforehand.”
Tribe implies that a mere catalog or hornbook reciting recent decisions might be achievable, even if rapidly outdated. But a treatise seeking to explain constitutional themes and pull together seemingly disparate doctrines can’t be done now, Tribe asserts. “I do not have, nor do I believe I have seen, a vision capacious and convincing enough to propound as an organizing principle for the next phase in the law of our Constitution.”
In other words, (my interpretation) too many judges are making it up as they go along.
The philosophy of the Founders has been lost, and instead we have too many people in robes on benches making ad hoc decisions based on “fairness” or whatever floats their boats rather than on the LAW.
Now, I have also argued that one of, if not the primary flaw in our legal system is that there is insufficient review of prior legal decisions. It seems that bad precedent is very seldom overturned, but that that particular duty should fall on the shoulders of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, they’ve been failing at it, as Justice Thomas noted in his Kelo dissent. We were very lucky with the Heller decision, but a lot of that credit goes to Alan Gura for so carefully selecting the case, the plaintiffs and the venue.
It should not have even been close.
But Barack “Spread the Wealth” Obama likes it this way, and wants more of it.
If a woman is out there trying to raise a family, trying to support her family and is being treated unfairly then the court has to stand up if nobody else will, and that’s the kind of judge I want.
I want one who applies the law, because I want to live in a country where you can predict what the Courts will do, and what they will do is uphold my individual rights.
I write a post like From the Horses’s, . . . er, . . . Mouth.
Some time ago in comments someone suggested that we, the public, needed a new Thomas Paine who would write the things that fired the Revolutionary-era public up.
I think that if things get bad enough to make Bill Whittle angry, he would be that writer.
And I shudder to think how bad it would have to get before Bill would get that angry.
Whole enchilada unconstitutional? We can only hope.
Also, can the Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus to have Lautenberg kicked in the testicles? Or would that raise separation of powers issues? – “Jim W” in a comment to Lautenburg Amendment going to Supreme Court at Of Arms and the Law
The Lautenberg Amendment isn’t the only problem, but it is a problem.
Let me say up front that if someone is physically abusive and found so by a court then due process is served. This case appears to be ex post facto. Second, a restraining order is not ajudication of physical threat. Restraining orders seem to have become a divorce tactic.
Finally, the law that needs to be given judicial review under the Heller precedent is 18 USC section 922(g)(1) in its entirety:
It shall be unlawful for any person –
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) who is a fugitive from justice;
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
(4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;
(5) who, being an alien –
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));
(6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
(8) who is subject to a court order that –
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Any crime punishable by a term exceeding one year.
Have any idea how many crimes today can get you a sentence of “more than one year”?
Well, for example, remember those cheerleaders?
It’s difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin’s “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS’s Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I’m agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.
Now by “smart,” I don’t refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don’t really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.
For all those old enough to remember Senator Sam Ervin, the brilliant strict constitutional constructionist and chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee whose patois included “I’m just a country lawyer”… Yup, Palin is that smart. – Elaine Lafferty, “a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist” – Sarah Palin’s a Braniac
If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in the society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Redistributive change.
So we have proof that Obama understands the purpose of the Constitution – “a charter of negative liberties.” But he decries that the Warren Court didn’t go farther and re-interpret the Constitution to give the government the powers of “redistributive change.” Barring that, the civil rights movement should have eschewed the court system (or at least not have concentrated so exclusively on that path) in order to achieve said redistributive change by other means.
Here it is, 2008, and Barack “I’m Not a Socialist” Obama still holds the same beliefs.
But you have to catch him by surprise to get him to admit it.
More at Stop the ACLU.
Jennifer Rubin has something to say about it, too.
Well, I’m on the job, staying in an apartment in Wickenburg for the nonce. Cox Cable finally got us connected today, so I’m back online after a day and a half of hell.
Internet withdrawal sucks!
Blogging to continue, lightly, anon.
Anybody Know How to Reach David?
Over at Random Nuclear Strikes? I don’t have an email for him, and I want to discuss his Thompson/Center Encore .308 pistol.
I just bought an Encore frame.
UPDATE: Got it! Thanks!
UPDATE II: How’s THIS for service? David has put up a post on the pistol, and is promising more!
Y’know, I own a 7BR-chambered XP-100. . .
Apparently shocking, SHOCKING news has been released in the place where Great Britain used to be that the .gov there has been manipulating crime statistics! From the Daily Mail:
Public trust in crime statistics has been dealt a devastating blow after ministers admitted the figures have been downplaying serious violence for up to a decade.
The Home Office admitted that as many as one in five of the worst attacks has been wrongly classified in published figures.
As many as 4,000 serious assaults each year were mistakenly recorded as minor incidents – and officials conceded they ‘simply do not know how far back it goes’.
So we should believe them when they say they’ve only been doing it for ten years, right?
Critics claimed the revelations were another serious blow to the credibility of Government crime figures following years of complaints of spin and statistical manipulation.
Claims I’ve made here dating back to at least 2004.
Here’s some of the BBC’s view of the story:
A number of police forces in England and Wales have been undercounting some of the most serious violent crimes, the government has admitted.
It means figures for serious violent crimes rose by 22% compared to last year – rather than showing a fall as previous figures appeared to indicate.
I’m curious as to what prompted the admission.
The mistake happened when some crimes classed as “grievous bodily harm with intent” were recorded as less serious.
Figures say overall crime is down, and ministers say these can be trusted.
And we should trust you . . . why?
A former Home Office crime consultant told the BBC the government had been “hiding behind” its changes in the crime counting rules.
Professor Marian Fitzgerald, a criminologist at the University of Kent’s Crime and Justice Centre, said the long-term trend of increasing violent crime was now “catching up” with the government.
Pesky facts have a way of doing that.
The Conservatives said the new figures “fatally undermined” government claims that violent crime was in decline.
Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: “They betray a government that is completely out of touch with what is going on, on our streets and in our communities.”
Not “out of touch,” in denial.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted all the crimes in question had been investigated by the police.
She told the BBC: “What the statisticians are clear about is that the increases in the most serious forms of violence have actually in terms of numbers been more than counteracted by the decreases in less serious violence.”
Which means a good chunk of Britain’s petty criminals have learned that violence pays. But Home Secretary Smith seems to believe this is a good thing.
Crimes of “grievous bodily harm with intent” committed between April and June this year were being mistakenly recorded as lesser crimes.
When the figures were recounted using the correct classification, the official total showed serious violent crime had risen 22%.
Previous measures under the old rules had shown decreases every quarter of up to 15%.
And didn’t that make their political masters look good? Except to the victims of these crimes who apparently voted them out of office.
But Professor Fitzgerald said that the government was aware of the long trend of serious violent crime which had been rising over “several decades”
She told the BBC: “It started to go up really quite steeply from the early 1990s.
The handgun ban was completed in 1996.
“The problem this government has got is that when it came to power it dismissed out of hand the trends in police recorded crime which were a fairly good measure of serious violence
“It preferred instead to rely on the British Crime Survey which is very poor at picking up violence.”
For good measure it has actually interfered with the police figures by keeping changing the ways in which they have been recorded.
“What’s catching up with them now is the fact the police figures are reflecting that long term trend increase in serious violence. The government are hiding behind changes in the counting rules to try to explain it away.”
I repeat: And we should trust them . . . why?
Again, this is another example of “Cognitive Dissonance” explained once succinctly by Steven Den Beste thusly:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn’t seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn’t executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as “escalation of failure”.)
Crime could not be going up in the wonderful Utopia that Labor was building in the UK. Therefore the statistics had to be wrong, and the government would manipulate them however it was necessary to prove that said crime was declining.
When that didn’t work, “Do it again, only HARDER!” Escalation of failure.
You’ll note that Labor is no longer in power in Britain.
We are SO Screwed
In relation to the Quote of the Election below, I forwarded the Forbes piece to my office-mate who is an Obama supporter for his reaction. Here is our email exchange on the subject:
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 6:55 AM
To: Obama Supporter
Subject: Something you should read
From: Obama Supporter
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: Something you should read
Interesting thoughts, but I am not sure I completely buy the “Holier than Though” position assigned to McCain. In the end, during every presidential election, both sides promise the moon and in the end neither ever seems to deliver. Yes, McCain might cut taxes in one spot, but he would raise them in others as every president does. It is all perception. Bread and Circus…. it is simply which crowd is being pandered to and who will contribute the most votes to get the best for the individual casting the vote. It would be great if a president could change the world, but I have never heard of one doing so… at least not for the better.
In the end, I think McCain is an optimist. A “stick to what you know” kinda guy. A “walk softly and carry a big stick” kinda guy. A guy that you want and need on that wall of freedom and protection because he has a military background to support that role. You know he will take a bullet for you, because that is just who he is.
Obama on the other hand, well… I think he is more of an opportunist and realist. He (like myself) sees this country as a great place with lots of potential. We used to be a grand country and we have found many ways to stumble and make ourselves not so grand anymore. He wants to rekindle the fire that once drove our country to be the world power. How is this done? By believing in your common man and helping him to succeed again. Give him every opportunity to make something of himself, starting with our educational system. Provide the foundation and then provide the building materials. Instill in the youth of today so they can then instill the concepts for the youth of tomorrow. We can look around and say, “It has never worked before. Every where it has been tried, it failed.” Well… you are right. But then, the USA has never tried it before and if we are as good as everyone says, then I can’t believe that we would fail at this if we really try. Yes, it means sacrifice. It means patience. It means a lot of hard work and investing in ourselves.
I think both men are quite qualified to run the country. I think both can do a far better job than their predecessor did. I simply think you have to take the taste challenge… are you a Coke or Pepsi kinda guy. Me… I don’t drink soda… so I have to chose the one I rather drink if I did drink soda. Go figure. I think that is what America is facing today. We face an election of one of two men that neither is the preferred choice. I think it used to be this simple, but it no longer is. Before a Coke or Pepsi did fine, but now there are diet soda drinkers and tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. Some like milk and sugar and others want it black (no pun intended). Others want plain water. Where are the candidates that satisfy these peoples’ thirsts? Why have we stuck with a system that is now failing? Obama was right when he said we are ready for change. And in the absence of real change we are willing to select a candidate that looks like change, but is just like all the others. We need change in this country or it will most definitely die. A proud nation so inspired by itself, it could not adapt and died. We must learn to adapt, and thus evolve to meet the needs of the modern people. The constitution is a living, breathing document… it has the ability to adapt, yet represent the people of today as well as those 200 years ago. We just need smart people like you and I to argue the points and realize that not everyone wants the same thing, and how can we make it work for the majority. And for those it doesn’t work for, we provide a different option. The world is not fair, nor will it ever be. This does not mean we can’t make it a little less hurtful in the process. We are a caring nation… it is time we started to care for ourselves for a change.
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:53 AM
To: Obama Supporter
Subject: RE: Something you should read
“Obama on the other hand, well… I think he is more of an opportunist and realist. He (like myself) sees this country as a great place with lots of potential. We used to be a grand country and we have found many ways to stumble and make ourselves not so grand anymore. He wants to rekindle the fire that once drove our country to be the world power. How is this done? By believing in your common man and helping him to succeed again. Give him every opportunity to make something of himself, starting with our educational system. Provide the foundation and then provide the building materials. Instill in the youth of today so they can then instill the concepts for the youth of tomorrow.” – Obama Supporter
“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” – Barack Obama
Obama’s father was a Marxist.
His early mentor Frank Marshall Davis was a Marxist.
His pastor of 20 years was a Black Liberation Theologist – a Marxist theology of victimhood and revolution.
William Ayers is an unrepentant communist. They worked in the same building on the same floor for at least three years, worked together (really!) on the Annenberg project and another project. Obama wrote a review of an Ayers book. Point being, Ayers was not “just a guy in (his) neighborhood”. They were associates.
Obama was a member of the New Party – also Marxist.
By all indications, Obama is the closest thing to a thorougoing Socialist (big “S” on purpose) to run for President (with a chance of actually winning) that we’ve ever had.
But he “serves as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
I think Sowell is right: “This man [Obama] really does believe that he can change the world. And people like that are infinitely more dangerous than mere crooked politicians.”
It really is a decision not between something as trivial as Coke and Pepsi but between John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. And I think Rousseau very well might win this time, and America will finally completely cease to be what the Constitution was written to ensure it would remain. It’s taken us decades to reach this point, and the blame does not rest entirely on one party, but that’s how I see it.
From: Obama Supporter
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 10:17 AM
Subject: RE: Something you should read
Keep in mind that the very document that was “to ensure it would remain” is the same document that allows for someone like Barack Obama to “serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views”. The fact that the country is going socialized is purely the workings of the people themselves. This is what they want and this is what they get. They elected the politicians that added the amendments. They are the ones that voted (or didn’t vote) for those that wrote the laws of this country. All our politicians asked for in return was money and power. A fair trade for the people of this country to get the socialized society they wanted. Like you said… Bread and Circuses. The politicians have provided the feedbags and the entertainment, the common man that cares about nothing else is happy. And what made it possible? The constitution.
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 10:49 AM
To: Obama Supporter
Subject: RE: Something you should read
The fact that the country is going socialized is purely the workings of the people themselves. This is what they want and this is what they get. They elected the politicians that added the amendments.
The last amendment added to the Constitution was ratified in 1992. There are 27 of them. Not one changes our form of government from Constitutional Republic to Socialist State. (Although a weak argument could be made about the 16th.) FDR began the gutting of the Constitution with the assistance of Congress and the capitulation of the Supreme Court.
What has allowed this to happen is the indoctrination of literally generations of Americans into believing that their government should do things it was never empowered to do. If they had amended the Constitution to give the government those powers, I would not be objecting (as much), but they did not.
Instead, we got the “living, breathing document” BULLSHIT fed to our parents, ourselves, and now our children. And we’re paying the price. And our children will be paying it in perpetuity.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there’s this very popular (probably apocryphal) quote attributed to Alexander Frasier Tytler supposedly written about the time of the ratification of the Constitution. It goes like this:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
This goes along with an actual quotation from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America from the same time:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
Guess where we are now on Tytler’s scale?
From: Obama Supporter
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 11:21 AM
Subject: RE: Something you should read
The problem is that all of these ideals come from a historical view. The world has changed. It has advanced (and regressed) in many ways. While yes, we are on the end of Tytler’s scale and about to leap off, the world is much more stable and controlled than it used to be. The US is the US. It is to big, to powerful and to recognized to suddenly fall into dictatorship as suggested by Tytler. Yes it has never worked before, because it could not work before. Will it work now? I don’t know. But I do no we live in a completely different time with completely different rules. I think there is a way to bridge these ideas. Whether you believe John Locke or Jean-Jacques Rousseau was right… it has been long enough these two concepts stood opposed. Much like Rodney King said as he was being beat by the government employees… “Can’t we all just get along?”
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 12:11 PM
To: Obama Supporter
Subject: RE: Something you should read
As it will be in the future, it was at the Birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit, and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
The last two stanzas of Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” – 1919.
The times may have changed, but Man is still the same. And the Fool’s bandaged finger, it appears, is about to go wobbling back to the flame.
As an aside, the complete Yuri Bezmenov interview is available here. I intend to watch the whole thing as soon as I get a chance.
Now that it’s too late, of course.