Van Harvey

  • The Donald becomes The President

    Ok, so, a few quick comments about Trump’s inaugural speech. It was simple, direct, unpretentious, even pithy in its restatement of those themes he campaigned upon, which, given his reputation, is all the more striking, as he apparently waved off the s…

  • Red, White and Inaugural Blues – a Rant

    On Friday, the 20th of January, 2017, the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, a man I did not support in the recent election (though I opposed his final opponent, with him), will be sworn into office, and with that oath of office, he will become my, and every other American’s, President.

    ‘On each national day of inauguration since 1789,
    the people have renewed their sense of dedication to the United States.’

    We’re told on the eve of his inauguration that somewhere in the area of 70 Democrat members of Congress are declaring that they will not be attending the inauguration, as a means of protesting the man who will occupy the office of the President of the United States.

    These are elected representatives of the government of the United States of America. They were, and are, elected to represent their constituents in the upholding and crafting of the laws of the land, under that very government, whose laws, and governance of them, impacts every one of our individual rights and lives.

    To explicitly attempt to delegitimize the peaceful and complete transfer of power, to the person duly elected by We The People, in accordance with our laws, to the office of the President of the United States of America, for partisan political purposes (whether from the Left or the NeverTrump’r Right), is, at best, extreme political negligence, and it is undermining to not only the peaceful transfer of political power, but to the preservation of every value which these ‘lawmakers’ supposedly believe in, and were elected to represent.

    That, in my book, is despicable, it is disgusting, and they, and those who blithely see that as somehow being worthy behavior, should be ashamed of themselves.

    Yet people are converging upon Washington D.C. to protest, they are churning out gimmick after gimmick to shout down those they differ with, even as being ‘nazis!’, they come to ‘protest’ … what? Whatever distractions they might flood social media with, what they are actually protesting, is the Democracy!‘, the democratic election of their fellow Americans in accordance with the laws of the land, in a peaceful political contest which is understood upon entering into, that one side is guaranteed to lose, and so by their own actions they show themselves to be immature, dishonest and uncivilized wretches, who are made all the more repulsive by attempting to drape themselves in the spirit of ‘Democracy!‘, while deliberately undermining the democratic process.

    Who needs Russians when you have Pro-Regressive Leftists!

    lawful, peaceful, election of the 45th President of the United States of America. They are protesting in the name of ‘

    Who needs Russians, when you’ve got Pro-Regressive Leftists?! They lost the electoral argument, and yet they feel entitled to protest, deride, and even to refuse to abide by the decision of their fellow Americans, with these cheap, juvenile, theatrics. Some of them, friends of mine and even relatives of mine, I’m ashamed to say, have even characterized these protests and pledges of ‘not my President!‘ as, and I quote: Beautiful.

    There is nothing beautiful in people treating the solemn and peaceful transfer of  political power, as if it were some sort of cheap piece of roadside performance art.

    A Presidential Inauguration is the ritualized transfer of the reigns of power – that pure, dangerous, deadly, political power to penalize, punish, put to death and mandate actions and make war – this immense power is not being wrested away by violent slaughter, but is simply, boringly, being signed over across a sea of vastly differing and turbulent political viewpoints, peacefully, according to law, in a ceremony that has been solemnized by 228 years of tradition, under our Constitution which has been proven more successful and enduring than any other system in all of human history.

    These protesters see nothing remarkable in that. They see nothing disturbing or dangerous in delegitimizing that. They see nothing admirable in this incredible and historic track record which we in America have, of binding down the powers of violence and ambition, by nothing more than the cords of law. They seem unaware that our laws don’t gain the strength to do that by the paper they are printed upon, but by being written upon the hearts of We The People of this nation, as they were for We The Peoples and any who show the ‘wrong’ beliefs and allegiances.

    Fascists projecting fascism

    at least least two centuries. What these ‘beautiful protests’ ominously trumpet to the world now, is that that writing is fading from the hearts and minds of We The People; a people who are foolish enough to think that those laws can be made to fade away, and yet somehow imagine that those ever lurking beasts of ambition and brutality which they’ve made to stir with temptations of escape, will simply remain docile, tame, and quiet as they are unleashed, rather than break free and do violence to

    Good Lord People, our Government, IS US – it isn’t in our buildings, or in our courts, in our military or even in our written laws, but is in our understanding and respect for them. Our Government lays in our self-government, our willing agreement to set aside the resort to use of force, or the encouragement of it, for peaceful and reasonable dispute and agreement and our willingness to abide by reasonable judgments, even and especially when we ‘lose’ the dispute. If we lose that IN US, then it all falls apart, and cannot do otherwise.

    For those hysterical supporters of ‘Democracy!‘ who are out to overturn or undermine the results of a democratic election, and the Rule of Law, in order to force the rest of us to comply with their desires, you should keep in mind, that for all of your claims of caring about this or that disadvantaged minority such and such – if our respect for our laws, and our expectations of being able to rely upon those law to subdue the violent passions of ourselves and our fellows – if We The People are made to feel that a just government can no longer be counted upon to provide justice and order, then it’s not the powerful who are going to suffer – no, that only happens under a system of laws – it is the weak, the weird, and the non-conformist, who will be made to feel the brunt of the powers unleashed by your discarded and forgotten respect for individual rights under the Rule of Law.

    No one who is weak or in need of assistance, will survive that – and especially not any snowflakes.



  • The Powerful threat from within Representative Government

    Ok, sure, it might be a total Captain Obvious move to point out that the term ‘Representative Government‘, is one that contains two very different words, but what’s less obvious, is the fact that before you can understand why the first of those two word’s meaning is so important, it’s necessary to have a fair understanding of what the second word of the term means, and just how dangerous it is to the meaning and purpose of its first word. As noted in my previous post, the trite heads or tails dilemmas that most of our attempts at discussing such matters are so easily diverted into (‘A Democracy! No, a Republic!‘, ‘Electoral College vs. Popular Vote‘, or ‘He Is/Isn’t my President!‘), do nothing to deepen our understanding of either term, and serve mostly to divert our attention away from the questions we’re supposedly considering. But not even the questions can be compacted into the space of calling heads or tails, and the more you puff up one preferred answer over the other, the further away we are all drawn from a useful discussion of them.

    So, with that in mind, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the basics of what it is that government is, how it derives its power, and how and why it is so important to limit its ability to use that power. As the old saying says,

    ‘Government, like fire, is a troublesome servant and a terrible master’.

    You want to use the Power… don’t you…?

    We don’t need to try and attribute that phrase to one or more Founding Fathers, as it often has been, in order to make the truth of it more important and relevant, especially when we’re so often tempted to turn to govt to impose our very best intentions upon the rest of us. The greatest dangers to our liberty, come from our best intentions to improve upon it. It is precisely when we’re caught up in such
    enthusiasms for ‘doing good!’ unto others, that we’re most in need of being tempered by an understanding from history – that is what it is was that made our form of government possible, it is what made, and makes, it exceptional, and without which, neither it, nor we, can be exceptional – at least not in a good way.

    So what is Government? Stripped of the finery and fanfare:

    Government is the means of harnessing the collective power of a community towards… ends. 

    What those ends are, who determines them and authorizes the pursuit of them, and most importantly, what it, and they, will not be allowed to do, depends upon how well your society delimits the powers of those holding the reigns of power. Where Government gains its power ‘to do’ what it will, is by enforcing claims, in whole or in part, upon the possessions, time and lives of its people, and if there are no limits to its claims or ends, then it will turn the collective power of your society, towards accomplishing whatever those in government (or those with their ear) desire to do, and with all of their very best intentions urging them on to do whatever ‘it’ might be.

    Despite the aspirations of our Declaration of Independence, government does not need your consent – it can gain legitimacy from that, sure – but that’s a later development, a ‘nice to have’ (in the eyes of those in positions of power within it), which is in no way necessary for it to wield its power over you.

    At this point it might be useful to take note of a rather shocking point, especially shocking for those of us, like myself, who look to government as the means of establishing justice and defending our rights, and that point is this: those are not the most basic requirement that a society demands from their government! And with a very grudging nod towards Hobbes, what people do demand, first and foremost, is: Order. As Hobbes put it,

    “…For before constitution of Soveraign Power (as hath already been shewn) all men had right to all things; which necessarily causeth Warre: and therefore this Proprietie, being necessary to Peace, and depending on Soveraign Power, is the Act of that Power, in order to the publique peace….”

    I disagree with him, that that provides either a definition or justification for government, but it is, and should be, a frightening and sobering realization that that is the tipping point of political gravity that is always tugging at our perceptions, eagerly awaiting for us to forget our balance and fall back down to its baseline. That point is extremely dangerous to ignore, or to evade the realization that the government that does not effectively provide that fundamental service, will not stand for long; as a society sufficiently shaken up, will sink to any level, in order to enforce that basic compliance upon its own people, if they think it’ll mean escaping from chaos – real or perceived (and if you think that doesn’t apply to modern man, it’s you who are being primitive in your thinking). That ground floor of order forms what I’ve called the ‘Societal Baseline’, and is what I was pointing out in an earlier post that looked into the Yanomamö Indians in the Amazon, it is what makes the brutality of a tribal thug, preferable to having no order at all, and it is that point which all real progress, is measured through the horizontal (legislative, via Govt) and vertical (ethical, through the people) distance a society manages to put between itself and that baseline.

    The first step of real progress, up and away from that baseline, comes when a society’s begins forming rules for its governance, rather than following exclusively upon the wishes of its rulers, and in making them known for all to see and understand, they give a sign that they are developing what can loosely be called ‘laws’. As societies’ begin doing so, they begin forming political structures that move beyond the moment to moment exercise of brute force, by brutes, and take on the various forms of all of the familiar ___cracys’ and ___archy’s (you remember, democracy, oligarchy, etc), which takes them further up the winding path of Chieftains, Tyrants & Kings, until they finally arrive at the Prime Ministers and Presidents that typically head up what we like to think of as legitimate, Representative Governments.

    If you examine the laws of a society as they progress along that path – if they manage to continue along it – there’s an essential characteristic that you’ll see becoming more and more pronounced, which is what makes it possible for their laws to be able to be regarded as capital ‘L’ “Laws” with a straight face, rather than just an assortment of rules written down by thugs, and it’s a development of an idea that I went into some depth upon in previous posts (two in particular, pt 2:Why a Govt of Laws, and not of men? & pt 3:Who Benefits from transforming Rules into Laws), which, sparing you a few thousand of those post’s words, can be summed up in what’s best captured in two translations of one potent phrase from Aristotle’s Politics,

    ‘The law is reason unaffected by desire’,


    ‘The Law is reason free from passion.’

    The more that a people’s laws adhere to and exhibit that sensibility, the more legitimate they and their Laws, are likely to become – it is the means of putting the point upon the arrow of political progress; pointing their society in the right direction, onwards, upwards, and away from that societal baseline of barbaric order. And while it may seem a bit counter-intuitive, that characteristic, in the raw, is also what is being crudely expressed in that primal desire for the societal baseline of Order; seeking relief from the chaos brought on by violent passions and desires that’ve run rampant. Surprisingly, at least a little bit, it is in seeking that order that they also find that the seeking itself, demands an exercise of methodical reasoning in order to bring even that baseline condition about, and continuing with that, developing and reflecting upon that, refining that, that is the natural means of eventually implementing Laws that one day will tower above the mere scribblings of one or another tyrant’s demands of the moment.

    Following closely on Aristotle’s essential ideal, are two from the Roman jurist, Cicero, with his,

    “No one can be judge in his own cause; Hear the other side”

    , and,

    “True law is right reason in agreement with nature”

    These are also logical developments of Aristotle’s advice to separate your passions and desires from your attempts to realize justice; in pursuing that it soon follows that a fair and impartial hearing should be given to both sides of an issue, it is a result of seriously taking that advice to heart, and as a result, your laws, and the application of them, become more reasonable, and those applying and enduring them also begin seeking conclusions derived from factual evidence, rather than reacting to impassioned desires.

    These are not inventions of The West, they are discoveries about what is common to all of mankind, but they were first fully realized in The West. Following these dictums, and ridding the writing and administering of a society’s laws of personal passions and biased desires, is, in the real sense of making progress away from the baseline, Progressive, and it will be accompanied by a visible increase in the methodical, reasonable nature, of their laws. On the other hand, shedding that quality, seeking to appeal to the passions and desires of the many, is Regressive, and deliberately seeking to do so, while justifying those actions and stirring up the passions of the people in order to satisfy the ambitions of their rulers (whether they be one, or the many), is what I refer to as being Pro-Regressive. If you want to know whether your society’s laws are truly Progressive, or Pro-Regressive, look at how those who propose them, urge you to embrace them.

    The direction that our laws move in can be objectively measured as progress over what came before, moving from chaos, to order, to recorded and predictable rules, to rules which make sense together and integrate with each other, developing a progressively less contradictory nature – reasonable, understandable, and flexible enough to be applied in a variety of circumstances, yet rigid enough to be familiar to, and understood by ‘the common man’; that is the path of progress. As these advanced ideas, and the attitudes which accompany them become the norm, such laws as that people govern themselves through, begin to lose their erratic nature, as both the people and their laws become more ordered, more reasonable, more respectful of their fellows lives.

    The Best of Times, and the Worst of Times
    But as wonderful and profound as such progress is, a society has to be on their guard against their own hubris, for while they may have become convinced of the soundness of their good intentions, the nature of government has not changed – not one bit – and the raw force and power which it is, will seep through such blind spots, like groundwater through an old foundation, progressively saturating and weakening it. Government is power, it is force, it can fine, punish, stifle, intimidate, imprison and persecute, it can kill and it can destroy, it is like fire, a troublesome servant and a terrible master, and if you dare presume that you can fully domesticate such primal forces through law, that you can safely use that primal power best suited to preventing or punishing actions, to initiate and do good unto others for what you consider to be for their own good, then you fail the test of Tolkien’s Ring of Power, and turn towards darkness with all of the urgency and false light of your very best of intentions.

    It is at this point, that the question arises as to who it is that will, and should, write a society’s laws. How are they to be chosen? The means of binding both laws and its officers, from engaging in erratic or passionate actions, is best made by means of those laws themselves being ordered by objectively higher laws (see Cicero’s “True law is right reason in agreement with nature”), so that society becomes compatible with what all can see as being true and right.

     But how will they be written, and how will those charged with writing and attending to them, be chosen? This is where ‘The consent of the governed‘ begins to come into play, but how so? Is their consent to be gathered and given in any way shape, manner or form? Are there good and bad ways to gain that consent? Is it possible to curry that consent in such a way as to subvert the consent of the governed, for the benefit of those who would govern them?

    There’s more to the matter than simply encouraging individual choices and preferences; giving political power to the administration of our laws, if those laws are to be Laws, rather than rules in drag, they must be written and applied in a manner as free from personal passions and desires as is possible. Simply having all of the people of that society participating in that process, appealing to them to ‘express their choice!‘, means putting people into power over the laws, by means of inciting passionate desires for wide approval and calls for collective action, which means turning against the very thing that the Laws, and the administration of them, are designed to bar from issues of Law!

    And yet, the consent of the governed is vital to a ‘Representative Government’ – that’s the puzzle at the heart of the first of our terms, ‘Representative’.

    What the ‘Representative’ portion of ‘Representative Government’ must never forget, is that the 2nd word in its term is representative of a fearsome and dangerous power, one that feeds upon your own confidence in your own ability to master it, and especially through your belief that you can ‘do good‘ by imposing your own best judgment upon the choices that other people are trying to make for their own lives. The 1st word in that term must keep in mind, that it can, at best, tame the beast inherent in the 2nd word, but only as a trainer tames a tiger, and that if you turn your back upon it, thinking that your laws alone will keep it in its place (as if they somehow had the power of judgment outside of your own ability to govern yourself), then you can rest assured that your own government will use them as the means of devouring you, from the inside out.

    Despite all of the fear mongering, the real threats to a ‘Representative Government’ rarely come in the form of thuggery and violence from external ‘others!‘, instead they come upon a society from within themselves, through there own good intentions (and thinly disguised desires), by the means of which Frédéric Bastiat’s understood all too well:

    “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    As a people begin to give in to that con, then soon enough they will discover how the expectations of achieving unworthy ends, through high minded laws, is a most perilous matter. If We The People fail to require that our Representatives be, and be selected by means as free of passionate desires as the laws they are to be in charge of, then the troublesome servant will have become the master of them, once again. Unless they and their laws are bound down by recognizably external, and constitutional fixtures, their representatives will become every bit as representative of the most tyrannical of individual tyrants – and especially as they do so in the name of “We The People!“.

    Progress is made when the people support taking substantial steps towards turning their power towards the service of judgment, rather than passionate desires. The Representative portion of our term ‘Representative Government’, is the means open to us for doing that, at least in part, it is the means of seeking and using good judgment, cool, reasonable deliberation and disinterested action, in service to those interests. But before getting into the best means found for electing the Executive of such a system of laws – the Electoral College – we need to dig a bit more into what we mean by the ‘Representative’ portion, of Representative Government – next post.

  • What gifts has Christmas brought you?

    (With a post from 2011, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas!)What meaning is there to be found in Christmas, even by those who find no meaning in Christmas at all?First off, grant that the false alternative of ‘Not all Christians are good, theref…

  • Burning our Freedom of Speech in action

    In light of all the uproar last week over Trump’s questioning of whether burning the flag should perhaps be protected as ‘freedom of speech’, or not, I’ll exercise my freedom of speech by questioning some common assumptions about what freedom of speech is, and isn’t.

    To get the easy part out of the way, here’s Trump’s tweet that started the latest round of ‘discussion’:

    “Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

    , now, even allowing for his ‘perhaps’, the notion of losing your citizenship over burning the American Flag, or being imprisoned for a year, is, IMHO, silly, and further sensationalizes a subject that is already too saturated with it. But, that being said, what we associate with the ‘flag burning issue’ is something that needs a lot more consideration than the two existing poles of ‘Burn it!‘ and ‘Revere it!‘, tend to permit, especially since the burning of the flag is the least important aspect of it, and more often than not, it is a distraction from what the real issue is: our Freedom of Speech… and the rest of the 1st Amendment.

    As much as I disrespect those who disrespect our flag, it’s not the burning of the flag that I have an issue with, from a legal standpoint at any rate. What I do have an issue with, is what has become one of those default ‘givens’ that we hear and have heard over and over, from all sides, for so long, and so often, that we no longer get around to seriously questioning it, and that ‘given’ is the idea that the action of destroying property in as inflammatory a means as possible, can be considered ‘speech’ – let alone constitutionally protected speech. For decades I’ve heard that position being asserted (from the Left, and now even from the Right), and while I’ve heard objections to it being ridiculed, I’ve rarely heard the assertion really being questioned, and it seems like maybe it’s about time to begin doing just that.

    Here’s the text of the 1st Amdt:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Simply reading the text of it isn’t enough though, you need some understanding of what the idea is, and why it was considered important to prevent the Govt from infringing upon it, before you go attributing your own preferred meaning to it. If it’s been a few years since you’ve done anything of the sort, here are a few links worth reading, beginning with the ideas and debates that went into writing it, up to the case most often referred to in flag burning discussions, Texas v. Johnson:

    In reading these cases and comments, and thinking about what is meant by ‘Freedom of Speech’, it seems to me that most of the judgments attributing the actual burning of flags (or draft cards, etc) to being a form of speech protected under ‘freedom of speech’, or to ‘symbolic speech’, are not only inappropriate, but they cheapen, degrade, and dangerously blur that concept of speech which the framers of the amendment were seeking to preserve and defend. The treatment of the action of burning objects as that were equivalent to speech, waters down and weakens our understanding of what Freedom of Speech is and was meant to be, which I think jeopardizes our hold on this fundamental right far more than even an authoritarian government ever could.

    Examples of just that are easy to find in our recent news headlines, with masses of people
    disregarding the rights of others as they press on with the intention to ‘exercise their own rights‘, by obstructing the free movement of others, and battering or burning their persons, cars, stores, and neighborhoods in riotous actions which they then turn around and righteously justify as being ‘peaceful protests‘ with comments such as,

    ‘It’s a small price to pay for exercising our 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech!’

    Is it really?

    Since we’ve accepted the idea that the destruction of property, when wrapped up in the flag, magically becomes constitutionally protected speech, how coincidental can such rioting in the streets be?

    I suppose that I should probably now get a few things clear about what I’m not saying or questioning, or leaving out of my consideration – I’m not in any way calling into question the need for that foundational liberty of Freedom of Speech to be vigorously defended. The freedom of speech, the ability to express our ideas – even and especially offensive ones – is a vital component of any society that hopes to have, and preserve, the liberty of its people.

    Neither am I questioning the importance of defending the right to political or artistic speech, whether impromptu speech, or as expressed in writing, spoken or performed on stage or on screen, or as in more symbolic forms, such as painting or sculpture, etc. Such measures which illustrate and convey ideas, despite how foul they might seem to me, they are, and should be, protected under the freedom of speech.

    Nor am I in any way questioning the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition government for redress – or for that matter Religious Liberty, on the contrary, and to borrow a phrase, ‘They must all hang together or we will surely all hang separately‘, and the reason I’m questioning this, is to strengthens these vital rights, by thinking them through.

    One thing that I’m definitely not doing though, is questioning whether those actions which destroy the property of another, or doing so on someones property without their permission, actually is – that is not freedom of speech, it’s simply vandalism, as well as an assault upon the political anchor of all of our liberties, property. Such pure vandalism and destruction of property warrants punishment in its own right, before any questions or rationalizations of ‘speech’ come into consideration. Destructive actions which violate the rights of others, are not conveying speech (BTW, when violent and destructive actions are committed for political purposes, doesn’t that flirt with being categorized as terrorism?).

    A clear distinction needs to be made between that of peaceably assembling, petitioning for redress of grievances, giving voice to your dissatisfaction with government, and the action of destroying another’s property, and it is of vital importance that the difference be clear in the minds of We The People. That our Supreme Court has not been especially careful in in that area, IMHO, borders upon negligence, and has borne much poisonous fruit.

    Special Effects are not Speech
    So again, my question isn’t centered around the flag, or any other symbol, but upon the notion that the inclusion of the flag can somehow transform an overtly intimidating or destructive action, into protected speech, without benefit of actual speech or even an artistic representation of it. What I’m questioning, is, whether expanding the range of things protected under the freedom of speech so as to encompass such things as the violent destruction of symbols, strengthens our liberty, or corrupts and weakens the concept of it, and jeopardizes our ability to sustain and enjoy that very liberty that we’re all supposedly so concerned in protecting.

    For instance, let’s remove those things I consider objectionable from the action and see what we wind up with. Let’s say a person bought and paid for the flag themselves, and either went to their own property, or secured permission to another’s property for that purpose, and without any credible effort to incite violence, with no chanting or protests or rude behavior of any kind involved, they simply, calmly, and without saying a word, set the flag on fire.

    Would that be an expression of ‘freedom of speech’?

    If you said ‘yes’, can you explain to me why?

    What I’m wondering is, what is it that you think those flames are saying to you? Do they speak to you of objections? Protests? Displeasure? Hatred? And if so, with what? Foreign policy? Racism? The particular cotton and rayon blend that the flag was printed upon? A dislike of Americans or just for American policy? Explain to me how you know that those sly whispering flames aren’t simply expressing a dislike of the IRS… or of Hollywood, or of any of those other ‘reasons’ I just mentioned?

    If you just tried to put your feeling into speech, you probably found that the specific action of burning the flag is unable to communicate anything of relative certainty, unless it is accompanied by either hostile or reverent actions. And yet even the simplest speech, even dryly and robotically repeating the very chants cited in Texas v. Johnson ‘s “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you“, repeating that without any emotion or inflection, or even silently printing that chant out in block letters and without the accompaniment of any visual effects at all, even then, those words clearly communicate an unambiguous dissatisfaction with America. Don’t they?

    Why does the former communicate no clear meaning on its own, while the later is clear under any circumstances?

    The answer is that only one of them is actually a form of speech, and the other is nothing more than a theatrical prop for that speech, a visual special effect, a theatrical contrivance to emphasize an idea, but it is not an idea itself, and so as it contains no communicable idea on its own, it is devoid of the attributes of speech, which is what that portion of the 1st Amendment is there to protect, preserve and safeguard: our ability to entertain and meaningfully communicate ideas in art, discussion and debate.

    And to go a step further, while people assume that burning the flag ‘expresses displeasure’, why are we so quick to flatly assume that it is expressing their dislike of the flag, or even of America? Because it’s on fire? Since the point of arguing that such ‘symbolic action’ is protected speech, can you rightfully ignore that the custom of those who revere the flag, is to burn any flag that’s been soiled, as an expression of their respect for the flag? Or to break it down to the ridiculous, do flaming birthday candles express displeasure of the candles, cake or who you’re presenting them to? Does lighting off fireworks express our displeasure with America? Were the Vikings or American Indians expressing their displeasure for the dead, when they burn their bodies on a funeral pyre?

    If the act of lighting the flag on fire, in and of itself, is ‘speech’, then isn’t it a very strange and mute kind of speech that doesn’t seem able to communicate any one particular kind of thing at all? It is confused or even mute, because burning the flag is an emphatic action, but it is not in itself, speech, or even a substitute for it. The 1st Amendment protects speech, not each persons indistinct and pre-verbal feelings of angst.

    It is ridiculous to pretend that burning a symbol to ashes somehow gives off ‘speech’ – how, in the smoke? By way of some sort of chemical reaction? It is untenable. Those who run up and burn the flag are very likely doing it because they despise something about America, but in justifying such actions as speech, by stretching the concept of what constitutes speech to the point of setting a flag on fire, can that really ‘speak’ anything meaningful to us at all? To say that it can, seems ridiculous to me.

    With the above in mind, take a look at the summary of the SCOTUS case of Texas v. Johnson :

    “JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
    After publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law. This case presents the question whether his conviction is consistent with the First Amendment. We hold that it is not.
    While the Republican National Convention was taking place in Dallas in 1984, respondent Johnson participated in a political demonstration dubbed the “Republican War Chest Tour.” As explained in literature distributed by the demonstrators and in speeches made by them, the purpose of this event was to protest the policies of the Reagan administration and of certain Dallas-based corporations. The demonstrators marched through the Dallas streets, chanting political slogans and stopping at several corporate locations to stage “die-ins” intended to dramatize the consequences of nuclear war. On several occasions they spray-painted the walls of buildings and overturned potted plants, but Johnson himself took no part in such activities. He did, however, accept an American flag handed to him by a fellow protestor who had taken it from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings.

    The demonstration ended in front of Dallas City Hall, where Johnson unfurled the American flag, doused it with kerosene, and set it on fire. While the flag burned, the protestors chanted: “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.””

    This portion of it, I’m in full agreement with, that the govt has no case or place in opposing:

    “…While the Republican National Convention was taking place in Dallas in 1984, respondent Johnson participated in a political demonstration dubbed the “Republican War Chest Tour.” As explained in literature distributed by the demonstrators and in speeches made by them, the purpose of this event was to protest the policies of the Reagan administration and of certain Dallas-based corporations. The demonstrators marched through the Dallas streets, chanting political slogans and stopping at several corporate locations to stage “die-ins” intended to dramatize the consequences of nuclear war….” and “…the protestors chanted: “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.”

    If we assume the best case scenario about the manner in which protesters might have marched through the streets, that much warrants the protections of the 1st Amendment’s to peaceably assemble, and somewhat less clearly, it can make a credible claim to the 1st Amendment’s protection to petition their govt with grievances, and of course the Freedom of Speech.

    But in this portion, however, I do not, and I do not see how anyone can make a credible and legitimate case for claiming to be consistent with a respect for Individual Rights under the Rule of Law, as it is nothing more than violent and destructive actions to the public peace, and to private property, which constitute an assault upon the rights of others:

    “…On several occasions they spray-painted the walls of buildings and overturned potted plants, but Johnson himself took no part in such activities. He did, however, accept an American flag handed to him by a fellow protestor who had taken it from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings.

    The demonstration ended in front of Dallas City Hall, where Johnson unfurled the American flag, doused it with kerosene, and set it on fire. …”

    That is neither practicing nor respecting the right of the people to peaceably assemble, nor to petition their Government for a redress of grievances, nor does it intelligibly convey the reasons for doing so, which is what speech is, and is for – which is a point what Montesquieu was getting at in the link above, where he said,

    Words do not constitute an overt act; they remain only in idea.

    , and conflating them with action, is dangerous to the defense of both. This passage,”While the flag burned,” should be separated from ‘…the protestors chanted: “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.” by more than a comma; the later portion is the actual speech with which our liberty depends upon us to protect, while the former, ‘while it burned‘ is nothing more than a special effect to highlight that speech which was spoken – and again, special effects are not themselves speech.

    Burning the flag is an action, not speech, it’s just you burning stuff while stomping your feet, and the more we move towards seeing them as one, the closer we come to putting our freedom of speech in real jeopardy. If you make emotional actions equivalent to speech, you not only encourage the notion that attacks upon persons can be permitted as ‘expressing your freedom of speech’, but you will eventually find, when things go too far, that actual speech will be curtailed, along with such violence, when people have finally had enough of it. You cannot conflate the two, without eventually putting both in great peril.

    If you want to express your displeasure with America in a way that can claim the protections of our freedom of speech, and do so in a manner that doesn’t impinge upon the those other measures protected under the 1st Amendment, then you need to be using words, or clear substitutes or symbols for them. And if you accompany those words with the action of a flaming flag, be aware that those flames only accent the speech, they are not speech itself. Burning the Flag, the symbol of America, is an action, not speech. It is not even properly symbolic, it’s but the active and meaningless destruction of a meaningful symbol. At best such protesters are using destructive or intimidating actions to express FEELINGS! and LOUD NOISES!, but nothing that can be understood as speech.

    What can’t be understood or communicated, can’t be said to be speech – feelings, yes, but not speech, and our 1st Amendment, thank God, does not protect your feelings. Only modern colleges attempt to do that.

    Symbols speak for themselves – destroying them silences that speech, while expressing only your preference for destructive actions, over thoughtful speech
    The flag is, of course, a symbol, and a particularly rich one, deep with meaning in its Stars and Stripes, symbolizing our defining principles of liberty under the Rule of Law established to limit the fearsome power of government, to the purpose of upholding and defending the lives, individual rights and property of its citizens, as citizens, who are regarded as equals before their laws.

    We’ve already seen how poorly the action of burning a flag puts anything intelligible into speech, but does it do any better symbolically? What symbolic speech does the flag burner convey by destroying the symbol of our nation (or any other symbol, for that matter)? I’m not asking why they burn it, or for an evaluation of it, only for you to tell me what it says – can you?

    Are they attempting to symbolically express their dislike for those particular men who fell short in living up to what our flag symbolizes? Or is it their dislike for the worthy ideals that some or many particular people fell short in defending? Are they symbolically criticizing those high ideals, or those who failed to live up to them? Does allowing any ambiguity in that distinction make any damn sense at all? On such an important question, the flag burners are, by their own actions, unfit to express their pre-conceptual angst, seemingly mute before it, unable to do anything but give vent to their emotions by destroying a symbol of elevated concepts and values which they apparently can’t begin to understand or put into words themselves. In a very real sense (though perhaps not legally actionable), burning the flag, is itself an assault upon the spirit of the 1st Amendment, and by means of something other than what it stands in defense of.

    Symbols are able to convey deep concepts and the highest thoughts of ordered speech, and it takes more than destroying those symbols to elevate such destruction to an equivalent level of thoughtful speech. Destroying the symbol of such thought does not itself create or convey thought, it only destroys it, symbolically, or actually. To take it to the extreme, in murdering Martin Luther King as the symbol of the Civil Rights movement, James Earl Ray did not express any ideas worthy of protecting, he did not communicate one iota of speech, point of arguments or words of eloquence, he merely murdered a greater man than he was. MLK is such a powerful symbol today, because he was supremely capable of eloquently communicating high ideas and arguments, through words, and through moving and meaningful symbols of liberty – and the 1st Amendment afforded him the protection of the law to do that, no matter how the Bull Connor’s in Govt at the time desired to revoke his freedom to put those ideas into speech.

    The destruction of symbols, living or inanimate, do not constitute speech, actual or symbolic, they only seek to put an end to such speech. Destructive actions such as that convey no more speech than a savages’ incoherent howl.

    By setting such a symbol as the American Flag on fire, people at best identify themselves as being incapable of freely expressing even a single criticism in words that others can understand – and they show no respect for the need to; they display themselves for all to see as better suited to the savage barbarity which the accepting of such actions as speech is most likely to engender and spread.

    Burning the flag is not, and cannot be, speech – it is only a destructive action, nothing more. In certain contexts it may deserve to be protected; the 9th amdt affords enough unenumerated rights and powers to individuals, to secure and preserve legitimate means of protesting, and I’m sure that a clever lawyer could, and probably should, be be able to cite a defense for people who wish to add such theatrical emphasis to their speeches – if they can do so without violating the rights of their fellow citizens – but it still does not fall under the banner of the Freedom of Speech.

    The question we should be asking ourselves now is not what Trump tweeted or how to punish anything other than arson, but questioning what it is that accepting such actions as speech does to our own understanding of what speech is. And we should question what must surely follow when such barbaric actions are elevated to the level of civilized speech, and unwisely defended on the same grounds, as if they were the same thing – such equivocations can’t help but be dangerous to all of our liberty.

    From out of the ashes
    So if I’m correct in saying that neither vandalism nor violence, can be considered to be ‘freedom of speech’, what do you suppose it is that we’ve invited into our popular consciousness, by saying that such actions are the equivalent of speech? Doesn’t making the claim that such actions are protected forms of speech, say that you have a constitutionally protected right to commit vandalism and violence? That seems as ridiculous as saying that ‘peaceful protests’ can involve forcibly prevent other people’s freedom of movement in going about their lives, destroying public and private property, and rioting in the street.

    I’m not attempting to elevate the flag to the status of a protected object (but aren’t the flag burners actually attempting to surreptitiously do just that?), or to make burning it a taboo – if you want to burn the flag, buy one, take it to where you have the right to burn it, and burn it, gather around the flames and chant over it, broadcast it, stream it, do it however you’d like; flame away to your hearts content. I would not dream of forbidding that to you, and in fact I worry that attempting to extend government power to the preservation of such worthy symbols, does put the liberty it symbolizes in jeopardy.

    In his dissent to the Johnson v. Texas case, Justice Rehnquist went into a long review of the origin and symbolism of the flag which I think is relevant only in so far as to establish that burning it is an intentionally provocative action, meant to provoke a reaction or to be suffered in silence, by those witnessing it,

    “…In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942), a unanimous Court said: “Allowing the broadest scope to the language and purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, it is well understood that the right of free speech is not absolute at all times and under all circumstances. There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or `fighting’ words – those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.” Id., at 571-572….”[emphasis mine]

    , and he notes what I partly agree with, and partly find fault with:

    “… The result of the Texas statute is obviously to deny one in Johnson’s frame of mind one of many means of “symbolic speech.” Far from being a case of “one picture being worth a thousand words,” flag burning is the equivalent of an inarticulate grunt or roar that, it seems fair to say, is most likely to be indulged in not to express any particular idea, but to antagonize others. Only five years ago we said in City Council of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 812 (1984), that “the First Amendment does not guarantee the right to employ every conceivable method of communication at all times and in all places.” The Texas statute deprived Johnson of only one rather inarticulate symbolic form of protest – a form of protest that was profoundly offensive to many – and left him with a full panoply of other symbols and every conceivable form of verbal expression to express his deep disapproval of national policy. Thus, in no way can it be said that Texas is punishing him because his hearers – or any other group of people – were profoundly opposed to the message that he sought to convey. Such opposition is no proper basis for restricting speech or expression under the First Amendment. It was Johnson’s use of this particular symbol, and not the idea that he sought to convey by it or by his many other expressions, for which he was punished.”

    What I agree with, is

    “… flag burning is the equivalent of an inarticulate grunt or roar that, it seems fair to say, is most likely to be indulged in not to express any particular idea, but to antagonize others…”

    That’s spot on. Which leads to what I disagree with him on, and what I believe undercuts his case, that such actions can then be considered to be “symbolic speech” while at the same time, not be speech. It can be an action, a special effect, a provocation, but it is not symbolic or a symbol, it is only the destruction of a symbol, and should not, cannot be, considered to as speech – symbolic or otherwise. And while I thoroughly understand and agree that the Flag is properly loaded with symbolism, and that it plays a vital role in the hearts and minds of Americans, I do not believe that the govt can play a role in preserving or protecting it.

    Govt can act on the secondary results of the burning of the flag, in that recognizing such actions as Johnson’s were intentionally provocative ones, and were designed to arouse spiteful emotions, and therefore was an act of incitement, which is actionable, in terms of preserving the peace. But I do not think it can have a role in actively protecting our flag as a symbol of America, from Americans. Not because it isn’t a vital symbol, and not because such a thing would be improper for govt to do, but because taking on such a role, for such a purpose, cannot adequately be defined and delimited, without giving the government such power as that role would inevitably turn towards preventing and silencing actual speech, in the name of the symbol of that liberty. Despite Rehnquist’s criticism of an earlier court’s comment, that the SCOTUS took,

    ‘… its role as a Platonic guardian admonishing those responsible to public opinion as if they were truant schoolchildren has no similar place in our system of government…’

    that is pretty much where a prudent evaluation of the matter must end up at.

    While I sympathize with those who’d like to pass a law protecting the American Flag, the power that such a law would give to government would be impossible to contain, and would soon be used to destroy the liberties which that flag stands for. We cannot protect the flag through laws, but only by better understanding what it stands for, and by reasoning with, or speaking out against, those who’d put both flag and the understanding of it in peril.

    Wrap Liberty up in the Rule of Law, not the Flag
    To wrap it up, what I’m saying is that the idea that destroying a symbol can somehow transform provocative actions into speech, without benefit of actual speech, or even an artistic representation of it, is a danger to actual speech.

    You could of course actually paint, speak, stage or film yourself destroying revered and symbolic objects, even including in your ‘art’ the burning of property, even dramatically punching a judge in the face, and get away with calling that artistic expression – in a theatrical setting. But the ‘fourth wall’ is a very real one, and if you step beyond it into ‘real life’ and physically walk up to someone and destroy their property or punch them in the face, you’re not going to get away with calling that either political, artistic, or symbolic speech. It is only violence, and nothing more, and engaging in it carries you across the Fourth Wall from the theater of art, and into a Hobbesian theater of war of all against all; a warring on speech, on property, and so on Individual Rights and the Rule of Law.

    What those who think of themselves as defenders of ‘free speech’ are doing, in redefining what speech is, is extremely dangerous. When a definition is stretched to the point of including that which it is clearly not, along with what is so essential to what it actually is, that is not strengthening the concept which such actions are hiding behind; you are not broadening the identity of speech by doing so, you are corrupting, weakening, and slowly destroying it where it really matters, as questions of ‘what the meaning of ‘is’ is‘ operate like termites in our common understanding. By accepting broad and watered down redefinitions of what speech is, we’ve opened the door to tyrannical abuses of our core rights and liberties, by those who seek to dominate us through such actions, wrapped up in the flag as if they actually were instances of speech. The consequence of our having made such errors, are brutally visible in the popularity of the belief that riotous ‘peaceful protests’ should be tolerated because they have ‘1st amendment protections!‘, as one enthusiast described protesters marching through traffic, terrifying the car’s occupants, damaging their vehicles, and smashing store windows as they passed.

    A glorious symbol that is best protected in the hearts and minds of We The People

    How free can Freedom of Speech be, when protecting the Freedom of Speech of some, entails infringing on, or ending the ability of others, to peacefully discuss  or act under such ideas? In our swallowing that position as being a legitimate one, I think we’ve swallowed a poison pill.

    What seems apparent to me, is that by allowing what is not speech, to be protected as if it were speech, we are jeopardizing our Freedom of Speech by allowing the indiscriminate exercise of physical force and violence to mask itself as being speech, and in so doing makes the freedom of speech – and our liberty – that much less secure.

    If anyone has an argument to show me where I’m going wrong here, I’d dearly appreciate your speaking up.

  • To the Not-Right: Two Things Briefly

    I’ll take a moment to offer up that rarest of things from me, a very brief post, directed to the Not-Right, and those seeking to profit from them.Two things: 1) If you see yourself as part of a group that believes that Western Civilization and Ame…

  • Never, Never, ever, say NeverTrump – Identify the greater evil, oppose that, and continue pursuing the Truth

    At the risk of having a ‘Dewey Defeats Truman!” moment, I’ll remind folks before I head to bed, of what I repeated yesterday, which I’ve been saying from the beginning of this race, that

    “…my relevant ‘principles’ are derived from an understanding of the meaning of America, the candidate that I actively endorse and support needs to be someone who demonstrates an understanding of, and respect for, our Constitution and the Individual Rights it was designed to uphold and protect, through the Rule of Law and limited to that purpose. Those principles led me to choose Sen. Cruz over Trump in the primaries…”

    But Cruz eventually Failed Sales 101, as he, with Rubio, attacked the opposition, Trump, and instead of persuading people to the merits of his position, the Never Trump’rs pushed the silent majority of non-political people away. Personally, I blame the obnoxious branch of the ‘NeverTrumpe’rs‘ for Trump even being the GOP nominee.

    You gave it to him! You belittled anyone and everyone who showed any favor to anything Trump said, berating them as:

    “IDOIT!”, “CULTIST!”, “CUCK!”, “FOOL!”,

    , and in a year when people were DONE with the GOP con-line of:

    ‘Oh, I’m a “‘Principled Reagan Conservative!’ (just ignore the bi-partisan deals I make)”

    , they’d had enough.

    My suspicion is that: FOX, you’re over with. GOP you’re over with. ‘Conservative Right’ You’ve been done with, but are only now just realizing that only one in five of you – at best – share the same principles and beliefs.

    As I said:

    “#Election2016 Get over your feelings, identify the greater evil & oppose it with the most effective means available.Continue promoting Truth.”

    I have not, and do not, buy into the out of the blue charges of ‘Racist! Misogynist! Crook!‘ that the media spin cycle has been spinning up since he hit the campaign trail.

    I personally did not, and do not, support Trump. I simply took the time to identify the greatest evil facing us – the Left – and opposed it with the most effective electoral means available, which clearly was the GOP nominee: Donald J. Trump.

    This changes NOTHING about what my principles are, and what we need to continue doing, for as I’ve been saying since before the Tea Party:

    We must educate ourselves about what Individual Rights are, what the Rule of Law requires, and the necessity of demanding that our Govt be restrained to the Constitution, and that it be limited to upholding and defending our Individual Rights under it.

    What still remains to be done, is what remained to be done even back when the GOP was looking for a ‘new message‘ – Screw you’re damn new messages!

    Go with the basics that are still the basics, several years on:

    “…Fine, you want a message? Here you go:

    If you want to communicate a message, first make sure that you understand it. If you want us to support candidates, try promoting, and supporting, candidates who actually understand our message, and who are willing and able to articulate it and defend it.

    Short of that… please, if you have to make your ‘message’ more appealing to this or that group, or more timely, then you don’t have a message that’s worth their time to listen to. Any message that doesn’t measure up to that, is folly, fad and, in the last analysis, failure, and that is the only message you will succeed in communicating… which is the message that I intend to press in these pages in the year 2013.

    So, please, before you reach out, first reach in. Reach in to find your principles and work on understand them first, you have to understand what it is that you believe and why, before you can communicate a worthwhile message about it – note: that doesn’t mean that I think you don’t know what positions you favor, believe me, we all know you do; what it means is that if you want to sell others on their value, then you need to understand the ideas behind those positions you support, you have to reach in to understand what they mean. I’m sorry it takes time, that’s the way it is. Deal with it. It’s a new year. Welcome.

    The fact is, that if you can’t show how those positions you support today, flow from the same ideas that led to those truly radical ideas our Founders expressed (note: Not the quotes Adams & Jefferson might have made, but why they made them), in the likes of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (as proposed), then… you might begin to grasp why it is that conservatism, as a political movement, has failed in the last few presidential elections. No one believes your message – including most of those you elect to legislate it. Reach in to understand why you are who you are, and believe what you do, demonstrate it in your actions, communicate it in that way to your fellows, consistently, and you may again foster a movement worth reaching for.

    That’s the long ball game we are engaged in now, not necessarily to win this or that election (though that too), but to win the hearts and minds of the future….”

    Oh, and by the way, for you Trump enthusiasts, congratulations. But. Don’t make the same mistake. This is just getting started, and you are going to be ground into the dust – if you fight it, on their terms.

    Find the principles that the rest of the Right has abandoned. Or it will go no better, and much worse, for you – and for We The People.

    OH! They called it for Trump right before I clicked post – Hillary’s DONE! Continue promoting what is Right and True!

  • The Vote is upon us – Please be sure that your grandchildren’s lives fit within the context of your vote

    So. Where do you start your consideration of how to vote from? I’ve posted time and time again over the last decade, on how easily being ‘Principled!‘ in voting, can cease to be principled… such as When acting ‘on principle’ is unprincipled behavior – part 1, and Part 2 here, or It’s time to vote – Why?, and numerous other times over the years – if you’d like a more in-depth treatment, of the matter, look there.

    But for the moment now, this will have to do.

    Painful as it is for me to say, the only principled choice in this election, is the GOP Nominee, which happens to be Donald J. Trump. If you wish to make a principled decision, then cast your ballot for Donald J. Trump, as the only effective electoral means of defeating the greater threat to liberty and the rule of law, Hillary Clinton. Period.

    Some of you might be taken aback by that. I suggest that you examine your principles, before once again consulting them.

    What are they derived from?

    As I’ve often said, Principles are a guide to thinking, not a substitute for it. Are you using your ‘principles’ to think, or to evade that?

    Principles are derived from an hierarchical view of reality, from what is understood to be true within a given context, and by applying timeless truths to the moment within time, to determine what are the most moral and the most practical actions to take – if you assume the two are contradictory, you need to give your mind an acid wash and cleanse it of the muck of modernity (clues here)!

    If your principles do not adjust to significant changes in the context of a situation, then they are no longer principles, they are merely positions, and to confuse the two is both unprincipled, and deadly dangerous.

    To re-purpose an old Buddhist phrase:

    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!.’

    For you coders out there, what this means is that you’ve taken the intellectual equivalent of an abstract class for managing reality (a principle), and hard-coded some fixed parameters within it, hopelessly tying it to one narrow particular situation. For the rest of you: Don’t litter your generalities with specifics – you only transform them into rigid rules that are irrelevant and useless.

    IOW if your ‘Principles‘ do not direct you to adjust your actions, when the context of the situation has significantly changed, then they are no longer functioning principles; you’ve corrupted and zombiefied them, likely by emotionally attaching them to particulars of the moment.

    For instance, for me, as my relevant ‘principles’ are derived from an understanding of the meaning of America, the candidate that I actively endorse and support needs to be someone who demonstrates an understanding of, and respect for, our Constitution and the Individual Rights it was designed to uphold and protect, through the Rule of Law and limited to that purpose. Those principles led me to choose Sen. Cruz over Trump in the primaries, because Cruz’s experience demonstrated an understanding of, and his polices were compatible with, my principled understanding (rooted in Individual Rights, Property Rights, under Constitutionally limited govt) of what the President of the United States of America is supposed to be the Chief Executive of. On the other hand, Trump… I’d no idea what he stood for,let alone what his principles were, beyond some managerial skills and popular charisma aligned with a vaguely ‘pro-Americana-ish’ sensibility.

    But Ted Cruz lost the primary, and the primaries are over. Which meant that key, significant aspects of the context of my vote and the election, had radically changed.

    My principles towards who I can support and endorse have not changed, but the new phase of the election is not about my choice for who would be the best candidate to run for POTUS. Instead, the election in question is now about selecting a candidate from those options which the electoral process of the nation – of which I am a citizen of – has placed on the ballot, and from which one WILL be selected by the voters as POTUS.

    If your principles did not enable you to adjust with that context, if your ‘Principles!‘ have instead urged you to ignore the actual potential outcomes of the election, and have instead led you towards some form of personal self-gratification in the voting-booth, then what you are following are positions, not principles.

    The fact is, that the context has changed, and you must choose anew from the available options. While Trump is still an unknown and flamboyant player, he is one of the two leading candidates from which the winner will be chosen. If the two front-runners shared fundamental principles of mine, then I’d choose from the best able to further them. However, they don’t. Neither one matches up with what I consider important. However, one will be elected, so the next question to be asked is not how can I wash my hands of this choice, but does one of them pose a greater threat to that which I value, and which is the purpose of this election: the nation, our system of gov, and all of the people living under it?

    For the answer to that, see my previous posts, especially “Perverting Progress into Poison – the Doppelganger Strikes Back – The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.9b“, and “Progressively Doing away with Truth – How Pro-Regressives see Regress as Progress pt 9c“, is yes, the Pro-Regressive ‘Progressive’ Leftist candidate is by far, the greater threat. While I still can’t endorse Trump or offer my support for his unknown qualifications, I can, and must, oppose that greater threat, with the most effective means electoral means available, which, from those options available to select from, as provided by the nations electoral process, of which we are citizen participants in, that is the GOP nominee, who happens to be: Donald J. Trump.

    If you grasp the context, the principles involved, and the threats to them, then there is little reason to quibble, and no room for any of the ‘adult’ whining about it that I’ve been painful witness of. The only viable option, is Trump. Done. Grow up, cast your vote and move on.

    Hopefully you’ll join me, beginning the day after he is elected (fingers crossed), in working to educate the electorate as to what ideas, principles and considerations they should have a more solid understanding of, but until then, we go to vote with the ballots we have.

    Would I prefer to have a candidate that I could feel confident would understand, support and defend the Constitution? Absolutely. Sadly, tragically, that is not the option, IMHO, that the American people have left us with. The reality is that we do not have anyone available, conceptually and electorally, who I can see fits the bill, not in the two major parties, or, even if they were electorally viable, in any of the third party candidates. Still, there will be an election – Tuesday – and one candidate Will win it. If this were a cycle with generally pro-American candidates, whose main differences were simply policy, then we’d have an election with someone to vote For, and without having to be too concerned with if they lost (again, sadly, we haven’t seen an election like that in over a century).

    But that is not the reality we’re facing.

    We have a front runner for the Left who is possessed of an anti-American philosophy, and if you need a reminder, these are just a few of the founding ideals of the ‘American Progressives’ that Hillary identifies herself as being:

    • “Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”
    • “The tradition of respect for individual liberty, Gladden preached, was “a radical defect in the thinking of the average American.”
    • “…Individuals, Ross maintained, were but “plastic lumps of human dough,” to be formed on the great “social kneading board.

    Those are the fundamentals which guide here in the laws and policies that she will implement.

    If elected, she will have not only enjoy the support of the bulk of Congress behind her in her efforts, but the wide landscape of the judiciary, to which she will deliberately add more equally anti-American judges to the Supreme Court, not to mention the entire bureaucracy of all the administrative agencies, such as EPA, FDA, IRS, etc, that will be behind her as well.

    Outside of govt proper, she will also enjoy the full support of academia, the educational bureaucracy, the media, Hollywood, etc. In 8 yrs, Obama has transformed the bulwark of our Constitution, into little more than something of a fundraising talking point for a few of those ‘on the right’… and that’s about it. And the culture of our nation has slid at least as far down and to the Left. That is where a Hillary Clinton presidency will be starting from. She will Not stop at the level of economic policies, she will do everything in her power to extend govt power past what we can do, and into what we will be allowed to think and hope of doing.

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that I see the Left gaining power at this point in time, as an Evil, and a far greater one than is posed by Trump, no matter how foolish or corrupt he might be.

    The Left Must be slowed. Period. And the most effective means of doing that, sickeningly, is with the GOP nominee.

    I don’t like it one bit. I’ve disliked Trump since the 1980’s, but this isn’t about my preferences or sensibilities, but about attempting to keep the greater evil from gaining power.

    Once again, I in No way am a supporter of Trump – I’m an opposer of the pro-regressive ‘Progressive’ Left. I have no basis in reasoned experience to believe that Trump will succeed in accomplishing anything good, I have reams of information and understanding that the Pro-Regressive ‘Progressive’ Leftist candidate, is the most vicious believer and operator the Left has fielded in a century.

    I am not supporting Trump, I’m opposing the Left’s Hillary Clinton.

    To treat this election as if it is simply a choice between policy options, is ignorant, and borderline insanity, and the habit of treating the left as just another policy choice, is what has had a great deal to do with the Right’s failure over the last many decades; failing – refusing – to confront the meaning of their policies, and I’m speaking of those who think in terms of defining their ‘principles’, which Are anti-American, has been a futile, foolish policy of ‘competitive appeasement’.

    By anti-American, I don’t mean they are bad people who kick puppies and are mean to all – I’ve far too many friends and family who are leftists, who I know to be wonderful, kind, generous people, to give that a moments consideration. But then I don’t define America by is boundaries or ‘baseball, hot dogs, apple pie…’, but by the ideas that first made it possible, and which our founding documents embody. That means ideas that recognize and uphold individual rights, property, and a rule of Law that recognizes their being upheld, as its purpose. To deliberately infringe upon, or negate those principles, Is to advance ideas and positions that are, necessarily, anti-American.

    And by evil, I mean that the driving philosophy behind the Left, is opposed to even recognizing that reality can be known (see Kant), is deliberately intent upon imposing their will over and against what is real and true, and because they prefer their wishes to reality, they feel justified in having ‘experts’ and legislators ‘force us to be free‘, which goes back to Rousseau, and as this quote indicates, has persisted from then, to Joseph Stalin, and has certainly not been denounced in our day,

    “…We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state…”

    as well as every PC re-education program anyone had ever been sentenced to, is alive and kicking in the left.

    Finally, it is the intent and deep desire of the Left, to not allow people to live their own lives, but to use govt power to live their lives for them, and I most definitely do see that as being evil.

    Tomorrow, don’t react,; think, before you vote, vote as if your grand children’s lives depend upon it..

  • Perverting Progress into Poison – the Doppelganger Strikes Back – The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.9b

    For most Americans, even today, their natural reaction when they see an error, or a falsehood, or some other wrong, their impulse is to try and correct it. While the belief that they can correct it, is cause for us to hope, the fact that their corrections are so full of obvious errors is cause for despair. But even so, the belief that they can correct it, that comes from our recognition that there are facts and that we can know them, and that because we understand that we can know the facts, and that paying attention to what is, and is not so, will help us to understand what is True, we then presume that we can put ourselves on the path towards understanding what we ought to do, because of what we know to be true.

    Which all seems so very obvious, reasonable and commonsensical. Right? And once upon a time in The West, not only would it be thought possible and normal to distinguish between a ‘fact’ and a ‘lie’, there would have been no dispute about the wisdom of correcting it with what was Right and True.

    But that sort of sense is no longer acknowledged by those in places of intellectual power over the world we are living in. Most such folks will deny that there is any connection between what IS, and what Ought to be done about it (and that definitely depends upon what you think the meaning of ‘is’ is). To be sure, these ‘thought leaders’ are exceedingly quick to tell you what is right for you to do, but they will, often in the same breath, also tell you that there is no way to know what is True or Right.

    This progressive reversal of perceptions and moral fortunes has been turning the Western world upside down, and has been brought upon us by those who have the nerve to call themselves ‘Progressives‘, and the effects of it reach far beneath those appearances which they prefer to stay above. From academics to policy wonks to media gadflies and political activists, they feel the zeal to tell others what they should do, while also saying that no one can know what is true, and somehow they have the effrontery to call this position ‘Progress!‘.

    The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress

    • pt 9b: Perverting Progress into Poison – the Doppelganger Strikes Back
    • pt 9c: Perverting Progress into Poison – How Pro-Regressives see Regress as Progress

    Now for the first time since nearly as far back as Woodrow Wilson, We The People have on the ballot for our President, a self professed ‘American Progressive’ in the person of Hillary Clinton, who’s also supported by numerous others who more than fit the same bill, wouldn’t it be wise before choosing whether to cast your vote for Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump – or to avoid the choice through a ‘third party’ alternative – wouldn’t it be wise to try and understand what it is that they, and she, mean by ‘Progressive!‘?

    Because I’ve gotta tell you, especially for those of you who do have a negative view of ‘Progressives’, if you think that their ideology is somehow equivalent to being a corrupt bureaucrat, or a corrupt businessmen, or a crook, or even if you believe that it’s equivalent to being an authoritarian ‘Statist’, or even a flat out ‘Tyrant’, you are not only greatly mistaken, but your mistake is aiding and abetting that same pro-regressive ‘Progressive’ agenda that you have such a negative view of, in much the same way a cold blooded murderer would benefit from being treated no more seriously than you would a swindler.

    One thing which this series of posts on ‘Progress and Regress and the Rule of Law‘, has been illustrating, is that simple abuse of power, and abuse of the law for political power, is what we’ve had with us throughout all of human history – but abusive, tyrannical government is not how you identify
    a Progressive. Neither can you properly identify them by the policies they support, policies that have been with us since the closing days of the Roman Republic, and on through its emperors such as Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Diocletian and more, or the totalitarian monarchy of France’s King Louis XIV, or even our own former King George V, they all supported policies which we now associate with Progressives today, from economic price controls, to The Dole to gain political popularity, participated and fostered graft and corruption, mandated state sponsored monopolies and mercantilism and so much more… and yet… they were not Progressives, and they weren’t able to measure down to the worst that Pro-Regressive Progressives are easily capable of descending to.

    To be sure, the old style tyrants oppressed people, ruined lives and racked up body counts beyond our imagination, but they were not Progressives, they were merely tyrants – and I am most definitely using the word ‘merely‘, advisedly.

    What I mean by that, is that prior to the bright side of Modernity, mankind was mostly ignorant of individual rights, property and the Rule of Law, and those who were tyrants prior to that understanding, they should not and cannot be, properly equated with those on the dark side of Modernity who do have that knowledge, and yet deliberately evade, deny, reject and set out to eliminate all understanding of it. To a certain extent, we need to view the tyrants of the past, and even some of those who’d engage in such tyrannical behavior today, as we would view similar behavior from a pre-modern medical doctor, and a modern medical doctor.

    A doctor who neither understood or knew of modern medicine, that bled their patients to death, or poisoned them by administering mercury to them through doses of pills and enemas, in tragically ignorant efforts to heal them, must be regarded very differently from a doctor who, with full knowledge of modern medicine, deliberately bleeds their patients, poisons them with doses of mercury pills and enemas, and intentionally destroys the health of their patient ‘for their own good‘. However much wrong both such medical doctors might bring about, the actions of the later are infinitely more dangerous and horrifying than those of the former.

    It is not only from the actions that you identify a Pro-Regressive Progressive, but from those ideas and beliefs which drive them to take those actions. If you are observing and determining and calling a politician a ‘Progressive!‘ simply because they associate themselves with such policies and behaviors… you are missing the essential, defining, fundamentals, of what Progressives are, and why I call them Pro-Regressives.

    Tyrants have been with us since the dawn of time, but Progressivism was only recently introduced upon the world stage with the coming of Modernity at the end of the Age of Enlightenment, and along with all of the dazzling technological progress that modernity has brought with it (and remember, correlation is not causation), it also brought about new philosophical aims and techniques – it brought a very new way of observing and thinking about the world – which induces those followers that we can identify as ‘Progressives’, to go not just beyond the old lines of bad and unethical behavior, but to plunge through and deep beneath those old boundaries, while loudly proclaiming that they do so ‘for the greater good!‘. That new view, when coupled with the power of a nation state and The Law, is what brought about the 100+ million dead of the 20th Century, from the hands of the various flavors and faces of Pro-Regressivism, in Socialism, Marxism, Communism, Fascism.

    In previous posts (see inset links), I’ve gone into where real civil progress in the Rule of Law began, how it developed, and those fundamentals that began to give it true shape and the ability to defend all the people; how true progress was unLocked by the clarification of Individual Rights, and of the vital importance that Property Rights has in anchoring all of our Individual Rights into the reality of our everyday lives. In the last post, I pointed out how the Rule of Law, is being transformed into its evil twin, the Doppelganger’s Rule of Rules, which through the more popular ideas of modernity, we have been severing ourselves from that anchor in the law which property provides for our individual rights. Today our best and brightest are being taught to confuse the dangerous state of drift which we are being swept away on, with navigational progress.

    In this post, I’ll do my best to point out as briefly as I’m able to (ahem), some key landmarks which Progressives have been using as the intellectual equivalents of optical illusions, making it possible to think of a wrong turn, as being a right one, that have made it possible for people today who think of themselves as being ‘educated’, to mistake that dangerous intellectual drifting upon the moment with purposive navigation. These are the landmarks that we’ve been travelling by, and whose crowning achievement has been to bring our society to the point of affirming and believing that a man can identify as having changed his gender to being a female, while using the law to force you to accept such men as women, in even the most uncomfortable and vulnerable of situations.

    Note: This has nothing to do with those who’re afflicted with being transgendered; I’m not interested in troubling the mentally ill person who is truly afflicted with confusion over whether or not they’re a man or a woman, or to lock them away for having such views. What I am interested in here, is the healthy sicko who is willing to not only reinforce the delusions of the mentally ill, but will use them to gain the political power to force you and your children into participating in those delusions, and to behave as if such contradictions between perceptions and physical facts, can and should be believed and accepted as facts as you see them.

    I’m interested in drawing attention to those who would demand that you, as George Orwell put it, must “…really and truly believe that 2+2=5“, because there are consequences to such things being believed and accepted, and none of them are good.

    Perspective – Seeing yourself as ‘Progessives’ see you
    I made some note a few years back of some early pro-regressive ‘Progressives‘, such as a fellow named Ellwood P. Cubberly, someone you probably think little of, but who has a great deal to do with how and what you do think, as his ideas greatly aided in forming the structure of our modern educational system, in some ways even moreso than John Dewey. One of his swell statements, back in the ‘good ol’ days’ of 1909, was his positively delighted boast that,

    “Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent.”

    If you’re like most people, who assumed that our schools started going bad in the 1960’s, that date is a little surprising – and it should be, but only because even by 1909, that process had been well underway for several decades. The early 1900’s was the high time of the ‘Progressive’ era, and it was marked by lots of smart folk who were deeply impressed with their own smarts, such as another fellow from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, whom you’ve probably also never heard of, Lester Ward, who also had quite a lot to do with what you think, as he – at the time called ‘the American Aristotle’ (!) – had a great deal to do with decisively moving Education away from a system that helped humans become more humane, to one that trained you peoples to become as useful to society as some few experts could imagine them being – and preferably no more so. I’d noted that Lester Ward had,

    “…carefully went about redefining the word ‘Education’ in his book “Dynamic sociology”, though he didn’t hide how he intended to use his newly redefined word:

    “…if the word can be made to embrace the notion of imparting a knowledge of the materials and forces of nature to all the members of society, there can be no objection to the employment of this word education as the embodiment of all that is progressive.

    Education thus defined is the available means of setting progressive wheels of society in motion; it is, as it were, the lever to which the power must be applied.”

    The lever to which the power must be applied. Can you say ‘Nudge’?…”

    And how did they want to leverage that power to nudge us? By getting us to rethink what was worth thinking about, and individual liberty was what these ‘progressive’ minded people most wanted us to think the least about and the less of. As Thomas Leonard notes in his new book “Illiberal Reformers“, early Progressive thought leaders, such as Washington Gladden, thought and taught about our American ideas of Liberty, that

    “The tradition of respect for individual liberty, Gladden preached, was “a radical defect in the thinking of the average American.”

    Why? Because they thought liberty to be an old, outdated idea, and worse, our attraction to liberty made it more difficult for them to do to us, what they thought that their ideas of ‘Progress’ required to be done. As another Progressive maven, Edward A. Ross, taught that the concept of social control,

    “…Individuals, Ross maintained, were but “plastic lumps of human dough,” to be formed on the great “social kneading board.

    Ross was not merely touting bigger government. He was asserting that the autonomous, self-reliant individual, a figure in both the liberal and republican traditions, was now a fiction in the age of industrialization…..” [emphasis mine]

    And make no mistake, the Pro-Regressive to this day still sees you as the clay, and they see themselves as the ‘experts’ whose duty is to sculpt you into that which will adorn their superior vision, to remake reality according to their visions, a vision they see as also giving them the power to discard those sub-standard lumps of human clay which they deem to be not so useful to their purposes (See the SCOTUS case ‘Buck vs. Bell‘, which I earlier noted in this post). Self described ‘Progressives’ pursued the prevention of marriage between races; they publicly and high-mindedly sought to eliminate the ‘botched’; they even deceptively experimented on unsuspecting patients (as with Tuskegee Syphilis Study), even poisoned and killed thousands of Americans in the name of Prohibition (“…the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people…”), because they saw such actions as being pragmatic means for addressing those problems which they desired to ‘cure’ society of. As Leonard notes,

    “…Progressives embraced holism, drawn by a powerful confluence of postbellum intellectual currents: the German Historical School’s view that a nation was an organism, something greater than the sum of the individuals it comprised, Darwinian evolution’s implication that the individuals inalienable natural rights were only a pleasant fiction, the Protestant social gospel’s move from individual salvation to a collective project of redeeming America (indeed, the world), and the liberating effects of philosophical Pragmatism, which seemed to license most any departure from previous absolutes, provided it proved useful. …”[emphasis mine]

    Because they are working so hard to get us to rethink and unthink what ‘s worth thinking about, you might want to think a bit more carefully about who you think that you are; do you think of yourself as being an American? Why do you think that? What do you mean by that? It can’t be ethnicity or race – Americans are mongrels mixed from the world’s ‘pure-breds’ and always have been, being an American can’t be defined by only where you’re from, without cheapening and disrespecting the one thing that being an American actually means.

    If being an American has any meaning at all, it means a person dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal – not in the sense of physical characteristics and abilities, but in the sense that by the nature of being human, all men have been endowed by their creator (and in this narrow sense, whether you think that creator is the Deity, or Biology, the point is unchanged) with certain inalienable rights – which means respecting and upholding the ability to take those actions which are essential to the nature of being human: to live, speak, act, associate, produce, preserve and protect, etc., and that no person could be said to be living a fully human life, if they are being forcibly prevented from taking those actions which they thought were the best decisions for them; it means believing that such individuals who respect the rights of their fellows to do the same, are capable of, and ought to engage in, the art of self governance, under a system of laws designed to limit the power of their government to the purpose of defending those rights. It is that spirit and understanding of America which has enabled Americans to enjoy living in liberty in society with their fellows, and the spectacular explosion of wealth that followed from a nation being dedicated to putting such ideas into practise.

    One implication of that idea of what America means, is that those who deliberately define themselves as ‘Progressives‘ were, and are, in that sense decidedly, vocally, anti-American, and proudly so. If you snicker at my saying that, you do so out of ignorance – yours (I suggest you read through the links above, and these obvious ones here: Teddy Roosevelt’s 1st Address to Congress & his New Nationalism, and his Who is a Progressive?, Woodrow Wilson’s Constitutionalism, his What is Progress?, and the links still to come – then get back to me). Such ‘Progressive’ feelings might justifiably be described as patriotic anti-Americanism, and it was and is their view, that that same system of laws by which Americans secured Liberty for ourselves, is the very same means by which they have for so long intended to rid us of that same liberty.

    Or do you somehow suppose that Washington Gladden’s assertion that,

    “The tradition of respect for individual liberty, was “a radical defect in the thinking of the average American.”

    , has some other meaning? What other meaning could it have?

    The image of The Law as Right Reason, forced through a mirror darkly
    Real societal Progress is enabled, among other things, with rightful Laws, and societal Regress follows from the misuse, abuse or absence of, such rightful laws, and real regress will follow, no matter how good or different your intentions might have been, for those ‘Change!‘s you brought about.

    Those rules which are worthy of being legitimately thought of as Law, are developed from observing how people coexist over time, how they interact with each other, socialize, trade, argue, etc, which enable us to look through the passing fashions and passions of the day, to discern both timeless truths and common fallacies, from people’s actions and their justifications for them. Laws which positively contribute to the Rule of Law are derived from the reality of that real nature of our being human beings who’re attempting to rise above our baser, natural, natures; who’re attempting, in Cicero’s words, to order their actions by “Right Reason in agreement with nature“, to define reasonable rules which enable a people’s interactions to continue, insofar as they are honestly directed, while punishing those who’d negligently or deliberately abuse their fellows.

    Laws lose their legitimacy as they abandon that foundation, and become only Rules posing as ‘Law’, rules seeking to force compliance from people, rather than to facilitate their consent, and usually for the benefit of those who have no other right in such matters, than the favor of those who have power over them all. Such ‘Rules’ as those are the dark mirror image of laws and the Rule of Law, what I’ve called its Doppelganger, and its darkened mirror image strains to take us in the opposite direction, appealing to our baser natures in order to entice, revel in, and live down to, that baser nature, for a time being parasitic on a just system of Law until it becomes strong enough to replace it, controlling or prohibiting a peoples rightful actions and behaviors.

    That is not me making derisive comments about Progressives, but me describing the books and essays and speeches that they’ve written and acted upon.

    What actually is rightful in ideas and Laws, tends to follow from a bottom up view of the reality of human nature, which, not surprisingly, is not where Pro-Regressive ideas spring from.

    The Pro-Regressive ‘Progressive’ does do not start reasoning from tangibles such as land, possessions, contracts, a respect for social arrangements or other facts of how people actually live their lives, towards those abstractions which enable people to think more clearly about them. Instead the Progressive begins by rationalizing how things ‘could be’ best conceived of, with which one person or group of like-minded persons, who, confident in their more impressive intelligence, believe their own expertise could be used to improve upon how you deal with mundane tangibles in your life, for you; they like to think about what you should think, and do, and believe, delighting in imagining how much better your life would be, if only they had the power to live it for you. Confident that they know your mind and interests better than you do, they intend to use the power of government to ‘lead’ you into having to do what they believe is best for you, as Teddy Roosevelt put it:

    “I do not represent public opinion,” he wrote to the journalist Ray Stannard Baker. “I represent the public. There is a wide difference between the two, between the real interests of the public and the public’s opinion of these interests.” He spoke of the common good as if such a unitary thing were not hard to identify, at least for him. ….”

    , and as Woodrow Wilson said, in noting the similarities between Democracy and Socialism (he nominally preferred the former, but was more than ok with the later),

    “…Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals. Limits of wisdom and convenience to the public control there may be: limits of principle there are, upon strict analysis, none….”

    The Pro-Regressive ‘Progressive’ means to do good to you, as they see fit for you – no matter how you might feel about it.

    One of the most irritating things that I often hear, is when Pro-Regressive Leftists are referred to as being “Liberals”. Yes, they refer to themselves as being ‘Liberals’, but that term itself refers to the belief that men can and should live in liberty, and Leftists believe no such thing – they are not Liberal, they are Illiberal. Pro-Regressive Progressives, and the Leftists who carry on their ideas, used to openly deride the Liberal ideas of our Founders era, and they only retreated into that label after their own term ‘Progressive’ was given such a bad name after the likes of T.R., Wilson and Hoover. It is only now, when that too recent history has been nearly forgotten, that they openly dare to return to their original name, of ‘Progressive’.

    In an interview with Thomas C. Leonard, author of Illiberal Reformers, he notes:

    “…The progressives disparaged 19th-century liberalism as laissez-faire and led a crusade to dismantle it, remaking American economic life with a new instrument of reform they blueprinted and built, the regulatory welfare state. The progressives were reformers, to be sure, but they were no liberals. Indeed, they disdained individual liberties—not least those enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—as archaic impediments to their reform project of improving American society’s health, welfare, and morals. Woodrow Wilson, among many others, dismissed talk of individual rights against the state as “nonsense.”

    There is an additional sense in which in the progressives were illiberal. Before “liberal” entered the political lexicon, it described a person who was open-minded, tolerant, and free from prejudice or bigotry. As Illiberal Reformers painstakingly documents, a shockingly high percentage of the progressive economists were close-minded, intolerant, and bigoted. Indeed, they campaigned to exclude the disabled, immigrants, women, and other maligned groups from the U.S. workforce, on the grounds that the economic competition of hereditary inferiors threatened the American working man and Anglo-Saxon race integrity….”…”

    They had no extensive reflections to justify that, they, as did the college students in those videos from the last post, have only the most shallow of appearances with which to base a snap judgment upon – and they are eager to do it. They will rush in with something such as:

    “… I feel like sometimes, people use the ‘Constitution’ as an excuse to not… think…”

    and then follow that up with such thoughtless thoughts, as,

    ‘When it was written, we were considering things that absolutely don’t apply today’

    , as if concerns about how to, and how much power, to place in the hands of a human’s nature, is no longer a matter for concern to us today.

    The Progressive looks upon reality and is frustrated that it isn’t as efficient as they’d like it to be, as it no doubt would be, if only they had the unrestricted power to remake the world in their own image. They want answers without trying to understand the questions, they despise the deep structure of questions and answers which Western Civilization has developed from over the course of three thousand years, because of the limitations which that understanding requires them to respect; they don’t want Truth, they don’t want Wisdom, they don’t even really want Results, but only the expectation of what they want to result, from a world made to conform to their desires for it. IOW, they want to be Pragmatic.

    At root, the Pro-Regressive ‘Progressivism’ is an ideology of easy answers, easily luring the follower into feeling as if they are ‘helping’ improve their fellows lives, building one good intention upon another, creating a foundation so shot full of unforeseen errors and falsehoods, that it easily ruins all that it comes into contact with.

    And as they have – and approve of – little or no contact with reality, that seems just fine to them, after all, its your life they’re experimenting with, not theirs, and they don’t really want to have anything to do with you… beyond living your life for you.

    And when you come down to it, that IS what they most oppose – the possibility of you living your own life, and they rebel against is anything which thwarts their good intentions for you. The desire to ‘do good for others’, justifies their good intentions for you – their ends justify their means.

    And as discovered in the previous post, they discovered they could accomplish that, by breaching the integrity of Rights, Property and Law, and by nudging people into tolerating what is not true (and not even true), nudging them into permitting any well intentioned’ lie (“… a video cause the Benghazi riots… if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…”), as justifying their means… almost in a sort of secularized version of the Islamic ‘Taqya’, where all lies are permitted, so long as they further the faith. That, together with an eagerness to mock what is right and true, is by such means by which external power, rather than your own personal responsibility to what is true, becomes dominant in your relations with your fellows, and with your own self, and it is through that mental and spiritual breach that the Doppelganger rushes in.

    And in that rush, with power no longer bound by laws respecting individual rights or a people who have respect for them, that is the type of world where the ‘little guy’ no longer stands as tall in court as the wealthy ‘elite’, where no longer does the state ‘have their back‘ so that ‘every man’s house is his castle‘ – when the Doppelganger rules over you by rules rather than laws, it doesn’t ‘have your back‘, it holds a gun to it – for your own good – reducing all of your property to merely those physical possessions that are held onto by the strongest (or by those who’ve curried their favor).

    We tend to not realize just how much we miss when we overlook the fact that our regard for the truth is what enables us to gauge the brutality of an action, and without that, any brutality is easily reduced to, and induced to being seen as, simply a useful means to a more efficient end.

    Pro-Regressives, however, add something more and something new, to the mere quest for power over others, where the old fashioned tyrant knew that they were behaving as brutes, and didn’t care, knew that they were doing wrong, but did so anyway, the pro-regressive actually feels justified in doing evil, because he feels that because ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few‘, then what they see  as being the greater good, justifies their doing any lesser evil, so long as he feels that their intentions are lofty enough to justify them. And with no serious convictions about what is true or false, right or wrong… how would they not feel so?

    Those who feel unrestrained by either our Constitution or the ideas it was derived from, will willingly use power to take life altering positions and judgments, upon such a shallow basis as pragmatic snap-judgments about ‘what will work for the moment’, are not the sort of people who’ll be content to let their ideas stop at installing warning labels, stop signs or moderating penal codes. The policies formulated in academia and popularized in popular culture and the media, seek after using the force of law to realize their dreams for you. They fully and eagerly intend to enter that most private of property, that hitherto undiscovered country – your mind – in order to plunder, pillage and colonize it with their own notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, despite their having little or no real relation to reality, and everything to do with their precious theories of remaking the word in their own image.

    It is in that way that any who tamper with or infringe upon the inviolable right of property, pose a threat to the entire community. Such rationalizations as those of the ‘Progressives’ ideology, are only made possible by removing the links between thought and action.

    The strategy which the Pro-Regressive follows, whether Socialist, Fascist or Communist, is the one which Marx defined as being the key to unlimited power: the abolition of Private Property, and the modern American Administrative State – the signal creation of 19th Century pro-regressive ‘Progressives’ – has proved to be the most amazingly effective means of progressively achieving their goals of living our lives for us, right out in the open, slowly usurping increasing amounts of power and control from our lives, for all to see and ignore, through those regulations of administrative agencies which deprive individuals of their property in their property, replacing them with the bureaucratic controls of Govt power.

    By whatever name you call it – regulation, appropriation, communal property, oversight – the cell door which the Rule of Law had imprisoned the Doppelganger with, was picked all the same, freeing it to take from each according to his ability, and to redistribute it to each according to their needs (as determined by our Doppelgangers), abandoning every individual to the age old primitive contest of who has enough muscle, will, guile and power, to take what they want from the weaker, whenever they feel a desire to – for their own good.

    I’ll ask again, what I asked in an earlier post,

    “What ‘Right’ of yours can you expect to be respected, from people who don’t believe in Rights?”

    To which I’ll add another question:

    “How can you expect to get the truth or be treated justly by, people do do not believe that truth exists, or that ‘justice’ is anything other than what they say it is?”

     The spooky Trick or Treats of Halloween have nothing on that.

    In tomorrow’s post, how the ‘Progressive’ sees Regress as Progress

  • Trick or Treating in 1984 – The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.9a

    Trick or Treat
    I began this series of posts at Halloween last year, with the point that the 1st Monday in October (opening day of the Supreme Court) was a far more frightening day, for adults, than Halloween was for their children. If that’s so, and it is, how much more true has it become of our Presidential elections? But to understand which option is truly the most frightening, you can’t simply judge form candidates, their campaigns or the reporting on them – you have to understand what ideas will guide their use of political power over (and in) our lives, and that takes a wee bit more time than saying ‘BOO!’ – which is about all the media wants to tell you.

    In the last few posts of this series, I’ve been sticking to the nature and development – the progress – of Law, but in order to see where, under a Pro-Regressive ideology, the Law is both leading to, and being generated from, we need to look over in the direction of Education. Why? Because The Law is but a means of binding, and giving order to the use of power in a manner that reflects the philosophy of the times, and on its own it will range somewhere on a scale between judicious restraint and savage barbarity. What informs the direction which that will to power takes, however, mostly enters our past, present and future lawmakers heads through our schools – they are the drinking fountains of philosophy, and directly or indirectly, that is where our culture cultivates itself from.

    What is being cultivated is on display in these videos, but keep in mind that these aren’t simply a charming new addition to the genre of late night comedy show’s ‘Stupid Student Tricks‘. Take a closer look at these college student videos with an eye, not to laughing or dismissing these people as fools or pansies, or to taking aim at Millennials (as if your generation look better if smart phone video existed then. Please. I actually think they’re more likely to outshine us all), or to mock the ignorance that’s been educated into them – we do a disservice to ourselves, and to them, when we look at videos such as these and dismissively chuckle at them in that way. Instead, try looking at them as evidence of seeds that are and have been germinating across our land for over a century – and just imagine the harvests that are soon to come. Do that and I think you’ll see that laughter is less warranted than a cold chill of fear.

    In some ways the outrageous Social Justice Warrior videos are less alarming to me, than those of the more coolly ‘reasoned’ responses such as these “Georgetown students who say that the Constitution is outdated, overrated’“, as they are surer indicators of the shape of the coming establishment, who seemingly have no sense whatsoever of the dangers inherent to the holding of power, or of the need to restrain its use by those who would use it to ‘do good, to help you!‘ even, or especially, against your will. Even worse, they seem so well versed in justifying the abandonment of restraint and of justifying the exercise of political power over others, with little awareness of either the best, or most dangerous methods, of managing and restraining political power; something which used to be one of the central themes of a college education – how is that absent from their minds – yet these students are in college, and no matter how little respect I have for the content of what they are learning, they are there because they are deemed to be the least foolish, stupid or laugh-at-able members of American youth.

    I repeat, you should be chilled, not amused, by these videos.

    You’re going to be tempted to laugh though. Way it is. Don’t. These aren’t funny. At all. Seriously

    Ok, the first video opens with a young lady at Georgetown University stating that:

    “Yeah, they definitely take it too seriously. it’s not… 250 years ago… when the constitution was about written… I’m not sure what that date is…”

    There are several things that come to mind to say to that, on a scale ranging from grammar nazi to chronologist, but what I’d really like to say to these students who are pursuing ‘higher education’ has more to do with their demonstrating what one of her fellow students unironically states, later on in the same video:

    “I feel like sometimes, people use the ‘Constitution’ as an excuse to not… think.”

    , with which I completely agree… though in the reverse of what he intended it, of course.

    These students, as most students over the past ten+ decades, have had their heads pragmatically stuffed full of doubtful notions of what thinking is, and is not, instilling in them the notion that such matters can be, and are bound by, time and place; that things are true only in so far as they seem to work at the moment – if it doesn’t work later, don’t bother worrying about why, just try something new; that people in the past had different ‘needs’ than people today, and that our thinking should not attempt to have anything to do with what some – such as the greatest thinkers in history – might call ‘timeless truths’. An implication which she reaffirms, BTW, at the conclusion of the video:

    “It’s now 2016, it’s not 1776”.

    What do you suppose she, they, think that means? Presumably they don’t see themselves as being the bigoted examples of temporal provincialism (which I do see them as) but it’s difficult to shake the impression that what she means to say – keeping in mind my warning that they aren’t laughable – is something more along the lines of:

    ‘Like, look, our clothes are TOTally different today, there’s no way we should take them seriously. And, seriously, they transmitted words by PAYper, we use the INTernet – like we’re like a TOTally different species today, than what people were way back in 1776!’

    Now I can understand it if you think I’m mocking her or being unfair here, but I’m not so much mocking her, as trying to make more clear the implications of her own words – to say that such ideas are, and can be safely dismissed as passing fashions. What can really be meant in saying that our Constitution was written for a different time? She obviously is not referring to what is True across time, but to what were merely popular sentiments of the day, fleeting fashions and fads. As such, she is either elevating the notion that the management of political power over human nature can be safely dealt with as the trite stuff of fleeting fashion, or she’s ignorantly reclassifying the weighty ideas of our Constitution downwards to the status of simplistic and shallow fare.


    Do you suppose that she and her classmates have actually gone through the process of deeply thinking and reflecting upon these issues, and so have eventually, inevitably, come to the conclusion that the dangers inherent in placing power in the hands of men, needed to be taken more seriously in the past than today, because… they didn’t have advanced technology? Are they willfully thinking that we as human beings, are somehow substantially different today, than from 229 years ago? How does someone who presumably enthusiastically and wholeheartedly believes in Darwinian evolution, believe that?! Have the cell phone and Internet short-circuited the evolutionary process and changed human nature, rather than simply speeding and intensifying the implications of it? If not, then what is it that they are counting on, so that such matters don’t have to be taken so seriously in our time? Or are they rather avoiding such thoughts as that, so that they can rest easy in the belief that their easy answers and unchallenged fashions are the very bestest fashions of all time?

    I suppose she might answer me by saying that

    ‘No, but what was found acceptable then, is TOTally unacceptable now, like women couldn’t even vote! And slavery! That’s what I mean, it was a TOTally different time!’

    Yes I’m putting words in her mouth – but look how well they fit! How else should we treat the notion that such profound questions and ideas should be treated as the changeable garments of fashion that are easily put on, and taken off, as the mood of the moment strikes you? Truly, that is barbaric – and they are taught to see it as enlightened! What arrogance and hubris – it’s difficult to shake the sense that Nemisis must surely be feasting upon these words and cuing up an historic response (unless of course you’ve never been taught the concept, or worse, were taught “What a silly old timey myth! What thoughtless fools those Greeks were!“).

    Listen to the next students, as they, with just as much thoughtfulness and confidence, assert that,

    “When it was written, we were considering things that absolutely don’t apply today.”

    Really? So issues of individual rights and the exercise of power, and the tendency of men to abuse power, ‘absolutely don’t apply today‘? So then issues such as this from Federalist #51:

    “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

    , are now, what, thanks to the Internet and ObamaCare, are no longer an issue for us today? Do you suppose that their professors have discouraged, or encouraged, such thoughts in them? Do you think that if the interviewer were a govt agent and hauled off and punched them in the face for saying such things (and if they imagine right-wingers in the White House, that shouldn’t be too hard for them to imagine), do you think that our Founders would consider that such an action anymore right or wrong then, than we would now? Bonus Points: Who do you suppose that our Founder’s era would be more shocked and surprised at the actions of, Nixon/Clinton/Trump, or these students? (if you said “Nixon/Clinton/Trump” you might want to read a bit more of what the Founders actually said and did and dealt with).

    Timeless Truths vs Fashionable Barbarisms
    What does it mean to say that such issues of right and wrong ‘absolutely don’t apply today‘? What can that mean?

    It’s not enough to point out what they don’t know, without taking note that they are being educated to not know it!

    What does it mean to say that their ‘time‘ was so different from ours? That because the customs and technology of the time are so very different from ours, that such issues of time and habit somehow make our time, so very different from theirs? That we, in our time, have Progressed beyond their primitive limitations, and because we’re more modern, their old timey ideas and concerns no longer apply?

    Because… fashion?!

    If you are somehow tempted to believe that, please recognize that that idea, that ‘the constitution was written for an agrarian time‘, and so is outmoded and outdated in our time, because ‘technology !‘, was most visibly first expressed by people such as Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, in what these students would consider to be a ‘very long time ago’, at the close of the 1800’s… a time in which they, by virtue of their superior technology in ‘Modern!’ telegraphs, railroads, industrial production lines, new fangled talking telephones, horseless carriages and moving pictures, technology which the Founders era couldn’t possibly imagine, somehow managed to justify them in rejecting the applicability of the Constitution to their time, and that it should instead be considered as more of a ‘living document’ – a phrase, btw, which one of the students in the video actually uses:

    ‘When in reality it’s a ‘living document’ and changes with the times’

    The fact is, that the ‘Progressives’ notion of possessing a ‘temporal superiority’ over the Founders Era by virtue of the number of years elapsed between them and the technological differences separating the Founders Era from T.R.’s and Wilson’s time, relegates these Progressive’s time and their ideas – by virtue of those very same arguments (number of years elapsed and technological lack) – as being far more drastically removed, primitive, and different from us in our day! If you accepted their arguments for rejecting constitutional law and individual rights as ‘outmoded’ for such ‘Modern!‘ times as these, how can you presume to accept their central idea of a ‘living constitution’, when the differences between the ‘Progressives’ time and ours in terms of technology, fashion, customs and the sheer quantity of years that’ve passed between the respective periods, make T.R.’s and Wilson’s time comparatively even more backwards and further removed from our time, than they were from the Founders Era?!

    Do you get that?

    If you support the argument which they made, that: ’80 or more years ago + less technology = expired ideas’, how can you possibly ignore that same argument while accepting their ‘living constitution’ idea , which is decades older to us, that the Founders were to them, and whose technology is even more primitive in comparison to ours, than the Founders era was to them?!!!

     Shouldn’t we jettison their old ‘living constitution’ notion as horribly out of fashion?

    Seriously, why are our young students being taught to cling to notions when their own arguments for selecting them, discredits them?! Hmmm?

    In their view, History, ‘is history!‘ and is dismissed because ‘old’ ideas allegedly have no more permanence than fashions. Why do you professors and students cling to them so?

    What are you, a reactionary?!

    Psst! Would you like to learn an uncomfortable and timeless truth that actual history can help you discover?

    Do you dare to?

    Here’s ya go:

    People resort to comfortable pretexts to justify their passions, when valid reasoning doesn’t give them what they want. 

    True in Thucydides’ day, true in ours too, because it is a timeless truth about human nature, and natural to all humans, especially those who aren’t informed about and on guard against it. Just imagine what else we’ve been taught not to know.

    What these students, and more pointedly, their professors, are using such thin pretexts of ‘outdated’ ideas to try so hard to avoid thinking about, is the fact that what they really hold against the Constitution, are not those matters that are constrained by time and place, but those which have to do instead with its timeless ideas, ideas which are just as demonstrably true and applicable in our day, as they were in theirs, and which will continue to be so in our grand-children’s futures; and their fear of those ideas show that their own passionately held positions, are intellectually baseless – at best.

    History, is not irrelevant because it is history – history is relevant because the history tells us the truth about ourselves here and now, good and bad, through an examination of the past and present; and one of the patterns that become visible through it, is how eager we can be to excuse and feed our most passionate desires, and how reluctant we naturally are to recognize and abide by the ‘hard’ and timeless truths that an honest reading of history might expose us to. That is Natural to us. It is only through deliberate, reasoned reflection, that we can see beyond our natural inclinations.

    But that doesn’t happen when your natural inclinations are soothed, flattered, and encouraged.

    The precious politically correct (and oh so politically useful) positions which so many today are so excited to think of as being so significant, are themselves, in fact, little more than the fleeting fads of a political correctness, highly specific to our own narrow time and place.

    AKA: Temporal Provincialism.

    To approach a challenging idea with the intellectual equivalent of a school yard bully saying

    “Your clothes are so ‘last year’ and so stupid, soOo… you’re a loser!”.

    , is miserably small minded, and thinking otherwise can only be accomplished by those who’ve been taught to accept, rather than to think and reflect. Keep in mind that these students in these videos are very likely going to get a college degree, or two, in exactly that form of mental processing, a skillful training in the flow-charting of fashionably popular and acceptable positions, which they will have been led to believe is the actual action of ‘Thinking’.


    “I feel like sometimes, people use the ‘Constitution’ as an excuse to not… think.”

    The consequences of that lack of understanding, fueled by an excuse to believe the seemingly urgent issues of the moment, rather than to think upon what is true in all places and times, is what can be seen on display in this next video.

    Again, try to remember that these ‘snowflakes’ are no laughing matter. To dismiss these students with laughter and derision, is self-deluding and dangerous. Yes, they are whining, and no, their ‘ideas’ don’t make sense, but you should take notice of something far more important than that – and that is that they are neither turning away nor running away from what they dislike, instead rather than simply criticizing an argument, or even just complaining about what they dislike, they are attacking those who hold opinions which they disapprove of. These college students are doing their best to forbid others from having or expressing those opinions which they disapprove of; they are demanding that their victims ideas conform to what they say is correct, politically, and they are clearly willing to use whatever force they feel they can get away with using, to accomplish just that.

    That should give you pause – no matter who you are. It was that very same self satisfied “I know what’s best for you – agree & comply!” that was behind Stalin’s assurance that,

    “…We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state…”

    To Pro-Regress is not only to go backwards in the development of justice, but to go beneath the linear bar of political and ethical development, taking the lowest lows on their way to taking control of the most dangerous weapon known to man – man’s mind – while mesmerizing them with easy, shallow, and oh so personally satisfying conclusions, which are imbued with zealous fervor and a self righteous certainty that you hold all the answers you need to render judgment.

    Pro-Regressivism adds a little something more, a ‘new and improved!’ ingredient with modernity, to the age old quest for power over others. Where the old fashioned tyrant knew that they were behaving as brutes, but didn’t care, knew that they were wrong, but did so anyway, because they gloried in having power over you, the pro-regressive actually feels justified in doing evil, he feels that because ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few‘, then what he does is for the greater good, and so he can commit any evil to any number of animated water sacks (aka: people), so long as he feels that his intentions are lofty enough to justify them. And with no serious convictions about what is true or false, or right or wrong, and the most loftiest of good intentions… the sky’s no limit – why would it be?

    And to get control of men’s minds, to prime them with such rationalizations… you need to start with kids minds. And we started with our kids minds well over a century ago, so that now we’ve got grand-parents, parents, teens and kids, ready for reaping.

    Like I said: Stop laughing.

    These videos aren’t simply demonstrating the bad judgment of a few college kids, but are reflective of the heart and soul of the pro-regressive mindset – the belief in the need to accept an urgent conclusion as being of more substance and value, than a deeper and harder truth – and this is in no way confined to college campuses. Their efforts go far beyond merely abusing political power, beyond even  demanding social conformity, their goal is and has always been, to extend political power beyond the economic controls or physically abusive powers of the mere tyrant, and into the realm of each person’s private thoughts and feelings and associations.

    It is as true of these college students today, as it was of their brethren in the 1960’s, or their German proto-hippy ancestors of the 1880’s, as it was all the way back to what Robespierre first inspired into a people – another ill-informed, angst ridden, put upon people – enabling them to ‘power through’ and establish the first modern Fascist Power, where those ideas in your head which didn’t conform to what political leaders said was correct, could, and would, cost you your own head. And just as lopping off the heads of the ‘deniers’ of the French Revolution delighted the crowd then, the crowd of unknown gendered folk surrounding the two guys in the last video, delight in the use of force to get their way and ‘to do good!‘. What principles that these students are being taught, do you suppose that you can count on, that will make them reject the guillotine, when they are unabashedly for theft and intimidation of those who disagree with them? What do you expect will restrain an aroused crowd of people who’ve been taught that Individual Rights and Property ‘silly outdated notions’ and are not worthy of being respected by them? What, do you suppose that people shouting ‘take their hat!’ or ‘to the guillotine!‘ are after something different? Blood maybe?

    I think you’d be mistaken.

    What such aroused crowds, who haven’t the benefit of those convictions our founders revered, seek after, is the satisfaction of forcing others to comply with their own passionate sensibilities. Blood is just the likely end result, and once you let the ball get rolling, you’re unlikely to stop it before rivers of it are spilt.

    Does that sound like hyperbole? If such a people were understood to understand Individual Rights and Property and Rule of Law, it would be hyperbole, unquestionably – but when you’ve expunged such concepts from your peoples’ minds… what do you suppose there is residing within them, to restrain them, or even to see that such restraint is needed?

    2+2=5: Synchronizing our clocks to Central Standard 1984 Time
    To Prefer what is timeless over what is fleeting, is threatening to the purveyors of modernity (and their most violent opposition is always directed at those who cling to the most timeless of principles – truth, virtue, character, etc.). To reflect upon a timeless truth, is to reject cynical Doubts, in preference to honest Questioning. But such resistance is spotty today, at best, and the growing expectation of falsehood and corruption from all quarters, encourages the student who’s been taught to learn from books in order to spout what is in books, rather than to learn about their own lives, is to unquestioningly shrug away what is uncomfortable. What we’ve missed is that in doubting that what IS, is, is what slowly severs your life from reality.

    What people have somehow missed in modernity’s ever degrading regard for Truth, is that it has been accompanied by, preceded by, and enabled by, dismissing and removing from consideration that which makes Truth apparent and discernible – literature, history, philosophy, religion – and without which everything becomes both possible and doubtful, and with such a condition as that, popular positions triumph over what is true, by virtue of their popularity alone.

    Once that connection is severed, for a person or a society, there there are no forces of justice that evil can’t overpower, because in your culture, what you know to be true is isolated, solitary and alone in a chaotic current of passing moments – what is ‘true’ is only pragmatically ‘true’ because it ‘works’ for the moment, and is no longer true when it fails to ‘work’ (with ‘works’ defined as the result you want). There is no moral high ground in that landscape to guide you or to rely upon, which an enthusiastically enthroned whim can’t overrun and overpower.

    IOW, what was of utmost importance in ‘the past’ – individual rights, constitutional law, property – are now ridiculed as old and irrelevant, not because they actually are, but because you (or those teaching it to you) want them to be.

    You’d think that with all of the students who have been made to read George Orwell’s ‘1984’, that some would recognize the rhyming of literature and history; that when you are being socially pressured to accept a man who ardently identifies as a woman, as a woman; when you can have govt officials behaving criminally and escaping justice by simply denying it; when students are marching for segregation while accusing others of racism… you’d think that some of those students would recognize Orwell’s totalitarian ideal in action all around them. you’d think that some  would recognize that those who are being politically correct – not simply complying with, but believing and proclaiming that 2+2=5 – you’d think that they’d recognize the boot of O’Brien as being the shoe that fits on those who desire to rule over all others and are doing just that – wouldn’t you?

    Some may, but not many (or so we’re led to believe), for just as they accept a man’s preference to identify as a women to be valid and more real than ‘biological gender’, by those same rationalizations – pretexts -they just as easily see Justice as Injustice, Hate as Love, War as Peace, and Regress as Progress, as which is how Social Justice Warriors are living the dream of 2+2=5.

    When what is Right must yield to what is merely useful, when Lies are not only not denounced, but are even cheered on as passions are permitted to overpower the Truth, that is the fertile ground for what I’ve called the evil twin of the ‘Rule of Law’, the Doppelganger, and its ‘Rule of Rules’ to arise and rule over you from.

    What I tried to show in the previous post, is that Property and Property Rights are not simply the stuff of material possessions, but the awareness of an hierarchically integrated set of concepts which connect you to them. Far from being ‘castles in the air’, those ideas are what makes it possible for ‘every man’s home is his castle’ to be a fact of life. But when you are fooled into thinking that Property is merely the stuff of material possessions, then there is no longer anything in your material reality to anchor your individual rights through you and into reality, and you lose the ability to realize or defend any of your Rights, or anything else, as being ‘yours’.

    If you have no property in your opinions or associations, then you will be forced to believe and stand with whoever the Doppelganger demands. If you have no property in your religious convictions, then you will be forced to believe – or not believe – as the Doppelganger demands. What you now assume is yours, is only in your possession because the Doppelganger hasn’t demanded another use for – yet.

    The Pro-Regressive’s undoing of the nature of Rights, Property and Law in the ‘modern’ educated mind, is bringing the master/serf arrangement back into vogue in new and improved fashions, as the Doppleganger progressively takes charge with a vengeance. The rejection of the Rule of Law for the Rule of Rules, coupled with a resentment of its fundamental principles amongst those who are our ‘best and brightest’, is what is re-introducing the world to its greatest regressive leap backwards in all of history, through one of Pro-Regression’s many distracting masks, that of Fascism – how did that happen to come about?

    Next post….

  • Mutating Justice into injustice: the far reaching properties of Property – The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt.8

    Mutating Justice into injustice
    You’d probably not be surprised to know that I was highly aggravated that the FBI didn’t recommend Hillary Clinton’s prosecution for the crimes related to her email server – but for me, that wasn’t the most disturbing part. There was of course plenty to be outraged over, with the FBI stating that her actions had violated the law, that she was extremely careless with classified materials, that she was not truthful about her handling of them, and yet in the face of all of that, the FBI would not recommend that she be prosecuted for those violations of the law (and gave much of her staff immunity from prosecution). They didn’t dispute that she’d done what she should not have done, only whether she should be prosecuted for the violations that they’d determined she had made.

    What was even more disturbing than all of that, for me, was that Director Comey made a point to say that his conclusions should in no way lead other (meaning someone less important?) govt functionaries (oh … such as a sailor, for instance, gotcha) to think that the laws won’t be applied to them, if, someone else, in a position of power, feels like they should be applied, in their case.

    That, my friends, is a demonstration of the Rule of Men, being raised above the Rule of Law. BTW, on a related (by marriage) point, the reason why a person of influence, such as Bill Clinton, tries to get away with questioning what the meaning of ‘is’, is, is to encourage, exacerbate and exploit this very inversion. When men in positions of power can arbitrarily rule over the application of those laws that rule over all of the rest of us, based upon the power and influential relations of those who are involved in or have an interest in, themselves, that is Might Makes Right, and with little or no effort to conceal it. That is the reign of the Doppelganger (the evil twin of the Rule of Law), which is the default societal baseline that civilizations only become respectable civilizations by fruitfully struggling to progress away from… and yet here we are, busily progressing ‘forward!’ in the wrong direction, at breakneck speed.

    Seeing all of this, many people have naturally asked:

    “What is the point of having laws if those who break them at the top never face consequences?”

    , and although I get the sentiment, surely they must realize that the question contains its own answer, right? Once upholding and defending Individual Rights for all is no longer the purpose of your laws, then as surely as night follows day, defending the wealthy, powerful and influential few, has already become the point of those rules by default, no matter how persistently we continue in calling such rules ‘laws’ (‘LINO’?).

    For those wondering how and why this has happened, it’s worth considering a few questions which, IMHO, help explain how and why we are where we are today:

    1. Can you tell me what it is that connects you to your Property (IOW: if you think you have a Right to it… why)?
    2. Do you know what anchors the Law into protecting everyone’s Individual Rights?
    3. What is it that enables those in power to turn any and all of the laws against whoever they wish, as they wish?

    These three are tied together, each dependent upon the other, and if unanswered, result in extra-legal situations such as those we’re seeing here, so let’s work our way through them from the bottom up, taking it from the present into the past, and so get a glimpse of our future. In considering the last question first, a better question to understand it here and now, would not be ‘How does this happen?!‘, but how could it not happen? And a question that’ll help provide the answer to #3 above,

    • How much can what is Right and True matter to people, when Lies are acceptable to them?

    How we got to where we weren’t going to
    Have you forgotten about Gruber admitting that Obama’s entire ‘If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor’ line was a lie they’d consciously concocted and told in order to pass ObamaCare over
    the heads of all of you ‘stupid people’? Have you forgotten the slew of other Politically Correct sacred cows (“hands up don’t shoot”, ‘those rioters are peaceful protesters!’, ‘Men can identify as women!’, ‘No one has a right to insensitive speech!’, etc., etc., etc.) that despite being known misrepresentations, falsehoods and outright lies, are still embraced and repeated by media, academia and other political figures without the least bit of embarrassment, and worse, with the popular approval of We The People?

    When deception is openly embraced, how could things not fall apart, how could events not be occurring, as they are? For those surprised about what has been happening, take a look around at the people being fined and abused by govt for things like not baking a cake, or paying non-ransom ransom to terrorist states, or that our DOJ that permits sanctuary cities to violate the law for causes the administration prefers – do you think these and other incidents like them, express a regard for what is right and true, or a desire to use power to bring about what those in power see as a preferred outcome? Our Department of Justice is complicit in, and in some cases even instigating, these processes? Hello?

    So… how’d we get to the point where the institutions which were designed to equally uphold and defend our Individual Rights under the Rule of Law, without respect to their persons, has instead been turned into a tool of convenience for a favored few, by those who use those institutions to enforce their power and privilege over the rest of us? It wasn’t accomplished by overthrowing the law from the outside, but by gutting it of its meaning from within, transforming the meaning of what has long been understood as defining true Law, into lengthy lists of rules that we’re expected to accept as ‘identifying’ as ‘laws’.

    Of course this is all just another part of the story we’ve been pursuing across these, and other series of posts, and while they all need to be pursued further, for our purposes in this post there’s one thing that needs our attention now, and that is how the Rule of Law was made to mutate into its anti-thesis, the Doppelganger’s Rule of Rules, even while the Rule of Law was firmly in place, active and fully in effect.

    The issues that brought about our current state of affairs spring from the full range of philosophical, educational, and (of course) political issues that are too many to number or take in at once, but the formal cause for it was the appearance of a flaw – not an actual flaw, mind you, but something easily spun to ‘identify as’ a flaw – which pragmatically opened a chink in the intellectual armor of the West.

    To appreciate the importance of this, you need to recall that what makes The West exceptional, is that it is primarily a culture of ideas, and that it is a culture of traditions only in so far as they serve to implement those ideas. ‘The West’ is a worldview that transcends geography and ethnicity and can’t be reduced to it – if someone moves to the West, or is born into it, but doesn’t adopt its ideas, they are foreigners in all but name only. OTOH, this ideational feature of Western Culture is what makes it possible for anyone to become a Westerner, simply by adopting those Western ideas. Not because the ideas are Western, but because they’re true, that and the willingness to continually question what is understood to be true, to see that our understanding of them is as true as they can be – that’s all it takes. That is what makes The West in general, and America in particular, truly exceptional. Our greatest strengths come not from romanticizing and glamorizing our soil or our blood, but from our understanding of the world and our place – mind, body and soul – within it.

    That critical place of ideas in Western Culture should tip you off to how important it is that its fundamental ideas be understood and embraced – again, not because these ‘Big Ideas’ are Western, but because they are true, such as those of:

    • the value of every individual life,
    • individual rights,
    • property rights,
    • governments limited to protecting them,
    • the Rule of Law,
    • Justice for all,

    Having misunderstandings and errors introduced into our understanding of those ideas and our relation to them, is a devastating threat to the Western way of life – porous borders have nothing on porous minds! Which is particularly true of our civil society’s greatest strengths – the Law and the nature of Property Rights – the deliberate errors and falsehoods that have been introduced into popular thought in regards to them, are the cancer growing in the Western soul, and central to that, is the issue of Property: what it is, what it entails and why, which we so desperately need to understand again.

    These ‘Big Ideas’ of The West are the bead crumbs, or the golden thread that leads us out of, or returns us from, the darkness, and truly I don’t see how we can possibly even know which way to turn in order to turn away from the Doppelganger, without accidentally rushing into its embrace – not without first understanding and reclaiming these birthrights, which should be recognized and respected by all mankind.

    Property in Progress – Individual Rights, Equal standing before the Law and Justice for all.
    The recognition of the principle of Individual Rights and Property was a gigantic step forward, one of a handful of instances that made truly historic progress away from the ancient and universally barbarous practice of Might Makes Right. Few things made that clearer than the phrase which Property Rights implicitly made not only possible, but necessary:

    Every man’s home is his Castle

    For that phrase to have meaning, what it was that we thought Property to be, could not remain in such a primitive state of thought as of it being a bauble of strength – possessions of those privileged with the power and influence to keep possession of it – an understanding that even Rome had progressed past, as John Adams noted of their relation between Property and Republic,

    “…signified public, common, belonging to the people; res publica, therefore, was publica res, the wealth, riches, or property of the people. Res populi, and the original meaning of the word republic could be no other than a government in which the property of the people predominated and governed; and it had more relation to property than liberty…”

    , and even after the Republic had fallen, the empire’s Emperor Marcus Aurelius would speak of receiving such ideals from his ‘brother’ Severus:

    “…from him I received the idea of a polity in which there is the same law for all, a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the freedom of the governed…”

    , but even as historic a development as the Romans had achieved, without the rest, it descended into historic corruption and eventually collapsed under its own weight.

    Our understanding of Property and Law and Rights, in order to be a measure of real and true Progress beyond what had gone before, had to develop and progress to the point of being able to see Property not as things that were possessed, but as a concept, a Right that is common to all, rather than either ‘resources’ which all possess in common. or as luxuries possessed by a favored few. When the community becomes committed to defending the importance of everyone else’s property, in, for, and by, that community, that alchemy implicitly joins Property together with The Law and with Individual Rights, and in the process every man’s home – whether it be a shack or a palace – becomes not only as secure as that of a well defended castle, but, with the community’s laws forming his battlements, even more secure than lone castles could ever be.

    It is necessary to consider what that involves. To even pursue that goal – and fully achieving it is probably never attained – people must have a respect for reality and paying attention to facts; they must care about what is True, they must develop an eye for context, as opposed to a literal minded parroting of appearances. For instance, to be capable of Justice, that society needs to be able to see the difference between surface appearances of

     “This sword I borrowed is his and must be returned to him without question!” , vs. the conceptual depth of
    Yes, the sword is his, but he’s feverish and hallucinating, it wouldn’t be proper to return it to him until he’d recovered.

    , such a people are able to rise above appearances, and only such a people are able to raise Justice and Truth over their personal preferences, and only such people would refrain from even the appearance of placing their preferences and gain, in conflict with propriety. For those that think fine laws written upon paper, and not upon the hearts of the people living under them, will bring justice to their people… you’re expecting depth where there is none – but for those who do see past the surface, they have already come to be self-governing people, and they will write laws worthy of themselves and who they justly desire to be.

    That is a huge and massive shift in the orientation of a community, and each person within it, making Truth, and civil respect for their fellows lives, into civic virtues, and through that sort of common conceptual understanding, the institution of government – that institution that has a monopoly on the use of force in society – can come to be seen as defining its purpose and mission as justly upholding the Law as a force from reasoning that applies equally to all, that is a crowning achievement of the ‘The Big Ideas’ of The West.

    As Property Rights became respected by the Laws, and the administration of justice forbade anyone from placing themselves as judges in their own causes, more than any other time in history, the rich and powerful found that they had a shared interest with their less wealthy and impoverished fellows. They found a shared interest in insisting upon the importance and integrity of every person’s property – that Property as such, must be respected and upheld, for the good of all – not because they suddenly cared about them, but because that mutual interest freed them all – it freed the rich from the fear of a mercurial monarch’s mood swings, it freed the ruler and the wealthy alike from fear of ‘the people’ demanding some part of that which didn’t belong to them, and it freed each man to be civil to another. This revolutionary understanding effectively bound Power to the laws and a government of them, with Justice presiding over their government’s use of power, and that was the moment when Liberty truly became possible.

    The revolutionary nature of this cannot be overstated, as the concept is the anti-thesis of the Hobbessian ‘red in tooth and claw’ thesis that had been in place since the dawn of time. This concept is a mortal threat to the Doppelganger, whose means of maintaining the reins of power had always depended upon those with wealth and influence being able to place themselves as judges in their own causes – just ask Hillary. The Doppelganger’s view requires a cynical expectation of dishonesty and conflicting pursuits of personal advantage, over public expectations and trust. That is the life blood of tyranny. It is a vital necessity to the tyrant that the laws be little more than rules for ruling over their fellows by, and with that comes the endless turmoil of vying and struggling for the favor of the ruler (a feature, not a bug of Doppelgangers and other community organizers), of keeping your rivals in check, down or dead.

    Concepts such as having a right to the Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, The Right to bear arms in your defense, are ultimately meaningless without the means to put them into action and form in the world – if you are forcibly prevented from speaking or publishing what your think, if you forcibly prevented from operating or attending the Church of your religious convictions, if you cannot own arms to bear in your defense, be they clubs, knives or guns, then your ‘Rights’ are but Soviet-like word games, Rights In Name Only. The answer to Question #2 above, is that what binds your Individual Rights to The Law, is having Property In some substance of reality, only then can the Law respect and uphold that relationship, and only then does Justice have a clear path to follow, finally having the means for Laws to bind Power upon that narrow path. Property is what anchors your individual rights to the Laws of the land – they are inseparable, and if separated, Justice and Liberty are lost. For to abandon Property Rights, necessarily means no longer having a tangible connection between reality and your rights, and so the powerful are enabled to do what they feel as if they have the power to do and get away with, and the laws become nothing more than rules for ruling over your fellows by.

    The significance of the questions posed at the top of this post should be becoming clearer:

    1. Can you tell me what it is that connects you to your Property (IOW: if you think you have a Right to it… why)?
    2. Do you know what binds the Law into protecting everyone’s Individual Rights? Property.
    3. Do you at least know what enables those in power to turn any and all of the laws against whoever they wish, as they wish? The acceptability of Lies, or the inability or unwillingness to identify what is True.

    The remaining question to be answered is a bit trickier, and is key to our current problems: What is it that connects a person to their property? What is it that gives you a right to that property?

    That’s not an idyll or academic question, it concerns you and your life very seriously, because that is the question which those who crave power over others, have long understood that they had to control the answers to – one answer seats Lady Justice firmly upon her throne, while the others give men the power to shove her aside and usurp her authority.

    Property Locked and Un-Locked
    Our #1 Question, how are you connected to your property is the key to holding together, or breaking apart, the trinity of Individual Rights, Property Rights and the Rule of Law, whose integrity provides society the strength to stand as titans against even the greatest concentrations of wealth, power, and expertise in the land – or, by ignorance or abandonment, lets the dogs loose. The Doppelganger sought desperately to breach, to misrepresent its meaning, to obfuscate and equivocate upon, and otherwise spin people’s perception of Property and a person’s connection to it, in order to transform it, in their minds, into something else entirely.

    Many who had been raised in and benefited from the big ideas of The West, weren’t all that pleased with them, and they chipped away at them, regressively reducing high concepts to trivial factoids, reducing and materializing them, and dividing people over them – sort of an Enlightenment Era anticipation of Alinsky’s “Freeze it, Personalize it, Polarize it“, in such ways as reducing the prominent Ciceronian understanding of Law from “True law is right reason in agreement with nature“, down to being a mere utilitarian tool, as the likes of Rousseau & Bentham saw it, for those who ‘knew best‘ to calculatingly re-form society and impose rules to alter the mass of mens lives ‘for the greater good‘, which was how they ‘justified’ their intentions to ‘force them to be free‘.

    That process was slow going however, until a little something that had been brewing since the 16th century, began to ferment into an ‘answer’ that promised to pick the lock and break the trinity, if not in fact, then at least in peoples’ beliefs about it, and which, thanks to the Modernists new ‘Philosophy’, being just as good as being ‘real’, was no less real than what actually is real (more on the details of that later).

    How we answer our #1 Question, can provide the benefits of the best of modernity, or the progressive destruction of the worst of modernity, but the means to do either can both be found in how you approach a point which Locke made regarding the source of property, which now is typically called the ‘labor theory’ of property, but in Locke’s time, before the Industrial Age, it was more commonly understood and applied as, in effect:

    ‘if you built that, it’s yours’

    From the dazzling economic prosperity which The West’s respect for Property had unleashed, there also followed confusion, and there was a denser, though at the same time less personal aspect, to people’s social relations. So many new abstractions were introduced into society through the dawning industrial age – with the coming of larger businesses, came a need for new layers of management, financial instruments, an interchangeability of employees and a new uniformity in the products that those workers produced – it was very new and very confusing and there were very few people who understood these changes or where they came from or what they all depended upon.

    While some such as Adam Smith, and more so with John Baptiste Say, began to see the shape of things yet to come, those shapes remained indistinct, foggy, and amidst so much change and confusion, that societal fog provided fertile ground for the Doppelganger to re-enter the scene under the cover of the general nature of Locke’s thoughts, which were so easily spun into the appearance of something else entirely. A something else that would have monstrous effects upon entire communities, economies and families, bringing with them a body count and destruction of lives on a scale unmatched in preceding history.

    These monsters of course wore masks, then as now they posed as defenders of ‘the little guy’, and if we’re to be able to tell the two apart, we need to have a closer look at what it was that the true monsters were so afraid of.

    To get a clear picture of this, its especially worth noting what Locke did, and did not, do, or say. For instance, John Locke did not invent Property Rights, it’s not an idea that was dreamed up ‘think-tank’ like, as an efficiently cunning policy solution in search of a convenient problem, and he wasn’t the first to discover them either. As noted in previous posts, Coke’s ‘every man’s home is his castle‘ preceded Locke by half a century, and colonists in America established compacts for self government decades before Locke turned his own mind to the issue. Individual Rights and Property Rights were clarified through an arduous pursuit of truth and wisdom in the face of an often painful reality, but the basis for its understanding, like electricity, was always there waiting to be explored. But what Locke did do, was to explicitly put into words what was already implicitly in the English understanding of society and its laws ( the ideas weren’t originated by the English (St. Thomas Aquinas and Hugo Grotius are proof enough of that), but they were the first to consistently put them into formal practice), and as that reality preceded his understanding of it, he also contributed the indispensable spark that helped spread its light and influence throughout the Western World.

    The passage from Locke which so much hinges upon, is this rather unassuming observation :

    ” 28. Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something [217] that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.”

    For Locke, in his time, ‘mixed his labor with‘, was his evocative way of putting into words, what is difficult to put into words, or as one professor of law, Adam Mossof, puts it in this paper,

    “… In other words, the phrase “mixing labor” is a term of art for Locke. It is his metaphor for productive activities…”.

    , or in other, other words, it was Locke describing the process that was occurring when a man took it into his mind to accomplish something, and through his thoughts combined with actions, did. This becomes a little clearer in Locke’s next paragraph,

    “… Thus the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut; and the ore I have digged in any place, where I have a right to them in common with others, become my property, without the assignation or consent of any body. The labour that was mine, removing them out of that common state they were in, hath fixed my property in them….”

    The fruits of that labor, perhaps better thought of as the results of those efforts that were his to direct, transformed mere materials into becoming something that he had property in. And note, Property IN, is critical to understanding the nature of Property as distinct from possessions. Whether that was done through his own physical actions or those of someone whose time he’d contracted for (which is what Locke meant by ‘servant’), that property – which is the effects of those actions he employed some portion of his life in bringing into being – is what he has property in, making that Property rightfully his.

    The Rights you have in your Property, not only connects you to your property, but provides the means for the fact of them to become the ‘stubborn things’ of Justice – a recognition that anchors your individual rights into the justice system through what you have property in, also enables and requires society to treat each person justly.

    So Property Rights follow from Individual Rights, and Property Rights secure your rights to justice under the Rule of Law… but what about our #1 Question ‘…what connects you to your Property? ‘? How do you establish that you actually do have a Right in the Property that you claim to? How are we to be able to ‘see’ your right in any property? Is it all just semantical word games that simply blur over possessions by force? Does it all come down to power after all? With that in mind, recall that it was Karl Marx, whose view of economics and politics rested upon the literal ‘Labor Theory’ of Property, it was he himself who realized and stated that the entirety of his Communist system, came down to, and could be summed up in, a single line:

    “In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. “

    It is necessary to consider what the elimination of Private Property really means, consider James Madison’s summing up of the importance of Property as being first and foremost that you have property in your life. Consider also that it is the simplest of things to stir emotions and revolution with that single sentence, but it is not possible to effectively answer why it is the horror show that it is, in a single sentence, because combating it requires knowledge and understanding. However, if you can’t see differences between the ideas of Marx and Madison, surely you can see the difference that their differences made to the 90+ million corpses of the 20th Century that followed directly from Marx’s single summary line.

    Securely Lockeing up the Labor of the Mind – Answering Question #1
    Ok, let’s start putting this all together, labor of course is the means of producing property, but it is not the source of it, and mistaking it for being so, undermines and threatens all of the progress that property promises to bestow upon an industrious society – this is key not only to law, but to economics and even civility; it is not too much to say that real progress in Western Society depends upon that being understood and upheld.

    To understand the importance of property, requires, much to Marx’s dismay, looking beyond the paper thin appearances of labor being the root of property, and when you do, what becomes apparent is that it is not the potter’s labor that causes a product to come into being – but unless you look for it, you won’t find that out. For example, consider the situation of a Potter – when in business making pots for himself, he indisputably owns those pots he labors to produce, but when he’s employed in another’s business to produce pottery, exerting the same effort and labor to produce those same pots, he does not own the pottery which he labors equally to produce – Why?

    Marx would say ‘exploitation’, but is it?

    This is an incredibly important question that is relevant to the lives of every person in America, right now: Who has property in what, and why?

    A ‘Why‘ like that should lead to a number of questions to consider, for instance, why is the employee there? By his own cause, or another’s? If the actions that he’s performing are identical, how is the result not the same, for the relation of the potter to his pots when self employed, and when employed by a business to produce them? There is a significant difference in the context of the situations.

    When a business employs a potter to produce pots, those pots are in no way the potters property, because although the labor and skills used to produce them are his own, the originating idea and the material means (such as the place and materials for their manufacture) that are put into action for producing them are the true and formal cause for the origin of that property, and they came from the business owner who hired the potter to make them, and so the potter has no property claim on the pottery he physically produced. Why? Because the thought, direction, and order for producing it, did not come from himself – he (the efficient cause) is simply the willing means of production, the owner’s virtual muscles, secured by a promise of compensation.

    Does that mean that the owner owns everything? No, it doesn’t, the Potter is not without property in this relationship, it’s just not in the pottery being produced, or the labor of producing it, and it is the nature of the potter’s own thoughts and actions, that determines what it is that he has property in. Does the Potter enter the factory to labor in producing pottery, or does he enter the factory for the prospect and promise of something else?

    What the Potter does have property in, is first and foremost in himself and the skills his own mind directs which is the value he trades the employer for what is his primary property in their relationship, the compensation negotiated between himself and the business owner, for employing his time and skills to bring the pot into existence.

    If there is exploitation going on, who is doing the exploiting? If you didn’t answer ‘both’ you’re not giving it much thought. Does the worker go to that business to get what he could get more easily elsewhere, or does it make it possible for him to get more for himself and family, from less time, effort and risk on his part? Does the employer hire him to do what he could do himself for less cost? On both counts: No. Both are trying to get the most from their time and effort as possible.

    Assuming of course that there is no violence or the threat of it in their employment agreement, or any breach of contract by either, then there is no exploitation of the worker by the business owner in the employer/employee relationship, or vice-versa; it is a contractual relationship that is agreed upon as being a benefit to both, by both. The owner has property in the pottery which the potter produces for him, just as the potter employed by him has property in his compensation (and the fulfillment of any other conditions of his employment), and both are every bit as much bound to respect every aspect of their agreement and the respective property which both have in it.

    But you must look even closer still: even the potter’s labor is not simply physical labor; the skills he’s developed and puts into action, are under the direction of his thoughts; his muscles alone can produce nothing, not even with the skills he’s developed – there is no producing the pottery without the potter’s mind behind his muscles directing his efforts towards bringing the pottery into being.

    That may seem obvious to you, but it is an obviousness that the Marxist will work furiously to get you to pass over and ignore, because that is the key to the answer of our remaining question #1,

    1. Can you tell me what it is that connects you to your Property (IOW: if you think you have a Right to it… why)? Property is the effect which results from legitimate thought and action within a given context.

    The intellectual activity of thought, is the root cause of all Property and it must come first; physical activity (labor) is simply the proof that a thought had existed to direct it. What person originated that thought in that context, when living in the society of others, is a question that can’t be answered on the basis of appearances alone, but it is a question that is easily answered. What is often more difficult, is remembering that the question about its origin needs to be asked, rather than simply be assumed, or passed on by.

    There is no ‘Little Guy’ in a society that respects individual rights, property and law; no matter how wealthy the business owner might be, the worker has the power of the entire community, through the institution of the state, behind him to enforce his legitimate claims. The community ‘has his back’, as it were, and to do so, they must also care about what is True. A community’s willingness to tolerate or engage in lies, is a threat to the fundamental fabric of your society – to tolerate some, is to doom all. Laws aren’t the basis of Law – the community’s commitment to truth and justice, which the laws only serve to help organize and apply, is. When that falters, all else does as well.

    Say goodbye, or say hello
    Real Progress came to the world in terms of an explosion of wealth, literacy and well being through Western Civilization’s understanding of the integrated nature of Rights, Property and Law, it is what put an end to the master/serf arrangement.

    Far from Property being the first plague, as Rousseau would have it (“…Beware of listening to this impostor…“), a community’s recognition of the nature of Property Rights is what enables people to live sociably and in close quarters with those they know little or nothing about, without worry, because of the presumed mutual understanding that each person would respect the other’s rights and property – civility and manners flourish under the just laws of that society. Property, and all that goes with it, strengthens the law and each person’s prosperity and mobility within that society, and only in such a society can the people have and express a fundamental desire for what is True, Good and Beautiful, or have any expectation of achieving and retaining the fruits of them. When a people turn away from that, when they reject that, when they willingly seek to ‘abolish private property‘, they have already ceased to be self-governing people, and become worthy only of being ruled over, for the shallowest of appearances.

    Can you not see that all around us today?

    What we as Americans must not only learn again, but must understand better than we ever had before, is that the thoughts & actions that a person legitimately takes, secures to them the property resulting from those actions, establishing not only an inviolable legal claim to it, but an anchor for all of their rights, and everyone elses rights as well. You have property in your thoughts through the action of speaking and recording them on paper, tape, etc. You gain property in your land by establishing and recording its boundaries and other improvements to that land, whether you are the first to do so on a ‘new’ continent, or just the latest to exchange some consideration in payment for it.

    Understand also, that the material substance which we claim Property in, land and gold and so forth, has no more to do with the true substance of what we’re talking about when we say ‘Property’, than the Apple has to do with the substance of Gravity – the fact that the Apple fell upon Newton’s head, simply illustrates gravity at work, just as establishing land and trading gold, illustrates what results from the context of respecting thought and action: Property Rights. Denying that reality, desiring prosperity and liberty without property, is rejecting reality in favor of what you wish was real, every bit as much as someone who denies the laws of gravity because they wish they could flap their arms and fly. They can deny the laws of gravity, but they are going to fall anyway. Similarly, a society can deny property rights, they can say that they’ve ‘abolished private property!‘, but that society puts itself into free fall when it does, and while they might enjoy the thrill of ‘flight’ for a time (see what they wished it to be, Venezuella circa 2012), they will eventually hit the ground (see Venezuella circa now, with newborn babies kept in boxes).

    These principles of Individual Rights and Property Rights are derived from the very nature of being human – what with our necessity as human beings to observe and act in the world, in concert with others, in a manner that respects what is real and true – and these principles apply universally.

    That once common American understanding, is what we are Pro-Regressing away from at such great speed; that deeper understanding of the reinforcing nature and identity of Property, Individual Rights and the Rule of Law. When we recognized that it was necessary for governments to recognize Individual Rights and Property Rights, it meant that it would no longer be possible to use the state as the means of giving special favoritism to some because they imagined themselves to be better than others and had the muscle to force them to comply – whether as Royalty, Aristocrat, Bureaucrat or pet mob – as doing so for a few, compromises the Individual Rights of all.

    How best to go about structuring the limits and uses of power, is what our Constitution was and still is all about imagining, and implementing. These principles which animated the drafting of our Constitution, declared an end to the old prerogatives of those in positions of power, and put an end to those who thought that their positions and titles gave them the power to abuse those they desired to abuse; it was only with society’s recognition of each person’s property in their actions, speech, associations and the other effects, that all of society was finally able to come together and limit the ability of the powerful, to abuse the powerless.

    But as any fan of horror movies knows all too well, the monster is never really dead, it’s just waiting… waiting for someone to say the word, to kick the rock down the well, or to pull the stake out of its coffin. Which brings us back around to Hillary. How? What do you think it signifies when a powerful politician like Hillary Clinton can escape prosecution for crimes that have been publicly stated to have been committed, while the Director of the FBI warns lesser mortals that they shouldn’t expect the same leniency?

    Look at our three questions we opened with, and the answers to them, and this time we’ll take them in historical order, from our past to our present.

    1. Can you tell me what connects you to your Property (IOW: if you think you have a Right to it… why)? Property Rights are a society’s recognition and affirmation of that which results from those thoughts and actions legitimately taken within the context of a person’s life.

    When you deny, or ‘abolish’ Property Rights, that divorces thought & action from reality within a community – a separation which not only permits, but invites the powerful to remake your world in their own image, to assert that reality is what they say it is, and you will be left with no means of saying otherwise. Property Rights are historically the only means of putting the little guy on a level playing field with the wealthy and powerful, and without them, people are no longer able to trust in the communal defense of what is rightfully theirs, as they are left to become as little and inconsequential as those with wealth and power desire them to be.

    2. Do you know what anchors the Law into protecting everyone’s Individual Rights? Property. Guess what happens to the Laws of the land, when Property is no longer respected? As Property is the prime means of connecting your immaterial political rights, to physical facts by way of your property in the various aspects of your life, through laws written to defend them – when that observable link is no longer acknowledged, then those who have the power to use the power of the state to compel you to do, or to accept, whatever they want you to, will do just that. They can even turn mighty rivers into glowing chemical waste, in direct violation of the very laws that they agitated for to protect that same environment for their own benefit and without consequence to themselves, and you are left powerless to do anything about it.

  • 3. What enables those in power to turn any and all of the laws against whoever they wish, as they wish? The acceptability of Lies, or the inability or unwillingness to identify what is True.
  • When you stop respecting Property, you no longer have the physical means of linking rights to the protections and enforcement of laws, then you have not only authorized, but provided the means for the powerful, to covet and impose a plagiarized reality upon all, the influential lie becomes the ground of your culture and your laws will be reduced to being no more than rules for carrying out the lies of those with the power to tell them and impose them, and, owing to the false notions, and the efforts of the ignorantly ‘well intentioned‘, justice will ever more frequently be forced aside in favor of the untrue ‘for the greater good‘. I’ve often mentioned, what began with the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge case, where Justice Taney discarded a rightful contract and income from a toll bridge, in favor of promoting ‘the greater good’. Not surprisingly, matters in the nation soon progressed to the point where that same judge, this time in the Dred Scott case, used our Supreme Court to pronounce that some men had no rights (which really means that no men have any rights) and could be owned as possessions, which he had the gall to call ‘property’. It is that constant lure of ‘pleasing ends which justify the means‘, that corrodes people’s regard for Truth, and enhances their toleration for what is unreal, dulls their detection of what is false, and inclines them to exchange one easy lie for another.

    If you balk at that, tell me, what is it that you think is accomplished when you permit those in power to question ‘what the meaning of ‘IS’ is‘? When you either tolerate or accept that, no matter what your best intentions might have been, you have cast aside the scaffolding of truth and integrity, and in doing so, forfeit the protections of justice. When what is Right must yield to what is merely useful, when Lies are not denounced, you’ve withdrawn the stake from the monster’s heart and invited the Doppelganger in.

    Do people really not understand what the liar will do when permitted to lie? A writer wrote a very short book not too long ago, asking a similar question:

    “Q: How do you kill 11 million people?
    A: By lying to them.”

    The Liar, when given power, will do whatever they want, especially where they feel that their good intentions for you, justifies their doing ‘what needs to be done‘ to you, and they will tell you all the lies that you so long to hear, so that you can try to hide from the guest that you’ve invited in.

    But we can’t hide from what we’ve invited into our lives.

    In light of that, permit me to rephrase Director Comey’s comments into the words he avoided using:

    ‘Should Hillary be prosecuted? Oh, seriously, I don’t think any prosecutor would take this case, because she is far more powerful than they are. I’m sorry, did you just ask me ‘what about the proof?’ Proof? Ha! How quaint, as if reality was knowable or something, or that we’d even acknowledge it if it were! We’re not going forward with this case, because we don’t feel like it would be best for us to do so. End of story. Oh, and don’t you go getting any ideas, if you’re not one of us, you’re nothing, we’ll squash you like a bug.’

    And you think you’re going to prosper under a government such as that? That your lives are going to matter? Under the rule of men such as that, rather than of Law? How cute.

    In breaching the integrity of Rights, Property and Law, by tolerating and permitting lies to go unquestioned, then power, not responsibility to what is true (Responsibility: Able to respond by identifying the connection between thought and action), becomes dominant in your relations with your fellows, and through that breach the Doppelganger rushes in, and when it rules over you, the state no longer “has your back”, it holds a gun to it. You and your Property are reduced to those possessions able to be held onto by the strongest (or by those favored by them), as your Laws become Rules to Rule over you by, and Lies become the means of negotiating a reality that’s preferable to those with the power to do so, at the expense of everyone else.

    It is much more than a slippery slope. It is slippery, though not in a fallacious way, but in a necessary progression, as one lie requires another to support and excuse the other, and then as good intentions must soon yield to ever more envious ones, more and more of what is true, must be ignored or denied in order to make ever more unbelievable pretenses of ‘justice!‘.

    The goal of the Pro-Regressive, whether Socialist, Fascist or Communist, is the Marxist goal of abolishing Private Property.

    The modern American Administrative State is the means of achieving that goal, right out in the open, for all to see and ignore, through regulations which deprive individuals of their property in their property, replacing their rights with the controls of Govt power which supersede them. By whatever name you call it – regulation, appropriation, communal property, oversight – you’ve picked the Locke on the door of the Doppelganger’s cell, freeing it to take from each according to his ability, and to redistribute them to each according to those needs of theirs which the Doppelganger approves of. Such power soon enough abandons every individual to the age old primitive contest of who has enough muscle, will, guile and power, to take what they want from the weaker, whenever they desire it, and with whatever pretense they spout as justification for ‘the greater good‘.

    But there is a twist to this: The Pro-Regressive goes beyond the mere thuggery of forcing you to comply with what you both know is wrong. While your mind is of no particular interest to mere thugs who just want your stuff, that’s not the case with the Pro-Regressive, they will not be satisfied so long as you believe they are wrong, they will not be satisfied until they’ve plundered and colonized that ‘undiscovered country’ as well.

    What we as Americans must realize, now, today, is that unless we affirm that your thoughts & legitimate actions secure to you your property in your life, then all you have will be transformed from property, into possessions, to be held only by force and favors – and at the low, low price of divorcing your soul from its roots in reality.
    ~ If you have no property in your thoughts, you will be made to speak and write and endorse those thoughts which those in power wish to force upon you.
    ~ If you have no property in your religious convictions, you will be forced to believe – or not believe – what the Doppelganger demands.
    ~ What you now assume is yours, is only what the Doppelganger hasn’t found another use for – yet.
    Because its imperatives are fundamentally opposed to the very nature of being human (respecting what is real and true and acting in accordance to them), then the greatest discovery of Western Civilization – Humanity – will be targeted, violated and eliminated. Society will experience pro-regression at an ever increasing velocity, as every protection once afforded to every individual, will be abandoned to the age old contest of who has enough muscle, will, guile and power, to take what they want from the weaker, whenever they desire to, and to that we can add the one new goal of the Pro-Regressive: The Mind – a hitherto unexplored land to be dominated, cultivated, and improved as they see fit.

    The trail of Why’s which that leads to, will have to wait until the next and last post in this series, but for now be aware – the Pro-Regressivism is about denying, and repealing Individual Rights and their legal & political anchor in Property Rights, so that those in power can use the power of Govt to live other people’s lives for them. No matter how many good intentions might be motivating them, nothing but evil follows from that, or can.

    It has been the Pro-Regressive’s undoing of the nature of Rights, Property and Law in the ‘modern’ educated mind, that is bringing the master/serf arrangement back into vogue in new and improved fashions, as the Doppleganger progressively takes charge with a vengeance. The rejection of the Rule of Law for the Rule of Rules, coupled with a self-justifying resentment of its fundamental principles, is what first introduced the world to its greatest regressive leap backwards in history, through the many faces of Fascism, which we’ll look at in the next post.

  • The Constitution at 229 years old – for Patriots and Protesters

    Today marks the completion of what both Patriot and Protester, knowingly or not, are unified in referencing. What was signed as completed upon this day, two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the fifty-five Framers, was the Constitution of the United States of America, and whether you stand in respect for, or disrespectfully turn away from, the Flag, the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, you do so in reference to that document which is the oldest existing instrument of its kind, still in operation.


    Is it simply a list of rules for governing by? Is it nothing more than a favorite fossil of ‘white people‘? A document of oppression? Frederick Douglass once thought so, but because he was a thinker in order to understand what was true, he didn’t stop with answers that were given him by others, but continued on thinking upon the matter, and discovered the Truth which such vile falsehoods seek to smother and erase.

    But today I’m really not much concerned with your answers to those ‘points’, but am only interested in whether or not you are familiar with the ideas, principles and purposes which animated the writing of it – are you? And if not… what worth can your opinion – pro or con – have for me, or for anyone else?

    Whether you mouth its praises, or make showy protests against it, without understanding what it is you are referencing – your praises and protestations fail to even rise to the level of being wrong, they are but verbal dust to be brushed away, meaningless and of no consequence. But if you are one of that thoughtless many, you may take comfort in the knowledge that you are in the happy company of millions of such Pavlovian ‘Conservatives’, Pro-Regressive Leftists and Libertarians, for whom the United States Constitution is little more than a paper bell which they bark at.

    But for those of you who do see it, not as a mere object of ink upon paper, for those of you who don’t insult the memory of they who strove to produce it as having been anything other than men of flesh and blood, for you who understand that it was written so as to give physical form to, and to best enable, the implementation of some of the greatest political ideas of Western Civilization –

    • that Individual Rights result from the nature of being human(“…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…“),
    • that men who understand that are capable of self governance,
    • that well ordered argument can lead to a self-correcting means of governance,
    • that such a system, established by such a people, can enable lives lived in liberty while in society with others, so long as the beast of Power is bound down and limited by laws whose purpose is to uphold and defend the Individual Rights of every person

    , and that for such a people, intellectually armed through a document such as this, Liberty is possible.

    But it is only possible for those who understand that.

    For those intemperate folk who simply wish to sing the praises of, or rain curses down upon, that which they know little or nothing of, so that they can ‘do what they will‘, as they want, because they desire to… well for them, as Edmund Burke said in the face of the debut of Fascism:

    “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

    Whether you are ‘for or against it‘, especially on this day, in our day, you’d be wise to consider what would happen if we should lose the last vestiges of it, and those protections it uniquely extends to both sides.

    For those of you who already do, or who are at least willing to make the effort to, understand those ideas which animated the framing of this document, those of you who understand that such principles and ideas as these cannot be owned by any race or culture, but can only be discovered by some for the benefit of all, then by virtue of that understanding, you and I are unified through these thoughts which were so well formed, written down, and ‘completed’ (and not to forget the first debate on amending its completion), on ‘the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven’.

    One final point, whether you are an old hand with, or relatively new to, this document and its ideas, I take it as an obvious point that your reading of it can be greatly improved and informed by those arguments for, and against it, that were in the minds of those who debated the writing and ratifying of it. One of the best tools I’ve ever found for considering and reflecting upon the whole or particular parts of the Constitution, is the University of Chicago’s site “The Founders Constitution“. Scroll down on the contents page and you’ll find that it goes through the Constitution clause by clause, and that each is supplied with a list of links to those relevant portions of not only the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, but to documents which the Founders had in mind when writing the Constitution, to what the Anti-Federalists objected to (this is particularly helpful in understanding the arguments for the Constitution which the Federalist Papers make), as well as early Supreme Court opinions and judgments that were relevant to that clause being acted upon, as well as the commentaries by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (which are fantastic).

    Without further ado:

    Constitution of the United States and the First Twelve Amendments 1787–1804

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Article. I.

    Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

    No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

    When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

    The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

    Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
    Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

    No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

    The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

    The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

    Section 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

    Section 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

    Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

    Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

    Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

    No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

    Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

    Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representativesand the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return in which Case it shall not be a Law.

    Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

    Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

    To promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and properfor carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Section 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

    The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

    No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

    No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerceor Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

    No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

    Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairingthe Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

    No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

    Article. II.

    Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected as follows

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

    The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and inCase of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    Article. III.

    Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

    Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

    Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    Article. IV.
    Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

    Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

    A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

    Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

    The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

    Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

    Article. V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of it’s equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    Article. VI.

    All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United Stateswhich shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Article. VII.

    The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

    The Word, “the,” being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, The Word “Thirty” being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words “is tried” being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word “the” being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page. Attest William Jackson Secretary

    done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

    Go: Washington–Presidt. and deputy from Virginia

    New Hampshire { John Langdon
    Nicholas Gilman
    Massachusetts { Nathaniel Gorham
    Rufus King
    Connecticut { Wm. Saml. Johnson
    Roger Sherman
    New York Alexander Hamilton
    New Jersey { Wil: Livingston
    David Brearley.
    Wm. Paterson.
    Jona: Dayton
    Pensylvania { B Franklin
    Thomas Mifflin
    Robt Morris
    Geo. Clymer
    Thos. FitzSimons
    Jared Ingersoll
    James Wilson
    Gouv Morris
    Delaware { Geo: Read
    Gunning Bedford jun
    John Dickinson
    Richard Bassett
    Jaco: Broom
    Maryland { James McHenry
    Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
    Danl Carroll
    Virginia { John Blair–
    James Madison Jr.
    North Carolina { Wm. Blount
    Richd. Dobbs Spaight.
    Hu Williamson
    South Carolina { J. Rutledge
    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
    Charles Pinckney
    Pierce Butler.
    Georgia { William Few
    Abr Baldwin
    Amendments to the Constitution
    Preamble to the first ten Amendments:

    Congress of the United States; Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789. 
    The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;–

    Article I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Article II – A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Article III – No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Article IV – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Article V – No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Article VI – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Article VII – In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Article VIII – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Article IX – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Article X – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    The Founders’ Constitution
    Volume 1, Chapter 1, Document 9

    The University of Chicago Press
    Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States. Edited by Charles C. Tansill. 69th Cong., 1st sess. House Doc. No. 398. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927.

  • Translating Reality – From Marcus Aurelius to Hillary Clinton

    So something odd that struck me today while watching headlines fly by my newsfeed, is that trying to figure out what is going on in the world around us today, seems in many ways to have a lot in common with trying to find out what someone said in a different time, and in a different place, and in a different language, through the many translations that are available to us, of what they themselves had to say.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t need translations?

    I’m often frustrated with the fact that I’ve never learned to read Greek or Latin – I’ve taken a couple feeble stabs at it, but the usual excuses find there way into the moment, and… then the moment conveniently passes you by… and you need someone to translate that which interests you, for you, which means that I continue having to take my classical era ‘food’ in, second hand. In trying to counter that as best as possible, I enjoy reading different translations of the same work, sometimes, like today, at the same time, so that the differences that come through the different translators translations often seem striking, giving you a wider perspective on, and, hopefully, a fuller understanding of, what you’re reading.

    This morning I was reading the 2nd century Roman Emperor,Marcus Aurelius’s, ‘Meditations’, through one 19th Century translation by George Long, and another recent translation by someone I often enjoy disagreeing with on other topics, Jacob Needleman, and John P. Piazza. Anyway, the different flavors that come through the translations range from mild to startling, but an example of mostly the routine, ‘small’ differences, that you come across, is this one, from section 1.7, where Aurelius’s is reflecting on his thanks ‘to a Stoic philosopher whom Aurelius valued highly‘, where he says, through these two different translators,

    George Long translation:

    “… and with regard to persons who have offended me by words, or done me wrong, to be easily pacified and reconciled, as soon as they have shown a desire to be reconciled; and to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book; nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch; and I am indebted to him for my acquaintance with the discourses of Epictetus, which he gave me out of his own collection.”

    Needleman/Piazza translation:

    “…Also, to be eager for reconciliation and meditation with anyone who, having lost their temper and caused trouble, wishes to return. To read with precision and not be satisfied with the mere gist of things, nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters. Finally, to have encountered the discourses of Epictetus, which he provided for me from his own library….”

    The differences in the translations of this passage seem like fairly straight forward differences of choice, and one does seem to complement the other, but that is often not the case with those who we’ve trusted to translate the words and wisdom of past masters, so that we can benefit by them. There are some translators (and in fact many of the celebrated translators of the 19th century), as Allan Bloom notes in the forward to his excellent translation of Plato’s ‘Republic’ who often took it upon themselves to, in their translations, ‘correct’ the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, etc., by literally (!) putting those words into their mouths which they themselves felt sure should have been said by them, rather than simply translating those words that they actually wrote, and which they the translators were supposed to be translating, for our benefit.

    A further interesting note, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, like most Romans of his time, did not use his native tongue, Latin, to write or converse on philosophic matters, because they found it to be too ‘clunky’ of a language. So they wrote, even privately to themselves (as Aurelius was doing – his meditations were more like a personal diary of his thoughts, than something meant for public publication), in Greek. So here’s lil’ ol’ me trying to learn from a Roman Emperor, who was writing in Greek, in the years between 167 – 180 a.d., which was then translated into English by a scholar in 19th century England, and by an American academic philosopher in 21st century America, which, for me, is fascinating. Fascinating to see the words that they agreed upon, fascinating to see the similar but not quite same terms they used in others, and how the choices of one, shed light upon the choices of the other, especially in regards to the (Long)

    “nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch”

    and (Needleman)

    “nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters”.

    Anyway, what brought this to mind in more stark relief than normal, was that while reading these translations side by side, I was also seeing and hearing the different accounts of Hillary’s leaving the 9/11 ceremony this morning, ranging from:

    , and it struck me how in hearing news reports from the likes of CNN, MSNBC & Fox and all the other options, our position as Americans attempting to find out what is happening in America, here and now, is very much akin to the difficulties, challenges, and fascinations to be found in reading different translations of a book that comes down to us from a long dead author in a different era, a different language and a different culture and land, where we have to rely upon how a translator not only picks and chooses to translate the words which the original author used, to match the translator’s own sensibilities, to which they often add, drop, convey, or go to pains to explain what the author ‘must have meant‘, rather than telling us what they actually said. So remember folks, that when reading or even (especially) watching the NEWS, do remember that we are engaging with our world through the translations of translators who are trying to tell us not only what was said and done, but through their interpretation of what was said and done (or should have been).

    Bottom line, in reading the News of the day, or in reading what was once new, ages past – whether in your own language or on being translated into ‘your’ language – you must try your very best to not only understand what has been said and done, but to then think it through yourself in order to truly understand what needs to be understood, by you, in your life, here and now – otherwise it might as well all be Greek to you.

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