Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday roundup

This guy didn't even concern himself with the fact that everyone knows she ain't no pre-European American, such was the fervor with which he was pursuing his agenda:

WHY IS NBC LYING ABOUT ELIZABETH WARREN? In a story headlined Trump Again Derides Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas,’ NBC’s Daniel Arkin writes: “President Donald Trump returned to one of his most derogatory insults Friday, referring to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” — a jab at her Native American ancestry.”
Now I’m sure that Arkin knows that this isn’t a jab at her “Native American ancestry,” but at her fake Native American ancestry. So why pretend otherwise? To make Trump look bad. Which I guess explains why more people trust Trump than the media after 100 days.
After reading Mike Sabo's review of Thomas G. West's The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy and the Moral Conditions of Freedom, I want to read the book itself.

Here's how West systematizes the elements of what drove the Founders to approach the invention of a new basis for a nation-state the way they did:

West divides his book into three overarching sections: an overview of the founders’ political theory, an argument for why they thought government should inculcate citizen morality and virtue, and an extended examination of their views on property and economics. As he reasonably argues in the book’s introduction, before we can praise or condemn the founders, we must “first know” both “why the founders set up the regime they did” and “how their political order worked.”

All nation-states exist to protect something, but the founding of the United States of America was the first instance of using that concept to protect something truly universal:

 Natural rights are the inalienable liberties all human beings possess, not through government largesse, but by nature. Because “all men are created equal” in the sense “that there are no natural masters or natural slaves,” everyone has the natural liberty to order his life “without interference from other people.” Among these rights are the right to life, possessing and acquiring property, religious liberty, and to seek happiness—what West calls “the goal of human life.”
On the reverse side of rights are the duties all men have not to transcend the moral limits on the use of their rights. The founders called these natural limits the law of nature, or natural law. Natural law, which can be discovered through the faculty of reason, is “both the source of natural rights and a statement of our duties.” West argues that “natural liberty exists only within the moral limits of the law of nature.” Liberty, in other words, does not equal license.
Because all men are created equal, just government can only be founded on the unanimous consent of individuals who want to protect their rights, which are insecure outside of civil society. (The founders called the condition in which there is no common authority to protect against infringements of one’s rights the state of nature.) “The logic of the equality principle,” West contends, “necessarily leads to the right of the people to rule themselves in person or through elected representatives.” Consent, then, must be granted not only at the founding of a regime but also in the course of its operation, lest it degenerate into a tyranny.
And West, by way of Sabo, deftly dispels the notion that government promoting virtue somehow runs counter to the premise of liberty. Quite the contrary:

Against the view of scholars such as Thomas Pangle, Allan Bloom, and Harvey Mansfield, West contends that the founders were far from being concerned only with low bourgeois virtues, such as acquisitiveness, and comfortable self-preservation. In fact, they considered “virtue as a condition of freedom and a requirement of the laws of nature.”
Many public documents from the time spoke of the need for social and republican virtues within the populace such as justice (i.e., obeying the law), moderation, benevolence, temperance, industry, frugality, religious piety, and a responsibility among the people’s representatives to secure their good. In times of war, however, virtues of strength such as courage, leadership, bravery, vigor, and manly exertion are required. “Virtue is of concern to government not as an end in itself, but as a means to security and ultimately to happiness,” West concludes.
Opposed to the libertarian ethos that has consumed much of the Right, West argues forcefully that the project of sustaining our republic is not satisfied simply by getting government out of the way. The founders thought it was the duty of government (at least at the state level) to encourage virtue through public education, support for religious instruction, and a vast network of laws that discourage crime and promote stable families.
And to those who might be inclined to chime in with, "Aha! These much-venerated Founders were proponents of public education!", all one has to do is point out that current public education serves a purpose pretty much at odds with what they wanted to see it cultivate.

Then there is the matter of property rights, by which the Founders didn't just mean ownership, but also the chance to become an owner:

West also highlights an important but overlooked part of the founders’ theory of property rights: human beings have the right to possess and acquire property. They thought this important so that “the poor as well as the rich can benefit from property rights.” This stands in stark contrast to feudal ages in which serfs had virtually no prospects of climbing the ladder of opportunity and making their own way in life.
The ratcheted tensions in northwest Asia have Japan pretty skittish:

One of Tokyo's major subways systems says it shut down all lines for 10 minutes early Saturday after receiving warning of a North Korean missile launch.
Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa says the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers.
Service was halted on all nine lines at 6:07 a.m. It resumed at 6:17 a.m. after it was clear there was no threat to Japan.
Takizawa says it was the first time service had been stopped in response to a missile launch. Train service is generally suspended in Japan immediately after large earthquakes. Tokyo Metro decided earlier this month to stop for missile launch warnings as well.
ESPN, like the Democrat party, is creating its own obsolescent with its leftward lurch.

Why isn't the "A"CA getting flat-out repealed in this era of Republican control of the federal legislative and executive branches? Byron York at the Washington Examiner contends that it's because somewhere between 25 and 50 Pub House members are scaredy-cats, afraid that they don't know how to articulate such a resolute position to the particular constituents in their districts.


  1. Ahh, the pursuit of virtue as a governmental construct. That led to a quite popular and misguided lie like Manifest Destiny, Indian (aka subhuman) Wars (more like genocide), censorship and prohibition. The "other" has always been persecuted in America. Far from my personal understanding of virtue. I presume that's where you get your supra-morality though. On loan from Michael the Archangel maybe. Oh, did I forget slavery (property rights), or do we have to go back to the Founder's good intentions?

  2. You can't assess the motives, decisions and action of eighteenth-century people by 2017 standards.

    And, among other things, that leads one to the realization that there was no generic "native American." There were members of tribes and nations with names like Sioux, Cherokee, Apache, Miami, Blackfoot, etc. And there was a lot of back-and-forth conquest and enslavement among these groups. Most were very hierarchically and patriarchally organized.

    And you kind of throw "censorship" out there in drive-by fashion. Are you suggesting that standards of decency and commonly held notions of what is obscene are bad things?

    And prohibition clearly did not work, which is why it lasted a mere 14 years.

  3. Let us remember that the next significant document that the federal government crafted and enacted after the Constitution was the Northwest Ordinance, which had these provisions in it:

    Art. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.[13]

    Article III. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.[19]

  4. Let us not forget that the federal government moved forward with the enactment of that brilliant document The Marihuana Tax Act on the heels of admitting failure to ban the still often immoral booze, which they were proceeding to align with, what else but that good ole greenback a dolla. Same thing's happening with this weed where it's legalized, big money takes over with its "proprietary" rights.

    "The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was primarily the unholy creation of Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962. Anslinger had made his career enforcing alcohol prohibition, but when that was repealed in 1933, Anslinger needed a new illegal substance to secure his job.

    “Marihuana” was a perfect target: It was used primarily by minorities who were feared by the public due to newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst’s nationwide “Reefer Madness” campaign to demonize cannabis and hemp. Hearst was a racist who used the little-known term “marihuana” to describe what had always been commonly known as cannabis or hemp. Hearst ran a very effective scare campaign to convince the public that “Mexicans and Negroes” were smoking a new drug called “marihuana” that was causing them to rape and murder white people.

    The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 used a unique legal theory. Since Congress did not have the power to ban substances directly because of the 10th Amendment, they needed an indirect method of prohibition. They were inspired by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which effectively outlawed machine guns through the requirement of a “prohibitive” tax.

    The Marihuana Tax Act adopted the “prohibition through taxation” scheme. Rather than making marijuana possession illegal directly, the law required you to purchase a tax stamp in order to possess marijuana legally. Because the taxes were set prohibitively high, it discouraged compliance, creating de facto prohibition.

    Congress passed the law with very little debate, despite testimony by farmers, who complained that the law would destroy the hemp fiber and seed industry, and from the medical community, who complained that cannabis had been in the U.S. pharmacopoeia since 1850."

  5. Now of course I'll get an earful about how immoral and immature I am.

  6. I don't have to say it. You obviously know that your digression into an irrelevant issue is based on your refusal to squarely deal with the subject at hand.

  7. Yep, that's prohibition. And so what if the Native Americans were tribal? They were culturally eviscerated and it was kill or be killed whenever they got in the way of progress for whatever brand of American wanted it. I heard these were mostly white Europeans, many of whom were seeking to establish their Godly City on the Hill. Looks like some saw that to be in the Northwest Territories though. What principles, eh?

  8. And you can't govern the 21st Century man, woman, child based upon the motives, decisions and action of eighteenth-century people. That's why we stand on stare decisis, i.e., precedent, and and the common law, which of course changes over time. Marijuana Prohibition is prohibition: it didn't work then, and it doesn't work now. Why pursue it any further, as it appears a redneck holdover, the very antithesis of the black man predecessor, hold sway today?

  9. Which brings me to another favorite depradation of the censorious: censorship. Who's to decide? After 2 cent uries of trying to legislate morality, the courts evolved into essentially throwing in the freedom towel.

  10. You're confusing the temporal viewpoints of people from particular times with timeless principles. Those are what was distilled in our founding documents - which is why you can indeed rely on them to inform judicial opinions in the 21st century.