Monday, September 12, 2011

Progressivism vs. Individual Liberty

Progressives do not believe in natural rights as understood by our founders, and they also take a dim view of individual liberty

George Will clarifies...
Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose judicial restraint often expressed his dogmatic majoritarianism, defended “the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law.” He said liberty should not be construed “to prevent the natural outcome of a dominant opinion.”
Holmes' constitution-be-damned judicial philosophy nurtured the fledgling progressivism of the early 20th century, enabling it to grow into the morbidly obese statist monster of the 21st century. His was the opposite of judicial activism. He refused to stand athwart the stampeding statists and shout "stop!" Preferring instead to see individual rights trampled in the name of social hygiene and "progress."
Progressives celebrated Holmes’s gift to government of almost untrammeled police powers. He said courts should defer to economic regulations because the Constitution does not “embody a particular economic theory.”
Princeton’s president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed, dismissing “the inalienable rights of the individual” as “nonsense” inimical to government’s ability to efficiently work its progressive will. So much for the idea that one of the Constitution’s primary purposes is the protection of individual rights against majority tyranny.
See how this encroachment works?  You continue growing government until a citizen cannot turn around without rubbing up against some government project or other.  For the good of greater society, the state must restrict that citizen's action.  They've boxed us in. 

It's the Quacking Marxism, Stupid!

I bring all this up as prelude. I am genuinely thankful for Jersey, Ducky, Jez, Bd, Shaw and other progressives who show up at this blog. Their defense of all that I detest makes us all a little smarter and less sloppy with our arguments. I also believe that our liberal friends genuinely believe they are doing good and bettering the country, attacking the evil rich and fighting against inequality.

Ducky is easier to comprehend once you understand that he is a Marxist. I don't use that term as a pejorative. He himself cops to being a fan of Das Kapital, and I use the term not to associate him with communist regimes, but rather to say he ascribes to Karl Marx's theory of capital, which is inimical to free market capitalism.

Until I realized this, I never knew how to take him. He may not have consciously tried to mask his Marxist beliefs, but they nonetheless remained hidden behind other arguments that never quite rang right, and now I know why. Sources and motives illuminate a debate and bring clarity to it. I am a Dennis Prager fan, and as Dennis says, "Clarity over agreement."

This exchange from last week is telling...

Bastiatarian said...
Jersey and Ducky and Bd, why are you afraid of liberty and people determining themselves what to do with their own property?

Don't be so insecure.

Ducky's here said...
Because "liberty" is a cheap cop-out used by the fringe right to mask their shallowness and irrational support of a kapitalist power structure that is not compatible with democracy.

Because the distribution of wealth under the current system is so inequitable that it will generate social instability and a weakened nation.

Because people who "know what to do with their property" generally only know what temporary itch they want scratched and will go into unsustainable debt to scratch it and ignore the future.

Because it freaking pisses me off that some little right wing snot thinks he has standing to tell me what freedom means to me when there is no reason to believe the right wing slug has ever experienced it.

And that is the crux of the leftist argument, plainly stated by one of the nation's few honest liberals. Progressivism is, at its core, not liberal at all. It is a moralistic crusade on a Quixotic mission to right all wrongs.

I bring this up not to berate Ducky or to make some cheap call for other right-thinkers to attack him (as if any of our attacks could even put the tiniest dent in his impregnable carapace...). No, I congratulate Ducky for plainly stating what he believes and identifying his philosophical sources. If everyone on the left could come clean as Ducky has done, our national debate would gain much clarity.

My response to Ducky

Yes, it's hell allowing those damned, contemptible people to enjoy their liberty and to dispose of their lives and their property as they see fit!

Dammit to hell! How dare we grubby proles presume to chart the course of our own lives while turning a deaf ear to our progressive overlords???!!!

"Distribution of wealth?" That cracks me up.

Who distributes it? Who owns it? Who's entitled to it? How much? How do you divide it? Who decides?

Where is this socialist utopia you dream of, and what would it look like?

45 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Wasn't Woodrow Wilson our first Progressive President?

Always On Watch said...

"Distribution of wealth?" That cracks me up.

Wealth is a relative term.

Compared to the starving in Somalia, the poorest sectors of America are filthy rich.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

I would say this about Ducky's remarks....I think he is correct on his observation of experiencing freedom. Most Americans believe they are truly free, while blissfully ignoring the construct of regulation and infringement all around them.

Jack Camwell said...

While I believe in social justice, that no person of means should sit idle on top of his millions while others suffer, I don't believe that wealth redistribution is a good thing.

Every person should be able to enjoy the lifestyle that he or she has earned through whatever means. But if any rich person calls himself a Christian, then he must also work to aleviate the suffering of his fellow man.

No one should force him to do so, as whether or not he is charitable is between him and whatever it is he believes in.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jack: While I believe in social justice, that no person of means should sit idle on top of his millions while others suffer, I don't believe that wealth redistribution is a good thing.


I agree that someone refusing to help other when he has the means to do so is immoral, but that is between him and God. The state has no business enforcing morality.

The "greedy rich robber barons" is largely a myth created by 19th century socialists. Those robber barons brought wealth and prosperity to this nation and brought down the cost of living for millions of poor Americans, Standard Oil being just one example. John D. Rockefeller brought down the price of kerosene so much that ordinary folk living in dirt floor shacks could afford the luxury of a lamp.

Silverfiddle said...

Constitutional: The very founding of our republic is predicated upon everyone abiding by a set of laws. We are not anarcho-capitalists.

So "free" is a relative term.

If you're saying we suffer from overregulation and a glutting surfeit of laws, then you and I are in agreement, and you are in stark disagreement with Ducky.

Silverfiddle said...

AOW: Some credit TR as the first progressive, and I agree with that assessment. Wilson raised it from an ideal to actual state policy, jailing dissidents, jumping into WW I, openly scorning the constitution and encouraging public private partnership involving such organizations as The American Legion, YMCA and the American Red Cross (Not to say any of these organizations are bad. They are not!).

He kicked off the age of the collective over the individual, all in the name of bettering the lot of all, of course!

conservativesonfire said...

I've come to the conclusion that people who believe as Ducky does do so out of envy. I see it write big here in Venezuela. A very large percentage of the poor here think the same as Ducky thinks. They have no illusions that heir lives are ever going to get better. But it makes them angry to see that there are some people that have much more than they do. They want those people to have to live the same kind of life that they live. Then they will all be equal.

As long as there are those that have more, the light will continue to shine on their own inability to improve their lot in life. In their mind it is not fair that some people are able to achieve so much more than others.

Silverfiddle said...

Conservatives:

I have lived in different countries of Latin America, and the leftists there do not hide their admiration of socialism, making them much more honest that American liberals.

I have often stated that if I were born poor in Latin America I too would be a Che Guevara worshiping socialist.

The fundamentals in countries like Ecuador, Venezuela or even Uruguay or Paraguay are vastly different than in the United States.

I speak blithely of a "ruling oligarchy" here in the United States, but it is a stark reality in Latin America. At least our oligarchs permit some free enterprise and social mobility and freedoms.

Latin American oligarchs, such as in Mexico, steal every last penny and enjoy an almost complete monopoly on all aspects of life. They literally steal the bread from the mouths of the poor.

-FJ said...

I'd can only add the first two points from Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance"

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

-FJ said...

..but in due fairness to mr. ducky, HE is also right when he quacks, "Because it freaking pisses me off that some little right wing snot thinks he has standing to tell me what freedom means to me when there is no reason to believe the right wing slug has ever experienced it."

For the "secular" progressives long ago leaped over that Great Barrier in a Great Civil War and imposed their welfare religion upon the great American State. It may have been a "godless" religion, but it was a religion nonetheless.

Let others hug their chains, For sin and Satan plead, And say, from sin's remains They never can be freed - Ye Ransomed Sinners Hear

Trestin said...

Was Marx not a communist? I guess not if you define communist as a form of government the likes of Lenin of Mao. That was not actually communism, it was socialism designed to transition to communism

Anyway... This is the whole heart of the matter. Do we believe in individual liberty or do we believe in the power of the state.

Divine Theatre said...

Do we belong to ourselves or do we belong to the state?

Ducky's here said...

Silverfiddle, do you support democracy? I ask because it's not clear.

Democracy requires community and Libertarians are no friends of community. Or they hold this bizarre notion that the market is community.

Now if I represent everything you hate (world music, wealth distribution, the French New Wave, abstraction, socialism etc.) then the question remains whether you hate democracy because I don't and I am trying to find a path that will support it.
Murray Rothbart ain't it. I've been through that but as St. Paul said, "It's time to put away childish things."

Bastiatarian said...

>Democracy requires community

Liberty requires opposition to democracy. The Founders knew it. That's why they consciously and specifically created a constitution that was intended to prevent democracy. As history has shown so abundantly, mob rule (democracy) always leads to tyranny and slavery. But that's what you want, right Shrieky? You're afraid of liberty, and of people making their own decisions.

Ducky's here said...

Yes, people make their own decisions and the free market (LMFAO) magically turns that into justice and efficiency.

Got any more fairy tales, prof? So just who wields the power in your little representative tent show? Once we get the crowd that's selling the Lockean property fetish (Note: I am not advocating against property but there is also an issue of public good) gets in power we know what happens (look around).

The magical Libertarian two-step. How to resolve conflicts of interest? Just wipe your hands of them and it all disappears to be resolved by the free market(LMFAO).
I'm not sure you've thought this through, prof.

Mob rule, interesting that Silverfiddle brought up the idea of organized labor as mob and thug. Yup, back to the glorious days of the robber barons, god damn the thugs for moving us through that hell.

Ducky's here said...

Who distributes it? Who owns it? Who's entitled to it? How much? How do you divide it? Who decides?

----------------

Difficult question for sure. You leave it to the free market(LMFAO) and wash your hands of the whole issue so you really haven't gone too far with it.

It shits. When you have so much of the wealth controlled by a very small portion of the population and you restrict the social mobility that was once a strength of Americas then it may be time to take a look.

I favor a progressive tax policy that does assist in basics like health care (single payer, not for profit), basic education and after what we saw the free market(LMFAO) do to housing we have some issues there.

Consumer products, whatever. You want a 60' plasma to watch "American Idol" knock yourself out. The market does that well. The other stuff, not so good and we need government there.

I know, Silverfiddle, government always fails, which is funny coming from someone who is part of its biggest fuck up in the U.S. Unless you're one of the oligarchs that owns the war machine, of course.

Trestin said...

Secretary General Ducky,
Democracy is not a stable form of government, it is simply a transition to statism.

I think you know this, and it why you keep championing it as the ideal.

Anonymous said...

"Critical theory is yet another psychological ‘command and control' device. ... 'Critical Theory, as its name implies, criticizes.  What deconstruction does to literature, Critical Theory does to societies. 

"Critical Theory is a brutal, ongoing assault via vicious criticism relentlessly leveled against the U.S. Constitution, Christians, Christmas, the Boy Scouts, the Ten Commandments, our military, and all other aspects of traditional American culture and society.
 

... Political Correctness and Critical Theory are in essence, psychological bullying.  They are the psycho-political battering rams by which Frankfurt School disciples such as the ACLU are forcing Americans to submit to and to obey the will and the way of the Left."

~ loosely quoted from CULTURAL MARXISM by Linda Kimball in American Thinker (2007)

As I've noted many times, our Ducky is an ardent -- and expert -- practitioner of Critical Theory. He is not here to listen and learn, he is here with the sole purpose in mind of wearing you down -- of exhausting you with an unabashed display of perversity and sheer obduracy until finally you begin to doubt your convictions -- and possibly even your own sanity.

He is not one of us -- he is one of them -- an ideologue -- a brainwashed minion of The Greatest Enemy We've Ever Faced -- a soldier in the Long March of the relentless, ongoing Marxist Revolution, which is determined with fanatical zeal to destroy you -- to steal everything you have including your very identity and everything your forbears ever dreamed of owning or accomplishing.

It's nothing personal with Ducky. He's merely a lost soul, but his mode of thinking -- and the terrible energy with which he purveys it -- is a grave danger to all of us -- including his poor deluded, deranged little self.

Be very very nice to Ducky. He desperately needs our help, but don't make the mistake of imagining you could ever get close to him or penetrate with bland, sweet reasonableness the thick shell in which he hides his twisted mind and shriveled soul in foul-smelling darkness.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

"Libertarians are no friends of community."

No Ducky, Libertarians are no friends of government organized community. Those of free association we're just fine with.

Oh, and congratulations on earning your very own label.

Cheers!

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: It is quite simple. I do not advocate Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism. I merely advocate following the constitution as envisioned by the founders.

There is no Valhalla, no Utopia, no perfection here on earth.

Also, you conflate various distinct concepts. Free market is an economic concept, democracy a political theory, which our government definitively is not, as Bastiatarian already explained to you.

We are a representative republic, with an imperfect partially free market that government intervention consistently distorts to our economic disadvantage.

Good job dodging my questions. Have a nice day.

Jersey McJones said...

Will misrepresents Holmes there, Silver. Holmes was not that axiomatic.

That's conservative projection in action again. It's you conservatives who are the majoriantarians. There isn't a small-r republican among you guys these days. I'm more small-r republican than any of you.

And yes, I'm sorry Silver, but our Founders were not ideologues, and so they understood the Constitution should not prescribe a particular economic dogma, but rather define the scope of powers to make such policy. To restrain radical dogma. And yes, your's is radical.

Now, you bring up Wilson here, and I'm getting a little sick of it. He is not an important figure in the modern world, he did not play that much of a role in modern world history, and he certainly is not a hero of today's Left, let alone the founder of some Leftist, big government cabal. That is silly nonsense. Silly, silly, silly, stupid, stupid, stupid nonsense.

It simply never happened. That's why Glenn Beck needs medication.

Ducky is not a "Marxist." No one is. Marx was a unique individual and he never proscribed some new perfect way of doing things for everyone. So, obviously, you know nothing whatsoever about Marx.

Ducky's point about liberty is simple and clear and why you have to twist it like that is beyond me. You just don't seem like a sleazy arguer.

Ducky's point, if I may:

Often it is the case that unethical, immoral, inhuman, anti-American, malevolent, greedy, scummy, sleazy, lowlife, murderous, stupid, misogynistic, tyrannical behaviors are shielded by a naive, stupid, narrow-minded, narrow-visioned understanding of "liberty."

The modern American conservative just can't seem to see the point where one's fist ends and other's nose begins.

JMJ

Anonymous said...

Well, Jersey, I don't think I've ever seen a clearer, more eloquent example of tarradiddle in my long life than your last statement.

I hereby dub you the official Tarradiddler-in-Residence at Western Hero.

You too are an exponent of Critical Theory, of course, but there's naive, earnestness about the way you practice it that sets you apart from the militant, humorless, sneering assertiveness of one such as our dear Ducky.

It's very easy to identify a Marxist, Jersey. The stench gives it away every time. I would never call you a Marxist, however. I suspect you are merely Olfactorily Challenged.

There are times when I wish I was so afflicted, myself. It's hard to collect one's thoughts a remain coherent when one is constantly fighting nausea.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way;

Proscribe means to forbid or issue an injunction against something

Prescribe means to recommend a possible remedy for an unsound condition.

I think you meant the latter.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SilverFiddle, for coming to the defense of such as Cornelius J. Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Mellon, Edwin Gould, John D. Rockfeller, Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, and the others falsely labelled by the Progressives in pejorative terms. There would be no modern America were it not for the vision, courage, perseverance and organizational talents of these men.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

FreeThinke: Thank you for saying it better than I ever could.

Tarradiddler... Another good one!

Jersey: I appreciate your rhetorical skills, but you're a little sparse on the facts that could theoretically bolster your case. As it is, the facts stand against you.

Also, I did not accuse Justice Holmes and President Wilson of being leftists. I accuse them of being progressive statists, which historical record faithfully records they most decidedly were.

You also incorrectly assume I do not include republicans and conservatives in the statist camp. I do, where it fits, and I've said so many times, including when I echo Hayek's quote... "To the socialists of all parties."

Finally, I believe you've misused the term "axiomatic." Perhaps you meant dogmatic?

Anonymous said...

My favorite definition of democracy -- something our country has never had and most certainly do not want -- is this:

Two wolves and one sheep getting together to decide what's to be eaten for dinner.


"Democracies are most commonly corrupted by the insolence of demagogues."

~ Aristotle (382- 322 B. C. )


"Democratic nations care little for what has been but are haunted by visions of what will be. . . Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever on himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him to the solitude of his own heart."

~ Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)


The Founders were very much against governing by what Alexander Hamilton called "the whim of the populace."

From what you see of popular taste in action today I can't help but agree with him. Only literate persons versed in a knowledge of our history and our purpose as a nation -- as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution -- should be permitted to vote. Potential voters too should be able to demonstrate knowledge of current events and contemporary issues. The Founders never intended that ignorant peasants, irresponsible losers, criminals and morons should be given the franchise.

Let me add too while I'm at it, that Capitalism untempered by Christian morality is as potentially evil as any other system that does not recognize the supremacy of Divine Truth as revealed in the new testament Holy Bible. The Pentateuch is downright barbaric and has left a legacy of horror and injustice precipitated by a misunderstanding of reality.

Christ came to save us from the horrors imbued in the old testament.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Democracy, representative republic yeah, I know.

If it can't deliver a reasonable distribution of power you can call it your momma for all I care.

Yes indeed, a thorny problem and your libertarian sandbox is just as likely to evolve into oppression.

Ducky's here said...

Well Jersey, it's true that I'm no Marxist but I do believe his critique of pure capitalism still has merit.

Of course in the fringe right world Obama is a communist. It gets crazy.

Silverfiddle said...

Let me add too while I'm at it, that Capitalism untempered by Christian morality is as potentially evil as any other system that does not recognize the supremacy of Divine Truth as revealed in the new testament Holy Bible.

That's pretty much the gist of Adam Smith, although he did not base his moral arguments in Christian terms.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: Yes indeed, a thorny problem and your libertarian sandbox is just as likely to evolve into oppression.

Which is why I am not an anarcho-capitalist.

, it's true that I'm no Marxist but I do believe his critique of pure capitalism still has merit.

That is what I detected. Did I characterize you properly in the post? I am serious. I thought I made it clear I was not characterizing you as a fan of communist dictatorships, but merely an adherent to Marx's economic philosophies. My aim was not to defame you, but to seriously applaud you candor in stating the roots of your own personal philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ducky, I hate to say it, but in a very real sense you're correct. Sooner or later just about every form of human association and interaction breaks down into a power struggle of one kind or another. Human beings find it much easier to give way to envy, spite, cupidity, covetousness than they do to lay aside their differences and find ways to cooperate to accomplish a worthy goal. Most people remain in too close touch with their "inner child," and act accordingly -- but NOT ALL THE TIME.

There are many examples where great things have been achieved because by some compelling combination of vision, courage, focus, and clear-headed leadership -- or the pressures of dire necessity -- groups of individuals have been able to lay aside their differences, act like adults.

Random examples that springs to mind are the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Holland Tunnel, John Eliot Gardner's recording of Handel's Messiah, Wagner at Bayreuth, The Glyndbourne Music Festival, the making of wonderful movies like Funny Face, the heroic effort to save lives during the 911 Horror, the valor of countless men who fought in World War Two. The first transcontinental railroad.

The dismal hopeless, tragic view of human potential is almost certain to produce dismal, tragic, hopeless results. The perverse views of Cultural Marxists are vastly destructive -- and truly wicked, because they are INTENDED to destroy never to build.

The illusory view of life lies in the mentality that wants to believe that salubrious results could ever come from destructive behavior. The term Creative Destruction is an oxymoron, and applies with good results only in select, highly specialized cases.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

There are differences between Bolshevism, Fabian Socialism and Cultural Marxism as fostered by Gramsci and The Frankfurt School, but all want to head for the same place -- Centrally Planned, Centrally Controlled societies where individualism is suppressed in favor of the best interests of the whole. All of it amounts to forced egalitarianism, forced charity and ends with mutually shared poverty, stifling of initiative and institutionalized mediocrity.

There are worlds of difference too to be found among the various branches of Christianity. Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Lutheranism, Puritanism, Episcopalianism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Baptist Church, the Quakers, the Shakers, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Christian Scientists, the Mormons, the Assembly of God -- you name it -- all identify themselves as "Christian," but there are worlds of difference among them. Yet, no one wold ever identify any of them as Jewish, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Taoist, or Satanist, or Atheist.

In the main the various cultures that sprang from societies where Christianity of one kind or another was the dominant influence have made superior advances in every field of endeavor and have developed more humane societies and more enlightened forms of government than those not so influenced.

In other words you don't have to go to church and engage in ecclesiastically sanctioned rituals to be a product of Christian Thought.

If that were not true, why would the Marxists be so rabidly eager to deny, defame, suppress and destroy Christianity at every turn?

The Marxists KNOW that Christianity is the antidote to the poison they so avidly seek to spread throughout every society they infest.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

To see and appreciate a lighter side to Justice Holmes I recommend the following:

http://holyjoe.org/poetry/holmes1.htm

At one time it was considered practically un-American not to be familiar with this whimsical verse.

It's great fun. You'll like it.

~ FT

Jersey McJones said...

Oh brother...

FT and Silver... please knock it off with the corrections already. Obviously, you get the point.

I'm sorry that I don't always check my spelling and verbage.

I have a lot on my mind.

FT - I made a spelling error - Freudian though it may seem.

Silver - I did mean "axiomatic." Holmes was a bigger thinker than that. I do not always agree with OWH, but he is not that easily pinned. He was not an ideologue. Ideologues do not change. Holmes did.

Picking on that change is humor to conservatives, because they worship consistency. Consistency is the idol of the simple. It's about life being easy... simple.

Life is not simple. Not in a modern, developed, 300,000,000+ nation/state/empire.

JMJ

Finntann said...

"There isn't a small-r republican among you guys these days. I'm more small-r republican than any of you."

Really now, how so?

Me, I'm all for the preservation of the electoral college as a balance between urban population centers and rural America, as it was originally intended to be.

I am also for the repeal of the 17th amendment, although I am not so naive as to believe it will ever happen. The Senate was never intended to be the direct representative of the people except through their elected state legislatures. As it stands now we have a House and a Super-House...entirely redundant.

"the Constitution should not prescribe a particular economic dogma, but rather define the scope of powers to make such policy."

True, but it was not limited to solely economic dogma. The Constitution was intended to limit the scope of powers, specifically in:

"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."

Arguing that not growing soybeans is a form of economic activity is absurd... the equivalent of arguing that I am a farmer by virtue of my not growing corn, wheat, soybeans, etc.

The same abuse of the interstate commerce act would define me as a logger because I cut down dead trees on my property and convert them into firewood, or a fisherman because I catch fish in the pond below my house. Should I subsequently be taxed on the fish I eat because I am engaging in economic activity by not buying it in the grocery store?

No matter how you look at it, our federal government today is all over the map in meddling in affairs not authorized by the letter and intent of the Constitution.

Me? I'm all for returning to a federal republic.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... all we have left are the left and right wings of the progressive party. Neither is truly democratic or republican.

I choose to express my political beliefs through the Republican party because that is the most viable option I have. Believe me, although SF will disagree, I would love to see a viable third party, or even a fourth.

Or better yet, eliminate them entirely.

Cheers!

Finntann said...

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL

Finntann said...

Would we not be better servered electing our representatives on principle and personal platform as opposed to party?

Of course to do so would require intellectual exercise beyond the interest of the common man.

We have become a Pepsi Challenge country... and elect our leaders in the same fashion we buy our beer... less filling, or tastes great!

Cheers!

Always On Watch said...

Finntann,
Would we not be better servered electing our representatives on principle and personal platform as opposed to party?

Absolutely.

But we live in the age of instant gratification, and not enough voters take the time or think (as you mentioned).

We're seeing the worst of the two-party system in the 21st Century. Sure, that system has been wacko before. But THIS wacko? I don't think so.

MK said...

"If everyone on the left could come clean as Ducky has done, our national debate would gain much clarity."

Yes, and the democratic party would never win office. barack obama would never have become president. They lie because they know that most decent, law-abiding people would rightly be repulsed by their ideology.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: I still don' know what you mean calling Holmes "axiomatic." That usually means self-evident.

But anyway...

Holmes being rigid or changing is not the point. The point is that he ignored the original intent of the constitution and enabled the constitution trampling progressives to do their will.

Anonymous said...

PART ONE

The reason the formation of political parties was inevitable, despite George Washington's sage advice might be found in the following thoughts that came to me in response to an entirely different issue a couple of years ago.


ENEMETICS

After reading a couple of these letters from a defender of fascism I've coined a term -- ENEMETICS. The (mercifully) short article by ultra-liberal Chris Hedges is a virtual Rorschach image of the recently conventionalized ravings of the extreme right wing against the Left -- so much so it is almost comical in its undisciplined use of hateful hyperbole. Ironically that article hit upon home truths that, I believe, apply to human relations at all levels and from every angle.

ENEMETICS: the rabid, seething and overt expression of a fundamental human craving to loathe and despise SOMETHING in order to give oneself a sense of purpose and identity. It's the very thing that has held ancient tribal cultures together and empowered them for countless centuries. However, it is hardly peculiar to ancient peoples. Where would anyone be without enemies? Who would they be without enemies to define them? Everyone should ask that of himself -- including thee and me.

Marxism, Fascism, Theocracy -- authoritarianism of ANY and ALL kinds -- inevitably lead to TOTALITARIANISM. So, oddly enough, does Anarchism.

"Revolutions" inevitably wind up supplanting one form of tyranny and oppression with another. That's axiomatic. 

Great sage that I am I figured out for myself a long time ago that the human lust to dominate -- exert power and control over others one personally deems inferior or (more kindly) "in need of guidance" -- is the truest enemy of mankind.

Certain hyper-aggressive, conceited individuals spearhead movements, sway masses, develop poisonous cults, start wars, etc. in order to prove to themselves they count for something. That too is a cliché.

Superstition, poisonous gossip, rabble-rousing, internecine warfare in organizations -- all of it fueled by an illusory pursuit of some kind of  "Truth" or "Justice" -- usually a counterfeit thereof -- are responsible for most of the perplexity, violence, agony, and unnecessary deaths in history.

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

PART TWO

Aggression, suppression, oppression, exploitation, enslavement -- ALL are bad no matter WHO is wielding the Big Stick. As Pogo said back in the early fifties, "We have met the enemy, and he is US."

SO, the moment ANY movement or philosophy becomes aggressive and domineering, it automatically becomes evil. Jesus Christ has been ill served by "His" church ever since it became organized, worldly, acquisitive, politically powerful and authoritarian.

While I suppose I am an elitist, and fancy the trappings (at the very least) of wealth, refinement and high culture -- as originally SPONSORED by authoritarian Christianity, Royalty, and Aristocracy and even some pretentious industrialists (i.e. certain so-called “Robber Barons” of the Gilded Age) -- all of whom left magnificent architectural monuments and cultural achievements in their wake -- achievements no savage or peasant society would devise or value -- I cannot sympathize with "fascism," as your apologist describes it, any more than I can tolerate Marxian proletarianism. 

I've met too many people up close and personal from supposedly disparate and conflicting walks of life, who act like long lost brothers when free from the constraints and pretenses of ordinary social, professional and business activity, not to realize that at root we'd rather love and enjoy one another than anything else.

The artificial codes of conduct and essentially superficial modes of personal expression our various cultures impose on the human spirit are very powerful, because we fear ostracism and isolation from our kind more than we love freedom.

Freedom scares the bleeding shit out of most people, ergo they conform. But deep down, I'm pretty sure most of us would rather fuck than fight. At least I hope so. 

~ FreeThinke (April, 2010)

Anonymous said...

Group Identity -- Group Loyalty -- GroupThink -- are akin to Mob Psychology -- the Lynch Mob mentality. That's why COLLECTIVISM is a great evil in and of itself.

Competition can provide a great impetus toward problem solving, but the mindless factionalism that leads to blind partisanship and loyalty to a Cause that ignores and thus tramples the rights and needs of the Individual is among the greatest of evils.

~ FreeThinke

PS: Jersey, no one is correcting you or anyone else to try to humiliate or embarrass you. When our remarks are made public, however, it's important to try to communicate as clearly and as accurately as possible. All of us make mistakes in spelling, grammar and syntax. I, personally, welcome correction when it's appropriate. Preserving the language and using it intelligently is more important than my self esteem -- or yours -- or anyone else's. - FT

Bastiatarian said...

>people make their own decisions and the free market (LMFAO) magically turns that into justice and efficiency.

I'm not sure where that comes from. I certainly did not assert that, or even imply it. Please try to stay focused. I'm a bit weary of continuously doing remedial teaching.

>Got any more fairy tales, prof?

Just the one about riding on the back of a winged horse, through the skies pearly gray, over a rainbow to the Magic Land of Progressive Utopias.

>So just who wields the power in your little representative tent show?

Three parties wield the power on a practical, daily basis.
1. Me. But, of course, that power always stops where your rights (your life, your liberty, and your property) begin.
2. You. But, of course, that power always stops where my rights (my life, my liberty, and my property) begin.
3. Everybody else. But, of course, that power always stops where every other person's rights (that person's life, liberty, and property) begin.

On a municipal, state, and national basis, there would be a type of authority held ("wield" would be too oppressive). That authority would be limited to protecting and maintaining my right, your right, and everybody else's right to his or her life, liberty, and property. In other words, law enforcement, national/state/municipal defense, and the justice system.

Most of government bureaucracy would be eliminated at all levels, and elected officials would be part-time employees who could actually spend most of their time being productive instead of finding more ways to perpetuate or increase their power over others.

>Once we get the crowd that's selling the Lockean property fetish...gets in power we know what happens (look around).

I'm looking, and all I see are progressives/socialists of both major political parties and their partners in crime stealing and enslaving.

>(Note: I am not advocating against property but there is also an issue of public good)

The second half of your sentence means that you advocate theft if it is to finance your agenda. Stealing from people is never in the "public good."

>The magical Libertarian two-step.

You sure do have a lively imagination.

>How to resolve conflicts of interest? Just wipe your hands of them and it all disappears to be resolved by the free market(LMFAO).

And you certainly do seem to enjoy pulling things out of nowhere. Tangents and non sequiturs in abundance.

Conflicts of interests would be resolved through free-will exchange of goods and services. In general, however, such conflicts would obviously be infrequent if the boundaries of the three fundamental rights are maintained rigidly. Your right to your "interest" ends at the border of my life, liberty, and property, of course, and if I choose to refuse to enter into a free-will exchange with you, then you'll just have to suck it up and deal with it.

>I'm not sure you've thought this through, prof.

You're projecting again. If you're going to accuse someone of not thinking things through, I would advise refraining from leaps of (il)logic, non sequitur, and general intellectual sloth. Otherwise, you look extra foolish.

>Yup, back to the glorious days of the robber barons

Ah, so you've decided to provide your own fairy tales.