In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Archive for the ‘U.S. Constitution’ Category.
The Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution that forbids the United States from granting titles of nobility and also restricts members of the government from receiving gifts from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress.
“What do you do?” may be the No. 1 question asked in[side] the Beltway. It achieves two things: It gives the asker the opportunity to brag about their own job title and lets them know whether the person they’re talking to is worth their time.
Job titles and associations are the lifeblood of D.C. You’re no one unless you have a title, whether it’s “congressman,” “ambassador,” “chief of staff,” or an impressive title at a firm or media company. Unlike most jobholders in America, politicians in D.C. get to keep their titles for life. Think about it: You can be the CEO or vice president of the largest corporation in America, but once you leave that job, so goes the title. In Washington, D.C., you can have the title of “president,” “congressperson,” or “senator,” and that is your title for life. It doesn’t matter if you were a terrible congressperson who served only one term; you will forever be referred to and introduced as a “congressperson.”
It’s bizarre perks of D.C. power such as this that draw thousands of young, type-A recent college grads to Washington — out of a desire not to serve our country but to get a title. And if you don’t have a title, good luck getting someone to talk to you for longer than two minutes. Washington is a town obsessed with titles and where being an obnoxious blowhard is socially acceptable. But it wasn’t always like this, and it’s certainly not what our Founding Fathers envisioned.
obnoxious blowhards and Ozymandias.
The Founders knew that liberty is never really popular, and that it cannot be entrusted to elected officials who must answer in the end to the demos, which is why they put the first liberties first, right there in the First Amendment. If we are willing to let a low-rent carny like Harry Reid take those liberties away from us, or a sanctimonious old crook like Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Elizabeth Warren, the most wooden Indian of them all, then maybe we didn’t deserve those first liberties in the first place.
First Amendment, Liberty, Free Speech
Is it really so difficult to believe that there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies, particularly those in big, Democrat-run cities infamous for the corruption of their other municipal institutions? Why do conservatives find it so plausible — obvious, even — that the IRS and the EPA and the Atlanta public schools are corrupt and self-serving, but somehow believe that the Baltimore police department isn’t?
It is possible that what is really at play here is an emotional response to protest culture. Seeing the Black Lives Matters miscreants and Baltimore rioters on one side of the line, conservatives instinctively want to be on the other side of the line. The same thing happened with the Iraq-war protests: When the dirty hippies take to the barricades, conservatives are drawn to the other side. That led to some bad thinking and poor decision-making about Iraq. Are we making the same mistake with regard to police misconduct and allegations of police misconduct?
Let him with eyes see.
Why conservatives and Republicans should be defensive about the fact that Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Honolulu are misgoverned to various degrees of criminality is a mystery. Conservatives with real political power in those cities are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Could it really be something so simple as the fact that we do not feel comfortable standing on the same side of a bright red line as the malefactors in Ferguson and such opportunists as DeRay Mckesson, now a Baltimore mayoral candidate, and Al Sharpton? Sharpton is a grotesque and one of the most dishonest men in American public life, but that does not mean that the people running Baltimore and its police department aren’t also crooked. Some police officers are indeed heroes. Some are villains. Most are ordinary, time-serving municipal employees like any other, and telling ourselves otherwise is sentimental rubbish.
These Are Not the Good Guys: The Right is deluding itself about law enforcement. By Kevin Williamson
See Radley Balko’s column for more examples.
“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”
American sovereignty resides in the American people, not in the American state, still less in the person of the chief executive, and the organ most closely representative of the people is the one whose members we call, not coincidentally, representatives. We are a nation under law, a nation of laws, a nation with equality under the law, etc., which necessarily means a nation under lawmakers — not a nation under an elected and term-limited pharaoh. It is the role of Congress to decide what the federal government is to do, and it is the role of the president to get it done. The president is a servant, not a master.
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While we are thinking about who should be entrusted with the awesome powers of the American presidency, perhaps we should think just a little bit about whether those powers are a bit too awesome, and about whether the presidency should be somewhat reduced to something closer to its original constitutional conception. Calvin Coolidge could afford to be a modest president, because he occupied a much more modest presidency. Before you decide what kind of president you want in 2016, think about what kind of presidency you want in 2016, and thereafter.
What Kind of Presidency Do We Want?, by Kevin Williamson
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
– Saint Pope John Paul II
“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
– James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military, June 16, 1788
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
– C. S. Lewis
The ruling class also refers to abortionists as providers of medical services for “reproductive rights,” and indicts as “extremists” those who illustrate what the abortionists do with photos of what surely look like children, with arms, legs, and heads chopped or burned. Yet each of these little ones’ DNA shows him or her to be a son or a daughter of a particular mother and father. Lincoln argued that no one has the right to exclude any other person from the human race. Why is it right so to dispose of millions of little sons and daughters? By what right does anyone dishonor as “extremists” those who show the victims for the human beings they are?
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But science is reason, not pretense. Only the power of government can translate scientific illiteracy into scientific pretense. What President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address has become our reality: “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” Government money is the means by which ruling-class power has become the scientific pretense by which we are instructed what to eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not, and what to think about right and wrong.
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Demands from on high to join in mouthing lies call forth a visceral reaction: “Who the [expletive deleted] do they think they are to impose this warp of reality on us?”
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As the great Solzhenitsyn reminds us, the sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies.
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Americans tell pollsters that we distrust our bipartisan ruling class. Accusations of racism, sexism, ignorance, etc. have not convinced us. People who pay attention to public affairs are not ignorant about how these accusations contrast with reality.
Standing Up to the Ruling Class, by Angelo M. Codevilla
“What would you call a society that made adoption incredibly hard and abortion incredibly easy? I’d call it sick at heart.”
– Peter Hitchens
“The whole point of a free society is to reduce the number of things that are political, particularly at the national level. When everything is considered political, the totality of life is politicized. And that’s just a clunky way of describing totalitarianism.”
– Jonah Goldberg
“The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.”
– David Boaz
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
– Sir John Dalberg (Lord Acton)
“‘Bipartisanship’ sounds like a good idea in theory, but it usually ends up as broad congressional agreement that the American people have too many liberties or too much money.”
– Jonathan Blanks
“It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”
– Charles Péguy
Herbert Croly, preeminent moral preener
A century ago, Herbert Croly published “The Promise of American Life,” a book — still in print — that was prophetic about today’s progressives. Contemplating with distaste America’s “unregenerate citizens,” he said that “the average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities.” Therefore, Croly said, national life should be a “school” taught by the government: “The exigencies of such schooling frequently demand severe coercive measures, but what schooling does not?” Unregenerate Americans would be “saved many costly perversions” if “the official schoolmasters are wise, and the pupils neither truant nor insubordinate.”
Instead of being “pro-business,” policy makers should aspire to be “pro-market,” eschewing both targeted punishment and targeted privilege.
‘Pro-Business’ Is Bad Business for the Middle Class, by Matthew Mitchell
Being “pro-business” is crony capitalism in disguise and rewards the Clerisy and the political class. Free markets are all about voluntary cooperation.
While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.
If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Source: George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1988)
In a Salon essay published today, Alecia Phonesavanh recalls the night her 19-month-old son, Bounkham (a.k.a. Bou Bou), was horribly injured by a flash-bang grenade tossed into his crib during a fruitless drug raid in Habersham County, Georgia. “It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby,” she writes, “and he’s still covered in burns. There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.”
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The ACLU mentions declining public support for the War on Drugs as one reason to reconsider the ferocity with which it is waged. But while de-escalation would be welcome, it does not address the fundamental immorality of responding to peaceful transactions with guns and handcuffs. Even if reforms like those recommended by the ACLU encourage police to be more judicious in their use of force, unjustifiable violence will always be a defining feature of drug prohibition.
The “War on Drugs” is immoral and has turned the DEA and many police departments into armed gangs of thugs.
Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s and 30s and it isn’t working today.