Archive for the ‘U.S. Constitution’ Category.

Enough Caesaropapism!

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

George F. Will: Caesaropapism Rampant


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“The sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies”

“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

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George Will

George Will at the Inaugural Disinvitation Dinner

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.”

Progressives and the growing dependency agenda

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“Pro-Business” is NOT Pro-Market

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.

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“to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”

George Washington’s “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport RI”

Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City

Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, from George Washington, August 18, 1790:


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.

G. Washington

Source: George Washington: A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, 1988)

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Your Tax Dollars At Work

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.

Burned Babies and the Militarization of American Policing

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.

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. . . we can all feel patriotic about fighting pirates.

Shut Up, Have a Cheeseburger

[The Congress shall have Power] To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Maritime Crimes Clause – Article I Section 8, Clause 10 of the Constitution

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Laws are for the little people….

Moral preening from the 1920s and 30s.

While members of Congress may have championed Prohibition laws on the House floor, many of them happily broke the rules in any of the 3,000 speakeasies scattered throughout downtown Washington. And when members needed to restock their personal hooch supply, they turned to one man: George Cassiday.

During his time as a booze distributor on the Hill, Cassiday estimated that four out of five members of Congress drank—and many of them availed themselves of Cassiday’s services. Congress even gave Cassiday his own storeroom in the basement of the Cannon office building.

How Congress Stayed Wet in the Dry Years of Prohibition

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Open Borders

If you’re worried about those who live off the taxpayer, pay more attention to who crosses the DC border than the US border.

Daniel Lin

Misc Stuff

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