Archive for the ‘“Irish Democracy”’ 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

caesaropapism

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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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The Company Man and the Obamaphone Lady

F. A. Hayek worried (presciently, as it turns out) that the two faces of dependency—as public ward or as hireling—would encourage certain undesirable mental and political habits, a kind of deep-set servility born of the delegation of basic responsibilities from the individual and the family to large bureaucracies, public or private. The Company Man and the Obamaphone Lady have more in common than you’d think.
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It was not that long ago that independent proprietorship was an ordinary form of economic organization, and that working for wages was seen as only a step removed from serfdom.

Kevin Williamson

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Saving the earth from too many poor people

Today we are given environmental reasons for saving the earth from the burden of too many people. Ironically, it is always the poor who seem to be burdensome, and never too many jet-setters—who consume the goods of the world with rapacious greed.

Wi-fi Eugenics, by David Beresford

Overpopulation, however, is an invented threat meant to stoke fear in an already apprehensive public. Even the left-leaning Slate.com published a recent article chronicling the earth’s stalled population growth, noting the approximately 7 billion humans currently alive will, given current reproduction rates, shrink to just half that number by the year 2200.

Still, this doesn’t prevent Gore and others from dictating what individuals in other nations should do with their lives. Dr. Lubos Motl, a Czech physicist, examined the utter fallacy of his position.

“It is impossible not to think that there’s some racism and stunning hypocrisy if a jerk who has produced four children is ‘working’ on the reduction of the number of newborn babies in a completely different nation,” he wrote.

While he conceded Africa certainly has its issues, Motl noted that they aren’t “caused by overpopulation” but are “mostly due to the insufficient sophistication of their economies….”

Gore, however, will likely never be convinced he is wrong. Apparently, inventing the Internet has given him an unshakable superiority complex. He now projects himself as the arbiter of international reproduction rates.

Along with Barack Obama, this Nobel Peace Prize winner definitively proves the tragic irony with which such a prestigious honor is often bestowed.

Al Gore Thinks Killing Babies Will Save The World, by B. Christopher Agee

Adam Carolla

Our political class and the Clerisy have become burdensome. Mockery and truculence are called for.

#Clerisy

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Mockery, Truculence, and Minimalist Living = Irish Democracy

President Blah Blah Blah, President Poofter

There are many who have expressed the opinion over the years that the United States should go down some sort of “revolutionary” road. The topic has come up repeatedly in various areas of what was Tickerforum and I have repeatedly slapped it down, noting that only a fool who pays no attention to history pines for such a thing irrespective of how bad you may think the situation is.
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Folks, the simple fact is that odds are 100:1 you’re going to get a bad result when you go down the road of violence. There are far too many people who think that when you take such a path you get a Thomas Jefferson moment.

The fact is that most of the time what you actually get is a Pinochet moment.

There are many means of non-violent action, including but not limited to withdrawing your consent by working less and reducing your footprint — and thus the ability of government to sustain its own size.

That’s lawful, by the way.

What raises my eyebrows are those who argue that this sort of perfectly-lawful choice will never work because the people won’t do it, yet at the same time they want to make noise about committing violence. Well, not only will most people not go along with that, but in addition the odds of a good outcome from getting involved in violence are much smaller than the odds from taking lawful and peaceful action instead!

Ukraine: A Warning To Those Who Are Fools

Irish Democracy

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Jury Nullification

Jury Nullification: Wikipedia |

Fully Informed Jury Association

Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine

Jury Nullification

How Jury Nullification Accelerates the Drug War’s Demise

Juries do not only decide guilt or innocence; they can also serve as checks on unjust laws. Judges will not tell you about your right to nullify….

Just say no

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President Asterisk Expands the Imperial Presidency

It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.

G.K. Chesterton

Benghazi, IRS, AP, Fast and Furious, NSA, Obamacare.

Mockery and truculence are called for to properly honor the Moral Preener in Chief.

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Libertarian, Classical Liberal: Richard Epstein

Libertarians fall into two distinct groups: strict libertarians like Rand Paul and classical liberals such as myself. “Classical liberal” is not a term that rolls off of the tongue. Consequently, “libertarian” is the choice term in popular discourse when discussing policies that favor limited government. Libertarians of all stripes oppose President Obama’s endless attacks on market institutions and the rich. The umbrella term comfortably embraces both strands of libertarian theory vis-à-vis a common intellectual foe.

It is important to understand the differences in views between the strong libertarian and classical liberal position. Serious hard-line libertarian thinkers include Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess. Rothbard believes nonaggression is the sole requirement of a just social order. For Hess, “libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit.” There are large kernels of truth in both propositions. It is quite impossible to see how any social order could be maintained if there were no limitations against the use, or threatened use, of force to enslave or butcher other people, which Hess’s proposition of absolute self-ownership strongly counteracts.

Yet the overarching question is how does a group of people move from the Hobbesian “war of all against all” toward a peaceful society? Hess claims that stable institutions are created by “voluntary association and cooperation.” Again, strong libertarians are on solid ground in defending (most) private contracts against government interference, which is why Lochner v. New York (1905), reviled as it is by most constitutional thinkers, was right in striking down New York’s sixty hours per week maximum labor statute. Yet the hard-line libertarian position badly misfires in assuming that any set of voluntary contracts can solve the far larger problem of social order, which, as Rothbard notes, in practice requires each and every citizen to relinquish the use force against all others. Voluntary cooperation cannot secure unanimous consent, because the one violent holdout could upset the peace and tranquility of all others.

The sad experience of history is that high transaction costs and nonstop opportunism wreck the widespread voluntary effort to create a grand social alliance to limit the use of force. Society needs a coercive mechanism strong enough to keep defectors in line, but fair enough to command the allegiance of individuals, who must share the costs of creating that larger and mutually beneficial social order. The social contract that Locke said brought individuals out of the state of nature was one such device. The want of individual consent was displaced by a consciously designed substantive program to protect both liberty and property in ways that left all members of society better off than they were in the state of nature. Only constrained coercion can overcome the holdout problems needed to implement any principle of nonaggression.

The flat tax is preferred because it reduces private incentives to game the tax system and, likewise, the ability of government officials to unfairly target their opponents. The optimal theory of taxation minimizes the distortions created by the need to fund the government activities that maintain public order and supply infrastructure. The classical liberal thus agrees with the hard-line libertarian that progressive taxation, with its endless loopholes, is unsustainable in the long run. At the same time, the classical liberal finds it incomprehensible that anyone would want to condemn all taxes as government theft from a hapless citizenry. The hard-line libertarian’s blanket condemnation of taxes as theft means that he can add nothing to the discussion of which tax should be preferred and why. The classical liberal has a lot to say on that subject against both the hard-line libertarian and the modern progressive.

My Rand Paul Problem: Why classical liberalism is superior to hard-core libertarianism.

Acton Institute, Cato Institute

Wikipedia: Libertarianism | Classical Liberalism | Christian Libertarianism

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We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.

Newspapers are filled with stories (example) about how Russia’s Sochi Olympics construction has cost a lot of money due to “corruption.” I asked my in-apartment Russian experts what this might mean. It turns out that cronies of the government are getting paid more-than-standard-commercial rates to build stuff. So taxpayer funds are being transferred to the politically connected.

I’m wondering how this is different than the U.S. military, which is ridiculously expensive but not typically labeled “corrupt.” TIME reports that the cost of a USAF Boeing 757 (C-32A) is about $43,000 per hour to the taxpayers; Conklin & De Decker says that $12,000 per hour is about what an airline would spend to fly one extra hour in the same airplane. In December, I wrote about how the U.S. Army is planning to do primary helicopter training in $6 million Eurocopters (foreign militaries and private flight schools get this done in aircraft that cost about 1/20th as much)

Is Russia’s Sochi project more corrupt than the U.S. military?

Sochi cf. military industrial complex

‘What Eisenhower Said About the Military-Industrial Complex Is True’

“Politics itself is nothing but an attempt to achieve power and prestige without merit.”
P.J. O’Rourke

The War on Drugs, another disaster. A half century, billions of dollars, countless stupid laws, Mexico a war zone. Result? Every drug known to man, woman, or hermaphrodite is for sale at great prices in every high school in America. Another triumph of private enterprise over governmental regulation. If Washington tried to provide free drugs, it couldn’t come close. No one would be able to get so much as an aspirin.

Infinite Arrogance, Infinite Incompetence

Downsizing Government


Yeah! Studebaker!


Yeah! War on Drugs!


Yeah! Big government coalition!

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Power, Freedom, and “I, Pencil”

The moral preeners pushing college for everyone are elitists.

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
Milton Friedman

Leonard Read’s 1958 essay “I, Pencil” is among the most eye-opening and influential pieces of economic writing ever.

I, Pencil

Leonard Read

I, Pencil

Voluntary, spontaneous order. Free markets allow the greatest amount of cooperation among free individuals.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Sir John Dalberg (Lord Acton) (April 1887)

I, Party Cup (hat tip Kids Prefer Cheese)


William Hillebrenner, designer

Work worth doing is work worth doing well. And much mundane work is worth doing. Work smart and hard.


Mike Rowe, Profoundly Disconnected

Buy the poster here, and donate it to your local high school’s guidance office.

“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”

Michael Munger

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