Posts tagged ‘Philosopher King’

High Horse

What offends Obama isn’t sanctimony, judgmentalism, or arrogance; it’s competition. What rankles him is when people refuse to genuflect to the trite pieties he unspools as if they were spun from gold.

Jonah Goldberg

Forward!

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Free Citizens are Sooooooooo Much Trouble. Question Authority.

All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton

It should come as no surprise that President Obama told Ohio State students at graduation ceremonies last week that they should not question authority and they should reject the calls of those who do. He argued that “our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule” has been so successful that trusting the government is the same as trusting ourselves; hence, challenging the government is the same as challenging ourselves. And he blasted those who incessantly warn of government tyranny.

Yet, mistrust of government is as old as America itself. America was born out of mistrust of government. The revolution that was fought in the 1770s and 1780s was actually won in the minds of colonists in the mid-1760s when the British imposed the Stamp Act and used writs of assistance to enforce it. The Stamp Act required all persons in the colonies to have government-sold stamps on all documents in their possession, and writs of assistance permitted search warrants written by British troops in which they authorized themselves to enter private homes ostensibly to look for the stamps.

These two pieces of legislation were so unpopular here that Parliament actually rescinded the Stamp Act, and the king’s ministers reduced the use of soldier-written search warrants. But the searches for the stamps turned the tide of colonial opinion irreversibly against the king.

The same king also prosecuted his political adversaries in Great Britain and here for what he called “seditious libel” — basically, criticizing the government.

Thomas Jefferson . . . warned that it is the nature of government over time to increase and of liberty to decrease. And that’s why we should not trust government. In the same era, James Madison himself agreed when he wrote, “All men having power should be distrusted to a certain degree.”

Why All of Us Should Mistrust the Government

Chris Rock, rube-tool.

The president is not my boss and not my dad. Sheesh.

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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Imperial Presidency = Bad for Civil Liberties

Gene Healy has been one of the more prominent and consistent critics of presidential power going back to the Clinton administration. (Disclosure: Healy is a friend and a former colleague.) In 2000 Healy, vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute, authored the study “Arrogance of Power Reborn: The Imperial Presidency and Foreign Policy in the Clinton Years.” In 2006, Healy and fellow Cato scholar Tim Lynch set their sights on President Bush with Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush.

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Woodrow Wilson – Hmm, he seems familiar…. “frenzied pedagogue”

What intrigued such gentlemen [the press corps] in the compositions of Dr. Wilson was the plain fact that he was their superior in their own special field – that he accomplished with a great deal more skill than they did themselves the great task of reducing all the difficulties of the hour to a few sonorous and unintelligible phrases, often with theological overtones – that he knew better than they did how to arrest and enchant the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else. The vulgar like and respect that sort of balderdash. A discourse packed with valid ideas, accurately expressed, is quite incomprehensible to them. What they want is the sough of vague and comforting words – words cast into phrases made familiar to them by the whooping of their customary political and ecclesiastical rabble-rousers, and by the highfalutin style of the newspapers that they read. Woodrow knew how to conjure up such words. He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of his dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts.

But reading his speeches in cold blood offers a curious experience. It is difficult to believe that even idiots ever succumbed to such transparent contradictions, to such gaudy processions of mere counter-words, to so vast and obvious a nonsensicality. Hale produces sentence after sentence that has no apparent meaning at all – stuff quite as bad as the worst bosh of the Hon. Gamaliel Harding. When Wilson got upon his legs in those days he seems to have gone into a sort of trance, with all the peculiar illusions and delusions that belong to a frenzied pedagogue.

Quotation of the Day (H.L. Mencken)

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“Irish Democracy” and the Cult of the Philosopher Kings

Karl Popper blamed Plato for the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century, seeing Plato’s philosopher kings, with their dreams of ‘social engineering’ and ‘idealism’, as leading directly to Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler (via Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx). In addition, Ayatollah Khomeini is said to have been inspired by the Platonic vision of the philosopher king while in Qum in the 1920s when he became interested in Islamic mysticism and Plato’s Republic. As such, it has been speculated that he was inspired by Plato’s philosopher king, and subsequently based elements of his Islamic Republic on it.

Philosopher king – Wikipedia, footnotes omitted

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The Ruling Class and America’s New Mandarins

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

Milton Friedman


Term limits increase the power of unelected professional staff.

The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.

David Boaz
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