Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just How Stupid Are These People? Emphasizing the Irrelevant to the Detriment of the Nation’s Pressing Busines

 

 

The Great Prevaricator walked out to opine on the Ground Zero Mosque, as if a local zoning matter in New York City had anything to do with the President’s role as Commander in Chief.  With the Taliban demonstrating resurgence in Afghanistan, and the incomprehensible revelation that an organization which disfigures women and girls as a matter of routine isn’t classified as a terrorist organization by the State Department, President Obama had to come out and speak on a mosque built by private interests in New York City near Ground Zero.  Just as he had done with Henry Louis Gates, President Obama aimed for the forest but couldn’t hit a single tree germane to the authority or oversight of his office.  

 

I’m sure we’ll have a halal summit or some other such nonsense at the Rose Garden, given the trend of the administration.  For all of his accomplishments as an orator, President Obama certainly lacks clarity these days.  What’s more, he lacks focus on the pressing business of the country.  While his press secretary snipes at the professional left, and the professional left continues to defy that categorization by conducting themselves in a manner befitting amateurs, President Obama himself has lost his groove.  What’s more, there are those of us questioning whether he ever had a groove to begin with.  

 

If we’d wanted ham-handed leadership and snide cattiness, we’d have elected John McCain, he of the infamous temper and impolitic outbursts.  With unemployment officially at over 9.5% (really, it’s more like 16%), the country lurching with $15.5 trillion in real debt (IOUs to entitlements combined with the official debt), and nearly every U.S. state facing a Greek-style implosion due to fiscal mismanagement, the President felt that the Ground Zero mosque, uniquely and apart from the other business of the country, required his pontification.  Really?  Who advises this man?  Because if I were a Republican advisor, I’d have told my president to keep his mouth shut and allow the mosque to be Michael Bloomberg’s problem.  Silence is sometimes the better and wiser part of discretion.  

 

If I were on the left, I’d be questioning why a president who couldn’t come out on one side or another where healthcare and financial reform were concerned can speak to the wisdom and efficacy of the Cambridge police, or a local mosque project in New York City.  As polarized as we are as a country, grouped not by a common love of America but rather by grievances with America, President Obama’s asinine remarks, vanilla as they were, somehow managed to polarize us further.  

 

Never mind that President Obama said what he said, the very next day he was out speaking on the matter again to retract what on its face wasn’t all that objectionable.  It was obvious, actually.  Private property owners have the right to build whatever they see fit on their land, so long as local zoning laws and building codes are adhered to in the process.  I don’t particularly like the idea of a mosque near Ground Zero, but they can build it regardless. Then again, the City of New York has the power to declare eminent domain in order to construct a large parking lot or garage.  The mosque backers would be compensated and they could relocate, and parking, always an issue in New York City, could be dealt with on some level.  Two birds, one stone. With that said, I just wonder why the President felt it necessary to say any damn thing on the matter whatsoever.  Doesn’t he have other things to do?  

 

We’ve got an economy in crisis, exploding federal, state, and local debt, and no real plan to deal with any of those issues.  In the best case scenario, our debt will hit over $20 trillion in the next seven years.  How is that good?  We’ve expended $23.7 trillion in loans and guarantees via the TARP bailout, much of it spent without any legal authority whatsoever given that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act specifically authorized around $800 billion in aid to banks and financial institutions, while the government turned around and used the money to prop up car manufacturers and other assorted interests.  Our Federal Reserve managed to lose $100 billion on a currency swap when the dollar devalued by 20% over the time span in question, and yet we entrust them to protect our money.   Oh, and the best part...those troubled assets?  They’re still being booked as assets rather than liabilities, even as foreclosures continue to mount and the owners are for all intents and purposes insolvent.  Not underwater, mind you...insolvent.  

 

The program designed to enable homeowners to restructure their mortgages is a failure by all objective standards.  Homeowners in this country are a failure by all objective standards.  If you paid $400,000 for a house on a salary of $50,000, you are a moron.  Because in the end, in the best case scenario, over time you will actually pay nearly $1 million for that house.  In the worst case scenario, you’ll pay much more than $1 million.  On a salary of $50,000.  Let’s say you make double that amount. You’re still a moron.  No three bedroom two bathroom house is actually worth $400,000.  I don’t care that you can find a fool stupid enough to pay that amount, or a bank idiotic enough to lend him that amount; it’s still a house that isn’t worth $400,000.  Sooner or later, the fact that we’ve abdicated the direction of our housing market and our economy to fools and idiots comes out, and when it does, housing values don’t collapse; they go to their real value.  

 

Now, if our President can summon forth the snark to inform John McCain that the campaign is over, why can’t he do the same where the housing market is concerned?  Or those sub-prime mortgages that enable people to finance over 96% of their home’s price?  And why is our President standing by silently while the FHA finances over 95% of a Manhattan condominium’s price and guarantees payment in the event of a buyer’s default?  I mean, this seems to be a more pressing matter of greater importance than a mosque near Ground Zero.  It’s actually germane to his authority as the President, given that the head of the FHA answers to the President.  

 

If the President can speak on the matter of a Georgia official’s racism based on an edited video, and even compel action to have her employment terminated, I see no reason why he can’t intervene to stop the FHA’s ill-advised foray into the Manhattan condominium market.  I just don’t. But he can go on emphasizing the irrelevant to the detriment of our nation’s pressing business, be it the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, the double-dipping economy, continued chronic unemployment and underemployment, and state. local, and federal debt.  He’s the President, and he gets to pick and choose whatever he deems important.  But what he deems important begs for an inquiry about him and those who advise him: just how stupid are these people?  

Posted via email from momus1978's posterous

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Mission: Reader Request, The Moral Decline of America in the Internet Age

The Mission: 

 

Write on the following, per the request of one Gare Linley, fraternity brother and fellow degenerate: 

 

“The decay of family and moral values in the internet age. 

As related to teen pregnancy, unabashed mockery and the new religion -read, a church on every corner. 

 

I fully expect there to be at least 2 quotes of relevance by billy graham, benny hinn and pat robertson. 

 

Oh, and take something bush jr said and dissect it.”  

 

What follows is my attempt to write something worthy which fulfills the criteria set forth by Mr. Linley.  Oh, yes, and I'm taking requests for topics if any readers are interested.  

 

"The prophet Elijah appeared on the scene in 1 Kings 17 when Israel was on a spiritual and moral decline. They had wicked King Ahab on the throne. His wife, Jezebel, was ruling with him. The queen was a leader in the worship of Baal and brought witchcraft to the land. So when God called Elijah to come on the scene, it was the darkest hour for Israel as a nation.

 

The spirit of Elijah is the anointing of Elijah, and we need this anointing today, more than ever, in America."

 

-Benny Hinn

 

"As a Christian and as a man of God, I am tired of hearing the lie that there are many ways to heaven. I am ready to shout with the loudest voice God will allow me to shout with to tell America that Jesus is the only way, that there is no other name but His name.

 

He is the only Lord. He is the only God. And He is the only Master. And He is the only Savior."

 

-Benny Hinn 

 

I am sending you this e-newsletter today asking for your financial help. I am asking you to pray for me as never before.

 

-Benny Hinn

 

When I read the papers or watch television news, it seems like the moral dam in the Western world is breaking wide open. The things on television and in the movies, and the literature people read, would make Sodom and Gomorrah feel ashamed. How long can God tolerate our loose talk and behavior?

 

-Billy Graham, prayer letter, January 1998, pp. 1-2. 

 

"You can't have your courts turn against me.  You can't have legislation that is anti-God. You can't foster in your midst things that I call an abomination. You can't do that. And if you do, sooner or later judgment's going to come."

 

-Pat Robertson 

 

"How can we pray for his blessing when we have that going on and when we have courts that have ruled repeatedly against him?  We have the Bible taken from the schools. We have prayer taken from the children, and now we have perversion that God calls an abomination -- we have that legitimized and given a constitutional standing by the court."

 

-Pat Robertson 

 

 

America is in decline.  $13 trillion dollars in debt, $2.5 trillion in IOUs to Social Security, and a $23.7 trillion TARP bailout to banks via loans and guarantees.  As nearly 30% of the population sits unemployed or underemployed, the FHA is now guaranteeing condos in Manhattan.  If the loan applicant forecloses, the FHA will pay the mortgage.  Whose fault is it?  Is the gays?  The loose women getting abortions?  The black president?  Or the greedy, bigoted, xenophobic hypocrites who line the pews every Sunday, a group of individuals who Billy Graham said consisted of 70% damned souls who were headed to hell back in his heyday?  

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Body of Christ, torn asunder.  We have churches on every street corner, ubiquitous and pervasive throughout our society, but immorality is more pervasive and omnipresent than ever before.  You may call yourself a Christian, but what does that really mean anymore?  Does it mean anything at all?  

 

Christians today are more politically active and organized than at any time in our nation's history, and they have arguably seized the government at various times to promote abstinence only sex education, marriage initiatives, and anti-gay legislation.  Yet their mobilization is insufficient to stanch the tide of behaviors they decry. Despite the best efforts of Christians to zero in on sin, the reality is  that they focus on sins which are not germane to their own communities and experiences like abortion and homosexuality.  Homosexuals make up around 2% of the population at most, which gives them a whopping six million people in a nation of 300 million.  

 

In the meantime, Christians of non-denominational affiliation have been divorced at a rate of 34%, while Baptists have been divorced 29% of the time, according to a study conducted by the Barna Research Group.  Additionally, according to Donald Hughes, author of The Divorce Reality, 90% of divorces among so-called born again couples occur after they have been saved.  Homosexuality is a handy diversion for mainline denominations seeking to distract attention from their own deplorable rate of defending marriage by sticking to it.  

 

When was the last time you went to church and heard a pastor condemn usury from the pulpit? Or indebtedness?  Or the corruption of wealthy interests in our country who have routinely sought government bailouts for their own failed business endeavors while simultaneously decrying entitlements programs for the poor?  No, the pattern of most clergy is to demand sacrifice from the poor while remaining silent about the hypocrisies of the wealthy, as in the case of the following Pat Robertson quote: "Can you imagine if you are getting Social Security that you would say I want my Social Security check to get cut? The problem is so many people right now are depending on the government for their support, and there's nobody who wants to give up anything at all, and if anybody begins to suggest fiscal restraint, the people will rise up against them and vote them out of office. So you've got a situation where you can't arrest this problem -- the big financial problem -- because the people don't want it. Only a movement of God that brings in a spirit of self-sacrifice and a desire for the common good and some wisdom are we going to be spared this thing."

 

We spend around $700 billion a year on Social Security, but the reality of the matter is that Social Security is a pay as you go program.  That 15% you and your employer split down the middle goes to pay the current generation of beneficiaries.  In point of fact, it's such a generous withholding that it usually generates an annual surplus which is loaned automatically to Congress by law.  Congress uses that surplus to artificially lower the reported deficit, which is why our real national debt is $15.5 trillion instead of $13 trillion.  In short, Social Security is solvent because its designed to be solvent, to generate enough incoming revenues to pay outgoing expenditures and then some every year.  

 

Would it were that every government program were pay as you go or no go at all, but that's not the point to someone like Pat Robertson: he wants Social Security cut, but he remains tellingly silent about the $23.7 trillion TARP bailout.  It would take 30 years of Social Security payouts to meet the level of loans and guarantees extended to financial institutions by the federal government, but Pat Robertson doesn't ask why bankers don't ask to have their TARP loans and guarantees cut.  He asks why Social Security beneficiaries who paid into Social Security want their full benefits, even as bankers who didn't pay anywhere near the $23.7 trillion they're due to receive under TARP are making out without so much as a  thank you.  

 

Christians routinely decry the corruption of culture, and they have a point. We are run through with cultural rot, gratuitous vulgarity, and the like.  The problem is that Christians themselves don't abstain from the rot.  When I peruse the profiles of various commenters who have logged their sentiments onto the profiles of my friends here on Facebook, I notice a near unanimous identification as Christian, and then I look at their favorite movies to find Sex and the City 2 and other such examples of cinematic greatness which are wholly incompatible with a Biblical perspective on sexuality.  Let's just be honest here: we're full of shit in the Christian community.  

 

We decry a rotted culture, but we run to be a part of it.  We celebrate it.  We embrace it in our day to day life.  The profanity, the sex, the wanton immorality depicted in the art of our time, it doesn't reflect our world; it reflect our inner condition and in many cases our outer reality.  We don't turn off the television or throw it out, nor do we cancel our Internet.  We bitch about the immorality on both, but the reality of the matter is that what we're really angry over is the fact that we have a choice and we just can't seem to make a choice consistent with our professions and beliefs as Christians.  In order to avoid the temptation that ensnares us, we seek to remove choice altogether for everyone.  We do it through boycotts and protests; we pontificate and prattle on about the ubiquitous filth on the tube, but the simple truth is this: we live in such a free society that we don't have to have a television to begin with.  

 

My wife and I decided in Lubbock not to order cable.  We watch our DVD seasons of various television shows we like, but we don't watch anything else.  It's been the most relaxing summer I've had in some time.  I've written volumes, read tomes, and thoroughly enjoyed become culturally irrelevant. The obsolescence is somehow satisfying; knowing that I don't have to have CNBC, Fox News, or CSPAN on all the time is somehow rewarding.  I still read various news sites like Pro Publica and what not, but the real epiphany for me over this summer has been that I have a choice: I can be selective.  

I hear about popular culture through my wife, who still retains her TMZ iPhone app, but I'm more or less out of touch with the comings and goings of various celebutantes.  I have watched the 1986  Series on DVD repeatedly to get me through another miserable disappointment of a Mets season, but I've been fine nonetheless. The world didn't end because I didn't receive the latest breaking news.  Speaking of breaking news, I've turned off those annoying iPhone push notifications for many of my apps.  Now I now longer know what Pimco is doing when they do it!  Imagine!  

 

Television can be a unifying force.  My wife and I watch an episode of Friends everyday while we eat lunch together.  I pick her up from work, bring her to the apartment, and we eat and watch the show.  Every night we watch Boston Legal on DVD while eating dinner.  We talk about various tangents that arise as a result of our viewing the episodes, but the television is irrelevant.  We're together, enjoying common things and sharing a meal.  

 

I don't agree with the fact that Ross Gellar's first wife turned out to be a lesbian, although after two seasons of watching Ross, I can see how that might be possible.  Art reflects life, and life is complicated.  The problem I have with the depiction of Ross's lesbian ex is this: when I was at Woodridge Baptist Church as a child, two of the wives ran off together.  The devastation their children and exes faced was incalculable.  If art is to reflect life, I wish that it would do so accurately rather than glibly.  That's not to say that we have to bash lesbians, but it is to say that human actions have human consequences for people other than the principals who make certain decisions.  

 

The problem with most Christians I know is that they don't want art to depict reality at all, let alone glibly or accurately.  Lesbians should be non-existent in art, because Christians want them to be non-existent in life.  It's a churlish position, not at all befitting adults.  Then again, lesbians want art to depict them as hip Sarah Mclachlan fans in baggy attire who float through life without harm to others, even when they break their vows to their ex-husbands.  The objections those husbands might have can be reduced to five minutes within a twenty-three minute episode, easily resolved when the ex-husband mans up and gets over his macho homophobia in order to accept reality.  You swore vows to him!  You said until death do us part!  The onus is on you to accept the full significance of your actions!  In the entirety of the Friends episodes I've watched thus far, none of Ross Gellar's friends have ever said how wrong it was of his wife to cheat on him with someone else, as if the fact that it was with someone of the same sex somehow excuses her infidelity.  This is not realistic in the slightest.  

 

Art is richer when it is accurate, and it enriches a society when it confronts difficult human experiences with the full gravitas befitting those experiences.  See Guernica by Pablo Picasso, which depicts a horrific bombing massacre in all of its stunning ugliness and totality.  It's moving to consider not only the piece, but the context of the piece and the historical event it attempts to communicate.  Yes, art is subjective, but it owes its subject and its audience at least an honest attempt at representing the matter at hand with some level of objectivity.  

 

The truly degraded part of our society, the reason families and moral values are on the decline, the reason mores have been deracinated and norms have been ripped completely apart, is that none of us feel any obligation to maintain at least some level of objectivity about our own actions and the implications those actions have for others.  We simply maintain our subjectivity and excuse whatever we do nonchalantly, ars per ars gratia.  We are indifferent to the effect we have on others, for only our truth matters.  The truth of others be damned, even if it provides an accurate context and backdrop to our own life.  Especially if it provides and accurate context and backdrop to our own life, because that is the most damning indictment offered of our lives:our having to confront the immediate ugliness we have wrought in the lives of others with our conduct.  I myself am chief among sinners; I hear my tone and assume that others hear the same tone when they read what I write or hear what I say.  When they take it the wrong way, I simply dismiss it as being their own fault.  But perhaps the fact that they took it the wrong ways is evidence that I am not quite the master of language I perceive myself as, isn't it?  

 

This cognitive dissonance is something that many of us do not comprehend or understand.  Our own former President, a rather affable man by the name of George W. Bush, seemed totally unable to understand why others could not or would not enlist with his perception of reality.  He simply did what I do everyday: he assumed they were taking what he meant the wrong way, and in doing so, he shifted the onus to them.  He was never sorry for the effect that his actions or words had on others, because his intent was the excuse which removed culpability.  While intent negates culpability to some extent, it does not negate injury.  We have a duty to try and reconcile with those whom we have injured with our remarks, even if they deserved it.  By we I mean those of us who claim the nomenclature of Christian.  It's not a cavalier claim to make, and you cannot be indifferent to others, for the call of Christ is a call to empathy rather than indifference.  

 

We make a mockery of others, and mockery more than anything else is the new national sport.  We are a nation and a culture run through with one-upsmanship.  What on earth do we have to show for it?  We are coming apart at the seams.  America is a nation no longer united by common concerns; it has become a nation of sects grouped around grievances, all fighting and tearing at each other.  How does America not reflect Christianity in this, with its multitudinous divisions and sectarian schisms over this and that?  We have a church on every corner, and sadly, America reflects that reality.  We are divided almost irrevocably.  We claim the same Christ, yet we deny Him to others who do not believe exactly what we believe.  Yet if one believes in Christ as the propitiation of man's sins, as the path to God the Father, what is the issue? The fact that some of us sprinkle and others fully immerse?  Seriously?  

 

This is what America has come to: it is a Christian nation that reflects Christians rather than Christ.  How fitting that idolaters have come to their decline like others before them.  We will perish as a nation precisely because we set ourselves up to usurp Christ, to put ourselves in the place of Christ in our quest to represent Him.  We were not content to be shaped by His hands; we had to shape Him and present Him as we saw Him rather than simply allowing Him to use us.  If you desire to know why America has become what it currently is, look no further than Christians.  In our hypocrisies, our conflicts, our sectarian divisions, and our insolent, arrogant insistence upon a monopolized truth uniquely our own, we have come to imprint on our nation the depraved condition of our various denominations.  Welcome to schism.  Isn't it a wonderful destination?  

Posted via email from momus1978's posterous

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Judge Made Law: Implications and Overviews

The United States is a nation which brings much of its legal  tradition from England, with the notable exception being Louisiana, a state which carries its legal tradition from France and the Napoleonic Code.  We are largely a nation of common law tradition rather than civil law tradition, which essentially puts forth a view of legislation as subordinate or inferior to the Constitution and those binding interpretations of law issued by judges measuring the statutes emanating from legislatures against the Constitution.  

 

Much of the resulting discord which has arisen in the aftermath of judge made law has arisen because of a failure to understand two very important realities of American jurisprudence and identity: 

 

  1. We are not a democracy.  We are a republic, and individual rights are not up for majoritarian determination.  
  2. While the common viewpoint of judicial review is that it began with Marbury v. Madison, the reality of the matter is that judicial review was occurring in the colonial charter courts, who measured the acts of colonial legislatures against the limitations placed on those legislatures by colonial charters.  Additionally, while the powers of the United States federal government are enumerated and therefore limited to those roles explicitly set forth in the Constitution, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments establish broad unspoken and unwritten rights and powers for individuals and states.  

 

What many individuals who object to judge-made law fail to understand is the way in which judge made-law is provided for in judicial review by no less of a figure than Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78: 

 

It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.” 

 

Furthermore, the fact that broad and unenumerated rates are retained by the people under the Ninth Amendment is an oft-neglected and perhaps even lamented fact of strict constructionist lore.  States have the right under the Tenth Amendment to limit individual rights by classifying certain behaviors and the classifications which arise thereof as criminal, but if a state sets aside its statutory prohibition of a certain behavior, it has effectively legitimized the identification which arises from the engagement of that behavior.  A key example would be statutory prohibitions against sodomy, which have been used to effectively criminalize homosexuality, given that active homosexuality consists of certain acts criminalized by statutes prohibiting sodomy.  

 

A state has broad power under the Tenth Amendment to criminalize homosexuality via sodomy statutes.  The proof can be seen in the fact that states did enact statutory prohibitions of sodomy in order to effectively outlaw homosexual behavior.  They did this for the better part of a century and a half, but beginning in the mid-twentieth century, states began re-examining and repealing their statutes concerning sodomy.  They did this despite Supreme Court precedent which recognized the state’s right to prohibit sodomy and enforce laws against sodomy in Bowers v. Hardwick, which found as follows: 

 

The Georgia statute[outlawing sodomy] is constitutional. Pp. 190-196.

 

(a) The Constitution does not confer a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy. None of the fundamental rights announced in this Court's prior cases involving family relationships, marriage, or procreation bear any resemblance to the right asserted in this case. And any claim that those cases stand for the proposition that any kind of private sexual conduct between consenting adults is constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable. Pp. 190-191. 

(b) Against a background in which many States have criminalized sodomy and still do, to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" is, at best, facetious. Pp. 191-194. 

(c) There should be great resistance to expand the reach of the Due Process Clauses to cover new fundamental rights. Otherwise, the Judiciary necessarily would take upon itself further authority to govern the country without constitutional authority. The claimed right in this case falls far short of overcoming this resistance. Pp. 194-195. 

(d) The fact that homosexual conduct occurs in the privacy of the home does not affect the result. Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 , distinguished. Pp. 195-196. 

(e) Sodomy laws should not be invalidated on the asserted basis that majority belief that sodomy is immoral is an inadequate rationale to support the laws. P. 196.” 

 

While a state retained the power to outlaw sodomy and regulate intimate personal behavior under the broad state power provided for under the Tenth Amendment, in the absence of state laws banning sodomy, those who engaged in sodomy are legally of the same standing before the law as anyone else.  If sodomy is a legal behavior, the state has no basis for asserting a lack of standing for anyone who engages in sodomy.  It has abdicated its power to speak on the matter by repealing laws which criminalized sodomy and by extension homosexuality.  A person who is not a criminal by virtue of their behavior enjoys the same rights and privileges under the law as anyone else, even with the acknowledgement that the Constitution obviously “does not confer a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy.”  Absent a criminal classification of homosexual activity via a sodomy statute outlawing homosexual behavior, states have no standing to reduce homosexuals to a secondary standing before the law.  

 

Acknowledging this does not constitute a broad expansion of individual liberties, it is merely common sense.  While there is no explicit right conferred by the Constitution on homosexuals to engage in sodomy, if there is an absence of prohibition, homosexuals can make a cogent argument that under the Ninth Amendment, the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution “shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  If a state repeals its laws criminalizing this behavior or that behavior, it cannot arbitrarily and capriciously deny equal standing before the law to those individuals who engage in said behavior after said behavior becomes legal.  A state cannot deny such individuals the right to vote, or to move freely without restriction, or enter into various forms of contracts and agreements which would be available to all other people whose behavior likewise conformed to the law.  

 

The Bill of Rights initially applied only to the federal government where individuals were concerned, but under the Fourteenth Amendment, its protections were afforded to former slaves in relation to state governments.  The fact that other individuals of different races were not afforded such broad expansion of the Fourteenth Amendment protections is most clearly evinced by women’s suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment, but it is also seen in the fact that the 1790 Naturalization Act was not overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment.  Former slaves could become citizens, but all other non-whites, including Indians and Asian laborers, could not become citizens and therefore were not entitled to the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and its extension of the Bill of Rights to states.  Also, only nine of those ten rights contained within the Bill of Rights was extended to limit the states in their denial of equal protection under the law to non-whites excepting former slaves and their descendants; the Seventh Amendment was exempted.  

 

Not until 1952 was racial discrimination outlawed as a requisite for naturalization!  To pretend as advocates of living constitutions do that the Fourteenth Amendment can be broadly read to extend such automatic citizenship to non-white non-slaves after all of the history which clearly indicated that that it could not is pure poppycock.  There is the matter of whether something could be done, and the matter of whether or not it should be done.  The United States should have never made race a condition of naturalization and citizenship, but the fact remains that it could and did do so.  Our history is filled with such ugliness and redemption from such ugliness.  We have a process whereby wrongs can be corrected, and that process is quite simple: either a repeal of statutes at the state level, or an amending of the Constitution.  

 

Moreover, if statutes have been repealed, under the Ninth Amendment, a judge may broadly acknowledge individual liberties previously rendered impossible by statutory prohibitions which have been rescinded.  In point of fact, he is obligated to do so, for if he does not do so, he is effectively acknowledging the power of states to set up tiered liberty absent criminal prohibition. Absent criminal prohibition, a state which denies equal standing before the law to those who are engaged in legal behavior and conduct is engaged in nothing more than completely arbitrary and capricious conduct.  

 

A state which does not exercise its broad power consistent with the Tenth Amendment does not possess within itself the power to act arbitrarily and capriciously towards individual behaving legally.  If a state wishes to treat homosexual as lessers before the law, it possesses such a power if and only if homosexuality is criminalized vís a vís a statute outlawing sodomy.  If the behavior is legal, individuals have full standing to assert broad protections and rights under the Ninth Amendment.  If the behavior is illegal, they have no such standing whatsoever.  

 

This creates within itself certain unique problems, not the least of which is Article Four, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, which says that ‘full faith and credit’ shall be given to all acts and records arising in one state by all other states.  The federal government attempted to circumvent this through the Defense of Marriage Act, but a federal act is insufficient to overrule a constitutional imperative.  To enable states to circumvent the ‘full faith and credit’ clause of Article Four would entail amending the Constitution itself.  In the event that a homosexual is married in one state where homosexuality is decriminalized, and he or she moves to another state where homosexuality is criminalized, we are left with the untenable position that while their marriage may be legal and a state which criminalizes sodomy and therefore homosexuality must acknowledge it as legitimate, the very act which defines their identity as homosexuals may be prosecuted as a criminal violation.  Such contradictions must be resolved by a Congress acting with full knowledge and grave seriousness befitting the difficulty of such a problem.  Unfortunately, we lack that sort of a Congress.  The people cry out for leadership and receive only a sound bite or a pat rejoinder about Adam and Eve juxtaposed against Adam and Steve.  It’s absurd, and beneath a body comprised of adults to descend to such nonsense, especially when that body is the United States Congress.  

 

A judge cannot resolve the inherent contradiction himself; he must refer the matter to the Congress for resolution one way or another.  It is a sad testament to the polarization of our time that a judge will likely leave individuals in limbo in the interim time due to the inability of our Congress to handle such matters with the respect and gravitas befitting questions of individual liberty and freedom.   Judge made law is sufficient in matters of interpretation under broad concerns relating to legal individual behavior and conduct under the Ninth Amendment, and judges should decide on the side of expanding individual liberty insofar as it relates to legal conduct.  However, if the conduct in question is illegal under state law, the Tenth Amendment affords states the power to broadly render a good many behaviors illegal and the Court must decide on the side of state power as broadly outlined under the Tenth Amendment.  

 

A judge can therefore lay some foundation to vast expansions of individual liberty on the one hand, or tight interpretations of individual liberty in the face of broad state power on the other hand.  We know from the testaments available to us that the Founders and Framers viewed state power as vast and federal power as limited, as evidenced in Federalist Paper No. 45: 

 

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.  The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity the State.”

 

A judge must be mindful of all relevant considerations of the explicit law, the implicit law, and the common law precedents which have come before.  In the event of an obvious conflict between laws which cannot be resolved (such as a contradictory or paradoxical problem arising between two areas of the Constitution in application, given that both areas are the supreme law of the land and one may not be viewed as superior to the other), he must refer the matter to the Congress for resolution, and the Congress must act to resolve the issue definitively.  This is the appropriate process by which such vexing questions must be resolved.  

 

 

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Social Justice, Stateless Societies, and Hooey.

In wars, victories are often incremental rather than total.  We progress victory by victory towards an end result which is far better than our starting point, but we entertain no delusion if we are to be successful: victories are rarely if ever total and complete.  Our enemies evolve, push back, and human history is a testament to how foes once vanquished reassert themselves by appropriating the institutions and organizations which arose to see them vanquished.  

 

It is a mistake to assume that aristocracy and primogeniture have perished from the earth.  Aristocracies in another time were contingent upon rank; rank which enabled one to access capital and therefore the means with which to multiply capital through investment and development.  Today, rank has largely fallen by the wayside, and while we have those arrogant hauteurs who appeal to peerages to demonstrate their longstanding family lines in order to vicariously claim some of the supposed merit thereof for themselves, the reality is that we in the general population do not place so much merit in such nonsense.  

 

The new aristocracy of rank consists of political dynasties who trade on the cachet of a name to achieve some prominence at the polls which they can then parlay into electoral success.   We elect fathers and sons, and even speculate on the future prospects for a grandson.  If a seat comes open in the Northeast, we see prospective candidates emerging from old families with storied political histories and legacies.  

 

With their political success comes the power to connect within networks, to access capital based solely upon who their father or grandfather was and might still be.  George W. Bush was a failure in business, as was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Neither man got where he eventually wound up by being anything of merit in business.  The rare successes these men had were due more to their connections than any real ingenuity on their parts.  

 

The great problem of America today is nepotism and the patronage which springs thereof, and in that sense we haven’t changed much over the past 200 years.  For the beneficiaries of such nepotism based patronage to have any shot, they must first subvert the government by loading it with men who are either ignorant of the Constitution’s limitations upon the federal government’s expenditures or who just simply don’t give a damn about enumerated powers.  

 

Additionally, these men must somehow convince a population to look at one thing or one party and call it by a name other than its own.  Hence, we have George W. Bush the conservative who spent staggering amounts of money presiding over the largest expansion of federal power and size in 50 years, and Barack Obama the socialist who doles out vast amounts of backdoor bailouts to banks through the Treasury, FDIC, Fannie and Freddie, and the Federal Reserve.  America is referred to as a free market capitalist economy on the precipice of sliding into Keynesian economics and full blown socialism like Europe, when the truth is that our economy has been Keynesian and socialist for over seven decades.  

 

In the Soviet Union, when power was concentrated in the hands of the Party in order that the people might exercise it, wealth and capital became highly concentrated in a few hands.  The party bosses always had ample bread and meat; the average Russian did not.  In short, communism, far from abolishing aristocracies, merely gave rise to a new aristocracy: that of the Party membership.  Socialism accomplished the same in Europe, and here in the United States as well.  

 

Today, the wealthiest 10 percent own 90% of the publicly held stock and 80% of the overall wealth in the United States.  Free markets do not produce these sorts of results, but engineered markets like the ones we see in socialist countries do produce just these sorts of results.  When the United States objected so strenuously to socialism in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, and Argentina, it did not do so because of any real objection to socialism per se, it did so because the beneficiaries of homegrown socialism were different than the beneficiaries of the uniquely American socialism we try to export abroad.  Ordinary people were getting capital handed to them via expropriation policies which utilized the law in reverse to strip the wealthy classes of their ill gotten gains, which they had only accrued by erecting favorable standing for their kind through the law.  Today’s liberals call it social justice, but let’s just be honest and call it for what it really is: government sanctioned vengeance and reciprocity for centuries of rape, theft, pillaging, and state sanctioned murders and assassinations in order to arrive political results which were conducive to capital goals.  

 

The so-called capitalists were never interested in free markets if free markets meant that they could lose their capital like ordinary people.  They set up central banks as a hedge against that sort of an outcome, good little obeisant entities which printed up money every time the rich overextended themselves in those asset bubbles, so that your money could be devalued in order to make their liabilities cheaper.  They erected protectionist policies which made your food and goods more expensive, in the name of some altruistic and patriotic ideal of buying American.  They criticized liberals for attempting to ensure social outcomes with legislation on the grounds that it was unrealistic and utopian, while simultaneously working to ensure economic outcomes with their advocacy of trade regulations which would bar their competitors from defeating them in an open and free market.  

 

Evil begets evil.  Wrongs beget further wrongs.  The capitalists who cried out that their assets and properties abroad were being confiscated and stolen by socialist demagogues could not have explained to any of us how they came to own the property abroad in a more legitimate and lawful way themselves, because they had gone to the prior demagogues in order to have their way.  They were lawless, and when lawlessness fit their ends, it was fine.  But when lawlessness as a precedent came back to haunt them, they advocated for government sanctioned overthrows and proxy revolutionary armies which would restore the lawless order they preferred over the lawless order they abhorred.  And when the socialist potentate lay murdered in the palace or the street, they pranced back in to the country to abscond with their former holdings once again.  

 

I’m writing a book about statism and myth, and the end point of that book is this: states give rise to lawlessness rather than law by their very design.  They can be captured and appropriated to produce a lawless result via the law.  Your property can be taken from you via eminent domain and transferred to a private developer at below market costs.  You never really own your property in this country anyway, because you owe property taxes on that property.  Think of it as a perpetual mortgage held by the state.  There are homestead exemptions, but the perverse effect of those exemptions is that they discourage a private landowner from every improving his land or his home to such a degree that the land will no longer qualify for the exemption from property taxes.  How does a negative incentive serve the interests of a community and a society?  

 

States essentially enable ordinary individuals to accomplish levels of disregard for the law and the rights of others that they could never accomplish by themselves.  They are the means by which nefarious plots are fulfilled, and without the state, those plots would likely languish forever as concepts in the minds of individuals who, despite their considerable wealth and means, could not possibly pull of such grand schemes on their own.  

 

The reciprocal answer to statism in its various excesses is social justice, which is itself no better than sheer vigilantism.  How is it that Jesse Jackson can essentially threaten privately owned corporations with charges of racism if they don’t pony up contributions to Rainbow Coalition and PUSH?  If Jesse were Italian, we’d call it extortion, but because he’s black and racism is the product he’s peddling, he can get away with it.  It’s social justice.  

 

I have no problem with a racist being punished.  I have a severe problem with every shareholder of a corporation taking a reduced dividend in the name of racial harmony when racial harmony consists of the enrichment of one man rather than the actual elimination of racism in the workplace.  In point of fact, the resentments which arise from Jesse Jackson’s methods likely do more to create racism than any podunk jeremiad arising from an uneducated and ignorant race theorist who hails from Appalachia, the South, the American West, or the Pacific Northwest.  We can easily dismiss those idiots and their asinine claptrap, but when the right reverend comes to town on his high horse in a tailored suit to line his coffers, it’s hard to see how racism is anything other than a means to end.  Rather than causing racism to be taken seriously, such methods cause it to become a trivial matter, the mere means by which Jesse Jackson makes his bread and butter, as opposed to an actual serious problem confronting our society.  

 

And what of Anti-Semitism?  To object to the policies of Israel where the Palestinians are concerned is to be guilty of Anti-Semitism.  It is as if Palestinian Arabs are not themselves a Semitic people, because the converse argument one might make is that one is actually Pro-Semitic!  To call Menachem Begin for what he was, a terrorist who participated in bombing campaigns against the British, is to cross lines and become guilty of blood libel in the eyes of various Jewish organizations.  The Jews were fighting to restore their land, their state, to claim autonomy, nationhood, and self-determination for themselves as a people.  Therefore, they were freedom fighters.  What exactly is different about the Palestinians?  The fact that they refuse to recognize Israel as a legitimate state?  How many years have the Israelis denied the claim of Palestinians to land?  To self-determination for themselves not as Israeli citizens, but as a people unto themselves in a nation of their own?  

 

The Israelis used the law to carve out for themselves a state where they held advantages and especial status before the law.  We have a modifier which encapsulates perfectly these sorts of laws, which render some individuals more equal than others on whatever basis: illegitimate.  A man who will not resist such legal tyranny deserves to live the life of a slave.  A man who resists such tyranny deserves to be acclaimed as a hero fighting for his individual liberties and his right to determine for himself the sort of society he will live in, one which values him equally with others.  There’s only one problem with this where the Palestinians are concerned: they aren’t fighting for a society which values them as equal with the Jews.  They’re fighting to obliterate the entire Jewish state and the Jewish race.  You can’t really root for either side in this conflict, because both sides are run through with primordial bigotry and loathing.  

 

In my own life, I refer to those individuals who do not regard men as I do with a certain pejorative: dogs.  They vomit their hatred onto the earth, and return to lick it up again and again.  Every man, regardless of race, religion, creed, ability, or any other distinguishing characteristic, is a creature of God, endowed by God with innate dignity and value.  Who are we to classify him as lesser than ourselves before our laws?  Even if he does not believe in God, we cannot legitimately strip him of his equality before law in order to establish some false honor for God. We honor God by serving our fellow man, and is there any better honor we can offer to God than our refusal to show partiality to men via our law?  

 

The bigot, on the other hand, abdicates his humanity to insist upon partiality in the law which honors his own view of the world. He seeks to place himself in the role of God, to arbitrarily call some men animals.  The great common characteristic of all racists is their tendency to dehumanize their fellow man in order to strip them of humanity so that they might justify ill-treatment towards people of different races or beliefs.  

 

The problem with liberals, with the West in general, indeed with the entire world, is that we do not acknowledge that individual liberties do not exist to enable would-be tyrants in the implementation of their ideals.  A racist deserves one fate: extermination.  Indeed, for civilization to survive and flourish, racism must be extinguished forcibly.  Anyone who advocates especial treatment for one race above others through the law ought to be confronted immediately with mortal force.  

 

To allow them to propagate their insanity is to encourage and enable the rise of future Hitlers.  Individual liberties exist for those who acknowledge their common commitment to the individual rights of others who do not look the same, worship the same, or hold the same creeds.  If you are not willing to rise up in defense of another who is faced with a threat to his liberty, you are not fit to claim to liberty for yourself.  It is not enough to be willing to die in defense of liberty, you must be willing to slaughter those who would undo liberty.  Freedom on some level requires a fierce militancy and vigilance, a wariness towards all those who approach that jewel of liberty, as Patrick Henry called it.  

 

The racist of today flourishes behind the patina of religion, or freedom of expression, speech, assembly, and so on and so forth.  He has no legitimate claim to the protections of liberty, because he is not willing to defend the claims of others to that liberty.  One does not undo liberty and individual freedom if one attacks a racist in order to eliminate the very real threat he presents to universal individual freedom and self-determination.  

 

I will not go into a dissertation on whether or not some ideologies are fundamentally racist, because the reality is that most religious folk pick and choose what they believe where creeds are concerned.  They do not wholeheartedly endorse each and every tenet of their particular belief system.  There are Muslims who coexist with Jews and Christians and vice-versa.  It’s marvelous to behold such coexistence in action, and it is a testament to the character and integrity of such individuals that they can respectfully coexist given the wide gulf between their deepest and most intimate convictions.  

 

Social justice is an amorphous concept, one which is betrayed as selective by the very nature of the organizations which promote social justice, be it NOW or the NAACP.  We want social justice for women, and it entails the reduction of men to temporarily subordinate statuses in order to remedy the injustices of the past.  We want it for blacks, or for Hispanics, or for poor people, or for middle class people.  We are grouped by our grievances rather than a common commitment to the law as an acknowledgement of our commonly held humanity and intrinsic, universal self-worth of human beings.  

 

I will never, ever, buy into social justice as anything other than reciprocity dressed up as redress for the very reasons I’ve outlined above.  I understand why social justice arises: when we are wronged, our instinct is to strike back, and so long as that instinct is tempered by a sense that even in victory we are only entitled to restore equal standing, I’m fine with striking back.  But if it involves claiming the spoils as victors who are superior to their vanquished foes, you can count me on the other side.  I don’t give a damn what they might have done in the past, I will readily kill you for trying to remedy their subjugation of you with a reciprocal subjugation.  As much as I disagree with the way things are, I will not tolerate or stand for reciprocal wrongs and tit for tat, whether advocated for by the state or by anarchists.  

 

I fight for a theoretical framework which renders states and sub-state entities who are organized around grievances rather than a common commitment to acknowledging the worth of every individual without exception irrelevant and unnecessary.  I fight for a theoretical framework which can be applied in the real world and implemented with success.  I’m not to the point of taking up arms to mow down skinheads, but I’m also on record as stating that I do not believe in turning the other cheek.  I believe in turning your cheek.  I will leave you in peace if you leave me in peace, but if you attack my fellow man and his liberty and freedom, you attack me.  While I oppose entangling alliances among states, I am fully committed to such ideals at the individual level.  

 

I have no problem with restoring equality before the law, but to confiscate property arbitrarily and obtain reciprocal supremacy within the law is not something I will ever favor.  If a crime was committed, you may legitimately confiscate the ill gotten gains of shareholders, executives, and all others.  They are not entitled to the fruits of illegal activity.  But if no crime was committed, if the conditions for contracts were satisfied, then there is no cause to resort to such confiscation.  It is lawlessness.  

 

I fully realize that the original post did not refer to specific instances of confiscation and expropriation, but given the history of social justice movements and their inevitable deterioration into Jacobin frenzies, I feel that my exploration and condemnation of such avenues is warranted.  Ends do not justify means, and I am no utilitarian or Leftist.  I am committed deeply to the rule of law based on an understanding that all men are equal before the law, for the law exists only to acknowledge that men are possessed of an innate dignity and value which warrants their equal standing before the law and their fellow man without exception. I will stand for nothing less, especially any hooey which insists upon social justice as a remedy for injustice when social justice itself is usually mere reciprocal injustice.  

 

 

 

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