January 12, 1847: Treaty of Campo de Cahuenga

Thursday, January 12, AD 2017

Also known as the Capitulation of Campo de Cahuenga, it brought to a close fighting in Alta California during the Mexican War.  Widely praised at the time for its liberal terms, the treaty promised equal rights for Mexicans residing in California, freed all prisoners of war, and allowed the Mexicans to return to their homes, with their property protected.  I wonder if General Grant some eighteen years later had this treaty in the back of his mind when he drafted the generous surrender terms for the Army of Northern Virginia.  Here are the terms of the Treaty:

The Treaty of Campo de Cahuenga
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETING:
Know ye that, in consequence of propositions of peace, or cessation of hostilities, being submitted to me, as commandant of the California Battalion of United States forces, which have so far been acceded to by me as to cause me to appoint a board of commissioners to confer with a similar board appointed by the Californians, and it requiring a little time to close the negotiation; it is agreed upon and ordered by me that entire cessation of hostilities shall take place until tomorrow afternoon (January 13th), and that the said Californians be permitted to bring in their wounded to the mission of San Fernando, where, also, If they choose, they can remove their camp, to facilitate said negotiations.
Given under my hand and seal this twelfth day of January, 1847.
J. C. Fremont
Lieutenant-Colonel United States
Army, and Military Commandant of California
Articles of Capitulation made and entered into at the Rancbo of Cahuenga, this thirteenth day of January, Anno Domini, eighteen hundred and forty-seven between P. B. Reading, Major; Louis McLane,.Ir, Commanding Artillery; Wm. H. Russell, Ordnance Officer, Commissioners appointed by J. C. Fremont, Lieutenant-Colonel United States Army and Military Commandant of the Territory of California; and Jose Antonio Carillo, Commandante de Esquadron, Augustin Olivera, Diputado, Commissioners, appointed by Don Andres Pico, commander-in-chief of the California forces under the Mexican flag.
Article 1. The Commissioners on the part of the Californians agree that their entire force shall, on presentation of themselves to Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, deliver up their artillery and public arms, and they shall return peaceably to their homes, conforming to tile laws and regulations of tile United States, and not again take up arms during the war between the United State’s and Mexico, but will assist and aid In placing the country in a state of peace and tranquillity.
Art. 2. The Commissioners on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont will agree and bind themselves on the fulfillment of the first article by the Californians, that they shall be guaranteed protection of life and property whether on parole or otherwise.
Art. 3. That, until a treaty of peace be made and signed between the United States of North America and the Republic of Mexico, no Californian or other Mexican citizen shall be bound to take the oath of allegiance.
Art. 4. That any Californian or other citizen of Mexico desiring, is permitted by this capitulation to leave the country without let or hindrance.

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20 Responses to January 12, 1847: Treaty of Campo de Cahuenga

  • Why were the U.S. Army and Navy fighting the Mexican Army in the Mexican State of Alta California in 1846 and 1847?

    On January 12, 1848, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives named Abraham Lincoln (yes, the one who saved the Union a few years later) stood up and gave a speech on the House floor that answered that exact question. This speech is well worth reading in full. The bottom line is that Lincoln concluded that the U.S. invaded Alta California as part of a calculated, illegal, aggressive land grab that was carefully planned and orchestrated by President James Polk. “Sheerest deception” is how Lincoln characterized President Polk’s justifications for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico.

    Lincoln can hardly be called a liberal or a pacifist, since he himself invaded the Southern States in 1861.

    Lincoln always had strong sense of justice, of common decency, of basic honesty, and a strong sense of adhering to the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

    Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address and his 1848 Speech Against the War in Mexico are really the same speech. Both speeches call Americans to honor and follow vision of a better world found in the high ideals of the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.

    Why am I making this comment? Because while Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address is world famous, his 1848 Speech Against the Mexican War is practically unknown. Some history books mention that 1848 speech, but most discount it as a partisan attack on the president who was a member of the opposing political party. But one book that treats Lincoln’s speech fairly and accurately is by Professor Amy Greenburgh: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (2013). It has 135 customer reviews on Amazon, with average of 4 out of 5 stars.

    How is all of this relevant to today? Because Lincoln essentially accused President Polk of using devious means to create fake news to justify the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico, all with the ultimate aim of annexing the Mexican states of Alta California and Nuevo Mexico.

    Then and now, U.S. Presidents have almost unilateral power to star a war, and have great ability to create and promote fake news to justify a war.

    To Lincoln, there was such a thing as objective justice and objective truth. To Lincoln, everything was not partisan. To Lincoln, words were not merely means to material ends. To Lincoln, winning was not everything and the only thing.

    That’s why there is a monument to Lincoln in Washington, D.C., but no monument to President Polk, even though Polk added more territory to the U.S. than any other president, even more than President Jefferson with his Louisiana Purchase.

    Polk, the man without integrity is forgotten. Lincoln,, the man of integrity, is remembered and cherished. It’s a morality tale of Biblical proportions.

  • “Why were the U.S. Army and Navy fighting the Mexican Army in the Mexican State of Alta California in 1846 and 1847?”

    Because the Mexican government never made a peace treaty with the Republic of Texas and thus the boundary of Texas was subject to dispute, with both the US and Texas claiming that the Rio Grande as opposed to the Rio Nueces marked the southern boundary of Texas. Santa Anna had recognized the Rio Grande as the southern boundary of the Republic of Texas but that treaty was never ratified by the Mexican Congress.

  • Well, that’s exactly what President Polk said. And that’s exactly the excuse that Abraham Lincoln tore to shreds in his January 12, 1848 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • “Well, that’s exactly what President Polk said.”

    Which was absolutely factually correct. It was disputed territory, and the US had no more reason to concede that territory than Mexico did.

    “And that’s exactly the excuse that Abraham Lincoln tore to shreds in his January 12, 1848 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

    Actually his speech had zero impact except to allow Democrats in Illinois to call him “Spottie” Lincoln for a while since the War was quite popular in Illinois. Lincoln voted for supplies and money for the War as he hastened to point out to outraged Illinois constituents. He opposed the War largely because he feared that it would bring more slave states into the Union from territory conquered from Mexico. He had no problem at all supporting Zachary Taylor for President in 1848, who was running solely because of the victories he won in the Mexican War, including the early engagements which were the subject of Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions.

  • Responding to Mr. Donald R. McClarey, who wrote: “He [Lincoln] opposed the War largely because he feared that it would bring more slave states into the Union from territory conquered from Mexico.”

    Is that so? Where did Lincoln ever write or say that? I think I’ve read everything Lincoln ever wrote or said about the Mexican-American War, and I’ve never seen him express that. In 1848 or 1849, Lincoln wrote a letter to a friend in which he explicitly referred to the Mexican-American War as a “war of aggression.”

    I urge everyone who cares about American history and the Mexican-American War to read and study Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 Speech Against the Mexican War, and then read and study President Polk’s State of the Union messages defending and justifying his war. Lincoln’s speech was responding directly to those messages from Polk. Many other speeches about the war, both pro- and con-, made in the U.S. Senate and House, can also be found online.

    Any Catholic who reads the original speeches of the era will immediately be shocked at the anti-Catholicism of the pro-Mexican War members of the U.S. Congress. On the floor of the Congress these men openly justified annexing all or much of Mexico on the ground that Mexicans were dirty no-good, pope-worshiping Roman Catholic idolaters. They justified the annexation of all or much of Mexico on the ground of Christianizing that territory and those people. Many U.S. newspapers and church pastors repeated this same theme.

    If this was only about a mostly forgotten war in the distant past, it wouldn’t really matter except to history aficionados who love to argue and show off their knowledge.

    But “Fake News” is a big and growing part of what’s going on nowadays.

    Abraham Lincoln, in his January 12, 1848 Speech Against the Mexican War, delivers a detailed and blistering condemnation of the production and use of Fake News to achieve political ends. In this, he was simply articulating the traditional Catholic moral principle that one may not do evil (such as lying or shading the truth) in order that good may come of it.

  • From the Ottawa Debate between Lincoln and Douglas August 21, 1858:

    “And so I think my friend, the Judge, is equally at fault when he charges me at the time when I was in Congress of having opposed our soldiers who were fighting in the Mexican war. The Judge did not make his charge very distinctly, but I can tell you what he can prove, by referring to the record. You remember I was an old Whig, and whenever the Democratic party tried to get me to vote that the war had been righteously begun by the President, I would not do it. But whenever they asked for any money, or land-warrants, or anything to pay the soldiers there, during all that time, I gave the same vote that Judge Douglas did. [Loud applause.] You can think as you please as to whether that was consistent. Such is the truth; and the Judge has the right to make all he can out of it. But when he, by a general charge, conveys the idea that I withheld supplies from the soldiers who were fighting in the Mexican war, or did anything else to hinder the soldiers, he is, to say the least, grossly and altogether mistaken, as a consultation of the records will prove to him.”
    ——————————————————————————————–

    “I dislike to waste a word on a merely personal point; but I must respectfully assure you that you will find yourselves at fault should you ever seek for evidence to prove your assumption that I “opposed, in discussions before the people, the policy of the Mexican war → .””

    Lincoln, letter to Matthew Birchard and Others June 29, 1863
    ———————————————————————————-

    “As to the Mexican war → , I still think the defensive line policy the best to terminate it. In a final treaty of peace, we shall probably be under a sort of necessity of taking some teritory; but it is my desire that we shall not acquire any extending so far South, as to enlarge and agrivate the distracting question of slavery. Should I come into the presidency before these questions shall be settled, I should act in relation to them in accordance with the views here expressed.”

    Advice as to what General Taylor should say, written by Lincoln in March of 1848

    ——————————————————————————————
    “But, as Gen: Taylor is, par excellence, the hero of the Mexican war; and, as you democrats say we whigs have always opposed the war, you think it must be very awk[w]ard and embarrassing for us to go for Gen: Taylor. The declaration that we have always opposed the war, is true or false, accordingly as one may understand the term “opposing the war.” If to say “the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President” be opposing the war, then the whigs have very generally opposed it. Whenever they have spoken at all, they have said this; and they have said it on what has appeared good reason to them. The marching [of] an army into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, frightening the inhabitants away, leaving their growing crops, and other property to destruction, to you may appear a perfectly amiable, peaceful, unprovoking procedure; but it does not appear so to us. So to call such an act, to us appears no other than a naked, impudent absurdity, and we speak of it accordingly. But if, when the war had begun, and had become the cause of the country, the giving of our money and our blood, in common with yours, was support of the war, then it is not true that we have always opposed the war. With few individual exceptions, you have constantly had our votes here for all the necessary supplies. And, more than this, you have had the services, the blood, and the lives of our political bretheren in every trial, and on every field. The beardless boy, and the mature man—the humble and the distinguished, you have had them.

    Through suffering and death, by disease, and in battle, they have endured, and fought, and fell with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be returned. From the state of my own residence, besides other worthy but less known whig names, we sent Marshall, Morrison, Baker, and Hardin; [10] they all fought, and one fell; and in the fall of that one, we lost our best whig man. Nor were the whigs few in number, or laggard in the day of danger. In that fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man’s hard task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high officers who perished, four were whigs.

    In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between the lion-hearted whigs and democrats who fought there. On other occasions, and among the lower officers and privates on that occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I wish to do justice to all. I think of all those brave men as Americans, in whose proud fame, as an American, I too have a share. Many of them, whigs and democrats, are my constituents and personal friends; and I thank them—more than thank them—one and all, for the high, imperishable honor they have confered on our common state.

    But the distinction between the cause of the President in beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was begun, is a distinction which you can not perceive. To you the President, and the country, seems to be all one. You are interested to see no distinction between them; and I venture to suggest that possibly your interest blinds you a little. We see the distinction, as we think, clearly enough; and our friends who have fought in the war have no difficulty in seeing it also. What those who have fallen would say were they alive and here, of course we can never know; but with those who have returned there is no difficulty. Col: Haskell, and Major Gaines, [11] members here, both fought in the war; and one of them underwent extraordinary perils and hardships; still they, like all other whigs here, vote, on the record, that the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. And even Gen: Taylor himself, the noblest Roman of them all, has declared that as a citizen, and particularly as a soldier, it is sufficient for him to know that his country is at war with a foreign nation, to do all in his power to bring it to a speedy and honorable termination, by the most vigorous and energetic opperations, without enquiring about it’s justice, or any thing else connected with it.

    Mr. Speaker, let our democratic friends be comforted with the assurance, that we are content with our position, content with our company, and content with our candidate; and that although they, in their generous sympathy, think we ought to be miserable, we really are not, and that they may dismiss the great anxiety they have on our account.”

    Lincoln, speech in the House of Representatives, July 27, 1848

  • Responding to Mr. Donald R. McClarey, who quoted a response Lincoln made in 1858 to Stephen Douglas during a debate. Douglas tried to use Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican-American War against Lincoln. In the quote provided by Mr. McClarey, Lincoln restates his consistent position: “whenever the Democratic party tried to get me to vote that the war had been righteously begun by the President, I would not do it. ” Then Lincoln goes on to defend himself by stating that he did however vote for funding for supplies for the troops that were engaged in combat. He always justified that on the ground that American troops whose lives are in danger deserve the funding to stay alive, since the troops themselves were completely innocent of the crime of committing a war of aggression–that maxima culpa is to be atrributed completely to President Polk, his cabinet, and certain pro-War members of Congress. Lincoln said over and over again, and made clear, that his voting for funding for the troops in no way indicated his approval of the Mexican-American War.
    Mr. McClarey’s original article about the treaty in 1847 that ended the fighting between American forces and Mexican forces speculated that perhaps General Ulyssses S. Grant was inspired by that 1847 treaty. ” I wonder if General Grant some eighteen years later had this treaty in the back of his mind when he drafted the generous surrender terms for the Army of Northern Virginia. ”
    General Grant was an officer who led troops in the Mexican-American War. Here’s what General Grant wrote about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico: “I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day, regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” And: “I do not think there was ever a more wicked war…I thought so at the time…only I had not moral courage enough to resign.”
    General Grant fully admits that he failed to act with “moral courage” during the “wicked” U.S. invasion of Mexico that was wicked because it was justified by the U.S. President on the basis of a Fake News story that he, the President, had created by orchestrating events and then lying about them.
    But why does this ancient history matter? What’s done is done. Alta California and Nuevo Mexico are U.S. states. Life goes on, right? Why re-hash all this stuff?
    To me, all this is intensely relevant because more and more people in our country are full of a passion for Moral Relativism (or Moral Agnosticism?) in which any facts that interfere with political objectives are immediatly denounced as lies.
    Remember that famous quote from the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: ” Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”
    Pope John Paul II was a fierce defender of the principle that objective truth exists, can be discovered, and must be accepted, even if it is inconvenient or an limitation on one’s will and desires. If the very concept of objective truth is eliiminated or denigrated, all that is left is “The Triump of the Will.”
    President Polk and his pro-War faction prevailed in the period of 1846-48. And, in sense, they have prevailed ever since, since most Americans who think about it assume that the U.S. was morally justified in invading, occupying, and annexing Northern Mexico. But “Might Makes Right” is not a Catholic principle. “Winning is everything” was never taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Lincoln tried to defend the Constitution in 1847-48. He failed. He did save it in 1861-65, however. Perhaps that grief of that earlier failure gave Lincoln the steely resolve to not fail the second time.
    I urge all to read the original full text of Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 Speech Against the Mexican War. It will be of particular interest to lawyers, since much of it involves an lawyerly explanation of basic concepts of the law pertaining to property, nations, boundaries, revolutions, and warfare.
    That speech was made on this very day, 169 years ago. Would it not be good if January 12th could become a National Truth-in-Politics Commemoration Day?

  • Mexico was not going to keep California and the present day American Southwest no matter what.

    Informed American Catholics are aware of the incessant anti Catholicism of the 19th century.

    Freemasonry made its way to Mexico in the 19th century and even today the Mexican government cannot be labeled pro Catholic.

  • The Californos were in revolt against the Mexican government just prior to the Mexican War with debate among them as to whether they should become independent, ask for annexation by the US or join some other foreign power. Most Californos realized that with a population of 9,000 they could not go it alone.

  • “General Grant was an officer who led troops in the Mexican-American War. Here’s what General Grant wrote about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico: “I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day, regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” And: “I do not think there was ever a more wicked war…I thought so at the time…only I had not moral courage enough to resign.””

    Grant suspected that the Civil War might be punishment for the Mexican War, and he opposed the Mexican War because he believed that the intent of the War was to create more slave states.

    “In taking military possession of Texas after annexation, the army of occupation, under General Taylor, was directed to occupy the disputed territory. The army did not stop at the Nueces and offer to negotiate for a settlement of the boundary question, but went beyond, apparently in order to force Mexico to initiate war. It is to the credit of the American nation, however, that after conquering Mexico, and while practically holding the country in our possession, so that we could have retained the whole of it, or made any terms we chose, we paid a round sum for the additional territory taken; more than it was worth, or was likely to be, to Mexico. To us it was an empire and of incalculable value; but it might have been obtained by other means. The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.”

  • Responding to Mr. Donald R. McClarey, who quoted a fragment found among Abraham Lincoln’s papers: “As to the Mexican war → , I still think the defensive line policy the best to terminate it. In a final treaty of peace, we shall probably be under a sort of necessity of taking some teritory; but it is my desire that we shall not acquire any extending so far South, as to enlarge and agrivate the distracting question of slavery. Should I come into the presidency before these questions shall be settled,…” In writing this Abraham Lincoln was acting as speechwriter for General Taylor, who was then runnning for president. What Lincoln wrote for General Taylor to say in a speech does not have to be the exact views of Lincoln himself.

    Mr. McClarey also quoted a public letter that Lincoln wrote in 1863 during the U.S. Civil War. Lincoln wrote the letter as a response to people who were strenuously objecting to Lincoln arresting Americans who were publicly protesting and organizing resistance to the Federal Government’s invasion of the Southern States for the purpose of putting down the armed insurrection in those states.

    The people who were publicly protesting the Federal Government invasion were accusing Lincoln of hypocrisy, since he himself had criticized and opposed President Polk’s invasion of Mexico back in 1846-48. Lincoln’s statement, at first glance, appears to contradict everything else Lincoln has ever said about his view on the Mexican War. In that 1863 letter he wrote: “I must respectfully assure you that you will find yourselves at fault should you ever seek for evidence to prove your assumption that I ‘opposed, in discussions before the people, the policy of the Mexican war’.” One historian wrote in a book published in 1999 that what Lincoln meant here is that he never opposed the Mexican War “in discussion before the people,” and by that meant that he only opposed the war in speeches on the floor of Congress, and in private letters to friends. In other words, Lincoln is saying that what made him different from the protesters of the Civil War was that he did not organize street protests or hold public rallies of the citizens against the war. Rather, his opposition was expressed publicly solely on the floor of Congress in his capacity as a legislator. Lincoln was arguing that in a time of war, the freedom of speech of the citizens in general is subject to being curtailed, but that the freedom of speech of legislators on the floor of Congress is not subject to being curtailed in the same manner. I believe it is correct that under old English Law members of parliament acting in their official capacity have rights of regarding speech that ordinary citizens don’t have.

    Overall, I very much appreciate that Mr. McClarey wrote his original article in commemoration of the January 12, 1847 treaty that ended the fighting in Alta California. The Mexican-American War is so little remembered.

    As far as anyone changing their mind and coming to the conclusion that the Mexican War “was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President” (which is the exact language of a House resolution that Lincoln voted for), that is not something that can be happen readily. It can happen, if at all, by reading and reflecting on many original source documents, and, for the most part, giving little weight to opinions and conclusions found in secondary sources. The desire to defend the honor of the history of one’s country is powerful thing. It is like the gravitational force of a mighty star, pulilng everything into its obit.

    Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” We owe a measure of fealty to the nation of our birth, but we own a higher measure of fealty to the Truth. Jesus said: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the Truth.”

    Catholic doctrine says that the Almighty Hand of the Holy Spirit of God will not allow a pope to lead the Church into Untruth.

    But there is no such principle that says a U.S. President can’t create and promote Fake News for political purposes and thereby cause the Federal Government to carry out unconstitutional and immoral actions.
    Abraham Lincoln in his January 12, 1848 speech labored to prove that President James Polk had done exactly that. I think Lincoln succeeed in making his case. I also think that any reasonable person who reads and reflects on the relevant original source documents will reach the same conclusion.

    So my theory is this: Once a citizen sees the crime that Abraham Lincoln was convinced that President Polk carried out and got away with, the citizen is better able to detect and fight against similar unconstitutional and immoral crimes and scams being carried out by governmental leaders in our time.

    But, being realistic, I well realize that the mighty forces, passions, and fears sweeping across America and the world these days leave little interest in the factual details of historic events of 150 or so years ago. We are not going to be saved by accurate knowlege of history. Only the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ can save us. Glory be to Jesus Christ!

  • President Polk and his pro-War faction prevailed in the period of 1846-48. And, in sense, they have prevailed ever since, since most Americans who think about it assume that the U.S. was morally justified in invading, occupying, and annexing Northern Mexico. But “Might Makes Right” is not a Catholic principle. “

    The notion that the territory in question was ‘Mexican’ was a diplomatic courtesy. There was little or nothing of a Mexican society in that territory. The population of peninsulares, criollos, and mestizos in Texas in 1836 was about 3,000. There were a few thousand settlers around Santa Fe. The population in California might just have made it into five digits. Anglophones were a majority of the non-aboriginal population in Texas and common in California.

  • Jose Antonio Carrillo is one of my ancestors!

  • Spain had about three centuries to colonize their territories in New Spain north of Mexico and never did it. The reason there were white settlers in Texas is because Spain/Mexico allowed/invited them in to colonize (see The Old Three Hundred and Moses and Stephen F. Austin). The Spaniards know to this day that is why they “lost Texas.” I’ve heard one say — in San Antonio at a priestly ordination anniversary — “We didn’t colonize it.” They’re still wringing their hands over it. A condition the Texas settlers had to adhere to was that they would be Catholic, at least nominally. Even as a cradle Catholic myself I can’t blame the non-Catholic settlers for resenting Catholicism and Mexico, at least to some extent.

    To Jim Bob (aka Jaime Roberto) et al I would like to ask where the territory came from in the state(s) in which they reside, if indeed they reside in the US. All the moral umbrage about Texas “stealing” land from Mexico could be repeated with regard to the fact that most of the country was “stolen” from Native Americans, with a trail of broken treaties littering the corridors of history.

  • To TX, who wrote: “To Jim Bob (aka Jaime Roberto) et al I would like to ask where the territory came from in the state(s) in which they reside.”

    Well, TX, good question (aka buena pregunta).

    But I suggest that there are some legal and moral distinctions that can be made here.

    I alway recommend that everyone read Abraham Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives against the fakes news that President Polk created in order to get the Congress to vote for the U.S. invasion of Mexico.

    Lincoln isn’t called “Honest Abe” for nothing. In 1848, Lincoln has been practicing law for 12 years. He had lots of experience of challenging and exposing liars in the courtroom. The same great Lincoln who gave the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address was alive and in-action in 1848. (Of course, I acknowledge that today’s Neo-Confederates agree with John Wilkes Booth’s view of Lincoln as being a tyrant, deceiver, and criminal.)

    In that 1848 speech, Abraham Lincoln discusses the law and morality pertaining to treaties, national boundaries, the right of revolution, and the conducting of war. He discusses the U.S. Constitution. In 1848, Lincoln voted for a House Resolution that declared that the Mexican War had been “unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President.”

    In 1846, when the U.S. commenced its invasion and occupation of Northern Mexico (and not just territory claimed by Texas, but also other entire Mexican states, such as California and Nuevo Mexico, that were far, far away from Texas and had no logical or legal connection to the Texas boundary dispute), the government and the sovereignty of the Republic of Mexico, and its national boundaries, had been diplomatically recognized by the U.S., and by all the governments of Europe, since 1821. That was 25 years before the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846.

    The U.S. had a general moral and legal obligation, under the U.S. Constitution and international law, to respect the national rights and territory of the Republic of Mexico. The U.S. could not treat the Republic of Mexico like it might treat an “uncivilized,” aggressive, nomadic warrior tribe of Native Americans (like say the Apache).

    The Indian nations and tribes in what became the U.S. were generally not organized as nation-states along the European model. They generally had no republican form of government, no single leader, no defined territory and borders, no ambassors, and so on. Most of the land that became the U.S. was not claimed by any Native America tribe, but was simply open and empty. And though Native Americans were often moved by force off land they occupied and claimed, sometimes they agreed to move off their land in exchange for something they were offerred.

    Nevertheless, many horrible crimes were indeed committed by Americans, the British, and Spanish in the Americas. But how does that justify or rectify what Abraham Lincoln and General Ulyssess S. Grant said was a U.S. war of aggression against the Republic of Mexico, a war of aggression, conquest and annexation that was planned and orchestrated by President James K. Polk?

    All or most of this is addressed in Abraham Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives. That speech really clarifies and resolves many misconceptions about the justice or injustice of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico.

    Historians have generally dismissed that speech as pure partisanship. They say that Lincoln didn’t really mean what he said, but was just aiming to attack and weaken the Democrat president as a means to promote himself and his Whig Party.

    I speculate that this characterization has become normative because most or many historians are eager to portray a narrative sweep of American history that is heroic, righteous, even God-ordained. If the U.S. gained one-third of its lower 48 territory by means of a crime, that doesn’t fit too well into the doctrine of American Exceptionalism.

    But Professor Amy Greenberg’s 2013 book on the Mexican-American War does provide a balanced and fair, and very detailed, history of that war.

    Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant lived in a time when most Americans were certain that the Biblical rules of Christian morality absolutely applied as much in the conducting of international affairs as they did in private and personal affairs. Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives only makes sense or is persuasive in that context.

    But, it seems, that many Americans today, even some in the highest offices of government, no longer feel that the Biblical rules of Christian morality have any application in life at all, and certainly not in business, sports, economics, international relations, or in the conducting of national wars.

    Rather, the “winning is everything and the only thing” philosophy has swept the nation and the culture. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been noticing.

    To those who have gone all-in regarding the “winning is everything and the only thing” philosophy, Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives will just seem like useless and pointless words.

  • Dear Mr. Donald R. McClarey: If you would deign to grace us with a review and evaluation of Abraham Lincoln’s January 12, 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding President Polk’s “sheerest deception” in starting the Mexican War, I for one would be very interested in reading that.

  • “The U.S. had a general moral and legal obligation, under the U.S. Constitution and international law, to respect the national rights and territory of the Republic of Mexico.”

    Why? The Californos were in revolt from the Mexican government, and other than around Santa Fe Americans outnumbered Mexicans in territory that the Spanish claimed but had never settled. A prime example of this is that the Mexican government brought in settlers from America to serve as a shield against Comanche raids. Plus, Mexico had never ratified a peace treaty with the Republic of Texas that was now part of the US. The US had just as much right to assert the Rio Grande as the southern boundary line of Texas, the boundary line asserted by the Republic of Texas, as the Mexican government had to assert the boundary as being the Rio Nueces.

  • I might sometime. It was not one of Lincoln’s finest efforts in my opinion. Most Whigs in Congress opposed the Mexican War for fear that the Democrats would benefit from it. Lincoln’s speech was part of an effort to attack the Democrats over the War. As a political maneuver the speech was unsuccessful. As a look at the causes of the war between the US and Mexico it was partisan and truth challenged. It is chiefly remembered whenever an effort is made to attack a war that some Americans find unpalatable, the historical context of the speech ignored.

  • “The U.S. had a general moral and legal obligation, under the U.S. Constitution and international law, to respect the national rights and territory of the Republic of Mexico.”
    The name of the country was and is ‘the United Mexican States.’, and, again, the territory was ‘theirs only according to diplomatic convention (and only during the period running from 1821 to 1848, It’s an idle exercise to want to relitigate this issue 168 years after the fact on such flimsy grounds.

  • You can go to the Library of Congress today and see the slips that Abraham Lincoln signed when he checked out copies of the documents that formalized the terms of the end of fighting in the Texas Revolution of 1835-36.

    He read those documents because he had to discuss them in depth in order to make his conclusion about whether the Mexican War was unconstitutionally commenced by President Polk in 1846.

    Say what you will about Abraham Lincoln, but at least he actually read primary source documents before talking about them.

Muslim Appreciation Month

Sunday, August 7, AD 2016

 

u1_muslims

 

Coming soon to a state near you.  The California Assembly has designated August Muslim Appreciation Month.  Here is the text of the resolution:

 

WHEREAS, Freedom of religion holds distinction as a cherished right and a foundational value upon which the laws and ethics of the United States are based; and

WHEREAS, Enriched by the unparalleled diversity of its residents, the State of California takes great pride in supporting individual religious freedoms and is strengthened by the many varied religious, political, and cultural traditions of its diverse population, including those Americans who practice Islam; and

WHEREAS, The history of Islam in this country dates back to before its founding, originating with African slaves who brought their Muslim beliefs with them to the Americas and who later contributed in numerous ways to the founding of the nation, and there are today millions of Muslim Americans, both immigrant and native-born, of diverse backgrounds and beliefs; and

WHEREAS, The United States benefits greatly from the expertise, patriotism, and humanitarianism of Muslim Americans, who represent 10 percent of America’s physicians, helping to heal hundreds of thousands of Americans each year; who have long distinguished themselves as courageous and dedicated members of the United States Armed Forces, fighting and sacrificing in every major war from the American Revolutionary War to present-day conflicts; and who regularly contribute to the health and vitality of their communities, giving food to the hungry, sheltering the needy, and providing inexpensive or free health services, among other community services; and

WHEREAS, The earliest Muslim immigrants to California mostly worked on farms and made significant contributions to early agricultural efforts, and since the abolition of the national quota on immigration in 1965 by the passage of the Hart-Celler Act, more and more Muslims have migrated to California, with approximately one million Muslim Americans currently residing in communities throughout the state, the highest number in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Similarly, there are currently more than 240 mosques in California, more than any other state in the nation, and the people of California and the greater United States benefit from the several large Muslim religious, educational, charitable, advocacy, and empowerment organizations that operate within the state, as well as from the countless prominent Muslim community leaders who distinguish themselves professionally as business owners, law professionals, doctors, engineers, teachers, and farmers, among numerous other valued professions; and

WHEREAS, Although the majority of Muslim Americans within California and throughout the nation strive to promote peace and understanding between all faiths, identities, and nationalities while upholding those values and principles that define the American people, they have nonetheless been forced to endure harassment, assault, and discrimination since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and during the year 2015 alone, there were approximately 174 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in the United States. It is therefore appropriate to acknowledge and promote awareness of the myriad invaluable contributions of Muslim Americans in California and across the country, and extend to them the respect and camaraderie every American deserves; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly joins communities throughout the State of California in recognizing the month of August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month, respectfully acknowledges the rich history and guiding virtues of Muslim Americans, and commends Muslim communities in California for the lasting positive impact they have made, and continue to make, toward the advancement of the state and the nation; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

The website Creeping Sharia has noted some 50 contributions by Muslims to California over the past year:

 

  1. California: Muslim earns 15 years in prison for trying to join ISIS
  2. California: Two (More) Muslims Convicted of ISIS Terror Support in Anaheim
  3. California: Muslim Woman at LAX Threatens to Bomb America (VIDEO)
  4. California: Muslim gets 12 years in terrorism case
  5. San Bernardino terrorist’s friend linked to Muslim group arrested for 2012 jihad plot
  6. Brother of San Bernardino terrorist, 2 others arrested for immigration fraud
  7. 17 Muslims Detained, Released After Chanting Allah Akbar, Firing Rifles, Shotguns Near San Bernardino
  8. California: Muslim “Refugee” Indicted for Attempt to Support Islamic Terrorists
  9. San Diego: Brother of Muslim Killed Fighting with Islamic State Lied to FBI, Charged
  10. Muslim attack on California university campus was ISIS-inspired
  11. California: Syrian immigrant gets 8 years for lying about his Islamic terror ties
  12. California: Muslim named Jihad arrested after bomb threat on cop shop
  13. Los Angeles: Father, Shehada Issa, killed son for being gay
  14. California: Muslim Uber driver arrested for raping woman after driving her home
  15. California: Muslim indicted for attempting to join Islamic terror group
  16. Black Muslim Chases, Tackles White Trump Supporter After San Jose Rally
  17. Egyptian on Student Visa Facing Deportation for Death Threat Against Donald Trump
  18. California: “I would die and kill for Allah” – Muslim arrested for attempted murder
  19. California: Father of Jihad Suspect to Muslims: ‘Don’t Even Think About Telling Govt’
  20. Muslim Students Trap, Bully San Diego State’s Jewish President
  21. Muslims Terrorize Jewish Students at UC-Irvine Movie Screening, Police Rescue
  22. Muslims force California school system to remove forced conversion of Hindus to Islam from history
  23. Jewish Woman Forced to Hide From Muslim Thugs at UC-Irvine
  24. California: Muslim arrested in online threat to UC Santa Cruz
  25. UC Berkeley students: Chattanooga jihad justified, nothing to do with Islam
  26. Cal-Berkeley Student’s Article “On Leaving Islam” Retracted…Fearing Muslim Violence
  27. California: Muslim Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIS, Lying on Passport
  28. California: Muslim fugitive caught, files lawsuit over hijab removal
  29. San Diego: Iraqi Immigrant Couple Enslaved Maid in Their Home
  30. California: Saudi ‘threatened to kill staff who watched him being pleasured by male aide’
  31. LA: Saudi prince arrested after bleeding woman seen trying to escape compound, more victims come forward
  32. California: Cafe Countersues Muslim Women Fraudulently Claiming Discrimination
  33. San Diego School Board Approves Creation of Islamophobia Propaganda Plan
  34. Huntington Beach (CA) school makes 7th graders sing “Believe in Allah! There is no other god”
  35. San Diego School District Expands Sharia Lunch Program
  36. San Diego: Taxpayers now funding Muslim’s halal school lunches
  37. California school district enforces sharia, bans drawings of Muhammad, keeps Islamic indoctrination
  38. California: Muslim stabs 4 on UC Merced campus before shot dead
  39. Phone records show imam at San Bernardino terrorist’s mosque knew killer’s, lied about it
  40. San Bernardino Jihadist’s Father Knew Son Supported ISIS, Told No One
  41. San Bernardino jihadists buried by mosque members in Islamic ritual
  42. California: Saudi at Culver City mosque linked to 9/11 attack
  43. LAPD Chief Panders at Terror-linked Mosque Named in Missing “28 Pages” (VIDEO)
  44. Sharia compliant: No Islamic landmarks harmed in “Independence Day” sequel
  45. Hollywood Chooses Swank Sharia-Owned Hotel Over LGBT Boycott
  46. Video: Muslim Prayers Take Over Streets of Downtown Los Angeles
  47. California: After trip to Morocco, son shoots mother, cuts her heart out
  48. Anaheim: Two (more) Muslims Arrested Trying to Join Islamic Terror Group, Wanted to Die Martyrs
  49. California: Muslim arrested in sexual assault on 13-year-old girl inside her home (video)
  50. Los Angeles: Muslim clerk caught giving undercover lottery officer $75 instead of $75K prize

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4 Responses to Muslim Appreciation Month

  • only 50?
    Muslim Americans should be watched by the FBI until the war with islam is over and the west has won. Of course, this will never happen, so we need to have them under surveillance forever.

  • California, formerly Alto California, first established by Fray Junipero Serra, has had its history $%&* on by the California Asembly. This same Assembly insists that Catholic institutions pay for abortions in their health care coverage.

    It is not a Christian thing to do to wish ill on people, but California’s politics have it on a path straight to hell and I don’t want to be anywhere around when they meet their reckoning.

  • It wreaks with the Democrat party odor!

  • Bill Quirk is an airhead who came from the Hayward City Council. People like him and the other legislators who voted for this have no knowledge of the history of Islam and its so called prophet. They have no knowledge (nor do they want any) of how Islam was spread by the sword from the Arabian peninsula outward. They are useful idiots.

Apostle of California

Friday, January 16, AD 2015

(Apparently Pope Francis is going to canonize Father Serra during his visit to the US this year.  Finally!  Time to repost this post that ran in 2011.)

 

 

By the 18th Century Spain’s glory days were in her past, and her time as a great power was rapidly coming to an end.  It is therefore somewhat unusual that at this period in her history, Spain added to her vast colonial empire.  It would never have occurred but for the drive of one Spanish governor and the burning desire of a saint to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer was born on the island of Majorca, the largest of the Balearic islands, off the Mediterranean coast of Spain on November 24, 1713.  From his youth he had a desire to join the Franciscans and on September 14, 1730 he entered the Order of Friars Minor, and took the name of Junipero after Saint Junipero, one of the closest companions of Saint Francis.  He had a sharp mind, and before his ordination to the priesthood was appointed lector of philosophy.  He would go on to earn a doctorate in philosophy from Lullian University and went on to occupy the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy there.  A quiet life teaching philosophy was his for the asking.  Instead, he went off to be a missionary in the New World in 1749.

His first assignment was to teach in Mexico City, but that was not why he had left the Old World.  At his request he was assigned to the Sierra Gorda Indian missions in Central Mexico as a mission priest, a task which occupied him  for the next nine years.

In 1768 he was appointed the head of 15 Franciscans in Baja California who were taking over Jesuit missions to the Indians there, following the suppression of the Jesuit Order.  It was in Baja California that he met the Governor of that province, Gaspar de Portola.

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3 Responses to Apostle of California

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  • Hi Don:
    Very interesting. Didn’t know about this ‘Christians in the Movies” candidate. Only question regards his being born in Mallorca and your calling him Catalan like the governor . I guess his parents settled there after leaving Catalonia. Thanks for all your interesting posts.
    Peter

  • (Don’s wife Cathy:) I always thought the Illes Balears (including Mallorca) were part of Catalunya (at least, that’s what I was taught by my mainland-Catalan profs in grad school). I have read some folktales and song lyrics written in Mallorqui dialect and, although there are a few regional differences from mainland Catalan, they don’t seem pronounced enough to qualify as a separate language. (More like distinctive regional dialects within English.) Of course, if a native of Mallorca would come to the combox and argue for Mallorcan independence from Catalunya, I certainly wouldn’t dare argue with that person!

Calibortion

Wednesday, August 28, AD 2013

 

 

 

While most other states are tightening their abortion laws, California is in the process of allowing non-physicians to perform abortions:

 

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the details:

Remember, of course, that this is all about women’s health.  California already allows non-physicians to administer drug-induced abortions, but the state legislature has now passed a new law that clears nurses, physician assistants, and midwives to perform suction abortions in the first trimester:

Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants could perform a type of early abortion under a bill approved Monday by the state Senate, leaving the measure one step from the governor.

The measure by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would let those medical professionals perform what are known as aspiration abortions during the first trimester. The method involves inserting a tube and using suction to terminate a pregnancy.

Opponents in the legislature wondered how lowering the standards of providers could be squared with the oft-invoked concern for womens’ health from pro-abortion activists and the backers of this bill:

“Abortion is a serious medical procedure with vast complications, and I would argue that only the best-trained should conduct such an operation,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. “It has direct and profound impact on lives: the mother and the baby — and there is a baby.”

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said legalized abortion was supposed to end the days when women’s lives were put at risk. Yet he said Atkins’ bill would allow the procedures by providers who have less training and in clinics without sufficient backup if there are complications.

The entire effort seems very odd, especially in California.  In some states, notably conservative Mississippi, so few abortion providers exist that abortion-rights activists might well demand some kind of similar relief, and probably already have been demanding it.  That hardly seems relevant in liberal California, however.  Planned Parenthood alone has 20 locations in the Golden State, from Alhambra to Yuba City.  Access is hardly an issue in one of the most liberal states in the nation.

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9 Responses to Calibortion

  • ‘ California is a state completely dominated by the Democrat Party, whose central principle today is the right of mothers to slay their offspring and this legislation is their equivalent of a religious sacrament. ‘

    Steamrollers Party with the poison glue of calling any opposition a war on their own particular supporter/victims is the way of the cohesive, organized left.

    Any opposition to the waste, overreaching, and degeneration is bullied or worse.

    The ‘right’ is too fragmented to bring balance to the rampant growth of blatant, extreme change to norms. Whatever party that isn’t among the steamrollers, could benefit by influence were there a stand on a common bond of independence. The democrat party profits by the fractures. I, simplemindedly, think people, who aren’t steamrollers, should form a party of Independents for the good of what remains of the republic. Without identifying as an independent, each alternative (republican, tea party, libertarian, green) lacks enough magnetism to do much.

  • Where, oh where, is Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) when we need him?

    In case you don’t recall, the former congressman, who fell hook, line and reputation for Obama’s written promise that abortions would not be funded in the obscene health care travesty, lost his reelection bid shortly thereafter and has not been heard of since.

    That’s no big loss. The real tragedy is that Stupak’s cadre of representatives was sufficient to defeat the ACA that most Americans detest.

  • back to the coat hangers in back parlors again.

  • FYI, since it was referenced by 3rdstringer above, I recently had to endure listening to the B.S., that is Bart Stupak, speak. He is now a D.C. lobbyist for a self-insurance association.

    How rich is that? The guy single handedly passes Obamacare and now he’s lobbying for a group which is the antithesis of Obamacare. Only in the rabbit hole that is our capital!

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  • it is quite apparent that people just don’t care about “doing unto others as you have them do unto you”….it is not a hard concept but some people are just so bloody hardheaded that they just don’t care…being pregnant is just a problem and needs to be dealt with soon so you can go ahead and open your legs to the next idiot…abortion needs to be abolished..forever…

  • Remember the old pro-abort mantra: safe, legal and rare? Rare was always a bad joke. Safe has always been a lie for the child being aborted and as the Gosnell slaughter house revealed, it is often a bad joke as well for the mothers.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    As for the legal part of the clintonian slogan, the abortion advocates are going back to the quack operated back-alley abortion mill but this time it will wear the mantle of legality. Didn’t the pro-abortion advocates once claim that if only doctor-performed abortions were made legal, there would be plenty of qualified doctors willing to do the deed?

  • In his Principles of the Criminal Law of Scotland (1832), Sir Archibald Alison remarks that “the life of one human being is by such practices seriously endangered, and an incipient existence stifled in another.”

  • Oh boy!! I’m about to have a bad spell. What next? Will the school nurse murder your grandchild, with you unawares? This is more than mere liberalism. It is diabolical. We wonder why California is in flames. No. We wonder why it still exists. To the remaining decent residents of California. Flee.

I am Shocked! Shocked!

Friday, December 21, AD 2012

In the Age of Obama, California under Governor Moonbeam is a reliable predictor of where the nation is headed:  Bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, California released a report that revealed state tax revenues have plummeted even further below Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) estimates, even after residents voted to increase taxes via Proposition 30 in November’s elections.

At the end of November, “taxes were 3% short in the fiscal year that started in July,” which is “a gap of $936 million.” The state was 0.7% short a month before.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Finance, spun the poor numbers by saying Facebook’s stock vested earlier than expected, and “boosted October taxes higher, while decreasing November revenue.”

But the report found that tax revenues were below estimates nearly across the board, as total “year-to-date revenues are $936 million below the initial forecast.”

 

According to the report, personal income tax revenues were “$827 million below the month’s forecast of $4.387 billion.” Sales and use tax receipts “were $9 million below the month’s forecast of $1.601 billion” and the year-to-date sales tax revenue was $8 million below forecast.

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8 Responses to I am Shocked! Shocked!

  • McClarey, I love you! This is the funniest thing I’ve read all year!

  • I can’t take credit for finding this, as I was alerted to it by the Limbaugh show. The article is on “exit taxes” for people who move out of state.

    http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2012/12/17/when_will_death_spiral_states_impose_taxes_on_fleeing_citizens_100047.html

    An honest person, though, might reasonably ask “Hey, why shouldn’t people have to pay exit taxes? They voted for the stuff.” Well, some of them anyway. I remember some years back this girl who came ’round to promote a Big Government Cause during the state elections season. She was refreshingly honest enough to admit she didn’t know much about the issue, didn’t know who was backing it, and didn’t really care. She was being paid to go door to door to destribute campaign info, then she was moving out of state soon to be “with [her] man.”

    It makes me think that maybe the “secret ballot” idea isn’t always so great, because we don’t know who voted to raise whose taxes, increase regulations, promote abotion, etc.

  • It is interesting to me that you blast “Governor Moonbeam” for his bad economics and yet you don’t understand the simple difference between a currency user and a currency issuer.

    Don’t be a hypocrite. Learn the difference. Know that a currency issuer cannot go bankrupt in its own currency.

  • “Don’t be a hypocrite. Learn the difference. Know that a currency issuer cannot go bankrupt in its own currency.”

    Don’t be a fool Alex, and please learn the meaning of the term “hypocrite”. I spend a fair amount of my time dealing with bankruptcy cases. Neither California, unless Congress amends the Bankruptcy Code, nor the nation are going to be filing a bankruptcy petition and going through formal bankrupty. If a State cannot pay its debts however in any realistic fashion over any conceivable timescale, it is bankrupt whether a formal bankruptcy petition can be filed or not. If a nation cannot conceivably pay its debts it really doesn’t matter if it can print endless amounts of what will eventually be worthless currency (think Zimbabwe). The idea that the Federal government can endlessly conjure money out of thin air forever at the rate we are currently doing so is a fable that is coming to a close. Reality always catches up with moonbeamism.

  • There are 11-or-so states including CA, IL, NY, NJ and CT on the fiscal death spiral (unlike Uncle Sam: states can’t print money, monkey with interest rates, or borrow without limit) where tax-takers outnumber taxpayers; and the accrued public pension liabilities are unfunded. Sane people would consider evacuating such economic disaster areas.

    We are going to live to see if the MIT/Princeton PhD’s (better people than the rest of us! or credentialed cretins) are correct in their dreamt-up/death planet-sized economic plots.

    Regarding the US path: think Weimar inflation and schusssss.

  • New York is not on a fiscal death spiral and is one of the few states with a fully funded system of public employee pensions. It has problems with budgeting for several reasons, chief among them that it has a split legislature.

  • Art,

    I love you, man. I live in NYS, too. But, not for long: Machine-gun Kelly and Midget Mike Bulmbung are turning it into a police state.

    Hey, I should be grateful.

    They gave me another opportunity to observe how I react amid sudden death – 23 Aug outside the Empire State Bldg., but that’s another topic.

    According to the November 2012 Forbes magazine, the NY ratio of tax-takers to taxpayers is 1.07. Ergo, NYS in on the death spiral list.

    “Fully funded” public pension fund is in the “eye of the beholder.”

    I don’t want to bore anyone with the details.

  • “The article is on “exit taxes” for people who move out of state.”

    I’d almost suspect the author of the article is trying to “plant” the idea as a way of getting back at blue state residents for reelecting Obama, even though a lot of them (myself included) didn’t vote for him. If the state of Illinois is ever crazy enough to attempt this, I’ll just have to take up do-it-yourself rafting or hot air ballooning (like people used to do to escape communist countries).

A Change of Heart on Secession

Monday, July 9, AD 2012

Those who have been reading me for some time know my feelings on secession. So you will be surprised to learn that I have had a change of heart. No I am not now of the opinion that states should be able to secede for light and transient causes. Rather, it is time we should forcibly make states secede. And we should start with California.

Despite deepening doubts about the cost and feasibility of a $70 billion high-speed rail proposed to cross California, the State Senate on Friday narrowly approved legislation to spend $8 billion in federal and state money to begin construction, starting with a 130-mile stretch through the rural Central Valley.

The vote came as the federal government threatened to withdraw $3.3 billion in financing for the 520-mile project if the Legislature did not approve the release of state bond money to begin construction. Democrats and Republicans expressed fear that the project could be remembered as a boondoggle passed when the state is struggling through a fiscal crisis.

So the state’s almost bankrupt – what’s a another $70 billion for a project that the citizens desperately want. They do want it, right?

Polls suggests that voters have turned against the project after voting for it in 2008. Several Democrats, in arguing against the expenditure, warned that voters would be less likely to approve a tax package on the ballot this fall that Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said was necessary to avoid more cuts in spending on education and other programs.

But at least high speed rail is itself a necessary public works project that will reduce traffic congestion and provide millions with a low-cost means of travel.

Weeellllll . . . .

While these criticisms all have merit, we can’t lose sight of the fact the biggest reason high-speed rail won’t work in the U.S. is that it doesn’t make sense as a project funded from general tax revenues. High-speed rail is not a public good and it’s not mass transit. It is corridor transit. At best, it’s a niche market serving a highly specialized, relatively wealthy, and narrow customer base (high-income business travelers with expense accounts and tourists). It won’t relieve urban traffic congestion and its contribution to improving air quality (or reducing carbon dioxide emissions) will be negligible because it won’t carry enough riders to make a big difference. These factors undermine high-speed rail justificatons based on public good arguments.

That said, a more important factor may be more straightforward and direct: Certain preconditions are necessary for corridor transit to work, and they don’t exist in the U.S. Most fundamentally, intercity rail needs to connect major urbandowntowns or large employment centers that are close together–withing a couple hundred miles of each other. (In this respect, the emphasis on density per se is misplaced; the key is the density of the destinations.)

We simply don’t have that many large downtowns in the U.S. We have several midsize metro areas, but the downtowns are mere shadows of their former selves and contain a very small minority of the region’s job base. High-speed rail is doomed to failure under the best of circumstances because it simply can’t generate ridership. Spain and Europe is an interesting case in point: high-speed rail connects very large urban centers with populations in the millions that are closely connected as the “bird flies”: London-Paris, Paris-Brussels, Paris-Lyon, Hamburg-Berlin, Florence-Rome, Madrid-Barcelona. Many of these cities are also very large: London and Paris both boast populations greater than 10 million. Rome, Berlin, Madrid, and Barcelona have populations between 2 million and 5 million.

To recap: the state is bankrupt, the voters don’t want to fund the high speed rail project, and the project would very likely have nowhere near the benefit its proponents suggest it will have.

Why of course it only makes sense to proceed.

Meanwhile, the state is cutting out a few things which might be a tad more critical.

California may very well sink into the ocean one day. Can we just cut it off before it sinks the rest of us?

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32 Responses to A Change of Heart on Secession

  • California can take Chicago with it! I hereby announce the foundation of a movement for the sane part of Illinois to secede from Chicago! They can even keep the name Illinois. We will be the Land of Lincoln! Our State Song:

  • I have long driven people from the room or my end of the bar by stating my case that we should trade Canada everything east of New York for everything west of Ontario. They would actually gain 3-4 million in population and be rid of those pesky, independent-minded west-provincial cowboys, and, while it might cost us New Hampshire, we’d be rid of Vermont, Connecticut and, most importantly, Massachusetts.

    Whoever’s left after that diatribe then gets to hear my plans to shrink Washington DC to an area bordered by K street on the north to 2nd Street on the east, south along that line to the rivers and then down, around and back northwest up to where the Rock Creek & Potomac meet K again just southeast of Georgetown. Maybe shoot east along M Street on the south to the river, to keep the Navy Yard.

    The rest reverts to Maryland which we can sell back to the Indians along with Delaware.

  • Common’ the Government is on a roll subsidizing projects that go bellyup before the ink is dry on the check. Why stop now? Monopoly money is part of the game.

  • “I hereby announce the foundation of a movement for the sane part of Illinois to secede from Chicago!”

    So where does the “sane part of Illinois” officially end and Chicago begin? At the city limits? At the Cook County line? Somewhere in the ‘burbs? At I-80 and/or I-39? Or somewhere else?

  • We can put it to a county by county plebiscite Elaine! Judging from last year’s gubernatorial results I suspect that only Cook would be left to “Rump Illinois”!

    http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=2010&fips=17&f=0&off=5&elect=0

  • Illinois of course has a tradition of secession movements:

    “In 1925, Cook County, which contains Chicago, considered seceding from Illinois as a new state named Chicago.[15] This proposal was revived in November 2011 by State Representatives Bill Mitchell and Adam Brown, who felt that all of Illinois outside of Cook County should become a separate state due to Chicago “dictating its views” to the rest of the state.[16]

    In 1861, the southern region of Illinois, known as Little Egypt, made a proposal to secede from the rest of Illinois due to cultural and political differences from Chicago and much of Central and Northern Illinois.[17]

    In the early 1970s residents of Forgottonia in western Illinois protested what they felt was a lack of concern for its needs, sparking a secession proposal.[18″

  • “Judging from last year’s gubernatorial results I suspect that only Cook would be left to ‘Rump Illinois'”

    I dunno about that. It wasn’t that long ago that Illinois was a genuine highly coveted swing state that in presidential elections could go either way — in the 1960s and early 70s it had a status similar to Florida or Ohio today. Only in about the past 20-25 years has it become “blue,” and that isn’t because of Cook County alone; it’s because the suburbs or “collar counties” that used to be reliably GOP have swung the other way. So in order to truly purge Illinois of Chicago Democrat/liberal influence, you might have to lop off all or part of several collar counties, most likely including Lake (Waukegan) and Will (Joliet).

    Personally I would suggest using the following formula: communities in which the primary Major League Baseball rivalry is Cubs-White Sox are part of Chicago while communities in which the primary baseball rivalry is Cubs-Cardinals belong with Downstate.

  • “it’s because the suburbs or “collar counties” that used to be reliably GOP have swung the other way.”

    Largely due to refugees from Cook County who brought their Dem ways with them. I hate to say it, but the large Catholic population in Cook County votes like Catholic populations in the Northeast of the country: heavily Democrat. The heavy Hispanic influx into the Chicago area in recent decades has also tilted the scales to the Democrats.

    However, without Cook County, most years, Illinois would be strongly Republican with the Democrats elected usually being far more conservative than the Democrats elected from Cook County.

  • Truth.

    My commie, ex-twin brother (I refer to him as the wife’s brother-in-law) and his maoist, live-in girlfriend moved to New Hampshire because they refuse to pay Taxachussetts taxes. Such infiltrators are wrecking the “Live Free or Die” state.

    Superannuated commies are so “gay.”

  • If high speed rail works only for connecting large urban centers a couple hundred miles apart, then it would make more sense someplace like Texas. Connecting Houston, Dallas, San Antonio (with a stop in Austin) seems to fit the bill. Of course, we already have Southwest Airlines that pretty much was born for that very reason, and would likely take a huge hit were such a rail to exist. There has been talk of the rail, and maybe even a vote or poll IIRC, but we can’t afford it any more than California.

  • If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot? My bet is Texas, because enough non-Texans hate it, and a good number of Texans would vote to leave. Then again, nearly every New Yorker and Pennsylvanian would vote against New Jersey, so you can’t rule them out either. Maybe Cali would come in third.

  • If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot?

    Not quite the same, but Public Policy Polling earlier this year did a state popularity contest, looking at party affiliation:

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_US_022112.pdf

    California did worst because Democrats don’t like it very much and Republicans absolutely despise it; Texas ended up nearer the middle of the pack because people tend either to love it or to hate it, enough that the two tend to balance each other out. Hawaii wins the contest because Democrats absolutely love it and Republicans think it’s at least OK; I imagine that’s more because of hula dancers and beaches rather than cost of living or politics. Colorado and Tennessee finished second and third most popular and Illinois and New Jersey finished second and third most unpopular.

    The numbers, of course, are standing for so many things that they don’t really mean much. And, of course, not all states are equally in public eye — if I recall correctly there were both more people in the poll who hate (or hate) Texas than had any opinion at all about West Virginia. But it’s fun to look at.

  • Why do people hate Texas ? I don’t think we hate the rest of you. We just ignore you. P.S. I though California had already seceded and rejoined Mexico.

  • Not too many Texas haters around these parts, Mrs. B. I’d happily flee to the great republic when the rest of the Union is torn asunder.

  • Why do people hate Texas ?

    Hurricanes, Tornadoes, 100-degree heat, Lyndon Johnson, and harboring Rod Dreher for 10 years.

  • Massive, massive, MASSIVE cities, all built for automobiles bearing human cargo. Incomprehensible tangles of limited access highways. The bats on that bridge in Austin.

  • It has always bugged me how difficult it is to get the shy, retiring and modest Texans to speak up on behalf of their state. 🙂

  • El Lay and New Yawk are small?

  • Pinky said, “If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot? My bet is Texas.”

    Give us some tips! Many of us in here will happily engage in whatever behavior will help us get booted! (Within the bounds of morality, of course.)

  • Art Deco said, “The bats on that bridge in Austin.”

    Avian chauvinist…

  • California can make this work! Declare mass transit a right and tax anyone not particpating in it. Thank you John Roberts and your corn flake legal mind.

    Obama will fix unemployment in a similar way. Declare employment a right and tax anyone not employed.

    The light of liberty burns a little dimmer these days.

  • Along these lines, here are some humorous maps of the U.S. collected from the interwebs:

    — The Map of America As Seen By A New Yorker :

    http://www.funnyordie.com/articles/a106c8188f/the-map-of-america-as-seen-by-a-new-yorker

    — The Chicagoan’s view of the U.S.: Downstate Illinois is marked “Here be dragons” and the “cult of Illiniwek HQ” has been moved south to somewhere around Mt. Vernon:

    http://chicagoist.com/2011/10/25/map_bares_truth_as_to_how_chicagoan.php

    — The Texan’s Map of the United States:

    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/172-a-texans-map-of-the-united-states

    — And finally, the Californian’s Map of the United States:

    http://www.delphine-ephemera.com/delphine-ephemera/2011/3/30/map-of-the-usa-from-a-californians-perspective.html

  • Elaine, I have encountered Chicago attorneys for whom the state south of Joliet might as well have been marked Here Be Dragons!

  • Growing up in New York City we pretty much viewed anything north of the Bronx as “upstate,” that faraway land of unattached housing and probably cows and stuff.

  • Radio show had an interesting hypothetical. What if the U.S. agreed to split and make two countries, one run by democrats and the other by republicans? Which one would people move to? Why? Which one would be the most successful? Why?

  • that faraway land of unattached housing and probably cows and stuff.

    The boundary is around Peekskill and dairy farming was important up until comparatively recently.

  • Oh, I know Art, I’m just offering the perception of the average City boy.

  • As some have intimated, it makes no difference to evict a state if the residents can move to the remainder, Puerto Rico like. Leftists have no cognitive dissonance in fleeing a leftist disaster and then voting for another one where they relocated.

  • The big divide in the US isn’t between states; it’s rural vs urban. Or rural/small-town versus urban/commuters. It’s an odd thing, but Austin has more in common with Philadelphia politically than either city has with people who live an hour away. There’s the occasional Republican city, and there are small-town hippies in Iowa and Oregon, but for the most part the pattern holds. You couldn’t create a Republican and a Democratic US by dividing “red” and “blue” states like Kyle mentioned. It’s a good thing too, or else a lot of people would be pushing for it.

    I wonder if that’s a cause or an effect of our current political climate? We don’t have North vs South any more, or frontier vs civilization. Instead we have a hostile standoff in nearly every state capitol. It seems like every state has a good 40% of the population who can’t stand the rest of the state.

  • Many large cities contain liberals because flies are attracted to honey. If you like powerful government and entitlements, you need to be close to the bureaucracy. However, their population can be easily outnumbered by the more conservative burbs and rural areas.

    This is not country vs. city. There is a philosophical divide. My hypothetical asks what would happen if the nation divided in two, one with a conservative governance headed by the republicans and the other containing the liberals. Where would most people move? Which would be more successful?

    Given the path the liberals have taken America, I would not object to the hypothetical becoming reality. The only problem is how to keep the liberals out of conservative country when they begin to migrate from their self-destruction. And, would citizens of conservative country be able to stomach watching liberal country become third world?

  • Kyle – Two points. First of all, the conservatives don’t overwhelmingly outnumber the liberals, at least if voting is any indication. The last several presidential races have been dead heats, and both houses of Congress have been remarkably close in composition since 1994, except for the Democrats’ wins in the Senate in 2006-2008. More people self-identify as conservative than as liberal, but self-identification doesn’t mean much.

    Secondly, while I agree that there is a philosophical divide, it does mirror the urban/rural divide pretty closely. In every state I can think of, the metro areas’ Democratic vote is countered by the outlying areas’ Republican vote.

  • Maybe it wasn’t just pop malarky when Barbra “Liberals Did Wonderful Things During WW2” Streisand sang “People . . . People who need people . . .”

    It seems that’s the kind of people who live in cities. Country folks don’t need anything but their guns and their religion.

What is Harvey Milk Day?

Monday, May 23, AD 2011

Save California has released an informational video explaining all of the details conveniently left out by the Kulturkampf Jihadists otherwise known as Liberals/Progressives and ACLU in celebrating high-risk sex by exposing it to innocent five year old children in California’s public schools.

For the Save California website click here.

Hat Tip: Cal Catholic Daily

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44 Responses to What is Harvey Milk Day?

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  • I heard or read recently that semen neutralizes the environment of the woman’s vagina so that it will be more receptive to the implantation of the new life. I have not taken the time to investigate this phenomena but at first sense this would seem to be true. When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?

    God forgives always
    Man forgives sometimes
    Mother Nature never forgives.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

  • Kurt,

    You have any evidence to back it up outside of your own personal feelings based nothing on except… *feelings*.

  • Tito,

    If you can’t do the math on that in your own head, you have no understanding of the evil of abortion. I’m sorry for that.

  • Kurt,

    When you leave a cryptic comment, expect the type of comment to that response.

    In the meantime, brush up on your charity.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

    Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but honestly one cannot easily know. One cannot simply compare the number of abortions to the number abuses at the hands of same-sex homosexual parents because the number of pregnant women and the number of such parents are not comparable. But it seems intuitively correct to me that what you say is almost certainly true. But I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion rather than as a brief for same sex homosexual parenting.

  • Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

    Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.

    Anyway, more children are harmed in the womb of their heterosexual mother than in the care of a homosexual couple.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but … I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion…

    Without a doubt.

  • Given that about 24% of pregnancies nationwide end in abortion, even fighting in the trenches of World War One was safer than being an unborn child in modern America. I’m not sure that the comparison is a hugely useful one.

    That kind of reasoning would convince one that playing Russian Roulette is a good idea.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    Abortions are not caused by “lack of adoption”. If you ask “Planned Parenthood”, they explicitly say that killing the baby is better then putting up for adoption. Those feminists simply do not want babies to be born.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

  • Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller), why not Harvey Milk?

    “When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?”

    What in the world?

  • > “Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video”

    What “pseudo-science”?

    >”, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller)”

    Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.

    Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them; it makes no logical sense to say “because slave-owners are honored, perverts must be honored too”. What kind of logic is that?

    >”, why not Harvey Milk?”

    Besides what I have said above, there is the fact the making _children_ honor a _child predator_ is pretty much unbelievable. What next? Will we make Jews honor Hitler?

  • “Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.”

    I think all of that applies to Harvey Milk.

    “Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them”

    I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

  • It’s sick out there and getting sicker.

  • @RR
    > “I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.”

    For _children_? Really?

    One thing is for an adult to study academically the non-evil work of a guy who also did evil. For example, last year I studied the work of a logician who was also a Nazi. It was OK, because I am an adult, and also because we were only studying his work – and not _honoring_ the man.

    But

    1) small children
    2) honoring
    3) a child predator

    ? Really? How can this even be considered?

  • Small children honoring a slaveowner? Maybe you leave out the bad parts until they’re a bit older. I think that’s how most are taught and I’m sure that’s how Harvey Milk is taught.

  • RR,
    Referring to Columbus as a genocidal maniac is an unsupportable stupid slur.

  • I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

    He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978. He was none too scrupulous. I respect people who go into business for themselves and are willing to take on the time-consuming mess of municipal budgets, legislation, and constituent service. I cannot see what is heroic about him. My township supervisor compares favorably to Harvey Milk, but the New York state legislature will never insist that a day be devoted to his life and works in the state’s schools.

  • Milk is celebrated by the powers that be in California for only one thing: he was one of the first elected officials in that state who was an open homosexual. This is all about identity politics and the promotion of the homosexual agenda, and to pretend otherwise is as foolish as it is mendacious.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

  • They actually accomplished something RR. All Mr. Milk accomplished was being badly ensnared in a politically correct sin.

  • He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978.

    Bingo.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

    1. Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.

    2. If there is a ‘Sally Ride Day’ or a ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ prescribed by any state legislature, can you tell us which one?

    3. Dr. Ride is an astrophysicist who did two things very few people do: completing the terminal degree in the hardest of hard sciences and traveling in space.

    4. I doubt Stokely Carmichael or H. Rap Brown took, during their years as public figures, more than a passing interest in Jackie Robinson.

    5. Discussion of the life of both can be framed in a way that is politically sectarian and distortive (and thus inadvisable).

  • Let’s also not forget Milk’s unwavering public support for the atheist, communist, bisexual rapist and mass murderer Jim Jones. Quite a hero, that Harvey Milk..

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California. That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant.

  • Another thing. Harvey Milk Day doesn’t mandate the teaching of anything. Teachers could teach or not teach kids about him with or without the day.

  • “Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.”

    I agree. Though they can be taught as part of a larger lesson on women’s history or black history. But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California.

    And what people are saying is that this is not an “achievement” which needs to be discussed extensively with elementary school kids.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • @Kurt

    “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant

    No. he. isn’t. Except as a study in aspects of political culture. And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.

  • But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

    It’s not like the teachers do not have other things to discuss.

  • Milk wasn’t actually the first openly gay politician in California. In fact, when Milk finally did win elected office, his main opponent was another openly gay man (Richard Stokes) who had been “out” longer than Milk.

  • @Kurt
    > “I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.”

    What? What is the logic here?

  • @Darwin, is being the first black MLB player an “achievement”? At the very least, the election of Harvey Milk is a significant milestone.

    I also didn’t say anything about “extensive” discussion.

    Reading the California Education Code, there are lots of holidays that most likely go uncelebrated in schools. California Poppy Day? It looks like they designated a day for every minority and picked a representative to put a face on the day. Blacks (Crispus Attucks) , Asians (Fred Korematsu), Hispanics (Cesar Chavez), women (Susan B Anthony), environmentalists (John Muir), and Republicans (Ronald Reagan). Native Americans get a day but no name.

  • “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder. It is as though man’s greatest good were to have everything good, except himself.” St. Augustine, The City of God

  • “And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.”

    Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation? I guess, properly teaching Harvey Milk is even more important than I thought.

  • “… properly teaching Harvey Milk …”?

    Good grief! Really?

  • Given the time limits in history classrooms, “properly teaching” everyone’s trail-blazing icon is a zero-sum game. Whom do we exclude as a result?

  • Pogo: “We have met the enemy. And, he is us!”

  • Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation?

    White was at city hall to meet with Mayor George Moscone. His encounter with Milk was happenstance.

    There was prior to Milk’s election an explicit homosexual in the Minnesota legislature and one in the Massachusetts legislature.

  • A few minutes after White was admitted to the mayor’s office, the secretary heard the sound of his raised voice and then several dull thuds. White then exited the mayor’s office, reloaded his gun while making sure he was not observed, and ran to the area of the building housing the supervisors’ offices and used his key to enter. There, Supervisor Feinstein called to him, but White said to her, “I have to do something first,” and asked to meet with Supervisor Milk. Promptly, within 15 seconds of entering Milk’s office, White shot Milk once through his mid-section, then twice more into his chest. When Milk fell to the ground, White shot him through the back of the head splattering the office with blood. Then White put the muzzle of his gun against Harvey Milk’s skull and blew out the remainder of his brains. White confessed that he was upset about losing his job and that he had killed Milk because he had thought that Milk had plotted to have him removed. White’s aide testified that she had driven White to City Hall that day, and that White had told her in the car (while he was armed with his concealed weapon and extra bullets, unbeknownst to her) that he was planning to see both Moscone and Milk. In his confession, White claimed he didn’t know why he brought his gun and ten extra bullets to City Hall that day.

    According to Happenstance Theory, it was happenstance that White went to City Hall that day, happenstance that he brought a gun with him plus ten extra bullets, happenstance that Moscone was shot, happenstance that White then reloaded his gun with the extra bullets he happened to have brought with him that day, happenstance that he specifically then asked to see Milk, happenstance that he then promptly shot Milk, not once, but over and over again, happenstance that White confessed that he killed Milk because he had thought Milk had plotted against him, and happenstance that after having shot the two people he reportedly had planned to see that day, he didn’t again reload his gun like he did before requesting to see Milk but instead left for the day. And happenstance that White wrote befote his suicide in 1985 that “I shot [Moscone] five times, then reloaded and went down the hall to do the same thing to Harvey… [Moscone] decided for me.” Happenstance that “If I had won, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with Harvey.” “Down the hall to Harvey’s office. His aide let me in. I shut the door, pulled out the gun, and wiped the smirk off Harvey’s face with five more bullets.”

    According to Happenstance Theory, everything, including every murder, every election, everything, is happenstance, for if the murderer’s life had been different, if George Moscone had said White could have his job back, if a butterfly somewhere over the Amazon had flapped its wings just a little faster, things woulda coulda have happened otherwise. But instead, we had a “Crash Moment”, as Oprah might call it, and now we have Harvey Milk Day. All happenstance.

Not So Fast…

Monday, August 16, AD 2010

A Panel of the 9th Circuit has surprisingly issued a wise decision, deciding to allow Proposition 8 to remain in place while the 9th Circuit considers its constitutionality.

This was undoubtedly the right decision. It makes no sense to force a state to marry people while knowing that a later decision could invalidate all those marriages.

One hopes that this is the beginning of a trend in reversing Judge Walker, whose rulings in this case can best be described as what happens when judicial activism meets the dictatorship of relativism.

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12 Responses to Not So Fast…

  • Judge Walker’s performance in this case would warrant impeachment if we were living in a just world. His bias in this case has been clear from the beginning and totally shameless.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/243693/most-egregious-performance-ever-federal-district-judge-ed-whelan

  • Was this actually surprising? Wasn’t everyone expecting a stay? I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

  • I was half expecting Judge Walker to stay his own decision.

    Sucka.

  • I was, but I was hoping Walker would be impartial enough to grant the stay himself. I hadn’t been paying attention to the trial, but I think Don is right: this is a really poor performance by a judge, and I sincerely hope Christians who handle abortion trials learn from Walker’s example of how not to behave.

  • Isn’t it awesome how the people of the state can decide the matter, but its really up to a judge or a panel of judges to decide what’s good for them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.” Some decisions though have got to be hard to re-cast. This is probably one of them.

  • I’m really curious about how the law schools will spin this. There was so much effort spent “debunking the myth” that Left-leaning judges are “activist.”

    Actually, that’s not been my experience. The current spin (and I got it today in the opening class for Con Law II, which is about the Bill of Rights) is that all judges today are activist, not just liberals. Basically, when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

  • when Scalia (their favorite target) or any conservative attacks activism, they’re being hypocrites and point to the gun rights decisions, among others.

    Judge A thinks the phrase “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, in a brief article which concerns that subject and the utility of the militia, refers to a personal right. Judge B fancies the phrase, “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” in an omnibus amendment granting freed slaves citizenship and cleaning up some other business from the civil war, requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes no matter what the various elected officials and general referenda say. Both are equally ‘activist’ to your classmates in Con Law II. Emphasis on ‘con’.

  • Good Morning Mr. Denton,

    1st – I hope your law school years are good and fruitful. Good luck and God bless.

    2nd – The narratives keep ranging back to what the Constitution IS – the whole Originalist vs. Living Constitutionalist debate. Since you are in law school, I’ll remind you that the Constitution is whatever your prof says it is. Work with their narrative and your grades will reflect your wisdom. (That is something I often found hard to do and my grades reflected that pig-headedness.)

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position than claiming that originalists are equally activist.

  • In my experience, liberals embrace judicial activism. I think that’s a much more intellectually honest position

    The notion that the phrases “The Judicial power shall extend to all cases under this Constitution” and “deny any person the equal protection of the laws” give you a roving mandate to arbitrarily annul any social policy you care to can be called many things. “Intellectually honest” is not one of them.

  • RR,

    How about a gravatar pic for your handle?

California Nightmaring

Thursday, August 12, AD 2010

In a remarkably good article here at newgeography, Joel Kotkin details how California has been transformed from the Golden State to the state most likely to go bankrupt.  He sums up his argument as follows:

What went so wrong? The answer lies in a change in the nature of progressive politics in California. During the second half of the twentieth century, the state shifted from an older progressivism, which emphasized infrastructure investment and business growth, to a newer version, which views the private sector much the way the Huns viewed a city—as something to be sacked and plundered. The result is two separate California realities: a lucrative one for the wealthy and for government workers, who are largely insulated from economic decline; and a grim one for the private-sector middle and working classes, who are fleeing the state.

Kotkin notes that government spending was completely out of control prior to the present Great Recession:

Between 2003 and 2007, California state and local government spending grew 31 percent, even as the state’s population grew just 5 percent. The overall tax burden as a percentage of state income, once middling among the states, has risen to the sixth-highest in the nation, says the Tax Foundation. Since 1990, according to an analysis by California Lutheran University, the state’s share of overall U.S. employment has dropped a remarkable 10 percent. When the state economy has done well, it has usually been the result of asset inflation—first during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, and then during the housing boom, which was responsible for nearly half of all jobs created earlier in this decade.

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2 Responses to California Nightmaring

  • Truth.

    Sadly, the DNC propaganda apparatchnik/MSM will not cover the truth.

    It seems the geniuses and college professors that rule us are out to destroy the racist, unjust private economy, or they are really clueless.

  • All you have to do is look at the Bell Ca public officials or the state employees who work like crazy on thier last year in order to pad their lifetime retirement benefits. There are plenty of areas to point at when it comes to waste and fraud.

    I just wish the common sense would come back … It’s gone!

Culture War

Thursday, August 5, AD 2010

People justly tire of the term “culture war” and find themselves asking, like the philosopher Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

And yet watching the disparate reactions to yesterday’s Federal Court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8 (for now) it struck me that the culture war terminology is quite apt. What is termed the culture was is essentially a zero sum game over which of two roughly equally numerous groups will be allowed to define the dominant understandings of culture and society in our country. by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country. And, presumably, is same sex marriage advocates lose, they will in turn consider themselves aliens within the country. Given that it is the most basic units and purposes of society which are in dispute, it seems hard to see how it can be any other way. And while the dispute is to an extent regional, it is much more so philosophical and ideological, making the culture war more resemble the Spanish Civil War than the American. Every city and region has representatives of both sides.

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19 Responses to Culture War

  • To your point about it being impossible to make the traditionalist case: I thought Frank Beckwith’s following comment over at What’s Wrong With the World was spot on:

    Political liberalism was invented in the mid-1980s in order to provide a theoretical foundation that can exclude religiously-informed policy proposals while seeming to defend religious liberty and citizen participation. There had, of course, always been many liberalisms, including the Lockean, Kantian, Millean, Hobbsean, and Roussean varieties. But each suffered from the same problem: each presupposed a particular philosophical anthropology as the correct account of humanity. This was a problem because popular liberalism suggested neutrality on matters of worldview. So, you could not very well say that the state should be neutral on such matters while requiring it to embrace a particular one. Social conservatives understood this since the mid-1950s, as seen in what Bill Buckley called “the great liberal dilemma.” But with the ascendancy of the religious right and its insistence that “liberalism” is not as neutral as its proponents claim–that it too tries to answer the same questions that traditional religions answer–folks like Rawls needed a new way to defend liberalism in a pluralistic society that was both morally required but did not depend on a particular metaphysics. Presto, we get “political liberalism,” and with its numerous defenders including Rawls, Gaus (who is more of a libertarian), Nagel, and to a certain extent Dworkin.

    So, instead of explicitly defending metaphysical liberalism, we get political liberalism with allegedly none of the metaphysical commitments. But, strangely, on every issue about which metaphysical liberalism would take a stand–e.g., abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, etc.–political liberalism gets the exact same results. Wow, what a coincidence! But the benefit of political liberalism is you can rule your opponents’ views as a priori violations of political liberalism while saying that their views are still “rational.” This means you get to sound like you respect pluralism, diversity, and the rationality of your opponents’ point of view while shutting them out of the debate on “principled grounds.”

    This is why on the issue of homosexual conduct, those that are critical of it for moral reasons cannot be considered reasonable actors who simply disagree with others on the issue. They must be irrational. For if they are rational–that is, if there views are not unreasonable to hold–then the state cannot, according to the canons of liberalism, force these citizens to acquiesce in their public and private lives. But this means that same-sex unions would not be treated equally, since political liberalism would grant the legitimacy of those who think homosexual acts are immoral. Consequently, the bigot charge is so fierce and not well-argued. It is meant to intimidate and silence, not persuade or convince. For, again, to suggest the position is arguable is to grant it legitimacy, and that simply cannot be allowed.

    So, despite Rawls’ wonderful intention to provide a theoretical grounding on which people with differing points of view on worldview matters can dialogue in a climate of mutual respect and understanding, he failed miserably. For what he in fact did was give to either side in the culture war, the ultimate weapon: declare the other side “unreasonable,” for once that sticks the game is over and there is no need to treat the other with respect or equal regard.

  • Well, apparently the history standards used in CA are even worse than I thought if Judge Walker can say with a straight face that historically there were no restrictions on marriage based on gender and that marriage was traditionally a matter of mutual consent. Heck in many parts of the world today, mutual consent STILL has nothing to do with marriage. I bet he would die before giving the Catholic Church credit with introducing consent as a feature of marriage.

    And since when does marriage have nothing to do with procreation? Many states require blood tests for Ruebella, which has everything to do with preventing birth defects in the future children of the marriage. (They don’t excuse you from the blood test just because you say you don’t plan on having children.)

    Also, inheritance law is very much intertwined with marriage both now and historically. But hey, with after death conceptions now due to IVF technology, maybe our culture should just declare children chattel and stop trying to pretend everything that the adults want magically is good for the children. We can just declare it so and move on with clear consciences!

  • Why should they (gays) be happy? They may as well be miserable like the rest fo us. Farce/OFF

    Did the judge rule YOU cannot have religious morailty in LAW? I like that part. Get the welfare (Catholic Social Justice) state off our backs.

    To your point: J. M. Barrie, “God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December.”

  • The following comment of mine was censored by the Huffington Post and taken off the site. It stated, “This comment was removed in accordance with HuffPost’s moderation guidelines.” I was totally taken aback. My words were neither offensive or in bad taste in anyway. Here is what I wrote:

    When anyone is vocal against gay marriage and homosexuality, supporters of gay rights like to label them as intolerant, prejudice and ignorant. I don’t consider myself any of the three. I was taught that we are all part of the human race and, therefore, no one is better than anyone else, regardless of race, class or religion. I feel I have always been on the right side, fighting for the poor, the minority, etc. But being gay is a desire and not a right.
    Whatever people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires. I know people who are gay, and I treat them no differently, than I do anybody else. Everyone should be free from ridicule and attack, but to go so far as to give rights to an abnormal desire that contradicts nature since the beginning of time is wrong and can only lead to an untested and precarious road. You don’t have to be religious or a moralist to know that what isn’t natural shouldn’t be. Gay people should neither be attacked nor encouraged, but helped and prayed for. This ruling is misguided because the law has no place in sanctioning unnatural and defective desires and acts.

  • Well now you’ve said several offensive things. Calling homosexuality a “desire” and not a “right”. Calling it an “abnormal desire that contradicts nature” and labelling it “wrong.” Finally you call for us to “pray” for them. You are engaging in hate speech you know.

  • by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country

    well, obviously that was the goal all along. But they would not have gone the federal route if they could have won state by state. when the people are asked, they emphatically say no.

    Today, gender is not
    relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law.

    where the hell does he come up with this?

    It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires.

    I would have to quibble with this. It is precisely our place to judge actions and desires. We do that all the time – it’s called enforcing the law. The judge himself did it in this case by judging that those whose actions/desires are that same sex couples should not be recognized as married are wrong.

    It is not our place to judge the eternal destination of someone’s soul because of those actions and desires.

  • The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household

    Great. So when does polygamy kick in? I chose a spouse in 2010, then I chose another spouse in 2011, then I chose another in 2012….

    Someone owes the Mormons a BIG time apology!

  • If those words were offensive, then most comments would be pulled, since I have seen a lot worse on the web. We have something in this country called freedom of speech. You may not agree with me, but I kept it clean. I guess they just thought my simple words would sway others.

  • I was being sarcastic. I actually agree with you.

  • But I suspect others would not be sarcastic if they said such to you. That’s why your post was pulled. Soon you may not be able to say it publicly.

  • Ruth,

    It’s pure and simple censorship.

    You are evil if you disagree with them. At least they are not planning to destroy you, yet.

  • Jess,

    …maybe our culture should just declare children chattel…

    Welcome to the Roman Republic circa 150 BC.

    Where children were actually described as property of the father (they were a strictly paternally driven society back then).

    So with that, progressives are advocating for a regression towards olde tyme Roman Law.

  • Dear Judge: repeat after me: The state did not create marriage. The state does not own marriage. The state receives marriage as a cultural institution. The state is not the culture, it serves the culture. The state is a servant obligated to respect and foster the culture’s pre-existing and more fundamental institutions. Marriage is a cultural institution constituting relations between a man and a woman, period.

  • Tony-
    Judge Walker would take your framework of thinking about marriage and say that homosexual unions are apart of the contemporary culture and that Prop 8 was the state trying to own marriage.

    But of course, I get what you are saying and you are correct: marriage is a pre-political, natural institution; the state has no competency to alter it.

    There is no chance for common ground on this issue: as Elizabeth Anscombe noted decades ago, this battle was lost when artificial contraception became normal.

    Time to get out your MacIntyre, reread it and weep.

  • Also, Frank Beckwith noted a key logical flaw in Walker’s opinion:

    “Oddly, the judge claims that the belief that heterosexual monogamy is better than homosexual unions cannot be one of the reasons. But in that case, the judge begs the question, since that is precisely why we should privilege male-female marriage. So, it turns out male-female marriage is unconstitutional become it is male-female marriage. That’s called begging the question.”

  • For the sake of a view from the other side, here’s a post by a Christian who voted against Prop 8 & now regrets it…good illustration of how constant media exposure can muddle thinking:

    http://www.elizabethesther.com/threes_a_crowd/2010/08/why-i-regret-voting-yes-on-prop-8.html#comment-6a00d83451d95b69e2013486109b9c970c

  • Fellow Catholics, we must beat on our own chests. Judge Walker’s reasoning is largely unassailable and may well be upheld by the Supreme Court, perhaps even with the votes of some Catholic justices. The case in favor of Prop 8 was prepared weakly, and the defendant (Gov. Schwarzenegger) didn’t really want to fight it. Both Schwarzenegger and the Attorney General of CA have since come out in support of same-sex marriage. Nobody saw that the issue shouldn’t be presented as about the nature of marriage but as about the nature of sex. It should have been built on “Male and female He created them” (Gen 1:26), by arguing that individuals (or, for Catholics, persons) by nature belong to one of two sexes and that there is no artificially chosen “gender”. Catholics appear to be about the only ones left who have an interest in pursuing the case. Will we even be strong enough to grasp the last and minute chance before the Supreme Court? Now or never. Unified and strong leadership by our bishops is necessary, as is support by our universities, media, and best legal minds.

  • Do any of you know anyone who is gay? Do any of you know any gay couples? There are many, many, gay couples in committed relationships who simply want the same benefits under the law. Spousal inheritance, survivor benefits, next of kin rights at the hospital, visitation rights. Have any of you read the science on homosexuality? It is not a choice, and it is natural. Homosexuality is present in nature in many different animal species. Homosexual people are physiologically different than straight people. 10% of all populations are historically gay, and not something people can control and not something you should discriminate against in civil law. It is the American Law we are talking about here. Now you can decide.. do you want to live in a Free country, where we are all able to pursue life, liberty and happiness, or would you rather your homosexual brothers and sisters just continue to commit suicide for fear of rejection by their families, be forced from their homes when their partners of sixty years pass away and their relatives come and take everything, or lose rights to children they raised in a break-up? Jesus Christ never spoke of homosexuality, and by the majority of theologians he was the radical liberal of his day. Learn to live and let live. The agreement two people have to each other under the law affects none but those two people. In a pluralistic, free society we have to learn that the law applies to EVERYONE, not just the majority. A man and a woman can still get married as they always could have so tell me how does this impact them? This is about equal protection under U.S. law for all families in this country. If you want the rule of religion to to be the basis of civil law in the country you live in, please go look at Muslim countries that run on Sharia law as an example of how backwards it could become. Separation of Church and state, as well as Freedom of Religion are a beautiful thing. Now, if you want to really focus on ridding the world of sexual deviance, take a look at your own “celibate”, child molesting priests and the Popes who shelter them.

  • David,

    There is an unselfconscious irony in someone showing up to demand tolerance, while loudly displaying his own intolerance of anyone with a view different from his own. A great deal of what you say is ignorant, or untrue, but what comes through very clearly is that you absolutely and unconditionally despise anyone who thinks different from you. How you expect this to be persuasive from those who differ from you because they have thought long and deeply about their beliefs is beyond me.

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

It's About the Children. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

I must confess that today’s judicial ruling out of California which overturned Proposition 8 has riled me up, suprisingly so. I heard about the ruling while listening to the livestream of a tech podcast in which one of the three podcasters is a lesbian (previously “married” in CA) and the other two (middle-aged married men) evidently supported the decision. The ease with which they threw out bromides (“finally, equality!”) bothered me, primarily because it revealed two things: 1. a group of intelligent people couldn’t grasp that there might be real objections to same sex “marriage”, and 2. as I’ve noted previously, too many (probably most) Americans simply don’t understand the essential nature of marriage. Simply put, the state’s interest isn’t strong feelings or commitment… it’s children. And — to state the obvious — a homosexual relationship isn’t structured towards procreation the way marriage is.

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29 Responses to It's About the Children. Seriously.

  • Well said.

  • Exactly. Americans, even conservative Protestants, have removed children from marriage. Without a procreative intent, admittedly, there is little reason to ban gay marriage. Or incest for that matter.

  • Americans?

    Westerners. America still has the highest birth rate in the Western world, and Utah has the highest birth rate out of all the states.

    Supposedly “family friendly” Europe cut children out of the picture a long time ago. All of the welfare provisions, reduced work weeks, paid maternity/paternity leave didn’t do a damned thing to reinforce families or birth rates.

    This is because Europe not only removed children from the marriage, but God from their lives and culture. Mormon Utah thrives for exactly the opposite reason. When will Catholics get it?

  • Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe.

  • How would things look if marriage were dead? Out-of-wedlock births, acceptance of any cohabitation arrangement, the presumption that any relationship in non-binding…exactly what we have today. Marriage is dead as a norm in the West. There are only pockets and subcultures that preserve it.

    We talk about the “war on Christmas”. Christmas has been stripped of its old meaning and given a new purpose; a few of its traditions are unthinkingly continued. By the time the courts started enforcing “holiday pageants” in public schools, the war was long lost. That’s exactly what’s happened to marriage.

    Maybe my blood sugar is low or something, because even I am not usually this pessimistic. I’m just not seeing any reason to be encouraged.

  • Marriage is dead as a norm in the West.

    Yes, this is what I’ve been saying about the SSM debate all along. To those who ask, “How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?” I say, “It’s not — the damage has already been done. I just don’t see the reason to codify the death of marriage in law.”

  • Marriage is certainly in disrepair in the west. Many forces contributed to that, but the disentanglement of sex, children and marriage via modern birth control options is certainly a key part of it, resulting in the normalization of premarital sex, cohabitation, divorce, serial monogamy, etc. That said infidelity (i.e., extramarital sex) is still largely unaccepted in the US. Marriage may be in the ICU, but it is not dead yet.

  • Pingback: Supporting Gay Marriage: It’s Not About the Children. Seriously. « Agree to Disagree
  • The trolls are out.

  • restrainedradical wrote Thursday, August 5, 2010 A.D. at 8:29 am
    “Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe”.

    The birth rate in Sweden is 1.67 children born/woman (2010 est.), i.e., less than replacement. Much of this is probably due to immigrant populations.

  • It seems to me that there is an assumption that the U.S. is a fine moral country.
    The opposite seems to be true. The number of child murders continues to increase.
    Poverty is widespread despite “Wars on Poverty” [because of?].
    The immigration question continues to fester. {On what moral basis can immigrants be denied entry?].
    The continued base treatment of Indians reeks to heaven.
    Justice Ginsberg speaks of “undesirable populations”.
    Multi-skillionaires give much money to killing babies in this country and abroad.
    Pornography becomes more and more widespread like a plague.
    Actors are treated as moral gurus, because their faces are familiar, not because they know how to behave.
    To put it succinctly: what is it in the U.S. which gives it any claim to be a light unto the nations?

  • I’m not sure I understand the argument. People who don’t procreate shouldn’t get married? Then where are the rallies against childless marriages? Why aren’t we banning people whose disabilities prevent them from having children from marrying? Or the elderly? Why aren’t we protecting the procreative institution of marriage from these barren impostors? And what about adoption? Since adoption by same-sex couples would challenge your argument, you must be against that, too. In which case, shouldn’t we stop straight couples from adopting, too? Those children may be in need of care, but of course the bigger need is for people to have their own babies. Please help me understand how we can include the disabled, the elderly, adoptive parents and those who are childless by choice into the Prop 8 campaign, because clearly we’re leaving a lot of people out.

  • Thanks for the comment, Maisha. You raise a common but good question with regard to our position, and it’s one that certainly seems to follow from my post. I somewhat oversimplified the argument last night, but in so doing left the door open for your objection. Let me see if I can offer at least a beginning of a response.

    Our position is that marriage is an institution in which a man and a woman come together with a desire to grow more deeply in love and with an openness to children, *even if children are for some reason impossible for them*. For us, the act of marital love — sexual union — is itself ordered towards procreation, even if in at any particular time procreation is impossible (perhaps due to infertility, because the woman is not in the fertile stage of her cycle, or whatever). So in the case of an elderly couple beyond childbearing years, the sexual union remains structurally oriented towards procreation.

    Such is obviously not the case for the same sex couple, however: same sexual acts of their nature cannot be procreative, while — all things being equal — heterosexual acts are always structurally procreative.

    That’s the beginning of a response… let me know where I’m unclear, and I’ll try to clarify.

  • When I comment on subjects like this my post is in danger of being deleted, which is ok, I have to answer to God for me, not whomever does the deleting.

    That being said:

    With the Catholic Church, the children are really just pawns. The real battle is keeping the pews full, I think for the power that gives the Church. I would like to think otherwise but I really do not, based upon personal experience.

    When divorce happens, the Church does and says nothing, to heal a marriage, when it is clear to the Church, as they have all the evidence they need in nullity cases, that a marriage has simply been abandoned and the abandoner has taken the spoils, including the children.

    Rather, should not individual priests and bishops in authority, address the situations, especially when these are presented to the Church for nullity investigations and work, tirelessly, pastorally and with canonical strictures, to restore marital union? Especially so when nullity is shown NOT to exist?

    No such thing happens, at all!

    No, Chris. I do not agree it is about the children. It is about power and control, although it should not be that way.

    If you must delete this, go ahead. I did not mean any disrespect by it. I just commented on my personal experience and from what I have heard from others, who have been through it.

    Regarding marriage, I believe, the chemical inability to make the sperm/egg do not invalidate, the inability to “perform the act” necessary for procreation, either physiologically or psychologically, is what validity and hence, real marriage, hinges on, provided the people are free of all other impediments.

  • If I’m following you correctly, Karl, two comments come to mind.

    First, there are programs present in the Church which try to heal broken/dying/weak marriages… Retrouvaille comes to mind.

    Second, I’m not sure what you think clerics can do to get two people back together who refuse to do so.

    Can you elaborate or clarify?

  • Going there would hijack the topic. I simply wanted to infuse my personal experience into my comment.

    I have never, once, seen the slightest concern for the scandal and abuse our five children have experienced by any of the priests or bishops who were supposed to pastor them. To this day the scandal is encouraged.

    Our acceptance of divorce has prepared the groundwork for this “dumbingdown” of marriage.

    It is about the children and their souls, that is clear, but I do not see the Catholic Church as having the moral high ground. Not over divorce, Chris.

    God is teaching his Church, if it will listen to spouses like myself and others who have seen its evil deeds, to repent and to LISTEN. Bur for twenty years, the ears of the Church have been sealed, in my personal experience.

    I hope, whatever it takes to break the back of the dead consciences of the Catholic intelligencia, lay and clerical, is done. They do not listen. They listen to “experts” they DONOT

  • LISTEN to their victims.

  • The Church must defend marriage, period, not selectively in the face of a homosexual challenge.

    It must cease allowing its teachers to stress the “benign” nature of divorce. It must do so with strong canonical sanctions. It must hold to account, with formal canonical sanctions those who abandon marriages, particularly when they do not seek counsel from the bishop or when they abuse those few specified canonically allowed circumstances when separation is allowed.
    Wrongful divorce must not be unaddressed, in public and those who refuse, without substantive, serious reasons, to work, endlessly if necessary, at reconciliation, especially if there are children involved, should be formally and very much in public, be admonished and in short order, formally excommunicated, if the refusal to work toward healing the marriage continues. All those who cooperate, formally, with the support of the unrepentant, should similarly be held to account, with more vigor if they are a religious or in any position of authority/importance in the Church.

    The Church has lost all credibiliy due to its generations of laxity regarding marriage. This is constantly used against the Church and justifiably so.

    Unless this is addressed and addressed, last year, the Church is the hypocrite it is so often accused of being.

    May God have mercy on His, very unfaithful Bride. It is those of us who are struggling to be faithful to both our spouses and our faith, who God requires
    His Bride to listen to. The Pope and the rest of the Catholic clergy need to understand how much harm they do each day our cries are left unanswered with almost anything but disdain, from those who should know better.

  • Karl,
    When you write that “the Church” has been moving in the direction of accepting divorce, I believe you should modify that by saying many [most?] priests and bishops have been moving in this direction. And it is, as you rightly note, part and parcel of the sexual scandals. Once start hedging – even in the smallest manner – on matters of Church teaching, the hedging simply grows.
    The hierarchy is mealy mouthed when it comes to the use of the pill. Most of the pills are abortifacient. All of them sterilize. How often do priests and bishops note this? How often do they remind the faithful that they are committing a mortal sin by the use of the pill?
    But I believe there is a mistaken notion that our bishops, as such, are a saintly lot. They are not. You have but to read a bit of the history of the episcopacy to realize that bishops do not contribute much to the list of saints, to those we are enjoined to emulate. They are for some reason a timid lot.

  • Unfortunately too true. We must remember that the priesthood and episcopacy are charisms, gifts for the good of the Church, and not holiness. A mother at home raising her children may have a far greater place in heaven than many a bishop.

  • How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?

    That is really the incorrect question – it should be “How is SSM going to strengthen marriage as an institution?”

    And the answer is, it is not. It will only further hide the now barely recognized fact that the proper end of intercourse is procreation.

  • I think there’s a real serious question whether ANY church in the USA takes marriage seriously–with (ironically) the possible exception of the Mormons. Among Catholics, even those who cannot remember the number of the commandments, let alone the content of the list, can tell you that when we want to divorce and remarry in church, we just get an annulment on some (frequently bogus) “psychological” ground. This happens no matter how long the supposedly invalid marriage has lasted or how many children it produced. This last point is especially important; the annulment regime now in force is saying that it is NOT important to stay married “for the children’s sake.”

  • ron chandonia, I agree that there have been serious abuses in Catholic Church annulments. But the idea of an annulment does not hinge on whether the apparent marriage lasted many years, nor on how many kids there are, nor on whether it is better for the kids’ sake to stay together. If a couple never did get married to begin with, despite appearances, then it means that they have been living an error for however long the apparent marriage has been going on, whether short or long. I accept that a long-lasting arrangement suggests that there must have been a real commitment to permanence, but there are other commitments needed for the marriage to have taken place to begin with.

    I know a couple who got married 20 years ago, and got an annulment 2 years ago: the guy had been a pornography addict and sexual deviant the entire period. He was incapable of a real commitment to marital fidelity at the time of the wedding, because he was addicted to porn.

    The Church usually states that if a couple has kids, they both have a deep, serious obligation to see to their welfare even if a divorce or annulment occurs. How can it be better for the kids for the Church and society to pretend that a marriage took place when it didn’t. I should think, generally, that a couple with young kids, who discover that they never did truly marry, ought to ask themselves whether they might have a moral obligation to actually make real the apparent marriage that they had been living in action, for the sake of the kids. But of course, nobody discovers this without a marital breakdown, and at that point it is often difficult to establish that it really would be better for the kids if their mom and dad got married even when they hate each other.

    Given that at least 30% of heterosexuals don’t seem to have a grave problem with the very idea of homosexual marriage, it is probable that many, many people don’t understand marriage enough to actually form a marriage bond with another person. Given that, it should not be surprising that many annulments are granted correctly.

  • May one not also ask what is the difference between gay “marriages” [sodomy] and marriages in which the female uses the pill to sterilize herself? Marriage is not even chiefly for procreation. Procreation is an added blessing. To reject that blessing is to reject the Almighty.

    Consider also the vow “until death”. As Harry Truman remarked “if a man will not keep his word to his wife, to whom will he keep it”? The Church does not prohibit divorce when it is but separation. It prohibits divorce – it points out the breaking of the vow – for “remarriage”.

  • Gabriel,
    It is my understanding that the Church does not so much prohibit divorce as simply not recognize it. Indeed, while legal separations may be favored over divorce as such, I believe that the Church understands that divorce under civil law is often necessary in order to ensure protection of the weak — usually but not always the wife or children. Consequently, what is not permitted is remarriage (absent an annulment of course), since the first (without an annulment) the marital sacrament remains in place and remarriage constitutes adultary.

    Thanks for the Truman quote. I was unaware of it.

  • How mislead and scandalous these comments are.

    How easily you have swallowed the Kool Aid of divorce to think that it is anything but condemned.

    Do you reacall it says…..God Hates Divorce. How easily man has rejected the expressed Will of God and searches for rationalizations for his sins.

    Watch and learn as society and the Catholic Church decay for their self-serving attitudes, especially towards marriage. The reconing will come.

  • Karl,
    Emoting about Kool Aid is not productive. While I’m hardly an advocate of divorce, and it is certainly true that the rate of broken marriages is scandalous, the fact is that obtaining a divorce in and of itself is not understood by the Church to be a sin. Indeed, the Church views a civil separation and a civil divorce indentically. Neither has any effect whatsoever on the marital Sacrament. The Church recognizes that the parties are not morally enjoined from selecting whichever legal route leads to greater justice under our civil law system. This is especially important in the case of serious abuse. Neither legal approach, however, permits “re-marriage” in the Christian sense, even if civil divorce does so under civil law. The sin occurs if a person bound by the marital sacrament to his spouse remarries or otherwise has relations with another regardless whether the married couple are separated, divorced, or neither. Note the important fact that the Church does not view civil divorce as disturbing the status of a Christian marriage.
    Of course, as I noted the rate of divorce is evidence of deep and disturbing problems within our society. The wounds, especially to children, are incalculable. But divorce is a symptom of sin, not the sin itself. This is pretty straightforward Church teaching.

  • Karl,
    Catechism 2383:
    “The Church teaches that the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases. The Catechism states: “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Which is to say “divorce” is a civil separation, not a breaking of the marriage vow.

Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

By now I’m sure you all know that Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal judge. Who knows what will happen on appeal. There is much to be said, but I want to focus on one narrow and possibly tangential point. This phrase from the judge’s ruling, a phrase being reposted on facebook in many statuses:

“A private moral view that Same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.”

The absurdity of that sentence really struck me. There was nothing “private” about the view of the “superiority” of hetereosexual couples. It has been carried on through generations of communities and in the present day was represented by 52% of Californians. How a popular decision that represented thousands of years of ethical thinking and concern for the family became a private morality is baffling.

More troubling is the implication of the judge that a “moral view” is not a proper basis for legislation. Since when has this been the case? Our laws on pedophilia, minimum wage, health care, torture, human rights, etc. are based at least on part on “moral views,” views that in some respects may be just as if not more private than the ones the judge rejects today.

If morality is not a basis for legislation, what on earth is? Morality guides us in making decisions; without a moral or ethical compass (or perhaps even without a religious one) there is no basis for legislation to be made. Laws are supposed to help make society run better, but there is no way to make society run better unless you have a notion of what a “better society” looks like, and you don’t get to that notion without morality.

State recognition of homosexual marriage is one thing, but this ruling attacks the foundation of our government. Morality must have a place in the public sphere and must be one of the foremost foundations of legislation.

To be sure, the judge is simply smoke-screening for the fact that he is imposing his own standards of morality. But the fact that his statement rejecting a moral basis for legislation is being so celebrated should worry all Americans.

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6 Responses to Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

  • I heard several commentators on the radio using this language today. We need to put a stop to this “inferior” vs. “superior” language altogether. It is irrelevant to the question at hand and just pulls on the emotional strings of those on the fence who are concerned about “equality.”

    Gay marriages are not some form of marriage which we think is an “inferior form” to the “superior form” between heterosexuals. Gay marriage quite simply isn’t a “form” of marriage at all. It doesn’t exist. To let the pro-gay-marriage crowd frame it in these emotional, egalatarian-based terms is to get off track and play into their hands.

  • From the ruling:

    “Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage….. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage…”

    This passage from the ruling is the real core of this debate. Gender historically had and currently has nothing to do with the core of marriage? What an astonishingly bold and bald lie. That’s the level of unreality we are up against.

  • This is stupidity on afterburner. I’m actually ashamed of our judicial system; these judges are a joke. Between this and the “sweet mystery of life” passage, the rule of law is effectively dead. Pack up and go home.

    I suggest as a form of mass civil disobedience that all Christians commit a petty crime and use this decision and Casey as a defense. “The heart of liberty is to define one’s own concept of existence, and morality is no basis for legislation.” Our robed masters said so.

    There is no such thing as law free from morality; there is no metaphysically neutral politics. I have no sense for what greater good this progressive-liberal culture is aiming; what is its summum bonum? At least with Christianity, one knows where one stands. But where will this nonsense end? What moral outrage will we be forced to accept next year and the year after that?

    Not that I would do it, but I’m sort of starting to see why people burn American flags. I’m disgusted by this.

  • Really good article and pertinent to the points made here. I met the author, Thomas Messner, in my travels a few weeks ago, really smart with a law degree. Forgive me if it has already been discussed/posted here.

  • Given that the Dems control the Senate, is there any point to pushing for a removal from office of this judge? At this time the push would lose. Would that losing effort help or hurt the larger cultural war?

  • Depends on how strong a push you could mount. If anything, it should make those Senators up for re-election nervous to see the natives restless.

    The best push would be to push some of those Senators out (although I heard this guy was a Republican appointee).

Political Miscellania 6/24/10

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news.

1.  Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35.  She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism.  She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year.  She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.

2.  Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1.  This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

3.  The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop.  Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.

The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.

Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.

(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)

The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)

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One Response to Political Miscellania 6/24/10

  • Re: Patty Murray’s challengers… Akers is solid, but he just doesn’t have much of a following among folks here in WA. He’s a businessman from Bellingham, who intends to streamline or LEAN out the bureaucracy.

    Rossi is (in my mind) a Johnny-come-lately to the race, and is the supposed establishment choice. He has name recognition, but he has yet to win a statewide race. In my time here, he’s the guy that lost to Christine Gregoire (governor) twice.

    Clint Didier is the man who has won my support. He’s a former tight end for the Redskins, and even caught a TD pass in the Superbowl. He’s a farmer, and a football coach back in Easter WA. By no means is he a polished politician, he admits quite frankly that he is not a polished politician.

    The Washington State Republican Party recently held their convention. Terra Mork, a local activist and pro-life conservative gives her take on the convention here and here. Additionally, Michelle at “Life of the Party”, another local local activist and pro-life conservative gives her endorsement to Didier as well.

    Anecdotally, the signs you see around town for Senate candidates are primarily for Didier. I have not seen one for Rossi. I’ve only seen one for Akers and one for Murray. WA is typically a blue state, but the enthusiasm seems to be falling mostly behind Didier, as Terra’s report of the straw poll seems to indicate. It should be interesting to see how the top two primary plays out to see who really will be on the ballot in the general.

Texas, Textbooks, the Washington Post and Ann Althouse

Monday, May 24, AD 2010

The Left in this country has been having a hissy fit over conservatives on the Texas State School Board amending the social studies standards in that state.  For example, California State Senator Leland Yee (D. San Francisco) has introduced a bill that would require the California Board of Education to be on the lookout for any Texas content in reviewing public school textbooks.  He also makes the hilarious statement that the Texas curriculum changes pose a threat “to the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.”  This in a state where the legislature has instituted a Harvey Milk Day to propagandize students in the gay rights agenda, and where the California Education Association, the teacher’s union, is the largest spender on politics in the state.

To support the meme of the Left that evil conservatives were perverting educational standards in Texas, the Washington Post wrote a hit piece that may be read here.  Ann Althouse, law professor and blogger decided to compare the claims of the Washington Post to the new standards.  Here is what she found:

Let me embarrass the Washington Post. Below, the material from the WaPo article, written by Michael Birnbaum, is indented. After the indented part, I’ve located the relevant quote from the Board of Education text, found here. (I’m searching 3 PDF documents: Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits Subchapter A. High School; Social Studies Subchapter B. Middle School; Social Studies Subchapter C. High School.)

The Washington Post writes:

The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards….

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated — something most historians deny –…
The students are required to “describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government…” The word “vindicated” is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of “McCarthyism.”

…draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural addresses…
Students are required to “analyze the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address.” The word “equivalency” is uncalled for. The requirement is to analyze, not to be indoctrinated that the ideas are the same.

… say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty…
What I’m seeing is “explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations” and “analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control territory, create conflict/war, and impact international political relations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the control of resources.” Where is the language that can be paraphrased “imperil American sovereignty”?

…. and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.
Students are required to “explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar.” Only Davis and Lee were Confederate officials! There is also this: “describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era].” That’s obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it’s annoying to Democrats.

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term “free-enterprise system.”
The document on economics does use the term “free enterprise system” throughout, but students are required to “understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system,” so what is the problem?

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!

ADDED: Birnbaum had an article in the previous day’s Washington Post that does contain quotes, and these have to do with changes that went through on Thursday (and which do not — but should! — appear in the documents that are available at the Board of Education website):

Students will now study “efforts by global organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty,” an addition late Thursday evening encouraged by board member Don McLeroy (R), who has put forward many of the most contentious changes….

Another one of the seven conservative board members, David Bradley (R), added a list of Confederate generals and officials to the list of topics that students must study.

This provides support for Birnbaum’s statement that the standards “include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.” And it answers my question “Where is the language that can be paraphrased ‘imperil American sovereignty’?” My criticisms about “vindicating” McCarthyism, “the equivalency between Jefferson Davis’s and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural addresses,” and the term “free-enterprise system” remain.

I have not been defending the Texas standards, only attacking the quality of the journalism that fails to quote or link to a text that is referred to. Birnbaum’s Friday article contains some useful quotes (though still not a link to the whole text). The Saturday article was unanchored to text and forced me to look for what I could find on line. I’m also criticizing inaccurate paraphrasing, like the use of the words “vindicating” and “equivalency.” Birnbaum’s take on the standards might be true, but in an article that refers to a text, I do need to see the text. Paraphrasing, without the text, raises suspicions, and I don’t apologize for having those suspicions.

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17 Responses to Texas, Textbooks, the Washington Post and Ann Althouse

  • I will wager this fellow Birnbaum was acting as a mouthpiece for some advocacy group or looks at just about anything with a set of distorting lenses and has no idea he has said anything tendentious.

  • There is the issue that the role of Thomas Jefferson’s writings in influencing the founding of America is being de-emphasized. Allegedly, St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought in influencing America (more of a stretch than Jefferson) is being noted.

    Moreover, the emphasis on the presidency of Lincoln, the unintended consequences of the Great Society, Reagan, the contract with America in 1994, and the emphasis of the Founding Fathers’ particular interest in a small, limited government leads me to believe that this is a politicized curriculum — in fact, the Chair of the State Board, Don McLeroy has said himself admits:

    “It’s imperative that our children be taught the original direction of our country…And I think you tie that in with the concept of American exceptionalism that we’ve added to the standards. I think that it’s important to understand why America is such a wonderful place.”

    McLeroy wrote in an Op-Ed in the USA Today that the curriculum will “challenge the powerful ideology of the left,” whose “principles are diametrically opposed to our founding principles.”

    Sorry, but the curriculum is heavily politicized and I prefer history not historical revisionism.

  • And that need not be taken as a defense of the current curriculum — hardly. But this surely is not a remedy. I hope it fails.

  • Sorry, but the curriculum is heavily politicized and I prefer history not historical revisionism.

    Why are you confident the extant curriculum is not ‘heavily politicized’? What, roughly, would a ‘non-politicized’ curriculum look like?

  • In regard to Jefferson being de-emphazised Eric, that claim is made, but I do not think there is substance to it. The Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson’s magnum opus, is to be studied at several points in the curriculum. The one place where Jefferson is omitted is under World History:

    “Government. The student understands the process by which democratic-republican government evolved how contemporary political systems have developed from earlier systems of government. The student is expected to:
    (A) explain the development of trace the process by which democratic-republican government evolved from its beginnings in the Judeo-Christian legal tradition and classical Greece and Rome, through developments in England the English Civil War and continuing with the Enlightenment; and
    (B) identify the impact of political and legal ideas contained in the following significant historic documents: including, Hammurabi’s Code, the Jewish Ten Commandments, Justinian’s Code of Laws, Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government,” and the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen;
    (C) explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present; ”
    Jefferson is omitted under C.

    Under United States government Jefferson’s ideas are to be studied:

    “(D) identify analyze the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, John Jay, George Mason, Roger Sherman, and James Wilson, on the development of the U.S. government;”

    I think the idea that Jefferson is being de-emphasized is not really accurate.

    Politics since the days of Horace Mann have always played a large part in curriculum development for public schools which is why states produce laundry lists of dos and don’ts in regard to what is taught. For example in Illinois the kids get off for Casimir Pulaski day and learn about him in school. Pulaski played a fairly minor role in the American Revolution dying at the siege of Savannah in 1779 leading a cavalry charge. However, activist Poles in Chicago wanted him in, so class time is taken up on this minor figure. What is unusual in Texas is not the politics, but the publicity it has received.

  • Texas is in the process of being “Arizonaed”.

  • Re: politicized curriculum, a few years back I noticed that my beliefs about political events were roughly that liberals were almost always right up until the 1980s, at which point conservatives were usually right. It occurred to me that my knowledge of pre-1980s politics came mainly from my public school education, whereas since then my knowledge of politics came from having experienced it as it happened.

  • Art,

    I didn’t say the current curriculum is not politicized. In fact, I stated explicitly that I’m not defending it.

    Education curriculum is not my specialty nor need I devise a “non-politicized” scheme of education, but when the Chair of the Texas State Board of Education is making statements focus on reversing ideological trends in emphasis rather than providing a solid presentation of American social history for Texas children, I’m inclined to think the curriculum is being politicized and with the emphasis on the Judeo-Christian roots of America, small and limited government, Lincoln, Reagan, the unintended consequences of the Great Society, the 1994 Contract with America, it seems obvious that the shift in emphasis is to offer a certan reading of history and the filtering of information is to, more or less, generate students that have a more conservative (politically speaking) view of society. The education seems primarily aimed at that end and I simply don’t support that. And this does not mean that I support in totality the current liberal establishment in the education scene.

  • Eric,

    Saying that “the curriculum is being politicized” suggests that it is not politicized already.

  • Steve Sailer wrote a pretty damning piece on one high school history textbook:

    http://www.vdare.com/sailer/100425_schoolbook_massacre.htm

    It’s hard to read that and not come to the conclusion that something in education has gone horribly wrong.

  • In my Texas public school I suffered a day of in-service regarding a computer instruction program. When I told the expert that the English IV segment contained nothing but two novels of manners (oh, yeah, boys go crazy over Jane Austen), she airily advised me that “It’s not all about Texas content.” My response was that Beowulf, Shakespeare, and Milton are still taught in Texas and, presumably, in Rhode Island.

  • “oh, yeah, boys go crazy over Jane Austen”

    Only if they are given the zombie version:

  • This is one guy who’s a huge Jane Austen fan.

  • Nice icon pic Mr. Anderson!

  • I’m with you, Jay.

  • I find the hullabaloo over the new standards to be most intriguing indeed. As a native Texan who attended public schools I have always viewed the curriculum as s starting point for education. I would humbly assert that it is the duty of parents to supplement the learning taught in the classroom. In thirty years I have seen three such battles and each time it was an exercise in futility.

Are We All Greeks Now?

Thursday, May 13, AD 2010

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot AirAnother fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   Government debt is rapidly becoming the major issue of our time, both here and abroad.  The welfare states erected throughout the world have always had a resemblance to Ponzi schemes,  and all Ponzi schemes ultimately collapse, which is what is happening around the globe.  Robert Samuelson nailed it this week in the Washington Post:

What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.

Americans dislike the term “welfare state” and substitute the bland word “entitlements.” The vocabulary doesn’t alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and overborrow forever. By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul de sac. To be sure, Greece’s plight is usually described as a European crisis — especially for the euro, the common money used by 16 countries — and this is true. But only up to a point.

Euro coins and notes were introduced in 2002. The currency clearly hasn’t lived up to its promises. It was supposed to lubricate faster economic growth by eliminating the cost and confusion of constantly converting between national currencies. More important, it would promote political unity. With a common currency, people would feel “European.” Their identities as Germans, Italians and Spaniards would gradually blend into a continental identity.

None of this has happened. Economic growth in the “euro area” (the countries using the currency) averaged 2.1 percent from 1992 to 2001 and 1.7 percent from 2002 to 2008. Multiple currencies were never a big obstacle to growth; high taxes, pervasive regulations and generous subsidies were. As for political unity, the euro is now dividing Europeans. The Greeks are rioting. The countries making $145 billion of loans to Greece — particularly the Germans — resent the costs of the rescue. A single currency could no more subsume national identities than drinking Coke could make people American. If other euro countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy) suffer Greece’s fate — lose market confidence and can’t borrow at plausible rates — there would be a wider crisis.

But the central cause is not the euro, even if it has meant Greece can’t depreciate its own currency to ease the economic pain. Budget deficits and debt are the real problems; and these stem from all the welfare benefits (unemployment insurance, old-age assistance, health insurance) provided by modern governments.

Countries everywhere already have high budget deficits, aggravated by the recession. Greece is exceptional only by degree. In 2009, its budget deficit was 13.6 percent of its gross domestic product (a measure of its economy); its debt, the accumulation of past deficits, was 115 percent of GDP. Spain’s deficit was 11.2 percent of GDP, its debt 56.2 percent; Portugal’s figures were 9.4 percent and 76.8 percent. Comparable figures for the United States — calculated slightly differently — were 9.9 percent and 53 percent.

There are no hard rules as to what’s excessive, but financial markets — the banks and investors that buy government bonds — are obviously worried. Aging populations make the outlook worse. In Greece, the 65-and-over population is projected to go from 18 percent of the total in 2005 to 25 percent in 2030. For Spain, the increase is from 17 percent to 25 percent.

The welfare state’s death spiral is this: Almost anything governments might do with their budgets threatens to make matters worse by slowing the economy or triggering a recession. By allowing deficits to balloon, they risk a financial crisis as investors one day — no one knows when — doubt governments’ ability to service their debts and, as with Greece, refuse to lend except at exorbitant rates. Cutting welfare benefits or raising taxes all would, at least temporarily, weaken the economy. Perversely, that would make paying the remaining benefits harder.

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25 Responses to Are We All Greeks Now?

  • The problem is not ‘the welfare state’, but a welfare state incorporating perverse incentives, a welfare state not subject to constraints as to its size (relative to the productive economy), public and private consumption financed through borrowing from abroad, and public sector borrowing at times and in circumstances where it is simply inappropriate. Congress and the Administration could fix these problems. They just don’t feel like it.

  • I suppose the term welfare state is a big murky. I regard Greece as such a state, but not the US, though because the term is a loose one it is hard to know where to draw the line. But it is rather difficut for true welfare states (in the narrow sense of the term) to be fiscally responsible in the long run. This is precisely because cradle to grave security diminishes the otherwise organic incentives that are necessary to generate the productivity required to deliver such security. The smaller and more homogeneous the society the more likely it can work, at least for a while, but there will inevitably be serious costs in overall standard of living, very little economic or social mobility, and eventually a serious brain/brawn/character drain absent mettalic curtains.

  • You are conflating two phenomena: 1. the inclination of the government to balance its books and 2. the effect of the relative size of the public sector and what it rewards and what it does not on the economic dynamism of the country in question.

    Bar in exceptional circumstances (and Greece is likely now in such circumstances), the government can balance its books if it so chooses. It chooses not to in part out of habit, in part in thrall to Keynesian notions of the utility of public sector borrowing which (per many economists) apply only when their is exceptional slack in the economy, and in part as a consequence of patron-client politics.

    You might say that fiscal responsibility is difficult in circumstances where so many incomes are politically determined. You might also posit that particular tax and benefit configurations induce demographic implosion. These are different arguments than one which says that annual improvements in per capita income of 1.4% as opposed to 2% render common provision unsustainable.

  • I do understand the two concepts, but they are not so easily disentangled. My point is that the second phenomenon makes the first very difficult in the long run, though not necessarily impossible under certain conditions that probably cannot exist in the US.

  • The per capita income of the United States was, in 1960, about 40% of what it is today. Prior to 1960, the U.S. Government balanced its budget bar in exceptional circumstances (which circumstances were regrettably common during the period running from 1929 to 1955, but that’s another story). Enhanced affluence has not improved the government’s ability to balance its budget, quite the contrary. The United States has also been on a lower growth trajectory than other occidental countries, as has Switzerland. Neither country is given more than its peers to state intervention, but both are on the technologial frontier, meaning improvements in output have to be driven by innovation as well as application.

    Think about applying your hypothesis on a micro scale. You have ten men selected at random from urban neighborhoods at age 23. You are going to find that at age 46 they have quite a range of incomes because of how their skill sets developed over the years. They will likely have quite a range of relative debt loads as well, but that is (bar at the bottom of the scale) going to be derived from their ability and willingness to defer gratification (and various accidents), not their quantum of human capital.

  • Art,
    I’m not suggesting that the US’s deficit is predominantly caused by welfare spending as such — I do recognize that lack of discipline, but then again I’ve never suggested that the US is a welfare state. My point is that welfare states invite serious long term fiscal problems because (i) paying for cradle to grave security requires high tax rates that discourage the work and investment that produce the tax base upon which those rates are applied and (ii) cradle to grave security is a pretty good option compared to work, which increases the need for more spending while simultaneously decreasing the number of workers paying taxes. The ensuing fiscal challenges can presumably be met by living with substantially lower standards of living and greatly reduced economic and social mobility, but most people don’t really want to live with these things, so politicians respond by deficit spending. Now of course you can say then the problem is still one of lack of discipline in such a case, and you’d be right. But one cannot say that welfare state spending does not increase the pressure to deficit spend. And it does so more than most other types of spending because of the perverse incentives that cannot be eliminated, at least in a true welfare state. The bottom line is that cradle to grave security is an expensive proposition in a modern society, and raising the revenue necessary to pay for it encounters both political and economic difficulties.

  • The Scandanavian countries are net lenders despite their larger welfare states. And they have great economic growth. Yes, they have higher taxes but they also have better incentives. They have low corporate tax rates. They use school vouchers. The American tax and welfare system is the world’s most complex yet we have little to show for it.

  • Donald,

    Thank you for sharing that enlightening video clip.

    My opinion of Sweden has increased.

    I’m also now going to add Reason.tv to my video-roll of viewing.

    Incredible.

    He advises the U.S. not to increase taxes for a poorly efficient public sector.

    Sweden owes the vast majority of it’s high level of living standard to “free markets, de-regulation, lowering of progressive tax rates, and privatization of many formerly government owned sectors of the economy”.

    Fascinating.

    And Obama wants us to be more like Europe.

    What a maroon.

  • “Are we all Greeks now?”

    Let’s just say not yet, but we can taste the souvlaki.

  • The problem is not ‘the welfare state’, but a welfare state incorporating perverse incentives…-Art Deco

    No “welfare” scheme can escape “incorporating perverse incentives.” Making “welfare” a State function only adds to the number and intractability of its perverse incentives. This is especially so in any State based on a principle of equal rights.

  • RR,
    First, I acknowledge that our patchwork welfare system is inefficient, likely more inefficent than those employed by other western nations. For that reason I have long favored replacing all transfer payments, including social security, with a negative income tax. My instinct (and that is all it is) is that the additional costs associated with the work disincentive caused by such a program would be overwhelmed by the savings permitted by gutting the existing myriad of programs.

    Regarding Sweden, (I think Don’s video addressed other issues), which incentives exactly are you talking about?

  • Micha is correct. A true welfare state necessarily diminishes the incentive to work or engage in entrepreneurship by rewarding doing nothing, especially if the safety net is more generous than bare subsistence. Without necessity, no invention, as they say. As workers gravitate to participate in the safety net, program costs increase necessitating tax rate increases that add to the discouragement of workers and investors.

    Unlike many conservatives, I do not oppose income or wealth redistribution entirely. While I favor private action, I think government can have a significant role. But government policy must be carefully crafted to strike a balance between assisting the truly needy, especially children and the disabled, and avoiding the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work. Crafting such policy necessarily requires imperfect compromises given the competing considerations. All too often liberals have an excessively rosy understanding of human nature. People will take advantage of any system you give them. The capacity for rationalization is not limited to Greek protestors. Indeed, in this very forum I’ve read orthodox Catholic posters insist that it is morally acceptable to walk away from an upside down mortgage even if one can make the payments — because the lender never should have given you the loan, you see. People are self-interested, and while generous welfare programs may be well-motivated they will encourage perverse behavior. Moreover, government assistance inevitably becomes perceived as entitlements that can be relied on as opposed to charity that is uncertain.

  • Mike, I was talking about exactly the things that the video that Don posted talks about. The Scandinavian welfare states are more efficient. Freer trade. Lower corporate taxes. School vouchers. VAT.

    I too would like to see all transfer payments replaced with something like a negative income tax.

  • Restrained Radical,

    You comment here often so why not add a pic to your ID?

  • Charity creates perverse incentives. Perverse incentives can’t be avoided if you want to help the needy but they can be minimized. I have an idea for a welfare system: If you’re able to work, the government can offer $5/hour make-work jobs picking up trash, watering plants, or even just running around in circles.

  • restrainedradical:

    Yes it does, but government charity is far more pernicious in creating such incentives than is private charity. The former is viewed as a legal entitlement whereas the latter as voluntary. The latter cannot be counted on and is understood as a gift that has not been earned.

    “Workfare” proposals have been around forever, but never seem to secure traction. I seem to recall that there are some reasonable and sound explanations for this, but cannot recall what they might be.

  • If you’re able to work, the government can offer $5/hour make-work jobs picking up trash, watering plants, or even just running around in circles

    As someone currently employed by the government, I can honestly say that some public sector employment is nothing more than a thinly-disguised version of this. What some people would do without it, I don’t know. Starvation is not an acceptable answer.

  • I should hasten to add that during my time working for large corporations, I saw plenty of “make work” jobs. Those employees were perhaps in a more precarious situation than their civil service counterparts, but it was a similar type of job nonetheless.

  • “What some people would do without it, I don’t know. Starvation is not an acceptable answer.”

    Repair my roof? Cut my lawn? Wallpaper my kitchen? Paint my garage? Clean my gutters? I’d pay more than $5 per hour.

  • …government policy must be carefully crafted to strike a balance between assisting the truly needy, especially children and the disabled, and avoiding the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work. Crafting such policy necessarily requires imperfect compromises given the competing considerations.Mike Petrik

    Ahh, but in a State founded the principle that all men are created equal in the sight of the law making such distinctions between people leads to the creation of legions of bureaucrats trapped into robotically following rulebooks of every growing size, complexity, and loopholes inevitably spawned by such complexity. The “imperfect compromises” ultimately lead to “the enablement of able-bodied adults to avoid work” and some of “the truly needy” being denied State assistance.

    Alas, the attempt to “strike a balance” within a State welfare scheme in a nation founded on a principle of equal, individual rights is thus doomed to be the pursuit of an illusion. In America, that has become a very costly pursuit and the costs are not only borne by the nation in mere dollars and cents.

    Perhaps a welfare State in a nation of culturally and ethnically homogenous people that has a class system is less encumbered by the consequences of the necessary imperfect compromises required by a State welfare scheme. Homogeneity of the populace in a welfare State has been discussed elsewhere. Less commented upon is that in a class system, the bureaucrat who is of the upper class can deny or approve the lower class supplicant based on consideration of individual circumstances with no or very circumscribed possibilities for appealing the decision.

    P.S. There is no such thing as “government charity.”

  • Micha,
    I don’t think that the Declaration’s claim that all men are created equal is particularly at fault here, though I do agree that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause has very gradually given rise to a culture that seems to demand equal treatment in every way under every circumstances, even though court decisions, while imperfect and not completely consistent, do not demand anything like this. That said, I do agree with your general point that equal protection reasoning, and equal protection psychology, permeates and paralyzes bureaucracies. And I acknowledge that this makes the compromises I describe somewhat more difficult, but improvements can be made. The Clinton Administration’s welfare reform was certainly a step in the right direction, and was not derailed by equal protection obsessions. And it is worth noting that benefits are far more available to mothers with children than single men, which is a terrific example of well-intended rules with perverse incentives.
    I have no brief on the use of the word “charity” to describe transfer payments. I normally don’t prefer the word for the reason you suggest, but it can certainly be justified on the ground that it is the expression of the will of the people to voluntarily tax themselves to provide for others in need, even if imperfectly. The government is acting as the agent of its citizens, nothing more. I understand that this view of government action does not sit well with libertarians, but I’m not a libertarian.

  • There are mixed economies, and there are mixed economies.

    I was once involved in local politics and in that capacity a careful student of the New York State Statistical Yearbook. It has been a while, but working from memory here and bits and pieces of data I have seen in recent years, I will draw up a back of the envelope grocery list:

    –School vouchers
    (for primary and secondary eduction)… 4.5% of GDP

    –Medical Insurance (for acute care,
    structured per Milton Friedman) … 6.0% of GDP

    –L/T Care Insurance (nursing homes,
    group homes, asylums, &c., structured
    similarly to the above) … 2.0% of GDP

    –Unemployment compensation … 1.5% of GDP

    –Remittances to those with a
    negative income tax liability
    (structured per M. Friedman) … 3.5% of GDP

    –Child Protective & Foster Care … 0.5% of GDP

    –Miscellaneous (public defender,
    legal aid society, public service
    jobs & clinics on Indian
    reservations, disaster relief,
    refugee resettlement, deficits
    of mass transit systems). … 0.5% of GDP

    –Intergovernmental transfers to
    impecunious states and localities
    (net) … 1.0% of GDP

    That amounts to 20.5% of domestic product and covers the waterfront (from my perspective, not the President’s). Prior to 1914, the ratio of public expenditure to domestic product in occidental countries was, if I am not mistaken, around 0.10, and some portion of that was devoted to the common provision of the day, most typically manifest in public agencies (schools, asylums, city hospitals, sanitariums, orphanages, veterans’ hospitals, poor houses, &c.). Here in New York, public expenditure apart from welfare, education, and law enforcement typically amounts to about 5.5% of domestic product, I think. Law enforcement at one time amounted to about 2% of domestic product; it is now more than that and money well spent, but other occidental countries may be able to get by with less for similar results. The United States spends about 5% of domestic product on the military and espionage services. I think the global mean might be around 2.5%. Provision of gas, electricity, and water are properly undertaken by public agencies or regulated monopolies and might amount to 2% of domestic product.

    In other words, a welfare state with a baseline of public services can generally be had with a ratio of public expenditure to domestic product of 0.33 (in peacetime and barring a banking crisis), give or take some portion dependent upon local circumstances.

    By way of contrast, at the time Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979, the ratio of public expenditure to domestic product was about 0.43; the output of state-owned industry amounted to 10% of domestic product; and about a third of all metropolitan households were living in public housing. All told, the state sector amounted to about 55% of domestic product.

    Borrowing from abroad (and note that Greece’s balance of payments deficit on current account is running at 14% of domestic product) is not sustainable; routinized public sector borrowing is not (after a generation or two) sustainable. Demographic implosion makes for an unsustainable society as well as an unsustainable state. All of these are phenomena distinct from maintaining a vigorous ethic of common provision.

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Mickey Kaus: Democrat With a Difference

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Mickey Kaus, blogger and writer, is running against Barbara Boxer in the Senate primary in California.  I have read with enjoyment his KausFiles for years.  Alas, Mr. Kaus is not pro-life.  If he were, I could imagine myself possibly voting for him.  He is taking on some of the major shibboleths of his party.  Here are a few examples:

Unions:

“Yet the answer of most union leaders to the failure of 1950s unionism has been more 1950s unionism. This isn’t how we’re going to get prosperity back. But it’s the official Democratic Party dogma. No dissent allowed.

Government unions are even more problematic (and as private sector unions have failed in the marketplace, government unions are increasingly dominant). If there are limits on what private unions can demand — when they win too much, as we’ve seen, their employers tend to disappear — there is no such limit on what government unions can demand. They just have to get the politicians to raise your taxes to pay for it, and by funding the Democratic machine they acquire just the politicians they need.

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