Nanny State in a Kilt

Sunday, April 12, AD 2015

 

 

I had realized that Scotland was ruled by a gang of daft leftists, but Christoper Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings home to us just how all encompassing it has become:

Charging Highlanders wearing kilts and waving Claymores?  Bagpipes?  Tossing the caber at the Highland Games?  Really good whisky?  For those of you who have similar thoughts, Brendan O’Neill takes great pleasure in introducing modern, real Scotland:

Well, if that’s how you see Scotland, you urgently need to update your mind’s image bank. For far from being a land of freedom-yearning Bravehearts, Scotland in the 21st century is a hotbed of the new authoritarianism. It’s the most nannying of Europe’s nanny states. It’s a country that imprisons people for singing songs, instructs people to stop smoking in their own homes, and which dreams of making salad-eating compulsory. Seriously. Scotland the Brave has become Scotland the Brave New World.

Jailed for singing songs?  Surely O’Neill must be joking.  Unfortunately, he’s not.

Last month, a 24-year-old fan of Rangers, the largely Protestant soccer team, was banged up for four months for singing ”The Billy Boys,” an old anti-Catholic ditty that Rangers fans have been singing for years, mainly to annoy fans of Celtic, the largely Catholic soccer team. He was belting it out as he walked along a street to a game. He was arrested, found guilty of songcrimes—something even Orwell failed to foresee—and sent down.

Seems its now illegal in Scotland to make opposing sports fans feel bad in any way.

It’s all thanks to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, which, yes, is as scary as it sounds. Introduced in 2012 by the Scottish National Party, the largest party in Scotland the Brave New World and author of most of its new nanny-state laws, the Act sums up everything that is rotten in the head of this sceptred isle. Taking a wild, wide-ranging scattergun approach, it outlaws at soccer matches “behaviour of any kind,” including, “in particular, things said or otherwise communicated,” that is “motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred” or which is “threatening” or which a “reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive.”

Catholic Celtic or Hibernian fans might want to leave their rosaries at home.

Even blessing yourself at a soccer game in Scotland could lead to arrest. Catholic fans have been warned that if they “bless themselves aggressively” at games, it could be “construed as something that is offensive,” presumably to non-Catholic fans, and the police might pick them up. You don’t have to look to some Middle Eastern tinpot tyranny if you want to see the state punishing public expressions of Christian faith—it’s happening in Scotland.

I sure am relieved that they don’t have a law like that here in St. Louis or the City Police would have to commandeer every bus in the metro area every time the Chicago Cubs came to town.  But what else can the haggis-for-brains Scottish National Party get its panties in a bunch about?  Well, there’s obviously smoking.

Not content with policing what soccer fans sing and say, the SNP also polices Scots’ smoking, boozing, and eating habits. It was the first country in the U.K. to ban smoking in public. Last month it announced that it will ban smoking in cars with kids. It is currently pushing through a ban on smoking in parks. And it has its eyes on smokers’ homes: if a public-sector employee, like a doctor or social worker, visits your home, he or she has the right to say that you should “not smoke when they are providing [their] service.” This, of course, is the ultimate goal of the global jihad against nicotine: to move from making bars, cars, and parks smokefree to making our homes smokefree.

Scotland has set itself the Orwellian-sounding goal of making the whole nation, every bit of it, smokefree by 2034. What will happen to any smoker still lurking in Scotland after the glorious dawn of the 2,034th year? It’s probably best not to ask.

And drinking.

Scotland is also plotting to put a sin tax on booze. The SNP blubs about the fact that “alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the U.K. than it was in 1980″—that’s a bad thing?—and so it is pushing through the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Act, which will impose a state-decreed price on all liquid pleasures. It is trying to push the Act through, I should say: it’s being held up by a legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association which, understandably, doesn’t want the state telling it how much it should sell its wares for. I would say “God bless those whisky makers,” but I’m not sure how much you’re allowed to say “God” or “bless” in relation to Scotland these days.

Now that’s just wrong.  Oh and then there’s what Scots eat.

Scotland’s great and good also watch what the little people eat. Last month, BMA Scotland, an association of doctors, declared war on Scotland’s “culture of excess” and said ads for junk food and booze should be banned. The SNP wants to go further: it’s agitating for an EU-wide ban on junk-food ads, clearly keen that all the peoples of Europe, and not just poor Scots, feel the stab of its Mary Poppins extremism.

There is even—get this—a discussion in Scotland about making salad bars mandatory at restaurants. Yes, there exist actual officials who would like to force businesses to serve you vegetables, even if they don’t want to and you don’t want to eat them. Concerned that “Scots are 30 years away from reaching the World Health Organization target of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day”—apparently the average Scot only eats 3.5 portions a day—there is talk of “beefing up [get it??] the number of greens by introducing mandatory salad bars.”

Can’t leave out how they raise their children (this one is truly frightening).

And then there’s the authoritarian icing on the cake, if Scotland will forgive such an obesity-encouraging metaphor: the SNP’s Children and Young People Act. This Act plans to assign a Named Person, a state-decreed guardian, to every  baby born in Scotland, in order to watch him or her from birth to the age of 18.

Due to come into force in August 2016, the Named Person initiative is truly dystopian. Once, it was only abandoned or orphaned children who became charges of the state; now, all Scottish children will effectively be wards of the state under a new, vast system of, in essence, shadow parenting. In an expression of alarming distrust in parents, and utter contempt for the idea of familial sovereignty and privacy, the state in Scotland wants to attach an official to every kid and to keep tabs on said kid’s physical and moral wellbeing.

Hopefully, the Scots will, at some point, rise up and rebel against all this crap.  But until they do, I’m going to start referring to my dad’s European ancestors as Ulstermen.  Because Country-I’m Thoroughly-Embarrased-By-And-Would-Really-Rather-Not-Be-Associated-With-Right-Now-Irish is far too long and wouldn’t fit on any forms.

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10 Responses to Nanny State in a Kilt

  • You forgot about midwives being coerced to perform the murder of the unborn in abortion now…

  • It was not until x-rays disclosed that tar and nicotine coated the lungs and caused cancer was smoking no longer considered a pleasurable pastime, but an expensive medical cost. People just died. I am asthmatic and have an asthma attack when exposed to second hand smoke. Joseph Stalin died of an asthma attacked less than two weeks after he had his personal physician executed. Dependent children ought to be protected and so ought professionals who come to practice their profession in your home, like it or not when a person comes into your home you are liable for his well being. Second hand smoke kills.
    I am also allergic to alcohol and I miss the occasional wine or other hard drink so I shall not comment on this.
    Now, the most important part of my comment. Every person is dying. Each and every breath may be that person’s last breath. The state does not give life, but must protect life. The sign of the cross for a person who may have breathed his last breath, cannot legitimately be denied. The sign of the cross is necessary before every sports game. The hard ball hit me right between the eyes. Dark lines filled my head. I did not feel hitting the ground. I am still here but for anyone to deny me the freedom to make the sign of the cross that day, let him go to hell.
    Here is my take on the state:
    Isaiah 50:4-9
    4The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. 5The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. 6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;8he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. 9Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
    No trial in absentia. The accused must be faced by his accuser in a court of law. Habeas Corpus. Even before the Magna Carta; even before The Declaration of Independence; even before the Constitution; even before the Declaration on Human Right of the United Nations. From Whom did these magnificent founding principles come but from God through Isaiah, who was put to death by tyrants and oppressors.
    Isaiah 43: 5-10: Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring back your descendents, from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north: Give them up! and to the south: Hold not back! Bring back my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the 7: earth: everyone who is named as mine, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. 8 Lead out the people who are blind though they have eyes, who are deaf though they have ears. 9 Let all the nations gather together, let the people assemble! Who among them could have revealed this, or foretold to us the earlier things? Let them produce witnesses to prove themselves right, that one may hear and say, “It is true!” 10 You are my witnesses says the Lord, my servants whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that it is I. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none.11 It is I, I the Lord: there is no savior but me. 12 It is I who foretold, I who saved; I who made it known, not any strange god among you; you are my witnesses, says the Lord. I am God. Yes from eternity I am He; there is none who can deliver from my hand; who can countermand what I do?
    The First Amendment.
    Civil rights of all nations are either plagiarized from God or formulated from the Bible, without giving God and the Sacred Scripture proper acknowledgement.

  • In 1866, my great great grandfather, George McLuckie, a Catholic Scot, left Scotland forever and came to the United States. He lived in Allegany County, Maryland. The two most significant towns in Allegany County are Cumberland and Frostburg, both of which are closer to Pittsburgh than Baltimore, Annapolis or Washington, DC.

    Thank you, Mr. McLuckie, for leaving that miserable country.

  • Every child ought to have a court appointed guardian insinuates that the child’s parents are critically insufficient or criminally negligent. The cost to the tax payers will be insurmountable. Every child does have a guardian appointed by the court. Every citizen acting for the common good in good will is responsible for every individual person as his neighbor.
    Every child ought to have a court appointed guardian gives the government the license to surveillance… I started to write a normal response when it hit me. Tying parental love and the loss of children to subjugation to the state’s bidding is ingenius. Pure genius. What devil thought this up?
    Ingenius, absolute genius, except that violating parental love and parental prerogatives to extort concessions, and subjugate the individual person who constitutes the state did not work for Hitler nor for communist Russia and on two points, the children will grow up and learn to reason (ask the grandchildren of the Holocaust victims if they love Hitler) and Scotland will lose its sovereignty and become a gulag. To threaten parents with the loss of their sons and daughters unless they conform to the state’s tyranny, let us say, of being taught in public school that 2+2=5, or that a man lying to his sperm is a natural expression of love, or that man is a beast without redemption, or that man has no eternal life, nor human rights endowed by their Creator; to subjugate the people to the dictates of the state by the threat of the loss of their children is diabolical.

  • The sooner the Scottish taxpayers have to start paying for all this the better. That’s the only hope of putting this train in reverse.

  • My grandfather Don Piper after who I am named, would be ashamed of his Highland Scottish heritage, having been a descendant of the pipers of the MacDoanld clan. He used to talk to me with pride of his ancestry and ingrained it in my persona.
    I am inclined to think that he would take that old Mk.II Lee Enfield .303 rifle that he brandished as he rushed ashore at Galipoli on that fateful 25th. April 1915 day, and run the attached bayonet up the loins of some of his modern so called loyal countrymen.
    What a disgrace, and an insult to all honourable Scotsmen – from William Wallis to Robbie Burns to those who helped establish the free world.

  • One thing not alluded to in all this: the Scottish National Party is a purveyor of pseudo-particularism.

    I got into an online discussion with some SNP partisans last fall and their reasons for Scottish secession boiled down to “we’re tired of being ruled by southern English public schoolboys”. Now run down the list of British Prime Ministers of the last 50 years and pick out the ‘southern English public schoolboys’. The only such specimen to have lived in 10 Downing Street since 1964 has been David Cameron, (whose paternal side relations migrated from Scotland to England a generation or so back). Maybe a third of David Cameron’s cabinet might be described as ‘southern English public schoolboys’. Masses of people in Scotland despise Margaret Thatcher (who bore little resemblance to ‘southern English public schoolboys’). David Cameron is the only public school boy to have led the Conservative Party in that time and the Labour Party’s leaders over the last 20 years have had backgrounds at least as tony as those of the Conservative Party.

    Now consider the public program of the SNP proposed removing Scotland from the UK but not removing Scotland from the EU or any other supranational body. The EU and derivatives of the Council of Europe can be quite intrusive and impose obligations on their members which are the antithesis of sovereignty. The elected officials in Westminster are unacceptable to SNP partisans, but the bureaucratic pustules in Brussels are fine-and-dandy.

    Now consider the public statements of the SNP press office, chock-a-bloc with denunciations of the United Kingdom Independence Party. What’s the point of one particularist organization attacking another? There wouldn’t be if local self-government was what animated the SNP (rather than a greater franchise for SNP bosses to piss away other people’s money on their clientele). However, to Britain’s bien pensants, UKIP is icky.

    What’s depressing is that the Scottish electorate falls for this poisonous humbug hook, line, and sinker.

  • The sovereign personhood of each and every person constitutes the state. The sovereign person’s taxes fund government. In our Preamble to our Constitution is expressed the purpose of our Constitution, the guidelines for government’s relationship with the citizens. If such laws that enable government officials to remove children from their parents are imposed, the framers of the state ought to enable themselves to sue the government for malfeasance, malicious behavior and for any injury. (Isn’t this what the gay agenda is already doing?)
    Un-emancipated, dependent minor children, a captive audience, have at least until emancipation plus several months, and then some, to sue for injury, if their parents do not or cannot sue as their parents or guardians. This ability to sue the government will be a force to maintain equal Justice and civil rights…freedom for all persons and sovereignty for the people as a nation. The Trial at Nuremberg was the victims of the Holocaust suing Hitler’s regime.
    Take a child from his parents and make the child a ward of a tyrannical government would cause injury. This injury must be indemnified. Being unable to sue for damages causes further injury. (If the LGBT+ injures your child and you cannot sue the LGBT+, then the child, when emancipated, ought to be free to sue the government that imposed such injury on him.) What makes the government above the law and giving a good account of itself? Do we not have a Government Accountability Office to account for money? Why not a government accountability office for injuries suffered at the hands of government agencies? Do not persons incarcerated unjustly, then, have indemnity? The people as a whole constituted the government. The people as a whole can and may be held accountable.
    In the Old Testament, God refers to Himself with a capital “G”. “I AM your GOD and you are men sacred to me”. ( I will find that notation) God refers to men as “the lesser gods”, small “g”, but, nonetheless divine, made in the image of Divinity. The anti-theist will reject his small “g” divinity because the atheist rejects his Creator. If the anti-theist’s atheism injures any other person, adult or minor, that person, the atheist, anti-theist, secular humanist or any of the ilk, Satan worshipper, becomes liable in a court of law for damages.
    The sovereign souls of the aborted, when allowed to know their aborters at the Last Judgment, will then be able to pursue equal Justice in the court of heaven. This is their prerogative and their just due.
    If Scotland pursues taking children from their parents, then let them be ready with a good account of themselves, equal to, or better than the damages inflicted on a minor child. I also hold with suing the state if self-defense is denied and the police fail to protect a citizen from crime. Your tax dollars at work.
    Let me too, apologize for the length of this comment.

  • Magdalene wrote, “You forgot about midwives being coerced to perform the murder of the unborn in abortion now…”

    In fact, the Inner House ((Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, Lady Dorrian, and Lord McEwan)) unanimously upheld their right to conscientious objection. Lady Dorrian said, “The right is given because it is recognised that the process of abortion is felt by many people to be morally repugnant. As Lord Diplock observed in the RCN case, it is a matter on which many people have strong moral and religious convictions, and the right of conscientious objection is given out of respect for
    those convictions and not for any other reason. It is in keeping with the reason for the exemption that the wide interpretation which we favour should be given to it. It is consistent with the reasoning which allowed such an objection in the first place
    that it should extend to any involvement in the process of treatment, the object of which is to terminate a pregnancy.”

    It was the Supreme Court (A UK court with an English majority) that reversed the judgment of the Inner House.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “It was the Supreme Court (A UK court with an English majority) that reversed the judgment of the Inner House.”
    .
    The repudiation of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland in itself is reason to wish independence.

Government as Tiresome, Expensive Nag

Monday, September 29, AD 2014

Nanny State

 

Have you noticed that as government becomes more of a ponzi scheme where it takes in huge amounts of money and doles out some of it to a large number of recipients in the body politic it has taken on the hectoring privileges of a parent paying out allowances to wayward brats?  The late Kenneth Minogue did.  From 2010:

 

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.

No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism.

We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.

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10 Responses to Government as Tiresome, Expensive Nag

  • Carl Schmitt argues that this is inevitable.
    In Schmitt’s view, parliamentarianism and liberalism existed in a particular historical epoch between the “absolute” state of the seventeenth century and the “total state” of the twentieth century. Parliamentary discussion and a liberal “private sphere” presupposed the “depoliticization” of a large area of social, economic and cultural life. The state provided a legally codified order within which social customs, economic competition, religious beliefs, and so on, could be pursued without becoming “political.”
    This all changed with the rise of mass political parties. “Democracy and liberalism are fundamentally antagonistic. Democracy does away with the depoliticizations characteristic of rule by a narrow bourgeois stratum insulated from popular demands. Mass politics means a broadening of the agenda to include the affairs of all society – everything is potentially political.”

  • “Sheer torture to live under a nanny state where nanny is drunk and degenerate.”
    .
    This is called alcoholism at the national level. It is drunkenness without the booze. People are drunk on pleasure, whatever titillates the senses and gratifies the flesh. It is the same problem about which St Paul wrote so eloquently in his epistles. It is not a new problem, but an old, even ancient problem. It is called sin.

  • The government is bureaucracy. The state is the people who constitute the government, the entire body of citizens with the entire government of bureaucracy, every single person alive and well this day, our ancestors, our Founding Fathers and our constitutional posterity, all future generations.
    .
    The imposition of evil and sin on the state, that is, the nation of people, us, past, present and future, our forebears and our posterity, those persons who have come before us and those people who will come after us, each and every one of us by only several individuals, the government, the bureaucracy, is so evil, and is a miscarriage of Justice, a violation of equal Justice, un-American, unconstitutional, and the abrogation of our Preamble and every article of the U.S. Constitution.
    .
    All future generations are begotten in perfect legal and moral innocence. All ancestors are forgiven their transgressions and failings and remain with us in legacy. The trust established by our ancestors, our Founding Fathers, and given over to our posterity must remain unblemished in the perfect moral and legal innocence into which God creates all human beings’ immortal souls.
    .
    Justice for every person is imprinted in our souls, a trust born of our heritage and our legacy, a trust endowed by our Creator, perfect Justice.

  • “Nine bucks a month too expensive to make sure you don’t have bastards?”
    .
    The children are not bastards, the parents are.

  • Nope, that was the legal term under the law for children brought into this world outside of wedlock. Up until quite recently, just the past few decades, paternity cases were known as bastardy proceedings. It wasn’t a nice name because it wasn’t a nice thing to be, deprived of two parents and a father’s care and support. The reality of being a bastard remains not a nice thing, despite the attempt of the World to pretend otherwise, and I say that as someone whose beloved mother came into this Vale of Tears as a bastard.

  • Donald R McClarey

    You are right and “bastard” is surely preferable to the more euphemistic but nonsensical “illegitimate.”
    The latter is from Latin “legitimus,” meaning statutory and the Romans never used the phrase “liberi legitimi”– statutory children – and would have found the expression puzzling. They did talk of “heredes legitimi” or legitimate heirs, for the order of succession was laid down in a lex – the Law of the Twelve Tables. “Heredes legitimi” is quite a mouthful and they used “Legitimi” as an ellipsis.
    To legitimate means to place in the order of succession.

  • Donald McClarey: “The reality of being a bastard remains not a nice thing, despite the attempt of the World to pretend otherwise, and I say that as someone whose beloved mother came into this Vale of Tears as a bastard.”
    .
    I would hope that your mother’s advent into this “Vale of Tears” was ameliorated by common law marriage as it is by matrimony in the Church. I suspect that this is why you have chose law to be your profession. To me, Lex, legis is having a leg to stand on in the vernacular.
    .
    While all that you and MPS have written is verily true, I stand by my notation.

  • “I would hope that your mother’s advent into this “Vale of Tears” was ameliorated by common law marriage as it is by matrimony in the Church.”

    Nope. My grandmother went to work to support her daughter and herself and my great-grandmother, who my mother regarded as a saint, largely raised her. My grandmother later married a tough longshoreman who became a loving father to my mom and a loving grandfather to her two sons.

    “I suspect that this is why you have chose law to be your profession.”

    No, I chose it as an expedient until something better came along. Thirty-two years later I am still on the outlook for “something better”!

  • “My grandmother later married a tough longshoreman who became a loving father to my mom and a loving grandfather to her two sons.” Thus, your mom became legitimatized.
    .
    The American Catholic is “something better.”

  • “bastardy proceedings”
    .
    Reverend August Newman, R.I.P. said that these children are children of the Church. Perhaps Father Newman understood that these children are created in innocence and are victims visited with their parents’ transgressions. Perhaps, there was a clandestine marriage (without the approval of the state or of the Church) which later dissolved because of real impediments that were unforeseen by either parent and that necessitated a separation. Nevertheless, the children are victims and adopted children of God and of the Church.

Obama Administration as the Most Compelling Argument Against Big Government

Friday, October 11, AD 2013

 

 

 

As a conservative I do appreciate one thing about the Obama administration:  it makes the argument as to the evils of big government far more effectively than ten thousand free market sermons.  Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics takes a look at the Obamacare roll out, and the unbelievable level of incompetence it betokens:

 

 

Sebelius’ department had 3½ years to prepare to implement the Affordable Care  Act. No one ever suggested that commandeering one-sixth of the American economy  would be an easy task. (Many Republicans suggested the opposite and were  dismissed as killjoys for their efforts.) But after the debacle of the last two  weeks, liberals and Democrats—not conservatives or Republicans—should be calling  for Sebelius’s head.

The administration’s handling of the implementation of Obamacare over the  past three years has been a slow-moving train wreck: a mixture of embarrassing  delays, hard-to-justify waivers, and assorted bad news about the unintended  consequences of the law. Some of this was Sebelius’s fault, some of it was  not.

The crowning blunder came 10 days ago with the rollout of healthcare.gov website, the centerpiece of the administration’s effort to sign individuals up  for coverage through the government-run health care exchanges that are at the  heart of the legislation. To say this was vitally important to the overall  success of the law is an understatement. It is the aspect of Obamacare that the  president himself has said is utterly essential—and backed up those words by  letting the federal government shut down rather that give in to Republican  demands to gut it. Nonetheless, its premiere was a giant flop – and Kathleen  Sebelius is responsible.

The government’s website apparently cost more than $500  million to build—and counting. This is more than LinkedIn, Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram or Spotify, and yet it has been a disaster from the get-go,  freezing, crashing, and locking people out.

The administration’s line is that the website was overwhelmed by surprisingly  strong demand, which they cast as a good thing. Programmers who peeked under the  hood of the website scoffed at that assertion, saying that the site was so  poorly constructed, so full of glitches and buggy code that it could never have  supported even the most modest traffic levels. Some of that code was actually  caused by spelling errors in Javascript.

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7 Responses to Obama Administration as the Most Compelling Argument Against Big Government

  • So, I understand you to be saying you have no better, more effective, argument against big government than our government, of which President Obama is the elected executive. I would ask you simply to witness to that deficiency by keeping quiet. On the other hand, speak and prove your point!

  • Oh I have endless arguments against big government FK, as detailed in many of the thousands of posts that I have made on this blog since its inception five years ago. However, Obama has been a godsend for those opposing big government with his gross incompetence, his pettiness and his malevolence. If I were a champion of the nanny state I would curse his name each day.

  • There is money in incompetence if you know who to bill. Much of the shrillness of the Democratic banshees, is attributable to their grim will to protect their own rice bowls.

  • Ivan

    Of course, democratic government is always a contest between the friends of corruption and the friends of sedition; those who profit from existing abuses and those who look to profit from the disaffection that corruption naturally produces.

  • As the world around us goes to hell faster than you can say “twerk”, barbed humor may be one way to cope with secular machine and its surrounding chaos. Great video.

  • How does our faux constitutional professor in chief get around the Equal Protection Clause when he grants exemptions to persons of certain classes or categories? While the language thereof applies to the states, it says, ” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This appears to apply to state exchanges established under Obamacare. I am not a lawyer, just merely Irish. Nonetheless I see a constitutional issue here.

  • One of many constitutional issues of great moment William which still await to be decided by the courts. I think the Equal Protection Violation is clear, especially when, as in the case of Obamacare, a penalty is provided under the law for those who are not granted an exemption or waiver.

Government, the Biggest Bully of All

Saturday, June 29, AD 2013

4 Responses to Government, the Biggest Bully of All

  • The Nanny of the Month was once an elementary school principal, and of an age to be one of the irritating creatures in charge of my elementary school. I do not think the passage of time has improved that lot.

  • Several of my grandsons were suspended for interrupting school fights caused by bullying. Everybody gets suspended. This bill would empower individuals not elected, nor appointed and horribly unqualified to judge the young people and/or adults in any given situation. Are these “judges” to take the testimony of a liar or bully and continue the bullying on a legal level? Who is going to enforce this anti-bullying law? Biased, politically correct morons, useful idiots, or individual persons of integrity, honesty, and they who are statesmen, or are these decent citizens already incarcerated?

  • Time for a few Harden Up pills, methinks.

    PC is a tyranny that feeds on itself.

  • Man up is almost always good advice Don!

The Mask Drops

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

.

All we have of freedom, all we use or know—

This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—

Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing

Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,

How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom—not at little cost

Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue

 

 

Give an A to Sarah Conly for boldly proclaiming what many of our liberal elites believe but are too wise to state openly:

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10 Responses to The Mask Drops

  • aren’t conservatism and liberalism both visions of society that don’t place personal liberty as the end all? (Russell Kirk wrote a good denunciation of libertarianism on this point) the difference is that conservatism is more concerned with a central morality people should follow, where liberalism places emphasis on general “self-fulfillment” but then thinks it can have the government pick up the pieces from any downsides

    a good example is that very occasionally you’ll get liberals to admit that family breakdown is an issue, however they’re so concerned about “turning back the clock” that they always propose economic solutions for it, on the assumption that wherever we’re at now must represent Progress and we shouldn’t be judgmental

  • Conservatives usually put God at the end of all. American conservatism has normally followed the Founding Fathers in their innate distrust of government, and the concern for the threat to liberty it always poses. Contemporary liberals, almost all of them, have rejected this precious inheritance root and branch and believe that all the wonderful things, in their eyes, that government can do, more than makes up for limitations on liberty.

  • I just heard this quote on the radio today, from Monroe’s First Inaugural Address:

    Had the people of the United States been educated in different principles, had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career or been blessed with the same success? While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.

  • @ Pinky

    And Adams said the Constitution was only for a moral and just people. If not, it would yield to “avarice, ambition, lust, and licentiousness.” Tocqueville also observed the moderating role religion played on the inherent emphasis on individualism within the liberal political ethos. He noted that the American people were “better than their philosophy.” The problem is, and I think Patrick Deneen does a good job of illustrating just why, liberal (the Enlightenment kind) political philosophy eventually neuters religion as nothing more than a private decision, eviscerating it and its restraining influence from the public square. We see the fruits of such a development, two centuries in the making, before our very eyes.

  • Amazon’s reviews are composed of a self-selected crew who bought the book and so are commonly quite laudatory. This particular book received eight reviews. Five were negative, two were ironic, and one was penned by this fellow here.

    http://mitchellfreedman.blogspot.com/

    My favorite line from the reviews was this one:

    … like dropping almost **** $100 **** on her book. Presumably the reader os the book live in a world where that’s a “smart” choice.

  • Bob Zubrin quoted at Instapundit, “The use of fictitious necessity to rationalize human oppression is not new.”

    Camus, “The common good is the alibi of all tyrants.”

    “She can’t run her own life, I’ll be damned if she’ll run mine.” I don’t remember the rock/R&B musician.

    Ms. Conley is walking, talking evidence that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.

  • “that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.”

    I think Ayn Rand was just as dictatorial T.Shaw as Ms. Conley could ever hope to be, judging from the bitter memoirs of some of her former cultists. Rand was a poor philosopher who made a name for herself by combining her jejune paean to selfishness in pot boilers with plenty of sex at a time when such novels were still considered “shocking” and “cutting edge”.

    Whittaker Chambers had Rand’s number long ago:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2705853/posts

  • Bill Buckley’s obit on Rand:

    “Ayn Rand, RIP
    New York, March 10, 1982

    Rand is dead. So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn. The great public crisis in Ayn Rand’s career came, in my judgment, when Whittaker Chambers took her on—in December of 1957, when her book Atlas Shrugged best-seller list, lecturers were beginning to teach something called Randism, and students started using such terms as “mysticism of the mind” (religion), and “mysticism of the muscle” (statism). Whittaker Chambers, whose authority with American conservatives was as high as that of any man then living, wrote in NATIONAL REVIEW, after a lengthy analysis of the essential aridity of Miss Rand’s philosophy, “Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.”

    I had met Miss Rand three years before that review was published. Her very first words to me (I do not exaggerate) were: “You ahrr too intelligent to believe in Gott.” The critic Wilfrid Sheed once remarked, when I told him the story, “Well, that certainly is an icebreaker.” It was; and we conversed, and did so for two or three years. I used to send her postcards in liturgical Latin: but levity with Miss Rand was not an effective weapon. And when I published Whittaker Chambers’ review, her resentment was so comprehensive that she regularly inquired of all hosts or toastmasters whether she was being invited to a function at which I was also scheduled to appear, because if that was the case, either she would not come; or, if so, only after I had left; or before I arrived. I fear that I put the lady through a great deal of choreographical pain.

    Miss Rand’s most memorable personal claim (if you don’t count the one about her being the next greatest philosopher after Aristotle) was that since formulating her philosophy of “objectivism,” she had never experienced any emotion for which she could not fully account. And then one day, a dozen years ago, she was at a small dinner, the host of which was Henry Hazlitt, the libertarian economist, the other guest being Ludwig von Mises, the grand master of the Austrian school of anti-statist economics. Miss Rand was going on about something or other, at which point Mises told her to be quiet, that she was being very foolish. The lady who could account for all her emotions at that point burst out into tears, and complained: “You are treating me like a poor ignorant little Jewish girl!” Mr. Hazlitt, attempting to bring serenity to his table, leaned over and said, “There there, Ayn, that isn’t at all what Ludwig was suggesting.” But this attempt at conciliation was ruined when Mises jumped up and said: “That iss eggsactly what you ahrr!” Since both participants were Jewish, this was not a racist slur. This story was mortal to her reputation as the lady of total self-control.

    THERE WERE other unpleasantnesses of professional interest, such as her alienation from her principal apostle, Nathaniel Branden—who was so ungallant as to suggest, in retaliation against her charge that he was trying to swindle her, that the breakup was the result of his rejection of an, er, amatory advance by Miss Rand. Oh goodness, it got ugly.

    There were a few who, like Chambers, caught on early. Atlas Shrugged was published back before the law of the Obligatory Sex Scene was passed by both Houses of Congress and all fifty state legislatures, so that the volume was considered rather risque, in its day. Russell Kirk, challenged to account for Miss Rand’s success if indeed she was merely an exiguous philosophic figure, replied, “Oh, they read her books for the fornicating bits.” Unkind. And only partly true.

    The Fountainhead, read in a certain way, is a profound assertion of the integrity of art. What did Miss Rand in was her anxiety to theologize her beliefs. She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that—but no, she had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest is good and noble. She risked, in fact, giving to capitalism that bad name that its enemies have done so well in giving it; and that is a pity. Miss Rand was a talented woman, devoted to her ideals. She came as a refugee from Communism to this country as a young woman, and carved out a substantial career. May she rest in peace, and may she experience the demystification of her mind possessed.”

  • Mac,

    I apologize.

Government as False Savior

Tuesday, January 15, AD 2013

 

One of the more amusing aspects of living in contemporary America, if one likes one’s humor fairly dark, is that the government is attempting to take over health care at the same time the wheels are coming off some functions of government that have been around for centuries.  That is your cue Post Office.

Inspector general David Williams, described as the “chief postal watchdog,” said the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will go out of business this year unless Congress bails it out.
 
In an interview with the Guardian, Williams said the postal service lost nearly $16 billion the last fiscal year, nearly $41 billion over the last five years, and has reached its $15 billion credit limit.
 
When asked if the USPS will need a bailout this year, Williams said: “Yes. The choices are that it would cease to exist or it would need a bailout.”
 
Williams, whose agency audits the postal service, says Congress may have to help the postal service with its pension payments, which he says have put the postal service “in very serious trouble.”
 
According to the Guardian, the USPS has “missed its last two payments into the benefit funds” and “has never made a single payment without having to borrow from the US Treasury. “

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13 Responses to Government as False Savior

  • Except smarty pants Congress told the USPS they had to fund these benefits 70 years into the future. Not bizarre at all.

  • Well then the Post Office should have no problem if Congress were to vote to end its lucrative monopoly on first class mail, and give it freedom to compete in the private sector, free to make its own rules and to either earn a profit or go bankrupt if it cannot. The days when magical “government” can allow money losing pits like the Post Office to exist are drawing to a close as we are reaching the end stages of the trick of conjuring money out of thin air.

    Additionally, the prepayment argument is phony. In 2011 the Post Office had a 5.1 billion loss without paying a cent on prepayment for health benefits pushing that year’s payment into fiscal year 2012. In 2012 the Post Office defaulted on eleven billion in health care prepayments and on top of that had a five billion dollar loss.

    Could the post office make a profit as a private entity free of government interference? I am uncertain, but I know the day is swiftly approaching when it will have to make the attempt or go the way of Nineveh, Tyre and Amalgamated Buggy Whips.

  • Yikes! Nobody seems to have a problem with getting their mail delivered to their door everyday. Those days are probably over but sometimes we don’t know the whole story and still a gentler spirit can prevail???

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  • I wouldn’t consider the Postal Service to be the poster child for government inefficiency or nanny statism. Mail delivery, arguably, could be considered a part of the general public infrastructure along with roads, water/sewer supplies, and other utilities. (Yes, I know that people do more things by e-mail and online these days but not everyone has or will be able to afford a computer or smartphone, and there are still some things that have to be delivered by hand.) Genuine nanny statism comes from the purely regulatory agencies such as EPA, Commerce, Energy, etc. that, in general, don’t provide any other “service” besides telling state, local, and private entities what they can and cannot do.

  • “Yikes! Nobody seems to have a problem with getting their mail delivered to their door everyday.”

    Actually in thirty years of dealing with the Post Office in business I have had some horror stories, including a missing check from a Bank in my town that made the mistake of posting a check to me, to pieces of mail that have been delivered to me in plastic bags due to the postal machinery chewing them up, to undeliverable mail that mysteriously comes back to me months after I have sent it out, to mail from nearby towns and cities that take weeks to get to me instead of days. These are the execeptions rather than the rule, but they are not that infrequent. (Every week mail that is not mine, and is clearly addressed, is mistakenly put into my mail box at the post office and I take time out to go to the front desk so that they can put it in the proper mail box.) The Post Office has a large task, but there are definitely problem areas that would cause a private business to remedy them or to go out of business.

  • Mail delivery Elaine I think after the invention of railroads and steamships, say around 1865, could have been privatized. That it was not was largely attributable to the fact that in those days postmasterships were prize political plums and highly sought after. Of course Congresscritters would also have lost their franking privilege to send out re-elect me propaganda disguised as informative letters to constituents, something that was highly prized by them then as now.

  • I think Cosmo Kramer was ahead of his time when it came to the Post Office.

  • Mail delivery, arguably, could be considered a part of the general public infrastructure along with roads, water/sewer supplies, and other utilities.

    Mail delivery is not a natural monopoly, nor are regulatory functions integral to the operation of the postal service, nor is it a service from which you are unable to exclude non-paying clientele. Private companies are pleased to deliver parcels and express mail for a fee, and they deliver to your door just about anywhere you may live; there is not much preventing them from delivering first-class mail and advertising flyers as well. Some use of bid contracts to subvene mail delivery to certain remote locations might be justified and certain functions now performed by components of the postal service might be transferred to other units of the government (the postal inspection service, stamp production, &c). The real problem with putting the postal service on the auction bloc is the dysfunctional culture maintained by their unions and their actuarially unsound retirement benefits. You need to address these problems first, then sell.

  • Could the post office make a profit as a private entity free of government interference? I am uncertain, but I know the day is swiftly approaching when it will have to make the attempt or go the way of Nineveh, Tyre and Amalgamated Buggy Whips.

    Were its assets taken over by private equity or one of its competitors (UPS, FedEx, Mailboxes USA) and an appropriate restructuring undertaken, sure. It is a declining business and there may not be room for as many competitors, but it is still useful and people pay for it. The thing is, a large mass of people will lose their jobs, many physical outlets will close, and pensioners are going to have to accept cram-downs administered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. That’s not going to be pretty.

  • Denzel Washington once told the story about his time working at the Post Office. He was young and eager, and pretty quickly figured out how to do his full day’s sorting work in two hours. All the old-timers hated him. Finally, one day, one of them handed him a stack of magazines and told him he wasn’t allowed to sort them until he’d read them, cover to cover.

  • Let’s remember, as antiquated and over burdened as the USPS is, it’s one of the better quasio-gov agencies out there. It is also the primo facto poster child of rampant unionization & bureaucratic inefficiencies that strangle the chances to turn things around fast enough to adjust to the market needs. Heck, they seem to need a presidential decree just to curtail wasteful saturday deliveries. Can’t reduce their workforce to match demand. Can’t consolidate offices quick enough …. etc. etc. By why worry Alfred … bailouts are acoming.

  • By why worry Alfred … bailouts are acoming.

    AIG got three discrete capital infusions and even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are beginning to break even after four years as money pits. The bailout of which you speak would have to be an open-ended committment to finance the Postal Service’s deficits. I do not think Mr. Boehner’s crew will stand for that.

Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Lincoln Comment On Our Times

Friday, March 30, AD 2012

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

                                                                                             C.S. Lewis

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3 Responses to Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Lincoln Comment On Our Times

  • The proven cures for poverty are freedom, personal responsibility, and a private property based economy, er, “capitalism.”

    The massive peace and social justice fabrication is nothing more but the alibi for tyrants.

    Case in point the health care reform monstrosity. From Investors Business Daily: “For too long, Democrats have defined the health care issue, depicting the U.S. system as an unfettered market where costs run wild, insurers rip off consumers and deny coverage to tens of millions, and big-government ‘reforms’ are desperately needed. None of it is true.”

    And, Walter Russell Mead: “The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of the Blue Model”: “This is a horrible piece of legislation — as misbegotten and useless to its friends as it is menacing to its enemies. The question is: why? Why did the blues write such a bad law? Why, given a once in a lifetime chance to pass a program that Dems have longed to achieve ever since the New Deal, did they craft a sloppy mess that nobody understands and few admire, and then leave their law so unnecessarily vulnerable to constitutional challenge? The answers tell us much about why blue progressive thinking is losing its hold on the body politic — and why blue methods generally aren’t working as well as they used to.”

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  • Excellent series of posts, Donald – shared at Google blogger and at Facebook. Good work!