This Is How Its Done

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2015

14 Responses to This Is How Its Done

  • Dear Mr. McCleary, It frustrates me at the dismissive tone of your blog post. It’s not surprise that you tend more to neo-conservative candidates. You probably want a pro-Israel lobby candidate, someone who is tied to fake conservatism like a Bush or a Walker. You will take no risk in a fresh person who clearly points out the ways in which Homeland Security and the Military Industrial complex are ruining the country, or that our policemen are being turned into Judge Dredds. You take delight in some personality who is friends with Bill Kristol and Zbigniew Brzezinski and has a vision of world dominance by force. Personally, I see no difference in Clinton, McCain, Romney, Obama, Bush 1, Bush 2 and now Bush 3. Each of these candidates have asked, “How do you like the dismantling of your country–quick and dirty, or slow and steady. None of them have been for building up. Not even Michelle Bachmann whom I admire on some issues can see 50 feet ahead of her without spotting a country to send missiles. All these conservative men and women want war. None of these is a Catholic world view by the way, but in the time of confusion such as we are in, they say we are allowed to differ–I differ with that opinion. Sure I would love for my country to be a super power, but we cannot be at present because our sins far mire our aspirations. We are bogged down in homosexuality, in abortion, in usury, in gross injustices and other violations. god will simply not let us take the lead in anything. If we ignore our own injustices, then His justice will be visited upon us. Every “conservative” who promises to end abortion and other vices really knows they are not going to be held accountable by Catholics and Protestants, so they just use rhetoric and pathos to no end. Catholics ought to say, “been there”, ‘tried that”. Where are our own candidates? Santorum? No way! He is the number one phoney. I have met him–totally principled on paper, but in reality–what a joke. Who else stands a chance to appease the lovers of morals and peace based on common sense and natural principles?

  • James I have little tolerance for anti-Semites or pacifists. Keep that in mind if you wish to give rah, rah support for Mr. Rand on this blog. I find it amusing that your tiresome screed is made on a post where I celebrate Rand Paul for what he said. Did you bother to read my post before making this factually challenged comment?

  • That is a good answer! I do like that combative spirit – because we want to win this time. Ted Cruz quoted Margaret Thatcher saying, “…first you win the argument, then you win the election.”
    I had a chance to tell him my thoughts on that – that part of the reason Democrats win the argument is because they have no diversity in their “big tent”- they all beat the same drum. The only differences in democrats is in degree not in kind.
    of course they have the complicity of the media
    So I like that feistiness shown in R Paul’s answer- and I hope all Republicans will get that same competitive spirit

  • “So I like that feistiness shown in R Paul’s answer- and I hope all Republicans will get that same competitive spirit”

    Agreed Anzlyne!

  • No way! He is the number one phoney. I have met him–totally principled on paper, but in reality–what a joke.

    Ah yes, Paulbots, how I’ve missed thee.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2015/02/11/rick-santorums-new-book-features-miracle-daughter-bella-who-has-trisomy-18/

    I mean it’s not as impressive as ranting on a blog site, but we can’t all be as valiant witnesses to the pro-life cause as Jimmy.

  • Amen to Ron.
    E. Schreiber commented on an earlier thread regarding how people in general process reality. The conclusions from the study indicate a decline in structural family and community norms, and an increase in “productivity based” realities.
    Fast forward to abortion debates.
    Will the babies have a chance at life in the shifting paradigm?
    A drag or encumbrance upon productivity, nothing more?
    Sacred for many are resources vs. Life.

  • Rand…not Ron. Coffee anyone?

  • I may be biased given that Rand’s a hometown boy but what can I say, I’d take him over a lot of choices. Heck I’d vote for him just to send a message that being forthright and honest about your views and the cost of things is what I want in a candidate.

    Though in all honesty I’d prefer him to remain in the senate or be a vice president to tug the prez right (and better prep for a presidential run) than president at the moment.

  • James: “god will simply not let us take the lead in anything. ” God with a small “g” is not to be trusted.

  • Good job by Rand in further response to DWS.

    Wasserman Schultz hit back — highlighting Paul’s testy interviews with female television anchors, too, by saying she hopes he can “respond without ‘shushing’ me.” But Paul, the Kentucky Republican senator who launched his 2016 presidential campaign this week, said her answer made it sound like she is indeed okay “killing a seven-pound baby.”

  • Not even Michelle Bachmann whom I admire on some issues can see 50 feet ahead of her without spotting a country to send missiles.

    When you’ve decided to assess something other than caricatures, maybe you can get back to all of us. While were at it, formulations like ‘neocon’ and ‘Israel lobby’ go down well on alt-right boards. About the alt-right in general, recall what a department store executive once said to Rupert Murdoch: “we have your readers in our stores, as shoplifters”.

  • It is so simple-Rand and Ted and whoever else nails it when they come right back at the media who support the Democrats with questions that for the Democrasts are the equivalent of “When will you stop killing your potential voters?”. Someone please teach all non-democrat candidates how to do this. Right back atcha liberal media: “Why are the Dems called the “Party Of Death” – which “death” is it? death of a seven pound baby? death of the family? death of the elderly? death of the victims of black on black crime? death of those in their mothers’ wombs? death of our soliders? death of an American ambassador? death of the home? death of America? Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • Marvelous:

    “”Here’s an answer,” she said in an emailed statement. “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul.”

    Then, she posed some questions of her own, saying: “We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of ‘personal liberty’? And I’d appreciate it if you could respond without ‘shushing’ me.”

    But Paul wasn’t fazed — or impressed — by Wasserman Schultz’s answer. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the senator said it seemed to him like she wasn’t opposed to late-term abortions.

    “Sounds like her answer is yes, that she’s okay with killing a seven-pound baby,” he said.

    Paul went on to say that “even most of my friends who are pro-choice” are opposed to such abortions, but acknowledged that “there’s a bit of doubt and discussion [about abortions] earlier in the pregnancy.”

    “But Debbie’s position, which I guess is the Democrat Party’s position, that an abortion all the way up until the day of birth would be fine, I think most pro-choice people would be really uncomfortable with that,” he added. “So I don’t know — I really think she’s got some explaining to do.””


    Make the Democrats own their advocacy of what pro-abortion Senate Daniel Patrick Moynihan called “barely disguised infanticide”. Then we can get their opinions about sex selection abortions, Planned Parenthood aborting minors and not reporting suspected sex crimes against the very same minors, whether they favor the lack of regulation of abortion clinics that allowed Gosnell to run his abortion chamber of horrors for decades, etc. Democrats have lots of questions to answer about their abortion uber alles stance, and Senator Paul Rand has shown the way for Republicans to do it.

  • Paul was a little too peremptorily feisty with Savannah Guthrie— he was swinging for a target that wasn’t there.. great to be a fighter at the appropriate time and when the matter weighs enough- not to just be petulant

Rand Paul on What Obama Should Explain to Pope Francis

Tuesday, March 25, AD 2014

5 Responses to Rand Paul on What Obama Should Explain to Pope Francis

  • Rand is in agreement with Vatican chief justice that Obama’s administration is “hostile to Christians.”

    I wish the majority of Catholics believed it true, that the HHS mandate is a sucker punch to Christians with a conscience.

    Please keep the Green family ( Hobby Lobby ) and the Hahn family in your prayers today. Hahn’s are the owners of Conestoga Wood. Eric Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League has been outside the Supreme Court with a rally group..Stand Up for Religious Freedom. He told us that Planned….excuse me..Murder inc. is also present with their cohort supporting the HHS mandate.
    Your prayers are appreciated.

    As for Rand Paul. I like him. Hope he considers running in 2016.

  • The notion that no one should be forced to have their “tax dollars … go to something … morally reprehensible” is obviously not workable. Every American taxapayer can identify something that the government funds that they find morally reprehensible. What makes Hobby Lobby a more compelling case is (i) it does not involve a governmental decision on how to use its own dollars received by taxation (i.e., tax dollars) but instead a governmental decision as to how you must use your own dollars and (ii) Hobby Lobby’s complaint is not just that such use is morally reprehensible but that the act required is actually sinful and therefore incompatible with its freedom to exercise its religious beliefs.

  • Taxation without representation is inflicted on constituents when government does not represent people the way “their Creator” created them. The HHS Mandate is especially egregious because the mandate overrules the person’s conscience.
    .
    “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”—-Thomas Jefferson.
    .
    Every government that has failed to observe the reality of the human being made in the image and likeness of our Supreme Sovereign Being has simply failed. Why is that? Well, it happens to be that good will is engendered by God as Divine Providence to promote and protect the human race, homo sapiens. Without good will society is not.

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  • I think it’s important that US Catholic bishops tell the laity of the Catholic Church why they went ga-ga over Obamacare and swallowed its empty promises. I want to know why our bishops are such easy marks for the Free Government Health Care con every time it is played. I want to know where in Scripture Jesus said “render the poor unto Caesar.” I want to know why our bishops and priests have not publicly abjured the Abortion Party and all its works.

    The Gates of Hell have not prevailed against the Church but they sure have left it wounded lately.

Rand Paul: Frontrunner

Monday, March 17, AD 2014

After winning two CPAC polls and a spat with Ted Cruz in recent days, it is arguable that Rand Paul is the current GOP front-runner for the 2016 presidential election. Of course it is absurdly early to really make the call, but many of us have been expecting this trajectory since Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010. Some of us, myself included, have welcomed it.

On the non-negotiable issues for Catholics who even bother to vote in accordance with the natural moral law, Rand Paul is solid. He is 100% pro-life, supports the 10th amendment right of states to determine their own marriage laws, and has declared school choice “the civil rights issue of our day.” (Remember, the right of parents to educate their children as they see fit is a non-negotiable.)

On economics, he has proposed the establishment of free-enterprise zones for cities such as Detroit that have been devastated by decades of bureaucratic mismanagement, union thuggery and bloated government. The “social justice” crowd will never accept human freedom as a means by which the common good can be served, but the rest of us are under no obligation to ignore empirical reality. It is the creation of wealth that lifts masses of people out of poverty, and it is the unleashing of creative human potential from the pretensions of would-be social engineers and demagogues that allows the most wealth to be created and shared.

My only problem with Rand Paul is foreign policy. I imagine that some of my respected co-bloggers also have this problem, though for a much different reason than myself; they may see him as too much like his father, while I am disappointed that he is not overtly enough like him. Yes, I am a Ron Paul non-interventionist (I can’t stop you from calling me an “isolationist” in spite of my preference for free trade, the free flow of information and cultural exchange, but you should know that I’ll think you a moron if you do).

I was proud of Paul, and for the first time, much of the GOP, when it rejected Obama’s ambition to attack the Syrian government and send aid to Al-Qaeda (to switch our enemy from Eastasia to Eurasia). Since the Ukrainan crisis, Paul has been doing his best to straddle the fence and appease the interventionist hardliners as well as the loyal support base his father built up and which he needs to win his campaign for him. I am encouraged, however, that in spite of the obligatory denunciations of Putin that all US  politicians must offer, Paul has spoken of the dire need to protect the world’s persecuted Christians. As Putin has also often spoken of this need, perhaps this could form the basis of peace and cooperation between our nations. Nothing in my view is more dangerous, tragic, stupid and unnecessary than the antagonism currently brewing between the West and Russia over Ukraine – a situation that was deliberately inflamed by Western support and encouragement for the Ukrainian opposition.  Rand Paul will only have my support if he can prove himself to be above this irrational nonsense.

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23 Responses to Rand Paul: Frontrunner

  • The younger Dr. Paul will have by 2017 one term as a legislator under his belt after twenty-odd years as a small practice professional. That is not adequate preparation for an executive position as demanding as the Presidency. Same problem with Sen. Cruz, the latest belle of the ball. Goes double for Sen. Rubio, whose not as sharp as Cruz or Paul and lies brazenly.

  • I like Paul. His biggest campaign liability will be that he appears to have very thin skin.

  • Bonchamps,

    Blaming the West for the Ukrainian opposition to Yanukovich is ridiculous. Yanukovich was a criminal and a crook and Putin’s semi-puppet.

    I know something about this part of the world and Russia is not a nation to be trusted. Lest you think that I advocate sending the US Army into Ukraine to drive out Russia, I don’t. The nearly senile McCain can keep that view to himself.

    Russia has been a bully to its neighbors to the West – the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland, to name a few – for centuries. Putin has taken the measure of Obumbler and like Brezhnev found Carter, Putin has found a weakling and an idiot who will do nothing to stop Putin’s plans for empire.

    Oh, sure, it has nothing to do with us in the US. Right. Soviet assistance propped up Castro and he is still in power. Wait until Putin threatens Western Ukraine and tries to merge Belarus into Russia proper. Then the Bear sits at the doorstep of Poland once again. Poland has been a good ally to the US, but to isolationists, it’s the same old story. F’em, right? Not our problem, right?

    Ron Paul, from what I read of him, often blamed the Middle East problems on Israel. Israel isn’t blameless, but I blame Muslims for Middle East problems.

  • Speaking of Rand Paul….this nation elected an imbecile who can’t speak without a teleprompter. It’s all about packaging. The fire hydrant across the street from my house would be an improvement as President over the current occupant of the White House.

  • PF,
    .
    A few points.
    .
    1. I did not blame the West for the existence of an opposition in Ukraine. I blamed it for supporting that opposition in order to deliberately antagonize Russia.
    .
    2. I do not care if “Russia has been a bully.” All large nations, including our own, have spheres of influence. America has the Monroe Doctrine; only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem.
    .
    3. The USSR aided Castro because both were communist, and because the US had missiles pointed at it in Turkey. Again, disgusting, obscene hypocrisy to say its ok for us to have missile bases a few miles away from Russia but the end of the world if they want to have some near us. These days, as a traditional Catholic and natural law moralist, Putin and I have far, far more in common than John McCain and I, or the godless tyrants who embrace homosexualism and radical feminism in our government and in the EU. The ideological board has changed. Putin is publicly proclaiming and defending traditional natural law morality and speaking up on behalf of persecuted Christians – our leaders in the West are destroying traditional morality, ignoring the persecution of Christians by communists and Muslims, and actually engaging in low-level persecution themselves. Solidarity with persecuted Christians and defense of natural law morality is a thousand times more important to me than defending a bunch of jacked-up neo-fascists on Russia’s border.

  • That he has a considered opinion on foreign policy at all puts him shoulders above the present inhabitant of the White House.

  • only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem

    Thanks for sharing.

  • I do not care if “Russia has been a bully.” All large nations, including our own, have spheres of influence. America has the Monroe Doctrine; only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem.

    So our problem doesn’t start at either the Donitz or the Dniester. Where then does it start? At the Vistula? The Oder? the Elbe? the Rhine?

  • Nice moral equivalency, by the way.

    The USSR aided Castro because both were communist, and because the US had missiles pointed at it in Turkey. Again, disgusting, obscene hypocrisy to say its ok for us to have missile bases a few miles away from Russia but the end of the world if they want to have some near us.

    As if the missles in Turkey and the missles in Cuba represented the same thing.

  • “It is the creation of wealth that lifts masses of people out of poverty, and it is the unleashing of creative human potential from the pretensions of would-be social engineers and demagogues that allows the most wealth to be created and shared.” Well said.

  • So, what happened to all the comments?

  • Changeover to Disqus. I’m not sure if the old comments will be transported here or not.

  • Disqus then not disqus . . . is it a part of Obamacare?

  • I don’t think it’s accurate to see Putin as at all interested in protecting Christians from persecution except when it suits his purposes. The Ukrainian Catholics I know (as opposed to the Orthodox) are deeply worried about what Russian domination of Crimea and Ukraine could mean, and it would seem with good reason:

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/03/15/ukrainian_greek_catholic_priest_abducted_in_crimea/en1-781855

  • “So, what happened to all the comments?”
    .
    The comments are in your e-mail.

  • A reasonable foreign policy would prioritize our national interests and seek to secure those in a just manner. Unfortunately, we have become a nation having a split-personality, one part sane and one part insane. The current President and his party do not appear to prioritize our best interests. They seem to fancy themselves internationalists, rather than patriots. Putin and Russia, at the least seem to have Russia’s interests in mind, whether they seek the same justly is another matter and remains to be seen. Now finally to Rand Paul. I would vote for him in a primary held today.

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  • As if the missles in Turkey and the missles in Cuba represented the same thing.

    They did. For cryin’ out loud, grow up. The American and NATO strategic planning was built around nuclear annihilation, and the suggestion to commit genocide without provocation came up on multiple occasions. Thanks be to God that never happened, but it was planned for, it was prepared for, it was seriously considered, and note that the US has always refused to rule out a first strike option.

    Don’t bother telling me I’m “unpatriotic” for saying this, either — all that would prove is that you have no idea what the word “patriotic” means.

  • They did. For cryin’ out loud, grow up.

    For crying out loud, stop being an obtuse and condescending ass.

    American policy-makers did not, in a world of nuclear weapons, get to choose the matrix in which they lived and worked.

  • Howard: “and note that the US has always refused to rule out a first strike option”. If I carry a pistol for self-defense, I do not put a notice on the holster saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll never shoot first”. Patriotism is the love that leads one to defend, love, and support one’s country. A self-declared “citizen of the world”, such as Obama, would not appear to be so inclined. Someone said, it is impossible to be simultaneously an internationalist and a patriot, and that is what I have in mind. Let us remain cordial. This is a venue, primarily of the household of the faith. “Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith”.

  • For myself, I would argue that our nuclear missles, and even our refusal to rule out nuclear first-strike, were inteneded to thwart Soviet expansion, hence defensive in nature. Their missles were intended to enable it, hence offensive in nature. To my mind, not the same thing at all.

    On the subject of Rand Paul, Senator’s make lousy candidates, and worse Presidents.

    There’s a reason why we only elect one about every other generation.

  • To suggest that the fact that US and USSR were both prepared to use nuclear weapons somehow made them the same is like arguing that since both sides in World War II bombed cities, they were morally the same.

    The USSR was using its nuclear weapons to protect the existence of its totalitarian police state and the satellite nations it kept in line only via their own police states and the constant threat of military invasion if they didn’t toe the party line.

    Anyone who thinks the US was a totalitarian police state is, quite bluntly, an idiot. And not even a useful one.

  • I liked Ron Paul’s views on things economic and hated them on foreign policy.
    Putin is attempting to resurrect the tsarist Russian Empire in some form and knows that Obumbler is as weak as Carter and much more disinterested.

    Putin claims to want to defend Christians. Well, certain Russian Orthodox consider themselves and themsevles alone to be Christians and others are heretics. Don’t believe me…ask a Ukrainian Catholic who knows what happened in 1946. The NKVD – predecessor to the KGB – arrested Ukrainian Catholic clergy and sent them off to rot in the gulags. The NKVD took their churches and gave them to the ROC – or destroyed them. The official Soviet position was that the UGCC never existed.

    On a Catholic view alone…anyone who supports turning a blind eye to Putin is nuts.

Rand Paul’s Amendment

Wednesday, October 23, AD 2013

 

 

As long time readers of this blog know, I have nothing but contempt for Ron Paul (R.Pluto), the former member of Congress, or as I like to refer to him, Doctor Delusional.  However, my attitude towards his son, Senator Rand Paul (R. Ky.), is completely different.  I have long thought he is clever, and now I think he has a streak of true political genius in him.  Springboarding off public outrage over the devious means by which Congress, with the connivance of the Obama administration, has gotten around ObamaCare applying to either members of Congress or their staff, Rand Paul has proposed this amendment to the Constitution:

‘Section 1. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.

‘Section 2. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to the executive branch of Government, including the President, Vice President, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and all other officers of the United States, including those provided for under this Constitution and by law, and inferior officers to the President established by law.

‘Section 3. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, including the Chief Justice, and judges of such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

‘Section 4. Nothing in this article shall preempt any specific provision of this Constitution.’

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10 Responses to Rand Paul’s Amendment

  • Them tea party fanatics just don’t “get it.”

    Laws are for the “little people.”

  • Andrew Jacobs, Jr. was a persistent proponent of stripping Congress of its exemptions during his years in the House of Representatives. Not sure how much progress he ever made.

    You’re the attorney, so perhaps you might weigh in on what the judiciary might do with this amendment in its hands given its wording.

  • To GOOD to be welcomed in the den of thieves but I will pray that somehow this
    Honest, Fair and needed Amendment make it All the way into the Constitution.
    What a beautiful way to put a shot of “hope,” true hope, in the arm of a gravely sick government.

  • Hmmmm . . .
    It sounds great but I have to think on it. It would be great to stop Congresscritters trading on inside information (some US Attorney should indict both Houses under RICO). But what about hiring practices? I’m elected with Tea Party support and fail to hire any gays or whatever. Would Supreme Court Justices have to release their internal memos under FOIA?
    Sec. 4 seems odd — amendments always supersede previous provisions, that’s the point.

    I wonder what the First Constitutional Scholar at 1600 thinks?

  • “You’re the attorney, so perhaps you might weigh in on what the judiciary might do with this amendment in its hands given its wording.”

    Tell me who the justices will be and I will give you an answer! 🙂

    It would take a bold justice indeed to fly in the face of a newly enacted constitutional amendment.

  • I have always taken it as a given that no one is above the law. The idea that we need to amend the constitution to make that clear is shocking. ESP that you would have to make specific designations of persons or offices that are included in “Everyone”

    “at this point what really matters!”

    Disorder. There is no order left – evidenced by the fact that so many people seem to have accepted this idea that some people could be exempted because of their social/political identity.

  • “(20) Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.”

    from the CSA Constitution. How useful this would be in modern times.

    And this for further reading:
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/parsing-the-confederate-constitution/

  • “You’re the attorney, so perhaps you might weigh in on what the judiciary might do with this amendment in its hands given its wording.”

    I’m not an attorney, just a student of the law, but I can answer that one: The judiciary will have nothing to do with it ex officio, since the amendment will be an integral part of the Constitution to which they are subject. No judge has the authority to declare any part of the Constitution unconstitutional — that would be a patent absurdity.

    Not that that would prevent some of the nutcases that sit on the bench from trying, of course.

  • No judge has the authority to declare any part of the Constitution unconstitutional — that would be a patent absurdity.

    It’s a patent absurdity that a vague phrase in a constitutional amendment enacted in 1868 to grant citizenship to freed slaves requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes. We are still stuck with this courtesy our lawless appellate judiciary.

  • Assuming the amendment is enacted through the proper amendment process, the SCOTUS couldn’t do squat. Well, SHOULDN’T do squat. We all know how much the law really matters to them.

    But, to take a stab,

    Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer: It somehow violates the international law, or law of New Guinea or the Fiji Islands, to which, for some inexplicable reason that requires fifteen pages of obfuscation, US laws are subject. Therefore it is invalid.

    Soda Mayor: it was not proposed by a wise Latina, therefore it is invalid.

    Alito, Thomas, Scalia: It was properly amended, therefore valid.

    Roberts: It is, in fact, a tax (or at least, taxing). Therefore it is valid.

    Kennedy: Depends on heads or tails. And the sweet mystery of life. Swing, batter batter batter, swing.

    I think with section 4, what he is getting at is unless the Constitution itself provides some exemption within its own text, all laws apply. So if they want a particular exemotion that is not htere, they would have to go through the Consitutional amendment process for that exemption.

McCain Vs. Paul

Saturday, March 9, AD 2013

Not everyone was enamored with Rand Paul after his filibuster this past Wednesday in the Senate. Senator John McCain railed against Rand Paul on the Senate floor on Thursday. If you missed it, here’s a shot of the Senator’s performance:

Grandpa Simpson

 

McCain was joined by his Sith apprentice fellow Senator Lindsey Graham in denouncing Paul’s filibuster. I wish the camera had panned to see if McCain’s mouth was moving as Graham spoke.

McCain wasn’t done criticizing Paul, offering some choice pull quotes to various media outlets, summarized at Hot Air. This one in particular is my favorite:

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.”

John McCain just said that it’s always the “whacko birds”” who get the media megaphone. Let that sink in for a moment. The same guy who hasn’t turned down a Sunday talk show appearance in thirteen years is implying that only kooks get the media spotlight. If you say so John.

Rand Paul couldn’t have asked for a better angry old man to scowl after him, as Jay Anderson explains.

John McCain railing against Rand Paul’s appeal to “impressionable” kids in dorm rooms is so politically tone deaf and out of touch that it makes Clint Eastwood look like a breath of fresh air by comparison. Yesterday, in a textbook example of EVERYTHING that is wrong about John McCain, just after scolding Paul on the Senate floor, McCain lamented the retirement announcement of 78-year-old Democrat Sen. Carl. Levin who has been in the Senate FOR 35 YEARS since the Carter Administration.

McCain’s world: young upstarts inspiring people to take our liberties seriously and challenging the perpetual war establishment … bad; crusty old farts clinging to power and enriching themselves on the public teet until they’re octogenarians … good.

There’s more to this dust-up than just an old guard versus new guard standoff. McCain and Paul represent two wildly divergent wings foreign policy wings of the Republican Party. Whether you want to call McCain a neocon, a hawk, an interventionist, or some other term that will be invented over the next few years, he certainly has a more expansive view of America’s role in the world. Rand Paul is a bit more of a mystery. While he clearly wishes to narrow the scope of America’s role as global policeman, for lack of a better term, he doesn’t seem to quite share his father’s even narrower vision. Some have speculated that he’s merely toning down his rhetoric in the hopes of being a more palatable alternative in the Republican presidential primaries than his father ever was, though I suspect that’s an overstatement.

Whatever the case may be, Paul and McCain are at opposite poles at least in the Senate’s GOP caucus. Ace of Spades does a good job of explaining why McCain should dial it back if he wants the more interventionist wing to have any credibility. First he explains that he’s not as hawkish as he was after 9/11, yet McCain (and his mini-me, Graham) are still pushing a “super-hawk” line that the public has widely rejected.

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43 Responses to McCain Vs. Paul

  • History will remember McCain for two things: heroically surviving seven years in a Hanoi POW hell and losing the 2008 election to the worst president in US history.

    I would have said worst president in World history, but Obama is fifth (behind Pol Pot, Lenin, Mao, and Stalin). Hugo Chavez is sixth.

  • Mr. McCain has his virtues, but he has long been known as somewhat choleric and impetuous in his inter-personal dealings (“wacko birds” does not rhyme with “brother trucker”, but some of McCain’s Senate colleagues have been called something that does, to their face, rather loudly). Some of us might hope that Rand Paul will formulate a reconstituted isolationism – one free of the often grotesque silliness ambient in palaeoworld (including his father’s utterances).

  • I am far closer to McCain’s views on foreign policy than I am as to what I suspect are Rand Paul’s views on foreign policy although he has cagily left those views unclear. That having been said, McCain’s reaction to the Paul filibuster was absurd. First, because it was the first clear win for the Republicans over Obama since the election. Second, because Paul’s reason for the filibuster was very reasonable: use of drones against American citizens on American soil should be bound by the same restrictions imposed whenever the military is used in police activity domestically.

    In regard to McCain, other than foreign policy he is far from a favorite of mine. In 2008 my wife and I voted for McCain only in order to vote for Palin. Any Republican would have lost in 2008 after the economic melt down, but McCain with his eagerness to suspend his campaign and his desire apparently to win the title of Miss Congeniality, threw any chance he had away. McCain has always been tough on his fellow Republicans and soft on Democrats. In 2010 he won a tough primary race by running as a born again conservative and promptly went back to his old ways after he was safely back in for another six years. I honor the courage McCain showed in the Hanoi Hilton, but that is the only honorable thing about the man.

    In regard to the term “neo-con” I find that hilarious. I was a conservative long before many of the self-described paleocons. My views are by and large the views of Ronald Reagan and if he is called a “neo-con” then the term is devoid of meaning.

  • am far closer to McCain’s views on forein policy than I am on what I suspect are Rand Paul’s views on foreign policy

    In the balance I’m probably a bit closer to McCain, though I think both sides represent flawed thinking in some way. That was my single point of departure from Santorum last year.

    As for the term neo-con, it has been widely misused. I think my favorite use of the term was when it was applied to William Buckley. That said, it does represent an actual strain of right-wing thinking, but it’s just not nearly as prevalent as some paleocons would have you believe. Then again, they seemingly apply it to every right-leaning person who strays even a hint from their way of thinking, particularly on foreign policy. They seem to be more forgiving on economic and social issues.

  • They seem to be more forgiving on economic and social issues.

    Actually, the mask is slipping over at The American Conservative on those subjects.

  • John McCain is IMHO everything wrong with politics. He is a career politician and he is a complete meely mouth in dealing with the opposition. When dealing with his own party he is meaner than a wolfpack hunting down prey.

    McCain will likely be done after the 2016 election. I hope so. Arizona has foistered him on the rest of us for too long.

  • It is a matter of principle. It is an anti-Constitutional act and an immoral act to kill an American citizen not actually engaged in combat against the United States. By the way, ask Obama and Holder if they favor the death penalty.

  • I agree with Don’s comment pretty much word for word. If we had “likes” or “+1s” here, I’d use one.

    John McCain has been posturing in the Senate for so long that the moment he saw someone taking a stand, he assumed it was posturing. His DC guidebook said that Rand Paul is a Republican, so he immediately started shouting him down, never bothering to notice that Paul was objecting to something objectionable. The thing is, this is exactly the kind of issue that McCain would normally be out-front on. McCain’s not a blithering hawk; he’s more than happy to leverage his military experience in exchange for something like closing Guantanamo Bay.

    Everyone else in Washington has to check himself to keep from putting party over principle. McCain puts bashing his own party over principle.

  • As already established, I definitely tilt towards the “realist” school of IR, and find the idea of artificially manufacturing a “world safe for democracy” to be unpalatable, let alone impossible.

    I think the filibuster was important, not only for what was said but for what it showed. The majority of what Rand Paul had to say is common sense, barebone fact, that any reasonable person could accept with only minor disagreement. The fact that McCain, Graham, and Co. feel the need to so forcefully and vehemently attack Paul makes it perfectly evident how far out of touch with reality the “war wing” of the GOP is. The GOP’s foreign policy may not look like Paul’s, but after this eye opening event, it will hopefully begin to look less and less like McCain’s.

  • my main issue with Paul, which isn’t relevant to the narrower point he was making, is that he seems to share his father’s “blowback” theory of U.S. foreign policy. i got this impression from comments he made during the Kerry confirmation hearings.

    understanding why certain people hate you is of course different from sympathizing with their reasons, and worthwhile just as far as general knowledge. but when it comes to drones abroad, the blowback talk makes the potential secondary effect (it will enflame Muslim populations against us) the main point of concern, when to be blunt, if there’s a terrorist we’re unable to apprehend normally, i wouldn’t want someone dwelling much on unintended consequences.

  • There’s a reason they call him McLame.

    In all seriousness, Rand Paul is all over the map when it comes to foreign policy. He isn’t his father, that’s for certain. Most of you appreciate that. I find it unfortunate.

    I’m willing to accept that the US has to remain engaged in world affairs, but I certainly reject the whole project of remaking the Middle East in a Wilsonian democratic fantasy as well as the encirclement of Russia. I can’t even call this a neo-con policy, since our social democrats seem to be even more enthusiastic about it at times. It was Obama, Hillary and Susan Rice who pushed for regime change in Libya, one of the more irrational foreign policy adventures of the 21st century.

    No, there is the establishment/political class consensus on foreign policy, with perhaps minor strategic and tactical differences between the neo-cons and social democrats, and a growing consensus on the margins that is slowly becoming a force at higher levels through men such as Rand Paul. The “marginal” consensus is unclear, beyond a vague desire to dial it back.

    I say let Japan pay for its own army, stop thumbing Russia in the eye, and forget about democracy in the Middle East, forever. Let Europe reap the jihad it deserves for its apostasy and decadence, and put our troops on the Southern border.

    As for the term “neo-con”, well, its convenient at this point. Its out there. If it is offensive I can go with “interventionist.” But when will I ever be paid the courtesy of being called a non-interventionist as opposed to an “isolationist” (i.e. someone who rejects free trade and virtually all diplomacy, like, say, Kim Jong Un)?

  • ” if there’s a terrorist we’re unable to apprehend normally, i wouldn’t want someone dwelling much on unintended consequences.”

    Yes, why think about consequences? Just act, and let everyone else pick up the pieces. Even if those pieces are body parts strewn about a city street.

  • “understanding why certain people hate you is of course different from sympathizing with their reasons, and worthwhile just as far as general knowledge.”

    No, it’s worthwhile for more than just general knowledge purposes–it’s certainly relevant to how policy is crafted and implemented.

    “when to be blunt, if there’s a terrorist we’re unable to apprehend normally, i wouldn’t want someone dwelling much on unintended consequences.”

    Yah, when this type of thinking underlies the entire rationale of the drone program, it’s a big problem. You more or less just said that the attempt to eliminate a terrorist can justify any unintended consequences. I’m sure drone handlers feel the same way, thus the disturbing number of unconfirmed combatants killed, though they fudge the books in order to claim close to 0% civilian causalities. Easy to do when you “count all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”

    Excuse me, but BARF.

    I’ll side with Robert George on this one: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/06/18/catholics-should-criticize-indiscriminate-drone-use/

  • “Yah, when this type of thinking underlies the entire rationale of the drone program, it’s a big problem. You more or less just said that the attempt to eliminate a terrorist can justify any unintended consequences. I’m sure drone handlers feel the same way, thus the disturbing number of unconfirmed combatants killed, though they fudge the books in order to claim close to 0% civilian causalities.”

    How does the use of a drone attack differ from the use of an air strike? Would you feel better if we sent troops in to risk their lives to attempt to capture those waging war against this country in areas they control? Our adversaries routinely conduct their opertations in civilian areas. Should that give them immunity?

    When Rand Paul worries about the use of drones in the United States against civilian targets I share his concern. If he wishes us not to use drones to attack those waging war against us, I part company from him.

  • “How does the use of a drone attack differ from the use of an air strike?”

    In theory it doesn’t. But in practice, the advantages of drones (unmanned, lessened fuel restraints, more discreet) allow them to be used in a way that planes never have been. Drones lack many of the restrictions and costs associated with planes; as a result, they are used more indiscriminately.

    “Would you feel better if we sent troops in to risk their lives to attempt to capture those waging war against this country in areas they control?”

    Yes, I would rather put our trained military in harm’s way than innocent goat herders and children. I’m sure this will be a “controversial” claim on these forums, but as a Catholic, I really don’t think there’s any other way to look at it.

    “Our adversaries routinely conduct their operations in civilian areas. Should that give them immunity?”

    George:
    The use of drones is not, in my opinion, inherently immoral in otherwise justifiable military operations; but the risk of death and other grave harms to noncombatants are substantial and certainly complicate the picture for any policy maker who is serious about the moral requirements for the justified use of military force. Having a valid military target is in itself not a sufficient justification for the use of weapons such as predator drones. Sometimes considerations of justice to noncombatants forbid their use, even if that means that grave risks must be endured by our own forces in the prosecution of a war.

    The wholesale and indiscriminate use of drones cannot be justified, and should be criticized. This is something that Catholic intellectuals across the spectrum ought, it seems to me, to agree about. If we don’t speak, who will?

  • “But in practice, the advantages of drones (unmanned, lessened fuel restraints, more discreet) allow them to be used in a way that planes never have been.”

    The barn door has been open in regard to that for some time. We have had cruise missle technology since the eighties and cruise missle strikes tended to be used in operations that we now use drones for. The difference with drones is that we have greater control over them and can target them more precisely than we ever could with cruise missles.

    “Yes, I would rather put our trained military in harm’s way than innocent goat herders and children.”

    Your tender concern for those who go in harm’s way for us is duly noted, along with your falacious assumption that a fire fight with our troops and those shooting at them would not involve civilian casualties. If your main concern is minimizing civilian casualties than the advance of drone technology should be cheered by you.

    “The wholesale and indiscriminate use of drones cannot be justified,”

    That formulation has no intellectual content since terms like “wholesale” and “indiscriminate” are very much in the eye of the beholder. In the type of war we are currently engaged in I view the use of drones as an unmixed blessing as it deprives those who operate terrorist networks of their main defenses which are intermingling with civilians and operation in areas sympathetic to them. They do lessen enemy civilian casualties which I view as a good. Like all military technology it is not a panacea and countermeasures will eventually lessen their utility, but for now they give us an edge. I suspect that those complaining about drones are normally not in sympathy with the war against Middle Eastern extremist groups and that is where the real debate lies and not over a piece of military technology that will inevitably be used in any conflict that arises until the technology is no longer useful.

  • “The barn door has been open in regard to that for some time. We have had cruise missle technology since the eighties and cruise missle strikes tended to be used in operations that we now use drones for. The difference with drones is that we have greater control over them and can target them more precisely than we ever could with cruise missles.”

    Certainly. And that greater control has led to more widespread use, probably in situations and with regards to targets that we previously wouldn’t have considered important enough to vaporize.

    “Your tender concern for those who go in harm’s way for us is duly noted, along with your falacious assumption that a fire fight with our troops and those shooting at them would not involve civilian casualties.”

    I contend that if putting troops in harms way were necessary, a majority of the threats we eliminate would be considered far less “imminent.” Sure, some drone strikes have yielded high profile targets, I’m not going to for a second deny that. Drones are legitimate military technology, and I’m not advocating a ban on them, wholesale. But the ease with which a drone strike can be carried out has decreased our threshold for what constitutes a “positive ID,” while also expanding who we consider to be “enemy combatants” worthy of extermination.

    “They do lessen enemy civilian casualties…”
    While greatly increasing the incidences in which citizens are at risk. Better than the odd cruise missile that kills 30 bystanders, but hardly an “unmixed blessing.”

    Also, you say, “enemy civilian casualties.” I’m not sure how terrorist groups can have “civilians.” Seems you’re either a terrorist or you’re not, and deserve no association with such groups. Perhaps this difference in perspective is the source of our disagreement.

    “I suspect that those complaining about drones are normally not in sympathy with the war against Middle Eastern extremist groups and that is where the real debate lies and not over a piece of military technology that will inevitably be used in any conflict that arises until the technology is no longer useful.”

    Both/and. I have very little sympathy for our campaigns in Yemen, Pakistan, etc, but even if I condoned our involvement therein, as it seems Mr. George does, I’d have grievances with how drones are being used.

  • I suspect that those complaining about drones are normally not in sympathy with the war against Middle Eastern extremist groups and that is where the real debate lies and not over a piece of military technology that will inevitably be used in any conflict that arises until the technology is no longer useful.

    Agreed. Political arguments of this sort tend to be shot-through with humbug.

  • “Yes, why think about consequences? Just act, and let everyone else pick up the pieces. Even if those pieces are body parts strewn about a city street.”

    it must be very easy to take the moral high ground when you don’t accept any level of threat exists/if it does, it’s ultimately the U.S.’s fault for provoking it.

  • JDP, enough with the false dichotomies. There are a vast array of nuanced stances between your position of “I don’t care about unintended consequences” and the straw-man you’ve constructed.

  • “Also, you say, “enemy civilian casualties.” I’m not sure how terrorist groups can have “civilians.” ”

    Considering the support that the terrorists enjoy throughout the Middle East I think it is a fair conclusion to consider those civilians supporting the terrorists to be enemies, just as much as if they were citizens of a state the terrorists controlled.

  • They told me if I voted (holding my nose) for McCain, America would assassinate people all over the globe. And, they were correct.

    He’s a media darling.

    McCain no longer needs to open his mouth, i.e., provide additional evidence. We all know he is a superannuated imbecile.

    Obama’s praetorian media love McCain. He makes the GOP look stupid.

  • but I certainly reject the whole project of remaking the Middle East in a Wilsonian democratic fantasy

    Just to point out it has been attempted in two (2) countries that we were occupying for reasons of state. The alternative suggested to erecting an elected government in Iraq was to appoint Ayad Alawi dictator and leave. That was suggested by Daniel Pipes, whose personal associates are remarkably similar to those of Norman Podhoretz. It is hard to see how that plan was supposed to work. The alternative to attempting that in Afghanistan – laissez-faire – was the policy from 1989 to 2001. The results were deficient in some respects….

  • And that greater control has led to more widespread use, probably in situations and with regards to targets that we previously wouldn’t have considered important enough to vaporize.

    “Important enough” or “enough of a priority”? Do you have any numbers or a list of criteria employed before or after the introduction of this technology?

  • and forget about democracy in the Middle East, forever.

    Assez silly.

  • As already established, I definitely tilt towards the “realist” school of IR, and find the idea of artificially manufacturing a “world safe for democracy” to be unpalatable, let alone impossible.

    IR theorists have long had a common problem, which was distinguishing between the descriptive and the prescriptive in their writings. Realism purporting to be a descriptive account of the dynamics of international politics does not incorporate within it evaluative criteria which tolerably instruct the actor which costs are worth paying and which are not.

  • I guess that for once, I agree with Paul. But at the same time, I do hate young people…a lot.

  • Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION | God & Caesar
  • “the straw-man you’ve constructed.”

    i was responding to one person, and in this particular instance it’s not a strawman

    truthfully though i don’t see a ton of nuance. do we have the right to capture/kill terrorists operating internationally (AKA, themselves rendering the sovereignty arguments moot) if we’re unable to apprehend them normally, or do we hamstring ourselves cuz of “unintended consequences” handwringing, as though secondary effects are the main thing we should be worried about?

  • “between your position of “I don’t care about unintended consequences””

    i said “dwell on”

  • So you “care” about innocent people killed in such attacks, but you don’t “dwell” on their deaths? How disproportional of a non-confirmed combatant to combatant ratio would have to exist before you “dwelled” on the deaths of innocent civilians?

  • “Considering the support that the terrorists enjoy throughout the Middle East I think it is a fair conclusion to consider those civilians supporting the terrorists to be enemies, just as much as if they were citizens of a state the terrorists controlled.”

    Donald, what constitutes “support for terrorists?” Cheering for terrorist attacks? That seems like an absurdly low threshold.

  • “Cheering for terrorist attacks? That seems like an absurdly low threshold.”
    What else would they have to do JL, apply for membership cards? Yeah I regard those ghouls cheering when the twin towers came down to be supporters of the terrorists, just as Germans who thought that the Jews had it coming in the extermination camps I would regard as supporters of the Nazis.

  • ” “Important enough” or “enough of a priority”?

    Seem interchangeable to me. We wouldn’t be using cruise missiles to take out Al Qaeda peons, just like we wouldn’t have authorized the assassination of a Nazi page boy. The alleged “precision” and ease of usability of drones has increased the number of hit-listesque strikes, to the point where I think it’s pretty clear that we’re killing people that fall below “imminent threat” criteria. Makes sense and has precedent– you need some kind of metric to justify continued support for a program. “Suspected combatants killed” is to the drone programs in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia what the “neutralization quotas” were for the Phoenix Program in Vietnam.

  • “How disproportional of a non-confirmed combatant to combatant ratio would have to exist before you “dwelled” on the deaths of innocent civilians?”

    well you could ask the people who decide to operate in these regions

  • Seem interchangeable to me.

    They are not interchangeable. You are lost in the distinction between negligible utility and utility cancelled by costs.

    I think it’s pretty clear that we’re killing people that fall below “imminent threat” criteria.

    You really should not pretend to granular knowledge about that sort of thing.

    The burden of your argument is that the utility of the technology makes it a bad thing because you disapprove of its uses a priori. That is not the most compelling of arguments.

  • JL, I think he is suggesting you pose the question to people who do this what criteria and metrics they are using, instead of just winging off the top of your head (betwixt and between suggesting that the military fire at targets because they have the ammunition).

  • (are my comments being deleted? if so, that’s pretty pathetic, too)

    You’ve confounded Tito Edwards with Mark Shea and Rod Dreher.

  • “Pass the moral decency buck to the Islamic extremist. Bravo, Mr. American Catholic.”

    lol. i didn’t say the fact that al Qaeda exists means we get to wantonly bomb places for kicks, but we aren’t doing that are we

    i just don’t really see what the argument is? either some people are a threat or they aren’t. if we can capture them regularly with cooperation from friendly governments in the region, OK, but it’s not always that simple, and in the case they evade authorities/are out of their reach what should we do

  • also to clarify — i was saying terrorists operating in remote regions place people around them at risk of getting caught in one of these strikes. i wasn’t playing the “they’re worse” card.

  • JL, I deleted your last two comments since you chose to lower yourself to petty insults against another commenter. That is not what this blog is here for. I am placing you on moderation for the time being.

    If you wish to continue to comment here, you might wish to read my post on moderation and banning linked below:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/09/05/why-i-am-friends-with-moderation-and-ban/

  • Interesting, Donald. I’ve been called a jack ass before, but I’m sure my interlocutors were treated accordingly.

  • JL, I am certain that it will come as a shock to you, but I do not spend all my time minding this blog. I have a 60 hour plus a week legal practice, along with my family responsibilities. When I view anything that I regard as a breach of blog decorum I act upon it. I am more likely to see something if it happens in the comboxes of one of my posts or on a post by someone else that I have commented upon. (Not always even then, since days can go by during the work week when I have little time for the blog depending upon how busy I get at work.) I have placed on moderation and banned commenters of all stripes of political beliefs. T.Shaw, who I have on permanent moderation, tends to have similar views to me on most issues and I find him amusing. Nonetheless, because he does not obey the blog rules, he is a permanent guest of House Moderation on this blog.

Rand Paul Defends the Bill of Rights

Wednesday, March 6, AD 2013

“I have allowed the president to pick his political appointees…But I will not sit quietly and let him shred the Constitution.” — Senator Rand Paul (go here for more quotes)

Update: Senator Ted Cruz reads tweets supporting Rand Paul on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul has been filibustering the nomination of Obama’s pick to head the CIA, John Brennan. He is doing so because of a consistent refusal of Obama, Brennan, Holder and other administration higher-ups to clearly and unambiguously reject policies that violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens, including the right to due process prior to the deprivation of life, liberty or property.

I’ve been skeptical of Rand Paul for some time. I didn’t mind his endorsement of Romney, but I did mind his statements pledging unconditional defense of Israel in the event they are attacked. I don’t think this country should pledge unconditional defense of any country, least of all one with a nuclear arsenal of its own. His position on immigration isn’t quite what I would like either. I want it slowed to crawl and troop deployment on the border. He’s still playing the desperate “do anything to get Latino votes” game, a losing game for the GOP no matter what they propose. But I digress.

At this moment, there is no other prospective candidate for 2016 I would even consider supporting. Though there is still time for another acceptable candidate to emerge, today’s filibuster earns him major points in my book. It may be a largely symbolic gesture, but it is a necessary one. It lets the people of this country know that those of us who still value the Bill of Rights and view those rights as sacrosanct have an advocate at the higher levels of government. The value of this can’t be overstated.

I wish him all the best and my prayers are with him.

Oh, and read my latest post at Catholic Stand 🙂

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12 Responses to Rand Paul Defends the Bill of Rights

  • I like Rand. Am excited that he might have a strong shot at getting the nomination in 2016. And I love this filibuster. BUT … I was right there with Rand until he started talking about revisiting Lochner. What Libertarian claptrap!!!

    The notion that FEDERAL courts can strike down STATE economic legislation as “unconstitutional” based on some hidden gnostic constitutional right able to be divined only by the most freedomy free of the laissez faire Libertarian crowd is repugnant. Because “freedom of contract” certainly ain’t based on anything actually found in the text of the Constitution. The rationale that the Court used in Lochner is the same rationale that leftist judges would later use (and still use to this day) to strike down state laws on abortion (and probably, in the near future, marriage) that they don’t like based on “rights” nowhere found in the Constitution.

  • Jay,

    This issue isn’t as cut-and-dried as you’d like it to be. I might disagree with Rand and others on the use of Lochner, but I do think it is important to argue that without freedom of contract, private property rights are severely impaired. In fact a regime of private property without freedom of contract could easily be defined as fascism.

    With that said, I firmly believe in the 10th amendment. If an individual state wishes to adopt a fascist economy, as we arguably have in California, the Constitution protects this right. My hope is that the economic meltdown of California, as well as the economic meltdown of socialist stinkholes such as Venezuela, will demonstrate and even establish by default the superiority of economies that are more laissez-faire.

    We don’t need to revisit Lochner to do what Rand wants to do. The 5th amendment is more relevant to me than the 14th.

  • Agreed with Jay on Lochner as it birthed the notion of substantive due process, which would be used by later Courts to justify all sorts of federal nullification of state laws, the most notable being Roe and Griswold. Of course Lochner was a much more justifiable decision than either of those, though still wrong.

    All that being said, bravo to Senator Paul on several fronts. First and foremost for the substance of the issue, but also for the useful reminder that Congress should actually try to check Executive now and again.

  • The problem is how “freedom of contract” is to be defined in any constitutionally coherent sense. Besides the fact that the “right” doesn’t explicitly exist anywhere in the Constitution and can’t be bootstrapped onto any other provision outside of, arguably, due process property rights, what parameters are to exist on such a “right”?

    The Constitution guarantees due process of law for property rights – property owners have as much opportunity to engage in the process of lobbying their government on their own behalf as those who would restrict the laissez faire use of that property. That’s the right that’s constitutionally guaranteed, outside of some other constitutional right being infringed (such as an inappropriate use of eminent domain or a violation of the 1st Amendment in an HHS Mandate type of scenario – I know we’re talking about the states, but just using that as an example). Otherwise, there is no substantive constitutional protection of how one exercises their property rights – “substantive due process” is an oxymoron.

    But to get back to the nebulousness of the “right” of freedom of contract, it’s too dependent on the subjective opinions of unelected judges, just like the so-called “right to privacy”.

    I, too, am a strong believer in the 10th Amendment, and like you, I’m perfectly satisfied with each state deciding for itself whether it will provide a climate conducive to prosperity and freedom or whether it will be a socialist hell-hole.

  • But I will agree with Paul – apart from his reference to Lochner (which I HOPE doesn’t come back to bite him in 2016), KUDOS to Rand for this effort to reel in the executive and to bring some semblance of sanity to this never-ending “War on Terror”.

  • Mary Ann Glendon on freedom of contract:

    Consider first that when Holmes was a young lawyer in the 1870s, legislatures had begun producing a new type of statute—primitive regulatory legislation, much of it addressed to conditions in factories. Those whose interests were adversely affected by these laws took their complaints to the courts, with the result that the Supreme Court embarked on its first sustained adventure with the power of judicial review, a power that it had possessed for nearly a century, but which it had exercised sparingly. The behavior of the Supreme Court and other courts in that period (striking down much early social legislation as infringing on economic rights) is now frequently treated in law school classes as showing that the judiciary was in the service of the dominant classes. But there was another dimension to the story. When late-nineteenth-century judges entered the still relatively uncharted areas of statutory interpretation and constitutional review, they really did not know quite how to handle the new situation. It is helpful to keep in mind that as late as 1875, nearly half of the United States Supreme Court’s case load was still pure common law litigation. By 1925, however, statutes figured importantly in all but about 5 percent of the cases. Most judges during those years of transition tended to proceed in the way they knew best—by falling back on their habitual practice of construing enacted law (including the Constitution) in such a way as to blend in with, rather than displace, the common law background where, as it happened, freedom of contract was ensconced as a leading principle. In a series of famous dissents, Holmes, to his credit, tried to point out to his fellow judges that the rules of the game had changed in 1787. But that point seldom got across until the 1930s, and even then it was not fully absorbed.

  • Here, here, Bonchamps! Rand Paul is to be heartily commended, and I hope he emerges as the leader of the GOP in a few years’ time.

    Although I’m not sure I agree with what you’re getting at when you say courting Latino voters is a “losing game” for the GOP.

  • JL,

    I simply mean that there is little, if anything, the GOP can do to win Latinos away from the Democrats. Oh, they might increase their margins a bit, five, ten percentage point by promising open borders, amnesty, and unlimited benefits. But they’ll never out-social democrat the social democrats. If they try they will not only fail to get sufficient Latino votes, they will disgust much of their base in the process.

    Romney didn’t lose because not enough Hispanics voted for him. He lost because not enough whites voted for him. That is a cold, sober fact. I happen to think that second generation and onward Latino immigrants as well as the black middle class have common interests with the white working and middle classes, and so I don’t believe that a specific appeal to “white” interests needs to be made. But an appeal to the middle class that still believes in the rule of law, private property, states rights, most of which is white at the moment, is absolutely necessary for the GOP to survive as a national party.

    Rand, so far, is playing the “how can I out-Rubio Rubio” game. He should forge his own path and stand up for national sovereignty and national interests.

  • Wait… Am I hearing rightly that a Senator thinks Congress has authority to resist a President? What novel legal reasoning gets him to that conclusion? What would be point to electing Ceasar if he can’t do whatever he wants. No, Sen. Paul, that kind of novel, extra-constitutional reasoning won’t wash in this age of enlightenment.

    Hail Obama, King of the Americas! Hail, I say! Hail!

  • I think all he wants is for obama to state that he doesn’t have executive authority to assassinate US citizens on US soil. Due process.

    Why are not the other 99 useless political trash lined up to add their voices?

    That’ a rhetorical question, I think.

  • T. Shaw,
    Good question for we the people to ask of the legislative representatives.

    They spoke an oath of office to uphold the Constitution at least, then celebrated their worldly reward with others falling under the influence of the tempter’s power. The tempter has people fooled into liking being ignorant and trashy.

    Dignity and goodness – at least fairness and order – need more like Rand Paul to defend the Bill of Rights, even, if selfishly, for their own families if the legislators love them. Would be a good addition to their reading list or a work project.

    For the time being, it seems that the contagion needs a name.

  • The Lochner quote will be used against him, count on it, even though he wasn’t saying “restore it.”

    I think the main problem with Lochner is that it was a legal fiction: American employees rarely have actual contracts of employment (though collectively-bargained ones are).

    Instead, they have a status: at-will employment, which can be ended for any reason by the employer without notice. Of course, nowadays there are statutory and occasional common-law exceptions to at-will employment, but I’m going to bracket those for a moment.

    Such a status is that–a status, not a contract. Thus, the idea that state employment regulation interfered with contracts was risible. Not to mention it was invoked to protect some grisly employment practices.

11 Responses to Somalia, Libertarian Paradise!

  • Very nice Tito. I have never been quite sure how “Conservative Catholics” in this country embraced Libertarianism. Up until very recently (and maybe in the ideal, still), the Church has seemed more ready to embrace Catholic Authoritarian governments that would enforce Catholic moral teaching with laws at the expense of individual freedoms.

  • Tito,

    Bless your heart.

    I wish you had counted to 10,000 before you posted that video. And, I know you did not put it together.

  • No, I didn’t put it together.

    But after listening to Ron Paul wanting our military to withdraw from South Korea, among other things, my enthusiasm for libertarian ideals have matured.

  • I thought this was hilarious! As much as most of the bloggers here prefer to focus on the threat of a bloated, oppressive “nanny state” it helps to be reminded once in a while that the other extreme — no government at all — ain’t that great either.

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  • Pretty amusing.

    Of course, as the blog’s resident pseudo-libertarian, I should note that compared to other African countries (which have governments) Somalia has been doing fine.

  • Has anyone here even read the US Constitution? Powers granted to the federal government are specific and limited. Today however our federal government is so large that it is about to take everything away from the people. We will not have to worry about our states rights or the Bill of Rights as they pertain to religious freedom, noooooo, the Global government will see to that.

    Sounds farfetched ?!? Twenty years ago could anyone here see the demise of this country? We are actually debating Sharia Law and Ginsberg worries about how our laws differs with international laws.

    Wake up people!

  • Blackadder,
    While other states in Africa are having issues, I think you are seriously underestimating how bad things are in somalia. Lets remember, this is country whose multiparty civil war has lasted for twenty years now, that is the home to numerous pirates that have been raiding shipping in the Indian Ocean, sell people of Bantu heritage into slavery….

    In other words, there might be countries that are worse off in Africa, but there are also countries that are much better off.

  • It’s interesting to note that three new countries (not recognized by the international community) have emerged from the shambles of Somalia.

    They are Somaliland, Puntland, and Galmudug.

    I say let them break up if those countries are able to function!

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Rand Paul, Abortion and Toilets

Friday, March 11, AD 2011

Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air.  My unexpected legislative hero, pro-life Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky,  was magnificent  yesterday:

“You’re really anti-choice on every other consumer item that you’ve listed here, including light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets – you name it, you can’t go around your house without being told what to buy. You restrict my choices, you don’t care about my choices,” Paul said to her. “You don’t care about the consumer frankly. You raise the cost of all the items with your rules, all your notions that you know what’s best for me.”

Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house. And I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house, what I can do. You restrict my choices. There is hypocrisy that goes on when people claim to believe in some choices but don’t want to let the consumer decide what they can buy and put in their houses. I find it insulting. I find it insulting that a lot of these products that you’re going to make us buy and you won’t let us buy what we want to buy and you take away our choices.”

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19 Responses to Rand Paul, Abortion and Toilets

  • I had some initial reservations about him, but he’s definitely growing on me. Definitely a cut above the father.

  • WOW.. This seems somewhat familiar. A new U.S. Senator just coming on the scene (who is NOT owned by the George Soros Marxist wing of the progressive Left) with a gifted tongue and a powerful voice of persuasion. One who actually IS the dream of his father but who has most likely never met Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers and never smoked pot but still believes in America’s exceptionalism and our Constitution.
    Can this be a second strike of political lightening for Americians???

  • Bill, though he hasn’t addressed it, his college friends say he smoked marijuana.

    As far as I can tell there’s not one iota of policy difference between Rand and Ron. Rand just has the advantage of not having to talk about war.

    Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house.

    Does he use public toilets or just use broken toilets anyway? If the latter, now everyone knows not to go over his house.

    What can’t we make in the US that can be imported? What energy conservation measure penalizes violators with jail time?

    you’re exactly right we should conserve energy, but why not do it in a voluntary way?

    Because sometimes, people are unaware and there’s no supply-side incentive to make people aware. This, I think, is the major failing of Ron/Rand-style libertarianism. They ignore asymmetry of information. Ideally, the government would mandate easy-to-access real-time electricity and water usage metering and pricing. And also immediately apparent energy consumption labeling on products like we do with MPG for cars.

  • Regarding Rand… as is typical, the apple does not fall far from the tree, but he is his own man with his own opinions. There are differences, and these differences would seem to make him have broader appeal than his father.

  • Ideally, the government would mandate easy-to-access real-time electricity and water usage metering and pricing.

    Having just moved into a very old house in a very cold climate (after living in Texas and before that California) I can attest from experience this is actually really easy. You just look at your gas or electric meter, not down the current reading, write it on an index card, and tack the index cart on the basement wall next to the meter. Then the next day you read it again and note the change. Having this daily figure, you consult your last bill and see how much you pay per unit, and you pretty quickly see what your daily usage is and what affects it.

    Of course, the trick is, this often results in realizing that things such as turning off the lights when you’re not in the room are far more effective than installing expensive twisty light bulbs. And this means the people selling the light bulbs don’t make money. So then they get mad and push to have the incandescents banned.

  • “Because sometimes, people are unaware and there’s no supply-side incentive to make people aware. ”

    Or they will simply disagree that the proposed policy makes sense from an economic and\or financial sense. Lack of information is usually not the problem RR. It is simply people disagreeing with the views of the self annointed.

  • “Does he use public toilets or just use broken toilets anyway?”

    Perhaps he is talking about low flush toilets that are now mandated. Often need a second flush so use as much if not more water as the old, more reliable ones.

    Such toilets have consequences beyond requiring more flushes:

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=3544

  • Perhaps he is talking about low flush toilets that are now mandated. Often need a second flush so use as much if not more water as the old, more reliable ones.

    I’m pretty sure he’s referring to these “efficient” new low flush toilets.

  • In general, the allocation of resources is accomplished quite efficiently via a market system by utilizing price. Scarcity will cause prices to rise, which imposes conservation out of ordinary self-interest. Admittedly, market systems only work well if one assumes adequate information, but I agree with Don that in the case of water conservation it is doubtful that lack of information is a serious problem. The real problem is that water is generally a public resource rather than private, and little competition exists to determine price. Government is not in the business of making a profit, but is instead trying to make water available at a price that even the poorest can afford. The idea of an artificially low price (for the purpose of making sure the poor can afford what is understood to be a necessity) is not compatible with the price system’s normal conservationist attributes. Instead, we must rely on so-called voluntary conservation whereunder people sacrifice for the preceived common good. Such efforts can work, but history suggests they work only during crises and for a limited time, and even then not all that well. If in fact it is true that our water usage is too great this is almost certainly because the price is insufficient. The most sensible remedy would be to increase the price and find other ways to ensure that the poor can receive appropriate access to potable water. Once prices increase sufficiently, people will choose to buy efficient toilets, fix water leaks, etc. No mandate needed.
    Finally, please understand I’m not saying that that we even have a water shortage properly understood. I don’t claim to know, though I share some of the skepticisms implicit in many of the preceding comments. But if in fact that is the case, that can only be the case if the price of water is too low. This is not implausibe given that the price for water is not really established by ordinary market forces.

  • Don, behavioral economists and common sense disagree with you. Lack of information and status quo bias result in sub-optimal decisions. Who is opposed to energy conservation? We don’t do it either because we don’t have the information or because we don’t bother to do anything about it, not for economic reasons but because we just can’t be bothered. This is most evident in 401k enrollment.

  • “Don, behavioral economists and common sense disagree with you. Lack of information and status quo bias result in sub-optimal decisions. ”

    Rubbish RR. Many people, including myself, find that the mercury twisters give inadequate light. When I turn on a light, I like the room to be bright. This of course is why the government mandated them: they couldn’t compete in the free market where people get to make up their own minds about what they want to buy with their own money. The energy savings will doubtless be illusory as people will have to turn on more lights to see. “Watermelon”, green on the outside, red within, environmentalists will usually resort to government coercion because their arguments simply lack the power to convince people to voluntarily comply with the goals the “watermelons” want to accomplish. Freedom RR does not consist in agreeing with you and the people you agree with.

  • I despise CFLs for the weird light they cast. I’m already peeved that they’re not selling the incandescent Christmas lights (C9s) anymore in favor of those tepid LED strings. Bah humbug.

  • Please limit RR’s posts to 184 characters or less. These long posts are clearly a waste of energy. Try this for one month.

    Next month. Charge RR one cent for each character and then compare to see which system produces better energy conservation.

    I am not sure either system, or even if one can be devised to make the posts better, but then again that is a subjective opinion, but I suspect its true. 😉

    Behavioral economics, 201(k) – at least the posts are funny.

    Rand is going to become a monster that the RINOs will not be able to control. He frightens them because he is a true believer and not a politician. We need more like him.

    If politics is how we order our life together, then we should have more choices – this gives us the opportunity to make the best choices. Of course, somethings we cannot choose, but that’s only if those pesky Commandments of God mean anything to you. If you want a poisonous, irritating light bulb, fine, I don’t. One can choose a toilet that requires three small flushes and one sheet of TP, frankly, I don’t want that. I like my toilet to go BAWHOOSH and I tend to be conservative, but I am liberal with TP. The market can decide if it will supply these stupid options, or just the right ones (which are obviously the choices that I and any other sane person will make).

  • As a conservative who was hell-bent on never using a squiggly CFL to save his life and as someone interested in the convergence of technology with good ol Catholic stewardship I was shocked to discover that CFL’s are the real deal.

    After intensive scrutiny of light quality under varying scenarious I found that CFL’s offer not only economic and evironmental incentives but they actually produce higher quality of light than the incandescent bulb.

    Any conservative who is oposed to CFL’s on political grounds will be well-served to come out of the dark and see how the markets have resolved this issue.

  • Just get a higher wattage CFL if you think they aren’t as bright. If you want the warm yellow light of incandescent, get a warm CFL.

    The LED Christmas lights are a Godsend. No more testing every bulb to find the one that went out. LED’s never burn out.

  • “will be well-served to come out of the dark and see how the markets have resolved this issue.”

    I’ve got them all over my house Paul and I’m very dissatisfied with the light they shed. I also note that I am changing them more frequently than I was led to believe would be the case. Of course the markets are resolving nothing in regard to the mercury twisters. The government is simply creating a market for them by driving their competition out of business by government fiat.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41080442/ns/business-oil_and_energy/

    If the mercury twisters were a superior product in the eyes of consumers, no government action would be necessary.

  • Donald I was simply trying to make a statement that was completely apolitical and entirely practical. You are preaching to the choir in regard to the government solving nothing by administrative fiat.

    That’s the interesting twist on this issue. While the government is virtually powerless to solve problems by dictate the market has stepped in to resolve this issue, at least as far as I’m concerned as a former incandescent-loving consumer. This is not a political statement in that regard, just the observation of a consumer who has done an inordinate and unhealthy amount of direct A-B field testing.

    For ambient living room lighting that needs brightness and warmth:

    Philips 23 Watt Twister Soft White Energy Saver CFL-
    http://bit.ly/gCAJAB

    For cooler and whiter light used in a PC-room environment:

    EcoSmart 23-Watt (100W) Soft White CF
    http://bit.ly/eXCmAV

  • I have no problem at all Paul with people adopting whatever bulbs they wish to have. My experience with the mercury twisters has not been positive. If the forthcoming government ban of the sale of the incandescent bulb is reversed then I assume that the market will provide bulbs for all tastes, and that is all I am asking.

  • Amen to that and to all the other areas that Rand Paul articulated the government has overstepped.

    In the meantime, give those ^ CFL’s a try and see what you think.

Rand Paul Gets It

Thursday, March 10, AD 2011

I have never been a fan of Ron Paul, to say the least, but I am rapidly becoming a fan of his son.

Yesterday the Senate in a 44-56 vote rejected the House proposal to cut 57 billion from the budget.  Then the Senate rejected a Democrat proposal to cut the budget by 5 billion dollars, 42 to 58. 

This year the federal budget deficit will be an estimated one and a half trillion dollars and that is probably on the low side.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky voted against both proposals because he believes that neither are serious attempts to come to grips with the sea of red ink which is threatening to destroy this nation’s future prosperity.  He is absolutely correct.

He has proposed 500 billion dollar cuts.  This would be a serious start, but would still leave a deficit this year of a trillion dollars.  Here, hattip to David Fredosso at the Washington Examiner,  are the details of his plan:

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16 Responses to Rand Paul Gets It

  • Even if adopted, that would leave a $1 trillion deficit. Even eliminating DoD will not balance the budget. You either have to acknowledge that the deficit will disappear on its own once economic growth is back in full swing or taxes have to rise.

    I’m all for cutting discretionary spending, though I’d do it more gradually when it involves middle-class jobs. And I’ve been a fan of Ron and Rand, though not a disciple. But Rand’s proposal is junk. Read the end where it sounds like he’s running out of steam. He literally makes up numbers. What the CBO traditionally does, he does and includes in the bill! Did this get vetted at all? It’s not legislation. It’s a blog post. And, he makes all these cuts to regulatory agencies without reducing their regulatory mandates. Cutting FDA funding doesn’t reduce regulation, it just creates delays increases the regulatory burden by increasing delays. He would eliminate the State Department’s International Commissions which would effectively withdraw the US from binding international treaties. He would also eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs which literally means anarchy on Indian territories. I don’t mean belt tightening. I mean there would be no cops or courts. Rand may argue that the Indians should be allowed to fail as nations. I think the least the government can do is ensure they have law and order.

  • He does not go far enough. Of course, principle and practical reality must be reconciled. The problem is that reality is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

    If these ‘programs’ are not cut now – they will self-destruct soon.

    Comparing where we are to some Utopian ideal is foolish. We have to take measures now in relation to reality. Within a short while, without course correction (drastic), we will experience hyper-inflation, the implosion of the dollar, world wide depression, civil unrest, supply shortages, massive unemployment and war, possibly civil war too. This is an extreme outcome, but it is inevitable – unless, we cut all spending that is not actually essential. This requires a true assessment of reality, as it is objectively, irrespective of the lack of desire by anyone to actually see it.

    Will there be some unpleasant consequences? Surely. Will some people become very uncomfortable in the short run? Without a doubt. Would we prefer to avoid this and ease into some kind of fiscally prudent reform? Of course, but that time has long past, at least 30 or 40 years ago. As bad as these short-term consequences will be, the consequences of soft measures, political ploys and other irresponsible measures will be far, far worse – probably the end of the United States as we know them.

    It is past time to act and the longer we actually wait, the more drastic the measures will have to be. If we wait too long, then nothing will stop the inevitable destruction.

    As for tax increases, those will only serve to hamper our economic growth – no matter whose taxes are increased. What we should do is reduce taxes slightly, cut spending dramatically and reduce or eliminate most ‘regulation’ – that is political interference in the economy, not authentic regulation that makes the market more free. We need to unleash the massive creative energy of the entrepreneurial American economy in order to grow our way out of this mess. Spending cuts alone won’t do it and tax increases and more debt will never do it.

    We also must have realistic expectations. Things will get much, much worse before they get better and it will take a long time, over a decade. If we think that these changes will yield immediate results, we will be disappointed, then we’ll become agitated and some will resort to plunder, group violence, lawlessness, anarchy. What else can you expect when we now have legalized political plunder as the order of the day. One group against the others, even those alive today against those near death and those not yet born (not only through euthanasia and abortion), but by putting future generations in so much debt that they will be born slaves. Slaves with no incentive to build civilization, merely work off the burden we have laid upon them. Of course, the massive size of the burden will lead to their deaths before it is ever retired.

    We must have a federal government that protects the national borders (all of them, land, air, water, virtual) and a strong military so that no one will take advantage of our internal weakness to attack us. Everyone, will have to let go of their favorite national issues and plunder of the treasury. Everything, save national defense, must become local. This will have many problems and will eventually need to be corrected – but we have no choice.

    The false prosperity of fiat debt renders this argument as cookoo and way out there, but it is not. Correct it now, or possibly never have a chance to correct it again.

    We need more Rand Pauls. Don, despite not being a fan of Ron Paul, we need him and more like him. He will never be president, and I don’t think he’s suited for it, but we need him to bring these issue to the table, issues politicians DO NOT want to discuss – but, they must be addressed. Within the form now, or through violence later. I prefer we keep the form, but time is short.

    It seems to me the only solution is to elect moral men of principle, or at least a suicide squad that has no future political aspirations. The crony culture we have now is nothing but protection of the status quo, which is essentially a socialist revolution that has occurred within the form. Unlike 1789, 1917, 1933 and 1934 in France, Russia, Germany and Spain our revolution occurred gradually and virtually unnoticed. The destructive effects are the same, the difference is we have allowed a back-build to be created and when these forces are unleashed rapidly the destruction will be far worse than anything the Jacobins, Marxian Leninists, Nazis and socialist/anarchists ever unleashed upon the world.

  • “You either have to acknowledge that the deficit will disappear on its own once economic growth is back in full swing or taxes have to rise.”

    Raising taxes to solve this problem is complete non-starter rr. You couldn’t raise them enough to accomplish the goal without killing the economy, not to mention the fact that since the Sixties increasing taxes have never been tied to reducing government spending. We have to radically change the nature of government in this country and our reliance upon it, and Paul Rand understands this. As I noted in my post however, those who pooh pooh this and prefer the status quo are those not dealing with reality. We are near the end of the era of government through endless borrowing. In the future we are going to have a much smaller and more affordable government, by force of our lack of resources if for no other reason.

  • Rand Paul destroys Energy bureaucrat Kathleen Hogan
    hes been on a roll

  • How did the US exist before the federal government spent $1.5 trillion more each year than it spent in 2008?

  • PS: What did we the people get for the $3 trillion in additional national debt?

    Was it $5 a gallon gasoline/home heating oil? Or, an 8.9% unemployment rate?

  • T. Shaw,

    1. As a Confederated Republic

    2. War, socialism, devalued dollar

    3. All lies – everything costs much more than that and when the paper bubble blows we’ll see the real prices, which none of us can afford. Unemployment is closer to 20%.

  • And, he makes all these cuts to regulatory agencies without reducing their regulatory mandates.

    RR is right. If you want to get serious about making these kinds of cuts, then attack the legislation that drives the spending. Instead of throwing out numbers, Paul should tell us which things he would have the Federal gov’t not do. The funny thing is, Americans say they want to control spending, but when asked if they want to do without the major drivers of the spending, they back off. Suddenly, the prospect of the FDA not inspecting food and the FAA not inspecting planes or licensing pilots doesn’t sound so appealing.

    In one section of his proposal, in the very same sentence, Paul claims he wants to cut the civilian defense workforce AND cut waste, fraud, and abuse. What exactly does he think those civilian workers are tasked to do? Then he proceeds to show a histogram showing the growth in the civilian defense workforce… all the while failing to show how military end strength has concurrently declined. The jobs that servicemembers used to do are being taken over by civilian workers.

    I have no problem with getting serious about cutting Federal spending, but I keep waiting for conservatives to understand what needs to change before that spending can decrease. (With due apologies to all that claim civilization as we know it is going to melt down, anyway, and force our hand. I’m leaving that off the table here.)

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  • Do the math.

    Think “aggregate demand” (AG), people. There are (rounded) 100,000,000 million households in the USA. In an alternative reality, the NEW, SPENT debt of $3,000,000,000,000 could have been paid pro-rata to each American family. COMMON GOOD/SOCIAL JUSTICE: The American family would have $30,000 to spend or invest – AG. Instead, each household NEWLY owes $30,000 more than it did before American became blessed with hope and change. Extra credit question: how does excessive debt affect AG?

    WHERE’S THE MONEY?

    Your children and grandchildren will suffer for this.

    Corporate Financial Management 301: When revenue decreases (either from lower sales/lower taxes or higher expenses) the corporation needs to act to rectify the situation. If revenues (sales for businesses, taxes for government) can’t be increased, expenses (cost of goods sold, salaries, benefits, etc.) must (business MUST there is no money/state governments MUST: cannot print money) be cut.

    Anyhow, I wish I had time. Too busy making money for my family. Pull out the “budget. Get out one of them two-foot accounting (or excel) worksheet with at least 12 columns. List the revenues and expenditures from largest down. Start columns with 2007, leave two columns between each year: one for the $ change and one for the % change. Fill it in. Then look at each line item’s level change and trend. VOILA!

    Spending has to decline. This is like gravity. This is hard fact. This is unalterable by appeals to “common good” or “social justice” or “charity.” It is what it is.

    AGAIN: On what did Obama spend $3 trillion in additional national debt?

    Everyone write a letter to your congressman and two sentators asking . . .

    I’m think instead of giving your family $30,000, the zero paid his base $3,000,000,000,000.

    In any event, we are ruined.

  • “RR is right. If you want to get serious about making these kinds of cuts, then attack the legislation that drives the spending.”

    A true recipe for getting nothing done is getting lost in a legislative thicket. Take an axe to the funding first.

    “Suddenly, the prospect of the FDA not inspecting food and the FAA not inspecting planes or licensing pilots doesn’t sound so appealing.”

    This of course is the routine strategy trotted out by people who do not want any government expenditures. (I do not accuse you of being in this camp J. Christian.) I have no doubt that the essential functions of government could be performed quite nicely without the nation going bankrupt.

    “What exactly does he think those civilian workers are tasked to do?”

    Some of my active duty friends are often puzzled by that same question.

    http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100723/DEPARTMENTS01/7230302/-1/

  • If I am not mistaken, the operating budgets of federal regulatory agencies in the fiscal year concluding in September amounted to about $65 bn, or less than 2% of all federal expenditures. (A similar sum was expended on the civil police and courts). That may be excessive, but you would have to have fairly granular knowledge of the operations of these agencies to know that. Regulatory agencies are just not a rich vein to mine for cuts.

  • I have no doubt that the essential functions of government could be performed quite nicely without the nation going bankrupt.

    But what are the essential functions? No one addresses the root cause of all this “overhead.” People don’t realize how many statutory requirements are out there that drive the workload of all of these contractors and staff. Simple example: Nunn-McCurdy. It’s there to catch cost overruns. Is the marginal benefit of the law greater than its marginal cost of enforcement? I don’t know. Repeal it and find out. What *doesn’t* work is to cut funding and leave things like Nunn-McCurdy in place. I don’t know about you, but passing lots of laws and not enforcing them seems like a waste of time. Delving into the legislative thicket would stop these round-and-round budget debates, because we could once and for all decide what it is we want the Federal government to do.

    Some of my active duty friends are often puzzled by that same question.

    Actually, it’s often the other way around. The military isn’t doing quality assurance on the products it buys, it’s the civilian workforce. Same with a bunch of other functions. I recently heard a contractor say, “We do all of the work for the military guys, they just take the credit.” I say, let the military do its core job and get out of the business of business. We could eliminate half of the uniformed “Chair Force” that way.

  • Regulatory agencies are just not a rich vein to mine for cuts.

    I would like to know what’s included in the definition of a “regulatory” agency. Is DoD? What those 700,000+ civilian workers are doing might not be strictly called regulatory/compliance work, but a lot of it is program analysis and management — which is an essential function of every agency but probably gets called “overhead” for the purposes of rhetoric.

    but you would have to have fairly granular knowledge of the operations of these agencies to know that

    Exactly. I think that’s what we need. I’m afraid that too many in the civil service are vested in the system, and too many outside it are too detached to care or try. Who is going to take that granular look at what every dept. and agency does, and decide what is truly “essential”? I wouldn’t make broad cuts and just hope that things will turn out okay… I would prefer a more directed approach.

  • I would like to know what’s included in the definition of a “regulatory” agency.

    An agency whose task is in whole or in part to enforce legislated constraints on the conduct of private parties or to collect taxes from them. Excluded from the definition would be agencies (uniformed or no) responsible for enforcing the federal penal code.

    Generally, the Appendix to the Budget of the United States Government indicates in its tables or in annotations and discussions thereto which funds are intended for the regulatory component of an agency’s function, so the spending of agencies which are service providers as well as regulators (e.g. the Federal Aviation Administration) can be parsed.

    It was a back of the envelope exercise on a rapid reading of the Appendix and my memory is not what it used to be, so I may have missed and forgotten some expenditure. The Environmental Protection Agency has a ten-figure budget the bulk of which is devoted to enforcement, but as a rule the budgets of individual agencies are quite modest. IIRC, the regulatory functions of FAA cost about about $1.7 bn. The Securities and Exchange Commission spent (in 2009/10) about $1.1 bn. These two are among the more richly endowed agencies.

    By way of contrast, the National Institutes of Health puked about $30 bn into the patronage of bio-medical research.

  • Rand Paul is proof that sometimes the apples fall far enough from the tree to not get contaminated.

Where They Stand: Senate

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

With five days until election day, I decided to take a close look at each of the Senate races, and to offer some prognostications about how I think each will end up.

First, the lock-solid holds for each party:

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19 Responses to Where They Stand: Senate

  • Paul,
    I have been following the Senate races fairly carefully, and I agree 100% with your predictions and caveats.

  • Good analysis Paul. I differ from you in regard to California and Washington. I think the huge anti-Democrat tide will carry Fiorina to victory in the formerly Golden State, and Rossi to victory beyond the margin of fraud often used by Washington Democrats to steal state wide elections in that state. I recall in 2006 that the Democrats won all the close Senate races and I expect the Republicans to do the same this year. However, I suspect that even I underestimate the true power of the anti-Democrat tide running in this country right now, which is something unprecedented in living memory.

  • I hope you’re right Don, but my gut says Boxer hangs on. The problem is Fiorina doesn’t seem to be getting any help from the top of the ticket. And even in wave elections like this one, there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table, and I have a feeling this will be one. As for Rossi, he’s starting to seem like one of those perpetual candidates who always just loses. (Well, the first time around he arguably didn’t really lose, but that’s a topic for another time.)

  • An interesting look at the polls in the Rossi-Murray race.

    http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/19875/Murray-Rossi:-Why-the-polls-are-a-coin-flip/

    I think most pollsters are understating Republican strength at the polls by around 3% this year, because they are dealing with an unprecedented situation as to the anti-Democrat wave, the enthusiasm gap between the parties and the fact that independents around the country are breaking hard for the Republicans. We will soon find out, and the accuracy of the polls will be a subject I will be intensely interested in post-election. Watch many polls this weekend showing a mini-surge to the Republicans in the Senate races as pollsters hedge their bets.

  • Great analysis and predictions Paul!

    There may even be a surprise in Delaware ( I realize it is unlikely though) – http://weaselzippers.us/2010/10/27/dnc-at-defcon-1-is-christine-o%E2%80%99donnell-now-leading-in-dem-internal-polls/

  • “… there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table …”

    Not in 2006. Every close Senate race broke to the Dems(see, e.g, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia).

  • On the ground here in WA… Murray holding on to her seat is the likely scenario from my perspective. First and foremost, we are a blue state. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties make it so. The corruption in King County (think Seattle) elections makes it even more so (as you alluded to the gubernatorial race of 2004).

    What’s more, there are two different feelings among tea party folks around here. One, which is more aligned to the GOP is that we must defeat Murray at all costs. You heard this all over local talk radio after the primary when Clint Didier withheld his endorsement of Rossi (based on a lack of support for some key GOP platform issues).

    The second element in the tea party is the more libertarian leaning group, one that strongly identifies with the ideas put forth by Ron Paul (and strongly behind Didier). They feel rather disgruntled about the primary, where Rossi was a late comer, and ran something of a non-campaign saving his war chest for the general.

    We’ll see… will the third time (for a state-wide election) be the charm for Rossi? If he loses, blame will be placed squarely on the Didier die-hards for with holding their vote. One thing is for sure, if Rossi loses, it will be one more tick mark in a long string of losses by moderate Republicans in state-wide elections. This begs the question… should the WSRP court more conservative candidates?

  • I’d love to see Her Royal Senator Highness overthrown, but CA is one of those states where getting rid of an incumbent liberal is akin to Hell freezing over.

    If you wish to disagree with that assessment, fine, but don’t call me sir or RL. Call me Beloved General Field Marshall of the L homestead; I worked hard for that.

  • The just released Rasmussen poll on the Washington Senate race has Rossi up by one 48-47. Murray still being under 50% this close to election day is trouble for her.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/washington/election_2010_washington_senate

  • A sign of the public mood:

    “According to pollster Doug Schoen, whose new poll shows vast support for the Tea Party movement among voters, the president is still liked by about half the nation. In fact, more like him personally than like his policies. Some 48 percent think he’s a nice guy, while just 42 percent approve of his job performance.
    But that personal favorability doesn’t translate into re-election support when voters are asked if Obama deserves a second term. Says Schoen: “Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president.” Worse, Schoen adds, “43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/28/shocker-bush-beats-obama-4843-in-poll/

  • In Wisconsin, I wouldn’t count Feingold out. While Johnson has been ahead in most polls, the gap’s been closing in recent weeks and Johnson hasn’t fared well in the debates. Feingold, with three terms under his belt and being a smooth debater, is still pretty popular in a purple state. Johnson may still win, but his lead is shrinking.

  • New York is a sad case. Less than a year old it looked like both Gillibrand’s seat and the governorship would easily go to Republicans. Unfortunately for Republicans, Paterson decided not to run and the GOP basically conceded the senate seat without a fight.

  • Joe, you probably have a better sense of what’s going on in Wisconsin than I do, but the polls seem to have flattened out over the past week. Feingold certainly can make it interesting, but with Johnson now consistently polling in the low 50s, I’d be surprised if he lost.

    As for 2006, there was one race the Dems lost that was considered something of a toss-up. It was the TN Senate race that Harold Ford (call me) lost to Corker by about 3 points. That said, I can’t really think of any other close race over the past 2 cycles that the Dems have lost.

  • RR –

    New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP. Rudy Giuliani could certainly have won any of the statewide races had he decided to run, but evidently he is under the delusion that he could still be President one day. And as bad as Pataki is, he certainly could have been competitive with Gillebrand. The same is true for Lazio if he had set his sights on the Senate instead of the Governor’s Mansion.

  • “whatever the party breakdown is after Tuesday is the way it will remain for the 112th Congress”

    Maybe, maybe not. If the Republicans get to 50, they’ll be throwing every deal they can think of at the most nervous-looking Democratic senator they can find. If Sestak loses badly, that could be Bob Casey.

  • New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP

    The candidate for Comptroller and the candidate for Attorney-General have both shivved the Gubernatorial candidate, refusing to endorse him and (in the latter case) even to appear at public events with him. The Onondaga County executive endorsed Andrew Cuomo. The state party chairman (Richard Nixon’s corporate lawyer son-in-law) has been a pillar of Jell-O. I keep telling you: these people lose and lose and lose because of their irredeemable inadequacies.

  • Re Kirk vs. Giannoulias in IL: I voted early a couple of weeks ago. If either candidate had been ahead by a comfortable margin (meaning my vote would probably not make any difference), or if either party were pretty much assured of taking (or keeping) control of the Senate, I would have skipped this race and not voted for either candidate.

    Kirk is about as RINO as one can be — pro-abort, pro-ESCR, voted for cap and trade before he was against it, etc. However, I went ahead and voted for him, very reluctantly, ONLY because the race is so close AND because control of the Senate may hinge on the outcome. I am not going to sit back and allow a liberal Democrat to win under those circumstances.

  • On a side note: there are some prognosticators who believe that if Harry Reid loses his seat but the Dems hold on to the Senate, the next Majority Leader will be none other than Illinois’ other (ahem) esteemed Senator, Dick Durbin, who comes up for reelection in 2014. Now THAT is a race I am looking forward to. Hopefully the GOP will come up with a much better candidate than they have had the last three Senate election cycles. Lord knows they can’t do much worse.

  • Paul, I wouldn’t disagree that Johnson looks like the winner by a nose. Interestingly, more TV spots have been run in Wisconsin than any other state. Spending at $10.8 million in the Badger state, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks federal races.

Libertarians vs. Rand Paul

Thursday, July 1, AD 2010

A couple of months back Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul stirred up a hornets’ nest of controversy when he (briefly) indicated his opposition to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in “public accommodations” like restaurants and hotels. The controversy was notable not only for its utterly irrelevance to any current political issue, but also for the fact that even many libertarians distanced themselves from Paul’s position. I was out of the country at the time and so didn’t get a chance to comment, but libertarian think tank the Cato Institute recently published a libertarian defense of Title II and other civil rights legislation, which got me thinking about the issue again.

Defenders of Paul’s position (and there were a few) typically made one of two arguments; one based on an appeal to principle; one based on free market economics. The first argument is the straightforwardly libertarian one that individuals have the right to dispose of their property as they see fit, and while we might not like it if a business owner refuses to serve members of a particular racial group, it is still wrong to violate his property rights by telling him he can’t do so. I don’t have much to say about this argument, except to note how incongruously unpersuasive it is to most everyone today. Libertarianism is also criticized as being absolutist, but of course there are areas in which lots of people are willing to be comparably absolutist in their defense of individual freedom. Had Paul said, for example, that he supported the right of neo-Nazis to march through the streets of Jewish neighborhoods waving swastikas, his views would have been in keeping with those of most of the intelligentsia. Yet displaying a similar solicitude when the subject involves commercial activity is viewed as borderline crankish. The reasons for this discrepancy are probably worth further reflection, but I won’t dwell on them here.

Perhaps sensing that the argument from principle is a surefire loser, others have contended that laws such as Title II weren’t really necessary to end private discrimination by businesses. According to this argument, any business that turned away a substantial number of potential customers would soon find itself out of business, and absent legal mandates segregation would simply collapse under its own weight (call it the ‘everyone’s money is the same color’ argument).

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0 Responses to Libertarians vs. Rand Paul

  • A very interesting point.

  • The worst discrimination was at hotels and restaurants where white people did want to share sheets or plates with blacks or sleep or sit so close to them. I’d bet there were far fewer segregated bookstores. It’s also likely that the Civil Rights Act had a social impact beyond the four corners of the act. If you’re already eating and sleeping around blacks, walking around a bookstore with them doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore.

  • Never thought I’d support RR in most anything, but he does offer a counter-argument– one that falls right in the Libertarian blind spot. (being too rational–not a bad failing, all and all, just messes up some models)

    If the roots of segregation were irrational/emotional, then information/familiarity would be the target.

    The best way to gut-punch an emotional reaction is the social angle– so places where you go to shop and that’s all are poor choices (or good political sacrifices) to get what’s really important, the places where you go and interact.

    It’s sort of like the partial birth abortion stuff– very few pro-aborts really think it’s utterly needed, they just know they can’t give so much as an inch or folks might start to view the unborn as people.

  • I thought of RR’s counter and considered addressing it, but ultimately decided against it due to length concerns.

    With respect to RR, his explanation strikes me as being just a post hoc rationalization. Suppose you had told someone during the drafting of the Civil Rights Act, for example, that they didn’t need to include movies theaters under Title II because if you banned discrimination for restaurants and hotels it would disappear for movie theaters as well and just as quickly as if it had been included in the ban. I dare say they wouldn’t find that at all persuasive.

  • Were more transactional commercial venues like grocery stores and bookstores (of the sort not addressed in the bill) actually segregated in the first place?

  • I don’t see why it matters when debating the Civil Rights Act today, whether the breadth of the social impact was correctly assessed in 1964. My point was that the similar rates of change by businesses subject to the Act and businesses not subject to it is not a good measure of the Act’s efficacy because the nature of the businesses are different and the Act likely had a larger social impact.

  • For what it’s worth, I agree with both the principled argument and the economic one. For that reason I would not, myself, at the time, have supported the Title II of the Act.

    I don’t doubt that there is much truth to restrainedradical’s objection. But failing to torture Al Qaeda’s top guys, or failing to include improperly-gotten evidence in court trials, has possibly worse consequences for society; yet we have elected to stick to our principled “guns” on these items as well. And good for us. These are tough choices; but I think our society is better off, in the long run, for not taking sketchy shortcuts.

    But I sympathize with Paul and others who, under the current circumstances, feel unable to articulate the principled argument openly without derailing any conversation in which they are currently engaged.

    I think Blackadder (this is Blackadder’s piece, isn’t it? I hate how pieces published here have no obvious by-line!) is correct to say that the principled argument “is a surefire loser” and to note “how incongruously unpersuasive it is to most everyone today.” But I am afraid that is myopia on the part of “most everyone,” just as the notion of the moral acceptability of slavery was myopia on the part of “most everyone” in the antebellum southeast, or the acceptance of abortion or homosexual activity or artificial contraception is myopia by an awfully large number of persons today.

    So if Paul were to take the principled argument as his position, he would thereafter be able to talk about nothing else: Every conversation would be steered in that direction; every useful thing he had to say on any other subject at all would be lost in the din.

    What to do? Well, he could accept this as his lot and opt to make evangelizing the public toward accepting the principled argument his sole crusade. But who wants to waste his political life trying to convince folks that one portion of a law passed over forty years ago was morally wrong? (Talk about beating a dead horse!)

    Better to skip over the topic lightly and speak instead on topics wherein (a.) the public is more likely to listen to reason; and, (b.) the topic is of contemporary urgency, and not of merely historical interest.

  • explanation strikes me as being just a post hoc rationalization.

    Quite possible. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, though– if we look at it with scientific terms, then the theory accurately explains the results of the experiment.

  • if we look at it with scientific terms, then the theory accurately explains the results of the experiment.

    The problem is that if there had been a difference that also could have been explained by the theory. If a theory is consistent with any result of an experiment, then the experiment cannot serve to corroborate the theory.

  • It’s possible that economic interests combined with a changing social tide would have eventually corrected the injustice but accommodating unjust discrimination by delaying justice is itself an injustice.

    As for the “principled” argument, there is no right to unjust discrimination.

  • Do we not in fact always discriminate? I am not referring to arbitrary discrimination; rather, to specific circumstances? For example, the Eucharist is reserved for baptized, confirmed Catholics and the priesthood for men only. One is a choice, the other is a physical characteristic. How is being male different than being black?

    It seems to me that the government is obliged by justice to treat all citizens equally before the law; however, it is a dangerous precedent to force private entities to do the same. Is it a moral requirement? Of course; however, when we use government to enforce that, it can become problematic.

    Based on the logic that a private restaurant MUST serve blacks, then the Catholic Church MUST ordain women if they desire to be priests, or open practitioners of Sodomy for that matter. It is a dangerous precedent and is now being used to create forced acceptance of all sorts of evils – homsexualism, cross-dressing, gender-neutrality (whatever that means), ad nauseaum.

    I was not alive when segregation was occurring and although I am not black, I suspect that the same establishments may have had some trouble serving a Levantine like myself (I do have that nappy, think black hair, after all) – nevertheless, white people I have spoken to who did reside here in Virginia back then gave it no thought. It wasn’t that they were racists (although I am sure many were, and some, sadly still are), they simply accepted the status quo. When it was brought to their attention due to the legislation and the Civil Rights struggle, they were accepting of it. It seems to be an issue of education and familiarity rather than racism. I suspect that could have been brought about without Title II.

    Furthermore, it seems that most of America was in favor of granting equal rights to blacks. It took a relatively short period from boycotts to action in the favor of justice. Then it seems the movement was stolen by lefties who found that ‘race’ was a great guilt-card to use in bringing about Communism/Marxism/Socialism. Not to mention all the money that was to be made. Notice the Tea Parties are suddenly racist and so is the entire state of Arizona – right after the country, democratically elected a half-black man as president. Come on.

    I think we can get lost in what could have happened, but we can’t fail to notice that forcing ‘justice’ on private individuals (selectivity at that – how does that even make sense?) can lead to severe problems of justice. I hope I am wrong, but it seems the sentiment of Title II and the poorly written 14th amendment can and probably will be used against the Church. Why did we open up that can of worms?

  • As for the “principled” argument, there is no right to unjust discrimination.

    Or, as they used to say, error has no rights.

  • American Knight, the reasons for the discrimination must be just. Racism is not a just reason.

    Why open up the can of justice? Because we’re Catholic. We force justice upon private individuals all the time. You can’t murder. That requires the government to define life which opens a can of worms but that doesn’t mean the government should be agnostic about murder.

  • RestrainedRadical, Blackadder:

    You fellows are correct to say that there is no right to unjust discrimination, that error has no rights.

    But in that case we’re talking about moral rights, not political rights. The former means things which under natural law we may do without thereby being immoral; the latter refers to things which the government may not rightfully use force to prevent us from doing.

    A thing may not be a moral right, but still be a political right, because the government lacks the just authority to enforce a prohibition against it. It’s wrong, but it’s not illegal.

    Error has no moral rights, but sometimes it has political rights. I have no moral right to argue in the public square that it should be legal to distribute hardcore pornography to six-year-olds, because because not only is the act itself egregiously evil, but so is the advocacy of it.

    However, I have a political right to make that argument in the public square because the government has no just authority to prohibit my political speech. Even when that speech is morally evil. (So long as it doesn’t include an immediate incitement to crime or endangerment of others; e.g., yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.)

    So the question is not whether discrimination against some customers, while serving others, has “moral rights.” It doesn’t; it’s evil.

    The question is whether discrimination against some customers, while serving others, has “political rights.” I think it does, because the government has no just authority thus to govern people’s use of private property, et cetera.

    Hence the “principled” Libertarian argument.

  • I guess I am not seeing the connection. It should be recalled that many of this enterprises had a connection with concepts in Common Law of welcoming all comers.

    There was no huge problem in the South of black folks buying cars from White Dealers

    There was a problem with people being able to eat at eateries and staying in hotels.

    Now of course a lot of this deters people to be in interstate commerce

    The whole system was upset to keep a particular social order intact. I might be able to buy a car from you or a TV from you but I can;t easily eat with you and discuss business or travel and have you at my hotel to discuss business.

    So no “market forces” would not have helped with this. In the background was a whole social system that would have come down on you if you opened up to these forces. That is what is missed.

    What is also missed is the law is a moral teacher. Once these laws came down it had the effect of making people realize that this system was indeed injust.

    When you buy a TV that does not threaten social stability. However when you have the right to break bread with a person regardless of race that does affect socialstability. The whole system was set up to make blacks inferior.

  • R.C., Cogent. Morally speaking, God wants us to choose justice, not be forced to be just. As for restrainedradical’s comment about murder, the government does not prevent murder (sadly it promotes it when the victim is an unborn child). Government prosecutes murderers, once the attempt or the accomplishment of the unjust act is executed. To R.C.’s point, if a court refuses to hear a case of say, a white poll inspector who was intimidated and threatened by say, a Black Panther who happens to be black simply because the Black Panther is black or a political ally, that is unjust racism! Since the court, or the department of justice, represents the government there is a duty to treat all citizens equally before the law.

    However, if a black restaurateur does not wish to serve Bobby Jindal simply because he’s ethnically Indian, then that is also racism and it is still unjust, but the government has no right to force the restaurant owner to be just toward Gov. Jindal. That would be up to us, often referred to as the ‘market’ to support the racist by patronizing his eatery, or to thwart the racist by not eating there. The ‘market’, or individual choice, mechanism is a far better tool for fraternal correction than the force of the government.

    jh, the system of segregation was horrible and it was openly codified in the South – the same system existed outside Beatnik culture in the North, it was simply more insidious because it wasn’t codified. I suspect most blacks still feel more welcome in the South than in the liberal North. Justice Thomas certainly thought so. Also, notice that laws on the books in the North during the antebellum period and for some time after the war, forbade blacks from working or residing in white towns and areas. Although, relegated to the horror of slavery in the South, many Southerners had closer interaction with negros than Northerners. They often ate together, their children played together and many were taught to read by their masters – principally to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does that mean it was OK for Africans to be enslaved by white Southerners? Of course not! It was also just as wrong to have them enslaved by freed blacks, or traded by Northern whites, Arabs, Portuguese, Muslims, etc. or sold by African chieftains. Out of all of those groups who was least evil to negros?

    Perhaps the Civil Rights movement would have been wholly unnecessary had we allowed the evil of slavery to be expunged from our lands by means other than war, military occupation, expanding government and dominance by an increasingly secularized WASP culture. Over 300,000 murdered black babies a year would agree if we’d let them be born. What’s worse slavery or murder? Or, segregation with traditional morals, or desegregation by decimating the black family? How does that affect social stability?

  • R.C., I’d argue that government has a moral obligation to correct injustice if it is able to do so. It may be the case that it is unable to do so. So we allow indecent speech even though the government is under no moral obligation to allow it. Arguably, employment and housing discrimination bans are too difficult to enforce but I don’t believe that was the case with restaurant and hotel discrimination in the 1960’s.

  • RestrainedRadical:

    You say: “I’d argue that government has a moral obligation to correct injustice if it is able to do so” …and then go on to consider whether, in particular instances, it is able to do so.

    But don’t you think you’ve missed a step? Or, rather, isn’t your original premise incomplete?

    Shouldn’t it be: “I’d argue that government has a moral obligation to correct injustice if it is able to do so…and if the only available means of correcting that injustice aren’t, themselves, unjust.

    For that, of course, is the source of the principled Libertarian argument in this matter.

    No Libertarian is arguing that discrimination isn’t unjust. And no Libertarian is arguing that Title II wasn’t a quick, easy (and thus “seductive” …pardon the nerdiness of the reference, but I have in mind Yoda’s homily answering Luke Skywalker’s question about whether the Dark Side of the Force was “stronger”) way to “nip discrimination in the bud.”

    The question is, “MAY we, justly, use such methods to solve our problems? Or would that constitute doing evil that good may come of it?

    The Principled Libertarian view here is that, no, despite its advantages, one may not temporarily abrogate the property rights of the citizenry in order to stop them discriminating.

    We would very much like a solution to prevent them from discriminating; however, that particular solution falls outside the set of permissible solutions; and thus, we must (with regret) reject it in favor of what may (sadly) be slower and clumsier solutions, such as encouraging markets to reward those who do business with and hire persons of all ethnicities through higher profits.

    So the point of debate is about whether Title II is whether it does, or doesn’t, cross the boundaries of what is permitted by justice. I hold that it does; but perhaps that’s something you’d dispute?

  • Yes, I dispute the idea that the state may not ban unjust discrimination. You have the right to private property but you do not have the right to do whatever you please on it. We ban murder even if it’s on your private property. Likewise, the state can ban unjust discrimination on your property. Libertarians may also point to the right to associate. But even there, you have no right to use unjust means to associate. You cannot keep individuals out through the use of murder. Likewise, you cannot keep them out through the use of unjust discrimination.

  • RestrainedRadical:

    “You have the right to private property but you do not have the right to do whatever you please on it.”

    What does it mean for something to be “my” property, exactly?

    Distinguishing again between moral rights and political rights, we know that if a particular tree is my property, I have no moral right to chop it down and carve it into an Asherah pole for pagan worship. One cannot have a moral right to do a wrong thing. But one may have a political right inasmuch as it may be a graver injustice for We The People to send our employees (the police power of the government) to imprison or kill a person for making their own tree into an Asherah pole.

    So, do political property rights permit a person to use their own property for pagan worship? I think they do.

    But notice that this does not directly injure my neighbor. (I think it does so indirectly, of course.) I therefore cannot conceive that it is just to directly use armed force against a person to compel them not to do something which directly harms no one. It is a disproportionate use of force, akin to nuking another country because one of their citizens published an anti-American op-ad. It is a violation, on a smaller and intra-national level, of the same moral obligations which, on a larger and inter-national level, are described in the Just War Doctrine.

    I can more easily conceive of something less direct; e.g., tax incentives or disincentives, or public funding for one of those treacly public awareness campaigns on television, to be used against pagan uses of property. This is a less disproportionate use of force, you see.

    I raise this principle in order to answer your objection that…

    “We ban murder even if it’s on your private property. Likewise, the state can ban unjust discrimination on your property.”

    Now, I think it’s a pretty well known principle that for something to be my property, as a political right, it means that I may do as I please with it without fear that my fellow citizens (themselves), or my fellow citizens (in the person of their employees, the government), or citizens of a foreign power (invaders) will kill me or imprison me or take my stuff over it.

    (As a moral right, property means something more; i.e., that I have been made a steward of it by God who rightfully owns everything on the grounds that He made everything, and as a steward I am obligated to use my property as He sees fit.)

    So something is not my property unless I am free to do with it what I will. But there are limitations to that, of course, and you raise one of them: Murder.

    But notice that Murder initiates violence (that is, it uses force) to take from someone something to which they already have a right (their life); and, not just a moral right, but a political right. It violates their political rights; it may therefore be criminalized through the political process. What we have here is yet another example of “my rights end where they begin to violate yours.”

    However Discrimination is in an entirely different category of act. It involves me not doing business with you, or not associating with you. But nobody has a political right to my business or my friendship. They may have a moral right, inasmuch as God wants us to love everyone. But in every case we see that in the matter of my neighbor I am more heavily obligated under the moral law than the political. (I have no moral right to gossip, but I do have a political right. I have no moral right to lust after my neighbor’s wife, but I do have a political right.)

    So then the Libertarian argument, with which I agree, is that discrimination is not a moral right, but it a political right; whereas murder is neither a moral right nor a political right.

    Moreover, in either the moral or political sphere, one may use one’s property in whatever way one sees fit (indeed, that is what is meant by calling it “one’s property,” provided one’s usage does not exceed one’s just authority by violating the rights of another.

    In the moral sphere, that means I may not use my property in a fashion that exceeds my just moral authority by violating the moral rights of another. If I do, I may be subjected to just punishment by the enforcer of the Moral Law (God).

    In the political sphere, it means that I may not use my property in a fashion that exceeds my just political authority by violating the political rights of another. If I do, I may be subjected to just punishment by the enforcer of the Political Law (the police power of the state).

    Now I said earlier that discrimination is a political right, tho’ not a moral one, whereas murder is neither. My entire argument hinges on this. If, in fact, discrimination is also not a political right, then my argument fails and yours wins.

    So the crux of the issue is this: By what principle may we distinguish between political and moral rights; and, once we have determined that principle, on which side of the line does discrimination fall?

    Once again, I think Libertarians have the correct answer here, and it stems from their observation that political rights are all about a code which is constructed and enforced by government. But what is “government?”

    Well, government is that organization in society to which we (uniquely) grant authority to use force to achieve its ends. Honda Motors may not compel me at gunpoint to buy their cars; the Lions’ Club or Rotary Club may not compel me at gunpoint to perform community charitable works; but government can compel me at gunpoint to obey its laws. The “force-wielding organization”: That is what government is.

    Because government’s identity is bound up with the use of force, it follows naturally that the rights and obligations within its sphere of just authority are also those of force. The government may criminalize murder because in murder, the attacker initiates unjust force against another. That the government replies to this use of force is obviously fitting, just as a nation’s armed response to an armed invasion is fitting.

    Government may also criminalize fraud, which is trickier, but not overly so, because fraud is intellectual force. If I buy your product because you put a gun to my head, I have done something I would not otherwise have done: You forced me. Likewise, if I buy your product because you have lied to me about what it is and does, I have done something I would not otherwise have done: You forced me.

    But you’ll notice that the forcing is slightly less direct with respect to fraud, than with respect to holding a gun on me. Therefore, the jail times associated with fraud are less than those associated with threatening my life.

    Now the Libertarian observation about Discrimination as opposed to Murder is this: Discrimination withholds activity whereas Murder acts forcibly, violently.

    It is therefore within the political competence of government, the organization which uses force to achieve its ends, to prevent and/or prosecute murder. But no use of force exists in the matter of withheld business or withheld friendship motivated by discrimination. Therefore this immoral act falls outside the competence and authority of government. A person has a moral right not to be discriminated against, but not a political right.

    Put another way: If Tom, Dick, and Harry live near one another and Tom observes Dick in the act of robbing Harry at gunpoint, Tom may morally intervene with force to stop this immoral act (indeed, if he knows his intervention is very likely to safely succeed, his intervention becomes morally obligatory). But if Tom observes Dick shunning Harry and knows that Dick is doing so because Harry is black (it’s apparently not for nothing the offender is named “Dick”), does Tom then have just moral authority to whip out a gun, point it at Dick, and say, “Go be friends with Harry?”

    I don’t think so. It’s disproportionate. It’s an Unjust War writ small. Tom has no just authority to do any such thing.

    But, if Tom has no such just authority, then he can’t delegate that authority to any of his employees…which includes the government.

    How, then, could the government be delegated such authority justly, if their employers (who’re doing the delegating) never had that just authority to begin with? Answer: They couldn’t.

    Thus discrimination in the form of withheld business or friendship is outside the political sphere of authority, whereas murder and other forms of force and fraud fall well within it.

  • In addition to RC’s excellent points, I would add that what counts as “unjust discrimination” is whatever progressives say.

    Churches in Europe and North America face constant threats and lawsuits from homosexual groups for not indulging their requests to use their property, or for even preaching that homosexual behavior is a sin. This is regard as “hate”, when of course, in reality, no one has more hatred in their hearts than radical homosexual activists do for the Church.

    It may even be “unjust discrimination” not to provide transgendered bathrooms in the future, or to make all sorts of additional accommodations to body-mutilators, transvestites, etc. Where does this madness end?

  • R.C., you have the moral right to worship according to your conscience, even if it is ill-formed, so long as it does not violate the rights of others. So you have the moral right (and therefore, necessarily, the political right) to create idols for pagan worship if your conscience allows it and the law allows individuals to chop down trees.

    Government can choose to allow unjust discrimination or prostitution or indecency but it does so out of concern for the common good not because there’s some political right archetype that must be obeyed even when contrary to the common good.

    Even if we accept the normative libertarian premise that government should not penalize victimless wrongs, unjust discrimination is hardly victimless. It does violence to the dignity of man as surely as defamation, assault, or murder.

    In your “Tom, Dick, and Harry” hypo, if Dick robs Harry, you don’t have the authority to lock Dick in your basement for five years. Governments have legitimate powers that individuals do not. Separate from that is the issue of proportionality. Government may not justly execute you for discriminating unjustly but it can prevent you from operating a restaurant.