Welcome To The American Devolution

Four months and counting after the presidential election Liberals are still dancing like happy little fireflies in Obama’s summer night meadow.  Ecstatic at being able to tax and spend our money, regulate, oversee, reform and tighten the thumbscrew of social justice and elastic definitions of fairness as much as they like.  Indeed if these lighting-bugs has have any complaint at all in the last of these latter days of the Republic it’s that a man of such cosmic parts as Dear Leader shouldn’t have to ask anybody for an increase in the debt limit, let alone that icky Congress. 

Meanwhile Congress icks.  Out maneuvered in the public opinion struggle the only alternative the so-called people’s house will ever offer is some slight reduction in the growth of the thousands of federal programs ordering, taxing and regulating virtually every aspect of the American people’s lives.  Programs which reward certain politically important individual people, classes or businesses while impoverishing others, not so favored.

Yet if Liberals are having it all their own way why is the electorate also dropping  state governments into the hands of Republicans by even more of a plurality? 

Stressing the importance of what Wall Street Journal called The Red State Model for GOP national governance Ed Lasky examines this singularity in  A Way Out Of The Wilderness For The GOPAmerican Thinker on 6 February 2013.  A thoughtful and well researched piece in which Mr. Lasky references the “miraculous” reforms some of these Republican governors are pulling off at the state level and the leverage they might y are, it should be said, truly stunning. 

Yet do they really provide a way forward for the GOP as Mr. Lasky suggests? 

Mr. Goldberg himself says no.  Concluding that the disparity in Federal and State election results (February 2 – townhall.com) stems from the factthat “…what gets Republicans elected at the local level gets them in trouble at the federal level” and that “Democrats are simply better at talking about [the Federal]government in spiritual terms. Indeed, such testifying is Obama’s one indisputable gift. They [he] talks about the federal government doing things we’d want God to do if God dabbled in public policy.”

Which with only a modest leap is a way of saying that for much, maybe a solid majority of the electorate, the Federal government they desire isn’t a matter of politics at all, instead it’s a matter of faith.  Or if you will, religion.  A point which goes a long way to explain why anybody with a half a brain and a five dollar calculator can see that Washington  is headed to for the most cataclysmic government bankruptcy in human history but Liberals can’t.  “Reason” as David Hume tells us “is the slave of passion.” 

But you can’t vote a religion out, no matter how many charming red state models you cite.  A religion isn’t fact-based.  This past November the majority of people knew Mitt Romney was a better money manager, but it didn’t matter.  Four years before the majority knew John McCain was better “qualified” but it didn’t matter.  Ditto for Clinton vs. Bush and Clinton vs. Dole.  While in the case of  Gore and Kerry you had two democrat candidates who were incapable of talking in spiritual terms and a Bush who kinda did.  Although Bush himself vastly increased the size and scope of government.

Another way to look at the same very difficult national nut to crack in any meaningful way is to put religion aside and think in terms of its close cousin – culture.  That your choice for President reflects your culture.  Or at least the culture that a majority of the voters pretend to, more or less in the manner of people who like to dress up and be seen going to the opera but would never listen at home (just as many people like to be seen going to church).  While on the other hand state and local governments represent the non-cultural.  The dirty dishes in the sink.  Mundane daily tasks about which there can be little pretense.  Fixing the roads, school funding, prisons, police, liquor sales etc.  And for those jobs it goes without saying, you’re just less liable to choose an opium eater.

And so despite the wonderful examples of Republican reform at the state level, without a really cool guy or messianic speaker offering some new and more attractive national religion to carry their banner, or a radical change in the culture, Conservatives have scant hope of turning this national behemoth we call the Federal Government around.  That is actually shrinking it or returning it to something like its historical boundaries.  Reagan couldn’t after all, maybe no Republican President absent an extremely compliant Senate and House, which Reagan didn’t have and is very difficult to imagine, can.   

Selwyn Duke makes this case in Conservatives Rationalize as America Circles the Drain  on (December 19, 2012 – American Thinker.)  Summing up that there “… is no way to democratically reclaim it.”

So what to do?  Just wave as Liberaldom, in the best Chicago style, takes both Washington and the shadow of the Constitution remaining on their last ride? Mr. Duke suggests just that – that the fundamental question all of us “healthy acorns” have to ask ourselves [now] is whether or not  there’s any point in “… trying to fertilize a tree destined for the sawmill.”

Because indeed the Federal Government is going to crash under that un-repayable debt, those unsustainable social programs and unnecessary, unworkable and costly regulations.  We all know that.  And nobody really believes that a Paul Ryan fix, tweaking this or that program so as to balance the budget by 2020 or something will really work.  In truth a substantial minority of the American people now believe that Washington is so far beyond reason in its spend and spend elect and elect mode, on both sides of the aisle and so should just be left alone in its locked room with the revolver it loaded and let it do what it seems bent on doing anyway.

Of course standing in the way of a majority coming to the same conclusion is what has always stood in its way.  The great reverence among common people for the Constitution.

But revering the Constitution  seems to be a lot like you and your wife believing in your college daughter’s virginity long after she’s moved in with her art major boyfriend.   You might still love her, treasure the memories of her as a toddler, but one of these days you’re going to have to admit that the odd are getting pretty long of her being happily married and close enough by that grandchildren wander over and climb up on your lap.

And neither is our Constitution ever going to restrain the national government.  You might still hope against hope it will, indeed you were taught it would, but it doesn’t and it won’t.  Instead  the vaunted separation of powers has morphed into a system wherein its constituent parts pirouette through the motions but in reality act out a tightly scripted role in the exercise of raw power with no part at all for your individual rights in the play.

Our Federal Government tells you what toilet to use, what to feed your school children, how to defend your life, what light bulb to read by at night, farmers what to plant, how to plant and when to plant, what medicines to take and not take, how much of your earnings you can keep, favors certain businesses and suppresses others, puts people in jail or fines them for trampling certain grasses on their own property.

It has to go.

 

What is the constitution anyway?

Take a look and you’ll be struck by the difference between the men who established the nation, that is signed the Declaration of Independence and fought the war and those who wrote the Constitution.  A handful signed both but if you look at the vocations of those who signed the Declaration and those voting at the Constitutional Convention you see lawyers predominating in the latter.  (Washington you have to remember didn’t even speak at the convention.)  Indeed you find quite a few men at the Convention who spent the war arguing lawyerly points in the Continental Congress and of course fleeing for their lives whenever the British got close.  And so what they produced was a lawyerly formulae for governance.  I know, I know, everyone tells us (especially lawyers) that it’s wonderful, great, brilliant, inspired, unique – yada, yada, yada.  But the fact is that it worked best only when the Federal Government it established didn’t consider itself all that important.  And the Constitution as adopted in Philadelphia never protected individual rights.  The Bill-Of-Rights did that.  Indeed some states considered the Constitution so deficient they only ratified subject to the adoption of a Bill-Of-Rights. 

Instead our loyalty should belong to that Bill-Of-Rights, to the Declaration, to the concepts of self-government at the local level, individual freedom and individual responsibility for one’s own outcome in life.

In abandoning the Constitution Conservatives also have to realize that they wouldn’t be the first to do it.  The Tenth Amendment, the tenth article of the Bill-Of-Rights that The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people is a dead letter.  Long ago declared by Federal Courts to be a truism, something included simply to make people feel better.

In other words to deceive.

Think about that.

It has to go.  And it’s our great luck that it and the terrible government which evolved from the Constitution is toppling without a single shot being fired.  Although there will be shots fired eventually because the nation is dividing into mendicant states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California and the productive heartland and west.  And the beggar states will demagogue the issue to the end.  Insist that benefit programs no longer able to provide benefits are the fault of the evil rich or whites or Conservatives.  But the other states, and you know who they are, will keep order, band together to establish worthwhile currencies and rules and get the country moving again.

So let it go, focus on the future and let the current Federal Government, to give Mr. Duke’s analogy one more poke, be sawn into boards we can put to better use elsewhere.

And maybe take heart from the thought that for all the troubles and travails to come, fireflies don’t live through a change in seasons.

An amazing piece appeared in American Think 02/17/2012 – The Is No Good Regulation by  Michael Moeller, whom I believe is an attorney working in the mid-west.  In any event he brilliantly examines the concept of a “good” regulation.  Points out that it’s prior restraint, something which we would not accept in other areas such as speech.

Read this piece and if I can add something before you do it is the idea that the acceptance of government regulation by most people is because they confuses it with the issue of standards. Modern life couldn’t proceed without an universe of standards. Take for example the height of a kitchen counter and the standard width of appliances.  If those doesn’t didn’t exist your new stove would fit into the current opening.  Standard allow a screw manufactured in California to fit a nut in Florida, an electrical plug on a fan purchased in Home Depot to fit your electrical socket at home.  But a standard is not a government regulation and almost invariably these standards have been arrived at privately, usually by professional associations or individuals marketing a product.  Having said that go read the piece.

This 1st Amendment example broadly captures the essence of objective law vs. regulation; namely, the protection of one’s freedom to act vs. the necessity of gaining the government’s permission before one is allowed to act.  Michael Moeller AmericanThinker 02/17/2013 Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/there_is_no_good_regulation.html#ixzz2LLPTGuNz

From Beef To Horse To Donkey

Europeans, or at least a great number of them, eat horse meat.  I believe they do in Quebec as well, but I’m not sure of that although I wouldn’t buy a burger from anybody north of the ST Lawrence with a French accent.  But the British like the Americans don’t and there’s an ongoing scandal in the UK about frozen lasagna and assumedly ground beef school lunches actually consisting of  horsemeat.  Which scandal suddenly deepens with a report that some of it might have been made of donkey. (See the Daily Mail today.)

Possibly the basis of a good metaphor for the progression of both our federal government and our public educational system if I can puzzle out how to work it.

Meanwhile the silver lining in the above scandal might be that it gets more Brits brushing their teeth, which, everyone will admit, is a good thing.  Especially since with NHS dentistry some of them have to drill out their own cavities at home.

First The Cheese Then The Need

 

The Federal Government has sixty-eight individual poverty programs.  It is said.  Because no one really knows, a fact we should be grateful for because if we really knew Obama would say we need sixty-nine or seventy-nine, maybe  a hundred and nine.  Years ago our town gave out free cheese.  I discovered this new entitlement when I arrived home from work one evening and was confronted by the sight of a laughing wife and half of a giant wheel of cheddar cheese laying on the kitchen table.  It was this hundred pounds of cheese or nothing she said because the workers down at the Rec Center were desperate to get rid of it and any hapless vehicle that drove into the parking lot got one of these shoved in their trunk.

It was very good cheese and needless to say the kids ate a lot of baked macaroni for the next couple of weeks even after we unloaded most of it on my mother-in-law next door and friends. 

Later we found out that the Federal government had been subsidizing cheese makers, there was an overabundance at the refrigerated warehouses and so the Department Of Agriculture was for all intents and purposes dumping it on town and city governments.  It happened again the following year but on the third a woman called and said my wife should protest, circulate a petition, call our congressman’s number to complain, make the government realize that there was a groundswell of protest growing.  “Why?” my wife asked.  “Because” the woman, “we’re not getting our cheese this year and poor families depend on it.”

“Why not?”

“Because” the woman said, “they say, that there isn’t any more.  That the farmers aren’t producing as much milk or the cheese makers aren’t making as much or something.  But what difference does that make?  The government should have thought of that before they let us run out.  Get more somewhere.”

My wife shook her head.  “not that I’m not in favor of free cheese and it was very good cheese, but if there isn’t any more there isn’t any more and we’ll just have to suck it up.”

Yet many former cheeses recipients agreed with the woman and she managed to assemble quite a few of them in a public protest to which the local Congressman sent a representative.

Now Conservatives are very familiar with, and forever lament, the fact that programs such as the great cheese giveaway in the nineteen seventies create constituencies but the fact is that they don’t in the first instance, they create the need – then the constituency.

Thathat by and large there is no need prior to the Left-Wing Liberal social program and the fact is easily proved by examining just a prominent three:

Unemployment Insurance – See Henry Hazlitt and many other authorities, the USA was always a labor poor country that is, there was always a shortage of labor  which is why wage rates were so high when compared to the rest of the world and so actual unemployment was about 1%.  But after unemployment insurance the new normal was 5%.    

Poverty   See Thomas Sowell and many other authorities, – Poverty is a very fluid definition because while it includes income it does include assets however by the government’s very restricted definition, it was decreasing prior to the beginning of the War On Poverty and had been for some years.  After the war on poverty was implemented it began to increase.

Aid To Families With Dependent Children or AFDC – Again see Thomas Sowell and many other authorities – Where were the millions of single mothers now supported by AFDC prior to the passage of this legislation by FDR.  Answer they didn’t exist.  They were married with permanent fathers and providers in the home.  Indeed AFDC was sold not as a program for single never married mothers but for widows!

Okay if the purported need for these programs didn’t exist – what was their purpose, indeed what is the purpose of any of social program?

It is simply this to create, by definition, more of the very problem it purports to address and so in the process, create a larger voting constituency for the Left-Wing Liberal.

Let’s lay it out:

The purpose of Unemployment Insurance is to increase unemployment.

The purpose of Disability Insurance is to increase disabilities

The purpose of Food Stamps is to increase malnutrition.

First the cheese then the need.

Name Calling And Fighting And Liking Things – Dad’s Rules

I listen to Conservatives on TV being labeled as homophobes or racists or stupid and watch as they flinch, then start falling all over themselves to deny it.  And I cringe, at the labeling, the cowardly reaction and the odd fact that nobody seems to get punched in the face in TV land.   And don’t these casually tossed around labels reflect the same mindset, only in a different flavor?

My Dad had a rule about this – think whatever you like just but never disparage anybody except to their face and then only if they’re male and bigger and stronger than you are.  Then you’re on your own.  He had the same rule about fights – fight all you want with whoever you want just as long as they’re male and bigger and stronger than you are.

Good rules

He was a good guy and died from FDNY line of duty medical issues in 1968.  One of my sons recently asked what unit he was with – it was Ladder 122 and before that for many years Engine 250, both in Brooklyn.  Checking my memory I went on line and found the following site:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/lodd/lodd_m.shtml

It lists all of New York City’s Fire Department line of duty deaths and when scrolled down and I came to his name – Harry L. Miniter – the years since vanished and I missed him dreadfully.  Above all the way in which he was all about liking or loving things or people and not about disliking them.  Which is maybe a third, muc h more important rule he never put it in words, just acted out.

So in honor of him I’d like to list some of the things I like and love (aside from family because I don’t want to sound too sappy):

Old barns and stone walls in the woods, the sound of a stream rushing over rocks, autumn days, people doing things really well, a good turn of phrase, children playing on the grass in the late sunshine – waiting to be called for supper, a deer standing twenty feet away stamping a hoof and blowing of trying to frighten me, the way a Pickerel hits your lure right next to your leg, Marines trooping the colors, good whiskey with a friend in front of a wood fire, factories as the lights come on just prior to the first shift starting, red bricks, good coffee, fresh crusty bread, hellfire and brimstone homilies, the King James Bible, prime rib, insulting a French tourist (assuming of course that they’re male and bigger and stronger than I am), bales of hay in a freshcut summer field, the golden ratio, shadows creeping out from the forest at sunset, red tractors, bakery smells in the city, fathers taking their little daughters into the voting booth with them, the sound of a Spaulding bouncing, baked macaroni made from scratch, challenging thoughtless authority, telling a doctor’s receptionist to have the doctor fill out the seven page form virtually identical to the one he had me fill out two months before, fresh paint, polished brass, a child walking home reading a book and libraries.

And I’ll do my best to keep thinking these kind of thoughts Dad.

Just like you taught me.