Freedom. [Addendum added.]
Liberty. States’ rights. Freedom.
Just ask Justice Kennedy about how the removal of federal constitutional checks on state and local courts, prosecutors and prisons has ensured our freedom. Well, his, anyway.
He’ll tell you. It’s our constitutional design (his word), see.
I keep wondering why international human rights organizations don’t aggressively spread information about this country’s states’-rights agenda and it’s huge, appalling consequences, and make clear that this is, virulently advanced by the current Supreme Court. Because, really, only when this gains broad international attention will it begin to end.
And, yes, this is what the Court calls, explicitly, freedom. The rest of the civilized world, though, I trust, would call it barbarism. If they knew about it.
And really, it’s long past time that they did.
ADDENDUM: To clarify, the premise of Kennedy’s states’-rights=freedom shtick is that separation-of-powers=freedom; ergo, Germans, Scandinavians and the Dutch, for example, are prisoners. The selling point is supposed to be checks and balances, but under Kennedy’s brand of separation-of-powers=freedom, there is a separate of powers but there are no constitutional checks on state and local government police and judicial powers. Freedom is defined not by what happens to you but instead by which government, and what part of that government, is doing it.
Added 6/9 at 11:34 a.m.
A few questions on your topic:
(1) How would centralized power guarantee MORE freedom than disseminated power among more competing jurisdictions? Isn’t government MORE accountable as it gets closer to the people?
(2) Weren’t some of the biggest genocides and abuses of imprisonment done by states with strong centralized government structures? Wouldn’t it be better to weaken the chances of that happening in the States by diluting the power that anyone state government have over people through the competition created through a constitutional republic?
Yes Beverley. ‘Freedom’ ‘Liberty’ ‘Equity’
Concepts so philosophically close. And yet so historically divergent.
Because ‘Anarchy’ ‘Gangs’ and ‘Fastest Gun in the West’
You don’t have to be a Maoist to understand that “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and that “freedom” depends on who has access to State power.
So in response to Kai-HK. Capitalism has always relied on “centralized power”. it has always relied on its ability to call on Sate power to suppress labor power, which in turn is always the majority of the population. And every instance of devolution to lower levels of government just leveraged the ability of national and local capitalists to exercise such power.
if you want to examine cases of genocide you might well want to examine the powers of State governors in 19th century America and 20th century Brazil to use their powers to call out ostensibly national forces to suppress local demands for economic justice.
People on the Right always want to invoke Stalin. While discounting a few thousand years of history of local warlords maximizing their local powers to oppress local peoples.
Through history the pattern has always been central despots suppressing local brigandage. As evidenced by the constant trope “A virgin could travel the road with a bag of gold” during the days of Good Emperor So and So.
I don’t know that you are Chinese, maybe you are Kai-HK from Waterloo, Iowa. But on the chance that you are or have an affinity to Chinese history can you identify a time EVER when overall freedom was associated with local control? Or was it always warlords and brigands all the way down.
You state, ‘Capitalism has always relied on “centralized power”.’
Actually it exists despite centralized power, not because of it. Nowhere in the foundations of capitalism does the need for a centralized command-and-control system arise.
You continue, ‘it has always relied on its ability to call on Sate power to suppress labor power, which in turn is always the majority of the population.’
Ehhh…how so? True the state can get co-opted by special interests, among them either the owners of capital or the owners of labor, however that is not a feature of capitalism. That is a feature of a bad political system that is not individual-rights based. Again, capitalism is resilient; it can exist despite poor political systems and structures not because of them.
Labor has plenty of protections that come at the expense of the individual rights of business owners. These protections fly in the face of freedom and individual rights.
You continue, ‘And every instance of devolution to lower levels of government just leveraged the ability of national and local capitalists to exercise such power.’
That is why you want a constitution that limits government rights and protects individual rights. Thanks for pointing out the need for more limited government.
You continue, ‘if you want to examine cases of genocide you might well want to examine the powers of State governors in 19th century America and 20th century Brazil to use their powers to call out ostensibly national forces to suppress local demands for economic justice.
You make my point for me. Again, nothing to do with capitalism.
You continue, ‘While discounting a few thousand years of history of local warlords maximizing their local powers to oppress local peoples.’
Thanks for pointing out how allowing small group of people a huge amount of discretionary power hurts individuals and that such power must be limited and checked and balanced extensively where used lest it be abused as in the case of warlords without such limits. More support for limited government that restricts the growth of government.
I am glad that you are making all my points for me. We are on the same side for a change.
You continue, ‘I don’t know that you are Chinese… EVER when overall freedom was associated with local control?’
I am originally from North Dakota, the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in the North of the state. I have lived in China for much of the last three decades. Point?
Can you give me an example where more centralized power was better for individuals? Cambodia? China? Russia? North Korea? They have or had very strong central governemnts that gave no woer to lower level governments or individuals. The more power invested with individuals, through the protection of their rights, the more freedom people have.
To be clear, I am not a proponent of states’ rights of federal rights, I am a proponent of individual rights over state rights. Capitalism relies on the former. The more individual rights you have the more capitalism you have.
For you, it is a matter of what despot you prefer. You seem to think that one all-powerful despotic regime in Washington is better than 50 weaker state-level despotic regimes that must compete against each other for population, investment, and the taxation that flows from such successful competition. Perhaps that is because you consider yourself aligned with the current despot in Washington. But let me ask you, Bruce, if you had a super right-ring Republican as president and a super right wing legislature and they started dictating what you could and could not do in your state through executive fiat….would you be as supportive of centralized power? Say if Ted Cruz started dictating your state’s laws?
Don’t like political capture at the local state and federal level? Solution is simple, neuter and restrain them to the point that their capture does not matter since they will lack the legal standing to interefere in the matters between free and willing individuals.
1.) See Jim Crow and the KKK.
Militiae were to be the foundation of the common defense, until 115 years go, empire, and it became uber profitable to have a central trough at the pentagon.
2.) See Hitler’s rise: he mobilized KKK type hatred, as does Fox News. Mao. Stalin and Pol Pot are overstated because they did the 1%.
Kennedy supports long standing decentralized totalitarianism.
I do not do US’ agitprop news outlets.
It is getting so that if you are a minority in the US you might think of the feud outlawry, denied serfdom and human rights.
(1) No need to bring up Democrat created institutions like the KKK and Jim Crow. I would be remis if I didn’t point out how having a republic with other states and competing governments helped mitigate the reach of those institutions. I should also point out that the federal government did little to end them. Finally, not sure how those two institutions trump Naziism and Communism in terms of devastation.
(2) Yeah? So? Not sure how that refutes my premise that you should not allow any central power to gain too much power.
If anything you have strengthened my case. Thank you.
Not sure what you Kennedy point was. Please write in cogent sentences.
I grew up on a reservation in North Dakota. No need to tell me about feudalism.
And how is a strong federal government and less divested political power the solution to feudalism?
You are a lawyer and in that role you seem to have become comfortable with judges making final rulings which can be appealed but seldom are. You seem to have come to believe that US Supreme Court Justices are the final answer to society’s ills.
But that system is inherently dictatorial. It works well when they interpret laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people. I believe that it fails when they set themselves up as the sole arbiter of the US Constitution.
My personal experience has been that local government is the most responsive to its population. The state government is more remote and less responsive. Then we have the federal government which is far away from its constituents. Elected federal representatives seldom see their constituents, seldom hear from them, and are inundated with requests from special interests and their party leadership. Write them with concerns about laws in the works, and you will get a return letter which seems to pluck sentences from a list which almost addresses your concerns but absolutely restates their own agendas.
The only thing worse than an elected federal representative is an appointed federal judge, who serves until he chooses to retire or dies of old age.
One of our problems today are police forces who hire candidates with inadequate screening, police training that seems to play to the fears of the candidates, police leadership which is prepared to justify almost any use of force by their officers, and police leadership which allows a tiny number of bad apples to ruin the reputation of their other excellent officers. Once upon a time there was a television program called ‘Cops’, recording real police officer’s responses to calls. It was apparent to me back then that some of those police officers feared the public that they served. How else to explain the maneuvers that they put citizens through, before handcuffing them. Locally there was news footage of a man out of control and holding a brick. He was surrounded by 15 police officers and when he refused to drop the brick, two officers shot him and he died five days later. Civilians would have searched for a garbage can lid to use as a shield and charged him but apparently police training does not include defensive maneuvers.
The US Supreme Court can not fix this type of problem. Better, wiser legislation is required. Legislation which regulates police forces to some greater degree than we have now. Legislation which spreads the financial responsibility for children to both parents and does not force one of them into destitution. Legislation which allows the mentally ill to be forced into mental hospitals after committing crimes and to be held there for a fixed term. (For treatment and for PUNISHMENT by incarceration for violent behavior.) Our current system for dealing with mentally ill criminals is lunacy in action.
I have absolutely no faith that the federal government can address issues like those.
As I have written before, “Every law that is passed should have a final paragraph that states that it is understood that this law will be enforced by a peace officer who is permitted to use deadly force.”
you won’t get anywhere with Kai or Beverly (assuming you want to), but i got lost trying to follow you.
“power” seems to be or become inherently ugly. the american constitution was designed to limit power through “checks and balances” including State vs Federal power.
That doesn’t mean that either state or federal power is the “the” answer. it does suggest there is some hope from maintaining a balance.
Kai seems to be unaware of “company town” abuses of power.
the supreme court would seemto be unaware of “state” abuses of power (though i think they are of course aware and have their bread buttered by the abusers of state power, and the malefactors of great wealth who benefit by breaking the power of the only institution powerful enough to oppose them… the federal power.
but of course the “federal power” is, today, also in the hands of the corporate criminals so we aren’t seeing much in the way of federal checks and balances.
i don’t have any easy answers, and i strongly suggest that you… and they… be ware of easy answers.
beverly cited a report the other day which pointed at the now widespread use of overwhelming police power and nazi-style (if not yet nazi-scale) abuses of police power. i learned today, if i hadn’t known it before, that this is much more widespread than i had thought.
it would be better if those who are afraid of this, and angered by it, as i am to work rationally to “do something” about it. facetiousness and weak cries for “someone else” to do something about it will end in having a country where everyone is afraid of the police battering down their doors, shooting their dogs and children (ruby ridge?), and generally ruling by terror.
of course to succeed in fighting this you might have to stop making enemies of the people who thought ruby ridge and waco were bad things, and who respond to them by keeping guns in their houses (not a smart idea, but an understandable one), believe in god, and fear “the government”, if they are somewhat confused (and mislead) about just which government to fear.
and i guess i can’t let pass the observation that John Walker Lindh was “tried” (plea bargained) by Federal court. and sent to jail for twenty years for what amounted to saying bad things about the American government.
but our friend and censor Run 7445 says this is a non sequitur.
The constitution is the only protection the individual has against totalitarian government whether power was seized or elected by the “majority” and SCOTUS is the only one who can protect the constitution against the will of the government whether it is local, state or federal. I would feel no better if my property was confiscated or I was jailed without due process by local, state or federal authorities. I know a lot of older white men say that will never happen to them at the local or state level because they have controlled those governments since the founding of the country, but they fear the federal government because the federal government has interfered with their ability to oppress people of color and women and SCOTUS has played a role perhaps most famously in Brown v Board of Education and Roe v Wade. People of color and women have no illusions about local and state governments looking out for their interests and have come to depend on the federal government to help them out. The current SCOTUS has not been very accommodating and our President has been remarkably timid in the face of GOP control of both houses of Congress and the states have been running roughshod over the “rights” of individuals other than white men of means. The interesting thing going forward is how long white males can hold onto local and state power as they become an increasing minority. Arguably only as long as Kennedy’s vote stays on the side of “states rights” because gerrymandering, voter suppression and Citizens United may be the only thing propping them up.
You are happy with the dictatorial powers of the US Supreme Court, just disappointed with their ruling in Citizens United. And disappointed with their ‘states rights’ rulings.
You seem to imagine that the appointed justices are purer than Lot’s wife. That they are not tainted by the politics, prejudices, or class attitudes of the time.
I remind you of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr who wrote the majority opinion in the Buck v Bell case. The court ruled that Virginia’s law permitting the compulsory sterilization of the intellectually disabled did NOT violate the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. Holmes concluded his argument by declaring that “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”. The only dissenter did not bother to write a dissenting opinion.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Paraphrasing ‘Power tends to corrupt, and nearly absolute power corrupts nearly absolutely’.
The US Supreme Court can issue a constitutional ruling with a few months consideration and overturning that ruling would take a decade to pass a constitutional amendment. After which the court could just issue another constitutional ruling which would effectively vacate the amendment. Nothing in the US Constitution forbids it.
When democratic government goes wrong the best solution is for the wronged to publicly scream bloody murder. It was the black communities’ organizations formed in the late 1950s and their public marches, their public abuse at the hands of whites, and their arrests which drove the changes in laws which came in the 1960s. With those, the majority white controlled government accepted that changes had to be made. Where was the US Supreme Court after the Civil War and before 1954?
maybe you know something about Lot’s wife that I don’t know.
the Supreme Court is the temporary last word in American politics… as Al Gore reminded us. but somehow over time the Court changes its mind. The only way it can become “dictatorial” is if the rest of the government falls into dictatorial hands… as it seems to be doing.
I am not sure that “screaming bloody murder” helps. If the powers find the demanded changes helpful to their own interests, or at least helpful to peace in the streets without hurting their own interests, the screaming might do some good. but to the extent the powers are opposed to the screaming, all it will get you is bloody murder. yours.
The civil rights movement would not have succeeded without the help of “the whites.” Try to overcome the habit of overgeneralization … it is exactly the same mental error that lies behind “prejudice”… or just the errors of those you are disagreeing with.
this is quite incoherent:
“which drove the changes in laws which came in the 1960s. With those, the majority white controlled government accepted that changes had to be made.”
who are you imagining changed the laws? (hint: the majority white controlled government had something to do with it.)
(hint two: i by no means discount the heroism of the blacks who “fought for” civil rights. they at least had the intelligence to avoid turning the white majority against them. something i can’t say for the current crop of “progressives.”)
Coberly wrote: “this is quite incoherent:“which drove the changes in laws which came in the 1960s. With those, the majority white controlled government accepted that changes had to be made.”
You left out part of the first sentence: “It was the black communities’ organizations formed in the late 1950s and their public marches, their public abuse at the hands of whites, and their arrests which drove the changes in laws which came in the 1960s. With those, the majority white controlled government accepted that changes had to be made.”
I confess, it was not completely coherent. Try this:
It was the black communities’ organizations formed in the late 1950s and their public marches, their public abuse at the hands of whites, and their arrests which drove the changes in laws which came in the 1960s. With those ACTIONS BY THE BLACK COMMUNITY, the majority white controlled government accepted that changes had to be made.
Changes in capital letters.
One of the issues is that every state constitution contains a bill of rights similar to the federal one. In principal the state courts are supposed to enforce this also. Now if you want to say that because of life tenure the federal courts are less subject to political influence than the partisan elected state courts that could work as an argument . In one sense the trend might be a reversal to the status quo in the late 19th century when the federal government did not influence most folks except thru the post office and taxes on booze.
You hear similar discussions in the EU on devolution of powers and now in the UK with the Scottish issues and the desire to devolve power from Westminster to the English regions.
As one example, why not abolish federal drug laws and let the states do what they will. Why should the feds decide that if the people of a state want freely available weed and possibliy other drugs they could stand in the way.
you have fixed the incoherence. now consider the substance. as i tried to say, i do not discount the heroism of the blacks in seeking their human rights (awkward: i am trying to avoid either “god given rights” or “the rights we citizens extend each other,” either of which might be true, but the “rights” that people “demand” are also at least worth considering.)
but i don’t think the blacks would have succeeded without “white” help, and under MLK they were careful to avoid alienating that help.
this is something i cannot say about the present “progressive movement.”
i can only answer you by asking “what if the people of a state want freely available black labor, why should the federal government stand in their way?”
or, “why if the people of a state want to ban abortions should the federal government stand in their way?”
and just to help out beverly if possible: no, i do not advocate either of these state’s rights positions. i am trying to suggest there may be some reason to want federal limitation on state power…. and some reason to want state limitation on federal power.
the “problem” with most people of any stripe is they see something they don’t like and they grab for the first and any argument or power they think will solve the current problem with absolutely no regard how their solution will affect the next, perhaps worse, problem.
Kai your comment is such a muddle of ahistorical nonsense that I will only respond at a few points.
One not all ‘states’ are ‘centralized command and control structures’. Not in the Stalinist sense that you mean. Even libertarians concede that there is a need for limited government at least to the degree that there is a need for 1) external defense 2) internal protection for private property and in a capitalist economy 3) a mechanism for enforcing contracts. Which three are referred to as the state’s ‘police power’. All I said that from its origins capitalists have relied on state police power.
In medieval Europe the places where medium to large scale exchanges took place were called ‘fairs’. And such fairs were established under the explicit protection of local and regional governments. This allowed protection against violence and as time went on also some control over weights and measures. Without those police powers and controls there would be no ‘free markets’. And the same is true today.
In modern times a great deal of commerce is done via corporations. And corporations are explicitly a creation of the state, in this county of the individual States. And the fundamental basis of the corporation (something they teach in every Business 1 or 101 class ever) is that by creating a corporate person it provides the stockholders liability protection in that their personal assets are not at risk in case the enterprise goes under, instead their risk is limited to their direct investment in the stock. This is in contrast to a general partnership where the partners have no such liability protection. Which makes your claim that capitalism exists outside state structures legal nonsense.
Modern capitalism relies on state police power not just for actual protection from physical threat to the capitalist or his firm but also for protection of contracts via the court system. It cannot exist outside that structure unless it is reduced to some peddlar with a load of goods on his back and a dagger and club to protect him from thieves.
You are living in a dream world, one where towers are built on clouds.Come down to earth.
Kai and finally. Seems to me that every bit of your argument is just cribbed from Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. And not the book version either.
For those who are interested in the origins of Kai’s ‘thoughts’ here is a Hayek approved version of his seminal book in 19 cartoon panels:
Note that it is hosted at mises.org which is to say the Mises Institute, which is sort of an unofficial headquarters of Austrian Economics (and so muddle headed libertarianism of Kai-HK’s sort)
A few things, Lyle. First, the Fourteenth Amendment confers rights against state and local governments independent of rights conferred by state law. Similar rights conferred by state law can’t possibly remove the right to enforce the federally conferred right—except that William Rehnquist decided that it could, and went surprisingly far in making this Supreme Court law, most but not all of which has been quietly reversed, some of it while Rehnquist was still on the court.
Second, federal civil rights statutes, beginning with Reconstruction era statutes enacted for the purpose of effectuating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, provide that the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees be paid by the defendant if the defendant is found to have violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. The Conservative Legal Movement, mainly the Supreme court and the lower federal judges, has largely nullified this, but it still is potentially possible for it to matter in enabling plaintiffs to retain counsel.
Third—and, most important—you should not conflate state statutes, which set state policy, with the individual acts of police, prosecutors, judges, prison guards. A particularly weird hallmark of the Kennedy-type states’-rights-to-violate-individuals’ rights nonsense is that it applies only to states’ judicial branches. He has no problem with the Supreme Court declaring state statutes unconstitutional. He and his cohorts do that regularly, and, in fairness, Kennedy, unlike the rest of his crowd, doesn’t limit the state statutes he votes to strike down to just state statutes that the Conservative Movement wants stricken down; he wrote the opinion striking down Texas’s anti-sodomy law back more than a decade ago, for example. But the current Supreme Court is downright outlandish in giving incredibly free reign to state court judges, police and prosecutors to engage in clear violations of constitutional rights. They have virulently and obsessively removed federal-court jurisdiction to grant habeas corpus relief to criminal defendants convicted in state court, notwithstanding the express bar in the Constitution to the removal of habeas protections. And they have fabricated an entire area of law barring monetary damages awards against police and prosecutors, and aggressively enforce and expand the bar.
Is there a silly person here who can refute this:
“incredibly free reign to state court judges, police and prosecutors to engage in clear violations of constitutional rights. They have virulently and obsessively removed federal-court jurisdiction to grant habeas corpus relief to criminal defendants convicted in state court, notwithstanding the express bar in the Constitution to the removal of habeas protections. And they have fabricated an entire area of law barring monetary damages awards against police and prosecutors, and aggressively enforce and expand the bar.”
I urge them to go to Federal Court and challenge state law. States do not even have to directly answer constitutional challenges to state law. Their silence to the challenge of state law by defendant is not taken to mean consent to the challenge. In other words, states do not have to answer Federal Constitution challenges and Federal Court can not do much in opposition to it by congressional act and by SCOTUS.
The others here who cite Congress are deflecting and not answering your point.
Your reply is noted.
what opposition to this direction of the Supreme Court is there from
what is happening in opposition to the SWAT team tactics of the police that you referenced on another thread?
where is it happening?
As to the mythology of “pure capitalism”, that’s what it is: mythology. And when the corporate world runs the government, one can only nod to the stains of “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. . . “
You state, ‘Kai your comment is such a muddle of ahistorical nonsense that I will only respond at a few points.’
Thanks for responding at all. I appreciate the thought and thoroughness you put into the comments.
You go on to list how libertarians agree that there should be a government. I never said there shouldn’t be. Just that it should be limited and very narrow in what it can do. In short, the government should relegate itself to its core function, that of protector of property rights (including security) and as an unbiased regulator of fair process that applies to all equally or to no one at all; instead of what it is today a subjective distributor of fair outcome for some at the expense of others. It should be subject to restrictions and have no power take from some and distribute to others in unequal measure.
Individual rights need a government but that government needs to be limited. The current US government is not.
You go onto describe how fairs took place under the protection of kings…yet you forgot to mention that after the fairs people traded freely with each other and enforced contract through local or clan laws. People did all this without government protections; in fact they did them despite government predation. Like I said, capitalism thrives despite government actions, not because of them.
Just today, I bought something (a used camera lens) on ebay. The purchase is protected the market (ebay) not the government. I live in Hong Kong, the seller lives in Italy. Neither of our countries laws play into this transaction. We trade despite these laws, not because of them.
You state, ‘In modern times a great deal of commerce is done via corporations. And corporations are explicitly a creation of the state, in this county of the individual States.’
And before corporations, no trade was done? And today no trade is done without corporations? People are not forming investment collectives and bulk purchasing groups without the guiding hand of government? Government got involved in corporations because it likes to CONTROL, not because they are needed to form companies and collectives of people who organize to enact commerce. I can get five friends right now and start an economic endeavor that does not need the government’s blessing. If I get too big and make too much money and have too many investors, then the government will FORCE me to incorporate or limit my economic activity. This is not a protection, this is a punishment. Governments defining how I organize myself economically is no less intrusive as when they tell me how to run my family or whom I can marry.
I live in China and travel to Europe often. There is a lot of economic activity that exists off the grid in order to avoid the intrusion of government. That is capitalism.
You state, ‘Which makes your claim that capitalism exists outside state structures legal nonsense.’
You have yet to demonstrate that. I am engaging in capitalism right now (as we right this) without government intervention. I will neither appeal to government laws or policies in how I conduct this business with my fellow man. The only thing the government can do is…stop me! That is not protection nor facilitation.
You continue, ‘Modern capitalism relies on state police power not just for actual protection…’
Quite the contrary. Police powers rely on modern capitalism to justify their existence and continued abuses.
Finally, you state, ‘You are living in a dream world, one where towers are built on clouds. Come down to earth.’
Quite the contrary…you want the world to operate as you wish it would, not as it actually does. But you keep hugging that unicorn….
You state, ‘Kai seems to be unaware of “company town” abuses of power.’
Aware of them do not see them as being particularly a problem, not back in the day and certainly not today, to the point that I need to give up basic rights to protect me from their possible existence.
OMG, there is one in New Mexico….what do I do….perhaps move to anywhere other than New Mexico. My freedom prevents me from being forced to work in a company town.
But what if I want to work in a company town? What if it is so remote (say in oil drilling fields today) that I am willing to do that since it is better than my next best alternative? Who should have the right to decide if I work in a company town, you (or your elected cronies) or me?
Your preference is that you and your cronies get to decide what is good for me, not me. You have robbed me of my freedom and the right to pursue my own happiness.
Perhaps I should riot?
Kai you are silly. And apparently suffering from the same disease as Professor Bryan Caplan of GMU. Who by the way would agree with you about everything. But whose Intellectual Autobiography reveals all too much about him. And by extension you. I doubt that it will help you, but it might help others to understand where the Kai’s of this world are coming from. Note that this is from Caplan’s University web-site.
It began with Ayn Rand, as it proverbially does. I was in 11th grade journalism class with Matt Mayers, my friend since the age of six. The course was the most notoriously undemanding in Granada Hills High School, leaving ample time for free reading. While I devoured Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra – and got through The Brothers Karamazov and Faust with less youthful exuberance – Matt read Atlas Shrugged. One day he turned around in his chair and told me “Read this part. You’ll like it.” It was Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money, and I rushed through it in fifteen exciting minutes. But for unclear reasons, I didn’t begin reading Atlas until the last week of summer before my senior year. If memory serves me, I raced through its thousand-plus pages in three largely sleepless days.”
Boy Howdy. And it gets better from there. This is my favorite passage. Talk about revealing too much.
“As I digested the stock of libertarian insight, I noticed a phenomenon central to my mature research: Most people violently rejected even my most truistic arguments. Yes, I was a shrill teen-ager, but it seems like anyone should have recognized the potential downside of drug regulation once I pointed it out. Instead, they yelled louder about Thalidomide babies. True, it was not a complete surprise – I had already experienced the futility of trying to convert my family and friends to atheism during the prior year. But I was frustrated to find that human beings were almost as dogmatic about politics and economics as they were about religion and philosophy.”
Me Truistic! You Dogmatic! Hmm alrighty Kai, I mean Bryan.
Atlas Shrugged? LOL!
i was thinking about you when i read this from a popular history of information theory:
“Next Shannon rearranged the partitions so that the old solution would no longer work. The machine would then “fumble around” till it found a new solution. Sometimes, however, a particularly awkward combination of previous memory and a new maze would put the machine in an endless loop. He showed them: “When it arrives at A, it remembers that the old solution said to go to B, and so it goes around the circle, A,B,C,D,A,B,C,D It has established a vicious circle, or a singing condition.”
“”A neurosis!” said Ralph Gerard.
“Shannon added “an antineurotic circuit”: a counter, set to break out of the loop when the machine repeated the same sequence six times….”
I have long suspected something like this in human behavior. Recent experience on AB leaves me thinking that maybe everyone behaves this way, including me. You may not be any more neurotic than everyone else here. But your particular form of neurosis is especially aggravating to to ours. I strongly suggest you count the repetitions and try to break out of the loop.
Your post at June 9, 2015 1:25 pm is an excellent reply to Beverly’s position, though tweaking the hypothetical slightly would make it stronger. Allow me to suggest this slight change: “why if the people of a state want to ban Slavery should the federal government stand in their way?”
Those who rant always and everywhere against state’s rights forget that individual states rejected slavery and moved for its abolition long before the federal government came to that position. Some states interfered with efforts to return to the South men and women who fled slavery. It was federal judicial chicanery, Dred Scott , that worked against freedom.
Your last paragraph of that post is spot on. .
Those who rant always and everywhere against state’s rights forget that individual states rejected slavery and moved for its abolition long before the federal government came to that position? Oh?
No, Hansberry, those of us who rant always and everywhere against state’s rights are, if you care to notice, actually ranting about the bizarre perversion of states’ rights into a claim (Kennedy makes it regularly) that the design of the constitutional structure (something like that) is such that state judicial branches—not state legislative or executive branches; only state judicial branches—are exempt from constitutional constraints. I often phrase this as the state-courts’-rights’-to-violate-individuals’-constitutional-rights doctrine. From this flows the exemption from wholesale exemptions from constitutional constraints by state and local prosecutor, and state and (especially) local police.
Look, Hansberry, I’ve exchanged enough comments with you here at AB to get the feeling that you’re actually one of the states’-rights good guys. Best as I can tell, you do not support the states’-rights-to-violate-individuals’-constitutional-rights thing. At all. But you pretty regularly misconstrue my posts and comments, by reading narrow points and sweeping declarations. This misreading of narrow points and arguments as pertaining to things they don’t pertain to seems to be pretty commonplace among libertarian conservatives, I’ve noticed.
It is called deflecting and change the topic.
Then too, I guess you could wait for the “good guy” argument to counter the bad guy. Historically, there has been many instances of states violating the rights of individuals whose actions neither impinge upon the liberties of others or threaten their security in any manner and taken in such a manner as to secure the position of the majority at the expense of the minority.
Side Note: Said Howell resident who felt it necessary to roll down his TBTFTO pickup window to confront a person who walked up to his castle on wheels and shot the person in the face was denied a “stand-your-ground” argument and sentenced 27 to 50 years. I see a Level 4 prison for him till he hits 10 years left of his minimum sentence and then to a Level 2 prison. He will die in prison before he gets out. Unless he gets a miracle attorney and judge(s) or justice(s), he will not be leaving prison within 10 years.
Hope all is well.
it is of course impossible that your own divinely inspired prose could give rise to misunderstanding.
Bev tends to assume that everyone already knows what she is thinking so she doesn’t bother to say it, or think it.
Run is convinced that any ideas that carry forward of where he stopped thinking is a “change in topic.”
This of course is the best way to resolve differences, not to say misunderstandings.