Constitutional Democrats?

I keep hearing speakers this week at the Democratic Convention talk about upholding the Constitution. Since when did they care about the Constitution? Which part of the Constitution upholds their beloved Welfare State? And which part of the Constitution allows the illegal wiretapping which even many Democrats in Congress have voted for?

Constitution my foot. Alas, historically speaking, written constitutions don’t work, but when they start talking about returning to the Articles of Confederation, I might consider voting for them.

Bill Clinton tells the same 75 year old lie

Last night Bill Clinton wowed the dot com bust nostalgics with his usual charm. There are things about Clinton that I find to be personally likable. He’s fluent in English, for one thing. None of the positives, however, undoes the simple fact that he is a Statist and a modern Liberal. His rhetoric, while false, is masterful, but I don’t think this is the reason people believe the crap he shovels out there. It seems more likely that, having been educated by the State apparatus, most people become reliable Statists.

There is one falsehood which Clinton uttered last night which I should like to highlight. He lamented “more than twenty five years” of conservative dominance, but added that only in the last eight years have we seen the full fruit of what transpires from so-called “conservative” policies. He went on to cite some of the well-known economic calamities of the past eight years. I do not take issue with the existence of the calamities, but I do take issue with the implication that it’s due to a kind of laissez-faire economic policy. This is utter hogwash. The Bush administration has hardly been laissez-faire: corporate welfare, personal welfare, and inflationary monetary policies to support war are only three of the policies that argue against the idea that Bush is a free market president.

This same lie is told about Herbert Hoover. He is labeled “laissez-faire” and branded as the devil for allowing the depression to go on and not doing anything to stop it. But the opposite is true: Hoover began the process of government intervention, and it was precisely this which made the Great Depression worse. Perhaps Hoover should instead be branded as the devil for being a Liberal. In fact, in 1932 a certain candidate named Franklin Roosevelt opposed such intervention, then, of course, changed his mind after he was elected.

This latest Bill Clinton episode is proof that the Herbert Hoover Myth must be absolutely crushed. It is one of the greatest enemies of freedom in our entire political discourse. Unless we start talking about it quite loudly, the sheep with the wrong shepherds will continue to buy the b.s. of the two-sided Oligarchy and assume that they themselves are helpless without the magnanimous hand of Leviathan.

Madeleine Halfbright on foreign policy

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Halfbright spoke a few minutes ago at the Democratic convention. She fretted over the Bush administration’s tendency to “embolden the enemy” with its foreign policy. That’s true so far as it goes, but this is coming from the woman who said that the sanctions against Iraq were “worth it,” even though children starved to death as a consequence.

This goes to show you, friends, not to expect real change from either side of the Oligarchical coin.

Throughout much of the first hour of tonight’s coverage there was a strange beeping sound. It sounded like a heart monitor. Is the Democratic party on life support?

Watching the socialist orgy in Denver

A certain kind of macabre curiosity came over me tonight when I returned from my run, so I turned on the Idiot Box to see the idiots in Denver.  Hillary was speaking.  She wore the orange pantsuit, which is the color I thought she might pick when I saw the assortment earlier in the day on Drudge.  Orange is so Hillary.  It’s loud, obnoxious, and matches almost nothing else.

I soon came to regret my inability to avoid rubbernecking at the scene of the Democratic demolition derby.  Hillary talked about unity, then Obama, then herself.  And more of herself, and then a little more.  When she finally finished talking about herself (at least for tonight), she went on to a laundry list of half-truths and distortions which support the Democratic-socialist world view.

Helping people.  That’s what the rest of Hillary’s speech was about.  Helping the helpless.  When I was still a Republican, I would always listen to this stuff with a slight sense of fear that I might be converted.  That’s because Republicans and Democrats share the same assumption:  the State is the ultimate guarantor of well-being.  The Republicans do not agree with the scope or degree of the Democratic program, but nevertheless, they will concede a role for the State in this regard.  Now that I have disabused myself of this nonsense, I can now watch with a more casual disposition, and it becomes much more entertaining.

Take one issue:  universal health care.  The Democrats talk about this as though it will save everyone from medical hardship.  Well, here’s a story:  A while ago I was helping a friend who was pushed out of the hospital much too quickly after major surgery.  He really should not have been going home so soon.  But the HMO pushed him out.  My friend happens to be all for universal health care (and for Hillary).  I told him, Look, if you think you were pushed out in a hurry now, wait until the government is running this stuff and is trying to cut corners.  And that’s even before we think about all the people who die every year waiting for medical service under State-sponsored health care.

Talking about this stuff makes certain types of well-meaning people feel good.  But it won’t work.  Socialism doesn’t work.  That’s why the Eastern bloc was poor during the Cold War, while the definition of “poor” in the West includes households that have three Idiot Boxes.

Perhaps the most troublesome thing about this whole spectacle, though, was the way in which the Senator “from” New York talked about the American people.  She made it sound like the vast majority of Americans are utterly helpless, completely at the mercy of fate when it comes to their success–or, more to her point, at the mercy of the State.  God save us from such utter doom.

ICEL, bishops decide not to charge royalties to those offering music for free download

I hereby take back my remarks earlier this month in which I called ICEL and the bishops “tyrannical.” The big publishers may be, but ICEL and the bishops have hammered out a very liberal policy concerning musical settings of the liturgical texts which are made available for free download: They will not be charging any royalties or flat fees for such services. This is a great victory, and it shows that ICEL and the bishops have a far more reasonable view of Intellectual Property than I had thus far given them credit for.

This decision effectively emancipates the creativity of composers everywhere who wish to make musical settings of the new translation of the liturgy. Anyone can now compose and publish; no one need gain the favor of one of the big publishers in order for his work to see the light of day. This ends a monopoly, and I hope it also begins an era of artistic renaissance.

Pete Seeger on public education

Seeger brings a poetic approach to the pernicious ideas which are taught in State schools in America. My heart goes out to the students that must return to their cell blocks sometime in the next few weeks. Would that we had a real education system which taught them how to think (you know….stuffy stuff like dialectic and rhetoric) rather than what to think. Thanks to Lew Rockwell.

Hillary supporters entertain America with their implosion

Read the comment section of this story.  This is what the politics of demographics will get us.  I heard some clown that the local Philadelphia news interviewed on Saturday night about the selection of Joe Biden for the VP pick say that Hillary was “more qualified” and that she was hoping “for a woman…..”  It was said as if “qualified” and “woman” were indivisible.  As a friend of mine said, these people are playing into every bad stereotype about women that there is.  I know many women who have helped me look at problems dispassionately and creatively; these vocal Hillary supporters are not it, and they are not only an embarrassment to women, but to humanity as a whole.

Racial dynamics cannot be ignored here, either.  One crazy old woman went nuts at the infamous Democratic rules committee meeting in Florida in May, saying that she’d cross over to vote for John McCain and “not for some inadequate black man.”

Ultimately, one cannot be surprised at all this.  The hyper democratic-socialist attitude in this country has pitted various sectors of society against each other to see who can more successfully loot the others.  This applies to everyone.    “Conservatives” like to pretend that they are not guilty of this sin, but truly they are just as bad as the Democrats:  look, for instance, at how right wing evangelicals have lined up behind Republican candidates who promise to make essentially theocratic principles the law of the land.

The interesting thing is that the Republicans always manage not to self-destruct over it.

Where does an anarchist find order?

We have spent only a little time on this blog discussing the virtues of anarchy and the ways that it would play out in real life. In a previous post, I mentioned that anarchists, far from advocating chaos, promote a system of order that does not make use of the State or of the government.

It would seem prudent, before this conversation goes too far, to distinguish between order and planning. It is truly fitting that “plan” is a four-letter word. Central Planning has become second nature to most people. Barack Obama and John McCain talk about their plans to make America better–as if it is they rather than the hard working citizens who make America what it is. Indeed, to many, “order” cannot exist without a central plan, without someone to boss around and steal from the various entities in a given society.

Order, however, need not–and in many ways cannot–come from above, but rather comes from within. As an analogy, I recall Charles Rosen’s insight that the symmetrical form of Classical era music (Mozart and Haydn in particular) was not imposed from without, like a mold, but rather grew organically from within, as each little detail, each contingency, built upon the work. So it is with, for instance, the free market: the mutual exchange of goods and ideas contributes greatly to a harmonious order in society. What might seem chaotic on the microscopic level turns out to be well-crafted on the macroscopic level. The disorganization is only apparent.

There is more, however. Surely one must grant that a society without a grand discourse will fall into shambles. Grand discourses are not exactly in vogue in these the days of rampant horizontalism. Many, perceiving the ensuing chaos from this, call for more government, or even a theocratic monarchy (Those who don’t know the mistakes of history are destined to repeat them), and few of them ever give serious thought to the idea that maybe the best form of government is none at all. Why, that would be chaos!

I find all this to be strange, not to mention self-contradictory. If government were able to prevent societal collapse, then the cities and towns of the 21st century would be in much better shape than they are. What is missing is the metaphysical. Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not in any way calling for some kind of Christianist State, such as Mike Huckabee might. I’m only saying that a society that is stuck in the sensible world is doomed. Really, the metaphysical is what is needed to maintain society, not governments. An appreciation for the metaphysical, however, comes from private initiative, not from legislative fiat.

F.A. Hayek in his book The Road to Serfdom remarked that the more intrusive a government becomes, the less virtuous the citizenry becomes. Similarly, Richard Weaver warned in Ideas Have Consequences of the encroachments of the State on men who have failed to exhibit virtue. If these two insights are synthesized, the remedy becomes apparent: men must become more virtuous, so that the futility (not to mention the evil) of the State becomes more obvious.

All of this, of course, is up to us. It has nothing to do with electing the right congressman or president, or with gaining a tenuous 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. Rather, it has everything to do with how we view life (Do we even start from the ancient philosophical idea that life is to be loved and cherished?), how we live, and how we interact with each other.

Obama picks Joe Biden

Word has leaked that Barack Obama intends to nominate Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) for the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket. While I obviously wouldn’t like the great majority of Joe Biden’s politics, I will say off hand that he does strike me as genuine, which is a rare commodity these days to be sure [Update:  I can't believe I said something so stupid.  I beg my readers' forgiveness.]. A lot of people hate his unpolished demeanor; I find it to be refreshing. Only time will tell if this choice will help Obama make inroads against McCain (Biden has been in the Senate ten years more than McCain and has deep foreign policy credentials) and even with former Hillary supporters who are reticent to get on board.

What Michael Phelps teaches us about America

I swore to myself, and even indicated to my readers, that I wouldn’t be watching the Olympics. Too often these games come across as a nationalistic orgy which thoroughly offends my sense of anti-Statism. It was only the second day, however, when I caught myself being mesmerized by the amazing feats of Michael Phelps, and I couldn’t take my eyes off this spectacle. How inspiring it was to see an athlete achieve such incredible feats! If you could watch it with a dry eye, you’re a better man than me.

As last week progressed, and more and more gold medals were being hung around Phelps’ neck (I wonder if the U.S. Treasury Department will allow him to keep them), I began to get the feeling that maybe the frenzies of the 29th Olympiad weren’t such a bad thing after all. For too many years now, “America” has stood for monstrous things such as wars of foreign aggression, fear-mongering, intimidation, and the like. We have spent our cache of good will like drunken sailors, and it has all been for naught, really, since we’re going about our foreign policy problems, including terrorism (especially terrorism!), in the wrong way. So many people the world over, including Americans, have begun to think of this country, or at least the government, as a giant ogre.  They are, of course, right, at least insofar as the State is concerned.

Enter Michael Phelps. What did Michael Phelps do for Americans and for the world? He showed us what that 18th century dream was really about: achieving great things through hard work and self-determination. Phelps did not enter the Olympics at gunpoint, unlike his competitors from China, but chose this way of life for himself, and he made all the best of it. What a great relief for a story like this to be showcased before the world in a time when we most needed it, in a time when the “face of America” is a failed oil businessman become failed president.

Maybe now the world will be reassured that America is not fundamentally about the State-sponsored promotion of “democracy” at gunpoint, but rather about freedom from the State, the ability of each man to organize his life as he sees fit, so that he might achieve what was once unimaginable.

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