Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Tag

A Dangerous Temptation   Leave a comment

Image result for image of rape of the mindBeing a high civil servant subjects man to a dangerous temptation, simply because he is a part of the ruling apparatus. He finds himself caught in the strategy complex. The magic of becoming an executive and a strategist provokes long-repressed feelings of omnipotence. A strategist feels like a chess player. He wants to manipulate the world by remote control. Now he can keep others waiting, as he was forced to wait himself in his salad days, and thus he can feel himself superior. –The Rape of the Mind

Posted October 26, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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Whatever Happened to the 4th Amendment?   Leave a comment

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

The Fourth Amendment supposedly protects us from unreasonable searches of our homes, businesses and persons and seizures of our possessions and papers. It’s become no more than a paper barrier assaulted by a water pistol under a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for any reason.

Image result for image of the 4th amendmentIf you follow the link above, you’ll find a detailed description of forced cavity searches, blood draws, breath-alcohol tests, and DNA extractions. In the course of conducting our every day lives, we are coerced into submitting to forced eye scans and inclusion in biometric databases. And that’s just the tip of a huge iceberg. Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government.

Worse, on a daily basis, Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States. We are constantly reminded that we are now guilty until proven innocent.

Americans are being threatened with arrest and carted off to jail for the least hint of noncompliance. Homes are being raided by police under the slightest pretext. Property is seized on the slightest hint of suspicious activity. Roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.

Consider, for example, what happened to Utah nurse Alex Wubbels after a police detective demanded to take blood from a badly injured, unconscious patient without a warrant. Wubbels refused, citing hospital policy that requires police to either have a warrant or permission from the patient in order to draw blood. The detective had neither. Irate, the detective threatened to have Wubbels arrested if she didn’t comply. Backed up by her supervisors, Wubbels respectfully stood her ground only to be roughly grabbed, handcuffed, dragged out of the hospital and forced into an unmarked car while hospital police stood by, unable to intervene without risking arrest themselves. Here’s the police body camera footage, which has gone viral. You can see what happened for yourselves.

Michael Chorosky didn’t have an advocate like Wubbels to stand guard over his Fourth Amendment rights. Chorosky was surrounded by police, strapped to a gurney and then had his blood forcibly drawn after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. “What country is this? What country is this?” cried Chorosky during the forced blood draw.

Image result for image of the 4th amendmentYeah … I don’t know either. Is this still the United States of America? It kind of looks like the former Soviet Union or communist China.

Unfortunately, forced blood draws are minor compared to some of the indignities and abuses being heaped on Americans in the so-called name of “national security.” Think about forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies and forced roadside strip searches. These are becoming commonplace in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the bodily integrity of mere people who may not have done anything wrong.

Charnesia Corley, 21, was pulled over by Texas police in 2015 for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, placed her in the back of the police cruiser, and then searched her car for almost an hour. No drugs were found in the car. You’d think they would then take off the handcuffs and apologize profusely for being overzealous … but, no … that’s not the country we live in now.

The Houston Chronicle reported:

Returning to his car where Corley was held, the deputy again said he smelled marijuana and called in a female deputy to conduct a cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she told Corley to pull her pants down, but Corley protested because she was cuffed and had no underwear on. The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, pulled down her pants and began to search her. Then…Corley stood up and protested, so the deputy threw her to the ground and restrained her while another female was called in to assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe. No drugs were found on Corley’s person

The cavity search lasted 11 minutes. The street slang for this practice is “rape by cop.” Is anyone surprised that it is common enough to have developed street slang?

Corley was charged with resisting arrest and with possession of 0.2 grams of marijuana, those charges were subsequently dropped. The full dash-cam video was released to the Houston Chronicle and can be viewed here.  Two of the officers who conducted the search, William Strong and Ronaldine Pierre, were indicted in June 2016 by a Harris County grand jury on charges of official oppression, but those charges were dropped, apparently because we think this is behavior cops ought to engage in on a more regular basis..

David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Walmart parking lot. Walmart parking lot … isn’t that private property? Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” So, this guy had good posture. That’s a crime now? No drugs were found.

During a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. No contraband or anything illegal was found.

Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley, were pulled over by a Texas state trooper on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking cigarette butts out of the car window. Insisting that he smelled marijuana, the trooper proceeded to interrogate them and search the car. Despite the fact that both women denied smoking or possessing any marijuana, the police officer then called in a female trooper, who carried out a roadside cavity search, sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus and vagina, then performing the same procedure on the younger woman, wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana was found.

Gerald Dickson, 69, was handcuffed and taken into custody (not arrested or charged with any crime) after giving a ride to a neighbor’s son, whom police suspected of being a drug dealer. Despite Dickson’s insistence that the bulge under his shirt was the result of a botched hernia surgery, police ordered Dickson to “strip off his clothes, bend over and expose all of his private parts.” No drugs or contraband were found.

Four Milwaukee police officers were charged with carrying out rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the course of several years. One of the officers was accused of conducting searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums and leaving some of his victims with bleeding rectums.

It’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to a strip search.

A North Carolina public school allegedly strip-searched a 10-year-old boy in search of a $20 bill lost by another student, despite the fact that the boy, J.C., twice told school officials he did not have the missing money. The assistant principal reportedly ordered the fifth grader to disrobe down to his underwear and subjected him to an aggressive strip-search that included rimming the edge of his underwear. The missing money was later found in the school cafeteria.

Suspecting that Georgia Tech alum Mary Clayton might be attempting to smuggle a Chick-Fil-A sandwich into the football stadium, a Georgia Tech police officer allegedly subjected the season ticket-holder to a strip search that included a close examination of her underwear and bra. No contraband chicken was found.

Forced searches span a broad spectrum of methods and scenarios, but the common denominator is complete disregard for the rights of the citizenry.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Burlison, any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (minor traffic offense, for example), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.

Examples of minor infractions which have resulted in strip searches include:

  • individuals arrested for driving with a noisy muffler
  • driving with an inoperable headlight
  • failing to use a turn signal
  • riding a bicycle without an audible bell
  • making an improper left turn
  • engaging in an antiwar demonstration

Police have also carried out strip searches for:

  • passing a bad check
  • dog leash violations
  • filing a false police report
  • failing to produce a driver’s license after making an illegal left turn
  • having outstanding parking tickets
  • public intoxication
  • failure to pay child support can also result in a strip search

As technology advances, these searches are becoming more invasive on a cellular level, as well.

For instance, close to 600 motorists leaving Penn State University one Friday night were stopped by police and, without their knowledge or consent, subjected to a breathalyzer test using flashlights that can detect the presence of alcohol on a person’s breath. These passive alcohol sensors are being hailed as a new weapon in the fight against DUIs.

Those who refuse to knowingly submit to a breathalyzer test are being subjected to forced blood draws. Thirty states presently allow police to do forced blood draws on drivers as part of a nationwide “No Refusal” initiative funded by the federal government. Not even court rulings declaring such practices to be unconstitutional in the absence of a warrant have slowed down the process. Now police simply keep a magistrate on call to rubber stamp the procedure over the phone.)

The National Highway Safety Administration, which funds the “No Refusal” DUI checkpoints and forcible blood draws, is also funding nationwide roadblocks aimed at getting drivers to “voluntarily” provide police with DNA derived from saliva and blood samples, reportedly to study inebriation patterns. In at least 28 states, including Alaska, there’s nothing voluntary about having one’s DNA collected by police in instances where you’ve been arrested. At least in Alaska, you have to be have been convicted of a crime. All of this DNA data is being fed to the federal government.

Airline passengers, already subjected to invasive pat downs and virtual strip searches, are now being scrutinized even more closely, with the Customs and Border Protection agency tasking airport officials with monitoring the bowel movements of passengers suspected of ingesting drugs. They even have a special hi-tech toilet designed to filter through a person’s fecal waste.

Iris scans, an essential part of the U.S. military’s boots-on-the-ground approach to keeping track of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, are becoming a de facto method of building the government’s already mammoth biometrics database. Funded by the Dept. of Justice, along with other federal agencies, the iris scan technology is being incorporated into police precincts, jails, immigration checkpoints, airports and even schools. School officials—from elementary to college—have begun using iris scans in place of traditional ID cards. In some parts of the country, parents wanting to pick their kids up from school have to first submit to an iris scan.

As for those endless pictures everyone so cheerfully uploads to Facebook (which has the largest facial recognition database in the world) or anywhere else on the internet, they’re all being accessed by the police, filtered with facial recognition software, uploaded into the government’s mammoth biometrics database and cross-checked against its criminal files. With good reason, civil libertarians fear these databases could “someday be used for monitoring political rallies, sporting events or even busy downtown areas.”

Our Founders could scarcely have imagined a world in which we need protection agains widespread government breeches of our privacy down to the cellular level, yet they had the good sense to create the 4th Amendment to prevent government officials from searching an individual’s person or property without a proper warrant and probably cause (evidence that some kind of criminal activity is going on). We desperately need to return to the bedrock of this Constitutional protection because the indignities we all undergo from agents of America’s police state are just a taste of what will come in the future if we continue to allow the government to undermine our rights.

 

With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to accept a society in which we have little real control over our bodies or our lives and to come to believe that is normal.

Posted October 13, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Tyranny

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How Is the Fix In?   2 comments

So, the other day, someone on Twitter informed me that all Republic states had done away with paper ballots and that no states do hand-counting.

Last I looked Alaska was a Republican-leaning state and I fill out a paper ballot and feed it into a scanner. I’ve seen what comes out at the other end – a scanned copy of my ballot. I’ve seen the poll workers hand-count the ballots to assure they match the reading on the scanner before forwarding a report that verifies that the hand-count matches the scanner count. Then the paper ballots are forwarded in a locked box with guards to the Division of Elections.

Image result for image of russians meddling with election on facebookSo I went out and checked and 37 states have maintained paper ballots, some with optical scanners, others with a paper ballot that prints out after you use the digital machine, and most states that use electronic methods still have some form of paper trail attached.

Amid all of these ridiculous claims was someone up in arms because “Russia used Facebook to influence the election.”

So what?

I used Facebook to influence the election too. I posted on my social media accounts that I thought folks should vote for Gary Johnson rather than the Donald or She-Who-Would-Be-Queen. I offered reasoned arguments that you were free to accept or reject. I pointed out fallacies that you could believe or disbelieve. I posted scathing memes.

Oh, but wait, I’m an American citizen, so it’s okay for me to influence an election, because we all know nobody takes an American citizen seriously, right. But Russia … Russia … oh, my god, Russian agents expressed an opinion and some people might actually have been influenced by finding out that Hillary Clinton thinks the American people are idiots. The horror! And, of course, nobody can exercise their common sense and decide that they disagree with ads posted by Russians because … well, it’s Russia and we all know they have mind-control powers. The horror!

 

We have been subjected to 10 months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference without a scrap of actual evidence being produced. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do it? I seem to remember Angela Merkel saying something about how she wanted the US election to turn out. Why is it okay for her to do that, but not Vladimir Putin? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, what’s left of the Moral Majority, George Soros, etc., supply huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. Actual citizens’ opinions are the least represented in the government because we haven’t got any lobbyists working for us.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the “peace” candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and neocon nazis like Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate.

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocons. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people by keeping back information we had a right to know. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people. Russia is not in our streets throwing rocks through shop windows, burning cars and beating up people who voted for the constitutionally-elected President. Russia is busy dealing with its own issues while the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee with its divisive identity politics, the military/security complex, and the left-leaning media undermine US democracy.

Whoever is producing the propaganda that these people believe about the election process should probably be looked at as someone trying to influence future election results because it is far easier to hack a nation-wide popular election than it is to corrupt 51 state-wide popular votes conducted by a myriad of election apparatuses.

The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence somehow prevailed over our collective commonsense? It would appear that at the most, they released information that allowed us more information upon which to derive our opinions. Are we now saying that an uninformed vote is better than an informed one?

 

 

Social Planners or Tyrants   1 comment

Frédéric Bastiat was a contemporary with Alexis de Toqueville and they both came from France. Both were admirers of the United States who noted risks to that wonderful experiment in constitutional republicanism with democratic features. While Toqueville focused on the United States in the most familiar of his writing, Bastiat focused on France while touching on the United States system.  I find Bastiat’s writing to be prescient. He spoke to his own time and society, but he could have been addressing his comments to American circa 2017.

To read the entire series, here is the Table of Contents.

The socialists were in ascendancy in France in Bastiat’s day, which was the primary purpose he wrote this essay The Law. Bastiat hoped to convince his fellow citizens that socialism was a bad, bad mistake. He actually managed that for a while, until people stopped reading his essay and started listening to socialists again. Lela

 

According to Bastiat, government social planner-types are convinced that ordinary human beings are incapable of making wise decisions for themselves, but there are some people — namely politicians:

[U]pon whom Heaven has bestowed opposite tendencies, not for their own sake only, but for the sake of the rest of the world. Whilst mankind tends to evil, they incline to good; whilst mankind is advancing towards darkness, they are aspiring to enlightenment; whilst mankind is drawn towards vice, they are attracted by virtue. And, this granted, they demand the assistance of force, by means of which they are to substitute their own tendencies for those of the human race.

To make his case, Bastiat provided a survey of literature, because it “is only needful to open, almost at random, a book on philosophy, politics, or history, to see how strongly this idea—the child of classical studies and the mother of socialism—is rooted in our country; that mankind is merely inert matter, receiving life, organization, morality, and wealth from power; or, rather, and still worse—that mankind itself tends towards degradation, and is only arrested in its tendency by the mysterious hand of the legislator.”

Bastiat started with a quotation by Jacques-Benigne Bousset – a French theologian of the previous generation who was court preacher of Louix XIV. He was a strong advocate for political absolutism and the divine right of kings and a vocal opponent of Protestantism.

One of the things which was the most strongly impressed (by whom?) upon the mind of the Egyptians, was the love of their country. . . . Nobody was allowed to be useless to the State; the law assigned to every one his employment, which descended from father to son. No one was permitted to have two professions, nor to adopt another. . . . But there was one occupation which was obliged to be common to all, this was the study of the laws and of wisdom; ignorance of religion and the political regulations of the country was excused in no condition of life. Moreover, every profession had a district assigned to it (by whom?). . . . Amongst good laws, one of the best things was, that everybody was taught to observe them (by whom?). Egypt abounded with wonderful inventions, and nothing was neglected which could render life comfortable and tranquil.

Bastiat objected to Bossuet’s assertion that men derive nothing from themselves, that all patriotism, wealth, innovation, husbandry, science, etc., flows from the king and the system of laws these people live under. Bossuet saw the same pattern among the Persians, by the way:

One of the first cares of the prince was to encourage agriculture. . . . As there were posts established for the regulation of the armies, so there were offices for the superintending of rural works. . . . The respect with which the Persians were inspired for royal authority was excessive. The Greeks, although full of mind, were no less strangers to their own responsibilities; so much so, that of themselves, like dogs and horses, they would not have  ventured upon the most simple games. In a classical sense, it is an undisputed thing that everything comes to the people from without. 

The Greeks, naturally full of spirit and courage, had been early cultivated by kings and colonies who had come from Egypt. From them they had learned the exercises of the body, foot races, and horse and chariot races. . . . The best thing that the Egyptians had taught them was to become docile, and to allow themselves to be formed by the laws for the public good. 

Francois Fenelon was a student of Bussuet’s who disagreed strongly with him over the love of God, but Bastiat found that they agreed on this subject of the wise ruling class needing to guide the poor dumb brutes that composed the majority of society. Reared in the study and admiration of antiquity and a witness of the power of Louis XIV, Fenelon adopted the idea that mankind should be passive, recognizing that its misfortunes and prosperities, virtues and vices, are caused by the external influence that is exercised upon it by the law or the law’s makers. In Utopia of Salentum, he brings ordinary people, with their interests, their faculties, their desires, and their possessions, under the absolute direction of the legislator:

Whatever the subject may be, they themselves have no voice in it—the prince judges for them. The nation is just a shapeless mass, of which the prince is the soul. In him resides the thought, the foresight, the principle of all organization, of all progress; on him, therefore, rests all the responsibility.

Bastiat referred his readers to Fenelon’s The Adventures of Telemachus, particularly the 10th book of the series. He quoted from it at random to show Fenelon’s all-consuming belief that human beings cannot manage their own lives without the ruling class telling them how to do it:

We could not turn our eyes to the two shores, without perceiving rich towns and country seats, agreeably situated; fields that were covered every year, without intermission, with golden crops; meadows full of flocks; laborers bending under the weight of fruits that the earth lavished on its cultivators; and shepherds who made the echoes around repeat the  soft sounds of their pipes and flutes. “Happy,” said Mentor, “is that people who is governed by a wise king.”. . . Mentor afterwards desired me to remark the happiness and abundance that was spread over all the country of Egypt, where twenty-two thousand
cities might be counted. He admired the excellent police regulations of the cities; the justice administered in favor of the poor against the rich; the good education of the children, who were accustomed to obedience, labor, and the love of arts and letters; the exactness with which all the ceremonies of religion were performed; the disinterestedness, the desire of honor, the fidelity to men, and the fear of the gods, with which every father inspired his children. He could not sufficiently admire the prosperous state of the country. “Happy” said he, “is the people whom a wise king rules in such a manner.

Fénelon’s idyll on Crete is still more fascinating. Mentor is made to say:

All that you will see in this wonderful island is the result of the laws of Minos. The education that the children receive renders the body healthy and robust. They are accustomed, from the first, to a frugal and laborious life; it is supposed that all the
pleasures of sense enervate the body and the mind; no other pleasure is presented to them but that of being invincible by virtue, that of acquiring much glory . . . there they punish three vices that go unpunished amongst other people—ingratitude, dissimulation, and avarice. As to pomp and dissipation, there is no need to punish these, for they are
unknown in Crete. . . . No costly furniture, no magnificent clothing, no delicious feasts, no gilded palaces are allowed.

Mentor’s purpose is to prepare his scholar to mold and manipulate the people of Ithaca, for their own good, no doubt, even if it is against their will.

So we receive our first political notions. We are taught to treat men very much as farmers treat soil or potters clay.

Charles-Louis de Montesquieu was a French lawyer, scholar and political philosopher who lived in the Age of Englightment. We get separation of powers from him. We also get our modern notion of class from him as he divided French society into three — the monarchy, the aristocracy and the commons. Bastiat may have met him as they both lived in Paris at the same time. Despite his strong influence on our Founders, Montesquieu also believed in the ruling class telling the commons what to do in pretty much every instance.

To sustain the spirit of commerce, it is necessary that all the laws should favor it; that these same laws, by their regulations in dividing the fortunes in proportion as commerce enlarges them, should place every poor citizen in sufficiently easy circumstances to enable him to work like the others, and every rich citizen in such mediocrity that he must work, in order to retain or to acquire. 

Bastiat rightly recognized that this would eliminate all fortunes. Yes, in a democracy, the State should support “real equality”, but that is very difficult to measure. Montesquieu would see massive redistribution of wealth … equalization by force of the law.

There were, in Greece, two kinds of republics. One was military, as Sparta; the other commercial, as Athens. In the one it was wished (by whom?) that the citizens should be idle: in the other, the love of labor was encouraged. It is worth our while to pay a little attention to the extent of genius required by these legislators, that we may see how, by confounding all the virtues, they showed their wisdom to the world.

Lycurgus, blending theft with the spirit of justice, the hardest slavery with extreme liberty, the most atrocious sentiments with the greatest moderation, gave stability to his city. He seemed to deprive it of all its resources, arts, commerce, money, and walls; there was ambition without the hope of rising; there were natural sentiments where the individual was neither child, nor husband, nor father. Chastity even was deprived of modesty. By this road Sparta was led on to grandeur and to glory.

The phenomenon that we observe in the institutions of Greece has been seen in the midst of the degeneracy and corruption of our modern times. An honest legislator has formed a people where probity has appeared as natural as bravery among the Spartans. Mr. Penn is a true Lycurgus, and although the former had peace for his object, and the latter war, they resemble each other in the singular path along which they have led their people, in their influence over free men, in the prejudices which they have overcome, the passions they have subdued.

America’s founders admired Rouseau, but it’s important to remember that that his philosophies ignited the French Revolution. Although Rousseau’s philosophy held strong authority with the democrats, Bastiat thought him a strong advocate for “the entire passiveness of human nature: in the presence of the lawgiver:

If it is true that a great prince is a rare thing, how much more so must a great lawgiver be? The former has only to follow the pattern proposed to him by the latter. This latter is the engineer who invents the machine; the former is merely the workman who sets it in motion.

And what part have men to act in all this? That of the machine, which is set in motion; or rather, are they not the brute matter of which the machine is made? Thus, between the legislator and the prince, between the prince and his subjects, there are the same relations as those that exist between the agricultural writer and the agriculturist, the agriculturist and the clod. At what a vast height, then, is the politician placed, who rules over legislators themselves and teaches them their trade in such imperative terms as the following:

Would you give consistency to the State? Bring the extremes together as much as possible. Suffer neither wealthy persons nor beggars.

If the soil is poor and barren, or the country too much confined for the inhabitants, turn to industry and the arts, whose productions you will exchange for the provisions which you require. . . . On a good soil, if you are short of inhabitants, give all your attention to agriculture, which multiplies men, and banish the arts, which only serve to depopulate the country. . . . Pay attention to extensive and convenient coasts. Cover the sea with vessels, and you will have a brilliant and short existence. If your seas wash only inaccessible rocks, let the people be barbarous, and eat fish; they will live more quietly, perhaps better, and most certainly more happily. In short, besides those maxims which are common to all, every people has its own particular circumstances, which demand a legislation peculiar to itself. 

 

Bastiat found it interesting that Rousseau though the government should reflect the needs of the nation, but didn’t reaction that the nation could reflect its own needs without help from the government.

Why does he not allow that by obeying their own impulse, men would of themselves apply agriculture to a fertile district, and commerce to extensive and commodious coasts without the interference of a Lycurgus, a Solon, or a Rousseau, who would undertake it at the risk of deceiving themselves?

Be that as it may, we see with what a terrible responsibility Rousseau invests inventors, institutors, conductors, and manipulators of societies. He is, therefore, very exacting with regard to them.

Bastiat might well have said to Barack Obama that daring to undertake the fundamental transformation of the American nation requires manipulating every individual, denying him his right to live his life as he chooses. “He must feel that he can change the constitution of man, to fortify it, and substitute a social and moral existence for the physical and independent one that we have all received from nature. In a word, he must
deprive man of his own powers, to give him others that are foreign to him.”

Where is the dignity in that?

Bastiat continued his survey with a quote by Guillaume Thomas Raynal, a French writer and scholar during the Enlightment;

The climate, that is, the air and the soil, is the first element for the legislator. His resources prescribe to him his duties. First, he must consult his local position. A population dwelling upon maritime shores must have laws fitted for navigation. . . . If the colony is located in an inland region, a legislator must provide for the nature of the soil, and for its degree of fertility. . . . It is more especially in the distribution of property that the wisdom of legislation will appear. As a general rule, and in every country, when a new
colony is founded, land should be given to each man, sufficient for the support of his family. . . . In an uncultivated island, which you are colonizing with children, it will only be needful to let the germs of truth expand in the developments of reason!

. . . But when you establish old people in a new country, the skill consists in only allowing it those injurious opinions and customs which it is impossible to cure and correct. If you wish to prevent them from being perpetuated, you will act upon the rising generation by a general and public education of the children. A prince or legislator ought never to found a colony without previously sending wise men there to instruct the youth…. In a new colony, every facility is open to the precautions of the legislator who desires to purify the tone and the manners of the people. If he has genius and virtue, the lands and the men that are at his disposal will inspire his soul with a plan of society that a writer can only vaguely trace, and in a way that would be subject to the instability of all hypotheses, which are varied and complicated by an infinity of circumstances too difficult to foresee and to combine.

Bastiat noted that Raynal wrote as if he were a professor of agriculture telling his pupils how best to amend the soil. But the soil that he is discussing happen to be people, “your equals, intelligent and free beings like yourselves, who have received from God, as you have, the faculty of seeing, of foreseeing, of thinking, and of judging for themselves!”

Bastiat continued by quoting Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, a French philosopher and historian of the 18th century.

Mably was writing that the laws can become obsolete and sometimes neglect security, so:

Under these circumstances, we must be convinced that the bonds of Government are slack. Give them a new tension (it is the reader who is addressed), and the evil will be remedied. . . . Think less of punishing the faults than of encouraging the virtues that you want. By this method you will bestow upon your republic the vigor of youth.

Through ignorance of this, a free people has lost its liberty! But if the evil has made so much way that the ordinary magistrates are unable to remedy it effectually, have recourse to an extraordinary magistracy, whose time should be short, and its power considerable. The imagination of the citizens requires to be impressed.

In other words, treat your subjects like children until they rebel and then come down on them hard. “There was a time when, under the influence of teaching like this, which is the foundation of classical education, everyone was for placing himself beyond and above
mankind, for the sake of arranging, organizing, and instituting it in his own way.”

Bastiat wasn’t done yet with showing his readers what their leaders had been learning. He quoted Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, a French epistemologist who studies psychology:

Take upon yourself, my lord, the character of Lycurgus or of Solon. Before you finish reading this essay, amuse yourself with giving laws to some wild people in America or in Africa. Establish these roving men in fixed dwellings; teach them to keep flocks. . . . Endeavor to develop the social qualities that nature has implanted in them. . . . Make them begin to practice the duties of humanity. . . . Cause the pleasures of the passions to become distasteful to them by punishments, and you will see these barbarians, with every plan of your legislation, lose a vice and gain a virtue.

All these people have had laws. But few among them have been happy. Why is this? Because legislators have almost always been ignorant of the object of society, which is to unite families by a common interest. Impartiality in law consists in two things, in establishing equality in the fortunes and in the dignity of the citizens. . . . In proportion to the degree of equality established by the laws, the dearer will they become to every citizen. How can avarice, ambition, dissipation, idleness, sloth, envy, hatred, or jealousy agitate men who are equal in fortune and dignity, and to whom the laws leave no hope of disturbing their equality? What has been told you of the republic of Sparta ought to enlighten you on this question. No other State has had laws more in accordance with the order of nature or of equality.

Bastiat thought we shouldn’t be surprised that 17th and 18th century thinkers thought of people as inert matter, ready to receive everything down to the thoughts we think from a great prince, or legislator, or genius. They had been educated bo believe that few men in history had molded mankind according to their fancy, enslaved by the force of the law.

And what does this prove? That because men and society are improvable, error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition must be more prevalent in early times. The mistake of the writers quoted above is not that they have asserted this fact, but that they have proposed it as a rule for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Their mistake has been, with an inconceivable absence of discernment, and upon the faith of a puerile conventionalism, that they have admitted what is inadmissible, viz., the grandeur, dignity, morality, and well-being of the artificial societies of the ancient world; they have not understood that time produces and spreads enlightenment; and that in proportion to the increase of enlightenment, right ceases to be upheld by force, and society regains possession of herself.

Bastiat believed in the instinctive effort of people toward liberty. “[W]hat is liberty, whose name can make every heart beat, and which can agitate the world, but the union of all liberties, the liberty of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of movement, of labor, and of exchange; in other words, the free exercise, for all, of all the inoffensive faculties; and again, in other words, the destruction of all despotisms, even of legal despotism, and the reduction of law to its only rational sphere, which is to regulate the individual right of legitimate defense, or to repress injustice?”

While liberty is the tendencu of the human race, it can be thwarted by education that insists politicians must place themselves above mankind to arrange, organize and regulate it based on what they think is best.

For whilst society is struggling to realize liberty, the great men who place themselves at its head, imbued with the principles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, think only of subjecting it to the philanthropic despotism of their social inventions, and making it bear with docility, according to the expression of Rousseau, the yoke of public felicity as pictured in their own imaginations.

 

Law Perverted   1 comment

Frederik Bastiat was a contemporary with Alexis de Toqueville and they both came from France. Both were admirers of the United States who noted risks to that wonderful experiment in constitutional republicanism with democratic features. While Toqueville focused on the United States in the most familiar of his writing, Bastiat focused on France while touching on the United States system.  I find Bastiat’s writing to be prescient. He spoke to his own time and society, but he could have been addressing his comments to American circa 2017.

Table of Contents for the series can be found here.

The law perverted! The law—and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation—the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary! The law become the tool of every kind of avarice, instead of being its check! The law guilty of that very iniquity which it was its mission to punish! Truly, this is a serious fact, if it exists, and one to which I feel bound to call the attention of my fellow citizens.

One of the things I enjoy about Bastiat is that he was an entertaining writer.This is how he started his essay, immediately setting the tone of urgency that he wanted his readers to feel.

God gave humans physical, intellectual and moral life, but life cannot support itself, so God gave us brains and abilities that we are meant to use to sustain ourselves.

Bastiat called these abilities “personality, liberty, property” and he said these are inherent to being human. Apart from anything else, they are “superior to all human legislation.” They precede any act of man because they are the source of mankind’s acts.

What, then, is law? … [I]t is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Whether you call it Nature or God, humans have been endowed by what makes us human with a right to defend their persons, liberty, and property because these three are essential elements of life, supported and completed by each other.

If an individual has a right to defend himself, even by force, that a group of people have a right to join together to “organize a common force to provide regularly for this defense.”

Collective rights are an extension of individual rights, so collective forces can only do what individuals are permitted to do. Individuals may not lawfully touch the person, liberty or property of another individual, so individuals formed into a common force cannot lawfully touch the person, liberty or property of individuals or classes. Acting collectively does not give us the authority to annihilate the equal rights of others.

The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense; it is the substitution of collective for individual forces, for the purpose of acting in the sphere in which they have a right to act, of doing what they have a right to do, to secure persons, liberties, and properties, and to maintain each in its right, so as to cause justice to reign over all.

If a nation was established on this basis, there would be order in their activites – they would have the “least oppressive, … most restrained, most just, and, consequently, the most stable Government that could be imagined.” The function of the State (collective) would be to protect prosperity and ensure personal safety so that individuals would be free to buy and sell, work and employ as they see fit.

The State would stay out of our private affairs, so our “wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in their natural order.” What did that mean?

  • Poor families wouldn’t seek education before they were able to feed themselves
  • Towns wouldn’t operate at the expense of rural districts
  • Rural districts wouldn’t operate at the expense of cities.
  • We wouldn’t see great displacements of capital, labor, and population.

Unfortunately, the law has broken lose of its proper sphere. It has placed the collective force in the service of those who wish to traffic in the persons, the liberty, and the property of others.

It has converted plunder into a right, that it may protect it, and lawful defense into a crime, that it may punish it.

 

Color Revolution or Coming Civil War?   Leave a comment

Congratulations, America, we now look like a Middle Eastern country. Street mobs are tearing apart some of our cities, trying to bring down a president they refuse to accept. An ex-Obama official is calling for a military coup. This sure looks like a color revolution.

The street rioters are pissed off because they apparently just recently discovered that the United States is not a democracy, but a federal republic. Donald Trump won the presidential election honestly, according to the Constitution … and that’s a good thing. Hillary Clinton is a bad person who should not be allowed anywhere near power. We should know that from the advice she gave Obama while Secretary of State … advice that she is proud of giving. I know this because I read her book Tough Choices. She’s thrilled by what she wrought in Libya. She encouraged the ravishing of Yemen. She was the architect of Obama’s red line in Syria.

Image result for image of anti-trump protestsBut, the street rioters are so determined to have the tyranny of democracy that they want to force a military coup and install Clinton as a dictator … forgetting that half the country is just as firm that they don’t want her … and they followed the long-standing rules of our nation to elect someone other than her.

So, is there a viable solution to this drive for half of the country to tyrannize the other half the country in regular cycles?

Yes. Have you heard that California hs discussing secession? Apparently, the movement is gaining momentum. Yay! Let’s hope it’s ultimately successful.

Yeah, yeah, yeah … “conventional wisdom” since Lincoln subjugated the South is that states are not morally and legally entitled to secede from the Union. That’s NONSENSE!

The historical truth is that secession is as American as apple pie. These United States were founded in secession. Had the original 13 colonies not seceded from England, there would have been no independent country that we now recognize as America. Go read the Declaration of Independence. Do you honestly think that the same people who took up arms to secede from England then chose to make it impossible for a state to secede from what came out of that secession?

Related imageCalifornians have a right to secede. So do Alaskans, New Hampshiremen, Texans …. “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, …”

Furthermore, if Californias are so certain that President Donald Trump is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, then they should secede. It is as immoral for them to subject themselves and their children to the rule of Hitler as it is immoral for a battered wife and mother to subject herself and her child to the abuse of a tyrannical spouse. There’s the door. Go in peace!

I don’t happen to think Trump is Hitler. I didn’t vote for him, but other than that, most Californian Trump-haters would view me as a “deplorable”. I worship my God by living the lifestyle the Bible prescribes and I will not comply with demands that I violate God’s commands to make mere humans “happy”. I think my money does me (and the world) more good when I control it than when the government controls it. I am not a Trump supporter, but I’m definitely not a Clinton supporter. I like the Constitution and I think we ought to follow it. What would result wouldn’t look much like the America we live in now, but it would be a worthwhile country to live in.

But that country can never exist so long as anti-American Californians (and other blue staters) are demanding their anti-Constitutional positive “rights”. There’s no possibility of rational dialogue and increasingly even peaceful co-existence looks impossible. Two Americas exist – One is inhabited by people who voted for Donald Trump and those who didn’t vote for him, but support the basic system that elected him. The other half views the traditionalists as nothing more than foaming-at-the-mouth fascists. How can we ever come together if half of the country is bent on subjugating the other half? We who would be part of that subjugated class should do whatever we can to help these new-born secessionists to realize their dream of an independent California.

Image result for image of anti-trump protestsI doubt California will actually secede, simply because their huge welfare state requires a lot of federal aid, but hopefully, its efforts will get Americans to revisit secession. It’s necessary because as we are facing a color revolution and calls for a military coup are in the air. This topic couldn’t be timelier.

Why is this happening? We’ve reached the inevitable result of the “cultural wars.” If conservative-leaning Americans needed evidence that the cultural wars have given way to a philosophical divide headed toward actual civil war, events surrounding the candidacy and election of Trump have supplied it. You don’t have to love Trump to see what’s on the horizon. The problem isn’t Trump. If the rioters win and they install Hillary in his place, do they assume the violence will stop. I suspect not. People have a right to self-defense, whether that’s against a thug in an alley who wants their wallets or a leftist-led military coup.

What is occurring now is not a peaceful protest against a president half the voters didn’t choose. That’s what the Tea Party did in 2009 when Obama took over the entire government and hijacked the American dream to advance his socialist agenda. They gathered peacefully to wave signs and shout slogans and then went home to live their lives amid the wreckage that president foisted upon them. What’s happening in 2017 is a color revolution seeking a military coup. Hordes of leftist agitators have gradually ramped up their assault on those they disagree with. They started with trying to intimidate Trump voters with verbal and physical abuse, sometimes using weapons. After Trump was elected, the size and hostility of the street mobs expanded. Private property has been destroyed and more innocents have been harmed under the pretext of “protesting” Trump. Peaceful protesters don’t smash windows and set cars on fire. They don’t march down the middle of the street blocking traffic. These organized orgies of psychological warfare, property damage, and overt violence aren’t going to stop anytime soon because those who participate in them reject civil discourse and social harmony. Looking at the history of other countries who have gone through this, there are only four possible ways forward.

Conservatives and others who do not consider themselves leftists could surrender totally to leftist rule – don’t vote and resign yourself and your children to living in a socialist-communist country. That was the old-style Christian way of handling tyranny. It wasn’t fun, there were periodic purges and persecutions, but it has historically been one way to handle immoral government … just ignore it and hope it doesn’t notice you.

Civil war is a definite possibility. I don’t like it as an option because innocent people get killed along with the tyrants, but the fact is a lot of innocent people are being hurt and harrassed simply because they didn’t support Hillary Clinton for president. At some point, those people should have a right to self-defense. If a military coup is declared, we must either choose to fight or choose to be subjugated. There’s no middle ground.

Secession is a peaceful way for Americans with conflicting moralities to avert war by going their separate ways. Yeah, dissolving the United States of America is a radical approach to avoid bloodshed, but that’s better than a shooting war. We could still be friendly neighbors without all the fighting. The blues could live how they want and the reds could live how they want and we wouldn’t need to be at each other’s throats.

Is is still possible to restore the Constitutional republic that the Framers intended? I don’t know. I’d like to believe it is, but it would require us to abandon the imperial presidency and return all but the small handful of responsibilities that the Constitution assigns to the federal government to the states. Slaying the Leviathan created by Democratic and Republican politicians and refashioning our government so that it is in accord with the Constitution would allow the citizens of the states to enjoy freedom like none of us alive today has experienced.  Of course, the leftists consider not having control over their fellow citizens to be hell on earth, so they will fight that restoration with every molitov cocktail they lay their hands on.

They also would probably fight secession by the “red” states because they are certain they and only they should be in control and I think they recognize that the cities would need the “red” states’ resources if they hoped to survive. They’re not going to give that up. Which leaves civil war as the most likely scenario. This is what a color revolution looks like, folks. Color revolutions lead to civil wars or dictatorship.

God help us … and what are we the people going to do about it?

The Civics Lessons They Never Teach Anymore | Gary M. Galles   Leave a comment

Image result for image of Fenimore Cooper's The American DemocratFollowing Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, my morning commute was wall-to-wall with it, including plenty of weasel words (e.g., Senator Schumer’s fixation on tarring him as “outside the mainstream”) and heat (e.g., Congresswoman Pelosi’s assertion it was “a very hostile appointment”). One talking head quipped that the acute divide was because Americans weren’t taught civics anymore.

There is something to that claim, especially when discussions turn to the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s role under it. Fortunately, though, an excellent civics book lies easily at hand. James Fenimore Cooper, America’s first national novelist, published The American Democrat in 1838 as a high school civics primer, reflecting America’s founders, rather than modern practice.

Cooper defended the Constitution and attacked the assaults on the limited federal government it authorized, to fight the tendency of political rulers to abuse their power if not tightly constrained, and emphasized citizen vigilance to keep democracy from overrunning liberty. His take on Constitutional civics bears rediscovery for Gorsuch’s confirmation debate.

It is the duty of the citizen to judge all political acts on the great principles of the government.

The most insidious attacks are made on [liberty] by those who are the largest trustees of authority, in their efforts to increase their power.

Liberty … permits the members of the community to lay no more restraints on themselves than are required by their real necessities and obvious interests.

Liberty … [requires] as little violence to natural justice as is compatible with the peace and security of society.

The liberties of the mass, are … merely an exemption from the abuses of power.

The power of the people is limited by the fundamental laws…the rights and opinions of the minority, in all but those cases in which a decision becomes indispensable, being just as sacred as the rights and opinions of the majority; else would democracy be … the worst species of tyranny.

The representative who exceeds his trusts, trespasses on the rights of the people.

Attempts … to do that which the public has no right to do … [is] tyranny.

The Constitution contains the paramount laws of society … except as they are altered agreeably to prescribed forms, and until thus altered, no evasion of them is admissible … or all the fundamental governing rules of the social compact become of no account.

The pretense that the public has a right to extend its jurisdiction … without regard to the principles and restraints of the fundamental compact … [is] replacing one tyrant by many.

The habit of seeing the public rule is gradually accustoming the American mind to an interference with private rights … There is getting to be so much public right, that private right is overshadowed and lost.

It is not [America’s] intention to reach a benefit, however considerable, by extorting undue sacrifices from particular members.

Individuality is the aim of political liberty. By leaving to the citizen as much freedom of action and of being as comports with order and the rights of others, the institutions render him truly a free man … left to pursue his means of happiness in his own manner.

In the cases that plainly invade the Constitution, the constituents, having no power themselves, can dictate none to their representative.

The just-minded man … In asserting his own rights, he respects the rights of others … in pursuing his own course, in his own manner, he knows his neighbor has an equal right to do the same.

Were it wise to trust power, unreservedly, to majorities, all fundamental and controlling laws would be unnecessary … The majority does not rule in settling fundamental laws, under the Constitution.

Each of [government’s] branches should confine itself to the particular duties assigned it by the Constitution.

Image result for image of tyranny of the majorityIn The American Democrat, James Fenimore Cooper recognized liberty as America’s ultimate purpose. So he defended the Constitution’ tightly constrained role for federal government to preserve it. Americans have largely lost that vision. But as we debate Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, relearning it would benefit us. With liberty under vastly greater threat today than in Cooper’s time, it is especially important to remember, with him, that:

The demagogue always puts the people before the Constitution … in the face of the obvious truth that the people have placed the Constitution and the laws before themselves.

Source: The Civics Lessons They Never Teach Anymore | Gary M. Galles

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