A couple of items in the news lately have brought the judiciary back into the consciousness of the American public; the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and the recent decision by federal judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin in which she ruled that the National Day of Prayer is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In the rulings of both justices we find an egregious disrespect for the plain meaning of the Constitution, and it is a failure of the American people to learn the Constitution that has allowed us to stray so far.
As a nation, we have reached a point where we bestow upon the courts an unjustified level of deference to their perceived wisdom. In fact, the Founding Fathers created the judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches, vested as they are with lifetime appointments.
Thomas Jefferson wrote (in a letter to William C. Jarvis, 1820) that “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so.” Yet today we have allowed the courts to be elevated to the level of an oligarchy, where we accept rulings that are clearly unaligned with the Constitution without so much as a whimper.
In this video, Dr. Paul cuts to the chase by pointing out that Obama is really making an argument for more and bigger government, while attempting to camouflage it behind fanciful (perhaps one could say “Orwellian”) rhetoric.
On Sunday, Jack Hunter posted on his website this:
Liberal: “We need more gun control.”
Conservative: “We need less gun control.”
Independent: “I can see both sides.”
“An anarcho-capitalist society’s non-aggression principle in practice would enable individuals ability to prevent violence, should this principle be violated by any of the individuals within a true stateless society.”
Effective public debate necessarily requires a recognizable context for all parties involved. Examining the shooting tragedy in Aurora Colorado, the average American wants to know what will make them and their family safer in the future from similar incidents–more gun control or less? A reasonable concern.
Libertarians have answers to this concern. In fact, libertarians probably have some of the best answers. But those answers must be concrete and reality-based. Something virtually any American could understand on an everyday level.
There is a time and place for theoretical debate. But every time is not a place for theoretical debate. In fact, most times are not.
Jack makes an excellent point and one that is missed by many libertarian activists, especially both online and inside the Beltway. Libertarians tend to spend way too much on theory and idealistic solutions instead of articulating real world arguments for liberty. A lot of this is due to the fact that libertarians, especially based at the universities and think tanks in Washington DC, tend to be better educated than the general population. It’s a simple disconnect from how most Americans think.
Libertarians have a tendency to come from a right wing background. It’s not unusual for conservatives to find themselves easing over to libertarianism since many conservative espouse some fairly libertarian ideas, like how it’s not the government’s place to do a lot of the things they do. Me? I came from the left. At one time, I honestly didn’t see a problem with socialism in the least. I got better though.
So what caused this shift in ideology?
To start with, it was actually a left-leaning television show called The West Wing. Aaron Sorkin, who would be hard to define as anything not on the left, filled his fictional White House full of colorful Democrat characters. I was a Democrat at the time, so I was completely cool with the show being put together in such a way.
Early on in season one, Sorkin introduced a character names Ainsley Hayes. Hayes, a beautiful and intelligent Republican, was probably there as a token character to appease the people who were convinced that the show was about indoctrinating people. Early on, there was a conversation between Hayes and character Sam Seaborne, a typical Ivy League elite. Seaborne argued that Republicans only cared about one of the ten amendments that made up the bill of rights, while Hayes fired back that sure, while they conveniently chose to ignore the Second Amendment.
The discussion shifted my then thinking on guns. I’ve always loved firearms, but was willing to accept curtails on them for the betterment of my fellow man. That one moment on a television show of all things started shifting my thought processes. I couldn’t get behind the inconsistencies anymore. It was fiction, but it had hit a nerve. I started opening my mind up to other possible alternatives to policy positions I had held for years.
I generally don’t care about the personal arrangements between two people. It’s none of my business unless it infringes on the rights of another. When I read this from CNN yesterday, I had found that one thing that crosses any lines and should unite every single American regardless of ideology:
From a thriving industry in southeast Asia, the catch might end up on dinner plates almost anywhere in the world.
But you might be shocked to know how these fish are caught. Sometimes the boats are floating prisons crewed by slaves.
While it must be acknowledged that the United States has its own history of slavery, it was brought to an abrupt ending over a century and a half ago. It was later than it should have been ended though. The idea of slavery existing today is something we, ad a people, have difficulty believing. After all, this is the 21st century. Slavery is a tool for movies, used to make the bad guys seem even more evil. Unfortunately, it’s clear evil exists in this modern world.
There are few things that deserve to have the heavy hand of force leveled against it, it is slavery. It’s my most sincere hope that something can be done and freedom given to these poor souls. While we in this nation may not be truly free, we are infinitely more free than these poor people.
Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.
Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.
It’s really cosmically unfair that Ali is so gorgeous, incredible, articulate and intelligent. I really hope no harm ever comes to her.
Being offensive or derogatory to Muslims is not a good thing, and I’ll condemn anyone who does so. The best route is to be completely ridiculous, like the image Doug posted of Mohammed as a roll of string, a cup of coffee and a cherry. The average Muslim, when exercising common sense over ideology, will see how ridiculous threatening violence toward someone over such absurdity would be.
I’m glad, also, to see that condemnation is considerable throughout the political spectrum and the entertainment world, from Jon Stewart to The Simpsons. It’s a real improvement over the political correctness that followed the 2006 Jyllands-Posten Muhammed cartoon controversy.
Also check out the analysis from the Independent Institute.
Ron Paul was asked to respond to a particular passage in President Obama’s inaugural address, as it relates to our constitutional tradition, in which he states that “[w]hat the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.” Obama goes on to qualify this by attempting play both sides of the small vs. big government debate, saying, “Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.