The Theory and Practice of Freedom

Today would have been Milton Friedman’s 102d birthday. He was perhaps the least dismal practitioner of the dismal science. Why? because he believed in freedom, not slavery or dependence on anything but yourself.

Watching him over the years, in his erudite and good-humored presentations has shaped much of my economic world view. And so to celebrate a great man’s birthday, let’s share some of that.

I suspect you will be surprised how germane to today it seems. Enjoy!

On the rights of workers

On Energy

On Money and Inflation

And finally, and maybe most importantly

What is America?

 

 

Audacity

The audacity to aim for a new apogee

The audacity of a civilized people to defend themselves.

Make no mistake, the IDF is on the front line, in defense of all civilized people, for truly

There are barbarians at the gates.

I have been told that the friend of a friend, a young woman who, in college, married a Muslim, is very distressed that she has received bad comments on the street. As I said last night, her distress distresses me, but these are becoming hard times, when western civilization has little leadership, and so the barbarians are restless. I recognize that in years past, the chasm between Christian and Jew on the one hand, and Islam and the secular humanist on the other, did not seem so wide. But I am afraid, unless she can find a way to recant her choice, she will have to live with the consequences of choosing darkness. May God have mercy on her, for it may not be possible for man to.

It bothers me to say that because I think many, likely including her, made this choice lightly, thinking that joining Islam was a cultural choice, like going to the Methodist church instead of the Lutheran, that in many ways it was the same. In truth, the leadership of the Christian churches have encouraged this, all the while knowing, or at least they should have known, that Christianity, like Judaism, is a religion of life, while Islam is a religion of death. We are now starting to see that decisions have consequences, even when we didn’t think so when we made them. God help us all.

On a lighter note, for it is indeed Saturday

The audacity of proper English

 

The audacity of silver linings at perigee.

 

This week has felt a good bit like this hasn’t it?

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

 
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats

 

 

Starting Another Year

The arms of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlbo...

The arms of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, are encircled by both the Garter and the collar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it very important to thank Jess for her wonderful article yesterday. She said many nice things about me, some of which are true. :-) Where she is really right, is the strain of writing a blog. I decided quite early that it was reasonable to post at least once a day, and while I have never really reconsidered, doing my 4-15 hundred words 7 times a week and 52 weeks a years has often been a strain. Part of that is the unrelieved gloom of the political situation. and part of that is my memory of a better America, where a man worried about his honor. The good thing is that I have found it still exists, you just don’t see it on TV. And not just us old Americans either. One of the lessons that Jessica brings us is that the generations coming after us, and indeed in England as well as America, are very much like we are. We definitely need to increase the tribe, but that can be done. We are not starting completely over.

And, never doubt that she is an integral part of this blog, her by-line hasn’t appeared much in the last few months, and there are reasons for that, I understand and agree with them, but without her, this blog would have gone under several times, when she has rescued me from the ‘Slough of Despond’. It will likely happen again. So, if you like what I write, remember what I told a distinguished contributor from her wonderful blog, All Along the Watchtower yesterday, ” A lot of it, which won’t surprise you, is Jess, more behind the scenes than I would prefer. Muse, partner, supporter, and more, I wouldn’t have made it this far without her.”

One of my hobbies (time-wasters, if you prefer) has become the real estate listings in the £ Daily Mail. No, I’m not seriously shopping but when you live in a world that was settled slightly over a hundred years ago, it is fun to look at houses that are a bit older. Like this one.

CLI140692_01_gal (1)

Click to embiggen

It’s in the village of Painswick in Gloucestershire, and it’s called Castle Halle. The description says it is the third castle on the site which records say was occupied by Saxon Thane Ernsige before the Conquest. It passed into the control of the Lords Talbot, and the final Talbot, John of Shrewsbury  demolished the castle in about 1442 and there are some traces remaining. Sir Henry Winston lived here until his death in 1618 and presumably raised his daughter, Sara, here. Sara made a pretty good marriage, marrying Sir Winston Churchill whose son, John Churchill, later the First Duke of Marlborough, who became Queen Anne’s great general, and whose family eventually brought us another Sir Winston, and intermarried into the Spencer’s as well, thus being ancestors of Princess Diana as well.

I don’t care what you say, you just can’t buy a house with a history like that like that in Nebraska :-) I would bet ours are a bit more energy-efficient though.

But, hey, it’s Sunday and we try most weekends to have a movie. So let’s start the fourth year right, with a John Wayne flick. How about War of the Wildcats, and while we watch it, maybe we should think about having an oil boom somewhere besides North Dakota and Texas.

Enjoy

I Am Become America; the Destroyer of Dreams

Or not, what will we choose?

In 1903 this happened

First_flight2

Those bicycle mechanics from Ohio flew about half the wingspan of a 747, and changed the world, forever.

66 years later, yesterday we, America, did this.

moonlanding

Later on, we left a car, like this:

That’s a good summary of my America

But 24 years to the day before that flag went up, a man, in Alamogordo, NM said this:

I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

He had just watched this

But, you know, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was wrong, at least so-far. The nuclear weapons program has not destroyed any worlds, in fact its very first result was to save at least two million casualties, half of them Japanese, it then went on to help prevent war between the US and USSR.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

And thus America’s course through the stormy 20th century.

But you know, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the day we landed on the moon. Other than the internet, what have we accomplished since?

Maybe this is why.

Think about it.

This is more like America

Legitimate Government, Evangelical Lutheran Style

‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Hermann Sasse.

‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Hermann Sasse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I will shortly be posting an article at All Along the Watchtower (Jess’ site) on Luther’s Two Kingdoms doctrine. [It is now up, and is here.] In it I am talking about the interference we are currently seeing in our churches, both here and in the UK, from the secular authorities. I think you should read it. I will update with a link when it is available.

In any case, while researching that article, I came across an essay by Hermann Sasse entitled: THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE PRESENT This essay was originally published in the Kirchlich-soziale Blätter in 1930. In April 1928 he was called to be pastor at St. Marienkirche, Berlin, and Sozialpfarrer in Innere-mission (“social pastor in inner mission”).

[...]The assertion “The power of the state arises from the people” is false according to Lutheran doctrine, if it would be more than a formal description of the proceedings in a modern state, by which a government is formed. The power of the state proceeds from God. One last reminder of this lives on in the religious formulas and forms with which modern peoples still surround the state and civil life.

Any political power which has arisen out of anarchy may become a God-given governing authority, if it fulfills the tasks of the office of governing authority. This task is the assurance of peace and the maintenance of law through external power, the symbol of which is the sword. The governing authority is a “Servant of God, the avenger for those who do evil.” [Rom 13:4] Legal governing authority is distinguished from religious power in that it not only (as does the latter) possesses power [Macht] but uses its power in the service of law. Both belong to the essence of the state; Power and law [Macht und das Recht]. A governing authority which bears the sword in vain, which no longer has the fortitude to decisively punish the law-breaker, is in the process of burying itself [gräbt sich selbst das Grab]. A state which removes the concepts “right” and “wrong” from jurisprudence, and replaces them with “useful” and “injurious”, “healthy” and “ill”, “socially valuable” and “socially inferior”, [a state] which in the place of the principal of remuneration places the principal of inoculation [Unschädlichmachung] a state which in its civil law dissolves marriage and family, ceases to be a constitutional state and thus the governing authority.

A governing authority which knowingly or unknowingly makes the interests of social position or class the norm for the formation and definition of law, or which allows the norms of the law to be dictated by the so-called “legal consciousness” of the time, sinks to the level of raw power. This danger exists now—and this is not addressed by the Augustana—for all governing authorities, and shall for all time. It exists especially in the modern democratic forms of government and in the dictatorship. For the result of the secularization process of the last century has been that the consciousness of eternal legal norms which are not determined by man, has nearly perished. But where this consciousness ceases to exist, there God-given power is changed into demonic power, resulting in its ruin among peoples and states. But wherever on earth a governing authority—irrespective of which form—is conscious of a [civil] righteousness independent of its will, exercises the power of its office, upholds the law and guards the peace, there it is “God’s good gift”, there it is “by the grace of God.”

The essay (PDF) is available here. The paragraphs and emphasis are mine.

The German statement of where legitimate power comes from may be jarring to Anglo-American readers, after all we have been taught that the people are sovereign. I don’t find them mutually exclusive, however. God established the family for man before the fall, and government after the fall, to provide a semblance of justice in the world. It’s easy enough to see how, under God’s direction, families got together to form first cities and then states to protect themselves. It is also important for us to remember that all the revolutions in the English-speaking world (and only there, strangely) have been more counter-revolutions, than anything else, always the goal has been the restoration of “The Good Old Law“. That is also why we have never gone into the stage of anarchy that has followed all the other (French, Russian, et al) revolutions. We were going back.

The other thing here is that you see how Weimar manged to delegitimize itself. How close are our governments coming to doing the same? I’d say very close, indeed.

Is Administrative Law Unlawful ?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Constitution of the United States:

ARTICLE I, SECTION 1.

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.


 

When we talk of Administrative law, we are speaking of an extra-legal add on, which has very little (if any) base in the Constitution. If you are not familiar with it, here is a link to an introductory lecture POL611 . That’s how it is conceptualized these days. But is it constitutional at all? That’s different story. I’ve spoken of this several times lately once at Jess’ Watchtower, and on this site here, and here. It’s an important concept. Much of the content here is taken from a series on The Power Line Blog here, here, here, and here. Don’t panic, they’re quite short posts! This is all both there, and here based on a book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful, by Philip Hamburger, who is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Here is a not so short video presentation of what he is saying that he gave at Hillsdale College, which was published on May 14 of this year. It is eminently worth your time.

If you remember I commented in the article A Most Conservative Revolution that we don’t pay enough attention to what I call “the Bill of Particulars” in the middle of the document. The reason I say that is in this article. Everyone of them is protesting the arbitrary power of the Crown acting with or without Parliament (which did not represent the British in North America.

Here are a couple which might sound familiar to us today:

  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. (Although this one you might want to read in the negative.)

In any event, I hope you see my point here.

The point is that the Constitution, which is written in very clear English, and means what it says, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” It does not say that Congress may delegate that power to the executive, or his subordinates. In fact, John Locke said this.

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

In short administrative law = the King’s prerogative which leads directly to the Star Chamber and High Commission and ≠ the Rule of Law, more properly described as “The rule through and under the law” which is the traditional Anglo-American definition of The Common Law.

Undoubtedly we will be returning to this subject soon because this is important. In fact this is the battle that led to Runnymede, to The English Civil War, to the Glorious Revolution, to the American Revolution, an in part to the American Civil War as well.

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

John Adams

 

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