Take Control of the Debate.

Conservative author and commentator William F....

Conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we move into July, with the dreadful baggage of June behind us, I find myself in a reflective mood. Three years ago this month, the Robert’s court, for the first but not last time, threw the law of the land under the bus to save Obamacare SCOTUScare. The day after that, I followed a comment on that, to Jessica’s blog All along the Watchtower, and there I found the exceptional young woman who would become my dearest friend, muse, mentor, guide, editor, and above all, teacher. Her love, for me, n particular, for mankind in general, and above all for God, has made a huge improvement in my life, the largest since the death of my father. For the many of you who remember her contributions here fondly, she continues to slowly recover from her cancer, mostly in seclusion at the convent in Walsingham.

In any case, I was reminded of one of her posts today, when I read on her website, Geoffrey Sales post, Too much about Sex, because one of Jess’ themes has always been that we focus much too much on the material, instead of the spiritual. As she wrapped up 2013 for us here, she made the point this way.

I sometimes wonder to what extent this concentration of material things is a function of our societies forgetting about God, or thinking He must be confined to the private sphere?  It is easy enough (which is why it gets done so often) to focus on the bad things which came from a time when society was more Christian: the intolerance of other views; the attempts to force belief on others; the narrow-mindedness of some believers, and the like; it is little use pointing out that these features were also to be found in non-Christian societies and seem to be art of mankind’s development (where it does develop); those who wish to blame Christianity for the world’s ills will do so regardless of the evidence. But there is another side to it all. The values which Christianity espouses are about personal responsibility but also altruism: you take responsibility for your own sins; but you are saved by God’s mercy; you are part of a Christian family, and you have responsibilities to others; you are not better than others, but others are no better than you: at your worst you are a sinner; at your best you are also made in God’s image. Redemption is always possible. No one is so bad God cannot save them; no one is so good that they do not need God’s forgiveness.

All of that gives a focus to life which takes us beyond narrow definitions of self-interest, and which helps put material wealth in a proper perspective. There’s nothing in Christianity which says money is wrong; there’s a great deal which says that loving money more than people is very wrong; it is bad for you and bad for the society of which you are a part. The moment you begin to regard another human being as somehow instrumental in a search for personal wealth, whatever you may gain, you are losing your soul.  Christianity has been responsible for education and social and health care long before civil society took an interest in such matters; it has inspired some great art and architecture. It is easy enough (and therefore often done) to think that a Church should simply sell off anything that can be sold to feed the poor, but that ignores so much about the motive for the art and architecture, and it betrays an attitude towards religion which comes from the purely material world.

Men and women have given of their gifts freely to God and His service, and some of these have been great artists and architects. They take us beyond the realm of the everyday to visions of what can be, they raise our eyes above the horizon of the possible towards what could be. It is good for the human spirit to have that, as it is good for it to repent of sin and to help others; all of these are part of what it is to be really human.  In losing these dimensions, our modern society threatens to shrink our world to the merely possible and the expedient. It was not thus that mankind advanced, nor will it be thus it advances further.

To me that says much about the intolerant, vituperative left, and why the have become vindictive, narrow-minded, lacking vision, without faith in man’s future, and all together not someone that your mother would allow you to hang around with. In fact, they have become hateful, racist bigots.

Rachel Alexander, writing for Townhall.com said this recently:

This is no longer the nostalgic era of the late William F. Buckley, Jr., where people only had a few political sources to choose from, such as reading National Review or watching Firing Line. Nowadays, there are thousands if not millions of news sources and people are overwhelmed with information. Have you seen how thin the print version of National Review is today? The right can no longer count on winning the debate with reasoned arguments alone. As we’re preaching to the choir at Tea Party meetings, the left has our children captive in school teaching them we’re haters.

The truth is, the far left does hate the right, so calling the left bigots is no longer a stretch. How many times have you been attacked on Twitter or Facebook with profane language or threats over your right-leaning viewpoints? I’m beginning to lose track of all the people I’ve had to block. The hate is increasing exponentially.

Sadly,  she is correct, and if we allow them to frame the debate, we will lose, and lose catastrophically. So it is time for us to resume control of the conversation. Easy? Nope, it’s going to be hard, very hard indeed, but since when did we believe in the easy way? We, who think for ourselves know, and have always known that we must do the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Joseph_Siffrein_DuplessisI guess we could call this a guest post, although the author didn’t write it for us, specifically. He did do a masterful job of presenting our grievances however, and so, although it is long, I have decided to simply present it.

The author, as some may know in Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania, and it was first published on 11 September 1773 in The Public Advertiser. I suppose my instant comment is, “Nothing new under the sun”.
Enjoy and heed!
For the Public Advertiser.

Rules by which a great Empire may be reduced to a small one. [Presented privately to a late Minister, when he entered upon his Administration; and now first published.]3

An ancient Sage valued himself upon this, that tho’ he could not fiddle, he knew how to make agreat City of a little one.4 The Science that I, a modern Simpleton, am about to communicate is the very reverse.

I address myself to all Ministers who have the Management of extensive Dominions, which from their very Greatness are become troublesome to govern, because the Multiplicity of their Affairs leaves no Time for fiddling.

I. In the first Place, Gentlemen, you are to consider, that a great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges. Turn your Attention therefore first to your remotest Provinces; that as you get rid of them, the next may follow in Order.

II. That the Possibility of this Separation may always exist, take special Care the Provinces are never incorporated with the Mother Country, that they do not enjoy the same common Rights, the same Privileges in Commerce, and that they are governed by severer Laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any Share in the Choice of the Legislators. By carefully making and preserving such Distinctions, you will (to keep to my Simile of the Cake) act like a wise Gingerbread Baker, who, to facilitate a Division, cuts his Dough half through in those Places, where, when bak’d, he would have it broken to Pieces.

III. These remote Provinces have perhaps been acquired, purchas’d, or conquer’d, at the sole Expence of the Settlers or their Ancestors, without the Aid of the Mother Country. If this should happen to increase her Strength by their growing Numbers ready to join in her Wars, herCommerce by their growing Demand for her Manufactures, or her Naval Power by greater Employment for her Ships and Seamen, they may probably suppose some Merit in this, and that it entitles them to some Favour; you are therefore to forget it all, or resent it as if they had done you Injury. If they happen to be zealous Whigs, Friends of Liberty, nurtur’d in Revolution Principles,remember all that to their Prejudice, and contrive to punish it: For such Principles, after a Revolution is thoroughly established, are of no more Use, they are even odious and abominable.5

IV. However peaceably your Colonies have submitted to your Government, shewn their Affection to your Interest, and patiently borne their Grievances, you are to suppose them always inclined to revolt, and treat them accordingly. Quarter Troops among them, who by their Insolence may provoke the rising of Mobs, and by their Bullets and Bayonets suppress them. By this Means, like the Husband who uses his Wife ill from Suspicion, you may in Time convert your Suspicionsinto Realities.

V. Remote Provinces must have Governors, and Judges, to represent the Royal Person, and execute every where the delegated Parts of his Office and Authority. You Ministers know, that much of the Strength of Government depends on the Opinion of the People; and much of that Opinion on the Choice of6 Rulers placed immediately over them. If you send them wise and good Men for Governors, who study the Interest of the Colonists, and advance their Prosperity, they will think their King wise and good, and that he wishes the Welfare of his Subjects. If you send them learned and upright Men for judges, they will think him a Lover of Justice. This may attach your Provinces more to his Government. You are therefore to be careful who you recommend for those Offices. If you can find Prodigals who have ruined their Fortunes, broken Gamesters or Stock-Jobbers, these may do well as Governors; for they will probably be rapacious, and provoke the People by their Extortions. Wrangling Proctors and petty-fogging Lawyers7 too are not amiss, for they will be for ever disputing and quarrelling with their little Parliaments, if withal they should be ignorant, wrong-headed and insolent, so much the better. Attorneys Clerks and Newgate Solicitors will do for Chief-Justices, especially if they hold their Places during your Pleasure: And all will contribute to impress those ideas of your Government that are proper for a People you would wish to renounce it.

VI. To confirm these Impressions, and strike them deeper, whenever the Injured come to the Capital with Complaints of Mal-administration, Oppression, or Injustice, punish such Suitors with long Delay, enormous Expence, and a final Judgment in Favour of the Oppressor. This will have an admirable Effect every Way. The Trouble of future Complaints will be prevented, and Governors and Judges will be encouraged to farther Acts of Oppression and Injustice; and thence the People may become more disaffected, and at length desperate.

VII. When such Governors have crammed their Coffers, and made themselves so odious to the People that they can no longer remain among them with Safety to their Persons, recall and rewardthem with Pensions. You may make them Baronets too,8 if that respectable Order should not think fit to resent it. All will contribute to encourage new Governors in the same Practices, and make the supreme Government detestable.

VIII. If when you are engaged in War, your Colonies should vie in liberal Aids of Men and Money against the common Enemy, upon your simple Requisition, and give far beyond their Abilities, reflect, that a Penny taken from them by your Power is more honourable to you than a Pound presented by their Benevolence. Despise therefore their voluntary Grants, and resolve to harrass them with novel Taxes. They will probably complain to your Parliaments that they are taxed by a Body in which they have no Representative, and that this is contrary to common Right. They will petition for Redress. Let the Parliaments flout their Claims, reject their Petitions, refuse even to suffer the reading of them, and treat the Petitioners with the utmost Contempt. Nothing can have a better Effect, in producing the Alienation proposed; for though many can forgive Injuries,none ever forgave Contempt.

IX. In laying these Taxes, never regard the heavy Burthens those remote People already undergo, in defending their own Frontiers, supporting their own provincial Governments, making new Roads, building Bridges, Churches and other public Edifices, which in old Countries have been done to your Hands by your Ancestors, but which occasion constant Calls and Demands on the Purses of a new People. Forget the Restraints you lay on their Trade for your own Benefit, and the Advantage a Monopoly of this Trade gives your exacting Merchants. Think nothing of the Wealth those Merchants and your Manufacturers acquire by the Colony Commerce; their encreased Ability thereby to pay Taxes at home; their accumulating, in the Price of their Commodities, most of those Taxes, and so levying them from their consuming Customers: All this, and the Employment and Support of thousands of your Poor by the Colonists, you are intirely to forget. But remember to make your arbitrary Tax more grievous to your Provinces, by public Declarations importing that your Power of taxing them has no limits, so that when you take from them without their Consent a Shilling in the Pound, you have a clear Right to the other nineteen. This will probably weaken every Idea of Security in their Property, and convince them that under such a Government they have nothing they can call their own; which can scarce fail of producingthe happiest Consequences!9

X. Possibly indeed some of them might still comfort themselves, and say, “Though we have no Property, we have yet something left that is valuable; we have constitutional Liberty both of Person and of Conscience. This King, these Lords, and these Commons, who it seems are too remote from us to know us and feel for us, cannot take from us our Habeas Corpus Right, or our Right of Trial by a Jury of our Neighbours: They cannot deprive us of the Exercise of our Religion, alter our ecclesiastical Constitutions, and compel us to be Papists if they please, or Mahometans.” To annihilate this Comfort, begin by Laws to perplex their Commerce with infinite Regulations impossible to be remembered and observed; ordain Seizures of their Property for every Failure; take away the Trial of such Property by Jury, and give it to arbitrary Judges of your own appointing, and of the lowest Characters in the Country, whose Salaries and Emoluments are to arise out of the Duties or Condemnations, and whose Appointments are during Pleasure. Then let there be a formal Declaration of both Houses, that Opposition to your Edicts is Treason, and that Persons suspected of Treason in the Provinces may, according to some obsolete Law, be seized and sent to the Metropolis of the Empire for Trial; and pass an Act that those there charged with certain other Offences shall be sent away in Chains from their Friends and Country to be tried in the same Manner for Felony. Then erect a new Court of Inquisition among them, accompanied by an armed Force, with Instructions to transport all such suspected Persons, to be ruined by the Expence if they bring over Evidences to prove their Innocence, or be found guilty and hanged if they can’t afford it. And lest the People should think you cannot possibly go any farther, pass another solemn declaratory Act, that “King, Lords, and Commons had, hath, and of Right ought to have, full Power and Authority to make Statutes of sufficient Force and Validity to bind the unrepresented Provinces in all cases whatsoever.” This will include Spiritual with temporal; and taken together, must operate wonderfully to your Purpose, by convincing them, that they are at present under a Power something like that spoken of in the Scriptures, which can not only kill their Bodies, butdamn their Souls to all Eternity, by compelling them, if it pleases, to worship the Devil.1

XI. To make your Taxes more odious, and more likely to procure Resistance, send from the Capital a Board of Officers to superintend the Collection, composed of the most indiscreet, ill-bredand insolent you can find. Let these have large Salaries out of the extorted Revenue, and live in open grating Luxury upon the Sweat and Blood of the Industrious, whom they are to worry continually with groundless and expensive Prosecutions before the above-mentioned arbitrary Revenue-Judges, all at the Cost of the Party prosecuted tho’ acquitted, because the King is to pay no Costs. Let these Men by your Order be exempted from all the common Taxes and Burthens of the Province, though they and their Property are protected by its Laws. If any Revenue Officers aresuspected of the least Tenderness for the People, discard them.2 If others are justly complained of, protect and reward them. If any of the Under-officers behave so as to provoke the People to drub them, promote those to better Offices: This will encourage others to procure for themselves such profitable Drubbings, by multiplying and enlarging such Provocations, and all with work towards the End you aim at.

XII. Another Way to make your Tax odious, is to misapply the Produce of it. If it was originally appropriated for the Defence of the Provinces and the better Support of Government, and the Administration of Justice where it may be necessary, then apply none of it to that Defence, but bestow it where it is not necessary, in augmented Salaries or Pensions to every Governor who has distinguished himself by his Enmity to the People, and by calumniating them to their Sovereign. This will make them pay it more unwillingly, and be more apt to quarrel with those that collect it, and those that imposed it, who will quarrel again with them, and all shall contribute to your main Purpose of making them weary of your Government.

XIII. If the People of any Province have been accustomed to support their own Governors and Judges to Satisfaction, you are to apprehend that such Governors and Judges may be thereby influenced to treat the People kindly, and to do them Justice. This is another Reason for applying Part of that Revenue in larger Salaries to such Governors and Judges, given, as their Commissions are, during your Pleasure only, forbidding them to take any Salaries from their Provinces; that thus the People may no longer hope any Kindness from their Governors, or (in Crown Cases) any Justice from their Judges. And as the Money thus mis-applied in one Province is extorted from all, probably all will resent the Misapplication.

XIV. If the Parliaments of your Provinces should dare to claim Rights or complain of your Administration, order them to be harass’d with repeated Dissolutions. If the same Men are continually return’d by new Elections, adjourn their Meetings to some Country Village where they cannot be accommodated, and there keep them during Pleasure; for this, you know, is yourPrerogative; and an excellent one it is, as you may manage it, to promote Discontents among the People, diminish their Respect, and increase their Disaffection.

XV. Convert the brave honest Officers of your Navy into pimping Tide-waiters and Colony Officers of the Customs. Let those who in Time of War fought gallantly in Defence of the Commerce of their Countrymen, in Peace be taught to prey upon it. Let them learn to be corrupted by great and real Smugglers; but (to shew their Diligence) scour with armed Boats every Bay, Harbour, River, Creek, Cove or Nook throughout the Coast of your Colonies, stop and detain every Coaster, every Wood-boat, every Fisherman, tumble their Cargoes, and even their Ballast, inside out and upside down; and if a Penn’orth of Pins is found un-entered, let the Whole be seized and confiscated. Thus shall the Trade of your Colonists suffer more from their Friends in Time of Peace, than it did from their Enemies in War. Then let these Boats Crews land upon every Farm in their Way, rob the Orchards, steal the Pigs and Poultry, and insult the Inhabitants. If the injured and exasperated Farmers, unable to procure other Justice, should attack the Agressors, drub them and burn their Boats, you are to call this High Treason and Rebellion, order3 Fleets and Armies into their Country, and threaten to carry all the Offenders three thousand Miles to be hang’d, drawn and quartered. O! this will work admirably!

XVI. If you are told of Discontents in your Colonies, never believe that they are general, or that you have given Occasion for them; therefore do not think of applying any Remedy, or of changing any offensive Measure. Redress no Grievance, lest they should be encouraged to demand the Redress of some other Grievance. Grant no Request that is just and reasonable, lest they should make another that is unreasonable. Take all your Informations of the State of the Colonies from your Governors and Officers in Enmity with them. Encourage and reward these Leasing-makers;4secrete their lying Accusations lest they should be confuted; but act upon them as the clearest Evidence, and believe nothing you hear from the Friends of the People. Suppose all theirComplaints to be invented and promoted by a few factious Demagogues, whom if you could catch and hang, all would be quiet. Catch and hang a few of them accordingly; and the Blood of the Martyrs shall work Miracles in favour of your Purpose.

XVII. If you see rival Nations rejoicing at the Prospect of your Disunion with your Provinces, and endeavouring to promote it: If they translate, publish and applaud all the Complaints of your discontented Colonists,5 at the same Time privately stimulating you to severer Measures; let not that alarm or offend you. Why should it? since you all mean the same Thing.6

XVIII. If any Colony should at their own Charge erect a Fortress to secure their Port against the Fleets of a foreign Enemy, get your Governor to betray that Fortress into your Hands. Never think of paying what it cost the Country, for that would look, at least, like some Regard for Justice; but turn it into a Citadel to awe the Inhabitants and curb their Commerce. If they should have lodged in such Fortress the very Arms they bought and used to aid you in your Conquests, seize them all, ’twill provoke like Ingratitude added to Robbery.7 One admirable Effect of these Operations will be, to discourage every other Colony from erecting such Defences, and so their and your Enemies may more easily invade them, to the great Disgrace of your Government, and of course the Furtherance of your Project.8

XIX. Send Armies into their Country under Pretence of protecting the Inhabitants; but instead of garrisoning the Forts on their Frontiers with those Troops, to prevent Incursions, demolish those Forts, and order the Troops into the Heart of the Country, that the Savages may be encouraged to attack the Frontiers, and that the Troops may be protected by the Inhabitants: This will seem to proceed from your Ill will or your Ignorance, and contribute farther to produce and strengthen an Opinion among them, that you are no longer fit to govern them.

XX. Lastly, Invest the General of your Army in the Provinces with great and unconstitutional Powers, and free him from the Controul of even your own Civil Governors. Let him have Troops enow under his Command, with all the Fortresses in his Possession; and who knows but (like some provincial Generals in the Roman Empire, and encouraged by the universal Discontent you have produced) he may take it into his Head to set up for himself. If he should, and you have carefully practised these few excellent Rules of mine, take my Word for it, all the Provinces will immediately join him, and you will that Day (if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the Trouble of governing them, and all the Plagues attending their Commerce and Connection from thenceforth and for ever.

Q.E.D.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The draft lacks the middle pages and conclusion. The notes are small additions, written on the back of an invoice from Brown & Whitefoord dated Sept. 2, 1773; we indicate where they were and were not embodied in the draft.

7Below, under Sept. 22. For a literary analysis of the satires see Richard E. Amacher, Benjamin Franklin (New York, [1962]), pp. 82–8. The fullest analysis is unfortunately not in print: Francis X. Davy, “Benjamin Franklin, Satirist: the Satire of Franklin and Its Rhetoric,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1958.

8bf to wf below, Oct. 6.

9Ibid.; Crane, Letters to the Press, pp. 233–4, 236–7.

1To wf below, Nov. 3. bf’s most interesting comment on his motives was to Jane Mecom below, Nov. 1.

3When Hillsborough took office in 1768, in other words, he adopted these rules to guide his policy. Brackets are in the original.

4The sage was Themistocles, as reported by Plutarch; bf’s wording is approximated in John and William Langhorne, Plutarch’s Lives … (6 vols., London, 1770), i, 281.

5bf added this passage, beginning with “If they happen,” from one of the notes mentioned above. His comment must have shocked English readers as much as he intended, for the principles of the Glorious Revolution had developed differently on the two sides of the Atlantic. In England the principle of an omnicompetent crown in Parliament had largely submerged the contractual limitations on government inherent in the Bill of Rights. The colonies, where local autonomy was in tension with control from London, preserved in full force the principle that authority per se was dangerous. See Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., [1967]), especially pp. 35–6, 43–7, 201–3.

6The first portion of the surviving draft ends here.

7Proctors had their own areas of pettifoggery, the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts.

8Sir Francis Bernard.

9bf had made this point earlier in his marginalia: above, xvii, 339.

1bf introduced “unrepresented Provinces” into his quotation from the Declaratory Act. His Biblical reference is to Matthew 10:28.

2A reference to John Temple, dismissed in 1770: above, xix, 402.

3The second portion of the surviving draft begins here.

4Liars, a phrase derived from Scottish law. The part of the sentence that follows, from “secrete” to “Evidence,” bf interlined in his draft from one of the notes mentioned above.

5The controlled French press had been publishing, since the time of the Stamp Act, documentation of the developing Anglo-American quarrel; see Durand Echeverria, Mirage in the West: a History of the French Image of American Society to 1815 (Princeton, [1957]), pp. 36–7.

6bf added Rule xvii to his draft from one of the notes mentioned above, but deleted the opening sentence of that note: “If wretched Writers rail against your Colonists, and do their best to widen Breaches, reward them with Pensions or with Patent Places: if those are to be paid out of the Colony Revenue, and those are Colony Places, it will be the more grating and of course so much the better. And if you see,” etc.

7bf interlined this sentence in his draft from one of the notes mentioned above.

8The second portion of the surviving draft ends here. bf returned to the subject of this paragraph in his introduction to Bernard’s speeches below, Sept. 17.

Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One, 1 ….

From: “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One, 11 September 1773,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-20-02-0213 [last update: 2015-03-20]). Source: The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 20, January 1 through December 31, 1773, ed. William B. Willcox. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976, pp. 389–399.

King v. Burwell Pits Rule Of Law Against Rule By Decree

shutterstock_199125452-998x666In the next week, we are going to talk quite a lot about the “Rule of Law” as opposed to the prerogative power. here’s a foretaste of why it is so important.

[…] The president’s remarks come as the Supreme Court is preparing this month to decide King v. Burwell, a case that challenges whether the law ever actually authorized subsidies for health coverage paid out through federal exchanges. The details of Burwell reveal the degree to which the Obama administration’s handling of the ACA is ultimately at odds with ideals and aspirations that really are woven into the fabric of America: the rule of law and the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution.

The ACA says plainly that subsidies may only be administered “through an Exchange established by the State.” But when it became clear that dozens of states were not going to create exchanges, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), at the behest of the White House, simply issued a rule saying that subsidies could flow through exchanges created and operated by the federal government.

The Obama Administration Embodies Will to Power

In other words, the challengers in King v. Burwell contend that the White House illegally authorized billions of dollars of taxes and spending, circumventing Congress and flouting the statutory text of the ACA by administrative decree. The accusation isn’t a stretch. After all, governing by decree has become commonplace in the Obama era—from the ACA’s many unauthorized delays, to the president’s executive order on immigration last year, to the State Department’s recent gun speech gag order.

Continue readin: King v. Burwell Pits Rule Of Law Against Rule By Decree.

Hillary! and Kipling

So Hillary! is running, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist has some thoughts, and so do I.

To start with I don’t disagree with a single word she wrote here. It strikes me as strange that the Democrats, who like to think of themselves as the party of the young and hip, can’t seem to find anybody but an old woman, without accomplishments (except I suppose for marrying Bill). In addition she’s full of old and discredited ideas, and ties to Wall Street that Mitt Romney can only envy.

Old Rudyard Kipling has some pithy thing to say about people like her as well.

THEY shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?They shall not return to us; the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide–
 Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour:
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take counsel with their friends,
To conform and re-establish each career?Their lives cannot repay us–their death could not undo–
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shell we leave it unabated in its place?

I always thought he summed up the political class pretty well when he said

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

And summed it up in two very pithy lines

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

British Conservatism

uk-us-shooping-0211I wanted you guys to see this because many of my British friends think he is pretty much of a right-wing conservative. Personally I see him as a warmed over squish someplace between John Kennedy and Walter Mondale.

And in truth that is why so often we and the cousins seem to talk right past each other. Where for us, the Constitution is bedrock very similar, in fact, to what the Catholics call “the ordinary Magisterium”, the interpretation can be explained and the meaning twisted (slightly) because of the times but essentially it means exactly what it says, no more and no less.

These types of basic principles don’t play for our British brethren, mostly anyway. Their history tell tells them that all is pragmatism, does it win elections. Rather like HMS Victory at sea in fact. They know what they think is right, but they are dependant on the electoral winds to get there. That is what their history tells them.

When we separated from them, we set up safeguards so that no branch could wield power on its own; that’s what our Constitution does, although it does require some integrity from some number of members of the government. Our president was originally to be rather a constitutional monarch, his power proscribed by the other branches.

The cousins are different, the system until 1689 was essentially ‘The King in Parliament’ which had at least some features of separation. Since then the monarch has been rendered increasingly irrelevant (as has the House of Lord’s) leaving Britain ruled by the Prime Minister (a creature of the commons) ruling in the House of Commons, without anything resembling a check on what they can do. Both Magna Charta and the English Bill of rights have long since, almost totally been repealed. No Checks, No Balances, No Appeal. It’s democratic in the sense that you can vote for whichever creature of Westminster you choose if you can see any difference.

Anyway, here’s Michael Gove speaking to the Legatum Institute

[Unless you really like their backdrop you can safely skip to about 11:00]I think he has a few good ideas, but it’s hard for me to judge a house built on sand, and in truth, how they run their country is their business.

But he’s also got that peculiar British blind spot that you can drive a Nimitz class carrier task force through. That the NHS actually works, and is better, contrary to all (and I mean all) the evidence, that it is actually better than Zimbabwe’s system. It’s simply an ethnic religious belief, because not only can it not be proved, it can be disproved by anybody at all with about five minutes research.

We’ve  (both Jess and I) have written about it a fair amount here, because the so-called system, which might be better than Stalin’s in the 30s is the model for Obamacare.  In one of her posts on it, Jess said this.

Someone recently said that the National Health Service (NHS) was the closest the British now have to a religion. At the opening ceremony of the Olympics there was a section given over to celebrating the NHS. We are always being told it is the ‘envy of the world’, and in something close to brainwashing, any criticism of it is usually quickly closed down by the media. We’ve been fed a version of its history which tells us that before it poor people were toothless and dying in the streets for lack of money, but that now it cares for us all regardless of cost on a basis of ‘need’ only. It is, in short, the last argument left for socialism. That may be why so many in our media circles refuse to see, even when they get a report like this, that their story no longer holds water.

There’s no such thing as ‘regardless of cost’. The NHS is the largest employer in Europe. Every doctor and nurse in every hospital, every porter, every workman in hospitals, every local doctor, every midwife and social worker, they are all NHS employees. The bill of this is huge. Whether, as some say, it is £100 billion, or £101.5 billion, it costs each of us about £1500 a year.

The BBC, funded by a compulsory tax on every household with a TV, tells us how wonderful it is and how much better than what the Americans have. It is certainly true that no one in the UK needs to worry about paying if they get ill. The NHS will take care of you – the problem is not the money, it is the ‘care’.

She also recognized that it is very politicized, and in fact Jess, who is very well connected politically, although like me she tends to not use her contacts, does, I think, owe her very life to connected people who were able to threaten the NHS effectively on her behalf. I had the distinct impression, that left to themselves, the NHS would simply have left her to die unattended, like they have so many others.

And that is the model we have chosen for American health care as well. God help us.

The Ebola Firewall

Sorry guys, I’m neck-deep in a project, and the water keeps rising. But here’s Bill Whittle’s current Firewall.

What’s that? Yep, I agree with everything he says here.

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