Wednesday, January 01, 2014

...okay, and then what?

Any three college kids with a bong can fix the system between midnight-thirty and sunrise on any given Saturday. Just ask 'em.

In that spirit...

Pointing out the problem is easy. Heck, if you want to get down to brass tacks, any neolithic goatherd can fling a Molotov and burn something down.

Then what?


greg said...

Oh, it's SOOOOOO stolen.

That is the big question...if not this, then what?

To me the answer seems to be...what we have now, dialed back down to a 2 or a 3.

I read an idea once(it might even have been Heinlein) that said we should have one body of legislatures that need a 2/3rd majority to PASS any Law, and another body of that only needs a 1/3rd majority to REPEAL any law.

It's probably should be a sad thing that the times I am happiest with D.C. are the times when everyone else is complaining about 'gridlock'. Give me impasse over the passing of more knee-jerk reaction, nanny-state laws.

And on that note...Happy New Years.

Joseph said...

"...more lines in the sand than the Saudi Telephone Company..."

Love it.

Scott said...

Greg yup that was Heinlein in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, it was a great idea when he wrote it and it's an even better idea now.

Anonymous said...

I used to think that the founding fathers never considered that there would be people who thought being law makers was a career for life. It was a part time job for several years, then back to planting, banking or what ever else one did for their real living.

I also don't think they ever thought the public as a whole would tolerate that behavior. The country as a whole at that time wanted to determine there individual destinies, unencumbered by most regulation and restrictions.

I guess they were wrong in both accounts. Maybe all republics end up with emperors and the mob.


og said...

If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

Tpa Gunslinger said...

Then it would work itself out. Probably with the most prominent citizen taking some type of leadership role, or "Office". Then with power comes corruption and BAM! we start all over again.
Still the lull would be nice.

Rob K said...

Why not a government that has no ability to pass any new laws at all? There is a common core of acts that are obviously wrong/evil/immoral that we can all agree on (murder, theft, etc.) We list out the punishments for those, and that's it. No new laws.

But what's up with the post-posting picture redaction? On my feedly feed, I see the unredacted facebook pic. When I come to your blog, I see the redacted pic. I assume it was a request by the redacted commenter?

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. Nothing like the accumulated wisdom of twenty years.


Marc Pisco said...

You never blew off a little wildly hyperbolic steam over some regularly scheduled outrage or other? Never had the rhetorical impulse to hoist the Jolly Roger and slit a weasand or two?

Then you're better than a lot of us. I'm in no position to throw stones myself.

Anonymous said...

The "then what"is the biggie, and history shows, over and over, that nobody can really predict what will actually happen.

The French Revolution burned it all down to the point of creating the calendar over again, and liquidating as many nobles as possible. They wound up replacing a corrupt king with Napoleon.

100 years ago right now, the royal families of Greece, Germany and Russia were celebrating the new year. Within 4 years, they would all be deposed, or in the case of Russia, executed in a basement.

For more recent examples, Jan 1, 1991 saw the last New Years of the USSR, created in the bloody execution of the Tsar, The USSR would cease to exist only 12 months later.

And have y'all already forgotten that Egypt had one revolution in 2011, and then a military coup against that revolution in 2013?

The point is, you can make all the plans you want for "what then?" But history shows that events have a way of getting out of control, and there's no telling what will really happen next.

Clark said...

You're blogging about a facebook comment about a blog post.

The original post is here:

Re your comment that they (i.e. me) are "doing it from a typewriter in an office, not a flamethrower in the street": yes, well said.

That's exactly the problem I have with Thomas Paine and his pamphlets in 1775. What sort of revolution did he think he could foment by just writing things?

And let us not forget the poseurs in the Committees of Correspondence in 1773. Sam Adams and Joseph Warren were clearly pikers - if they'd had any balls at all they'd be out in the street shooting British, not just riling up the populace. We can see from all their committee making and letter writing that they were never going to amount to much.

Finally, let's call out the losers in the Sons of Liberty. If they were really serious about an American Revolution, they wouldn't have been forming secret societies in 1764...they'd have been FIGHTING. So what if they did slowly gain membership and start to take direct action? No one has ever heard of their "tea party", and it never had an effect on the nation.

It's too bad that these pikers didn't have your expert advice on regime change. If they had, their revolution might have worked instead of just consisting of a bunch of talk.

Alien said...

"okay, and then what?"

Well, I suspect at some point we'll find out, whether the system is brought down or simply collapses of its own weight.

There is a possibility that either activity will be indistinguishable from the other.

Tam said...

Marc Pisco,

Hell, I understand the impulse. I peevishly spoke my mind as recently as this morning, but some "Marc Pisco" guy got all finger-waggy over it.

I'll be sure to confine my commentary to "Yeah! Right on!" in future. ;)

Tam said...

Wow, Clark!

Hyperbole, martyrdom, and a bit of overweening sense of self-importance in one short comment.

That's like the Hat Trick of Internet Butthurt.

Let me see if I can phrase this more clearly: "Okay, and then what?" I mean, you've put yourself on the same shelf as Sam Adams and Tom Paine, which is pretty bold if I may say so myself, and I seem to recall that both of them had ideas that went beyond "Burn it down!"

So. Let's say it's hypothetically burnt. Now what?

Tam said...


"Re your comment that they (i.e. me) are "doing it from a typewriter in an office, not a flamethrower in the street": yes, well said."

Actually, the person your post got me thinking of was not you, so you aren't the They to which my line in the sand comment referred, but as they say where I come from "The hit dog yelps."

Anonymous said...

Whoah. Clark Vs. Tam. This ought to be, and I hate this word, epic.

(And the "Then what?" answer from me is: Go back to the beginning of the country. Allow things to work themselves out again, hopefully without accumulating as much baggage and insanity regarding regulations.

Way too simplistic, I know, but I don't have several Cray's to try and model anything on.)

Tam said...

Thing is, I don't generally disagree with the gist of his post, I just doubt there's any fix to it that I'll like.

I grow more and more fearful that, given human nature and the arc of technology, we are in fact living in the best of all possible worlds. And if that doesn't depress you, I don't know what would.

Marc Pisco said...


Touche! :)

Also, it looks like I have to take back what I assumed about it being just hyperbole. Yeah, I'm not gonna sign up to start shooting my neighbors this week, @Clark, but thanks for asking...

Anonymous said...


I agree. I'm afraid we've hit, or are about to hit, that long slide backwards. By design or incompetence?

Too much to go wrong. Too many people willing to light that spark, and too many unintended consequences.

But then, I just finished the Daybreak series of novels, and Cloverfield was just sworn in as NYC's mayor. So I'm pretty low about the future to being with.

Clark said...

@Tam said...

Wow, Clark!

Hyperbole, martyrdom, and a bit of overweening sense of self-importance in one short comment.

That's like the Hat Trick of Internet Butthurt.

I'm enjoying your ad hominem; it's a nice way to avoid my rebuttal of your argument that "real revolutionaries never write or build organizations".

Let me see if I can phrase this more clearly: "Okay, and then what?"

That's not "more clearly"; that's giving up on the first half of your attack and concentrating on the second half.

Which is fine; (a) we've addressed the first half and you've got no response, and (b) the "OK and then what?" second half is an entirely valid question.

I intend to (and have intended to) address that very topic. I will do so in a long form post at Popehat sometime in the next few weeks.

I mean, you've put yourself on the same shelf as Sam Adams and Tom Paine, which is pretty bold

No I didn't. You implicitly said "real revolutionaries don't write manifestos; they fight in the streets". I offered an existence proof of the form "here are a bunch of real revolutionaries who went through phase 1 before entering phase 2".

It is not necessary for me to say that I am like Sam Adams or Tom Paine to defeat your argument; it is merely necessary for me to note that Sam Adams and Tom Paine existed.

So. Let's say it's hypothetically burnt. Now what?

I hope to have a long answer soonish.

Clark said...

@Anonymous said...

Whoah. Clark Vs. Tam. This ought to be, and I hate this word, epic.

Anonymous - for that Archer reference alone, I love you.

Just My 2¢ said...

One of my favorite maxims:
Jackasses kick down barns but they can't build them.

Garrett Lee said...

Re: best of all possible worlds,

I always thought that Leibniz was a rather smart guy.

Anonymous said...

I think the openings in our two bodies of legislature should be filled by a draft lottery of sorts. Ages 25- 65?. serving 6 year terms with equal portions replaced each year. If you are drafted Uncle Sam provides adequate housing and a stipend to live on, for you and your family along with medical care when your term of SERVICE is complete you have the right to return to your previous employment. We can even throw in a few laws that put most if not all previous financial obligations (loans , house payments ,etc) on hold for duration of service. Once you have served 1 term your name is withdrawn from the pool and you can never serve again.

Your 1st year of service you are non-voting but do participate otherwise.

Of course there would have to be some disqualifying factors that have to be worked out big one for me would be no violent felons.

JohninMd.(help?) said...


Tam said...

The fact that you're taking this as an 'attack' and then proceed to retro Usenet line-by-line, consulting the "List of Logical Fallacies" we all used to keep taped to the sides of our 14" CRTs makes me fear that this will be a monumentally unproductive discussion.

Let me change my response to "Go Clark!"

Tam said...

(But if we're going to get all Usenet-y, I like how you set up "real revolutionaries never write or build organizations" as "my argument" in your opening sentence and then spend three paragraphs demolishing it. I don't even need to pull out my yellowed photocopy to know what that's called. ;) )

KM said...

@greg...what we have now, dialed back down to a 2 or a 3

No way, no how is any congresscritter going to vote themselves less power.
*Maybe* if it meant they could still make millions on insider deals but they have that now.
I like the idea but it would take politicians with integrity and guts and we're fresh out.

KM said...

@greg...what we have now, dialed back down to a 2 or a 3

No way, no how is any congresscritter going to vote themselves less power.
*Maybe* if it meant they could still make millions on insider deals but they have that now.
I like the idea but it would take politicians with integrity and guts and we're fresh out.

Anonymous said...

On a side not: The Unsafe act update:

I am no longer even vaguely holding out hope for 2014.

Keith said...

Clark is there any chance we could get a brief outline of your ideas for what to do after the "flamethrowers in the streets" part of the revolution is over.. I've spent too much time playing WoW for "soon" to have much meaning for me.

Jess said...

Ignorance and greed seem to be the biggest problem and both are lacking by many of the blog community that add their knowledge with insightful posts.

There's the solution and it appears to be blowing the curtain. Maybe we won't need Toto after all.

Clark said...

The fact that you're taking this as an 'attack'...

attack - n -
2. An expression of strong criticism; hostile comment

I'm sorry; I thought that by comparing my argument to that created by "three college kids with a bong" or "a neolithic goatherd" you were criticizing it.

Clearly I was wrong and you meant it as a bit of loving agreement.

then proceed to retro Usenet line-by-line, consulting the "List of Logical Fallacies"

You made fallacies in several lines. I addressed them.

Your objection is...what? You were ranting and raving in a fast and loose manner and didn't want to have your argument picked apart?

I'm fine with that...but the irony of saying "hey, I like to rant in a fast and loose manner" in a thread dedicated to attacking someone else for ranting in a fast and loose manner is delicious.

global village idiot said...

Over at another website which may-or-may-not-still exist, there were these few guys who, with every fresh atrocity of the then-current administration, would ask "Is it Time?"

It happened often enough and I got disgusted enough I finally posted at the worst offender, "If you need someone to tell you THAT BADLY, you-and-everyone-else are better off leaving things just the way they are."

Everyone is anxious for The Glorious Day, but no one gives a damn about the day after.

What a way to ring in 2014 - hope it's better than WE'VE made it out to be ;)


Chem said...


How was Joseph Warren a piker? He and Revere were connected with more revolutionary groups than any other known individuals in Boston. He was an organizer and connector. He also slipped out of Boston and fought with Heath's element against the British column trying to extract itself after the battle of Concord.

He was killed in action on Breed's Hill during the Battle of Bunker Hill in June of 1775.

The Jack said...

Tam: Arguments *are* easier when you don't have to deal with the pesky whole "other person".

Jayson said...

I'm kind of disappointed that some people I respect think tyranny (yes, Virginia, this is tyranny) should not be dealt with because, and I paraphrase here, it might be HARD.

They weren't sure what was going to happen next in 1776, and that it would definitely be hard, but they did it anyway because freedom is better than having a boot on your neck (and yes, Virginia, there is a boot on our collective necks.)

And if you notice, politicians have become more flagrant in their abuses of power precisely because we don't do shit about it.

tailwind said...

It takes two to tango.

You can't have a successful revolution without leaders and good leaders don't always need to lead by example. They should be able to demonstrate their physical capabilities now and then, however.

All revolutionaries cannot be leaders because if everyone tried to lead things there would be nothing but chaos and anarchy.

Many individuals are perfectly happy with following an effective leader.

It all boils down to one thing, however. The cause must be just and fair. Otherwise, it's the same old tyranny only with different tyrants.

Ed said...

"Doing it from a typewriter in an office"? That is so twenty years ago. No, make that thirty years ago. The IBM PC was introduced to the market in 1981.

As for Legislatures repealing laws, first the Legislature must realize that a Legislature made a mistake in passing the law or that conditions have changed making the passed law nonsensical or harmful enough to necessitate repeal. Legislators run on the premise of what they can do, seldom on what they can undo. Instead, it should be required that all laws require reevaluation every five or ten years. If the support is no longer there after five or ten years, then it is no longer valid and expires (see 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004 for an example of this process working). Good ideas get revalidated. Bad or mediocre ideas get tossed. This will keep the legislators busy so that they have less time to propose new restrictions. As it is now, they spend more time coming up with new laws yet cannot pass an acceptable budget, which is their primary responsibility.

Alien said...

"Thing is, I don't generally disagree with the gist of his post, I just doubt there's any fix to it that I'll like."

Where is it established that you have to like any of it? Whether what Ken espoused at Popehat is correct, incorrect or something else, why does Tam think it will all evolve, or should evolve, only with Tam's approval?

I'd wager that a great many of us, had we lived back then, would have proposed different solutions to the American-British conflict that propagated the Revolution, yet that Revolution happened, and those of us alive today predominantly accept the results as mainly successful.

If I may stick my neck out some, which is apparently quite easy to do from the sanctity of a keyboard, I'd suggest, Tam, that a vacation in a nice, warm, sunny place for several weeks would not be a waste. Especially if it involves drinks with little umbrellas in them, served on sandy beaches, in full view of spectacular sunsets.

Farm.Dad said...

anyone here post to Aspies much ?

Ted N said...


Steve Skubinna said...

Careful Tam, or Clark won't offer you a cabinet post in his post apocalyptic government.

RKN said...

Nevermind that the revolutionaries of the 1800s weren't facing the scale of resistance we see today, revealed in what I predict is a lack of national sympathy for "Phase I", making a present day transition to "Phase II" unimaginable.

IOW, boundary conditions matter.

Anonymous said...

Revolutions have almost always been started with a pen. I have no problem with the ranting. There isn't enough coherent ranting, and I say this knowing the internet too intimately.

No, the basic problem isn't "now what?", because that assumes The System has been brought down. The questions are, "how? and "what does the revolution even look like?" Syria is clearly the "burn it down" scenario. I don't want to be Syria if it can be helped.

And given the scrutiny we're under by our rulers, how do we pull it off?


Brad K. said...

Then what. . .

They actually want all resources -- everything -- at their disposal for their own comfort and designs. They want everyone controlling those resources out of their way.

One of the scary parts is that most wealth in this country is imaginary, or virtual, if you will. Mortgages aren't tracts of land growing potatoes. The national debt is a series of computer files. Paper currency, stock and certificates, even treasury notes (national debt, again) won't compost to grow an appreciable number of tomatoes. Paper that documents debts becomes worthless when you tamper with "the system".

And let us not forget -- disrupt the rules, like not crashing your car into someone -- and the bullies and Mad Max wannabes race the roaches out of the dusty corners.

What next? David Brin (The Postman) and Gordon R. Dickson (Wolf and Iron) were pretty hopeful. Since the 1950s folk have been dropping out of the Rat Race (look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's, kiddies) to farm or rusticate, to lessen dependence on big government and intrusive society. Heck, even Jeremiah Johnson (the movie, "Are you sure you can skin grizz, Pilgrim?") looked to escape then-modern life.

The Amish live on the edges of modernization. The Fox Fire books and Mother Earth News still sell.

Untik we, as a nation, change and elect a Congress that will bind the hands of the President any time, and every time, he acts outside the bounds of the Constitution, the rule of law, and the best interests of the American people, we get pretty much what we deserve. And every President that ever served has needed just exactly that from Congress. But we, as a people, are the ones responsible for letting errors continue. A "tear it down" approach overlooks the important step of building something useful and resilient, first.

Tam said...

"ut the irony of saying "hey, I like to rant in a fast and loose manner" in a thread dedicated to attacking someone else for ranting in a fast and loose manner is delicious."

You're very close to spotting the irony here, yes.

RKN said...

of the 1800s

meant to write 18th century

wheelgun said...

Man, that's what I get for skipping the intertubes in the morning. A real honest-to-gods flame-session. Complete with straw men (going up in flames I might add.)

References to Heinlein, "The Postman" included. (Would have been perfect if someone would have mentioned zombies or a Charlton Heston movie.)

Strings said...

Tam's question is very pertinent: "What next?"

If you don't have some kind of idea for "What next?", any plans of overthrow are bad

We certainly don't want some variation of the French revolution, do we?

*mental image of Nancy Pelosi being walked up to a guilotine*

Hmmm... that's really NOT what we want, right?

Goober said...

I can think of one revolution where the result of the revolution was actually an improvement on the conditions prior to the revolution. Even then, it was pretty dicey in the years after for a bit.

The injustice of a judge sentencing people to jail for a crime while committing that crime herself is a piss off, but it is not a wise reason to burn anything down.

I also fear that human nature dictates that this is as good as it gets. I wouldn't trade a sprained ankle for a broken leg.

Kristophr said...

"Whats' next?"

Scorpion pits. Everyone who annoys me goes into the scorpion pits.

Joe in PNG said...

"And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide, and the shotgun sings the song."

Joe in PNG said...

Ah, the rather non appropriate comparison to the American Revolution. One rather large difference. Remember the slogan that led to the whole deal: "No taxation without representation"?

The big difference is that it is the Representatives of the people passing the taxes, and the People voting these guys in.

What next? Kill off the people that disagree? Oh, yeah, ban them from voting... yeah, that will go over really well. Ponder just how many revolutions happened because of "No Taxation Without Representation".

Oleg Volk said...

I hear that the Cuban revolution started out with libertarian promises and turned into a fratricidal turn towards feudalism labeled as Communism because USSR gave support.

John Balog said...

This whole thing demonstrates the problem with majoring in snark. Two people who (by admission) want the same things and generally agree on the problems to be solved are having a mutual pissing match over semantics and style instead of a serious debate about how to unfuck the system. Kind of sad.

I more and more take a view somewhere between Spooner and many of the commenters here and at Popehat: on the one hand, if the Constitution is so great how did we get here; on the other, human nature can corrupt anything no matter how well done.

In any case, I've taken two oaths in my life and I intend to honor them both. One was a marriage vow, the other was to support and defend the Constitution. My wife isn't perfect and neither is the document in question, but I keep my vows.

Windy Wilson said...

The appeal of doing something palls when it is virtually guaranteed to make things worse. It is easier to make big changes with destruction than with construction. Lee Harvey Oswald has had an effect on the world far outweighing Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer combined, and probably by a factor of 100. It isn't a sin to be organizing and planning when the alternative, acting rashly, carries dire consequences.

PhilaBOR said...

I'm with you. I call that limitation of statutes. I think there should be a sliding scale: forever laws require 2/3 votes. If you can only muster 50%, there is an expiration date, say 10 years.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone is anxious for The Glorious Day, but no one gives a damn about the day after."

I may start using that as my new sig line.

global village idiot said...

"Any idiot can throw a pebble into a pond - a million geniuses can't stop the ripples."

Hebrew proverb quoted around the opening of the Second Intifada.


Buzz said...


Draining the swamp would certainly stop those ripples in a hurry....

Anonymous said...

#1 Find George Washington.
#2 find 500+ honest men from among the states.
#3 GET THE PEOPLE TO VOTE!!! (obama was elected by less than 20% of eligible voters, over 60% never voted.

Kevin S TX

perlhaqr said...

John Balog++

Clark: You and Tam are on the same team. Quit being an ass. Gah. "Herding cats" is a fucking cakewalk compared to getting libertarians to play with one another.

Tam: Personally, my thoughts on "What next" are a slight re-write of the Constitution. It wasn't bad in its original form, but clearly many of the provisions intended to prevent the government from getting too much power were insufficient, and far too much of the language was insufficiently specific.

Rewriting the Second Amendment to start with "Congress shall make no law", for example. Actually, lots of the rephrasing of things in the Constitution 1.1 should have phrasing similar to that. "Congress shall make no law", "The Government shall have no authority regarding", and so forth.

I might move the Tenth Amendment to be First, actually, and move the Ninth directly into the text of the Constitution itself. Bump the First over to Third, and move the Third to Ninth. Or maybe combine the Ninth and Tenth into some really explicit super-"The Government Is Not Allowed To Do Anything Not Listed, Everything Else Belongs To Individuals" text.

And possibly add some "Wickard v. Filburn is utter shit" language in there too. "The Courts Shall Not Interpret the Commerce Clause as giving Congress power over everything under the sun or they will be shot." Etc.

djack826 said...

This is an epic discussion. Scorpion pits, snark, Hebrew proverbs and Nancy Pelosi being walked up to a guillotine.

I am in awe.

I fell like a Padawan among Jedi.

Mike said...

Shorter "Burn it down" post:


Goober said...


Likely with similar results...

Ecurb said...

I couldn't say it better than John Balog. Libertarians are too used to snarking at people and institutions who ignore them, and it hurts them when it's time to be grown-ups and actually problem solve together.

And yeah, most of those "revamped constitution" ideas pretty much come down to adding "and we really mean it this time!" to every absolute prohibition that got ignored last time round.

Goober said...


My fear is that a new constitutional convention wouldn't necessarily result in the "we really mean it this time" so much as "let's fix what we see is wrong with this now, while we can".

You think the 2nd amendment would make it through the next convention in tact?

Or that any amendment, in its new form, wouldn't be 2,500 pages long, each, minimum?

If I had my say, I wouldn't re-write a damn thing. There isn't anything unclear about it. We just need to go back to what it says, and if we find that any of the new things we added along the way really were needed, do what we're supposed to do and add them in an amendment, with 2/3rds ratification at the state level.

Obamacare would never have passed if they'd done it right, and the fact that anyone sees that as a bug rather than a feature is just silly to me.

But the upshot is that you get none of that if you "burn it down." I do not want to live the way that my croatian friend lived during their civil war. Screw that. it is not worth it yet. Not even remotely close.

Anonymous said...

... Um... Speaking for myself, I'd love that. I want the popcorn concession.

Anonymous said...

How about "No representation without taxation" as the slogan this time around? it's far from perfect but it will be an improvment.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the wretches in India and other third world shitholes would disagree with your assessment.
"Who is this Jay Eff Kay guy anyway?"

bobn said...

Greg said: I am happiest with D.C. are the times when everyone else is complaining about 'gridlock'.

Gridlock is not a bug; it's a feature.

Anonymous said...

Consider how predators and prey interact in ecology. The closer the prey are to the predators in military capabilities, the lower the percentage of predators.

100 years ago, somebody made a practical handgun which allowed one weak victim a decent chance at defense against one strong attacker. Then gun control worked, and nothing changed for 100 years.

Imagine what would happen if somebody invented a personal weapon which provided one victim a decent chance against ten attackers. Or fifty attackers. What does ecology predict would happen?

I think you should stop brainstorming laws, and instead go brainstorm in your garage machine shops.

Brad K. said...

@ KM,

"No way, no how is any congresscritter going to vote themselves less power. "

Actually, if Congress restricted itself to legal and appropriate limits and topics, individual Congresspeople would be able to wield more *effective* power. Today's scattergun approach, the "milk every lobbyist" agenda, dilutes everything everyone in DC does.

@ RKN,

Nevermind that the revolutionaries of the 1800s weren't facing the scale of resistance we see today, revealed in what I predict is a lack of national sympathy for "Phase I", making a present day transition to "Phase II" unimaginable.

One of the disadvantages the British enjoyed, back in the day, was the degree of separation from the area of conflict, and also an ability to bring their resources to bear in a timely manner.

Today, the chimera nature of the nation's wealth, the over-extended mess of our nation's energy assets (wind farms that aren't used, abandoned solar projects, expectations that fraccing preserves oil production for decades instead of months) and all the other industries from recycling to income-based housing that exists solely to exploit government spending -- have our government and so-called leaders (that is, the cardboard cutouts at the head of the mass media parades). Well. There is a difference between a downfall, and a take-down.

And today's government doesn't seem to actually respond in a timely and useful manner to problems and opportunities. That kind of distance would be another problem, either in retaining power or actually fixing something.

John Balog said...

Sorry for the slow response (had another kid and amazing how much of my internet fighting time gets swallowed up by an infant) and I doubt anyone will ever see this but I kinda wanted to respond anyway.

perlhaqr: If there's one thing that the Constitution (and various religious texts for that matter) make really abundantly clear, it's that there is no possible way to write a document for humans that cannot be misinterpreted either accidentally or deliberately. I mean come on, "Shall not be infringed" and "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." are pretty damn clear. And "Making, buying, or choosing not to buy a good or service all affect inter-state commerce so the Feds can regulate, deny you the ability to make or buy, or force you to buy any good or service they choose" or the's argumentation in Miller (A law banning military weapons is ok because the Constitution prohibits banning military weapons and the guy was arrested with a weapon that had not actually been individually used in war even though it's class of weapons was" are so patently ridiculous that anyone with more brain cells than Dick Metcalf can see through them. And yet here we are...

Statists gonna state, and most folks are statists. Colonial America was a unique situation just because of the high barriers to entry of coming here as well as its status as a haven for the persecuted. I doubt we'll ever see its like again.

Brad K. said...

@ John Balog,

The concept of the colonies might have been "high price of admission", but by the time of the Declaration of Independence, the movers and shakers had all been in power for generations, most of them. What was likely different, was that the cadre of movers and shakers wasn't as closed to new members, as in stifled Europe.

The big difference was that the colonies had different backgrounds, and were used to being autonomous, independent of each other. None had designs on taking over the charters and vested interests of the others. Each had an independent relationship to England and the rest of the world.

In coming together as they did, the colonies were interested in creating a combined security in facing outside, or internal, aggression, while continuing as much as possible to live their lives as they had been.

Today's states, much as Food Stamp recipients and local school boards, have lost the tradition of living their lives within their means, and meeting their own needs. States, like welfare recipients, live by the Federal dole. While each *could* stand on their feet, Federal rules and handouts have established a paternal facet of national government that encourages dependence, and nourishes bureaucrats and industries invested in continuing to suck on that government tit.

At least, that is one difference I see between the relationship of the Colonies to the Constitution, and today's America.