Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Progressivism

More Examples of Contemporary Progressive Hostility to Politics

First this great post (again, from Steve . . . we really do have to stop meeting like this) on Pelosi's recent suggestion that what's wrong in contemporary politics is all the "politics."  That is, she doesn't think it ought to matter (very much) who wins elections because there should not be these vast and, seemingly, insurmountable disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over the ends of government.  As Steve puts it:

Of course, if you determine that a function of government, like traffic enforcement or tax collecting, should be beyond the reach of partisan political argument, then you have essentially ruled the other party out of order when it objects. Pelosi and confreres believe that once any welfare state measure is in place, it cannot be questioned. The tacit premise of Pelosi's remark is that today's Republican Party is an illegitimate party, akin to Nazis or Communists or other subversives who reject the principles of the Constitution. At best, elections to the Progressive mind would increasingly become ceremonial exercises, like Fourth of July picnics. At worst, it is an argument for tyranny.

But do read his whole post.  It's very thoughtful and thought provoking. 

I offer another example of the ways in which progressive hostility to politics has infiltrated even the most ordinary of conversations, this time from my local web-paper.  The author cannot understand the people she terms "thinkers on the political right" who will not march in lock step with Michelle Obama and others who, to this authors way of thinking, only want to draw common sense attention to the problem of childhood obesity and draw from it policy prescriptions to combat the problem.  She takes it as a given that the problem is one that must be combated by government and cannot fathom dissension.  If people disagree they must be either peevish or stupid or hostile to the well-being of children. The question of the limits of government reach and capacities does not even enter her realm of possibilities.

But with the news, just yesterday, of one public school in Chicago banning all home-packed lunches for "health" reasons and of other schools on similar grounds now banning chocolate milk--is it really so strange that parents might begin to suspect that there is something more nefarious at work here than a well-meaning and wholesome concern for children's health?  The question is not as simple as this author and many other good people who want the best for children would have it.  It is not merely a question of,"What would make children more healthy?"  It is also a question of determining who has the authority to make determinations like this on behalf of children.  In other words, it is a question of liberty.  In a system where health (as determined by an administrative expert) is more important than individual liberty, this author would have some grounding for telling the opposition to shut up.  But in our system of government--a system that progressives have not, I repeat, had the courage actually to change--neither she nor Nancy Pelosi have any reason to think that they are within their rights in telling us to shut up. 
Categories > Progressivism

Discussions - 2 Comments

On the budget front, apparently even Paul Ryan is talking about bipartisanship this week: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/paul-ryan-obamas-speech-excessively-partisan-dramatically-inaccurate-and-hopelessly-inadequate_557374.html

There is no sane escape from partisan rhetoric in a democratic system. These days talking about bipartisan rhetoric is the ultimate in partisan rhetoric. Who doesn't know it? What can be more American than a claim of self-evident truth?

"But with the news, just yesterday, of one public school in Chicago banning all home-packed lunches for "health" reasons."

There are cases where severe allergic reactions to peanuts/ peanut butter have resulted in death. The worst allergies to peanuts are airborne allergies, and these typically fade with age. Because a school district has a duty to provide all children with an education, it must make a decision which because the standard is arbitrary and capricious, is typically done by a reasonableness standard, applying a ballancing test approach. Typically school districts will send out notes to parents telling them that they should not pack peanut butter in school lunches. Of course some parents will say "Those Communists!" No peanut butter! and they will still pack peanut butter or be careless not knowing the danger. Its all fun and games until your Cartman kills Kenny! (then it is still funny if you are a southpark conservative.)

So in certain really bad allergy cases, the "nuclear' option might be to ban home packed lunches. But school boards will have to answer for such policies, and it is local government in consultation with education lawyers who take these measures, and must explain and defend them.

My Liberty is not impacted by a decision made by a school board in Chicago except inso far as federalism is a laboratory for democracy, and the precedent will be available to an educational lawyer advising my school district/board on measures in similar situations, and even then such a view of Liberty, is simply theoretical.

Often times the push for healthier lunch fare is actual citizens grassroot politics. Nosey neighboors perhaps, but at least these are buying into the idea of self-government. The "Liberty interest" is really just the argument made by an administrative lawyer representing chocolate milk manufacturers. Certainly milk is an excellent source of calcium, and certainly some children will drink less milk if they don't have chocolate as an option. The Lawyers representing the Nosey parents will comb the records of the laboratory of democracy, and try to put some number on milk consumption. The United Dairy Farmers will argue against it. A choice will be made that ballances various factors.

It may be the case that the internet allows us to branch out and be concerned with the plight of the nation and the universe, in ways that would have made no sense to someone in the 1980's. That is we may be witnessing the creation of a more empathetic world, and in this empathetic world, older notions of standing may not be adequate.

Still we have partitioned the world geographically and we don't allow you to vote for a school board in Chicago if you live in California. You have no standing, and what Pelosi was really saying was that the health care bill as passed wasn't yet "ripe".

What you are actually seeing is simply the disjunction of legalism. You are teaching a fairy tale consitutionalism without an understanding of jurisdiction, ripeness, standing, the APA, or how things really work.

The internet might be radically altering the concept of standing, and scientific administrative agencies like the CBO might be projecting deficits into 2080, thus altering the nature of ripeness, forseeability and proximate cause, in a political discourse untethered from such components, and governed only by a first ammendment right to speak, and copyright in your fixed expression so long as it embraces a modicum of creativity.

It is fairly well established that you can make up untruths about Pelosi, and even if it was illegal, there is no way to police it.

"She takes it as a given that the problem is one that must be combated by government and cannot fathom dissension."

This is true, but that is because it is. see Chocolate Manufacturers Association v. Block 755 F.2d 1098 (4th Cir. 1985).

I actually highly recommend this case for an understanding of APA rulemaking proceedures(The Chocolate Manufacturers Association won)

It is a problem that must be combated by government so long as you have the FNS and the USDA, so long as you have programs like WIC, or free compulsory education. Furthermore since Pelosi is actually a congresswoman you make no sense. Either congress polices it, or at least sends in comments(1000's in this case.) or the administrative agencies promulgate rules without such imput.

Smart Money says Hayward and AEI actually take an active hand in notice and comment, and smart money also says that you know you are misrepresenting our system of government.

I fully expect that Congressional offices will write comments during notice and comment periods.

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