Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Time is Less Scarce Than Ever

According to the insightful Mr. Price. So in a way we’re closer to Marx’s end of history than ever and without the blood and guts of revolution. But we can’t get over the thought that we’re wasting time, and that means we still can’t live in the unobsessive way Marx had in mind for us. We dress down more than ever to show how casual our lives are, but in dressing down we look more and more like members of Marx’s proletariat--who exist only to produce and for nothing more. Modern materialism--capitalist and socialist--has convinced us that all we have is time, and so in wasting THAT each of us is wasting what little there is of his or her momentary and paltry being. The less we have to do, the more we’re filled with the thought that time is slipping away. So it’s surely the most religious Americans who’re best in being in love in the present. Marx (and even Locke?), by depriving us of love, deprived us of the present for as long as we remain self-conscious and mortal.

The Fundamentals of the Economy Are Resilient

...according to Kudlow, although maybe not so much over the long term, partly because of misguided government policy. The big issue might be: At what point during the current surge should the older individual get out of stocks for good? Our 401K losses are being cut for now, but...

Classical and Christian Views of History

Here’s a thoughtful site that makes good use of ME in distinguishing between the classical and Christian views of history.

A Second Opinion Well Worth Listening To

Scott W. Atlas, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School, offers us ten reasons why the U.S. health care system is a lot better than we’ve been led to believe lately.

The Citizens United Case--Now a YouTube Video!

So as you may know, the Supreme Court granted a rare rehearing of the Citizens United campaign finance case in September, with indications the new members of the Court may sweep away several bad decisions of the last couple decades, and perhaps junk major parts of the McCain-Feingold law. My better half has written an amicus brief for case, but, since we’re at the beach, we decided in a clowning mood to do a a You Tube video about the case! Enjoy (2:32 long.)

P.S. A few people have asked, and No, no deer were harmed in the making of this video.

Bad Prescriptions and Obfuscation

Sally Pipes writes that citizens should not confuse this week’s so-called "breakthroughs" in Congressional health reform negotiations with anything high-minded or genuinely aimed at discovery of and service to the public good. All that was achieved, she argues, is an agreement to produce "a public plan with a rural accent." Those "blue dogs," she says, didn’t really serve to moderate out the extremes of the plan.

In other words, they didn’t kill the socialized government-plan option; they just made sure that it spends enough money in their districts.
She also very astutely notes that promises to reduce Medicare spending in favor of more universal coverage deliberately mislead. Such a shift in funding would, inevitably, result in fewer services to seniors who would, just as inevitably, loudly object, win that fight, and add yet another bill to mounting debt that is already over-burdening American taxpayers.

Good money after bad

The Cash for Clunkers program is about to run out of money, but, never fear, there’s talk about throwing more money into the program, about which we’ve already talked here and here.

Of course, car dealers like the program, though (of course) they’re frustrated by the paperwork. It will be interesting to see if anyone can come up with numbers regarding how many "American-made" cars will eventually be purchased through this program. I’m sure that the Koreans and Japanese are quite pleased that "we’re" helping out their automakers’ bottom lines, at least at the margins (though perhaps more significantly if we put more money into the pot).

Another question: will this program ever go away, or will Congress always find some spare change to "stimulate" a lagging domestic (and foreign) industry and distort the marketplace?

Democracy in Action

Remember Miss South Carolina, who spoke so eloquently about "U.S. Americans"? Well, behold someone who I dearly hope auditions to be Miss Santa Cruz, telling the Santa Cruz City Council how to arrange utopia in California.

Hat tip: My old pal Mike Bowman, on FB.

Shatner does Palin

Even if you are inclined toward her, you must agree that this, from The Tonight Show, is very funny.

Barone on Inspiration vs. Persausion

We’re losing confidence in our president, Michael explains, because it’s getting clearer and clearer he has no detailed conception of what we wants to get done. He’s bad at legislation partly because he no experience in it and partly because he seems indifferent to the factual concerns that should animate tough policy choices. The last Democrat to be in his favorable situation was LBJ, who knocked himself out getting the schemes of his policy wonks through Congress. The results, of course, were a lot more negative than not. So on balance we should be sort of happy that BHO is no LBJ. We should also be worried, of course, that he might turn out to be a quick study who will learn from his recent bad experiences. We certainly shouldn’t count on his favorability rating continuing to drop.

It’s Only Common Sense . . .

. . . to believe that the way to end stuff like this is to get the government to fund the possibility for more of it. Right? Oh . . . wait . . .

Gay Marriage and Radical Individualism

Folks on this blog have been making this argument for some time. Here’s a first-rate piece on the subject from Christianity Today. A snippet:

We cannot very well argue for the sanctity of marriage as a crucial social institution while we blithely go about divorcing and approving of remarriage at a rate that destabilizes marriage. We cannot say that an institution, like the state, has a perfect right to insist on certain values and behavior from its citizens while we refuse to submit to denominational or local church authority. We cannot tell gay couples that marriage is about something much larger than self-fulfillment when we, like the rest of heterosexual culture, delay marriage until we can experience life, and delay having children until we can enjoy each other for a few years.

In short, we have been perfect hypocrites on this issue. Until we admit that, and take steps to amend our ways, our cries of alarm about gay marriage will echo off into oblivion.

Read the whole thing.

Enforcing Moderation

H/T Joseph C. Phillips. The LA Times health blog today suggests that it is time for "tough love" when it comes to America’s obesity "epidemic" and argues that the methods employed by the war on tobacco could be successful in a new war on America’s ever expanding waistline. Simply tax, at confiscatory and outrageous rates, all the "bad" food and beverages. The wise and all knowing bureaucrats who will be in charge of our government-healthcare-industrial complex, in their infinite wisdom and genuine concern for nothing more than our well-being (because I’m sure there won’t be any food or restaurant industry lobbying affecting this), will be able to determine which substances deserve our scorn and high taxes and which foods probably ought to be subsidized and (possibly?) force-fed to all of us poor, ignorant, fat asses masses.

I have no doubt that such a determined effort led by determined do-gooders would, indeed, have the desired effect of reducing the numbers of super-sized Americans. But at what cost? Liberals love to throw out the red-herring that they don’t want government interference with what goes on "in their bedrooms." Fine. Pretend that actually means what it appears to mean on the surface. I agree. But why would a person who understands the evils of a government enforced panty raid suddenly find himself passive in the face of a pantry raid?

This Federalist Takes the Cake

The Food Channel (8 pm, EST) just now featured a substantial Federalist (not just Madison and Hamilton on the colorful cover but some pages of #10 from an original column as well) cake, made to honor a law professor. Justice Scalia wondered out loud how many members of the Federalist Society had actually read the classic. May it be said of these students, following the German saying: "Man ist was er isst." (One is what he eats.)

Why was I watching the Food Channel? When I heard "Federalist Papers," I thought it was on C-SPAN.

Paul Rahe On The Conservative Prospect

Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift, by Paul A. Rahe, is a book that will NLT readers will enjoy and learn from. I reviewed the book last month for National Review, and Mark Steyn wrote about it for The New Criterion. Prof. Rahe, a historian at Hillsdale College, has been contributing essays to Power Line over the past few weeks, the most recent of which explored some of the questions raised in these two reviews. The fellows who run Power Line were kind enough to let me respond to Prof. Rahe, in a post that appeared yesterday.

Money for nothing

I wrote up my NLT post on the Cash for Clunkers program.

As an extra added bonus, the newspaper version comes with a picture.

California needs a new constitution

so thinks Tom Karako. His major point is this:

"To the extent that California is ungovernable today, it is partly because its legislative and executive branches are too weak and dysfunctional to resist entrenched special interests and non-elected bureaucracies." So you can’t fix the fiscal mess unless you re-write the constitution to make it more Madisonian.

He has many detailed suggestions worth considering.   

Banish me from the blog, if you will

But I’ve taken advantage of this program to purchase a new mobile soda can, trading in a decrepit minivan for a hefty sum (roughly what it would have taken to repair it). I thanked my children and as-yet unborn grandchildren and great-grandchildren for my new car.