Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Literature, Poetry, and Books

Raymond Chandler

He was born on this day in 1888. Ended up in California, in the south of it, being deeply affected by it and effecting it. We cannot understand California without him. Drinking too much, walking the rain touched dust smelling streets, into Santa Monica, or into the Santa Ana winds, walking into too many women, some showgirls....all too much. Once he discovered he could write, he did, but he had to work at it. Someone said he wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles of a romantic presence. Good and true.  He died in 1959 of too much, with sure redemption in his words. His private detective, Philip Marlowe, was "The best man in the world and a good enough man for any world."  You should read his novels, but also read his essay, The Simple Art of Murder. And ruminate on the last paragraph, which begins: "In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption.  It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished not afraid."

I like this line: "I kissed her again. It was light pleasant work."


Trust Fund Babies

How can the executive branch not send out Social Security checks when Social Secuirty owns billions on its own.  According to Thomas Saving, that won't even increase our debt:

By law the Treasury is bound to redeem any bonds presented to it by the Social Security Administration. And when the Treasury does, total government debt subject to the debt limit falls by the amount of the redemption--thus freeing up the Treasury's ability to issue new bonds equal in amount to the redeemed Trust Fund bonds.

Therefore, meeting Social Security obligations in August, September and all future months in this fashion would add nothing to the gross government debt subject to the debt limit. Not, at least, until the $2.4 trillion Trust Fund is exhausted in 2038.

Update. I heard from a political economics expert on this issue. He noted that we could end the entire debt crisis simply by canceling the debts the U.S. government owes to Social Security, [Since they are debts to ourselves, as I understand the logic] and admitting that the program is a transfer program from current workers to current retirees.  Not going to happen, politically, he noted.

Update 2: Michael McConnell weighs in on Social Security payments from the trust fund.

Categories > Economy


Lowering the Bar

George Leef points us to a debate about the future of law schools.  He argues "that the bar exam should be open to anyone, not just those who have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school. That would lead to far more competition by opening up non-law-school modes of legal education."

If the purpose of the bar exam is to make sure that would-be lawyers know enough to practice, why is law school necessary?

His point about allowing for diversity among law schools is also well taken. Why must they all follow the three year model?

Opening the bar exam might have interesting reprecussions.  Would a smart student at Harvard Law school who feels the financial burden of tuition (and perhaps is simply bored with school), quit after a year or two and then take the bar.  He could say he "attended" Harvard Law school, albeit without graduating.  That might be something of a return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, when many students at elite schools regarded them partly as finishing schools, rather than as places for specialized learning.  In that model, taking a degree was not always necessary.

The consequences of such a change on the fortunes of our friends the law professoriat would be intereseting, to say the least.

Categories > Education


Do You Have a Degree in Journalism?

Listen to Representative Mo Brooks' response to a question from MSNBC's Contessa Brewer.  Then think about the real significance of her question, which reflects the Progressive belief that one must be an "expert" to hold valid opinions.    

Categories > Journalism


Why the Italian Crisis Matters

The economic failures of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain have been worrisome and damaging to the Eurozone. The troubles of Spain in particular are dangerous given the size and scope of its economy, and if it does indeed collapse it will send markets reeling but may still leave a salvageable endgame. The fact that the eurozone contagion is now pushing Italy to the precipice is much more dangerous. For some time, people have been somewhat worried about the prospect of an Italian economic collapse-- Italy is the seventh largest economy in the world and the third largest in Europe. Unlike the other troubled nations, Italy is too big to be bailed out. This is a problem as the likelihood of an Italian debt default has started to increase over the last week, with the Italian and European markets getting jittery over Italy's debt. Italy is the third most-indebted nation in the world, and holds the most debt of the European countries.

Italy's problem is different than Greece and Spain, though, and thus much more worrisome. It is a stable, good economy with strong industries that make it a global player, from Fiat to fashion to wine. Spain's economy involved centrally-planned job growth that had a lot to do with building infrastructure that now sits completed and unused, meaning a lot of money was spent giving people temporary jobs which they now cannot replace (in addition to other contagions within Spain). So, under its heavy debt, Spain doesn't have much going for it anyways at this point. Italy, though, is much different-- investors have every reason to trust in its economy. However, the massive debt of the Italian government has spooked them off, and like dominos it will hurt everything.

Even though the European Union, various European banks, and the Italian government are rushing to spare Italy from the chaos that has engulfed nations like nearby Greece, efforts are exasperated by a lack of confidence in the market and the current state of Italian politics. Last fall I lived in Italy, and I remember a rally thousands strong in the square outside of my Florentine apartment opposing hikes in college tuition prices-- I can only imagine the number of protestors and the level of anger now. On top of that, parliamentary infighting between scandal-plagued Italian Premiere Silvio Berlusconi and Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti has jittered the markets over concerns that the government will not be able to avert a default on their debt. Tremonti defiantly declared after a recent meeting on Belgium, "If I fall, so falls Italy," taking a shot at Berlusconi. He followed up with the real kicker, though- "If Italy falls, so does the Euro."

The Eurozone will not be able to sustain an Italian economic collapse, and the Euro--just a few years ago talked about as a possibility for replacing the dollar as the world currency--will become toxic. France, already looking more and more endangered, will likely follow Italy in economic collapse if their southern neighbor does fall down. The mighty economy of Germany, almost single-handedly holding up the entirety of the European Union, will not be able to hold up all of this weight. This will have a ripple effect on the entire world economy, and would likely reverse any progress made in the global recession. Indeed, it will return worse off than it was before, as both the United States and China, each facing their own problems, will not be able to sustain such blows in the global marketplace. The Italian crisis needs to be watched very, very carefully, and every effort made to avert collapse there.

It is interesting to note something a French national currently studying here in Washington told me the other day. For the longest time, the United States has always pointed to Europe and said that we cannot become them, highlighting our differences and thus why we are better off. In Europe, some political commentators would sometimes point to the United States a model economic and government systems. She says that now, though, the common line in France among radio and television personalities is pointing at the United States as a warning of things to come. France is relatively stable, but starting to shows cracks that would be broken open by an Italian default. They are now looking at both our federal government and our states like California, and using us now as an example of something to avoid rather than to follow. We are toxic. We are dangerous. We cannot be emulated on this current path we are on. In watching the crisis of the Eurozone unfold, America would do well not just to see it as a potential threat to us or something that may happen to us down the road-- America must realize that it is more of a reflection of our current woes. We're still in a lot of trouble, and if we don't swallow the hard medicine regarding our government expenditures soon, then we will join Italy and France alongside Greece and Ireland far sooner than we think.
Categories > Economy


Raw Deal?

James Capretta (whose judgment I really trust), slags the Gang of Six Plan.  I tend to agree.  The plan gives about as much as conservatives can reasonably give in a good faith center-left/center-right compromise when it comes to tax revenues (I can see a little more wiggle room on tax rates but not much.)  I'm okay with that as long as it is coupled with specific substantial long-term reductions and restructuring on the spending side.  Right now, the Republican votes to raise taxes and then get a promise that majority Democratic Senate committees will sometime later produce something later which will then be voted on through the reconciliation process. No sale.  On the other hand I can't see anything like major right-leaning reform (even if it includes higher revenues) passing this Senate.  One moral is that if Republicans want fundamental reform of the size and structure of the federal government along Ryan(ish) lines, they are going to have to win the argument and elections based on their preferred spending levels and entitlement reforms. 
Categories > Politics


The First Challenges to Progressivism

Every time I teach a course or give a talk on the seemingly irresistible rise of Progressivism in the early twentieth century, a dismayed student inevitably asks whether anyone at the time spoke out in defense of the Constitution and the principles of the American Founding. The answer, of course, is "yes," but with little sustained success. Still, Jonathan O'Neill has provided a very useful account of these "First Conservatives" in a recent Heritage Foundation First Principles essay. O'Neill summarizes the anti-Progressive arguments of Irving Babbitt, Frank L. Owsley, and Albert Jay Nock and their contributions to later forms of Conservatism and Libertarianism, but also identifies their common defect - a rejection of the natural rights doctrine of the American Founding. There were some Conservatives, however, such as David Jayne Hill and Elihu Root, who offered a more principled opposition to Progressivism. Hill was a founder of the National Association for Constitutional Government, which published The Constitutional Review, distributed pocket-sized copies of the Constitution, and even persuaded the American Bar Association "to help lawyers communicate constitutional principles to popular audiences at the local level." Unlike many other Conservatives at the time, the NACG defended the Constitution on the grounds that it was essential for the security of natural rights. In the work of the NACG and others, O'Neill identifies a useful model for the modern Conservative opposition to Liberal Progressivism. Definitely worth a careful read.

Categories > Conservatism



I love California. It is where I was born and, though self-exiled to this obnoxiously humid side of the country, still consider it home. The size and scope of the state make it the most variety-filled in the Union, and due to the complexities of my family when I was growing up I got to experience a great many different aspects of the Golden State. Most of my grandparents are immigrants in one way or another, and found there way to the Western coast in the last century. I was born in Cedars Sinai, a well-known hospital in the middle of Los Angeles. Most of my family works in entertainment, and I grew up around movie sets as if that were a normal aspect of life, and was exposed to that particular feature of California. However, I also spent half of my time up along the beautiful central coast in the small town of Lompoc, just north of Santa Barbara, trading movie sets for the ruins of the old Spanish Missions and hikes along the Santa Ynez riverbed. 

Lompoc was once known as the flower seed capital of the world, and many of my school friends up in Santa Maria (closest Catholic high school to Lompoc) came from families that ran farms or vineyards. It is also host to Vandenberg Air Force Base, and from my back porch we could see four of the rocket launch pads and had a great view whenever a missile was launched into the heavens. I learned how to drive both along the backcountry roads of the Santa Ynez Valley and the dangerously fun roads of Mulholland Drive. I attended symphonies at the Hollywood Bowl and the carnival at the Lompoc Flower Festival. I shopped in the Los Angeles Farmer's Market back before the Euro-wannabe Grove was put there, and regularly went to a real farmers market in the country of the central coast. My grandfather was a steel industrialist in the City of Industry and a noted philanthropist among the Jewish community in Los Angeles, and my step-grandfather was a gun-toting, boot-wearing sheriff in Santa Barbara County with a bust of John Wayne in his living room. Summers and nice weekends I would like to slip down towards Carlsbad to visit my cousins and enjoy the beautiful beach life of the southern coast. One of my favorite memories as a child was a day my Cub Scout group went up to the mountains to play in the snow for the day, and then had a cookout down on the beach for dinner. I love California and the experiences I had there.

Perhaps because of my love for the state and my somewhat unique life experiencing many different facets of her growing up, I have long been opposed to the oft-brought up notion of splitting the state up into smaller states. After watching the elections of 2008 and 2010, though, and the continued failures of Sacramento to fix the many, many great wrongs that Californians are suffering at the hands of government policy, I have started to become more amenable to the idea. The rotten stench of government bureaucracy and the centralization of politics has long been dulling the gleam of the Golden State, and has now pushed it not only to a precipice but, perhaps, even off the cliff already. Perhaps splitting it is the only parachute available to dull the coming crash. However, the recent proposal from Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone to split off the southern and Inland Empire counties and form "South California" is not a viable solution; what he proposes, which would cut off Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties from the south, is simply an extreme form of political gerrymandering.

However, a real North/South split is not such a ludicrous proposal. My roommate earlier this year was from the Bay Area, and we got to talking frequently about how different Northern Californians are from Southern Californians. Indeed, I realized that I never even went further north of San Luis Obispo in my life save from a trip to San Francisco once and occasional trips to the San Simeon area; I always complained that it was too cold and gray up there (words I ate upon attending college in Ohio!) and that the people dressed a little differently and were simultaneously neither as relaxed nor as formal as we in the south (a difficult notion to really explain), and that they had silly words like "hella" in their vocabulary, and Napa people were snobby about their wines compared to the central vineyards. Most of this is exaggeration, of course, but you do seem to head into a bit of a different land when you get up past Big Sur and Fresno. A split in half right about there between north and south makes sense. The north maintains the Port of San Francisco, the industry of Silicon Valley, and the fertile farmlands like Napa. The south maintains the Port of Los Angeles, the good land of the central coast and valley, and the industry of the southland (mostly aeronautics). Good and attractive universities and tourism centers remain in both. It would allow government to become a bit more localized, which is good for the south in particular as there are almost as many people between Los Angeles and San Diego as there are in Texas. The subsequent reorganization of counties, congressional districts, and some municipalities might do a lot in the long-term for federalism and lessen the burden on the weakened Californian economy.

Of course, it is not an easy thing and would not happen any time soon, nor would it solve all of California's many, many ills. Democrats will fight it tooth and nail for it will make federal politics a bit more competitive with the conservative-leaning southland and inland areas of southern California wielding a lot more leverage over Los Angeles and the coastal cities. For fear of increasing the numbers of Republican senators and losing the edge California usually gives them in the Electoral College they will fight it. As splitting the state would likely require a full constitutional amendment in addition to the approval of the state government, some deal would have to be made to make this happen-- a likely case being statehood for the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico (Ilya Somin gives his thoughts on this over at the Volokh Conspiracy). The odds are huge and thus unlikely, at least within the foreseeable future, but perhaps more people may come around to the idea that one of the best ways to begin to revive our lovely land by the sea would be easing the burden on Sacramento and localizing government more by a split. I'm still not entirely sold, but it certainly seems worth seriously considering.
Categories > Politics


Jeffersonian Problems

Apparently the latest criticism of Michelle Bachmann is that she gets migraine headaches. That hardly disqualifies someone from high office.  After all, Thomas Jefferson suffered from the same ailment.

Meanwhile, Bill's post below points out that "Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution has made a similar case, arguing that a nation whose government has 'most of its budget on automatic pilot and a fifth of its expenses unpaid for' has abandoned 'fiscal democracy.' That is, all of the budgetary decisions that matter were made decades ago when social insurance programs were created."

That reminds me of Jefferson's belief that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living, and "that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it."  For one generation to bind another with debts and other obligations to pay is for one set of people to tax another without their consent.  According to Mr. Jefferson, that is a version of involuntary servitude.  Our entitlement programs are moving close to that line, if it has not already crossed it.

Categories > Economy


Barack Obama, CIA Stooge?

Angelo Codevilla's latest:

His haughty demeanor, his stilted language when off the teleprompter, his cultural likes and dislikes, bespeak an upbringing in an environment at once so upscale and so leftist that it makes him almost a foreigner to ordinary Americans. . . .

Consistent with the Barack Obama we know, however, are his real family, his real upbringing, and his real choices of profession and associates. His mother's parents, who raised him, seem to have been cogs in the U.S. government's well-heeled, well-connected machine for influencing the world, whether openly ("gray influence") or covertly ("black operations"). His mother spent her life and marriages, and birthed her children, working in that machine. For paradigms of young Barack's demeanor, proclivities, opinions, language, and attitudes one need look no further than the persons who ran the institutions that his mother and grandparents served--e.g., the Ford Foundation, the United States Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency--as well as his chosen mentors and colleagues. It is here, with these people and institutions, that one should begin to unravel the unknowns surrounding him. . . .

[Barack] Obama [Sr.] was housed at the University of Hawaii's East-West Center facility funded by the Asia Foundation, itself funded by CIA.

Anyone and everyone knew that Barack Obama, Sr., and others like him had been brought to America to be influenced. . . . Ann's second child was born in a marriage to another such person at the East-West Center. The Indonesian government had sent Lolo Soetoro to the East-West Center as a "civilian employee of the Army." . . .

Ann ran a "micro-financing" project, financed by the Ford Foundation, in Indonesia's most vulnerable areas. Supervising the funding at Ford in the late '60s was Peter Geithner, whose son would eventually serve hers as U.S. secretary of the treasury. In addition to the Ford Foundation, the list of her employers is a directory of America's official, semi-official, and clandestine organs of influence: the United States Information Agency, the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank. While running a project for five years in Pakistan, she lived in Lahore's Hilton International. Nothing small time, never mind hippyish.

In sum, though the only evidence available is circumstantial, Barack Obama, Jr.'s mother, father, stepfather, grandmother, and grandfather seem to have been well connected, body and soul, with the U.S. government's then extensive and well-financed trans-public-private influence operations.

Categories > Presidency

Pop Culture

Box Office Magic

The final motion picture installment of the Harry Potter franchise opened this weekend to the most stunning film totals ever, garnering over $300 million worldwide in just the weekend (with it not even showing on Chinese screens yet!). Through midnight showings alone it flew past records and made $43.5 million. It is the best weekend ever for Hollywood, which is fitting for one of the most profitable film sagas in history. While the movie was not by any means a feat of greatness (I managed to go hide out in a theater for a few hours on Saturday), and certainly did not hold up to other saga endings (though Alan Rickman certainly merits some praise for his Severus Snape, and the special effects ought to get an Oscar nod), Harry Potter gave Hollywood a story that it loves and has figured out how to do well: the tale of a young and reluctant hero coming to age amidst tragedy and seemingly insurmountable odds. Like other sagas such as Star Wars, The Matrix, and The Lord of the Rings, this is a story that Hollywood likes to tell and sells well.

And this is a good thing. Saying nothing about other messages hidden within these films or issues with their presentation, the fundamental issue of these films moves beyond just good versus evil, getting to the fundamental issue at hand: choice. A common argument I run into against people with good hearts but a certain near-sightedness is that some individuals cannot be held fully accountable for their actions because they were forced into them; a criminal steals because society has made him impoverished, or a person is violent because they were abused as a child. Monsters like Hitler and Stalin, though they should be held accountable, should at least be given some understanding for the hardships in their early lives that made them who they are.

But, at the end of the day, there is always a choice. Every man chooses whether to commit good or evil. For some, because of their circumstances, this choice can be harder-- there is no denying that. But it is still a choice. The heroes in these sagas that make Hollywood rich are often humble people who have dealt with terrible things in their youth and are asked to accomplish really hard things, whether it is overthrowing an evil Galactic Empire or resisting the temptation of the One Ring or finding out how to finish off Lord Voldemort once and for all. If anyone has any reason to be angry at the world or seek the easy way out, it is our heroes in these franchises. Their insistence on always trying to make the right choice vexes their enemies, frustration visible in the eyes of Agent Smith and Voldemort as they come up against this resistance. Evil is there, for all of them, tempting them with the ease that it brings; good is harder to maintain, comes with more pain and suffering, and is almost always on the brink of being extinguished. In the end, though, after great sacrifices, the odds are overcome and the good guys make the right choices and thus win-- Frodo finds his peace, Luke dances around with the Ewoks, Zion is saved, the Boy Who Lived can send his own little wizards to Hogwarts. They are good people, and can see evil for what it is. They make the right choice. The tale is simple, the principles rigid, but Hollywood likes it because people like it and will pay to see it. Good for us.
Categories > Pop Culture


Between Barack and a Hard Place

So President Obama is threatening to veto a small ball bill, that raises the debt limit and has some modest cuts.  And it might be that that's the only kind of bill that can pass the House of Representatives.

Perhaps I was correct the other day when I suggested that this is not the best time to have a big fight over the size and job of government. As Rich Lowry concedes, "I may have vastly over-estimated Republican leverage on the debt limit."

If the smallball version can pass both the House and Senate, it's certainly worth sending to the President's desk.  If it gets there, that will make life very interesting.

Categories > Politics


Showdown At Ideology Gap

President Obama concluded his press conference last Friday by arguing that liberals ought to think about reducing the federal deficit not simply as a concession they're forced to make because conservatives have a significant degree of political power. They should, instead, view it as a necessary step to create more fiscal and political space for the elaboration of the liberal agenda: 

If you are a progressive, you should be concerned about [the] debt and deficit just as much as if you're a conservative. And the reason is because if the only thing we're talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it's very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained, how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure.

If you care about making investments in our kids and making investments in our infrastructure and making investments in basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order, so that every time we propose a new initiative somebody doesn't just throw up their hands and say, "Ah, more big spending, more government."

Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution has made a similar case, arguing that a nation whose government has "most of its budget on automatic pilot and a fifth of its expenses unpaid for" has abandoned "fiscal democracy." That is, all of the budgetary decisions that matter were made decades ago when social insurance programs were created. If those big programs are forever "off the table" then there will never be revenues for new programs to meet new challenges. Sawhill estimates that federal taxes will have to double or triple in the next 40 years just to fulfill the inviolable promises made by Medicare and Social Security. Not only would such taxes be intolerable in themselves, but they would obliterate all prospects for the government to do anything else on the liberal wish list.

The problem, of course, with sensible liberal arguments is that so many liberals end up rejecting them. Jonathan Cohn contends that opposition to the liberal agenda has less to do with the federal deficit than with suspicion about government in general, which goes back nearly half-a-century to the great disruptions of the 1960s. Joan Walsh argues that reducing spending to curtail deficits leads liberals in exactly the wrong direction. In her view, Barack Obama is making Bill Clinton's mistake, hoping in vain that fiscal rectitude will neutralize political opposition to new liberal initiatives. In fact, she says, the political space for American social democracy is already there, and liberal leaders would do more to expand it by closing "the gap between Democratic campaigning and Democratic governing," gratifying the liberal base rather than wasting political capital trying to placate liberalism's adversaries, in other words.

Walsh admits, however, that there's one teensy complication: According to public opinion surveys, there are large and durable majorities for all sorts of governmental expansions. "The problem is matching up the political beliefs measured by polling, and the political beliefs measured by voting, where lasting majorities on behalf of those priorities don't ever seem to materialize."

"I don't know exactly why that gap exists," she writes, but the gap is certainly the fundamental reason why liberals are so morose, always expecting and never experiencing the latitude and exhilaration of FDR's First Hundred Days in 1933. Many liberals are convinced that the public opinion surveys are accurate barometers of popular sentiment while the ballots Americans cast in elections are spurious. Much of the desire for campaign finance reform is to move the not-so-liberal election results in the direction of the considerably more liberal opinion survey results. The desire for more fundamental structural reforms - such as abolishing the filibuster, the equal representation of states in the Senate, or the Electoral College - partake of the same desire to make the Constitution a safe harbor for a permanent liberal majority drifting at sea.

The belief that polling results are valid and election results are irrelevant reflects the power of the "Howell Raines Fallacy," described by Mickey Kaus as the assumption, always consoling and usually lazy, "that one's righteous views are shared by the great and good American People." (The fallacy is named for a former editor of the New York Times, a journalist known in some quarters as Howl Reigns.) "HRF liberals are constantly calling in the American people as a cavalry (that never comes)," writes Kaus. The fallacy seduces people other than liberals, however: HRF conservatives had persuaded one another by 2005 that the electorate would insist on incorporating private savings accounts into Social Security if only a Republican president had the courage to propose it.

Beyond the Raines Fallacy problem, public opinion surveys are especially prone to overstate the attractiveness and political feasibility of expanding the welfare state. Intensity does and should matter in politics, and elections reflect intensity far more reliably and subtly than public opinion surveys. Democrats finally realized, for example, that polls showing majorities in favor of strict gun control laws were deceptive. The anti-gun majority contained few people who would vote for a politician on the basis of that issue, while the pro-gun minority contained a significant number of people who would vote, donate, and volunteer to defeat candidates who favored gun control and elect ones who opposed it. The "majority" position was, electorally, a loser. I suspect that a similar phenomenon explains part of the gap Joan Walsh laments: the people who tell Gallup they favor more spending on social welfare programs and higher taxes on the rich don't include many people who'll vote on that basis, while the people who take the conservative position on these questions in surveys are disproportionately likely to vote against government expanders and in favor of government restrictors.

Context also matters in politics, and is also better reflected by elections than surveys. It's easy to tell a pollster you're "for" more spending on noble sounding programs, when those sentiments don't cost anybody anything or require any hard choices about which taxes will be raised or which competing programs will be cut back in order to make budgetary room for the "favored" initiatives. As I've argued elsewhere, liberals like survey results because the polling context, artificially purged of scarcity or zero-sum dilemmas, is exactly the mindset liberals wish to bring to the enterprise of governance. It's when we consider pesky details - "How are we going to pay for all this stuff?" or "If the government does more of this - and this, and this - what, exactly, is it going to do less of?" - that the lasting majorities on behalf of the liberal wish list fail to materialize. There are any number of reasons to feel pessimistic about the future of conservatism, but the need to secure resources and set priorities won't soon disappear, which means it's likely to be a while before happy days are here again for liberalism.
Categories > Progressivism


Constitutional Conservatism

Never mind the First Amendment as it has been incorporated through the Fourteenth.  Herman Cain, who claims to so love our Founders, who do well to think about the principles behind one on the noblest documents written by the Father of our country.


The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy--a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.


It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Categories > Politics