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Wednesday, 17 June 2020


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As conservatives, we have always had to deal with sell outs in our ranks. Judges are always at the head of the list, followed by the "John McCain" type "mavericks" who like judges, seem to like glowing write ups in enemy news papers and all the while those newspapers the next day will call these sell outs "Nazis", fascists etc.

Better this than China? Our entire left apparatus is more like China everyday. They have captured the oldest political party in America in their quest. America may need to leave China "over there" alone and take on the "China" springing up right here under our noses. Same with NATO. The EU wants to play both sides. Form your damn "EU Army" and back up your position. Enough.

One of the most insightful posts you've written, David. "Messy" is the operative word. In reality the Supreme Court can't settle the matter for good. There will be years of challenges and pushing the edges of law, just as in the Roe v. Wade decision. The most it might be is an indicator of future norms.

It turns out a national security rat is probably even worse. John Bolton really put the screws to Donny in his book:

I'll have more confidence in a president who at least has normal length fingers.

The Supremes just stuck it to Donny again by siding with Obama. This time Chief Justice Roberts lead the dirty deed:

Roberts has become more and more enamored with being seen as "clever" by leftwing legal scholars and I believe Kavanaugh et al are waiting for one more sure vote.

Roberts has become also more and more tolerant of state violations of incorporated bill of rights amendments. Honestly, I don't have a problem with the ruling given the current framework of Title VII in place. Ideally, the federal government should never have had this power to do any of this, but that train has come and gone.

I echo Colonel Lang's sentiments. No matter one's politics (or "feelings" - incidentally 'stuff' I considered revealing the forty years hence, got a remit and an extension for another 20 years so I guess 'funding my twilight years' might include taking up either a paper route or mowing lawns or something - Maybe Barney can afford a security consultant but I doubt it)

Anyway, Bolton needs arresting and immediate transfer to the brig.

The laws demand it.


"Of course, all this is a perfect demonstration of American democracy in action."

I respectfully dissent. "Democracy" (at least in the small-'r' republican form that it is supposed to take in the U.S.), would have required, in order to prune a fundamental liberty of American citizens, some sort of legislative action. (After all, if enforcing this unfreedom were actually the "will of the people", that will ought naturally to manifest itself, in due time, through the political process, or the whole thing is a farce to begin with. Which it may well be.)

Instead, the result was imposed on the American people by the whim of one man -- unelected, appointed for life, and politically unaccountable.

Point taken, Malcolm, but as I wrote, "American democracy in action. It's messy, it's unpredictable and it constantly changes".

... the result was imposed on the American people by the whim of one man -- unelected, appointed for life, and politically unaccountable.

That, Malcolm, is reductio ad absurdum. To begin with, there were 4 other justices who agreed. Beneath that is the fact all the justices were appointed by presidents elected by the people. Then there were the states that passed laws pertinent to the case. At ground level are the constituent citizens who demanded social change.


"At ground level are the constituent citizens who demanded social change."

There's your "absurdum." As you note these are or in a real world representative republic would be, as you say "constituent citizens" who, demanding anything would have 'contacted their elected representatives' in the Congress whose duty it is to "represent their constituents" so to enact statute (or rather, clarify) whatever the earlier sitting Congress' "intent" actually was - or now through their inaction, is.

"Social change" can be so simply done as by a simple judicial fiat?

That's what's absurd.

Or, as readily, wave a magic wand and then drop down the paragraph to say the 'That's what's absurd' is how I'd intended.

My dog distracted me.


Sure, fine, 4 other justices too. A majority of one, in a group of nine unaccountable magistrates. Nine all-too fallible individuals, in a nation of one-third of a billion people, with an unchecked veto power over the people's laws and the executive decisions of their President.

Vox populi, indeed! I'm not a particular fan of democracy anyway, mind you -- but whatever "democracy" is, that ain't it.


Yep. Citizens demand change by electing presidents and congress members who claim to agree with them. They eventually appoint a court that agrees with them and laws change. The law usually lags social evolution. The process is slow and imperfect, but so are people, which makes it a good match. Do you think you could invent a better one?



People often disagree. In civilized societies they've come to rely on an eventual compromise consensus. In a top down system how would you propose to establish not-too fallible kings, dictators, or what have you to persuade everyone to agree? Failing persuasion, what kind of state control would you consider productive?


In civilized societies they've come to rely on an eventual compromise consensus.

Right. My point is that punting everything to a panel of nine unaccountable judges -- as legislators increasingly prefer to do, as it protects them from political accountability -- is not "democratic", and is not an algorithm for determining "consensus". I'll say it again: whatever "democracy" is, that ain't it.

As for Democracy itself, it is simply one possible form of government among many. It is nothing more than that: just one possible engineering solution to a enormously complex problem. No solution is ideal; all have assets and liabilities, and choosing the right solution means answering difficult questions about what form's strengths and weaknesses might provide the best government for a particular people at a particular time. We should never fetishize one class of engineering solutions over all the rest; to say that Democracy is always the right answer is like saying we should only build truss bridges instead of suspension bridges. There are different sorts of beautiful and functional bridges, and there have been free and happy societies under different forms of government. It's all about what you want to build, for what purpose, and with what materials.

I care far less about what form of government I live under than about being governed well. Do I feel free? Am I safe? Is my property secure? Are public affairs generally stable enough to invest confidently in the future? These things are what really matter to most people, and what make societies flourish.

The "churn" of democracy -- its volatility and susceptibility to the passions of the mob, and the way it makes elected officials think only about short-term incentives, and about making whatever promises they must to get through the next election, knowing that someone else will be responsible for fulfilling them -- is a very serious liability, and tends toward worse and worse government as time goes by and more and more of all this gets "baked in".

Looking around, it's fair to ask just how well-suited our own "form" is to the present-day "matter" -- the vast, diverse, deeply Balkanized 21st-century American population. I mean, seriously -- can anyone look at this nation right now (or most of the rest of the West) and say with a straight face that we are "well governed"?

I should say also that the way in which the law most democratically "lags social evolution" is by legislators taking the temperature of the electorate, and adjusting the law accordingly under pressure of losing their offices if they don't. As Antonin Scalia often complained in his dissents, for the Court to usurp that process not only jumps the gun, but removes that healthy pressure from legislators.


The US certainly has problems with governance. So does every other country, and some are far worse. What country's government would you like the US to emulate, or do you have a novel idea? How would you bring the change about?

Frankly, Bob, I don't think the U.S. as currently constituted is governable. It's gotten too big, too diverse, and too poisoned with ethnic and ideological faction. And no nation that teaches generations of children to despise its own history and heritage and national mythos and founding heroes is going to hang together as a nation for long. Lincoln said that "a house divided against itself, cannot stand" -- and what is America now but a house divided against itself?

The only thing I can imagine that would offer any hope at all at this point would be a great loosening and decentralization, a generalized return to the subsidiarity and local government of the republic's early years. But that isn't at all likely to happen, under the existing Federal behemoth, at least not without a fight. And even if there were a general will to make that happen, the warring factions are so intermingled geographically that it's hard to see how it could really be done.

But -- as Stein's Law reminds us, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." And so it will: there surely lies ahead some sort of sorting-out. Personally I think the U.S. will indeed come apart, before another decade is gone -- but what that means, and whether it can be accomplished without terrible loss, I have no idea.

I agree the US is ungovernable for now, but you sound a bit too pessimistic to me, Malcolm. We've had other times of division - the Civil War for example. I intend to live another decade to see what happens.


Pessimistic? Moi?

Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound:

You mention the previous Civil War; it appears from current events that that war never really ended. It wasn't enough, it seems, to end slavery; the "progressive" religion that has driven us, for centuries now, to seek earthly Utopias is never satisfied.

It was enough for these people, for a time, merely to accept that the South was defeated, and, for the sake of mending the Union, to let them honor their dead; but that time is now past, and the great hunger is upon them again. Now they are coming not only for Lee, but also for Jefferson and Washington, and of course even that won't be the end of it: the whole thing, the whole astonishing American experiment on this fruited plain, will simply have to go, root and branch. They are aflame with hate, and in the hour of their fury they have their enemy before them, prostrate and groveling. The lust to smash, to destroy, consumes them; the stench of blood is in their nostrils.

Who will stop them? Look around you. Who will do it? You? Me? The useful idiots of the corporations and the press? The "woke" white women of the cities and suburbs? Their epicene, soft-handed manlets? Pah.

That's what we are up against here. Perhaps there is a Remnant in America that still has the thumos actually to stand and fight. We will see.


I was wrong. You're really pessimistic.

Well Bob, it's true, I'm mighty worried. (And I do tend to express myself, on this worrisome topic, with some "warmth".)

But you yourself agreed, just above, that the U.S. is now ungovernable. "Ungovernable" is, to a nation, about the same as what "totaled" is to a car.

To be fair, you only said that you thought the U.S. is "ungovernable for now". But if it's all only temporary, then we have to ask: how does a nation, especially a nation of this size and diversity, so deeply riven, and so sick with self-loathing and hatred of its own founding heroes and myths, go from "ungovernable" back to being "governable"?

To answer that we'd have to answer another question: why did it become ungovernable? You can't fix something unless you know how it broke down. Bad design? Was the thing just cobbled together out of too many ill-fitting parts? Or did it all just get too big, too bloated, too fat, too soft, too old, too worn-out? Nothing lasts forever.

Last time the nation was "ungovernable", it cost 600,000 lives -- and as we can see today, it never really fixed the problem. What will it take this time?

So you see, Bob, it's that I can't really see a good way forward from here, or at least one that preserves the traditional American nation that I was raised to love and honor. Typically, throughout history, when great nations get to this point they're pretty much washed up.

I can imagine some possibilities:

- A slow decline into a sullen, low-trust mediocrity of resentful factions and interest groups, with chronic violence tamped down by an all-powerful central State;

- A steep decline that accelerates rapidly enough that central control can't keep up, with widespread chaos;

- Some sort of gradual understanding that the whole thing is just too big and broken to remain one nation, leading to some sort of peaceful disaggregation;

- A gradual settling-down, leading to a new period of calm under our new national religion of "wokeness", with "legacy" Americans persuaded to atone for their sins by abandoning their attachments to, and defense of, their history, heroes, traditions, European heritage, Bill of Rights, etc...

That last one isn't going to happen. (Wokeness, like rust, never sleeps.)

Have I missed anything here? Change my mind. Cheer me up.

Malcolm, anyone who believes America is "deeply riven, and so sick with self-loathing and hatred of its own founding heroes and myths" may well be inconsolable.

However, the country has always been "deeply riven": the various European powers v. each other through their own armies and proxies, natives v. Europeans, Mexicans v. settlers v. each other and the natives and the colonial powers both foreign and domestic, rich v. poor, ethnic groups v. others, etc. I challenge you to name any period of time in America everyone got along.

You're quick to call beliefs you disagree with religions, but the original has been violently at odds throughout our history: Christianity v. everybody else, especially witches and those with other naturalistic beliefs, Catholics v. Protestants, Mormons v. natives, etc. and etc. forever and ever amen. Things certainly aren't any worse.

Who exactly in America is so exceptionally self-loathing? No one I know. People have complaints both legitimate and not. I don't know what universally considered heroes are loathed. Washington and Jefferson for owning slaves? Confederate leaders? I doubt what animus exists is personal. No one alive now knew those men. The complaints are usually about particulars of their legacies that have become incompatible with present realities. The founders themselves predicted it would happen and included in the Constitution means to change the laws and government to adapt. There's often plenty of ill-will in the process, but that's human nature.

As far as myths go, they're only stories that need not be respected and are often wrong. Is it important to believe George Washington never told a lie or America is composed of only "exceptional" people with a finer sense of morality than everyone else?

" I don't know what universally considered heroes "

Give us a list of ten universally considered heroes Bob and then I'll consider whether I wish to participate in this discussion.


I'm 64 years old. I've never seen the nation torn like this. Even in the '60s, at the height of the civil-rights movement, there was a sense of commonality as Americans, in our shared heritage, in the greatness of the Founding, even if we felt that there were things that needed changing. Now all of that is despised, denounced, reviled. It would have been unimaginable that mobs would be tearing down statues of Washington and Jefferson. But here we are.

Even the Civil War itself was not a rejection of the American heritage in the way that this upheaval is; in that war a part of the nation simply wanted to separate, to find its own way forward. Robert E. Lee was a proud West Point man and a patriotic American general before his homeland saw fit to divorce itself from the Union, but he never spat on the American story the way our media and academies do now, and he was admired as one of the greatest of Americans by presidents from Lincoln through to Eisenhower and beyond. Now he is a devil to be cast out.

I am not, sir, "quick to call beliefs I disagree with religions". It has taken me decades of patient study to see our now-dominant secular religion for what it is, and to trace its long evolutionary history. You may disagree -- but I assure you there was nothing "quick" about it.

I spoke of the importance of a shared national mythos for social cohesion -- as a requirement for any nation to endure as a nation. You jeer at the idea as meaning nothing more than believing that George Washington "never told a lie". I find it hard to believe you are being serious -- or, if you are, that your understanding of history and human nature could really be so unsubtle.

But really, I think we will have to leave it here. If you really cannot see the groveling of white Progressives before this mob as cultural and ethnic self-loathing, as a pseudoreligious act of self-abnegation and repentance, then I doubt I will persuade you:


We've each had our say, and I have nothing more to add. We'll just have to see how events unfold from here.


You're making my point. There are few if any universally admired American heroes. The descendents of the natives might not have a reason to respect any colonial or later figures, and have some pretty good reasons to think of them as merciless conquerers.



We can agree to disagree, but I have to mention that any belief system can be accused of being a religion. It's an essentially meaningless rhetorical ploy meant to imply peoples' beliefs are held without evidence or sense. Oddly enough, it's often used by religious people to revile others.


I do not use "religion" lightly or carelessly to describe the secular belief system now dominating the West. Nor am I the only one to make this observation.

In this case there is evidence of three kinds: morphological, cladistic, and the actual testimony of adherents. See my post linked above.

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