Monday, November 12, 2012

Deep breath


Yes, the election was a disaster and does not speak well of the state of the country.  But just as 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2004 were not guarantees of perpetual Republican hegemony, neither were 1992, 1996, 2008, or 2012 harbingers of a Democratic Thousand Year Reich.  R. R. Reno’s very wise advice is (among other things) to calm down and don’t over-interpret the results.  Megan McArdle also offers some useful reflections.

UPDATE: The election saved ObamaCare, right?  It's not that simple, says John C. Goodman, who argues that the "flaws in ObamaCare... are so serious that the Democrats are going to have to perform major surgery on the legislation in the next few years, even if all the Republicans do is stand by and twiddle their thumbs."

166 comments:

bgc said...

It depends whether you regard history as cyclical, or linear.

I'd say linear.

mpresley said...

Was the election a disaster? Well, it certainly depends upon who is reeling. The election was primarily decided down demographic lines, with the interesting fact that many whites stayed home.

For most blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews, along with whites from the "traditional" Yankee North, their candidate won handily, so one believes that these folks are not unhappy, or particularly traumatized. Let us look at the demographics:

Jews moved just a little toward the red, but this shift was only evident to the trained eye, and their overall Republican vote was quite limited. One may draw one's own conclusions about this, especially since the Republican candidate was strongly pro-Israel.

Protestant voters voted majority red. At the same time, those who claimed to attend church regularly were majority red voters (I have not seen this last demographic broken down by sect).

Catholics were closer to the red than hitherto, and it would not take much for them to be majority red. However, this must be tempered with future ethnic trends, since Catholic Hispanics are not inclined to vote Republican.

Hispanics in Florida (an interesting case since Florida can be taken as representative of the electorate writ large given its demographic) have moved solidly into the blue zone, with no trending outward. Cubans had been a Republican fixture, however it seems that the new generation of Cubans have forgotten Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, and have become de-Nixonized. Florida Puerto Ricans, like their island brothers and Northern sisters, have always been blue bloods.

Cities (as one would suspect given the racial/ethnic breakout) voted overwhelmingly blue compared to their rural counterparts.

Women as a group are decidedly blue, but one must also look at race/ethnicity to know the details.

The homomsexual vote was no different than the black vote.

Citizens aged 18-44 voted blue, oldsters red.

So it is pretty clear that the minority-majority coalition were, if not really satisfied with Obama, at least less worried about him than Romney.

And it is clear that as the country becomes more diverse (that is, less white), political liberalism as represented by the Democrat party will be the norm, at least at the national level.

Of course none of the above has much to do with whether the election was a disaster, in its various meanings. What it does show is that a numerical plurality of minority groups can easily overwhelm a single majority, as long as a few majority members are on board with them. Given demographic trends, it is likely that the Republican party will become rather moot at the national level, unless something radical is done to arrest this sort of social progression. However the Republican party seems intent upon embracing the very thing that is destroying it, so one is not optimistic of the Party's long term survival potential.

Austin said...

IMHO, the Republicans won't win another election until they change their strategy. First, they have to stop giving the cold shoulder to libertarian-leaning politicians like Ron Paul. We all knew Ron Paul wouldn't win the nomination, but when he was shunned at the RNC and some of his delegates barred entrance, the GOP went too far. I don't think it was a coincidence that the states who really liked Ron Paul in the primary went to Obama (Iowa, Colorado).

Second, they have to nominate a candidate that has something to offer besides "electability." That was the strategy with McCain and Romney and they were both disasters. When you can't even win a campaign with a candidate who you've nominated specifically because he can win a campaign and not because he would be a good president, you know something is wrong.

Joe K. said...

I'll be the negative one here. While a Republican president will surely get elected again (it'd be silly to think otherwise), I don't think that's really important to the state of conservatism as a sort of political philosophy. When a thoughtful person says that he thinks conservatism is dead, I don't think he's upset at the idea that the Democrats will control the government for 1000 years (they won't); I think he's upset that the nation as a whole doesn't just lean liberal on certain elections. He's upset because the starting point of all politics in this country just Is liberal.

In other words, the only victories that Republicans might manage to get are kind of hollow (and usually reactionary) as the entire modern rhetoric is predominantly liberal. Everything is about sexism or racism or about not being "judgmental." "Equality" is the good above all other goods, beyond all bounds of reason. The religious are actually probably Worse about this than the proclaimed-liberals, and They're supposed to be the conservative ones. Things like gay marriage are an absolute inevitability. It's just a matter of time. And this is how all people in this country (or the Western world) think: linearly progressive. And in 100 years, people will look back and equate people who were against gay marriage with slave owners.

The closest thing you get to anything conservative (as like a driving force to action) is the libertarians, who, really, are just more hardcore (or more consistent) liberals than the liberals. Or you might get people who are just really concerned with the economy or something. While prudence with money is clearly important, monetary concerns are not exactly the driving force that wins culture wars.

And while I'm upset with another Obama victory, I don't see it as proof that liberals have finally won out for good. They won (mostly) a long time ago. It's just more evidence of that fact. Similarly, if Romney Had won, I wouldn't've been all, "Conservatism is Back!"

Now, maybe there's something I'm missing and there is a change on the horizon, but I cannot even begin to think of how that change might take place. The world is necessarily going to end up very liberal because the tools people (even people trying to be conservative) engage the world with are liberal. This is sort of the tragedy of the modern world, I think.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

This election was a disaster. The first election of Obama was the disaster. That a majority of Americans would vote a Marxist to be the President!

What suceeded in 2008 was Karl Marx's prediction of the "Rule of the Proletariat". America is Marxist. Here is Fr. Hardon, S.J.

"In the light of what we have just seen, can anyone doubt that the United States has been deeply infected by Marxism. However, I believe we can say even more. Our country is a Marxist nation, Dare I say still more? The United States of America is the most powerful Marxist country in the world." This I believe was written sometime in the seventies.

Vox Dei has about the significant demographical change Obama and America's End. He asks this question: "Why do you believe a simple geographic change is sufficient to completely change an individual’s cultural traditions and political ideologies?".

You can't. Culture defines Politics. Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist thinker, and Socrates in Plato's Republic said and grasped that concept. And what is behind culture is Race and Religion. Race is the biggest factor. Race (and religion) define Culture. But Race seems to be the elephant in the room which no one is willing to talk about! Aristotle in his Politics discusses historical events of race replacement/displacement by immigrants and their violence! Immigrants will in many cases push out or dominate the indigineous people!

Race Matters.

This election sealed the end of America. The saying is as California goes, so does the state. California USED TO BE a solid Republican state. Now it is pure democratic state so much so that it now essentially a One-party state. How does the California example undermine the optimism of the OP. Demographics are destiny. Culture Defines Politics.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Vox Populi hit the nail on the head:

"As you look at this graph produced by Steve Sailer, keep in mind that, with a few exceptions, America was founded by married white Protestants of English extraction. Then recall that there is not a single white Protestant on the Supreme Court and neither party saw fit to nominate one for President. And then recall that demographics is destiny.

Some on the right claim that it would be a mistake to engage in the same racial politics that have created a left-wing majority. That is like trying to play football without acknowledging the newfangled rule that permits the forward pass. Racial politics are now the rule, and the only way the right can win is to start playing the game and taking advantage of its numerical advantages while it still can. The conventional abstract appeals to "freedom" and "America as an ideal" so beloved by conservative Republicans are the political equivalent of "three yards and a cloud of dust".
From Decline and Fall

Pat Buchanan, a Roman Catholic, has been sounding this for the longest time in contless of articles and in his books.

Race matters. Race is everything.

Brian said...

Even though it is rather bleak now, I am optimistic about the future. I have such confidence in the truth and appeal of Catholicism that I think one of the only things stopping a paradigm shift from happening in this country is simply a lack of drive and leadership on the part of Catholic laymen and clergy. Imagine if every parish priest were like, say, Father Robert Barron of YouTube fame.

The first step is in-house. Catholics are called to be the light of the world, drawing others towards the truth. Generally, we are not doing a very good job at that. Changing this country starts with Catholics rediscovering the authentic Faith.

Next, there needs to be an outreach towards our separated brethren. Protestantism simply does not have the philosophical and theological tools to face the secular culture. In many ways, it gave rise to it (see, for example, Gregory's "The Unintended Reformation"). And, more than that, Protestantism is a heresy and Protestants need to be disabused of it and brought back into the fold.

There also needs to be a dialogue with non-Christians and secularists. We need to harness all of the wisdom of the Catholic philosophical tradition and slowly persuade them. It can be done.

When you get Catholics to finally behave like Catholics, get Protestants to stop protesting, and chip away at the ranks of secularists through conversions, you'll get that paradigm shift. It's just gonna take a bunch of time and effort.

MarcAnthony said...

Nice post, Dr. Feser. In my experience things are very rarely as bad as they seem at the moment. Let's inch back off the ledge a bit and see what happens.

Joe K. said...

I'd like to qualify my comment a little bit here. I didn't mean to sound like such a downer. I just meant to point out that it's the fundamentals that are at issue here, not who happens to get elected. Unless the fundamentals (the tools by which society addresses conflicts and problems) change, the country will just continue to slide further and further into oblivion.

This is actually the main reason I like Prof. Feser's work so much. It says, "Look, this is why the fundamentals are wrong; the tools you employ are unjustified, and your premises are silly. Because the fundamentals are wrong, the conclusions are a mess. We must fix the fundamentals if we have any hope at addressing the clearly perverse conclusions."

I merely meant to play devil's advocate a little bit.

Joe K. said...

Without egging Wheeler on too much, "race matters" is clearly very different than "race is everything." I mean, come on, that's just sloppy.

Crude said...

The reason "race matters" is far and away mostly because "culture matters", and race happens to be a good indicator of culture in the US.

mpresley said...

After reviewing the available data, it pretty much looks like it's whites versus everyone else at the national level. Interestingly, blacks voted for Obama at a higher percentage than Mormons voted for Romney.

Even Hindus, for crying out loud, were solidly behind the Obamanator (which caused someone at a Discover magazine blog to quip that Hindus earn like Episcopalians, but vote like Puerto Ricans). This is not good news for either the immediate or the long-term future, since if anyone knows about the Kali Yuga, it is Hindus, and they are sure voting like they are in its midst. Expect no good news soon.

Daniel Smith said...

I'm a firm believer that the differences between Romney and Obama were so insignificant that it really didn't matter who won.

The economy is on the verge of collapse and we're arguing about which captain steers us into the iceberg!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

My statement "race is everything" should be changed to "Race is IN everything" because race not only creates culture, but it also influences religion. Christianity is a Greek religion. My teacher stressed that Christianity enculturated Hellenism. The faults of Roman Catholicism can be traced to the Latinization of Christianity. The Romans were not a very philosophical people but a very logical people who were great in law and legal issues. This legalism of the Romans formed much of the character of Roman Catholicism.

The liturgical language of Rome was Greek for the first 4 centuries. All of Italy south of Rome was pretty much Greek speaking, not Italian, or Latin. Due to the resurrengence of the Romans and probably hatred of the Byzantine Empire, did the romanization of Western Christianity begin.

I don't want to hijack this thread, but just point out that Race informs much of what we do. Race is important. Race does not save nor is it religious but if forms so much of the context of events, actions, thoughts and reasonings.

Edward Feser said...

I don't want to hijack this thread

Good. Don't.

Tony said...

I'd like to qualify my comment a little bit here. I didn't mean to sound like such a downer. I just meant to point out that it's the fundamentals that are at issue here, not who happens to get elected. Unless the fundamentals (the tools by which society addresses conflicts and problems) change, the country will just continue to slide further and further into oblivion.

Joe, you're right. Look, the re-election of Obama was not a disaster in terms of what it will change that otherwise would not have changed. It is the POINTER to a disastrous state of affairs, an ongoing disaster that this election stamps with a kind of long-term resistance to alteration. Whether or not our politics sees a swing back toward Republicans or conservatism in 2016 or 2020, it is now a foregone conclusion that the swing will not be as far right as each successive swing left takes us. That pattern has been true since at least Woodrow Wilson's election, so 100 years now: every time we swing towards the right, we only recover PART of the ground we lost, and every time we swing left, we go further left than ever before. For at least the next 20 years (barring war or revolution), that won't change.

We can (and I certainly will) continue to fight against SSM, but as long as divorce and pornography and hooking up reign in the hetero world, it matters not in the least how long we stave off SSM as a nationwide rule: Christian marriage is dead as a social reality. Our children will find it nearly impossible to find wholesome spouses. How then will the next generation of principled conservatives arise? It won't come back just because we elect a Republican.

Same with private effort to care for the sick: the Obamination of nationalized health care is coming no matter who is in power, because (a) Republicans won't win on a ticket of repealing it once it has been in place for 4 years, and (b) once it has been in place for 8 years it will prove that private insurance under the botched-abortion that is Obamacare won't work, and half the nation will demand that government take it over to "save us". Charitable concern with health care will dry up immediately thereafter. Christian involvement in caring for the sick will be a dead Gospel message.

And so on. Education: same thing. Economy: can't really fix it until BOTH sides admit there is moral fault as well as political nonsense. There is simply no political mechanism you can point to that has better than a 20% chance of working that will actually REVERSE any of these trends. The single election did not cause this state of affairs, it merely finalized it, it proved beyond doubt that the sickness is incurable in the political order.

Joe K. said...

I feel completely out of the loop, but I think that's the first time I've ever seen or heard "Obamination." Made me laugh. But, Tony, yes, I basically agree.

Cale B.T. said...

Mr Wheeler, you seem to be making more ambiguous claims about race here, but I for one, have not forgotten what you said on Victor Reppert's blog:

, "Are not some individuals superior than other individuals? If that is the case, then in macrocosm/microcosm, some races are superior to others."

Edward Feser said...

Cale,

Like I said, no threadjacks. Take that elsewhere.

Christian said...

Hey Dr. Feser,

Just wondering, are you going to be having a new book out in the somewhat near future?

Crude said...

If I had to give my own advice (from my vantage point as a nobody) to conservatives, I'd say this: what you have to do is persuade people you are correct. The person who disagrees with you is not necessarily your enemy. A lot of people can be persuaded if they get the right information, the right approach, the right tack. And this doesn't always mean 'have the best arguments'.

Communication is key. Culture is key.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Tell me what Liberal Agenda was reversed by the panty-waisted yellow-bellied, pusillainous (spelling may not be right and Dictionary.com is not helping) Repuke-lican Party? Not a one. It never has reversed one entitlement program!

This country ended when Andrew Jackson gave the suffrage to all adult men.

This country ended when the 14th Amendment was made and Federalism was killed by the Union winning the Civil War.

This country ended in 1880 when there were over 200 communist and socialist organizations in this country.

This country certainly ended in 1913 when women's suffrage was passed, the progressive income tax was passed, the Federal Reserve came into being, and the US Senate was changed from State houses appointing Senators to the people electing them, and the intro of the League of Nations. All of these actions were due to the 200 communist and socialist organizations that advocated such. The introduction of the Central Bank which is our privately owned Federal Reserve and the progressive Income Tax are BOTH planks of the Communist Manifesto! The suffrage of women has always been at the forefront of Marxist/communist agitation.

This country ended with the Great Deal of FDR.

This country ended 50s with the end of segregation and Eisenhower integrating the military against the dictates of the real, original Natural Law. This country ended when the Bible was pulled from general curriculum in the 60s.

This country ended when the Frankfurt School was allowed in which fomented the Cultural revolution of the Hippies. This event is one of the biggest events that has changed America forever.

Black Thursday, the day that Chief Justice Roberts approved of Obamacare, is not so much black as just another nail in the coffin.

Black Thursday? The day before was when SCOTUS struck down Arizona immigration law and then the Obama administration refused Arizona help in detaining illegal Mexicans. Obama, as Chief Executive Officer, will only enforce laws he likes.

Where is the Rule of Law in this country?

And in the Birth Certificate issue. The man's father is Kenyan. Obama is NOT natural born. He is in eligible and what is the response of the Republican Party? Nothing!

America is not a democracy. It is an ochlocracy. All democracies devolve into ochlocracy.

America is dead. It's gone. It's over. It's finished. It is as Karl Marx wanted, "The Rule of the Proletariat"; i.e. Ochlocracy.

In order to have "The Rule of Law" you must have hard men. There are no more hard men in America. The material for American culture is NO longer here. You don't have the character that built the original America. It is all gone. Over 150 years of communist/socialist agitation, your lack of controlling the culture, has brought you to ruin. Your children will grow up as a minority in a Turd World Hellhole. Detroit is already that. Chicago is already that. New York, Camden New Jersey, Neighborhoods in LA.

Obama is just the icing on the cake, honey.

Chris said...

After reading through this thread, the following questions come to mind: What is the fundamental nature of the relationship between classical liberalism and Christianity? Did Enlightenment humanism make Leftism inevitable? Can modernism be reconciled to Tradition(with a capital T)?

rank sophist said...

After reading through this thread, the following questions come to mind: What is the fundamental nature of the relationship between classical liberalism and Christianity? Did Enlightenment humanism make Leftism inevitable? Can modernism be reconciled to Tradition(with a capital T)?

Modernism and tradition-with-a-capital-t are, at bottom level, completely opposed. They cannot co-exist. This is not to say that people who subscribe to each cannot get along, or that certain accidents of modernism (i.e. things that are not intrinsically modernist) are not worth taking--just that the two underlying philosophies combine like oil and water.

Anonymous said...

Obamacare is going to destroy the country, huh? Yawn. I was 15 when Medicare (I mean Johnsoncare) was passed in 1965. Ronald Reagan said it meant we were no longer free men. The American Medical Association said it was socialized medicine and would destroy health care as we know it. But the AMA came around and supported Obamacare.

I lived in red state Alabam when Medicare was proposed, and neither our parish priest nor our bishop saying anything negative about it.
Maybe that's because Medicare was passed shortly after Pope John xxiii wrote "Pacem et Terris."

In that encylical, he wrotet "man has the right to looked after in the event of ill health, disability stemming from his work, widowhood, old age and enforced employment."

Medicare has stood the test of time. So will the Affordable Care Act.

The Deuce said...

Medicare has stood the test of time.

What universe are you living in?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Let us Look at the Republican Party. Everybody in the Republican Party hailed George Bush when he ran and won his first Presidential Election.

It was clear from day one of his run that he was not a "conservative" but this middle of the road guy. He coined the phrase "compassionate conservatism". I never voted for him.

President Reagan wanted to end the Department of Education. The Federal Government has no business in education, i.e. the 10th amendment. What has not been precisely given to the Federal Government in the Constitution, it can't do. This was a plank of the Republican Party.

Jump now to George Bush and what did he call himself in the campaign?

"The Educational President". Ten years earlier, the Republican Party, being Constitutionalist, wanted to end the Department of Education and jump to the future, and wal-la, George Bush is "The Education President".

How sorry can you get? Much more sorry for when America unjustly invaded Iraq and then later on invaded Afghanistan the first thing that "conservative" and "Christian" George Bush do was give the women the right to vote in those two countries!!! Giving women the right to vote is Socialist; it is Marxist! Remember the Cold War, America's fight against communism, in Korea, in Vietnam and the countless undercover activities around the world? Here is a President of a once anti-communist country doing what? A man who is supposed to be the leader of the "conservative" party in America and what is he doing? Propagating a main plank of Marxism.

George Bush was a Disaster. He destroyed the Republican Party. But that is really not the problem because the Republican Party was NEVER a conservative party!

Originally, the Republican Party was progressive! It was the Republican Party that ensconced the anti-slavery program and brought Abe Lincoln to power. The most radical progressives where the Republican Party. The Republican Party has always been progressive.

George Will twenty years ago came out with an article showing that the Republican Party was the one that passed the Progressive Income Tax.

It was the Republican Party that passed the Civil Rights Bill of the 1960s.

In the book Origins of Socialism, George Lichtheim points out that the word "conservative" in the Anglo-shere means liberal. The term conservative in Britain and America is far different from the continental conservatism. The Anglo meaning is really a faux meaning. What you practice here in America is pseudo-conservatism. It is NOT true conservatism.

Nowhere, nohow, can anyone with the "conservative" moniker uphold, defend, engage in democracy. The term "conservative" was coined as a political term during the French Revolution for those who upheld the OLD Order of Throne and Altar. That is the first, true meaning of conservatism, conserving the Old Order; which was against democracy. In 1820, Benjamin D'Israeli redefined the word conservative as participating in democracy. So within twenty years, the word changed to its complete opposite.

The Republican Party is nowhere "conservative". It has always been "Liberal". All forms of "liberalism" is nihilism. Even the so-called "classical liberalism" is nihilistic. The Republican Party is Liberal while the Democratic Party is Marxist, albeit democratic socialists. Since communism was born out of Liberalism, Liberalism has really no method, no structure, no thought patterns than can counteract Communism and Marxist subtefuge and sabotage. It has no weapons. All liberalism has, is a futile reliance on emotion and high reason. It has no strategies, no praxis to fight Marxist demogogery.

The Republican Party is Liberal; it is only one form of liberalism. What is "compassionate conservatism"? Liberal socialism. There really is no difference between the Republican and Democratic Party. That is why, Sooner or later, the Republicans always move to the Democratic position.

BenYachov said...

>this country ended when Andrew Jackson gave the suffrage to all adult men.

>This country ended when the 14th Amendment was made and Federalism was killed by the Union winning the Civil War.


The above is a "liberal agenda"?

No it is merely civilized, rational and Catholic.

People this Wheeler guy is a racist nutter! He also defended Paps as a legitimate & credible poster!

Nuff said!


That is all I have to say. No thread jacking indeed that speaks for itself.

Don't bother responding Wheeler.

You have nothing to say to me.

BenYachov said...

As too the original post now that I have recovered from the shock I fell a little bit better.

Some things to note:

1) Obama still lost 6 points and at best beat Romney by 1 or 2 points.

2) Catholic support for Obama went from 54% to 50% from the half-hearted opposition from the bishops(imagine what would happen if they got on board?).

3) This wasn't a wave election the support for Obama didn't translate into throwing the Congress back to Nutty Palosi.

4) People split the vote and I see no evidence Obama is going to be of any use during the 2014 midterms.

5) Let's stop whining and get back in the game. Don't give up! One of the reasons Obama succeeded is he didn't give up in the face of massive defeat(losing the Congress, Brown grabbing Ted's seat etc, majority of governorships etc) and it payed off for him.

We must be the same.

BenYachov said...

Additional:

Roberts was a jerk but at least he gave us this.


http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333040/obamacare-still-vulnerable-michael-f-cannon

Republicans need to push more red states into refusing to implement the health-care exchanges.

Chris said...

Modernism and Tradition are, at bottom level, completely opposed. They cannot co-exist.

But contemporary American conservatism is largely "modern" insofar that it is classically liberal. If that is true, then conservatism is something of a construct of contradictions.

Anonymous said...

As a liberal believer who reads this blog, I wish that Mr. Feser would take the time to make arguments for political conservatism that are as compelling as the arguments he makes for religious belief. I'd like to wring my hands in consternation over Obama's election, except that he seems to clearly be the preferable candidate from the standpoint of Christian values. Now, maybe I'm crazy to think this, but I'd sure like Mr. Feser and Crude and others who are so sure that this is wrong to take the time to make careful arguments demonstrating this. If nothing else, clearly making the case for Conservatism would help sympathetic liberals like myself understand where you're coming from. I guess what I'm saying is, you guys are playing a lot of inside baseball post election and you're assuming everyone here agrees with you politically. To me, that's making the same mistake that Republicans made: you so assume everyone else shares your worldview that you neglect to take the time to clearly explain it to them. When Dr. Feser opens his article here by claiming that the last election was a disaster, I just don't know what the heck he's talking about. And I sincerely would love it if he would take the time to explain it.

Chris said...

Go to Dr. Feser's website and look at the many essays in which he explains his political views.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was on his website?

At any rate, I think it would be beneficial to the readers of this blog, many of whom I assume are politically liberal, to hear the case for Conservatism made by someone as erudite as Dr. Feser. I humbly suggest that he take the time to explain to us why, for example, Obamacare will fundamentally change the relationship between the individual and the government in a way that social security or medicare or the income tax or mandatory public education haven't. That's not meant sarcastically; that is a sincere question from a devotee to Mr. Feser's blog who is legitimately bewildered by why some of the smartest people on this forum (Crude, BenYachov, and Mr. Feser himself) are suddenly making arguments that strike me as, shall we say, less than justified. I am asking to be enlightened.

rank sophist said...

But contemporary American conservatism is largely "modern" insofar that it is classically liberal. If that is true, then conservatism is something of a construct of contradictions.

I would definitely agree with you there. This is the very issue that caused the combox before last to rocket to 275 posts (and counting). Modern conservatism and natural law cannot be combined, in my view. This is particularly true of its espousal of free-market capitalism. I won't bog down this combox with the argument from the other one, but suffice it to say that large portions of capitalist practice are contrary to Thomism, including the acts of charging interest, accumulating wealth, buying low and selling high (in most cases), manipulating supply and demand, using "competitive" market strategies and cornering an industry, among others. Aspects of patent laws appear to be wrong as well. Check page 2 of the other combox if you want to see the full debate--the first page is a confused mess, largely due to my failure to define terms and clarify my positions.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

To Anonymous,

Which type of "conservatism" do you want, the faux Anglo-sphere conservatism or the real Continental Conservatism?

The Real conservatives of America were the Loyalists that after the revolutionaries won the Revolutionary War drove loyalists from America. Many settled in Nova Scotia or South America.

BenYachov said...

>I thought I was on his website?

No you are on his Blog bro.

Big difference.

Crude said...

That's not meant sarcastically; that is a sincere question from a devotee to Mr. Feser's blog who is legitimately bewildered by why some of the smartest people on this forum (Crude, BenYachov, and Mr. Feser himself) are suddenly making arguments that strike me as, shall we say, less than justified.

What arguments have I made that are 'less than justified'? I haven't been claiming that Obamacare is going to doom us. I do think the HHS issue is rotten, and targeted. I do think the issue is more complicated than people seem to appreciate, and that the culpability is broader.

Anonymous said...

Wheeler is hilarious. I can't tell if he's a troll or simply insane but I hope he keeps posting. As a European leftist I find it deeply amusing when Americans claim that Obama is a leftist.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I've been called a nutjob, a sociopath, and all sorts of things. But I'm not all that farfetched nor am I overdone in my critique of the American Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Here is Ann Barnhardt on the Vendee and America. It is in four parts. I couldn't have said it better myself. The culture is far gone.

Crude said...

As a European leftist I find it deeply amusing when Americans claim that Obama is a leftist.

Why? He's to the left of most of Europe on abortion. Left to even a sizable amount of Europe on gay marriage. (I was surprised to learn that it's controversial in France, of all places.)

I ask that sincerely. Why is he not a leftist? If it's because you can imagine someone being even more to the left of him, then you must think Romney is a centrist - there's certainly guys to the right of him.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Obama is not just a leftist but a hardcore Marxist.

His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was a communist party member in Kansas City. The communist party asked him to move to Hawaii to organize the longshoremen in Hawaii and keep tabs on ship movements. His wife was also a communist.

His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, followed in her daddy's footsteps. She was also a communist fellow traveler.

When his mother died, Obama had to live with his grandparents. He mentored by Frank Marshal Davis a black hardcore communist member.

So through much of his life, as a boy, he was surrounded by and mentored by communists. Barack Obama the Red diaper baby

While he was in Chicago, Hussein Obama was mentored and was great friends with Bill Ayers who was an actual homegrown Red terrorist. He belonged to the Marxist Weather Underground group. Bill Ayers introduced himself as a "I'm a radical, leftist, small 'c' communist". "Obama's state senatorial campaign reportedly was held in Ayers' apartment."
Hussein worked with Bill Ayers

Furthermore, Obama studied the works of Saul Alinsky a communist agitator.

Obama is not a communist? His whole campaign is hinged on Class Warfare. Class Warfare, the working up of envy and hate for the rich is Marxist.

Obama is a Marxist, thru-n-thru. As I quoted Fr. Hardon,S.J., earlier, America is a Marxist country and it voted in a Marxist. Hell, Bill Clinton during the Vietnam War spent a year in Russia! The Democratic Party is Marxist.

And that brings this to another point.

Political Correctness.

Political Correctness was coined in the 1920s Soviet Union. Political Correctness is Marxist ideology. Every single American Bishop and clergy, almost all of the Protestant ministers, 99% of all Academics both "conservative" and progressive, all schools adhere to Political Correctness. The Republican Party adheres to political correctness.

America is a Marxist country with a Marxist as President. Obama is a Marxist and half the population voted for this traitor.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

In answer to Anonymous about what is to be a conservative, I will answer about what it means to be a Continental Conservative.

Conservatism means to conserve. What do you conserve?

I conserve the Old Order, Throne and Altar. A conservative takes seriously the dictates of religion and defends the Natural Order.

Fundamentally, a continental Conservative obeys this dictum: "We are not in this world to give the laws,...but in order to obey the commands of the gods". That means we obey. We don't make the rules. We don't aim to "fix the world". Conservatives are realists.

What this means that we don't attack the rich. We don't envy the rich. We respect the rich and their property. We don't engage in class warfare. We show respect towards all members of our society from the nobles to the clergy. A continental conservative believes that there is a tight connection between Church and State. Don't let the Leftists fool you; they believe the same thing except it isn't the Church but it is Marxism and the State. They believe in the same thing except they substitute Marxism for Church.

A conservative exhibits Duty to God and Duty to his Country, Duty to his Forebearers. This Duty to Forebearers means that a Conservative is a Traditionalist--he walks in his forefathers steps. He is NOT progressive. A conservative conserves his heritage so that he can pass that onto his sons.

The Old Order, the Ancien Regime, was built by the Laws of Nature. A conservative respects the Natural Law. A conservative is not an idealist but a realist.

Deep down at the center of every conservative is the knowledge that "There is Truth". There is Objective Truth that can be known.

A conservative is a God-believer and holds fast to the teachings of his religion.

That is a Continental conservative.

Anonymous said...

Crude, perhaps I misspoke in attributing bad arguments to you (though I think Obamacare arguably addresses the free rider problem far better than you indicated in a previous post). I'm more referring to the general atmosphere of doom and gloom, highlighted by comparing the orderly results of a free and peaceful democratic election to the fall of Rome, and the practices of Barrack Obama to Bull Connor. That kind of hyperbolic hysteria by some of the most rational people on this forum is unnerving. If Feser penned a "So You Think You Understand Conservatism" article, akin to his "So You Think You Understand the Cosmological Argument" post, perhaps I could understand what the fuss is about.

Anonymous said...

Wheeler, you might have a point about Obama being a communist if communism were provably hereditary or infectious, such that you could "catch it" from your parents or close relations.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully,Wheeler, your comments reflect the very irrationality I'm speaking of. Is arguing that the rich should pay a slightly hire tax rate than they do presently "hating" or "envying" them? Why isn't it "class warfare" against the poor that their income from work is taxed at a higher rate than the income from capital gains.

I just think there's room for disagreement without your opponent becoming a villain. Perhaps I'm wrong to think the rich should play slightly more taxes, but do I have to hate them or envy them to think that?

Joe K. said...

Anonymous,

I do think you should just go check out the other post on this issue. But to clarify a bit so you can see some of the larger problems.

1. The mandate does something very unique in the history of American federal law: it requires individual citizens to purchase private services. To do this, it punishes a person for merely refusing to purchase something. You can't opt in or out of such a thing (like you can with Most, if not all, other regulation). Moreover, it's not that you are merely required to Purchase something, it's different in that it mandates a positive action for simply existing. Now, there are a lot of laws that require you to Not do something, but very few require you to do something simply because you are alive and a citizen. (I actually cannot think of many laws that require a person to positively act merely for existing. To be required to pay income taxes, you have to make money. To be required to take care of your children, you have to make (or at least take on the responsibility of) children. The only thing I can think of is maybe conscription, which is obviously only invoked in cases of extreme emergency. And, as we all know, that topic is incredibly contentious as it is. Further, those laws (aside from conscription of course) are usually enacted on the state level.) This, as Feser notes Kennedy says, "changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in [a] very fundamental way."

Outside of healthcare, this is likely to be a major issue. The government has been given full authority (or Roberts would argue they already had it?) to mandate any action and call it a tax on inaction. This is far and beyond the commerce clause argument, which required some sort of commercial connection to the inaction. (It has, as far as I can tell, made commerce clause jurisprudence effectively meaningless. I don't even know why Congress needs it anymore.) People aren't really presumed free anymore, in the sense that they have to actually give some freedom up by entering into some sort of enterprise. They are presumed sort of...controllable by default.

2. Obamacare carries with it the contraception mandate. Whether or not it will be struck down as a violation of free exercise is definitely yet to be seen. My perhaps pessimistic guess (and this may be because nothing seems to go the right way much) is that it will Not be struck down. At such a point, I have no idea what a ton of Catholic (and other religious) businesses are supposed to do. Go out of business, I guess. To me, the contraception mandate makes perfect sense within the larger Obamacare scheme, which is really the whole problem to begin with. As the federal government takes on such a burden with the ACA, it's obvious it's going to want to control such things. Everything becomes a healthcare issue, and the federal government is going to be there to regulate it and mandate any behavior it deems necessary to lower healthcare costs.

Besides the problems it may create merely as a prudential matter (like, there may not be enough people being forced to buy insurance to cover the now, perpetually rising costs of health care), it carries with it some fundamental jurisprudential changes. Similarly, I have no idea how it deals with the moral hazard problem. That is, what of my friends who smoke packs of cigarettes a day? As they will, almost inevitably, get cancer, and cancer costs just increase and increase, I have no idea how we're supposed to justify taking care of such people. I mean, my friends know they're going to be covered: Why Stop? This is especially troubling considering the Way in which we force others to take care of them. This is no small problem. People are not likely to get more virtuous any time soon. And neither society nor law (especially this law) really encourages them to.

Joe K. said...

To points 1 and 3, I think http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/03/stupaks-enablers.html is sufficient in explaining why those are problems for conservatives, especially those concerned with subsidiarity.

For point 2, it should be obvious that conservatives (or hopefully Catholics---or hopefully Any religious person) don't like a government mandating its citizens to do something they consider gravely immoral or contrary to their religious principles.

Crude said...

Crude, perhaps I misspoke in attributing bad arguments to you (though I think Obamacare arguably addresses the free rider problem far better than you indicated in a previous post).

I don't recall arguing that Obamacare fails in addressing the free rider problem. I definitely haven't been disputing that mandating the purchase of insurance goes a long way towards addressing the problem that would otherwise come when people with pre-existing conditions are forced to buy coverage. Actually, I haven't focused much at all on the purely functional aspects of Obamacare - others have to a point.

That kind of hyperbolic hysteria by some of the most rational people on this forum is unnerving.

What's the hyperbolic hysteria, though? You make it sound as if people here are thinking the country is doomed because, in your words, 'the rich will pay slightly higher taxes'. They're worried about larger things than that. As Joe K mentions, they're worried about the federal government's relationship to the citizen being changed in a fundamental way. They're worried about major shifts in how people view their lives and responsibilities and the relation those have to federal government. They're worried about demographic trends, combined with media bias. They're worried about the makeup of the SCOTUS, which (as we've seen) has some pretty far-reaching effects itself. They're worried about national debt and what will ultimately come of that, and they see possibilities of what's happening in Greece, happening here.

To read your words, the election results shouldn't be a worry because at least it was democratic, and this ultimately is about hand-wringing over billionaires paying .01% more taxes. You also suggest that the idea Obama is a leftist is laughable - and I'd like to hear a response to my reply there.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

What makes a Continental Conservative?

Patriarchy. A conservative state is Patriarchical. The Bible and the Laws of Nature teach that "Leadership is Male". Men rule ---as nature dictates.

Agrarianism. A conservative state is where the majority have a connection to nature either living on family farms or if urban, in programs like the Boy Scouts, where boys are exposed to and life in Nature.

Art of War. A conservative state is Manly, the military have pride of place and boys do their duty. Christendom was built on the differing warrior cultures of Europe. The Monarchy as the War Lord, the Aristocracy as the War Captains. A Continental Conservative has a high regard for and love of a warrior culture.

A Continental Conservative looks forward to the day of the restoration of Christendom, of Throne and Altar, of Monarch and Bishop.

And foremost amongst Conservatives is that Hierarchy pervades all things. That is what is the Order in the Natural Order. All things are in Hierarchy. The Natural Law is ensconsed in The Pecking Order. The Pecking Order is throughout Nature. Aristotle said, "All things are either in Authority or in Subjection". All Things. That is a Law of Nature. Harmony. Aristotle defines Harmony as "The mix of the high and the low". That is a Law of Nature or Natural Law.

A continental Conservative does NOT believe in egalitarianism. Nature does NOT teach egalitarianism! Nowhere does nature teach that. Rudyard Kipling said it best: ""A man should, whatever happens, keep his own caste, race and breed."

A Continental Conservative is a defender of his kinsmen and his loyalty is to his Church and to his kinsmen, to his larger family.

Nature is Aristocratical; therefore man, according to Nature, must strive to excellence.
----

On an aside, if egalitarianism is true, it would unmake the whole of the Natural Law. Order presupposes Hierarchy and repetition. Take away that---and you have chaos. Egalitarianism would unmake Harmony. Egalitarianism would destroy the dictum of righteousness. Egalitarianism goes against syncretism which is throughout Nature. Egalitarianism destroys the Golden Mean which is itself also throughout Nature. Nowhere does nature teach egalitarianism.

The Natural Law is "Cream rises to the top".

A Continental Conservative is one who understand Nature and is obedient to the Logos inherent in Nature. A Continental Conservative lives in harmony with the Logos, with Nature. He is according to Nature.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Right now, Obama and his leftist buddies are going to raise the estate taxes and rates. Why? It is a plank of in the Communist Manifesto. Communism seeks to destroy any manifestation of Inheritance. Inheritance is evil for the Left and Marxists.

There should be NO such thing under true American Liberalism but under Marxist America---...

Anon writes this:
"Respectfully,Wheeler, your comments reflect the very irrationality I'm speaking of. Is arguing that the rich should pay a slightly hire tax rate than they do presently "hating" or "envying" them? Why isn't it "class warfare" against the poor that their income from work is taxed at a higher rate than the income from capital gains.

What does the Bible teach, Anon? That is the First Question in any debate. What does the Bible Teach?

The Bible teaches that "You should not treat the rich or the poor differently"! Here, the Marxists that teach Egalitarianism, where Equality is everything, the first thing they do is Create an Unequal tax platform!!!! A progressive Income Tax which is UNequal. It is against the dictates of egalitarianism. In the Bible, all people, rich and poor paid a 10% Tithe to the Temple. There was no envy, no hate of the rich, no treating the rich differently. But there was a difference in the rate of fees for temple services. The rich and the middle class all paid the same fees. But for the dirt poor, was a different fee schedule. Where it was commanded a bull for the middle and the rich, all that was demanded of the poor was two doves or pigeons which they could afford.

That is Justice. That is Symmetry. The Left cry for Justice and then go out and treat the rich differently.

The Left is built on Hate and Envy just like Satan himself.

The Progressive Income tax in America is UNjust and unrighteous. The Estate Tax is also unfair, and unrighteous. But Modern America is Marxist and unrighteous.

No true blue American would ever propound or advocate a progressive income tax or an estate tax.

Joe K. said...

From the article mentioned above (which I enjoyed; thanks, professor):

"A weakly enforced mandate will undermine the health insurance marketplace. The fine for being uninsured will be small, relative to the cost of insurance. And there is not much the IRS can do to people who ignore the mandate, other than withhold refund checks. It cannot garnish wages or attach assets, for example. Hence, people will have an incentive to stay uninsured while they are healthy (and avoid paying hefty premiums), enroll after they get sick (to get their medical bills paid) and then drop coverage after they are well again. Yet if everyone does this, only sick people will have health insurance and the premiums will be completely unaffordable."

Can any defenders of the law around here explain how this isn't a major problem/wasn't foreseen to be a major problem? I'm actually asking; this isn't a stick-it-to-ya kind of thing. This seems like such a fundamental thing. Is the author here just being too simplistic? It's a question I've had for a while.

Don Malcolm said...

John C. Goodman, argues that the "flaws in ObamaCare... are so serious that the Democrats are going to have to perform major surgery on the legislation in the next few years, even if all the Republicans do is stand by and twiddle their thumbs."

'Obamacare' is modelled on 'Romneycare', which has been operating successfully at state level - in Mass - for quite a few years now. Not everyone will like it, but it's not going to just fall over.

Don Malcolm

Anonymous said...

To The Deuce,
Medicare has indeed stood the test of time. It has been ACCEPTED by the American people for nearly half a century. According to polls, people rate it more highly than private health insurance; studies prove it provides health care more cheaply and more efficently than private health insurance; private health insurers follow Medicare's lead when deciding whether to approve new medical procedures; Medicare and the VA have provided the residency training for nearly all physicians in this country since 1965.

You know it's accepted when low-information voters say, "I don't want the government to run my Medicare."

Anonymous said...

Joe K,

1) I don't see how one realistically opts out of income taxes, or payroll taxes, or mandatory education, or registering for selective service, etc. Now, sure, you could opt out of these things by being homeless, or by trying to avoid them on purpose and paying the penalty. But you could use similar techniques to opt out of Obamacare. And conservatives can't simultaneously claim that Obamacare will be an easy system to game and is a totalitarian system that will crush freedom 'neath its heel. You take my argument from me by citing the draft - if the government can consistently with the constitution compel me to kill and to die, why can't it compel me to buy health insurance?

And as I understand it, the only alternative to Obamacare would have been full-on single payer, which pretty much everyone agrees that the government has the power to enact. Why is it constitutional for the government to just take your money and use it to buy health care, but it's not constitutional for the government to require you to buy healthcare?

2) I think it's regrettable that religious organizations have to provide contraceptive insurance or pay a fine, but I don't see this as an apocalyptic, earth-shattering issue. The Catholic institutions in question can just stick to their guns and pay the fines, which, if I understand the situation correctly, won't cost anymore than buying the contraceptive insurance would have cost. How is this different from the liberal pacifist who has to subsidize wars he doesn't agree with? I just don't see this as being some sort of sea change with regards to how the government relates to the individual.

As to your question about how the law will be enforced, my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is while insurance companies cannot refuse to cover anyone with a pre-existing condition, it can charge people with pre-existing conditions an enormous premium if those people were financially capable of purchasing insurance prior to the development of their pre-existing condition and refused to do so. And those in such an income bracket, as I understand it, will not be eligible for government assistance with their premiums. Now, I believe Obamacare includes some modest price controls, but people who try to game the system in the way you suggest will still face potential financial ruin.

Anonymous said...

Crude:

There may be some confusion as to which anonymous I am. I do not deny that Obama is a liberal; I merely deny that he's a Marxist communist.

However, as a liberal, I can tell you that Obama is to the right of me on war in the middle east, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, financial reform, etc. You can cherry pick some social issues and make him sound like a Marxist, and I can cherry pick some foreign policy and economic issues and make him sound like a Neo-Con. Which to me adds up to a president who is essentially a pragmatist. He isn't some historically liberal figure determined to change the face of the republic.

Crude said...

However, as a liberal, I can tell you that Obama is to the right of me on war in the middle east, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, financial reform, etc. You can cherry pick some social issues and make him sound like a Marxist, and I can cherry pick some foreign policy and economic issues and make him sound like a Neo-Con. Which to me adds up to a president who is essentially a pragmatist.

The thing about cherry picking is you can do it with every single president, and most people, period. So actual liberals and conservatives are practically non-existent - but there are pragmatists all over the place. I don't think that works out reasonably.

I think you need to cherry pick to regard Obama as anything other than a pragmatic liberal, who would go much further to the left if only he could. Of course, I also don't think those wars are reasonably called 'right wing', or that Obama's economic policy is particular conservative anyway.

Why is it constitutional for the government to just take your money and use it to buy health care, but it's not constitutional for the government to require you to buy healthcare?

Seems rather moot now, since constitutionality is dependent on SCOTUS rulings. Maybe you should ask why there's a difference between the government providing a service, and the government compelling individuals to purchase a service or product - and then, specifically, the federal government as opposed to state or local.

And as I understand it, the only alternative to Obamacare would have been full-on single payer,

Well, no. Maybe you mean 'the only alternative, if you were looking for a federal solution that would give a promise of universal health care coverage'. But that's too narrow a scope anyway. The existence of Romneycare, with all its flaws, goes some way towards showing other routes were available even when talking about government solutions.

rank sophist said...

Joe K.,

The mandate does something very unique in the history of American federal law: it requires individual citizens to purchase private services. To do this, it punishes a person for merely refusing to purchase something. You can't opt in or out of such a thing (like you can with Most, if not all, other regulation). Moreover, it's not that you are merely required to Purchase something, it's different in that it mandates a positive action for simply existing.

For what it's worth, you're forced to buy car insurance before driving or risk a hefty fine.

Crude said...

For what it's worth, you're forced to buy car insurance before driving or risk a hefty fine.

Joe's talking federal. Those laws are state. And like I said in the other thread, they vary by state to a degree too.

Crude said...

Not to mention, there's an obvious way to keep from buying car insurance even in the states where you do have those laws.

Bedarz Iliaci said...

American conservatism shares in the liberal assumptions about the nature of man and society.
If the society comes into being by a contract among men for protection against other men and nature, then the society is fundamentally capable to being re-negotiated and re-ordered.

The liberal assumption is opposite of Aristotlean "City is Prior to the Individual and the Family".
For the liberal (incl American conservatives) this is shocking inversion of the sovereignty and primacy of the Individual.

The Aristotlean City Exists by Nature. But the liberal city exists by contract.
Then why should not contract evolve?

Bedarz Iliaci said...

The Liberal denies the political nature of man whereby men living in self-governing particular authoritative moral communities.

The political nature of man entails a division into citizens (or neighbors) and strangers.

The citizens or neighbors are united by a common vision of Good, i.e. a common moral code, a common way of life, a common worship.
Dostoevsky wrote that common worship is one of the most fundamental things that drive men.

So, the liberal tries to erase the neighbor-stranger distinction.

The progressive liberal seeks to do so by making everyone a citizen, thus a world government, thus no particularity

The libertarian liberal seeks to achieve the same by making everyone a stranger, thus no common moral codes.

The American conservative flounders between the two liberal denials.

The progressivism and libertarianism, in practice, work in mutual synergy, and effectively oppose the Old Conservatism, which is now called The Reaction.

Joe K. said...

Anon,

1. As I mentioned, the only thing I could think of was conscription. And conscription is Incredibly controversial. It's of course completely different than buying health insurance too. It's, presumably, used to protect the survival of the entire nation. It's not just a prudential cost-saving measure. It's a measure to keep the entire nation in existence. Mandatory education would really only apply to children below a certain age. But children have always been assumed to not be free in the way adults are. This is because they Can't know any better---generally speaking. But the rest of the taxes are taxes on action. You always have to do something first before the government can come in and regulate it. It is absolutely a fundamental change for the government to come in and tell you what to do before you do anything. It's no longer, "you just bought a car, we can tax that at X rate." It's now, "go buy a car or we will tax you." This is really just a tax on inaction. (Actually, it's not even that; it's really a Penalty on inaction, which is arguably worse, but Roberts had to get it through somehow.)

And this analysis should explain why single payer would be fundamentally different. A tax on action (no matter how high) is a different thing than a tax on inaction. The government could clearly Incentivize people buying health insurance, but to mandate it is completely different. This is also the reason, Rank, why car insurance is different, despite car insurance really just being a state thing. You have to go buy or get a car to drive before you need to pay car insurance on it. You can just not buy the car and walk. No mandated action. You can't like, not exist though. Existing is sort of a necessary part of being a human. Owning a car for driving is not. In other words, if the (federal) government mandate occurs After you do something, and the government bases its mandate on that action, it's doing what it's always done. If the mandate comes before any action and bases that mandate on nothing besides your mere existence, it's a fundamental change.

Now, whether it's a change that is Wrong is somewhat a different question. I am just merely pointing out how or why it's a change, and identifying why people who prefer conservative solutions to problems might be uneasy. I don't think people used to walk around with the assumption that Congress can just tax nothing to get you to do something. I think most people say, "but I haven't done anything!" It's just an awkward principle in general: "Dear citizen, you are being penalized for not having bought a 2013 Ford Explorer. Love, America: The Home of the Free."

2. This is for Hobby Lobby: "The company says it would face $1.3 million in fines on a daily basis starting in January if it fails to comply with the mandate, which requires religious employers to pay for or refer women for abortion-cause drugs that violate their conscience or religious beliefs." Numbers like this are no doubt just as high when you talk about major Catholic universities and schools. Even if the numbers are lower than that (you'd need to break down the formula for each company), the religious person would say, "Why Do I Have To Pay Any Money To The Government To Practice My Religion?" Which is a pretty fundamental question, especially considering the principle underlying the First Amendment.

Joe K. said...

3. If what you say is correct at the end there, I fail to see how this will first, generate enough money, and second, help people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. I mean, work it out. So, I go to the insurance company, and they say "you must pay X premium (which is very high) for pre-existing conditions." I say, "I can't afford that." So, they say "sorry." I then am penalized (through a tax) by the government for not having insurance. Which I don't pay, because as noted, the government has a bad enforcement mechanism. (Incidentally, its shoddy enforcement mechanism has no bearing on whether the type of legislation is fundamentally different.) So, in such a case, the insurance company doesn't get enough new money to pay for other sick people (who were willing to pay incredibly high premiums, I guess?), the government isn't getting my money (to support the system itself), and I am going without insurance (because I can't afford it---just like before). There has to be a mechanism here that keeps such a system afloat that I am not seeing. If the premium Isn't high enough to stop me from getting it, then we're back to the same problem: I'll just not buy the insurance until I need it and pay the premium, which is lower than what it would have cost paying monthly for insurance I didn't need.

Anonymous said...

Joe K

Arguably, at the rate at which health costs are rising and driving an enormous segment of the economy, I think you could make the argument that health care reform is essential to the continued existence of the republic. And, arguably conscription has been used for wars where the enemy combatant did not in any realistic way pose an existential threat to the United States (Vietnam). Besides that, as far as I know, there is no Constitutional clause or provision even requiring the US to be at war before conscription is enacted. So your existential threat justification apparently isn't part of the Constitutional justification for conscription.

And conscription isn't just "do this or we will tax you", it's "do this or we will put you in jail." It doesn't just tax inaction, it criminalizes it. And if the existence of conscription since the Civil War hasn't fundamentally changed the relationship between the people and the government, why will Obamacare? Also, the fact that the federal government hasn't abused its conscription powers is also evidence that the slope isn't quite as slipper as most of the gloom and doomers suspect.

2) The fines for Hobby Lobby seem exorbitantly high, but they are a very large company. If the 1.3 million dollar fine is in the ballpark of how much it would cost them to provide contraceptive insurance to their entire nationwide staff of full-time employees, then the fine isn't egregious. As to why someone should have to pay a fine for practicing their beliefs, it's fairly uncontroversial that religious freedoms only extend to the point where they negatively affect other people. Arguably, an employer who refuses for religious reasons to provide contraceptive care to an employee is negatively affecting that employee. This isn't some new and unprecedented occurrence. Christian Scientists who let their children die because they don't believe in medicine go to jail.

3) On Obamacare and the free rider problem, there is government assistance for people who legitimately can't afford premiums. But the insurance mandate doesn't mean that all insurance coverage will be equal (even if there are minimal standards) and things like co-pay, time before full coverage, etc, will exist just as they do now. You can't just go buy a policy now, get cancer tomorrow, and expect the insurance company to pay the full freight. You have to have paid into an insurance plan for a long while before you could possibly expect to extract enough payment for catastrophic care. Obamacare doesn't change that. So if a person tries to game the system in the way you suggest, he may have insurance, he may even have it at an affordable level, but he'll be covered for so little and his co-pay will be so high that having insurance won't help him very much. This is all to say that the incentive structure envisioned by all these scenarios neglects that Obamacare doesn't fundamentally alter the way insurance works. It's not just free healthcare on demand. Gaming the system simply won't work that easily.

Joe K. said...

1. Firstly, I'm merely pointing out that taxing inaction in the way in which Obamacare does is new; that it represents a fundamental change in which the federal government deals with individual citizens. It would be easier just to admit that this is true and instead argue that while it may be a change, it's not really immoral or unjust or something like that. That you can invoke conscription as evidence that it's not really a change is to miss the point. Namely, conscription concerns military and national security. That conscription can be misused in strange ways isn't really evidence that citizens aren't really free and are really just pawns to be moved as the government sees fit. It may actually support my point more. As I noted, conscription, as a concept, is Incredibly controversial. The Vietnam war is a perfect example. Many people thought it strange and perverse for a government to come in and force an individual who is merely existing to go kill and die for something that really didn't have anything to do with the protection of the homeland.

Second, I find it a huge stretch to compare economic meltdown with national security. Conscription has always concerned foreign threats, the protection of national sovereignty. It has always been considered completely separate from things like taxation or everyday citizen behavior. The Congress has always treated economic and domestic problems differently than it has foreign ones. Economic ones assume the freedom of the individual and that individual's very strong rights. It has always had to find ways around those rights to ensure economic tranquility (incentives, taxes on bad behavior, but never taxes on non-behavior). Foreign problems are always treated differently. The force used against citizens is temporary and purely out of necessity to ward out foreign threats. EVEN THEN, it's been difficult to work around the citizen's rights.

Joe K. said...


2. It's 1.3 million dollars on a DAILY basis, according to Hobby Lobby. I haven't worked out the numbers. A lot of companies will probably be forced out of business if it really is that high. And I'm no expert on contraception, but I doubt it's that expensive to cover.

"As to why someone should have to pay a fine for practicing their beliefs, it's fairly uncontroversial that religious freedoms only extend to the point where they negatively affect other people." is a completely incorrect understanding of free exercise in this country. The general understanding is that when the government gives you a choice between following the law and your religion, it has burdened your religion in a way that requires redress.

There are plenty of things religious people can do or not do that negatively affect others in a generalized sense, but they are still allowed to do them or not do them because of free exercise protection. I recommend doing some reading on free exercise. Namely, start at Sherbert v. Verner and Wisconsin v. Yoder and see how it eventually evolved into the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which provides the highest protection available to religious citizens. Just keep in mind that the standard is Not "you can keep doing religious stuff until the government says you can't because you doing religious stuff gets in the way of or negatively affects others in a way we don't prefer."

Further, it is an Enormous stretch to say that refusing to provide contraception coverage negatively affects an employee. If that were the standard, Anything an employer refused to do could negatively affect the employee. If a Catholic employer refused to directly pay for an abortion for an employee, would you honestly argue that it's the Employer's religion that is negatively affecting the employee? And that the government can come in and force the employer to give the money for it? It's absurd. And this cannot be compared to a parent and child. The employer/employee relationship is Nothing like the parent/child relationship. There is no duty for an employer to care for the well-being of an employee in the same way a parent should with a child. It's just a contractual relationship.

Further, the concept of negatively affecting (with respect to free exercise or anything else) is usually related to actions that involve doing To as compared to doing For. An employer doesn't do anything To an employee by refusing to provide contraception coverage. It just fails to do something For the employee. That negative results occur in both cases is irrelevant to the question of whose rights are infringed upon. The reason it works to say that the parent has done something To the child for Christian Scientists is because the parent has a duty to the child in such a circumstance. And even then, that's an awkward use of "doing To."

Alexis Marlons said...

I don't think the election was a disaster either. The people chose their leader and as far as everyone is concerned, it's what they want.

DNW said...

rank sophist said...
Joe K.,

The mandate does something very unique in the history of American federal law: it requires individual citizens to purchase private services. To do this, it punishes a person for merely refusing to purchase something. You can't opt in or out of such a thing (like you can with Most, if not all, other regulation). Moreover, it's not that you are merely required to Purchase something, it's different in that it mandates a positive action for simply existing.

For what it's worth, you're forced to buy car insurance before driving or risk a hefty fine.

November 14, 2012 12:34 AM


It's not worth anything in the instance of so-called car insurance: as you are not compelled to buy insurance for moving about on roads without the use of a motor vehicle, nor for owning a car - assuming you own it outright - nor for driving it on private property.

So, it becomes pretty clear that any supposed analogy between the insurance necessary as a predicate for the legal operation of a motor vehicle on the public highway, or for indemnifying a commercial lender's vested interest against property loss, is in fact no analogy at all.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I want to second the comments by Bedarz Iliaci; they were right on.

----
There are two lies in the Declaration of Independence and the character of the author is very much a signal of it.

The first error of the D.of I. is the statement "All men are created equal". Men are not created equal. In this picture on this website one can see, By Nature, that men are different IQ Does Matter. The Bible demands two or more witnesses to establish Truth. First, we have a visual representation from Nature. What does the Bible teach?

"And all men are from the ground, and Adam was created of earth. In much knowledge the Lord hath divided them, and made their ways diverse. Some of them hath he blessed and exalted, and some of them hath he sanctified, and set near himself: but some of them hath he cursed and brought low, and turned out of their places. As the clay is in the potter's hand, to fashion it at his pleasure: so man is in the hand of him that made him, to render to them as liketh him best." Septuagint, Eccl. (book of Sirach), 36.10-13.

That "All men are created equal" is a lie. They are not. Americanism is based on this lie. Nature and the Bible agree. Even
in the book Origins of Socialism, George Lichtheim says that nowhere does the Bible teach equality. The Stoics taught equality but not the Bible. Aristotle in his book Politics talks of the inherent differences of races. The ancient Greeks were very conscious of this fact.

The second lie is that America was going to be built on "Nature's Laws and Nature's God". America has nothing to do with the Natural Law (or Laws of Nature, both phrases refer to the same thing). For instance, the US Constitution forbids "distinctions of rank". Cicero in his book De republica mentions distinctions of rank as part of republicanism. Distinctions of rank is a Law of Nature, it is throughout nature. What do you think the Lion's mane is or the billy goat's beard for? Why does a male peacock have a flowery behind for? Why does a rooster have a red comb? They are all distinctions of rank. All breeds of different animals have distinction of rank.

Moreover, if America is built on the Laws of Nature, how come the Spartan Republic which is built on the Laws of Nature are so different? Sparta had hierarchy and a caste system. She was built on the Laws of Nature or Natural Law. They both can not be right! Thomas Jefferson did NOT have the right, original, true Natural Law!

Thomas Jefferson mentions "Nature's God". Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was a socianist! I spelled that correctly. So was John Locke! who is the "intellectual forebearer/engineer" of Americanism. The Socianist movement denied the teaching of the Trinity! TJ nor John Locke believed in the Trinity. The so-called natural law at their time was atomism. Atomism proved the strict monotheism of Judaism but not the God of Christianity!

But if one looks at Nature, one sees the tripartite paradigm every where! Nature reflects the trinitarian nature of the Christian Godhead. Can Truth come out from a guy that is full of error? Who denies the Truth of orthodox traditional Christianity?

Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson, along with several other founding fathers were Masons! which was hostile to Roman Catholicism and supposedly "priestcraft". Being a Socianist, means that you have no clue on the real, original true natural law. If he had, he would have believed in the Christian Trinity.

The founding document of America is deeply flawed. What does that say of "Americanism"?

The Deuce said...

However, as a liberal, I can tell you that Obama is to the right of me on war in the middle east, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, financial reform, etc. You can cherry pick some social issues and make him sound like a Marxist, and I can cherry pick some foreign policy and economic issues and make him sound like a Neo-Con.

Since when is war a "right-wing" thing? The Soviets weren't exactly known for their non-aggression. Hell, the only reason the Left in America got a reputation for dovishness is that our enemy for decades was global communism, which they happened to sympathize with, rendering them unable to seriously oppose it.

And what of his economics can be considered conservative of any stripe, for crying out loud?! Every single one of his economic initiatives has been made with the intention of moving our economic policies further to the left than they were before. Are we saying that he's "neo-conservative" economically because he didn't go directly for full-fledged communism? Or is the fact that Bush engaged in some left-wing Keynesian policies (TARP, auto bailouts) now being used to label all Keynesian policies as "neo-conservative" wherever convenient?

Anonymous said...

Joe K

My point is that conscription shows that Obamacare 1) does not create a new relationship between the government and the state with regards to the state's right to compel action 2) that the state has, since the Civil War, had the power to not just tax but to criminalize inaction, and 3) being that conscription is nowhere in the law restricted to times of war, the continued existence of the state is not part of the justification for the Constitutionality of the Inscription Act.

You claim that the government's ability to draft citizens is in some way limited, but it is not. The inscription act is not limited to wartime, or to foreign threats. The government has only used its powers to inscript in such times, but there is nothing in the law or the constitution limiting its use to such times. That justification for it is post hoc and imaginary.

By any reasonable standard, the ability to impress men into military service and require that they kill and die for causes they don't even believe in is a much more fundamental threat to individual freedom than the requirement to buy insurance. Why Conservatives are up in arms about one and have actively and consistently supported the other only they know.

And while we're discussing threats to liberty and the dramatic alteration of the relationship between the state and its citizens, where was all this conservative concern for Constitutionality during the signing of the Patriot Act? It allowed the federal government to secretly spy on American citizens without a warrant and without judicial oversight. It allowed the federal government to indefinitely detain terror suspects without a trial. It allowed the federal government to unilaterally label even US citizens as enemy combatants and to authorize assassination missions against them without them having benefit of a trial. The Patriot Act explicitly breaks the 4th Ammendment, and arguably the 1st, yet Conservatives supported the Patriot Act. So the country can survive with the radical expansion of powers to law enforcement granted by the Patriot Act, but it can't survive the Individual Mandate. If you were going to be wailing and gnashing your teeth over the expansion of federal powers, you missed your prime opportunity.

More later...

Anonymous said...

Joe K

Well, I don't know what the fines with regards to hobby lobby entail. Do they merely reflect their denial merely to provide contraceptive coverage or their refusal to comply with the entirety of the Affordable Care Act? And given that there are so many erroneous and frankly spurious charges being lobbed about regarding what Obamacare will cost, I find it hard to take anyone's word for it at this point. Let's merely agree that if the fines for exempting your business from the contraceptive care provision of Obamacare are so high that it would force a company out of business, that the fines should be lowered.

(I will note in passing that I find it hard to believe that the fines for skirting the individual mandate are so low as to be well within the range of pretty much everyone, while the fine for skirting contraceptive care will be so large as to pose an existential threat to a mid-sized toy company. It seems again that conservatives are trying to have it both ways: that Obamacare is so small it will never work, and so large it will crush us all.)

Regarding the contraceptive care provision, first of all, it is now the law that corporations over a certain size have to pay for insurance for their full-time employees.You might have a point if this were not the law of the land, but it now is. Employers of a certain size have to provide healthcare, just like they have to pay their taxes and their unemployment insurance. So while it is a contractual relationship, the government has now stipulated that the contract has to abide by certain rules, just like with minimum wage and health and safety.

Now, given that this law includes contraceptive coverage, the refusal to pay contraceptive care is arguably discriminatory against women in a way that clearly negatively impacts them. Since contraceptive care is for obvious reasons more expensive for men than it is for women, to provide full coverage for everything but contraceptive care disproportionately affects women.

Excuse the crassness of my example, but could an employer hire an equal number of black and white employees, then refuse to pay for an insurance policy covering for care for sickle cell anemia? Wouldn't such a refusal amount to discrimination against the black employees, since they are far more likely to be affected by the disease? Now imagine if 75% of all black people required care for sickle cell anemia at some point in their lives. Should an employer be allowed to violate the law and refuse to pay for a service that half of their employees will almost certainly need at some point in their lives due to their religious beliefs? I don't see how that makes anymore sense than claiming you can pay less than minimum wage because of your religious beliefs. You can't violate labor laws, and you can't discriminate against some of your employees.

More later

Anonymous said...

I meant to say contraceptive care is more expensive for women than for men. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

It is Dr. Feser who needs to take a deep breath. Speaker Boehner has admitted that Obamacare is "the law of the land." Polls now show only 33% of Americans want to repeal it. Although Boehner also said he would try to repeal it, that is not going happen for the next four years. Even in the unlikely event that a Rep prez and a filibuster-proof Rep Senate is elected in 2016, Obamacare will by then be fully implemented. It be will be another entitlement, Americans will be accustomed to it, and people do not easily give up entitlements.

And yes, in the coming years, Obamacare will grow and expand, and we will be better off for it. Dr. Feser may want America to return to the Gilded Age. The American people do not. Exit polls after the election showed 60% of Americans want the wealthy to pay higher taxes. The economy will improve; it would have done so regardless of who was elected, but Obama will get the credit, and his Progressive agenda will advance. Government will return to what Jackson, TR Roosevelt, and FDR did and restrain corporate power.

The election, however, was a disaster--a disaster for this blog, which once had stimulating, high-level philosophical discussions. Steven Schmidt said the Rep Party has become the party of "loons and wackos." So has this forum with its racist, fringe comments by posters whose bubble burst. Those comments should not be tolerated. That they are tolerated says more about Dr. Fester than the misguided poster(s).

Eduardo said...

Feser just let's the combox self regulate itself.

I am afraid Feser may not be one to favor the political correct behavior.

Just because the comment is in the combox that does not meant any of us or Feser agree with it, those are Wheeler's word and his only.

Eduardo said...

shit, wrote self and itself in the same phrase XD.

Anonymous said...

The Deuce:

I consider the Soviet Union Liberal like you consider Mussolini's Italy Conservative. If we're going to converse like adults, let's agree that Liberalism isn't Marxism and Conservatism isn't Fascism. If we can't agree to that much, we shouldn't (and for my part, won't) be conversing with each other.

That being said, you obviously know that the liberal left in America has opposed the Vietnam War, the War in Afghanistan,and the War in Iraq. American liberalism has a long anti-war history. For his first term, Obama doubled-down on Afghanistan, and has kept up some of George W. Bush's worst policies in the prosecution of that war (Guantenmo Bay, drone strikes, etc).

He's to the right of me on the economy because his financial reform bill did not go nearly far enough in terms of regulating Wall Street. All the financial derivatives packages that got us into this mess are still fully legal and almost entirely unregulated. The fact that his finance cabinet is full of former Wall Street executives doesn't help (and also illustrates why the cries of "Communist!" are so silly. I can't see Lenin hiring Tim Geithner as his Secretary of the Treasury). Obama also has not addressed, has not even mentioned, poverty in any serious or fundamental way. I also would have preferred a single-payer system to Obamacare, which is in some ways a massive boondoggle for the giant insurance corporations. So, that's how Obama is to the right of me on economic issues.

Crude said...

The election, however, was a disaster--a disaster for this blog, which once had stimulating, high-level philosophical discussions.

Don't you think you're being a little dramatic? There's plenty of philosophical discussion on this blog. The arguments that have been taking place on Obamacare have largely been philosophical - relating to the principle of subsidiarity and natural law.

The 'racist, fringe comments' have come almost exclusively from one poster, who was warned about it, and who frankly was on that particular bandwagon well, well in advance of the election.

Great, Obamacare is inevitable, it will expand, everyone will love it, there will be never be any problems. Sure. But whether or not these policies are in line with natural law or the principal of subsidiarity is still worthy of discussing - it was relevant, so that's what was discussed. What's the problem?

Crude said...

That being said, you obviously know that the liberal left in America has opposed the Vietnam War, the War in Afghanistan,and the War in Iraq. American liberalism has a long anti-war history.

And a substantial portion of the conservative right opposed the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, and much more. See the American Conservative magazine and why it launched.

Joe K. said...

As I've said three times now, the general standard is that a citizen is not the pawn of the government and that the government does not punish inaction. The Only exception I could think of was conscription. Which, as I've noted, if it's Actually an exception at all, is a Very Rare and extremely limited exception that people still continuously debate about. (I made no comments about the constitutionality of conscription.) Further, even if it Is an exception to the general standard, it's Not an exception to the specific standard concerning domestic issues, like economics and taxation. We have never forced people to buy things in the past; to do so is completely new and a fundamental change in the use of governmental force with domestic issues. To keep relying on conscription for your argument is honestly just to intentionally miss the point.

I have no idea why you're bringing up the Patriot Act. It's not relevant.

Alat said...

liberal left in America has opposed the Vietnam War

Not my turf, but I can't resist pointing out that the Vietnam War was started by JFK and beefed up by LBJ, both known for their staunch conservatism. Ops!

Anonymous said...

Alat,

And Richard Nixon enacted federal affirmative action legislation, so clearly affirmative action is a product of Conservatism, right?

Oops!

Crude said...

And Richard Nixon enacted federal affirmative action legislation, so clearly affirmative action is a product of Conservatism, right?

Oops!


Why 'oops'? Literally, why not say it's a product of conservatism? If you're the same person who said you can cherry pick and make any president to be liberal or conservative if you want, go ahead and apply that to issues too.

Anonymous said...

By the way, has anyone complimented you yet on your clever use of a picture of Bouncing Boy? If not, let me be the first.

Anonymous said...

Joe K

The Patriot Act is not relevant when discussing new relationships between the federal government and its powers and the United States citizenry?

You seem to be reduced to merely claiming that Obamacare is, in some central fashion, "new." And even to make that claim, you have to highly restrict and qualify this "newness" to the point of obscurity.

My point of harping on inscription is that OBVIOUSLY if the government can impress you into the military, it can require that you purchase certain things. (In fact in the early days of inscription I believe inscripted soldiers were expected to provide their own firearms, which means that inherent in inscription from the beginning was the requirement to buy certain products!) My point is that if inscription is within governmental powers then obviously the individual mandate is. So the power isn't new, and given the economic realities, the government had good incentive to use that power.

Your only retort to this is the continued refrain that it's new. Well, so what? What's bad about it being new? Are you saying that thee are potentials for abuse within this interpretation of the commerce clause that are not present in the federal government's UNLIMITED conscription powers?

Anonymous said...

Crude, I said oops to parody Alat's use of the term.

And my point was that cherry-picking leads to a DISTORTED view of what a politician's overall place in the political spectrum is, not that it's a legitimate way to establish it.

Edward Feser said...

The election, however, was a disaster--a disaster for this blog, which once had stimulating, high-level philosophical discussions.

Steady on, man. One or two posts on politics that you disagree with and suddenly the whole blog has become a "disaster"? Learn to tolerate diversity, huh?

So has this forum with its racist, fringe comments by posters whose bubble burst. Those comments should not be tolerated. That they are tolerated says more about Dr. Fester than the misguided poster(s).

I've told Wheeler more than once now to take his race crap elsewhere, and I even deleted one of his comments. Beyond that, as Eduardo says, I prefer to moderate with a very light hand, as I always have whatever the subject is. As longtime readers know, I often let even obnoxious personal attacks against me stand.

You need to calm down, buddy.

Edward Feser said...

By the way, has anyone complimented you yet on your clever use of a picture of Bouncing Boy? If not, let me be the first.

Thank you! I was very proud of that...

equesatrum said...

As previously mentioned, the standard is not "you can have your religious beliefs until they negatively affect someone else". First, whether not paying for someone's contraception negatively affects them is exactly the issue at hand – the Church does not view pregnancy as a disease on philosophical and religious grounds. And who would decide the "negative" part of that statement? "Quakers won't fight in wars on religious grounds. That negatively affects my safety as a US citizen. They should be forced to fight." And for what it's worth, the Amish don't carry any kind of commercial health insurance: http://amishamerica.com/do-amish-visit-doctors/
Second, an employer not paying for their employees' contraception doesn't damn them to pregnancy. One can find contraceptive services in other locations, sometimes for free (certainly for condoms). So what we're really talking about here are certain types of contraceptives – mostly abortifacient contraceptives. So it's hard to argue that denying certain types of abortifacient contraceptives is "discriminatory" against anyone, and not only because the Church doesn't want to pay for contraception for anyone, but because there are other avenues of access for people looking for contraceptives that doesn't require the Church to pay for them. And to take an analogy from Bad Catholic over at patheos, a health-care provider not providing free access to contraception doesn't damn women to pregnancy anymore than not providing diet pills would damn them to obesity.

DNW said...

Anonymous said...


The Patriot Act is not relevant when discussing new relationships between the federal government and its powers and the United States citizenry?

You seem to be reduced to merely claiming that Obamacare is, in some central fashion, "new." And even to make that claim, you have to highly restrict and qualify this "newness" to the point of obscurity.

My point of harping on inscription is that OBVIOUSLY if the government can impress you into the military, it can require that you purchase certain things. (In fact in the early days of inscription I believe inscripted soldiers were expected to provide their own firearms, which means that inherent in inscription from the beginning was the requirement to buy certain products!) My point is that if inscription is within governmental powers then obviously the individual mandate is. So the power isn't new, and given the economic realities, the government had good incentive to use that power.

Your only retort to this is the continued refrain that it's new. Well, so what? What's bad about it being new? Are you saying that thee are potentials for abuse within this interpretation of the commerce clause that are not present in the federal government's UNLIMITED conscription powers?

November 14, 2012 3:31 PM




Ignoring the fatuity of your analysis for the moment, and assuming there is even a potential analogy there somewhere to be considered, you might first consider that a presumably time limited attack on the existence of the liberty guaranteeing polity and therefore on the existential fate of everyone within it, is distributive in a way that your having to bear the burdens of an autogenic disorder by yourself, (without being able to dragoon a young and healthy person into being your lifelong servant) isn't.


But this question of distributive benefit is precisely what the left has been taking aim since there first was a left. The real principle of the left being that equality of application is unequal because it doesn't take into account natural inequality.

Certainly there is no doubt that until this point everyone in the country possessed as a matter of law a kind of substantive freedom that will no longer exist. On balance, I would judge that my freedom is more important to me than becoming a slave to your dysfunction. Though you no doubt would see it differently.

Joe K. said...

The mandate on individuals is different than the punishment companies receive. The penalties on companies are based on the number of employees a company may have. It's a different regulation entirely. It's not an attempt to have it both ways.

The discrimination argument is just silly. No one is intending to discriminate against women. The intent is merely to not violate a firmly held religious belief. Furthermore, the company is denying contraception coverage to women And men. Such companies do not want to cover male sterilization either, for example.

Furthermore, the discrimination concern is not really issue-deciding when you're talking about free exercise. All it would go to is the "compelling interest" standard that the government has to meet under the RFRA requirements. Something can be "discriminatory" (even though it's really pretty silly to argue that this is) and still be upheld with respect to free exercise. Here is the relevant law:

(a) In general

Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) Exception

Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—

(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Finally, you're missing the point when you talk about it being the "law now." I was merely disagreeing with your "negatively affecting" argument, because it misunderstands the nature of rights violation with respect to American law. It's an issue of negative rights versus positive rights. A negative right is a right not to be harmed by others. A positive right is a right to be helped by others. The mandate to provide coverage creates a new positive right for employees. But it does not create a negative right. This means, when an employer refuses to provide coverage, it infringes on that employee's positive right to coverage. In such a case, the company refuses to do something For the employee. It does not do something To the employee.

Similarly, if there were a new law that required all employers to cover wedding ceremonies (regardless of sexual orientation) for employees, and a religious employer refused to pay for a gay wedding, the employer would not be doing anything To the employee. He would merely be refusing to do something For the employee. In other words, he would merely be infringing on the employee's positive legal right to have a covered wedding.

This distinction is vital when discussing religion. Things that are done To others (infringements on negative rights) for religious reasons are way more likely to be stopped, while things that are failures to do something For others (infringement on positive rights) aren't. Regardless of the underlying law. For example, a religious person who says he Must commit human sacrifices is likely to lose (or will definitely lose) in court. While a religious doctor who says that he Cannot perform abortions (even though doctors are supposed to under a hypothetical new law) is likely to win in court.

Joe K. said...

I'm not going to explain for the fourth time why temporary forced and limited protection of national sovereignty is different than forcing people to buy things for economic or domestic reasons.

If you can't see why in "My point of harping on inscription is that OBVIOUSLY if the government can impress you into the military, it can require that you purchase certain things" the first part of the sentence does not necessarily entail the latter, then I don't even want to try anymore.

The Patriot Act is a completely different issue entirely. It may very well be a Different Sort of fundamental way in which the government interacts with citizens. So What?

Finally, the act wasn't upheld under the commerce clause...But, um, yes, the abuses that require you to buy things without choice or restraint are different than the abuses related to conscription. Seeing as like, conscription is only related to war? It's a completely different situation? As I've already explained?

DNW said...

Just in case anyone is unclear as to why the argument that Congress's power to use the Commerce Clause in order to create an individual purchase mandate for health care or pay a penalty for not engaging in commerce, is not parallel to arms clauses in the the Militia Act of 1792, it is because Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution specifically and explicitly grants to Congress the power "To provide for calling organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employeed in the Service of the United States ...."

The power over the organizing and arming of the militia was already there.

The contortions necessary in order to base such compulsions on the commerce clause are logically insupportable.


Which is undoubtedly why, as bad as the argument would also be, the leftoids generally favored leveraging the General Welfare clause in order to make us all slaves to Mrs. Dweeble's uncontrollable sweet tooth and Joey's drug addiction complications.

At least then, they could blather on about "welfare" (as some did) and try to segue from the term "general" to the concept of a commonweal collective ...

Anonymous said...

Joe K

You keep referring to conscription as being temporary and limited. Can you show me in law where the government's power to conscript citizens is time-limited or limited to war-time?

Joe K. said...

Art. I § 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to raise and support Armies. This has been understood to allow conscription, and there has always been a general practice supporting such use. There has never been a Supreme Court ruling, as far as I know, on whether the raising of the army has to occur after a Declared war. (That said, we rarely actually declare wars anymore.) But I know of no case or law that ever conceives of conscription outside of the context of military service or at least serving the needs of national security.

By "limited" I simply meant that such governmental force is always within the context of the military service. I don't think anyone ever thought that conscription included Any mandated action. Conscription, by definition, is related to military efforts.

I did use the word "temporary." I know of no law distinguishing the time limit on service, but I also know of no situation where the nation has ever conscripted a person permanently. It seems the argument could be made that unlimited service (if there at least were not a military necessity) would violate the 13th amendment. Now, the Court is obviously going to give Congress leeway in any military situation, since it's an express power. But that's the whole point, we're talking about military situations.

If Art. I § 8 gave Congress the authority to mandate any action, there would be really no need for other congressional authority. They could just relate any action to "raising and supporting armies" (which is obviously a huge stretch) and mandate or regulate any action. The government has always viewed military endeavors and domestic endeavors (and its right to control them) differently. For obvious reasons.

Tony said...

However, as a liberal, I can tell you that Obama is to the right of me on war in the middle east, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, financial reform, etc.

Wow! No, that should be WOOWWWW!!!. Someone who admits to not merely being to the left of Obama, the most liberal president ever, but quite a bit to the left. This should put him, oh, say, about the Oort cloud or so.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Do the people here know that a Pope condemned certain attitudes held in America by Catholics? This is called Americanism. The Pope condemned certain aspects going on in America but most especially "the separation of Church and State" concept.

In my opinion, the Pope did not go far enough for all of "Americanism" is in great error. Americanism is an heresy.

Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote on what troubles modernity and he found it in Nihilism, The Root of Revolution in the Modern Age. In it, he declares that it is the Old Order that is under assault, that the whole modern age, while attacking Christianity and its morality is also about fervently ripping up ever vestige of the Old Order and destroying it. He declaritively states that Nihilism seeks the destruction "of all aspects of the Old Order".

Americanism is about destroying the Old Order. The words "Novus Ordo Secularum", a Masonic goal and phrase, is on the back of the One Dollar Bill in the Seal of the United States! America is a Novus Ordo so automatically is against the Old Order. And one aspect of America is its racelessness. America was built to be raceless. Race is part of the Old Order. To attack, undermine, or to dismiss it, is Nihilism. America is purposely set up as a "propositional" country; it is ideological, not biological as is every other country in the world. (Don't use the word "nation" with America. America was never a "nation" because the Latin word from which it originates from, natus, means birth; i.e. Nation, is Latin for Race.) As Bedarz Iliaci concluded earlier: "But the liberal city exists by contract. Then why should not contract evolve?". He understands that "propositionals" can change and they do change. There is nothing static in America.

America is not a true republic neither is it a nation. It is a country but that is it. The problem that was in the election is the fruition of the evil foundation that "America" rests on. The American construct is nihilist and has to be rejected in toto.

Truth is "The faithful representation of reality". A Philosopher must read nature, read reality. He can dismiss no part of it. The field of philosophy is all of reality. Philosophy deals with Truth and not manmade constructs or ideologies. Philosophy really is the study of the Wisdom that built the Natural Order. Race is part of the Natural Order. Order presupposes hierarchy. As Aristotle said, "All things are either in Authority or in Subjection". That is the natural law. It is as is. I, nor anybody else can change that. Nor does true philosophy engage in political correctness, nothing is off limits. If it is part of reality, philosophy must know it and study it. Political Correctness is not a Christian teaching, it is not Christian, nor is it Christian morality. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, it has nothing to do with Christianity or Philosophy.

The Deuce said...

I consider the Soviet Union Liberal like you consider Mussolini's Italy Conservative. If we're going to converse like adults, let's agree that Liberalism isn't Marxism and Conservatism isn't Fascism. If we can't agree to that much, we shouldn't (and for my part, won't) be conversing with each other.

I don't consider the Soviet Union liberal. I consider it leftist, and I consider modern so-called "liberals" to be leftists as well. There is no relationship between conservatism and fascism whatsoever, whereas there is a clear and undeniable degree of overlap between modern "liberalism" and communism, and a great degree of admiration of the latter for the "heroes" of the former.

That being said, you obviously know that the liberal left in America has opposed the Vietnam War, the War in Afghanistan,and the War in Iraq.

They opposed the Vietnam War primarily because we were fighting the communist movement. They didn't significantly oppose the war in Afghanistan, and they still don't. They opposed Iraq because it was Bush's idea.

American liberalism has a long anti-war history.

They have an "anti-war history" that started right about the time the Cold War did, for obvious reasons.

For his first term, Obama doubled-down on Afghanistan, and has kept up some of George W. Bush's worst policies in the prosecution of that war (Guantenmo Bay, drone strikes, etc).

Yes he did. And he's greatly expanded them past anything Bush did, with endless kill lists that can include American citizens. And hardly any "liberals" give a damn, which should tell you just how much they care about "peace" as such.

Anonymous said...

Tony K

Let me try to summarize your response: there is nothing in law restricting conscription to wartime. If voluntary enlistment ever severely dropped off, I consider it more or less a mortal certainty that the government would enact conscription to bring enlistment up to adequate levels.

There is also nothing in the law restricting conscription to foreign wars. The government could, and presumably would, engage in conscription to deal with a large enough domestic crisis, like a natural disaster.

My point is, there is no OFFICIAL distinction in the law between what the government may do to its citizens in terms of domestic policy and what it may do to its citizens in terms of foreign policy. You are imagining that such a hard and fast distinction exists, but in doing so, you are conflating custom with law. The government hasn't had to use its conscription powers for domestic issues but there is nothing in the law or the constitution preventing it from doing so.

The federal government's legally and constitutionally UNRESTRICTED conscription powers are a much more fundamental threat to individual liberty than the individual mandate, by any reasonable standard.

My only point with this is, if the government can do that, then given that health care costs pose a significant threat to our fiscal solvency going forward, the government also has the right to mandate that individual citizens who are capable of doing so purchase health insurance.

Now, even if you dispute this, even if you insist that the individual mandate is a watershed moment in our history, I still don't see what the big deal is. The individual mandate does far less to change the relationship between the individual and the government than the passage of income tax or social security did. Yet the Republic managed to endure.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I ran across a comment by blogger that goes under the pseudonym "Snapperhead soup". The nitty gritty is this: "But head controls the body." That is the Natural Law. This is how reality works. Snapperhead soup continues: "Even if conservative voters go to the polls every 4 yrs and vote for Republican candidates, the real power [is] in [the] elite institutions that decide the flow and content of information and values will be liberal.

The saying is "Culture defines Politics". Republicans and the so-called American conservatives do not control the culture making machines. Journalism and the media are Leftist because all the schools are leftist. Marxist ideology is everywhere. Marxism is exhibited by Political Correctness. Everyone acts on that including Roman Catholic Institutions and the Church. One can even say that the Roman Catholic Church has adopted whole line and sinker cultural Marxism.

The Republican party is going to go nowhere. All the culture forming institutions have been captured by the left. And then they, these "anti-racist" people have re-written the laws of our immigration in order to water down the European majority of this country on Purpose and Plan. (That is the sign of hypocrisy and the Double Mind. While they attack people as "raciss", they consciously use and manipulate immigration laws to suit their purpose of decreasing the Europeans and bringing people more conducive to Leftism.)

The head controls the body. The hostile, anti-Christian-progressive elite control this culture and therefore control the country. They are fast moving to disposses the majority and as Ann Barnhardt points out---eliminate them. All leftism that has seized power sought out the elimination of their foes. In the American Revolution, the loyalists fled for their lives to other countries. In the French Revolution the royalty, aristocracy and the Vendee were eliminated. In Communist Russia, China and with Pol Pot, elimination was the answer. The first thing the Viet Cong did was kill the first Catholic they came across. The hate is growing in this country.

And this comes to my point. The First Amendment with its "Freedom of the Press" allowed this condition to come to pass. See the Doric Greeks, the founders of Greek philosophy and the real founders of the Natural Law, had a law called the xenelasia. Foreign speech, speech contradictory to their culture, Athiesm, was forbidden. They understood the dictum that "One bad apple destroys the bushel". That is the Natural Law. It is how reality works. America is not built on the Natural Law whatsoever. The First Amendment, which many think is the core principle of Americanism, is in its very nature the cause of its destruction and replacement by Marxism! The holders of Americanism did not control their culture, so they were replaced. This is what the Obama Administration signifies. Obama signifies the solidification of Marxism now as the ruling Dominant meme.

DNW said...

"I still don't see what the big deal is."


Freedom is to a liberal as a violin is to a dog.

Anonymous said...

DW

I suppose I don't see the material difference between 1) the government requiring that you buy insurance and fining you less than the cost of that insurance if you refuse and 2) the government taking the full cost of insurance out of your paycheck.

Conservatives see some tremendous "freedom gap" between option 2), which everyone agrees the government has the power to do, and option 1).

I don't see it. If anything, I think option 1) respects freedom more than option 2).

And realistically, we are down to those to options. (Yes, Crude, I know that the possibility space involves many other solutions, but in terms of proactive solutions that the government could actually implement, we are down to 1) or 2).

BenYachov said...

@Prof Feser

So has this forum with its racist, fringe comments by posters whose bubble burst. Those comments should not be tolerated. That they are tolerated says more about Dr. Fester than the misguided poster(s).

I've told Wheeler more than once now to take his race crap elsewhere, and I even deleted one of his comments. Beyond that, as Eduardo says, I prefer to moderate with a very light hand, as I always have whatever the subject is. As longtime readers know, I often let even obnoxious personal attacks against me stand.

Prof Feser you should know by now I am your biggest fanboy or so I've been told.

But even I was tempted to think briefly "Why isn't Prof Feser showing this nutjob the door? Is there something God forbid secretly bad about him I don't know about?".

Sanity of course banished these thoughts & naturally we all know you don't in any way shape or form endorse Wheeler's fruitcake views.

But it does IMHO look rather unseemly to not take a heavy hand against him.

One blogger I used to read had a simple rule. He could tolerate a diverse set of unusual beliefs but holocaust deniers, out and out racists and fans of NAMBLA need not bother posting to his blog & would be banned outright.

Wheeler has nothing to contribute & at this point he is objectively worst than Paps or djindra.

At best ignorant persons of good will & first time readers might actually think you endorce his views by letting him stay.

It's your blog bro. Do what ya gotta do but I think I am right. You don't have to agree with me but I still think I am right.

I will still be a "fan boy" but those are my thoughts. Take it or leave it. Peace to you either way.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Ben Yachov, can you tell me what the Israeli response is to illegal immigration?

“It must be done,” said Mor Sheffer, an Israeli bystander, “or tomorrow we will have no country and we will have to look for another one.

Many residents here in the Neve Shaanan area of south Tel Aviv complain of rampant crime by migrants and say that it has become “Soweto,” a reference to the site of a 1976 uprising in South Africa. At a recent protest fanned by right-wing politicians, one lawmaker described the Africans, known here as “infiltrators,” as “a cancer in our body.” Later, Africans’ stores and apartments were attacked.
(from here.)

Jews can do whatever is good for them in Israel, but us Europeans must sit back quietly while we are disposessed of our country?

We must be silent. Are we to be silenced? Do I note hypocrisy?

DNW said...

Anonymous said...
DW

I suppose I don't see the material difference between 1) the government requiring that you buy insurance and fining you less than the cost of that insurance if you refuse and 2) the government taking the full cost of insurance out of your paycheck."



I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about there. It appears that you are attempting to establish a parallel between the Social Security program and the individual mandate to purchase, and calling it all good.

But you cannot actually mean that, since there is in fact no historical parallel: and certainly not one dating back to the time when "Social Security" was instituted as a much more limited and less all inclusive program.

If you shrug at the distinction, and respond that the ever tightening noose of Social Security has been closing for years, and the exceptions and opt outs lessened, all you have done is to concede the point your opponents charging a creeping lawless socialism, are making.

It might be worth noting as well, that if the parallel you are alluding to is with SS, and I am not sure it is, then you are actually misstating the real case in positing
" the government[s'] taking the full cost of insurance out of your paycheck"


Social Security's old age benefit although deceptively sold as an insurance program (social insurance but with "your " own account), and often referred to as one, is not like something you actually own or are contractually entitled to.

You have no real account other than a bookkeeping entry, and no legal claim to the "contributions" you have made, apart from the ongoing indulgence of the Congress. They could abolish the program tomorrow, and disburse whatever credits there were in the system howsoever they wished, and there is nothing you could do about it legally. And further, you would have no real moral claim you since you have endorsed the form of the program and its predicates yourself.

But then, you should know all that since that just another aspect of the system of law you are more generally advocating.

That said, I have a trip to the woods scheduled and may not be able to get back to exchange on this imagined "distinction without a moral difference" any time soon.

Anonymous said...

DW,

I wasn't referencing social security; I was referencing a hypothetical single-payer system. Most conservatives admit that the government does have the power to nationalize health care and to pay for it with payroll taxes under the commerce clause. My point is, I don't see a large freedom gap between such a system and Obamacare, and if one system allows for more freedom, I would say it's Obamacare. So, again, I don't get what the big deal is. I honestly don't. Nationalized healthcare wouldn't be as "new" as Obamacare, given the precedent of Medicare and Medicaid, but as it would involve the government taking over something like 1/7 of the economy, wouldn't you prefer Obamacare?

Of the options realistically on the table for healthcare reform, Obamacare is more freedom-friendly than the alternatives, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Fellows,

With regard to the contraceptive coverage controversy, could we have been dealing with faulty information?

In my research, I found that Obama's "final policy" on the matter exempts religious organizations from having to pay for contraceptive insurance directly and instead requires the insurance company from which the organization purchases its insurance to provide the coverage free of charge.

Why is that compromise still unacceptable?

BenYachov said...

@Wheeler,

Just to be clear there buddy.

F**k off!

I don't debate lunatics.

Edward Feser said...

Hi Ben Yachov,

Frankly, I have read almost none of the comments in this thread, so I know very little of what Wheeler has been saying. I simply do not have the time to read most of the comments on any thread, so sometimes some crazy crap no doubt gets through. Maybe I should scroll through it in this case.

In any event, why anyone would think I endorse what he or anyone else says in my combox, I have no idea. Especially since, in Wheeler's case, I have two or three times in the history of the blog asked people to ignore his logorrhetic trolling. And since, as I have said, one recent comment of his that I did read I deleted, and I told him to take the nutjob race stuff elsewhere.

As you know, I prefer to let the combox self-police and I rely on readers not to feed the trolls. if you keep feeding them, don't blame me.

All the same, I'll say it one more time to Wheeler: KINDLY TAKE YOUR CRAP ELSEWHERE.

Daniel Smith said...

Anon: Medicare has indeed stood the test of time. It has been ACCEPTED by the American people for nearly half a century. According to polls, people rate it more highly than private health insurance; studies prove it provides health care more cheaply and more efficiently than private health insurance; private health insurers follow Medicare's lead when deciding whether to approve new medical procedures; Medicare and the VA have provided the residency training for nearly all physicians in this country since 1965.

One thing that goes unnoticed about Medicare is the steady rise in healthcare costs since it was implemented. Healthcare, like any market, could not suffer government intervention for a protracted period without suffering from an artificial price bubble. Big pots of 'free' government money shoved into otherwise self-correcting markets will always distort the risk/reward balance and inflate prices. (Higher education is currently also in the midst of a bubble brought on by government guaranteed student loans.) The bubble will eventually burst (when no one can afford to pay the prices and insurance companies and hospitals are going bankrupt). We may not be too far away from this - especially now that the government has doubled down of its interventionism!

What this country really needs is a strong dose of Austrian economics!

Joe K. said...

It's Joe, not Tony. And this is the last time I'm responding.

Conscription is limited to military service. No one has Ever envisioned Congress' power to raise armies to include forcing people to buy Ford Explorers or Healthcare. (If Congress Tried to do such things under the power to raise armies, it would be struck down almost immediately. The Supreme Court wouldn't even grant cert. It's a joke.) This mandate has nothing to do with conscription.

Following?

But, when Congress does something like mandate action OUTSIDE OF THE CONTEXT OF MILITARY OR STATE SERVICE, it has done something it has Never done before. This is a fundamental change in the way the government interacts with its citizens. Since Congress has never done something like mandating people to purchase products, under either the Commerce Clause or the Taxation power, a Supreme Court decision necessarily follows.

This is the fundamental change: Congress is now seen as a group of people who can micromanage you in a way that forces you to do whatever it wants---things completely unrelated to military service, things it has never been given the authority to manage before. It has Never been seen this way.

A simple question should be posed to you. Why didn't the government merely just cite Congress' power to "raise armies" when arguing for the individual mandate? Why make arguments related to commerce or tax? Why almost lose the entire law when it could just say "oh, this is just us exerting our power under our right to Raise Armies." Do you know why it didn't do that? Because no one in their right mind would ever think that forcing people to buy insurance is in Any way related to "raising armies." Everyone knew it was a new sort of force, and everyone knew it would change everything.

If you say, "Well, fine, it's a fundamental change, but so what!" then we're having a different discussion altogether. I will say this, though. When a Republican Congress gets in there (one liberal citizens really hate), and they start requiring those liberal citizens to buy things They resent (like products from a particularly disliked corporation), we'll see who says what then.

BenYachov said...

>In any event, why anyone would think I endorse what he or anyone else says in my combox, I have no idea.

Speaking for myself.

Emotions are running high since the election. So in those situations reason takes a back seat. After all I didn't think Obummer's re-election given the crappy economy was possible. So sometimes in our human weakness the absurd seems possible especially when other absurd things have already happened.

Anyway thanks for looking into it.

The crack from Wheeler about how wrong it was to allow blacks to vote should be an eye opener.

Cheers Bro!

Edward Feser said...

The crack from Wheeler about how wrong it was to allow blacks to vote should be an eye opener.

Oh my goodness, I didn't see that. Where is that comment? In this thread?



DNW said...

Anonymous said...
Fellows,

With regard to the contraceptive coverage controversy, could we have been dealing with faulty information?

In my research, I found that Obama's "final policy" on the matter exempts religious organizations from having to pay for contraceptive insurance directly and instead requires the insurance company from which the organization purchases its insurance to provide the coverage free of charge.

Why is that compromise still unacceptable?

November 15, 2012 2:04 PM


Well that certainly seems broad minded of him.

So, the concession of The One, the bestowal of the saving grace, if you will, being: that while you may be excused from having to pay for it directly, if your organization facilitates access to any commercial program at all, you must at least serve as a platform for the provision and transmission of the service.

Ok. While I'm not religious, it has become increasingly clear to me in recent years - and that's not just from very occasionally observing the lisping mannequins disgracing the altar of my R.C. mother's church - why traditional salvation dogma implied that most people, including Catholic church goers, are probably going to hell.

Not that the Baptists are guaranteed to fare much better.

Tony said...

All of which can be boiled down to (for those who like boilerplate): cooperation with evil. If you formally cooperate with a morally evil act by another person, you participate in evil in such a way that the evil character of the other person's act becomes the character of your own act as well - you do moral evil. Obama asked the employers to cooperate in evil acts.

The Deuce said...

I missed this:

Medicare has indeed stood the test of time. It has been ACCEPTED by the American people for nearly half a century. According to polls, people rate it more highly than private health insurance; studies prove it provides health care more cheaply and more efficently than private health insurance; private health insurers follow Medicare's lead when deciding whether to approve new medical procedures; Medicare and the VA have provided the residency training for nearly all physicians in this country since 1965.

I missed this before. It's frankly delusional to claim that Medicare has "stood the test of time" as its costs spiral out of control, as it drives up the costs of care for everyone not on it, as more and more doctors are dropping support for it, and as it's nearing the point of going bankrupt and sucking in the whole government with it. Generally, when you say that something has "withstood the test of time," it means that it has been proven stable and sustainable for the long-haul. It's a bizarre thing to say about a program that's only been around for 50 years, and has exceeded its projected costs by many orders of magnitude in that time, with the worst still approaching on the horizon.

Arguing that it's a success because it's "popular" among those who have been made dependent on it is just dumb. Reality, and math in particular, isn't a popularity contest.

BenYachov said...

@Prof Feser

Here ya go guy.

With a partial quote.

QUOTE"This country ended when Andrew Jackson gave the suffrage to all adult men."

November 12, 2012 10:11 PM" END QUOTE

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Ben, thank you for your compliment.

For your last post, Ben, for your information, "Republicanism" has always restricted the vote to landowning people. The Founding Fathers restricted the vote to ONLY landowning men. That is an historical truth. In Classical Antiquity, all republics, Dorian and Roman, restricted the vote.

Here is Plato, who is at the center of Western Thought and Values, Clinias the Cretan is speaking: "Any city where the better sort are victorious over the masses and inferior classes may properly be said to be mistress of herself and be rightly congratulated..." (Laws, 627a) Plato reasserts the principle: "An unrighteous majority may sometimes make a combined effort to subdue by violence a righteous minority of their kinsmen and fellow citizens. When this attempt succeeds, the city may properly be spoken of as enslaved to herself, and called bad."

Republics have always had limited suffrage.

Now, what is "American conservativism" supposed to conserve? The original design of the FFofA? Or its more liberal entropy by Andrew Jackson? Andrew Jackson was a democrat and for democracy. He hated the FFofA and the original setup.

So you can all see how "liberalism" eats upon itself, constantly attacking itself until it is nomore.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

America has gone thru several stages of entropy. Liberalism is a form of Nihilism. So so-called "American conservativism" is nihilistic. It has no principles. The FFofA were liberals. They were revolutionaries. America is a product of the so-called "Enlightenment". The so-called "Enlightenment" was a cultural revolution led by Atheists. All the thinkers of the "Enlightenment" were Atheists, a tiny minority were "deists".

And for certain, no Protestant can ever be called "conservative". The very nature of Protestantism is revolution. It is an oxymoron that pronounces itself "I'm a conservative Protestant". There is no such thing.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

You know I find it very disturbing that many people don't know the history of this country. They don't know the Constitution nor the ideologies that undergird it.

I've read most of Paul A. Rahe's work on Republics. I have done my own work and had it published. I have read most of Jonathan Israel's books on the Enlightenment. I have also read most of the books by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian aristocrat and Roman Catholic who was a political scientist. So I have a basis of what I'm talking about.

The FFofA did NOT like democracy. They, despite what you hear today, did not setup a democracy. Please say the Pledge of Allegiance, with this phrase, "And to the Republic for which it stands". A true Republic is not a democracy. The FFofA did not create a true republic either. They created a similtude of one. Yet they restricted the suffrage to ONLY land owning men.

What really is democracy? It is what Plato describes in the Laws when the inferior classes and the unrighteous masses take upon themselves the right to govern. That is a democracy.

"Democracy is the road to socialism." Karl Marx

"Democracy is indispensable to socialism." Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Modern Socialism is inseperable from political democracy." Elements of Socialism, pg 337.

"The view that democracy and Socialism are inwardly related spread far and wide in the decades which preceded the Bolshevist revolution. Many came to believe that democracy and Socialism meant the same thing, and that democracy without Socialism or Socialism without democracy would not be possible." Socialism, Ludwig von Mises, pg 67.

What is really going on is that "democracy" is Marxism/Socialism. That is what is being taught in the College, highschool classroom! Democracy is the worst form of Government. Aristotle labeled it as such! A democracy is the bad form of a politeia, a republic.

No Catholic can uphold democracy. The only good forms of government are Monarchy, Aristocracy or Classical Republicanism otherwise known as mixed government. Those are the only forms a Catholic can advocate. The FFofA did not create a true republic. For more info on that please see this Classical definition of republic. The word was purposely redefined in the Renaissance. How many of you know that? Who has done the research? I have.


W.LindsayWheeler said...

From Wikipedia:

"He [Andrew Jackson] fought politically against what he denounced as a closed, undemocratic aristocracy, adding to his appeal to common citizens. He expanded the spoils system during his presidency to strengthen his political base. The FFofA created a pseudo-republic based on the natural aristocracy, the landowning class.

Andrew Jackson, like all democrats, appealed to the voters and future voters with gifts in exchange for his personal power. Andrew Jackson has laid the groundwork for every other President, you buy off the electorate with gifts. Did not Mitt Romney say the same thing just recently? Obama bought the poor off with Obamacare, Obamafons, and Obamacars (the rescue of GM).

As soon as America was born---it died.

Anonymous said...

Tony and The Deuce,

It seems you won't take yes for an answer. The final compromise won't require that Catholic institutions pay directly or indirectly for contraceptive insurance. The entire cost will be taken on by the insurance company.

Certainly, working for the religious institution is the way through which women have access to this insurer, but if that amounts to cooperating with evil, then so would paying them a salary and letting them buy contraceptive insurance with it on their own.

By the logic you guys are employing, the only way religious institutions could fail to cooperate with evil is if they didn't compensate their workers at all or if they only hired people who would never use their salaries for sin.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

What is the definition of democracy in Aristotle. Aristotle defines democracy as "The rule of the Poor". Second, democracy's methodology, per Aristotle, is the General Will---not the Rule of Law!

Is not the whole of American academia and what is taught in our elementary schools and high schools in error?

Furthermore, I know all of you subscribe to Political Correctness. I know that the Catholic Hierarchy and the Magesterium also adhere, advocate, teach, Political Correctness. Political Correctness was designed to spread cultural Marxism. The end goal of Marxism is to establish a One World (q.v. One World, John Kiang). This is why it was called "International Socialism", in order to do away with nations and states.

In order to bring about One World, you must deracinate the people. Political Correctness is about deracination. Deracination or Political Correctness is about destroying/unmaking the Natural Laws (or laws of nature) that guide and form groups, called race/nation/enthnicity. (All three of those meand the same thing, one is French, one is Latin, and the other is Greek words.)

Political Corrrectness is EXISTENTIAL GENOCIDE. Everytime you engage in Political Correctness you are destroying group cohesiveness and engaging in deracination. I just want to make that perfectly good to you all. How and Why the Magesterium misses this is a good question. The Commandment is "Thou shalt not Murder". To engage in Political Correctness is to engage in the murder of the group by destroying its cohesiveness. Every single person who engages in Political Correctness, now called "Social Justice" is engaging in existentional genocide--the murder of the group.

Marxism is about attacking the Logos of the Natural Order. Race is part of the Natural Order. To deconstruct Race thru political correctness is nihilism, is genocide. This has been the purpose eversince of Marxism. Marxism is not just economic; Marxism has a strategic goal, and cultural goal of doing away with nations and races and establishing Globalism. Political Correctness was designed to accomplish this feat by social engineering the culture.

To attack the Natural Law is to attack the person of Jesus Christ himself. And Race and Nation was created thru Jesus Christ and the laws that guide that part of the Natural Order are as well, the person of Jesus Christ.

I'm sure glad that all you church-going Catholics understand this already! I'm sure glad that the Shepards of the Church are warning their flocks about this! Don't be suprised if you end up in Hell. For every person that engages in Political Correctness will hear those words, "It would have been better had he never been born".

Papalinton said...

Dr Feser
It is interesting that you provide an update from a spokesperson [John Goodman] representing the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank that has a vested invested in seeking only private sector solutions to healthcare policy. Of course such a person would find fault in Obamacare. That is what they are paid to do. It would seem Goodman's National Center for Policy Analysis on health care issues, is prepared to accept market failure as simply a cost of doing business in the industry. One can but assume that the current model of private health care is the best that they can offer. Had there been any avenues for improvement the private health sector would surely have already instituted these in their model over the past several decades.

Alas, no such improvements are evident.

If the current model is the flagship of private sector health care insurance, is it any wonder that Obamacare became a necessary and sought-after addition to the public policy framework?

I am somewhat dismayed that you should cherry-pick your update, without equally providing a balanced counter-perspective. But of course, all this is rather academic. Your standpoint is moot as the American people have very recently voted with their feet for Obamacare representing the best way forward.

On the matter women's personal health, the incorporation of contraception into universal health cover is a significant social advance that will be, if not already, welcomed by the vast majority of women in the country. The legislation also properly reflects what has been a fundamental and commonplace social practice for many decades now, with 98% of Catholic women agreeing.

It breaks the nexus between medieval thinking and the realities of modern life, once and for all.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Marxism is a genocidal ideology---I'm sure glad that Catholics of all stripes engage in it! Is not American Catholicism, Marxism with a cross?

Have you not heard the story of the frog in the pot? You slip the frog in the cool water and then incrementally keep on raising the temperature until you cook him.

America by slow degrees has become Marxized. America is a Marxist country. It has implemented every plank in the Communist Manifesto, it is a pure democracy, it has political correctness/social justice (which is cultural Marxism) as its cultural values, and it has voted in a Marxist as President.

America is Over. It is done and it is Finished.

And where is the Catholic Intelligentsia? Where is the Catholic Hierarchy? The Bible teaches, "Be thou not deceived". Can we say that the whole of the Catholic Church, just like in the 4rth century when Arianism was widespread, that the Church is infected with Marxist error and is itself attacking the Natural Law in which it supposedly teaches and upholds. The Catholic Hierarchy is part of the process in which America was destroyed. They share in the blame.

Are you guys that decieved. Come on guys are you that ignorant. Are you that dumb?

Tony said...

The entire cost will be taken on by the insurance company.

Anon, I see you have Obama's mindset about this. Let's take it from step one:

Where does the insurance company get its money to pay for benefits?

but if that amounts to cooperating with evil, then so would paying them a salary and letting them buy contraceptive insurance with it on their own.

There is no question that it amounts to cooperation with evil. That's goes without saying. The only remaining issue is when it is formal cooperation or immediate material cooperation, and when it is neither of those. Happily, paying taxes when your government does something bad with the taxes is NOT formal or immediate material cooperation.

Daniel Smith said...

W. Lindsay Wheeler raises an interesting point. Even though I find the idea of the vote being limited to male landowners repugnant, what if only taxpaying citizens were allowed to vote?

That would seem, on the surface at least, palatable.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not palatable. It's disgusting, even as a suggestion.

You're basically just saying extremely poor people, i.e. the most vulnerable people in our society, can't have any say in their government.

It would also be a de facto racist policy, as it would disproportionately affect black and hispanic people, which I guess is the point, right?

Eduardo said...

Well, do you think the really poor should vote?

I mean I get the idea that they should have say on their future, that sort of pressuposes that government build everybody's future... Well what if the government is not meant o built everybody's future but just to do a certain amount of action to keep society safe?

Oh yeah I can see the libertarians crawling out the woodwork just about NOW!

Daniel Smith said...

You're basically just saying extremely poor people, i.e. the most vulnerable people in our society, can't have any say in their government.

No I was saying that it might make sense if those who pay for government decided how their money is used - like shareholders in a company. It would also incentivise people to become taxpayers.

It would also be a de facto racist policy, as it would disproportionately affect black and hispanic people, which I guess is the point, right?

No. This has nothing to do with race at all!! If you are saying that someone's race directly affects their ability to pay taxes then YOU are the racist!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I still see that we are calling each other "raciss", engaging in Political Correctness even after I explained that Political Correctness is a genocidal ideology. Do you know why Hitler ordered the jailing of Freemasons? If Freemasons were ethnic Germans why were they in the camps with the Jews?

Do you guys really know what is behind history? Does anybody investigate? Why were the Freemasons in jail with the Jews.

They were there for the same reason.

Both groups espoused multiculturalism, both espoused Internationalism. Internationalism was the first step towards Globalisation. In order to bring about the worldly messiah and fix the world, nations and races would have to be destroyed to bring about the rebirth of the Tower of Babel. (That's their line.) This is no joke. A recent researcher of Freemasonry put a picture of the Tower of Babel as his book cover. (I'm away from my library at the moment.)

Many of the founders of America were Masons. Masonry teaches tolerance and diversity. Why? because that is the necessary ingredients for the Tower of Babel.

That is what America is this "melting pot". We are all JUST individuals. America is the presage for globalism. This is where the League of Nations and its succesor the United Nations which is housed of course in the United States, come in.

Hitler saw that these Internationalists would betray their country. America is this rebirth of the Tower of Babel.

We are not "individuals". God created us into Groups. We have a three parts to us. We are individuals, but we are members of a larger group called race/nation/ethnicity and a member of the human race. Race is the Golden Mean between individuality and the larger whole. The Golden Mean is where there is Truth and Beauty. All Good rests in the Golden Mean. That is why God put humans into races. To overexaggerate individuality is to bring about globalization and Globalization in return needs to individualize us all, to deracinate. The Enlightenment idea of the Natural Law was atomism. This atomismistic ideology formed the extremem individualism of the Enlightenment. This coupled with Protestantism, which taught individualism, formed the ideology of America. Breaking everything down into individuals, is what brings about globalization. The Tower of Babel. Atheist ideology in league with the devil is about reconstructing what God destroyed.

Christian theology of the Tower of Babel is far different from Jewish theology of the Tower of Babel. Whereas, the Bible declares it as evil. The Jewish Kabbala idea is that it is a good to restore the Tower of Babel. It was because of man's sins that they were separated and now it is the duty to re-unite all the people back together. This has a parallel in Stoicism as well. This is the motivating factor behind Marxism.

I wish you guys will stop for a minute and meditate on this.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Why poor people should not vote.

Poor people should not vote because they work too much. In the Book of Sirach, it says that Leisure is needed for the progress of philosophy, of wisdom. And Wisdom is what is needed in guiding the body politic. The poor do not have leisure. They are too busy working and then, when they get off from work--they are in the bars drinking. The poor do not go in for self-improvement.

The poor do not have the education to make good choices. The world is more sophisticated and intricate.

The poor also are the most materialistic of a group. Since they are poor, they must constantly scrounge to make a living. Their eyes are directed to the ground. They are directed to looking for material to live on. Their focus in life, because of the necessity of life, is on materialistic things and that is their milieu. They are materialistic.

Now to the Contrast. Compare and Contrast that with the warrior elite, called the aristocracy. They have leisure because they have sufficient funds. They have the leisure to attain to philosophy. They have the time to meditate and think on things which the poor do not. They have the education. They are better off, go to better schools and get a better education. The Aristocracy, since they are the best, have for their outlook metaphysical enjoyments. Their gaze is towards the beautiful and the good. That is their milieu. Their time is spent in perfection and not in the pursuit of the basics of life. Their life turns on their excellencies.

Politics is about Wisdom. It has nothing to do with "having one's say". Reality exists on Wisdom and so people who have some sort of time for the attainment of Wisdom should be the ONLY ones engaged in Politics.

The poor of any stripe have no business in politics. The State must be guided by Wisdom, not by the General Will. The poor will be guided by "what they need". Not on the General Welfare of the whole.

And I'm proven out that most of the poor do not even know that there is a distinction between democracy and republics. Should these people be voting? No.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

On why the poor should not vote.

Righteousness.

Righteousness is the dictum that all things are created to do one thing. That is the Natural Law. Plato's Republic is all about righteousness. The whole book is centered around that one theme.

Another thing in Plato's Republic is this phrase, "according to nature" that occurs frequently throughout the book.

Things act according to their nature. Let us look at one of the mandates of Political Correctness, that of Women voting. Leadership is Male. Women have no business voting. The Dictum, the rule of One is Best. Only one can rule. In a houselhold, in the family, One rules and that is Father. He then should be the only one voting.

But what does nature teach. If leadership is male, don't you think that Nature will outfit the man with the capability of leadership? Is not the point of leadership, one of its necessities is the ability to carry out one's will?

Read the book Sex Differences, Modern Biology and the Unisex Fallacy. It points out that men have a large amount of upper body strength and women do not. See, Nature gives different stuff to different people. Women do not have any leadership capability because they have no upperbody strength to enforce their will. According to Nature, then, Leadership is with the Male.

The same goes for the Poor. Not all people can be Chiefs. Nature hands out different gifts to different people. In a population, Nature only hands out the best to the few---not to the many. Look at a bee or ant nest. There is ONLY one queen. The rest are disposable worker bees. Because the Queen is indispensible, there is ONLY one. She is the leader of the hive, not the worker bees.

Nature does not fit every single person the capability to be a leader. Nature only selects a few because what is needed in a society is worker bees. To work requires many, to lead requires few. As Plato and Clinias quoted above in this thread point out, there is only a few righteous few that Nature endowed with leadership and they are the only ones that should lead. Nature did NOT fit the poor to lead and so they should not, can not vote.

Anonymous said...

Eduardo,

Here's what conservatives don't get - in a democracy, what government is "meant" to do is determined by the voters.

And if I may, your comment betrays that you think only tax payers contribute to society. Many people who pay little to no taxes work everyday. Some are housewives. Some are elderly, including veterans. Some are disabled or have disabled children or parents. And, hello, a good number of them are CLERGY.

The idea that only people who pay taxes count as citizens is flat out DESPICABLE, period. If you're so far into the conservative wilderness that such an idea doesn't immediately strike you as heinously offensive, then I hope you brought a sleeping bag, because your party will be in that wilderness for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Smith,

I said it would be de facto racist. In other words, though not race-based, it would end up disproportionately affecting minorities.

And again, if you can even seriously entertain the idea that a poor woman who pays no taxes therefore has no right to vote on Obamacare, or abortion, or the environment, or foreign policy, or any of a HUGE number of things that will absolutely affect her regardless of the fact that she doesn't pay taxes, then you really need to ask yourself whether you believe in democracy at all.

Eduardo said...

Well Anon, does the woman that doesn't pay taxes has as her only voice in society?

You see; people will have a bunch of things in their live that they will have no say on, or will have their opinion shoved aside.

Maybe democracy as we have envisioned today is not efficient.

Eduardo said...

Has VOTING as her only voice ... damn it, me and mine typos.

Tony said...

Daniel, please do NOT feed the hyenas. Even when they accidentally say something interesting. Even when they sound like they are making sense, for a brief moment. It is an illusion, and you gain nothing by pursuing it.

Anonymous:

You're basically just saying extremely poor people, i.e. the most vulnerable people in our society, can't have any say in their government.

Actually, no. Many even extremely poor people in this country pay taxes - since they pay payroll taxes. Gee, get a grip.

And voting isn't co-extensive with having a say in government. One of the errors of the progressives in the 1900s to 1920s was saying women had no say in the government because they didn't vote. That is manifest nonsense: those who do not vote influence the vote in other ways. And they influence the government in other ways too. Otherwise, HOW DID THEY GET THE VOTE? (mutter, mutter, mutter...what DO they teach in schools these day?)

then you really need to ask yourself whether you believe in democracy at all.

I thought the idea behind the Constitution was a republic.

what if only taxpaying citizens were allowed to vote?

Daniel, it is easy to see that the people who pay taxes is not as such co-extensive with the group of people whom you MOST want the vote, and whom you most trust to look after the entirety of the common good. At the very best, it would only be a very rough approximation, perhaps capturing most of the people you want voting and excluding few that ought to vote. But that's only the first level approach: over time, the internal mechanics of that exclusion would skew the category.

Nevertheless, I am quite willing to see a trial of using a poll tax of $100 to vote. You can even set it up so that every person who wants can get that $100 by doing one of the following, either 8 hours work for the government (mowing laws, or just picking up litter on the freeway, or listening to 12 hours of discussion on the Constitution, 3 months before the election. Anybody who can make enough effort to get the $100, and then hold on to it for 3 months to pay the poll tax, is allowed to vote.

But in my view, the more important bar should be verifying political and cultural literacy, and I don't see any way of doing that without some kind of test. Which is probably fraught with all sorts of bad tag-along consequences that I can't see, along with the ones I can. I just can't tell whether the consequences would be notably worse than the ones we already suffer from. I don't know why we think 18-year olds should universally have the vote. I mean, it's not like they are fully entrusted with all aspects of with their majority at that point, we still don't let them make the decision whether to drink or not. The SC decisions on the topic are undoubtedly severe encroachments on states' powers, as well as bad "law".

W.LindsayWheeler said...

How good is the democracy working out for you all here in America?

I see that the American government is 16 Trillion in debt. The Government debt has surpassed the GDP of the country it manages. And democracy which created this is good? This is how the poor manage their country?

Not only is the US Government debt is 16 Trillion but its unfunded liabilities, all these social government programs, that the poor voted themselves by electing people that will give them this stuff is 222 Trillion. There is no way that this money can be made up. There is not even 222 Trillion in the whole world. So is this the greatness of a democracy? That the poor can manage well the country?

Right now, the manufacturing base is leaving this country because the poor elect people who are for Free Trade. How well is America being run as a democracy?

Is not a democracy run by demogogues? Promise stuff out of the treasury for the poor? So Bill Clinton sold all sorts of our rocket and satelite technology to China. Is this how the poor manage their defense--selling their technology to future enemies?

How is the poor decieved that they have in this country have given up Liberty and exchanged that for the chains of government control over everything in their lives? Is this how a democracy works? How well has America run under democracy?

Under democracy, the majority have this country is being dispossessed! Is this how well a democracy runs?

Democracy really works well doesn't it. The poor really know what they are doing that they have enslaved themselves!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

How does Democracy really work.

Let's look at Hussein and his election.

It was nothing but Class Warfare. What is Class warfare? Hate and Envy. This is how democracy works. Hussein, which is a very good European name, demogogues the poor with the memes of Hate and Envy and gets elected.

Is this how a country is supposed to be run? Where is Wisdom? There is none. A democracy is run on emotions, on materialism, on getting free stuff.

A person who hates America like Andrew Jackson, is elected over people he hates. And while he is hating, every businessman is in fear of more taxes. Without the business man there is no jobs. We are looking at the reality of Ayn Rand's fiction as businesses are run out of town--and society is collapsing.

And it is quite funny to see Catholics participating in democracy and how democracy gives itself the right to decide on morality as well.

It seems democracy sinks into the gutter. Democracy becomes vulgar. What kind of society has the poor now invented in America?

I would say a Turd World Hellhole. And the Catholic vote led the way.

Daniel Smith said...

Anon: I said it would be de facto racist.

My objection was not to the "de fact racist" part but to what came after it. Here's your full remark (including the accusation): "It would also be a de facto racist policy, as it would disproportionately affect black and hispanic people, which I guess is the point, right?"

I didn't bring up race - you did. Please stop trying to make things about race when they are not and please stop attributing motives to people that are not there.

Daniel Smith said...

That said...

Restricting the vote to taxpaying citizens is not something I'm prepared to defend as if I'd thought long and hard about it (I only said it would "seem" palatable "on the surface").

There is a principle there though that is worth exploring.

If government were a corporation that decided to give away money to anyone who met certain requirements - two things would happen:
1) People would line up around the block trying to prove that they met the requirements.
2) Shareholders would be up in arms that the money they put into the corporation was being squandered.

Someone may object that government is not like a for-profit corporation but rather more like a non-profit charity. But even if we grant that government is more like a charity than a corporation, the people putting up the money should still have more say than the people receiving the money. What kind of charity would allow the people receiving the money to decide who should receive the money?

There's a principle there that has some merit to it.

Anonymous said...

Tony,

I didn't say all of the extremely poor don't pay taxes, I said of those who don't pay taxes, the overwhelming majority are extremely poor.

Of course there are other ways of influencing the government. But voting is the most direct and efficient way. So the question is, why take that away from non-tax payers, who are mostly extremely poor people, who are mostly minorities?

The reality is, you're trying to disenfranchise people who typically vote Democratic. And in a way, that you could casually propose something so appalling is comforting to me, because it proves Conservatives are so out to lunch I won't have to worry about them winning a national election anytime soon. I would absolutely LOVE IT if a major figure within the Republican party took your suggestion seriously and tried to make it a national issue.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

I'm saying that the only reason you suggest such a rule change is that it would remove people from the voter rolls that are likely to vote Democratic. And you know those people are mostly Black and Hispanic, and at best, you don't seem to care. At worst, you seem to be trying to purposely reverse engineer a system specifically designed to purge them from the rolls.

It's no different from the Voter ID laws, which are no different than the grandfather clause. You pick a rule that highly correlates with minorities so that you can exclude them from the voter rolls without explicitly using race as a criteria. Now, maybe you sincerely don't intend the racist effect. It's still racist.

As to whether the government is a charity or a business, I offer you the novel suggestion that it is neither. And conceiving of it in such skewed terms is why you can't help but make suggestions that would just appall the majority of the electorate. In a democratic republic, the government serves first to protect the rights of the people, including rights Conservatives deem inconvenient, such as the right for poor people to have a say in their government.

The principle here is that people should have a direct say in the things that affect them. A person who doesn't pay taxes ought to be able to have a say as to whether pollutants can be dumped into the water he drinks.

What you and Tony seem to be suggesting is that the right to self-determination isn't God-given, it's purchased from the government. That suggestion is as anti-Christian as it is anti-Democratic. And, excuse me for saying so, it also seems pretty antithetical to the Conservative principle that the government doesn't give rights (particularly not as remuneration for taxes received), it protects rights that already exist. In short, I can't think of any principle you presumably stand by under which you should not be completely ashamed for even having contemplated such a suggestion. Full stop.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Here is a Marvin Folkertsma

"Most likely the United States will change into something else, into a “soft” totalitarian society envisioned by Alexis de Tocqueville, where its citizens are “cared for” but weighted down by mountains of rules and bereft of any dynamism, creativity, or imagination—subservient, socialist, and senile.

And we will have no one to blame for the fall of our country but ourselves.
(From here, The Decline and Fall of America.

This weighted down by mountains of rules and bereft of any dynamism, creativity, or imagination—subservient, socialist, and senile. is what Ayn Rand predicted. And yes Marvin Folkertsma also predicts an economic collapse.

What is written in the article is how interest groups, factions, engage in taking as much of the common product for themselves. Their interest group comes first which actually harms other people. It is about stealing as much goodies for oneself.

How do we prevent the collapse? Does any body have a plan? Do we even know what it takes to maintain a liberal free society with a high standard of living? That people live a lie, and no one corrects them--we must certainly pass away. The death of America because we're afraid!--and we're dumber than a box of rocks!

Tony said...

The reality is, you're trying to disenfranchise people who typically vote Democratic.

No, not me. I am trying to partially disenfranchise people who vote for STUPID and EVIL. (It's your own perception that my target was Democrats. I am equally opposed to voting stupid or evil for Republicans. You know, the stupid party and the evil party.)

If you will notice, my "disenfranchise"ment merely requires the payment of a modest $100, access to which is granted to EVERY person who asks for it suitably. That's not much in the way of disenfranchising, now is it? According to that approach, no poor person would be excluded on account of being poor, or on account of not paying other taxes.

The principle here is that people should have a direct say in the things that affect them. A person who doesn't pay taxes ought to be able to have a say as to whether pollutants can be dumped into the water he drinks.

Oh, grow up. Your "principle" is a whining wish-dream of babies and children, not adults who ought to know better. You don't have a "vote" in who buys the house next door, but it affects you. You don't have a vote in whether the neighbor kid down the street studies medicine, but his (and his peers) choice will affect whether you have doctors to run to in 30 years. You don't have a vote in whether the Fed lowers or increases overnight interest rates, but THAT affects you in a thousand different ways, including whether you have a job next month. Come to think of it, you don't have a vote in whether your employer decides to close shop and sell the physical assets, and that certainly affects whether you have a job.

Nor are you seriously thinking that children should get to vote, even though that's what your so-called principle would require. Nor criminals, nor mental patients and imbeciles.

The purpose of government is to protect and promote the common good. There are many different legitimate forms of government, including monarchy and aristocracy as well as republics and democracies. ALL of them ought to leave in the hands of individuals those decisions that pertain rightly to the individual's own principal sphere of good and authority, NONE of them should be leaving every choice in the hands of every person who will be affected by that choice. In some arenas, you want specialists and trained experts making decisions for you, like running the nuclear plant 10 miles from you. You don't want the day-to-day operation of the plant controlled by the vote of all those affected thereby. Well, government's the same way: in some parts (the top), you want the best suited making the executive decisions. It so happens that figuring out who are the best suited is not subject to a definitively certain set of parameters or algorithms. Voting is a particular mechanism for trying to find the best suited, but there is nothing written in stone or the stars that says it is a particularly well-designed method. And voting for "the best suited" has not been proven to be a highly successful method of locating that sort of person. It simply beggars the imagination to suppose that the 44 men elected to the top office are the 44 men best suited to govern at that level (for one thing, the nonsense of the campaign makes it so that at least 9/10s of the men who would be qualified don't want the position. (Which, actually, is one of the qualifications of the job. And almost all of the recipients failed that parameter.))

Daniel Smith said...

Anonymous: I'm saying that the only reason you suggest such a rule change is that it would remove people from the voter rolls that are likely to vote Democratic.

So, so wrong!!!

And you know those people are mostly Black and Hispanic, and at best, you don't seem to care.

Doubly wrong!

At worst, you seem to be trying to purposely reverse engineer a system specifically designed to purge them from the rolls.

I asked you to stop attributing motives to people that aren't there. You refused. The rest of your post actually has some merit and may have been worthy of discussion. Unfortunately, after - again - insinuating that I am a racist and (presumably) a Republican (I'm not). I cannot find the charity in my heart to continue a discourse with you.

Sorry dude.

Anonymous said...

Tony,

Why assume there is any positive correlation between people who don't pay taxes and people who are stupid or evil?

Clergy don't pay taxes. Are they especially stupid or evil?

Note, also, under your scheme, full-time clergy would not be able to vote, since their income isn't taxed.

In point of fact, I do have a say in all of those things you mention by virtue of having the vote. I can vote for candidates who uphold the right for neighborhood associations (which very much does have a say in who moves in next to me). I can vote for candidates who will increase funding to state medical schools, thus increasing the number of doctors. Etc. There is very little that affects a member of the electorate that voting won't allow them to have a voice in.

Children are prohibited from voting because of a lack of maturity and knowledge. Unless you assume that all people who don't pay taxes (like housewives, disabled veterans, Catholic priests, etc) are similarly lacking in maturity and knowledge, bringing up children doesn't really help your case.

You keep attempting to put words in my mouth, and to inflate my claims uncharitably. Just like I never claimed that only poor people pay no taxes, I also never claimed that a person ought to be able to have a say on EVERYTHING that happens to him. I never said any such a thing, and you know it. Obviously people have no control over natural disasters, or the immediate behavior of their fellow citizens. But they ought to have a say in the workings of their government. They ought to be able to vote for who represents them, at a minimum.

If the only way you can pretend to have a point is to attribute views to me that I never expressed, might I suggest that you consider simply walking away, rather than further embarrassing yourself?

At any rate, if you really believe that monarchy is a legitimate form of government, then you've conceded my earlier point - you don't really believe in democracy. Unfortunately for you, if you live in America, you happen to live among a few hundred million people that do. If you find that fact untenable, might I suggest you depart to the monarchy of your choice?

Anonymous said...

Daniel Smith,

I neither know nor care whether you are a racist. I even granted in my last post that you might not intend the de facto racist effect of what you proposed. That doesn't changed the fact that what you proposed is de facto racist.

If you want to choose that imagined insult as your excuse from backing away from indefensible comments, I can understand. But I did not call you a racist or a Republican. I assumed you were Conservative, and we both know I'm right as rain about that.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Over at "TheoSpark", they have posted the quotes of De Tocqueville:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years." ― Alexis de Tocqueville

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." ― Alexis de Tocqueville

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." ― Alexis de Tocqueville

"Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ― Alexis de Tocqueville

"Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom." ― Alexis de Tocqueville

That is surely true and have come to pass. Democracy is the worst form of government. The American people live in slavery now due to the demands of equality. Obama will make sure all people are equal while him and his cohorts will be "more equal than others".

Tony said...

Why assume there is any positive correlation between people who don't pay taxes and people who are stupid or evil?

Note, also, under your scheme, full-time clergy would not be able to vote, since their income isn't taxed.


Oh, I see, I am dealing with someone who both doesn't read and doesn't know facts.

(1) It was Daniel, not me, who suggested the idea of not extending the vote to people who don't pay tax. My thought was a DIFFERENT concept. It was not about whether you pay tax, it was about whether you have enough self-control and self-restraint to hold onto a measly $100 for 3 months.

(2) Clergy do pay tax. In fact they are not exempt from real estate and sales taxes. Oh, you meant "don't pay INCOME tax", didn't you. But then, they DO pay income tax. Some aspects of their income are excluded from SOME aspects of the overall tax scheme - they are not required to pay into SS, but they do have to pay income tax.

When reporting gross income for federal income tax purposes, clergy can exclude a portion of their income designated by their church or salary paying unit as a "housing allowance." However, housing amounts are subject to Self Employment Taxes

http://www.protax.com/articles/article/clergy-are-blessed-with-almost-tax-free-status/

I can vote for candidates who uphold the right for neighborhood associations (which very much does have a say in who moves in next to me)

Ok, again lack of facts. I was the president of an HOA, and I had exactly ZERO power to even affect who bought houses and moved in, much less control it. The laws pretty much preclude most of the possible ways to control it, except for the actual homeowner selling his house. And for the homeowner himself, if he uses any realtor or service he is precluded from denying a sale based on race, creed, etc.

Or, did you mean that the neighborhood's home prices can price certain classes of people out of the neighborhood? Nah, you couldn't mean that, 'cause that's even MORE racist and discriminatory than what you ascribe to Daniel.

if you really believe that monarchy is a legitimate form of government,

Well, from that I take it you feel that it is not. Which position is contrary to all of the classical philosophers, and all natural law scholars, and all Christians at least from before 1900. I'll go with their point over yours. However, I didn't say that I thought democracy was NOT a legitimate form of government. It is. So is a republic. I wonder if you know the difference.

To accept the principle of self-determination is NOT the same as having a democracy. Some peoples self-determine for a monarchy. See: the book of Samuel. The Israelites weren't repudiating self-determination when they insisted on a monarch, they were exercising it. The fact that you cannot conceive of any other form of government as legitimate shows how narrow and poverty-stricken your imagination is. To be legitimate as a government merely requires that it be capable of being ordered to the common good. And that is possible for a monarchy, and an aristocracy, as well as a democracy.

You keep attempting to put words in my mouth, and to inflate my claims uncharitably.

What? The only thing I expanded on from your statement was your claim of a "principle" that everyone ought to have a say in what affects them. You didn't limit it to government, so I took its logical consequences. Of course, it isn't a real principle generally, nor is it a principle for government properly either.

Tony said...

The principle here is that people should have a direct say in the things that affect them....

In point of fact, I do have a say in all of those things you mention by virtue of having the vote... I can vote for candidates who will increase funding to state medical schools, thus increasing the number of doctors. Etc. There is very little that affects a member of the electorate that voting won't allow them to have a voice in.


Ah, I see. So when you said "direct say in the things that affect them" what you meant was "an indirect say" by voting for candidates that will make laws affecting that action. That would apply even if the only laws that could be made to affect the result are things that aren't the government's role to begin with, such as running medical schools. And that still doesn't give you even an indirect say in who moves in next door, unless you want the government to actually assign housing like the communists. But of course, in a true 100% democracy, if "the people" vote to control who lives in the house next door, the people get to have that control. Or to vote you out of your house.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

This post is going to be a rebuttal to the nonsense of Anon who writes: "In a democratic republic,"

There is NO such thing as a "democratic republic"! That is an oxymoron. A republic is mixed government. A democracy is Rule of the Poor! It is Montesquieu who invented this crap. He labeled Sparta an "aristocratical republic" and Athens a "Democratic republic". Aristotle who lived in damn Athens made NO such distinction. Actually Aristotle in his Athenian Constitution records how the Athenian Republic created by Solon was "changed by slow decrees and actions into a democracy". So no, Athens is NOT a "democratic republic" for otherwise Aristotle's words would be nonsense! Aristotle's Athenian Constitution and Cicero's De Republica were lost and were not recovered until 1830s and the 1910s. Montesquieu did not have these writings. Montesquieu is a blithering idiot.

Furthermore, many people especially David Barton, this American Christian political expert, calls America a "constitutional republic". What an idiot there as well. The word "republic" includes as its meaning "constitution". It certainly does in the Greek. The Greek word "Politiea" means society, constitution, mixed government, and the Romans translated this word as "republic". To say "constitutional republic" tells me that you don't know what the heck you are talking about.

So what did the FFofA do? They did not like the class structure of the ancient republics so being liberals they mashed what they liked out of classical republicanism together with democracy. In order to have a true republic you must have a true aristocracy with distinctions of rank in a Upper House. They were "egalitarians" but they wanted the "natural aristocracy".

You define different governments by their dominant factor. With no classes in America, the government they started was a democracy.

Furthermore, all of modern republicanism is in a sense a democracy. Modern Republicanism is the total opposite of Republicanism in Classical antiquity! The Atheist Machiavelli and others in the Renaissance purposely changed the definition in order to bring about a revolution in their society.

So there are NO true repulics anywhere in the modern world.

To restate, a "Democratic republic" is an oxymoron. When someone says that, he just acclaims himself to be a friggin' idiot.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

I forgot to ask if there is something called a "constitutional republic" what is an "Unconstitutional republic"? is there such a thing? What is a straight republic? When I just say "republic" does that mean it is unconstitutional by fiat?

Enquiring minds would like to know!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Anon goes on:

the government serves first to protect the rights of the people,

Is this what the Roman government did? The Athenian government did? The Persian Empire? The Pharoahs? When in history did this start? So if this is the purpose of government--then I would find this at the very beginning when government came into being, right?

I'd like to ask what is your education Anon? Is it any wonder that you're anonymous because I'd be afraid to show myself after spouting so much nonsense. What kind of logic or reasoning or research or learning have you undergone? Or do you just have Leftist indoctrination?

the right for poor people to have a say in their government.

There is absolutely NO right for poor people to have a say in their government!

When someone asked Lycurgus why didn't you set up a democracy in your state, he is said to have replied, "Begin my friend, and set it up in your family first". Do parents give their children the right to vote? Do you let children vote? So why would you let the poor--the least educated, the least intelligent? What you have a death wish? Just read the de Tocqueville quotes above. That is what giving the poor the right to vote does----destroys the state!

who are mostly extremely poor people, who are mostly minorities?

Yea, so? When did any ancient state give foreigners a say in their government? Are you crazy? It would seem that the Ancients are more wiser than moderns who are just fools! What do minorities know about running a WASP government? Do you see anything like America in South America? Or in Central America? Or in Africa? Unlike you Anon, I've been around the world. Because I feel sentimental, I have to give other people the vote. Is this a way to run a country?

right to self-determination isn't God-given, it's purchased from the government. That suggestion is as anti-Christian as it is anti-Democratic.

This again is all Atheist "Enlightenment" BS. There is NO right to self-determination. Did I determine myself to be a Male? NO. I was born that way. Did I determine myself to be 6 foot 1? NO. I was born that way. Did I determine myself to be Greek? NO. What right of "self-determination"? What I must have is Duty to my Kinsmen. That is a Duty, A Virtue that is forced upon me by being born into a group. That has always, always been so until the Enlightenment.

When did we start taking order from a bunch of Atheists for? Scrap the stupid idiotic evil "Enlightenment"! And dropping this "self-determination" has nothing to do with Christianity or democracy. Democracy has NO meaning. 90% of all people throughout history have never lived by democracy! So being "anti-democratic" as a standard of judgement is nonsense. The longest, most used form of government has been Monarchy! God uses Monarchy! There is NO democracy in Heaven and by God there is NO "self-determination" in Heaven. You can have your "self-determination" In Hell but not in Heaven! If God uses Monarchy---Who is smarter---God or you stupid inane humans? I follow God's choice!

The reality is, you're trying to disenfranchise people who typically vote Democratic.

Because no smart, sane person would want to live in a democracy!

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Anon, are you in college?

If you are you should leave. You have no business in a place of higher learning.

Are you a product of the public school system? or I'd hate to hear that you went to a private Catholic school. If then, Catholic schooling these days are as bad as public schools anyway.

Anon, please. If I was as dumb as you I'd go around to as "anonymous". I'd hate to show myself. It is no wonder you hide behind a veil of anonymity!

Eduardo said...

Wheeler Why not just criticize the guy's idea without character assassination?

I know you are all awesome with yourr self-instruction but damn, why the character assassination every turn?

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Marxists and liberals are smug. You have to put them in their place. The man has been rambling on here forever on the same stuff. In the short time, the man has not availed himself to any research and corrected his error.

Just like in Homer, when a certain jokester started pestering Agamemnon, Odysseus took a whip and beat the man down. Sometimes you have to cut the rug out from under evil. Ignorance is an evil. And the man is spouting evil. As Telly Savalas (Kojak) said, "Sometimes cruelty is an act of kindness". Only a Greek understands that.

I'm a Marine, I've been put in my place many a time. And I've learned from those situations. I also served this country with blood, sweat and tears. I lost my country---something that I sacrificed for. When I see the destroyers, They deserve no mercy. When it is a matter of life and death, there is no time to handle idiots with kid gloves.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

And my take down so badly of this guy is really the reflection upon Academia and the absolute shoddy work that they have done and the total indoctrination that goes on in our schools both Public and Catholic!

His/her teachers ought to be ashamed of themselves. Secondly, if you can't handle the heat stay out of the kitchen! If you are going to step into the arena of Political discourse---then KNOW what the hell you are talking about. If you don't---you need to be cut down to size. The time of P#$%sy-footing around is over. It's time to go to the jugular. Wipe their silly grins from their face.

I piped up one time and my mom told me "Firma la bouche". She continued, "Until you have read 30 books and traveled the world, then you can say something but until then, Firma La Bouche". I have read 30 books and then some, and I've been around the world in care of the US Navy. I've done my time. Methinks others ought to do the same. You don't go into battle half-assed. You go into battle with your ass wired.

That is why the Greeks labeled "To be a cause of victory" a Virtue. To be a Cause of Victory.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Politics is not some game of Tic-tac-toe. Politics is not like a choice between Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream.

Politics is a life or death situation. Wrong choices led to death. Does anybody understand that? This country died. Us good people are now imprisoned in something we can not escape. It is our death warrant (q.v. Barnhardt, Vendee). Greece experienced what they called "club law". Club Law resurrected itself in the French Revolution, in Wiemar Germany, in Tsarist Russia, in the Spanish and Greek civil wars.

What does History teach.

Politics is deadly. People get killed. People are getting killed because they are idiots. Whole masses of idiots followed the demogogues.

That is what is truly behind Plato's Republic and his Laws. Right politics is about remaining alive, escaping death. Do it wrong---and, literally, all hell breaks loose.

Well, the thinking of people like Anon, have unleashed Hell on earth. I hope you people enjoy that. Hell is coming and it ain't going to be pretty. Is it any wonder that masses of people, The Herd, is often called "The Beast". The Beast has been unleashed in America and the good and the evil will suffer together.

Why should I hold back my tongue. These people deserve a whipping. Too bad it is only my tongue.

Politics is not child's play. And it is definitely not for the poor.

Edward Feser said...

Mr. Wheeler,

I've been very tolerant, but there are limits. Kindly stop spamming up the combox with this stuff or I start deleting.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Okay.

Anonymous said...

The elections were a disaster for the republicans. They were a success for human rights, peace, health care, democracy and the middle class.

The current republican party and its minion (tea party) are an abomination. They are a disgrace to the republican party of old. They reign on fear, lies, religious fanaticism and ironically a capitalist (see darwinism) paradigm.

I see the usual stupids are here preaching their nonsense. Now Obama is apparently a Marxist, just like a while back he was a mad man on an anti-religious crusade.

It's sad seeing what otherwise usually is a sensible forum reduced to a rubble of sheer foolishness when it comes to politics.

:-(

Daniel Smith said...

They were a success for human rights,
Was the NDAA repealed? Is the "kill or capture" list defunct?

peace,
Are all undeclared wars ended? Are our troops home? Are we done with drone strikes?

health care,
Did the government step out from between a patient and their doctor?

democracy
Is the duopoly ended?

and the middle class.
Will there be no more Wall Street bailouts or corporate welfare at the expense of the middle class? Has the Federal Reserve stopped the endless devaluation of the currency the middle class depends on?

Justin said...

This is fundamentally a problem of morality, or mathematical incompetence, or both. There are no honest leaders to tell the lemmings of the approaching cliff, because doing so results in being ousted and ostracized. Washington wil be forced to inflate their way out of this mess while lying about the inflation rate as they do now, pretending that inflation is low while groceries, energy, and basic goods and services continue to rise in price. The arrogance of folks in Washington to think that they have both the knowledge and intelligence to effectively perform "central planning" duties doesn't help. Businesses are paralyzed to a great extent because they have no idea what "punish the innocent" regulations or taxes are coming next, creating an entirely unstable economic base for hiring, increasing inventory, building orders, etc.

Obama's disastrous election, at least to my unsophisticated political mind, says more about the education levels in this country than anything else. Between the utter failure of schools to effectively teach civics and economics, and the increase in the immigrant culture which brings with it a disregard for traditional American culture, the Democrats seem to have an increasing lock on political seats. And in many places where they don't have a lock, it is only the result of Republicans who've compromised principles in exchange for a seat at the table.