March 20, 2010

ObamaCare: process, structural imperative, and the velvet coup

David Harsanyi, the Denver Post:

as Democrats continue to display a creative knack for legislative swindling, a question has emerged: Are voters, by and large, concerned about the “process,” or do they care more about outcomes?

This query becomes more significant as Democrats continue to abandon their defense of “deem and pass” — where the House deems a bill passed rather than actually voting on it — and make a far more dangerous case.

How we pass legislation doesn’t matter, they say, as long as the cause is just. Don’t worry, in the end you’ll learn to love it. (Boy, I wonder if history offers any clues to where that kind of logic leads.)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “We talk a lot about process in this town. ‘So what?’ says the American public … . ‘What did you do for me and my family to make my life more secure and better and greater quality?”

President Barack Obama believes citizens are indifferent to “procedural” spats. “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate,” Obama explained to Fox News’ Brett Baier, asserting that it was frustrating to see the “focus entirely” on process. “It was ugly when Republicans were in charge,” he went on to say, “and it was ugly when Democrats were in charge.”

Actually, in the case of health care legislation, the ugly substance of the legislation creates the ugly process. The two issues are inseparable. The process is corrupted as the advocates have no other path for passage.

This particular process, cobbled together in an effort to bypass the will of voters and protect cowardly legislators, then becomes vitally important.

No wonder Obama admits, perhaps unwittingly, that he’s uneasy about all the focus on what’s going on. To deflect attention, he turns to a childish rationalization: Hey, those guys did it, too!

Let’s concede that Democrats are correct in calling out duplicitous and hypocritical GOPers. Does dredging up instances of Republican chicanery now validate the use of your own scams to pass “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act” (the president’s own characterization)?

Even on those terms, Democrats have yet to make a solid case. After all, not all legislation is created equal. No Republican “deem and pass” case comes remotely close to being used for the “the most important bill most of us will ever pass” (per Speaker Nancy Pelosi).

On Thursday, Democrats voted down a bipartisan attempt to force Congress to take an old-fashioned up-or-down vote on the Senate health care bill, as they would on nearly any other significant piece of legislation.

Perhaps the House will still elect to vote on the Senate bill as is without any gimmicks. If not, the constitutionality of “deem and pass” in this configuration will almost certainly be challenged.

However the challenge pans out, we shouldn’t forget that process matters. Sometimes process is vital in protecting the American people from the abuses of majoritarians and crusading tyrants. Other times, it is used by those very people to circumvent pesky constitutional restrictions.

And in this case, the process is only a reflection of the ugly legislation that makes it possible.

My critique of John McCain was that, while he held many conservative policy positions, his underlying ideological assumptions would almost certainly lead him to support statist solutions, and so adopt (as a “bipartisan”) any number of statist compromises. In short, McCain had many of the assumptions of the progressives wired into his thinking — that is, wired into the structure of his thought processes.

As you’ll no doubt recognize, I’ve warned continuously about those who hold conservative policy positions but who simultaneously embrace faulty linguistic ideas that, insofar as those ideas provide much of the structure to the reasoning for those who adopt them, will lead them inevitably toward progressivism (even as they may or may not fight it). To many of these people, the move leftward seems a kind of intellectual imperative — for years and years, we’ve been aware of the tendency of conservative SCOTUS justices to slide left — and in a way it is just that: if you adopt the underlying kernel assumptions of progressivism as they become increasingly institutionalized, it makes sense that your process would rely on those assumptions.

To fix the process, you must first correct the assumptions that inform that process. Otherwise, garbage in, garbage out.

In the case of health care, the assumption that process itself doesn’t matter — that the ends justify the means — is the assumption that needs correction if the legislative process is to work as intended.

“Bracketing” the correct assumption — namely, that the process has been carefully designed to provide a check on the kind of overreach we’re now witnessing — is a convenient way to circumvent the Constitution, and so in effect, to attempt a government overthrow by way of creating precedent for extra-Constitutional legislation.

If McCain-Feingold and Kelo taught us anything, it is that we cannot count on the Supreme Court to make the necessary corrections. So if this abomination of process passes, the time for civil disobedience begins that day.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:26am
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Comments (0)

  1. It would be better it not pass at all. Gabe at Ace claims Nancy does not have the votes. Okay. That means they are going Slaughter because that is all they have. If it does passes, let it be by “deem and pass”. But we should still be trying to stop it.

  2. Gabe’s Whip Count.

    Both sides can whip this thing. The American Experiment may not be over, yet.

    Or it may be de-evolving. Maybe I should pick another link.

  3. I would only add that the Democrats are asserting that the process doesn’t matter precisely because they are trying to deflect attention from their actively undermining and corrupting the actual Constitutional process in place in order to get what they want. Their assertion is just another propaganda talking point, much like the repeated lies they were telling this week about having the votes to pass it.

  4. I won’t cooperate with it, Jeff. I can catch up on some reading in prison. My boys will laugh about it when they are old men.

    There’s a line you draw where you’re willing to ruin your life rather than cross it.

    But they can’t imprison millions. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I’m not going to prison and I’m not going to obey this law.

  5. How can you expect anyone to pay close attention to the Frankenstein-ish birth pangs of this consensus monster when ZOMG!! ANNA NICOLE SMITH’S ESTATE HAS BEEN DISINHERITED!!

  6. did you see the part about there being a musical about her life TSI?

    I love that.

  7. I think effective civil disobedience should have been explored several moons ago.

    Anyone have any thoughts on specific disobediences?

  8. I will not pay what Nancy tells me to pay for insurance or for the fine. I will close my bank account and cash my paychecks wherever I can, so that Nancy can’t debit my account. I will await my arrest.

    It won’t happen. They can’t arrest that many people. Nor will law-enforcement comply.

  9. Well, I already posited the “confused good citizen” gambit. In essence, you find someone with an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on their car and you walk off with their purse or automobile. When caught, just act incredulous. “Oh. I thought this was our car / money.”

  10. but also yes I think the story of our little country’s demise is the story of the leftward movement of the right and even after health care gets right properly socialized Princess Lindsey will still be having sleepless nights worrying about the climate change

  11. Jim’s idea is probably more feasible, though.

    Also, I think we should do something about making sure the President and all members of the Congress get put on the same plan as the rest of us and wait their turn like the rest of us. In fact, that should be INSISTED UPON to the strongest degree possible.

  12. oh. In Southern California you can just run the water in the bathtub all day. Causes all sorts of trouble for the ruling class when you do that.

  13. To show you how cyclical things are, happy, there was an episode of the Rockford Files in which an elderly California woman was running her sprinklers all day to get back at the government.

    She was presented as a militia-type rightwinger. Turns out she was stockpiling weapons.

  14. IMO some of that civil disobediance will come from businesses who say “you wanted it, you got it” and immediately dump all their employees on the government (wasn’t Catepillar’s warning earlier this week enough?), while doctors/hospitals/pharmacists refuse to take any Medicare/Medicaid patients.

    See the rise of cash-for-service medical centers. Watch Lefties gnash their teeth over that.

  15. that’s so funny… who knew?

  16. We won’t be required to purchase their abomination until 2013, so there’s still time to raise all kinds of ruckus before then.

    In fact, that should be INSISTED UPON to the strongest degree possible.

    Of course, we’ve been INSISTING UPON killing this stupid bill for how long now? And they’re listening to us how well?

  17. Let’s concede that Democrats are correct in calling out duplicitous and hypocritical GOPers. Does dredging up instances of Republican chicanery now validate the use of your own scams

    I think it needs to be pointed out that the reason Republicans lost Congress is because we were tired of their chicanery. It’s therefore stupid to use that as justification for what they are doing now.

  18. But we’ve got to make sure that the civil disobedience hurts them more than it hurts us.

    We might have to go occupy their private places of residence. Camp out on their lawns, swim in their pools, knock down the front door to use the bathrooms.

  19. My sister knows where Winona Rider lives.

  20. and cash my paychecks

    as long as your business still issues actual paychecks. A lot of businesses, including local government, require their employees to have a bankaccount and only pay through direct deposit.

    Watch for healthcare to become a withholding requirement.

  21. The Dems disgust me. Nishi too.
    /spit

  22. It’s no doubt much better to head this nonsense off at the pass.

    And yet, being able to read Scalia’s opinion on this monster; that would rock pretty hard.

  23. I saw this comment at Riehl World View and I think it is good advice:

    It may be a moot point. FDL’s latest whip count is 214 no to 208 yes, 215 if the last undecided member of Stupak’s bloc, Kathy Dalkemper, goes no (as will certainly happen now), meaning we have 1 just more no vote to KILL THE BILL.

    Here are the final true undecideds:
    Zack Space
    Earl Pomeroy
    Solomon Ortiz
    Mike Michaud
    Bill Foster

    GET ON THE PHONES NOW!
    Any two of these six mean we win

    Posted by: Lightwave

  24. And yet, being able to read Scalia’s opinion on this monster; that would rock pretty hard.

    Some insight.

  25. Any two of these six mean we win

    Is Sunday some kind of drop-dead deadline? Can’t they keep postponing the vote until they have the numbers?

  26. that’s what I feel too dicentra. They’re weak. They’ll break. They’re congressmen.

  27. I agree, Jeff. They should be forced, by their conscience, or their constituency, to live under the same mountain of suck that they will lay over all of us.

  28. @Comment by JHo on 3/20 @ 11:23 am #

    Thanks; it’s a good, scholarly piece by a smart judge, one of my favorites when he was on the 10th Circuit.

    But Scalia: Dude. Some of the guy’s opinions are suitable for framing.

  29. I’m trying to muster the strength to go to Matheson’s office with a poster or two.

    Stupid fatigue.

  30. . A lot of businesses, including local government, require their employees to have a bankaccount and only pay through direct deposit.

    The Federal goobermint as well, Darleen. This includes contractors as well; if it can’t be paid for with a credit card or electronic funds transfer, it’s next to impossible for the Feds to get it.

    Coincidence? One has to wonder….

  31. Democracy Denied Flowchart over at Moonbattery. Shows how Obama bypasses the democratic process to get his way.

  32. Of course Rahm will always be closing, so dicentra and happy, you are right but also forget they are weak the other way. If the momentum shifts enough, they will gradually start falling away too and Obama loses the opportunity to ram this home.

    This can still be beat. It need not be the Alamo, but Bastone, with public sentiment as Patton.

  33. Could lawsuits be filed for reverse discrimination due to all of the perks in student bill and HC bill for minorities?

  34. Can’t they keep postponing the vote until they have the numbers?

    That’s exactly what will happen. Keeping the thing twitching until November won’t be good for my blood pressure, but it would be even worse for the Dems’ election chances.

  35. Could lawsuits be filed for reverse discrimination due to all of the perks in student bill and HC bill for minorities?

    My experience suggests that any personal right may be violated for fun and profit by any piece of shit that passes Congress and is signed. So yes, file suit. SCOTUS cases should be an endless process these days because the affronts to property and rights are surely endless from this gang of pathological liars and thieves.

  36. “For fun and profit” … I like that, JHo.

  37. Oh, and nishit the Barcky cumbucket just had the audacity to claim she was more moral than someone. Unless she was talking about Mengele himself, she is one of the most brazen liars ever to come ’round here.

  38. Keeping the thing twitching until November won’t be good for my blood pressure, but it would be even worse for the Dems’ election chances.

    The ideologues won’t care. This is a long war. And we’re dealing with the “intellectual” equivalent of fundamentalist Islamists.

  39. Oh, this is GOOD.

    The Audaciousness of Stupidity” a song what has to become an anthem for the starboard side (along with “Uprising” by Muse).

    “I’m thinkin’ that maybe his daddy might have beat him just a little bit better and his momma shouldn’t a’ nursed him so long.”

  40. it would be even worse for the Dems’ election chances.

    People keep operating under the assumption that the system is going to keep working the way it should.

    You think “Demon Pass” is bad? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

  41. Di, when the system doesn’t work as it should, everything goes on the table. The Dems still have more to lose regardless.

  42. The process used is a declaration of what type of society is envisioned by those making the decisions on what process shall be used. The means speaks volumes of the end even where there are squadrons of lies surrounding the ends to shield them from scrutiny.

    Ends, whether considered good or bad, will be changed by the means used to obtain them. The corruption of the means corrupts the ends.

  43. My rep, Driehaus (OH), has continued to claim that he will be a Stupak/NO vote, but if we have learned anything, we have learned that NO might become YES at any moment. To that end, I continue to pound away with calls and e-mails.

    Today’s love note to him:

    Sir:

    I realize that you are really busy today: fending off voters who want you to stop waffling and just guarantee that NO does, in fact, mean NO and will still mean NO on Sunday; paging through Speaker Pelosi’s Catalog of Bribes, Freebies, Ambassadorships, Foundations and Miscellaneous Sinecures; contemplating the flight plan for your promised ride on Air Force 1; or, getting your dislocated arm or other “non-compliance injury” treated at Walter Reed Medical Center, so I won’t take up much of your time.

    What I was wondering is if you could free up a little time on your schedule in the next few weeks, should the Senate bill be considered passed Sunday as affirmed by the Congressional goat entrails reader/parliamentarian.

    I ask because I am going to need you to borrow Speaker Pelosi’s private junket-and-party plane to make a quick trip. Here’s my proposed itinerary:

    First: to Cincinnati to tell my elderly mom that she won’t be getting Medicare Advantage anymore. (She’ll hate this, but she’s a pretty nice lady, so she probably won’t swear at you.)

    Oh, and you also need to tell her that you are strengthening her Medicare benefit by stripping $535 billion from that almost bankrupt program and pretending that those “savings” can be used for several other benefits in other places. (This one could be tricky, though, because my mom graduated at the top of her class in business school and really gets the accounting stuff. She’s crafty that way. So, good luck!)

    And, you have to slip in the good news that the years of private long term care insurance that she has paid for were just for naught, because under the “new” rules, only Kathleen Sebelius gets to control that, too. (Here, you could just remind her that “good guys don’t always win.” If that doesn’t work, you might tell her that it’s “for the children,” but I caution against that. It might remind her that her grandchildren will be saddled with an unsustainable burden from this foolishness, and then she might rant. Also, she might remember that her fly-over country grandkids won’t necessarily be popular with the new College Czar. After all, Mom has voted for Republicans before. Not pretty. So, good luck!)

    You should probably grab a quick lunch before hitting the other side of town to see my sister and my brother.

    You’ll need to tell my sister that she had better not get pregnant again, unless she is going to do a better job of it. After all, her first baby was a preemie in a NICU, and that kind of expense isn’t going to work out anymore. (My advice here is just to yell it from the front porch. Otherwise, things might turn ugly. She’s a practicing Catholic, if you get my drift. So what if she had insurance? That was the “old” insurance.)

    Okay, so that went pretty well.

    Now, off to my brother’s house, and I gotta warn you, this one is very tricky. My brother is smarter than you or me, he has worked harder than you or me, and he has risen to the top of a Fortune 500 company by producing results. It is a health industry company, and he is the CFO. (I suggest you first apologize for the relentless demonizing of his industry, and hope that he was too busy working his butt off to notice that the vilification continued on this very day at George Mason University. Maybe that will set a good tone?)

    When he tells you about his eight year old son who was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma on his brain stem two years ago and was given only 10 days to live, do not mistake this for a ploy. It is a fact, and the other fact is that gifted, compassionate professionals, and modern, state of the art medical treatment have kept my nephew alive, engaged, and joyful.

    So, as I said, it might be tricky to explain to him how the ruination of his industry and career will be a benefit. (Also, talk really fast when you explain to him that, as a member of the “rich,” he will be paying a lot more, both in income taxes and future insurance premiums. Good luck!)

    Finally, you need to fly to Miami and tell my internist brother-in-law that he is now a government drone and that his new bosses will be in touch. And, if you have the time, tell my sister that the high-risk Medicaid kids and families that she handles through Dade County will have to “learn to share.” (Neither of them will take it very well, and it will be a sad loss to their community when both decide to abandon their professions, but what the heck. They can make room for all of the new professionals just quivering to serve the State.)

    Since I know this is a busy schedule, you don’t have to come to my house and explain why my privately purchased high-deductible policy “just won’t do.” I already know what you and your colleagues have done to my freedom and don’t need a taxpayer funded explanation from you.

    If you don’t want to take this trip, VOTE NO!

    Your friend, Jean

    As I already told Jim Ryan, I will be more than happy to sit in the non-compliance zone with him, if it comes to that.

    This is my line in the sand, and I will defend it.

  44. The plain violation of the Founder’s intent to prevent tyrannical majoritarian rule doesn’t escape anyone paying the least bit of attention now and indeed, will be easily graspable by those not now paying attention when brought to their attention hereafter. This Democrat tyranny can’t escape even themselves as they argue: “We know you don’t want this now but we also know that you will like it in the future once you’ve had a taste of it.”

  45. we also know that you will like it in the future once you’ve had a taste of it

    But no satisfaction guaranteed. You don’t like it?

    NO REFUND FOR YOU!

  46. “We know you don’t want this now but we also know that you will like it in the future once you’ve had a taste of it.”

    Smack dealers say, “First one’s free”.

  47. The point though, is that the Democrat Congress knows damned well they are acting tyrannically. Thus they attempt to justify their unjust act with soothing promises of future pleasures. They know they are monsters in the context of the Federalist Papers. They know they are doing wrong to use the powers they have to force by majority a law the people (in a majority no less!) do not want.

    My point is simply that the evil is plain.

  48. “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or Senate,” Obama explained to Fox News’ Brett Baier, asserting that it was frustrating to see the “focus entirely” on process.

    Wasn’t Constitutional Scholar listed as one of his few qualifications?

  49. “the evil is plain.”

    Agree. From assumptions to process to ends. Completely and thoroughly evil.

  50. Of course I ought to say evil so long as tyranny is assumed to be evil. If tyranny is taken for a good, then the proposition would not work. But even in America today, I do not think people will lightly agree to the proposition that tyranny is good.

  51. I do not think people will lightly agree to the proposition that tyranny is good.

    Except that moron at the NYT (so many I get them confused) who wistfully admires China’s ability to get ‘er done without all that messy due process.

    And Bill Maher who asserts that you just have to drag people to it, they being to stoopid to know what’s good for them.

  52. “Wasn’t Constitutional Scholar listed as one of his few qualifications?”

    That was the assertion, but we are still waiting to see his grades for confirmation.

  53. “Of course I ought to say evil so long as tyranny is assumed to be evil”

    Evil doesn’t require consensus to be.

  54. On process, the Democrat Rules committee can’t even keep its message together:

    The Rules Committee meeting turned into mass confusion when Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said, “We’re not going to ‘deem’ the bill passed. We’re going to pass the Senate bill…I would be against the idea of ‘deeming’ something — we either pass it or we don’t.”

    To Republican ears, that sounded as if Waxman was speaking out in support of a direct vote on the Senate plan. “I hope we’re making news here,” said Republican Rep. Joe Barton. If so, Barton added, “Praise the Lord!” Other Democrats jumped in to say that no, there would not be a direct vote on the Senate bill.

    Anyone know why Waxman is there? I didn’t think he was on the Rules Committee? Perhaps he’s functioning as presenter of the bill over which a rule is being written, bringing it forth from his own Committee?

  55. “Evil doesn’t require consensus to be.”

    Huh?

  56. so long as tyranny is assumed to be evil

    You seemed to imply that “tyranny is evil” is only provisionally true. As if the statement only had validity in certain circumstances among certain crowds.

  57. “Huh?”

    If tyranny stops being assumed to be evil, it doesn’t become not evil. Kinda like consensus doesn’t make AGW true.

    I’m surprised you have trouble grasping the concept.

  58. Probably half of the government needs to be impeached, fired, ridden out of town on a rail.

    But that’s not going to happen, we’re not even fighting a holding action, we’re fighting to control the RATE at which we lose our property, our rights, and our lives.

  59. But even in America today, I do not think people will lightly agree to the proposition that tyranny is good.

    Swaths of today’s America are making just that assertion. Think of it as a sidecar to the axiom that the political right is evil until proven otherwise. See: the state press, its entertainment arm, the pop culture derived there from, the accessory of state education, the academy parent, others.

  60. Those procedural safeguards in the Constitution, who needs them. The drafters were just a bunch of white rich racists. Hope and change!

  61. Probably half of the government needs to be impeached, fired, ridden out of town on a rail.

    Probably half of the government needs to be tried.

  62. Well, look, the tyrannt crowd is going to say that their tyranny is good. These are propositional statements we’re talking about here. I do not have access to some absolute reckoning point where all is as I say it is, seeing the absolute before me and carving my propositions from that absolute. To the contrary, I think I can be wrong, propositionally speaking.

    Now it may be that you may think you do have some such standpoint. Which, cheers.

    But how to account for the muttering schizophrenic proclaiming the absolutely evil palm tree right there, out to rule the world? So, no consensus is going to establish the falsity of his contention?

  63. Those procedural safeguards in the Constitution, who needs them.

    Those procedural safeguards in the Constitution are principled men, virtually none of whom seek employment in power, not coincidentally.

    This was self-evident in the dark ages preceding progressivism. Now all we need are The Right People™.

  64. the muttering schizophrenic

    Point taken.

  65. No, it’s not consensus that will establish the falsity of his contention.

  66. “But how to account for the muttering schizophrenic proclaiming the absolutely evil palm tree right there, out to rule the world? So, no consensus is going to establish the falsity of his contention?”

    No, it’s not consensus that will establish the falsity of his contention.

  67. Deem and Pass dropped? Does that mean they have the votes?

    Or does it mean they need some other way of getting the votes (like an executive order bribe?).

    This was not a good weekend to give up psilocybin mushrooms.

  68. So tell me Lee, who is it I should apply to in order to have access to this absolute power of judgment you’ve found?

  69. How can one discern the difference between the muttering schizo and the modern secproggs?

  70. One has bad teeth and the other a Gucci bag, JD.

  71. Sdferr, are you really saying that tyranny becomes good if there are enough people that agree?

  72. If your brain is not riddled with schizophrenia, you can tell the difference between the evil palm tree and the evil secproggs.

    Maybe you’re hesitant to deem something evil without having an objective measurement stick that IS accurate, regardless of human perception or opinion.

    The measurement stick I’m using is the proposition that it is evil for one human being to coerce another. That’s a principle set down by my God, who gave up thrones and principalities to suffer unspeakably and die in a human frame so that we could chose good or evil instead of being coerced to choose good by the Father of Lies.

    I know you don’t accept that proposition and that I can’t prove to you that it’s right. Not trying to. Wouldn’t dream of it.

    But that’s where I’m coming from. Just FYI.

  73. That would define progressivism, LBascom.

  74. HOYER talking now live on FoxNews

    Slight tweak on Slaughter Rule…they will vote on the reconciliation first, if it passes then an immediate second vote on the Senate bill. Only 2 hour debate allowed before reconciliation vote, no debate before vote on Senate bill.

  75. Definitions are like rights: Both are agreed to and neither are divine or immaterial. But both also reflect human grasp and neither evaporate for want of that grasp.

    Like words, a dictionary is useless if it’s not a dictionary. And falling trees always make a sound.

  76.  “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act” (the president’s own characterization)?

    A fitting characterization given that the Social Security debt bomb looms larger and larger upon the overall economy.   The solution — pile on more debt.

     The only possible answer now that up is down.

  77. Say what tyranny is. Say what good or the good is.

    Suppose a definition of tyrant that doesn’t amount to much more than what the Greeks understood it to be, for instance. A ruler or strongman type (though not in a heritable kingship) who happens to be in this particular instance a moderate, even headed, justice loving decision maker. He’s a human being, a male human in this instance. He rules the city and the city prospers, for the most part, under his rule. He does well by the citizens of the city, seeing to their needs to whatever extent is in him possible. He prospers along with his city and citizens. He could be Solomon, again, without the heritable office.

    Over here in this other city is another tyrant, again a male, but in this case he’s a greedy, grasping monster, who could care less about justice, who only seeks his own advantage against the advantage of any other citizen — who pays off his guard, to keep himself safe, with the spoils of his theft from the hoi polloi — and who runs his city into the ground as he enjoys the pleasures his stolen riches get him.

    One city is fortunate to have lucked into rule by a decent man. The other unfortunate to have been overcome by the machinations of a clever murderer.

  78. One city is fortunate to have lucked into rule by a decent man. The other unfortunate to have been overcome by the machinations of a clever murderer.

    The recent history of the tyrant.

    Say what tyranny is.

    Bad stuff seems to be the predominate characteristic of tyranny as opposed to the quaint, endearing ring of “benevolent monarch”:

    tyr·an·ny
    ? ?/?t?r?ni/ Show Spelled[tir-uh-nee] Show IPA
    –noun,plural-nies.
    1. arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
    2. the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
    3. a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
    4. oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
    5. undue severity or harshness.
    6. a tyrannical act or proceeding.

    Bad stuff bolded. Tyrannies seem to fall somewhat on the negative, even evil side of the balance.

  79. So thanks for the bolding and lessons in political history JHo. I’ll take them under advisement. And henceforth will be sure to equate evil with authoritarian rule so I don’t seem so simple in future.

  80. One Bill to Rule Us All
    One Bill to Bind Us
    One Bill to Make Us Fall
    And for the Mandates Fine Us

  81. He rules the city and the city prospers, for the most part, under his rule.

    And then he dies, and his successors exercise that autocratic power with all the tenderness of a pack of jackals.

    Autocracy isn’t tyranny. The ideal WOULD be one just person having the power to make things right and put down wrong. But those people are too few and far between. If we could have kept George Washington a live forever, for example…

  82. Oh and just so we’re clear here, I don’t think that theological rule is anything like tyrannical rule, on account of the coming from God the all-knowing all-seeing all-justice-all-the-time-dude, even if mediated through the decisions of human beings with direct contact to HIM. Just so’s we’re clear.

  83. So he couldn’t be Solomon, then?

  84. And too, I ought perhaps to say that I do appreciate people attempting to understand why I offered qualifying statements thus:

    Of course I ought to say evil so long as tyranny is assumed to be evil. If tyranny is taken for a good, then the proposition would not work. But even in America today, I do not think people will lightly agree to the proposition that tyranny is good.

    to the bald: assertion

    My point is simply that the evil is plain.

    You caught me out JHo, very good for you. I failed to reckon on Solomon’s direct access. The poorer theologian I.

  85. As long as the guy has an ACTUAL connection to an ACTUAL God, and not just a false claim to one.

    How does one know the difference?

    Maintain your own connection to an ACTUAL God, and compare notes.

  86. Wasn’t trying to catch you, sensitive sdferr. Just trying to comprehend what your point was.

  87. Given that no one can so much as define “God”, dicentra — not as a being but as a concept of a being — that’s a tough one. Not unlike defining matter — the build up of quantities and states arguably wholly unrelated to the material properties evident on a physical plane useful to the conscious human.

  88. Trying or no, I think you did though JHo. Does that thinking make me sensitive?

    Do you think my point was that the beneficent tyrant was talking to God and making his decisions based on God’s direction in comment 79, because I referred to Solomon? That would tend to demonstrate your better grasp of theological reasoning, it would seem to me, for simpleton that I am, I can foolishly refer to Solomon as though he were merely a man making decisions as any man without direct access to God might do, which is stupid, for after all, Solomon wasn’t merely a man, but was a man with direct access to God and wouldn’t have made decisions without the referrings, right?

  89. Sdferr, your #49 seems to equate tyranny with evil. Why take such offense at me saying it doesn’t require a majority opinion for it to be evil? If that’s the case, the 52% that elected Obama makes him a good man.

  90. Lee, whatever could I have meant by “The plain violation of the Founder’s intent to prevent tyrannical majoritarian rule…”?

    Would I there be referring to an evil absolute and not a matter of consensus? Or is the phrase “the Founder’s intent” one, rather, of circumscription and temporal qualification?

  91. “Would I there be referring to an evil absolute and not a matter of consensus”

    I guess. However, the consensus thing came about for your remark in #52:

    “Of course I ought to say evil so long as tyranny is assumed to be evil”

    But whatever. I retract all declarations about what evil is. I wouldn’t want it out there that I have exclusive access to the absolute power of judgment.

  92. “the consensus thing came about for your remark in #52:”

    Ok, so now we’re going to atomize every propositional statement anyone makes, erasing simultaneously any priors as contextual? Then where does that leave JHo’s brilliant “So he couldn’t be Solomon, then?”?

  93. If I may (something I heard on Prager’s show a while back) is there is a difference between authoritarian rule and totalitarian rule. May I assume when we say “tyranny” we are talking about the latter?

    Under authoritarians, they have broad macro rules – you obey the rules and the rest of your daily life is ignored by the authorities. Small but still significant amount of free agency (say, Iran under the Shah). Totalitarian rule is “nothing expressly permitted is illegal”, where the government/ruler is involved even to the most minor thing done in one’s life (USSR, Cuba).

    ObamaCare and the door it opens (which Pelosi has eagerly expressed) is a road to democratic totalitarianism. Our lives in the most minor ways will be dictated by a central, overreaching bureaucracy once put into place will do its own thing regardless of the changing, by election, people who ostensibly head it.

  94. “May I assume when we say “tyranny” we are talking about the latter?”

    No. To put it bluntly.

  95. Trying or no, I think you did though JHo. Does that thinking make me sensitive?

    Just the acting sensitive does, sdferr. Only you know if you actually are.

    Do you think my point was that the beneficent tyrant was talking to God and making his decisions based on God’s direction in comment 79, because I referred to Solomon? That would tend to demonstrate your better grasp of theological reasoning, it would seem to me, for simpleton that I am, I can foolishly refer to Solomon as though he were merely a man making decisions as any man without direct access to God might do, which is stupid, for after all, Solomon wasn’t merely a man, but was a man with direct access to God and wouldn’t have made decisions without the referrings, right?

    Whether Solomon had this direct access to G-d, god, “god” or God is a matter for the theologians. Insofar that that’s the case, “tyranny” typically isn’t associated with benevolence any more than Solomon is associated with tyranny. By using both in the same context, and by using both as intentional counterparts to one another in that context, you yourself evoked the differences between the tyrant and Solomon as both men are commonly known to us.

    All of this confuses the point — since you asked — that I think you were attempting, which is that the word tyranny may be redefined, which is in effect what I suggested in #75 (and before it, in #65) the Obamaniac secprogg commonly does.

    A word cannot be credibly redefined. A definition can be relabeled. But like a rose, a tyrant is always a tyrant.

  96. “Ok, so now we’re going to atomize every propositional statement anyone makes”

    No, no. I retracted. Not enough? OK, I apologize. I was wrong. Terribly misguided to make such an asinine statement as my #55 clearly was. I shall henceforth use extreme caution addressing any of your comments, and then decide not to.

    Totally my bad. Carry on.

  97. Darleen:

    If I may (something I heard on Prager’s show a while back) is there is a difference between authoritarian rule and totalitarian rule. May I assume when we say “tyranny” we are talking about the latter?

    [...] ObamaCare and the door it opens (which Pelosi has eagerly expressed) is a road to democratic totalitarianism.

    sdferr:

    “May I assume when we say “tyranny” we are talking about the latter?”

    No. To put it bluntly.

    So ObamaCare and the door it opens (which Pelosi has eagerly expressed) is NOT a road to democratic totalitarianism?

  98. sdferr, is the definition of “tyranny” in #80 somehow defective? Assuming it is not, is the common usage of “tyranny”, whether by the right to refer to the statist left or by the secprogg to cartoon McBushCoHaliburtonCheney or by history to illuminate the record of, well, tyrants, not actually useful in any of those wholly negative senses?

  99. No. To put it bluntly

    Ok. I’ll go back and reread, because honestly I’m missing something.

  100. Either that, Darleen, or the door Obamatyranny opens isn’t totalitarian.

  101. This is fast getting very fucked up and I think I should blame myself for that condition, mostly.

    How to put this? Tyranny is a form of rule, separable from the definition of evil. Some evil may attach to tyranny and does, eventually (though I am not at all certain that the Greeks, who’s term this was ab initio had any such attachment by necessity. I could quote you the definition in my Liddell-Scott, but won’t for now. Take it on my oath that the definition doesn’t assume evil, but does assume absolute sovereignty.) I guess I think we ought not to narrow our political discourse only to the modes and manners of our own contemporary consensual definitions, is all.

    Darleen, the reason I say no so baldly, is that I have a fairly distinct idea of totalitarianism, and the framer’s had none (none, at all, there being for them, no such imagining given that name), whereas they did have a distinct idea of tyranny and used that term according to their understanding. None of that is to say that we, here and now, aren’t faced with the possibility of an incipient totalitarianism. It is only to say that I, for one, was not speaking of that potential problem above.

  102. It seems to be a day of contentious discussion amongst the PW commentariat; which is not always all bad…

    I’m going to stay out of this discussion, but would only like to remind everyone that it’s very easy to mistake someone’s comments as reporesenting an emotion that they don’t intend. Brevity may be confused as terseness, for example, or playfullness be mistaken for ridicule.

    I know you all are aware of this dynamic, having been here much longer than I. I just thought I’d toss it out there.

    It’s a beautiful spring-like day here on Long Island. And to think that 3 weeks ago I was shoveling snow.

    My warmest regards to you all

  103. Eh screw you Bob you drive by snooge.

    ;-)

    No, I jest, enjoy the day.

  104. sdferr

    Rereading … This is how I take your intent, please correct me where I’m off. You are referring to “tyranny” as a process “The Dems are being tyrannical in ramming through this bill”. As a descriptive process, I would agree that without context it’s moral standing (evil/good) is unknown.

    Though, it could be said generally unilateral acts of force carry a high degree of suspection they will be evil.

  105. Tyranny is a form of rule, separable from the definition of evil.

    In theory, yes. However…

    I’ve concluded that the political doctrine of individual liberty is a consequence of the philosophical doctrine of free will. For those of us who believe we have free will because it’s the “image” in “in God’s image,” there doesn’t need to be much more to it than that.

    Tyranny therefore constitutes a denial of free will, so to me the idea that tyranny is separable from evil is purely theoretical. If ever there has been a benevolent tyranny, it was temporary — and almost certainly evolved into evil tyranny.

    The exception would be if it were overthrown in favor of individual liberty.

  106. Here’s a search, yielding (I trust, without having chased down each of the results in train) what I had in mind.

    And a sample:

    They seem never to have recollected the danger from legislative usurpations, which, by assembling all power in the same hands, must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened by executive usurpations.

  107. Is it too simplistic to say tyranny is the opposite of liberty? I think that the assumption of, say, T. Jefferson, when he said “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”

  108. I don’t want to start yet another diversionary argument McGehee, but the Greeks I referred to above were anything but theoretical entities. These were people, like us qua people, who had experience of “tyrannoi” whom they labled “tyrannos” in the particular instances. Nothing at all theoretical about it.

  109. whoops, sdferr

    I hadn’t read #103 until after I posted #106.

    But I think I understand where you’re coming from. The FF would know tyranny, as they were opposed to King George’s authoritarian and arbitrary rule — especially his usurping of their rights as British citizens. In many ways, it was difficult to have a totalitarian hundreds of years ago just because the bigger the group to be managed, the harder to do it on a micro level without technology.

    Certainly, the rule of a benign King as long as certain attendent rights were granted citizens, was acceptable at the time. Even if the benign King ruled in a tyrannical manner, it might not be classified as “evil”…until such time that people rejected the idea of “King” completely based on a move to embrace self-rule.

  110. Apparently Jefferson too found himself wanting for a positive definition of the word, LBascom.

    And speaking of liberty, it’s sufficient enough a principle and a state to form the basis of a rather noble philosophy and from it, an equally noble pursuit of the kind regularly codified and just as regularly assaulted. Tyranny, not so much: MeGehee in #107:

    If ever there has been a benevolent tyranny, it was temporary — and almost certainly evolved into evil tyranny.

    Anyway, it’s semantic. A good day to you too, Mr. Bob Reed.

  111. Jeane that was platinum!
    You carry a big gun sister so please stay around!

    As for the rest of ya, how about takin a breather from these threads and following Jeane’s lead. (Maybe I’ll catch up to the discussion and have something of more value to add)

    Where’s bh? If your with us this your cue to throw in a distraction buying me some time;)

  112. Oh, and Bob you don’t go anywhere Mister!

    Someone is going to have to say what I think only better, faster, funnier and with more vowels;)

  113. It’s good to think about George III’s England, the men in the Parliament, the men on the warships, the women in the markets, the women in the homes and manors, the men at work in the grainery, the brewery, the ale-house, … you can supply the world of images to this effect yourselves.

    This England is a tyranny, imposing on us here in the colonies, say the men of our Revolution.

    This England is not a tyranny, but a hereditary kingship, modified with parliamentary processes, say the loyal men of Suffolk.

  114. I could as easily say “If ever there has been a benevolent government of any sort, it was temporary”.

    No?

  115. Given that no one can so much as define “God”, dicentra

    I can. You remove the obstacle of neoPlatonism, where God is held to be the Absolute Other, and it’s easy.

    He’s the adult version of our species. He reproduced. Here we are.

    See how easy that was?

  116. Would Plotinus have found himself proud to be standing in the way today? I can bet he would. Maybe oughta haul out that copy of Enneads and get busy One-ing.

  117. the Greeks I referred to above were anything but theoretical entities. These were people, like us qua people, who had experience of “tyrannoi” whom they labled “tyrannos” in the particular instances. Nothing at all theoretical about it.

    The Greeks used that word differently than we do. You’ll want to speask to us in contemporary English with a term that means now what “tyrannoi” meant then.

  118. No?

    Yes, actually. But benevolent non-tyrannies tend to last longer than benevolent tyrannies. That’s the practical argument in favor of individual liberty.

  119. “You’ll want to speak to us in contemporary English with a term that means now what “tyrannoi” meant then.”

    Well, perhaps. I do wonder what fellows like Sam Chase, Phil Livingstone, George Read, Dick Stockton, Ollie Wolcott, Bob Treat Paine, George Walton, and the rest of their fellow signers might have thought about the Greeks thinking about themselves though.

  120. The mystics might smile at that, dicentra.

  121. I don’t think they’d smile, JHo. They’d find it blasphemous.

    Because from their perspective, it is.

  122. it’s not lng ago at all that this sort of thing would have been crazytalk

    Brian Despian:

    They don’t care if the economy collapses. That’s a feature … not a bug.

    Your point was that state’s cannot print money … but they can, merely by opening state banks and taking deposits.

    For every dollar of deposit they take in, they create $10 dollars in new money. You do understand how fractional banking works, don’t you?

    Every time they need to create more money, they merely have to take in new deposits. And how will they do that, you ask? By paying half a percent more on CDs than any other bank within their borders.

    The deposits will roll in. And if deposits don’t roll in, the state will tax competing banks at such a high level that they’ll close their branches in that state, forcing people to deposit their money in the state bank.

    States can most certainly print money this way. And they will.

    And they don’t give a flying fk about the economy. The economy of Texas is not North Dakota’s problem.

  123. *long* ago I mean… there was supposed to be a vowel

  124. They’d find it blasphemous. Because from their perspective, it is.

    Perspective is the mother of definition. ;o)

  125. I hope nobody looks at me to stop civil disobedience. Not going to happen. I cannot see the Texas Rangers, North Dakota State Police or the Wisconsin Army National Guard out rounding up the Insurance Mandate Resistance.

    Oh, and di? #82 made me smile. First time today I did so…

  126. Thanks, Danger!

    Stay safe, and remember that sometimes we can catch the other guy while he is napping.

    I’m wide awake.

  127. LTC John: Glad I could be of service. Here’s what use I put it to.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36459782@N00/4449001840/

    Stuck it next to Jim Matheson’s SLC office today at 3 MT, and an hour later he said he’d vote NO!

    wOOt!

  128. “wOOt!” X2

    Well placed Volley Oh person named after a flower!

    Yeah I clicked your link, but don’t go getting a big head! (It makes the helmet tight clouding your vision and throwing off the aim;)

  129. Yes, fractional banking does increase the money supply.

    However, the question is, would a state bank increase the money supply? Not unless they changed the rules. Which they might, who knows. But, for every dollar the state bank takes in on a deposit (that can then be lent out x times), that is one less dollar that some other bank didn’t take in (that can no longer be lent out x times). Take your money out of bank A and put it into bank B and it’s still at a bank being leveraged at the same ratio.

    The concern would be a state bank somehow lowering its reserve ratios, that would actually increase the money supply.

  130. Yep, wrong thread.

  131. bh,

    The hall is yours I’m retiring for the evening. So show em what your made of kid;)

  132. Heh. At the moment I’m predominantly made of corned beef, Danger.

  133. it seems it would have to be illegal…

    but I’m at ground zero for whatever such experiment is in the offing I’d imagine

  134. ach, corned beef.

    86.THE BENDER SCHMENDER™ (The One and Only 5-Decker Club.)
    Corn beef, turkey, roast pork, chicken liver pate & golden brisket with lettuce, tomato, golden sauce & a psychiatric appointment … 23.05

  135. sdferr, don’t you mean a cholestrol check?

  136. as opposed to the psychiatric appointment, LTC John? Them thar’s Roy’s own words, appended to the description of the sandwiches, written on a chalkboard in the bar-eatery as he invented them, then transcribed to the menu as it was compiled over the years.

    Peruse if you will, one of my favorites, 118: “The Dracula™ ” (a bloody mess). My mouth waters at the mere thought of the thing.

  137. Oh, and truth to tell, my only experience with the Bender Schmender was in sharing it among four healthy adults, who were all satisfied eaters, with fries, both potato and onion, on the side. And beer. And more beer. And more.

  138. All the years I lived in DC and I didn’t ever try this joint; my loss for sure…

    I thought you lived down south now sdferr?

  139. I am starting to wonder if Health Care Reform isn’t really just a diversionary tactic and smoke screen to the final assault on the rule of law.

  140. tis true that Bob, I do. these are mere gustatory memories now.

  141. Might be worth a trip every now and then, to walk doen that culinary memory lane!

  142. Might. For now, I’d be just as happy with a report from a Mr. W, Mr. Pink, or some other denizen of Wash. DC environs, who can drive the 20 miles or so to Gaithersburg and have a feast (or otherwise, as the case may be). That would beat my traipsing the 1000 miles only to learn the place had gone to the dogs, what with Roy bein’ stoney dead nigh on a year now.

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