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Donald Trump made me do it

I was going to stay off the US politics posts for a day or two, but this Times report by Alastair Good is so bad it’s Alastair.

“Burning down Kenosha: Trump’s fractured legacy”

It includes the lines:

When the public are angry about perceived government wrongs, they look to the president to provide a pressure valve, address their concerns and give an assurance that issues will at least be looked into, if not resolved, to their satisfaction. Four years of Donald Trump saw precious little of this approach and, with a series of controversial police shootings of black people in 2020, the events in Kenosha were made more likely.

What may have pushed it even further was Mr Trump’s tacit endorsement of far-right groups, giving them the confidence to share their beliefs openly and ultimately to show up on the streets of Kenosha armed and ready for confrontation.

A Biden presidency at least offers the hope that things may calm down as a more rational approach to governing the country returns and support for the far right once again becomes something shameful.

In Kenosha, the Rev Kara Baylor sees that hope but also fears that the divisions sown in the country by Mr Trump’s rule will continue as his supporters fight a partisan battle. “They will keep pushing back against that arc that bends toward justice, and that saddens me because they don’t see that it is for them as well,” she says.

Even the normally anti-Trump Times commenters found this hard to swallow. A commenter called “Gordon W” said,

The ‘journalist’ obviously missed the protesters who said that ‘Trump made me drop the 60 inch TV I was looting’, ‘the $250 trainers I stole don’t fit, I blame Trump’, ‘in Trump’s dysfunctional America, it takes 2 cans of gasoline to get a proper shop blaze going’, and ‘after burning down the pharmacy, I can’t get the drugs I need. The Trump government is letting me down’.

83 comments to Donald Trump made me do it

  • Stonyground

    The repeated use of the phrase far right is interesting. What is being described as far right is in reality the centre ground. It only appears to be far right from the vantage point of those looking from thousands of miles to the left.

  • Mr Ed

    ‘You didn’t burn that town.’

    to accurately misquote his predecessor.

  • Flubber

    I think things will end badly. You would have thought that having stolen the election the left would let things settle down a bit.

    Au contraire. The left is spitting venom left right and centre especially against white Trump voters. A recent poll said that 70% of US voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction and PDJT has a 51% approval rating.

    Yet the incoming Biden Admin is explicitly adopting antiwhite policies. The left is positively salivating in anticipation of vengeance.

    Its going to get fruity.

  • Mr Ed

    A line from the Ultravox song The Thin Wall springs to mind.

    ‘Their power game’s a game no more, and long the chance to use it.’.

    And

    ‘Old men who speak of victory shed light upon their stolen lives’

  • TheHat

    I am amazed at the level of ignorance from the left. “There is no evidence of wrong doing!” They say. The evidence is over whelming and readily available. If you search outside the ‘DriveBys’. The massive effort to destroy such evidence is a stinging rebuke to those who live in blissful ignorance and claim ‘All is well’.

  • TheHat

    Before I forget. I refuse to allow anyone to claim that we have a functioning Democratic Republic. What we have now is a Criminal Oligarchy.

  • Jacob

    Maybe there will be less mostly peaceful protests and less looting and burning. The protesters were, no doubt, encouraged by the Democrats, and knew they will be protected from police enforcement. The Democrats let the protesters run amuck and burn down and loot because they thought it will help bring Trump down.

  • Mr Ed

    Trump’s farewell address is currently up on YT.

  • Paul Marks

    The article is a series of lies.

    For example….

    Contrary to what the article implies – Police shootings are not motivated by racism.

    And President Troop did not encourage racist groups – he repeatedly denounced racist groups, and reached out to people of all races.

    However, the lies of the article are repeated by almost all the media – and taught, as truth, by almost every school and university.

    As for Biden/Harris – it will go down the full Frankfurt School road-of-evil (even though Mr Biden is too senile to know what he is doing – he is puppet for very evil forces).

    The United States of America is finished – and, I fear, the Western world will fall with America.

  • Exasperated

    I don’t get it. Trump’s win in 2016 must have been existentially humiliating to trigger such a grotesque, sustained, vengeful, and extreme response. Sure, he can be a silly ass at times but Joe is exponentially more so, and vacuous, and greedy, and sleazy and creepy to boot.

  • Exasperated

    I don’t get it. Trump’s win in 2016 must have been existentially humiliating to trigger such a grotesque, sustained, vengeful, and extreme response. Sure, he can be a silly ass at times but Joe is exponentially more so, and vacuous, and greedy, and sleazy and creepy to boot.

    I just looked up what types of personalities, who pathologically overreact to rejection? Narcissists and
    people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. Must be a lot of them.

  • Mr Ed

    The scum of the Earth will curse Trump’s name forever.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h5_d3DUdR4

    He is a hero. A true Hero.

    His name will live Forever. I will teach my children of his greatness, nobility, bravery, and goodness. And I will teach my children about his incredible achievements and the evil actions of the scum enemies.

    Mr Ed is not wrong.

  • George Atkisson

    Paul Marks –

    As an American, I share your view of what has happened to America and what it portends. There will never be another honest election here where the results matter. The Frankfurt School and the Gramscian March have succeeded in taking over all the major levers of power in the US. Congress, the Presidency, the courts up to and including the Supreme Court, the broadcast Media and social media, Education, and most major corporations, in an unholy alliance to destroy the ideals of the Constitution. They have created a ruling class that fully intends to crush all opposition and erase it from their sight. I have no idea where things will go from here, except badly. Will their overreach produce an equivalent backlash? The supine acceptance of never ending lockdowns and petty, irrational restrictions routinely violated by the elite tells me no. I fear for my children. My grandchildren may never know the meaning of the word freedom.

    I place my trust now in God and pray for hope.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/you-cant-just-build-your-own-twitter/

    Everyone here. Please read this article. It’s probably the most important thing I have read in many months. Incredibly important. Spread far and wide.

  • bobby b

    “There will never be another honest election here where the results matter.”

    Gawd, I’m glad that you guys weren’t around when George Washington kept pushing his army on after months of losses and desertions and deaths. “It’s so hard, we can’t do it! Give up . . . !”, his advisors all said.

    I don’t think the spirit has died off as much as you think. It won’t be tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or even next year – but we’re either going to get fair elections, or we’re going to kill them. And if they do beat us in a fair election, we’re going to re-examine our methods and persuasions and try again. And again.

    But that “fair election” part – that’s baseline. That’s non-negotiable. If they try a repeat, all bets are off.

  • Flubber

    I place my trust now in God and pray for hope.

    I’m praying for the US as well.

    Refer to history. The left, as manifested in this case for example by Rep. Cohen, has labelled all Trump voters as potential terrorists. In the old days they were labelled kulaks.

    What exactly happened during the Holodomor?

  • bobby b

    “What exactly happened during the Holodomor?”

    The state killed off a whole pile of unarmed citizens.

    I don’t even know any unarmed citizens. As of 2017, I think we had 400 million firearms out in a society of 310 million people. We’re selling more new guns every month than the number of people we have in the military. We are a libertarian society at heart. Here, kulaks win.

  • Flubber

    I hope so Bobby cos they’re coming.

  • Mr Ed

    Perhaps a bit OT, but when a British Prime Minister leaves office, they traditionally have an Honours List to reward their favourites and cronies with meaningless (or lucrative) titles, a knighthood here, a peerage there (£305 a day etc.). In the United States, the final Presidential pardons read almost like an honours list. Perhaps that is reflective of how easy it is to commit a crime in the USA, with c. 10,000 Federal offences, and how savage the justice system can be, another sign of much-needed reform.

    Note that President Trump has not pardoned himself (he has no need to) or his family and confidants, a trap that the media have been trying to lay for him for years. Perhaps this is a positive sign, as is Biden inviting Guaidó’s Venezuelan ambassador to his inauguration rather than Maduro’s ambassador.

    Otherwise, it looks very bleak indeed. I can’t help but notice that lockdown policies have damaged most the small business owners (the ‘kulaks’), real estate and hospitality, the latter two the foundation of the Trump Organisation.

  • Exasperated

    Note that President Trump has not pardoned himself (he has no need to) or his family and confidants, a trap that the media have been trying to lay for him for years. Perhaps this is a positive sign, as is Biden inviting Guaidó’s Venezuelan ambassador to his inauguration rather than Maduro’s ambassador.

    FWIW: The following is from a thread on Legal Insurrection:
    A senior Biden transition team official told NBC News that the administration wants the Hondurans to know that they cannot just come into America:
    “The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
    The senior Biden transition official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said those who have been waiting at the border, along with other vulnerable populations, will be a priority for processing and entry, rather than those who have recently arrived.

    If true, I didn’t expect this^, given how avid the Uniparty is to exploit the poor. I did wonder, though, how they would reconcile cheerleading migration while covid is supposedly raging? Where are the Karens? Why would Mexico stand for it?
    Not to mention it’s a dirty trick to encourage migrants while simultaneously killing the American Dream. The hospitality industry is collapsing, many small businesses and bars aren’t coming back any time soon, our governing class is anti-growth. I expect them to pursue their proposals against the energy industry, to reverse energy independence and to jack up energy costs which will ripple through and suppress the economy. I suppose their ultimate goal is to undermine the ability of American businesses to compete with third world supply chains.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – they will not make private ownership of firearms illegal overnight, it will be a gradual process of (for example) making the makers of firearms legally liable (Tort law) for their misuse.

    There is a Constitutional right to own firearms in the Constitution of Mexico (1917) – try exercising it, unless you are politically connected regulations are used against you (this will be true in America to – not overnight, but soon).

    “But George Washington…..” – did George Washington have to contend with massive Election Rigging? Systematic Election Rigging (by many different methods) on an industrial scale.

    How about an EDUCATION SYSTEM which teaches that the American people and their culture are EVIL (“whiteness” being evil) and fit only to be destroyed?

    The children are being indoctrinated with Collectivism – they are being taught to hate and despise everything their parents care about and believe in.

    George Atkinson and Flubber are correct – the situation is truly evil, much worse than you yet grasp.

    Small businesses are to be destroyed (many already have been) – the future is to be a vast government and a few vast corporations. And political and cultural opinion that is not liked by the Progressive will be PUNISHED.

    Non leftists will lose their jobs – and find themselves unable to get another job.

    No need to put a bullet in the back of your head, when they can just make you unemployed.

    “Cancel Culture” is to become general.

    And not just in the United States – all over the Western World.

  • Paul Marks

    Look what they have already done.

    More than 400 thousand dead in the United States and more than 91 thousand dead in the United Kingdom (and so on) from a disease that had generally effective (80% reduction in hospitalisation) Early Treatment from the start – Early Treatment that was

    Think about that. It is MASS DEATH – for which there will never be any punishment for Dr Fauci and the rest.

    Then they, the left, rigged (on an industrial scale) the Presidential election – and anyone who tries to do anything about that is systematically censored and persecuted.

    Having done all this, what will the establishment NOT do?

    There is nothing, nothing at all, that they will not do.

  • lucklucky

    It is The Times…

    Biden already started marxo-racist policy:
    “Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women-owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild.” — President-elect Biden
    Nominated a possible black supremacist Kristen Clark that stated African Americans have “superior physical and mental abilities in Harvard Crimson newspaper.

    Or as Scott Adams says

    So far, Biden has refused to halt a divisive impeachment, questioned the loyalty of the troops, sparked an immigration crisis, and surrender to China via energy policy. He hasn’t even started yet.

    — Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) January 18, 2021

  • Mike Solent

    I suppose there is a certain group of Americans who blame everything on Trump. It’s a bit like me blaming everything on socialism. The difference is, of course, that I’m right.

  • Exasperated

    bobby b – they will not make private ownership of firearms illegal overnight, it will be a gradual process of (for example) making the makers of firearms legally liable (Tort law) for their misuse.

    OR they’ll interfere with the access to ammo.

    I don’t know how this will play out. Dems and Biden voters believe deeply in stereotypes. Their image of a gun owner is a toothless, Bible thumping illiterate, who probably hunts. They have no idea that, for decades, the fastest growing segment of new gun owners were women and minorities, especially shift workers. Think of the nurse walking through a deserted parking garage in the wee hours.

  • Rob

    What hysterical lunatics on Twitter describe as “far right” would cover 95% of what James Callaghan believed, for example, let alone mainstream Conservatives. These people are genuinely mad.

  • Mr Ed

    Rob,

    These people are genuinely mad.

    And/or almost unbelievably cynical, pushing a narrative for agitprop purposes. To most of our media and certainly the mainstream of the Conservative government, they are worthy of consideration and accommodation within UK government policy.

  • John Lewis

    With the fondness of their favoured demographic for firearms any attempt at cracking down on access to ammo will result in a lively black market.

    Someone will also have to keep a close watch for goods smuggled across the border. It will be like fast and furious on steroids.

  • Exasperated

    With the fondness of their favoured demographic for firearms any attempt at cracking down on access to ammo will result in a lively black market.

    This^. Going after the underage urban gangbangers or wannabes is hard and a minefield of political correctness; going after law abiding, responsible citizens, who register their guns is easy. You’re not supposed to notice its the gangbangers who rack up the horrific death tolls.

  • bobby b

    “If true, I didn’t expect this^, given how avid the Uniparty is to exploit the poor.”

    They’re seeing some real pushback from the “poor” segments of the Democrat constituency – the black communities and the hispanic ones.

    It was only recently – not soon enough, sadly – that many blacks began to see that an open-borders policy was really a war against them. Import a pile of untrained, desperate migrants who want jobs and income, and who is it that suddenly can’t find a job at all? The existing untrained poor.

    And the Dems cannot win in the future if they lose those voters – even if they replace them with (fewer) new migrant voters. The numbers don’t work – especially as those who make it across the border are going to quickly realize that slamming the border shut is in their best interests, now that they’re here. So Biden is going to have to thread a needle dealing with immigration issues.

  • Barry Sheridan

    Geographically the United States is a huge area, across this vastness state attitudes vary significantly, which suggests to me that should Mr. Biden err in his approach there may well be the sort of resentments and frictions that could accelerate efforts within some states to secede from the Union. While land locked states face a difficult task, the fact that Texas has a coast and land access to the fly-over states that share some of its values hints at the possibility of a coalition that will divide America in a manner reminiscent of the divisions following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It will be difficult to prevent such a movement should it gain momentum based on the resentments to a Federal government intent on its own ends.

    Already evident is another outcome of Mr. Biden’s victory. This is a loss of moral capital which has helped sustain American influence across the world. An election that contains obvious signs of fraud and the blatant use of censorship by Big Tech and the legacy media makes is clear that US authority is no longer based on incontestable human betterment. Why should countries like India for example, follow or befriend US policy when it is clear its influential leaders will deny its own people the rights and protections it has always stood for. The world is already conscious that the US has installed as President a man who lacks the necessary faculties to take on the job, this clearly implies dishonesty, signs that America has fallen into the hands of those who cannot stand before their own electorate, but instead have to win power by underhand means.

  • Paul Marks

    Today I had someone deny that Silicon Valley has a totalitarian culture – in spite of Google and the rest of them following a totalitarian agenda for years.

    If people are going to call you insane for saying such things as 1+1=2. or water is wet, or Silicon Valley has a totalitarian culture, then perhaps it is best just to stop saying anything – let them find out by their own experience.

    Barry Sheridan – there is not a single State in the Union where education is not dominated by the Collectivists.

    It is like saying “banking is a vast credit bubble in the United States, I will go somewhere else” – in fact the financial and monetary system is totally corrupt EVERYWHERE.

    As for the massive election fraud – most of the world CELEBRATED it. It is not just the United States that is corrupt – we live in a corrupt world.

  • Jacob

    “There will never be another honest election here where the results matter. ”
    Republicans and Conservatives need to get hold of themselves and fight in the elections you have. States that can improve the election rules and make them safer – should do it. But in any case – you need to fight the elections in every state by the rules governing them. If unsafe mail ballots are accepted you need to organize and harvest mail ballots. Crying about unfair and unsafe rules gets you nowhere. Play to win by the rules in place. All sides can play the game.

    But the fundamental fact isn’t vote fraud – though fraud was probably committed. It is that conservative are no longer a majority in the US.
    The fundamental fact is that the population of the US has changed. It isn’t what it was before.
    So, “our” side are now a minority. It is a fact of life….

  • bobby b

    “The fundamental fact is that the population of the US has changed. It isn’t what it was before. So, “our” side are now a minority. It is a fact of life….”

    That may be true. But even if so, our Constitution is premised on a federalist structure, in which the states remain powerful and viable sovereign entities themselves. Each state (so the Constitution holds) remains its own social experimentation laboratory. If the people in one state want an influx of illegal migrants and no guns and abortion on demand, and another state wants the opposite, the Constitution holds that each state ought to be making its own decisions (within the rights confines of the US Constitution.)

    But now we face a system that really wants to do away with federalism, by finding auras and penumbras and implied truths throughout the Constitution that work to bring every facet of life under the control of the national union. That wasn’t meant to be. And so what ought to be meaningless to a state’s power – that many many Californians and New Yorkers want one way of life – is becoming the predominant force.

    I do disagree with you that “heck, we just lost, get over it” sums up what happens – but even if true, we’re prostituting what is a wonderful system by allowing the feds to take over life. Our fight is as much about that as anything.

  • Flubber

    “It is that conservative are no longer a majority in the US.”

    Maybe so for “Conservatives.” But setting aside Biden’s bullshit contrived numbers, Trump won the largest number of votes ever. There’s clearly a strong voter base for America first policies.

    But even if so, our Constitution is premised on a federalist structure, in which the states remain powerful and viable sovereign entities themselves.

    The antics of Brian Kemp in Georgia for example, show that a lot more attention needs to be paid to those state officials. After all, Trump worst enemies during his term were supposedly on his side, especially turds like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.

  • bobby b

    “The antics of Brian Kemp in Georgia for example, show that a lot more attention needs to be paid to those state officials.”

    But that’s really supposed to be Georgia’s problem. Our presidential election is completely different from every other election. The states deliver a preset number of electoral votes in our national presidential election. How they determine to cast those votes is the state’s business. Presumably, if Georgia delivered electoral votes in a manner that doesn’t reflect the will of the (accurately counted) citizens of Georgia, those citizens are the ones who are injured, and they’re the ones with the power to fix the problem.

    That’s why this nation-based legal fight to fix the various jurisdictions’ election problems couldn’t get any traction in the courts. The citizens of Georgia are really the only people who have standing to ask the courts to address Georgia presidential election counting. (Note that the presidential election is the only election that uses this electoral process, and so the legalities of the presidential election are completely different than any other election process.)

    Heck, if a state wanted to, it could simply have its governor decide how to cast its electoral votes. It just can’t treat its own citizens disparately in whatever system it chooses.

    So, Georgia and a few other states need to clean up their own messes. We, nationally, need to strongly encourage them to do so. But that’s the extent of our role.

  • Chester Draws

    “It is that conservative are no longer a majority in the US.”

    Which is why Hilary Clinton was going to win, remember. Problem is, that it is wrong. Most Americans are quite conservative, but the Republicans tend to paint themselves as toxic. There’s a massive amount of socially conservative Blacks and Hispanics who could be won over.

    If the Biden administration is a shower, and I’m betting it will be, then a small swing and Republicans are back in charge.

    I would bet that immigration will be the big indicator. If Biden goes all progressive, and greatly increase immigration of non-skilled workers, then expect lots of people to back away from the Dems. It was the issue that brought Trump home in 2016. If Biden goes all Obama, and talks big but does nothing, then expect the left wing of the Dems to push for a more radical candidate next time.

    Climate change and environmental policies are likely to hurt the economy. That won’t help the new administration.

    Biden has no clue what to do about Covid. No-one else does either, but it’s what brought Trump down. He was going to win easily otherwise.

    And the Dems may yet start a war. If the Republicans can get their heads around not fighting stupid wars you can’t win, then that might play yugely into their hands.

  • Don’t give into despair. You defeat yourself before you even encounter your foe.
    I’m a firm believer that Irish Democracy and the apathy of those who choose not to care about leftist trifles will prevail.
    Their war against Trumpism, gun ownerships, and Wrongthink will go the way of other government social wars. It will fail, utterly.
    War on Poverty? War on Drugs? Prohibition of Alcohol? All epic failures. They make ammo illegal, then I will find a “toothless redneck white boy” dealer and buy ammo from him. There are substantial black and gray markets in the USA, and there aren’t enough secret police and Karen’s to shut them down.
    The US is not Russia in 1917, and these Leftists are not the Bolsheviks.
    This, as always, is just IMHO.

  • llamas

    Regarding ammunition, I got a flyer today from Cheaper than Dirt (a major online discount ammunition supplier) offering me no-brand 22 Long Rifle cartridges at just-about $1 – each.

    For reference, usedtobe (maybe a year ago) that you could buy these, on sale, for perhaps 4 or 5 cents each.

    If CtD is offering them at that price, that means they got buyers – at that price. And if they’re finding buyers at that price, you can write laws from now until Doomsday, but there will be 22’s freely available at that price – forever. They would be vastly-more-profitable to smuggle than weed, for example, and they are so easy to make that every tin-pot s**thole nation in the world has a plant that makes them.

    And – would anyone care to take a guess at how many individual rounds of ammunition are already in private hands in the US? My guess is 500 billion rounds, with a ‘b’. What’s your guess?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Roué le Jour

    Conservatives are a minorty, true, but so are the collectivists. Elections are won by the go-along-to-get-along majority in the middle, not by the fringes. And that majority has been subjected to four years of Democrat propaganda. An honest media reporting Trumps successes and Democrat law breaking would have given a very different result.

  • Flubber

    “Biden has no clue what to do about Covid. No-one else does either, but it’s what brought Trump down. He was going to win easily otherwise.”

    But the people behind Biden sure did know how to cheat an election. That’s what brought Trump down. He did win easily otherwise.

  • Phil B

    Ammunition … Unless you are going to something like .223/5.56×45 where the bullet itself is a small, .22 calibre, then manufacturing ammunition is not too difficult.

    Cast lead bullets are as effective as jacketed (with a gilding copper jacket), powder is available and bullet moulds are easy to buy and untraceable and easy to manufacture. You will need to collect the empty cartridge cases (which you should do to prevent forensics tracing them to an individual weapon), Even the primer can be reused. The Afghans refill the primers – I won’t explain here but if you are REALLY interested, then you can search the internet for the information.

    For pistol calibres, a one pound tin of the required powder will manufacture well over 1000 rounds and something like a .38 special, over 2000 rounds.

    If you want to manufacture guns, then a submachine gun is the easiest. Anyone who has stripped a Sten gun or a Sterling will tell you how simple they are both in design and manufacture. Rifling the barrel is easy and you don’t need machine tools like a lathe to do so. Primitive workshops in Afghanistan and Pakistan turn out perfectly serviceable firearms of all descriptions and they do not have access to the kind of CAD/CAM or tooling readily available to hobbyists in the west.

    Philip Luty designed a series of submachine guns and published the plans for free to demonstrate that you cannot ban knowledge and prevent guns being manufactured. Although I think that they are too complicated – a piece of scaffolding pole to make a Sten would be an easier route – but Lo! and Behold! They are turning up in the hands of criminals.

    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/7067760/man-charged-over-homemade-submachine-guns/?cs=9676

    A video of the weapons being fired is here:

    https://wheelgunr.blogspot.com/2021/01/mr-lutys-gun-lives-on.html

    How could that happen, eh? It might be better if less effective and harder to shoot accurately handguns were more available. But that would be … sensible and we can’t have that.

  • Phil B

    Here is a description of Phil Luty’s submachine gun.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIhGCRIQnCA&feature=emb_rel_end

  • APL

    Well, it looks like libertarians are on John Brennan’s hit list of subversives.

  • Exasperated

    “Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women-owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild.” — President-elect Biden

    This has been the case for decades, nothing new here.

  • GregWA

    bobby b, you rightly say that if they try it again (steal election), we will not let it stand. But how will we know? There will be no poll watchers or video to witness the steal next time–even dumb Pols (D and R) and their election official lackeys learn.

    And even if evidence gets out, how will we all know–this blog and any other means of mass communication not approved by Biden/Harris/et al will be shuttered for inciting violence.

    I appreciate your optimistic and cool assessment of what has happened and why and that you think all is not lost. I appreciate it, but I am not convinced. It seems to me we are now well into the end game and the other side has no bounds.

    And I absolutely cannot fathom how a handful of States can allow (encourage?) their POTUS election outcome to be determined by illegal tactics, resulting in the blatant overturning of the national will…and I don’t have standing in some court? That seems to indicate we have a few too many highly educated (snark) lawyers (bobby b excluded of course!) mucking things up…or are the Constitution and our laws a suicide pact after all?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    or are the Constitution and our laws a suicide pact after all

    Close but not quite. The truth is that ink blots on paper don’t rule. SCOTUS rules.

    As I have said many times, there is no such thing as “rule of law”, only rule of men.

    Rule of law is like fairy dust, Santa Claus, social justice, unicorns, and G-d. You either believe in each of these things or you don’t, but if you do it’s not based on evidence. I believe in just one of them – and it’s not “rule of law”.

    There are those who rule and there are those who are ruled. This is how it always has been and always will be. Ignoring this profound truth has, at long last, placed our side in grave peril. Like the fabled tree in a forest – if an election is stolen and The People don’t know then is it really stolen?

  • The Pedant-General

    jacob:

    “If unsafe mail ballots are accepted you need to organize and harvest mail ballots. “

    that way leads the path to disaster. I’m astonished that anyone on this site could write such a thing.
    No. You need to campaign vigorously to show just how corrupt the system has become. You need to organise and ensure that you have the HUGE squads of people necessary to pick apart the fraud when it happens and document it properly. You need to do this in every single precinct. It’s properly huge manpower.

    You need to lobby hard at the state legislatures and create a stink there. But you don’t fix a broken and corrupt system by participating in more breakage and corruption.

    Besides, do you even think for one second that YOUR ballot harvesting is not going to get clobbered with the full force of the – now ideologically pure – law? Ah come on, man…

  • Exasperated

    Here’s a post on Chicago Boys in a similar vein as this one.

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/64913.html#comments

  • Heck, if a state wanted to, it could simply have its governor decide how to cast its electoral votes. (bobby b, January 20, 2021 at 10:00 pm)

    IIUC, the constitution makes each state’s legislature, not its governor, the authority for how a state’s electoral college vote is cast. IIRC, many states legislatures decided for themselves instead of asking the voters early on in US history, and as late as November 1860 South Carolina still did so: its citizens did not vote for president that year; instead, the state legislature simply met and voted how to allocate the state’s electoral college votes. (I expect bobby b knows this – I am mentioning more to ensure all readers do.)

    Of course, a given state legislature could vote to instruct its governor to determine, but if they were not asking the voters then it seems far more likely they would use such a vote to determine it themselves.

    The founding fathers chose the legislatures for this role precisely because they saw them as being most resistant to being corrupted by vote fraud – just as the 2020 election results would suggest.

    It seemed to me that one big problem at the end of last year was insufficient will in swing-state legislatures to resent usurpations of their electoral authority by governors and/or state courts. I do not know how far that was the whole obstacle, as against how far the refusal of governors to summon legislatures into special session for such votes blocked any actual possibility of such a vote passing. The Texas lawsuit that the USSC did not hear would have been much more compelling if the issue had presented as a Dem lawsuit against actual uncertifying votes of state legislatures whose electoral laws had been nullified by the executive or the judiciary, instead of as a Rep request the USSC tell them to vote on it – and equally would have achieved nothing if the court had heard it and ordered state legislatures to vote, only to have them cravenly vote the executive-certified result. (The same applies to some ideas of what could have been achieved on January 6th.)

    I guess we will see what the latest state legislative intake will say and, far more importantly, will vote (e.g. as regards all those latches-tossed cases that said “fix it for next time”) in the relevant states. I guess we will also see whether in 2022 the Republican state legislature primaries purge the weak or purge the strong. It seems to me that in theory the constitution’s very explicit assignment of authority to the legislatures alone gives a way of ensuring the next presidential election is less bizarre than this one – but of course, your current federal rulers know this and will doubtless be working on it.

  • Exasperated

    During the 2016 primary, I was initially appalled at Trump’s bombastic and aggressive persona, but eventually I came to “get it” and understand it was in response to provocation, and a means to get over and round hostile media. I hope we realize that many voters, who are not necessarily evil or anti-American, NEVER grasped this. Going into 2020, I thought Biden’s obvious deficits, and that he was such a fatuous unaccomplished gasbag would be more than enough to offset Trump’s style. I’m skeptical that ideology matters as much as we assume. Naively, I thought pocket bock issues would prevail, as they do for me. Unlike Biden voters, I’m pro American worker, pro Main Street, and pro American sovereignty. How many of the Biden voting minions even comprehend they support killing the American Dream in favor of Chinese /global corporatist hegemony or how that plays out for them down the road? It’s clear most didn’t consider the issue or care.

  • Snorri Godhi

    There are those who rule and there are those who are ruled. This is how it always has been and always will be.

    Taken literally, i completely agree with Shlomo on this.

    However.

    Shlomo’s view is binary.
    He admits of no gradation of power of the rulers over the ruled.

    In actual fact, there has been a huge variation in the amount of power that the ruling class has had.

    At one extreme, we might put the Congo “Free” State, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouges.

    At the opposite extreme, we might put ancient Rome up to the end of the 2nd Punic War, and Viking-age Iceland. (One might think of other exemplars.)

    … And that is ignoring that there are also gradations in the level of decency of the ruling class. The American ruling class right now scores pretty low in this respect.

    Ignoring this profound truth has, at long last, placed our side in grave peril.

    On this, i must agree. We must accept reality.
    Read Sun Tzu: all war is based on deception.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Lucklucky wrote:

    Or as Scott Adams says

    So far, Biden has refused to halt a divisive impeachment, questioned the loyalty of the troops, sparked an immigration crisis, and surrender to China via energy policy. He hasn’t even started yet.

    — Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) January 18, 2021

    Don’t forget the Canadians threatening to sue over the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Don’t forget that the Ukrainians have not forgotten Hunter.

    Don’t forget the “Fuck Biden” riots in Portland and Seattle.

    In addition to all that, i expect to see Boris receive a well-deserved public humiliation.

  • Jim

    “Biden has no clue what to do about Covid”

    On the contrary he has the perfect plan. Demand draconian anti-covid measures (compulsory masks at all times, closing all the schools, shutting down businesses, you name it etc etc etc), and soon after get the CDC to surreptitiously mandate reducing the cycle count on the PCR test. Watch those ‘cases’ drop steadily thereafter, and thus create the narrative that he has singlehandedly ‘saved America’………

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri Godhi,

    Shlomo’s view is binary.
    He admits of no gradation of power of the rulers over the ruled.

    The exact opposite is actually the case. Can you please explain why you think this?

    There are a lot of layers of your misunderstanding, I can speculate. I just wrote out a long reply addressing what I can only speculate are the reasons why you said this. It would be more constructive if you can explain some of the reasons why you think this so I can respond in a more precise, specific manner to what underlies your view of my understanding.

    In short, though:
    1. Democracies and constitutional republics restrain centralized authority by “rule of law” which is a much less effective means of doing so than the means of restraining centralized authority that are typically inherent to divine-right hereditary monarchies.
    2. Absolute monarchies are not absolute. Kings supposedly absolute in their power are not absolute in their power – ever. In fact, Kings who historically were apparently vested with absolute power from the Creator wielded far less control over the people than POTUS does today (and it’s not even close). By calling them absolute in their power, Kings are able to tell the Special Interests, Lobbyists, Big Donors etc to fuck off if what they want hurts the interests of the Nation. Presidents and Prime Ministers are in the opposite, submissive position.
    3. Incentives of the ruler is much better in a hereditary monarchy for obvious reasons. I can explain

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo: Thank you for your reply… but it is 1am here, and i have cracked open a bottle of Laphroaig. I’ll read your comment critically tomorrow, and reply as appropriate.

  • And now for something completely different:

    Snorri Godhi, Shlomo Maistre: Might I recommend the Painkiller? A perfectly fine rum cocktail that doesn’t need obscure ingredients. (Pineapple gum syrup for a Singapore Sling? What n’ell were the bartenders thinking?).
    I have been rediscovering US Tiki Bar cocktails recently, too (sic) my delight.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri Godhi – sounds good, hope the Laphroaig was good

    Zilwerks – haha maybe I’ll try that sometime!

  • APL

    Day two of the Biden administration, and American armored convoys have already been spotted moving into Syria. Looks like the Democrats want more Syrian blood, paid for by the very people who at home, they disparage as white supremacists, racists and domestic terrorists.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo: very good summary of your political philosophy, or at least the kernel of it, i assume. Some points are not quite clear, though.

    I’ll reply in reverse order because it suits the way in which i want to develop my argument.

    3. Incentives of the ruler is much better in a hereditary monarchy for obvious reasons. I can explain

    I understand, or i think that i do. A ruler whose family has ruled for a few centuries thinks twice before compromising himself and his progeny with some rash policy initiative.

    The problem is, for some people thinking twice is not enough 🙂
    Some people can never think enough, because they cannot think at all.
    How do you prevent such people from becoming rulers?
    This is not just speculation. History is full of bad kings/emperors.

  • Snorri Godhi

    2. Absolute monarchies are not absolute. Kings supposedly absolute in their power are not absolute in their power – ever. In fact, Kings who historically were apparently vested with absolute power from the Creator wielded far less control over the people than POTUS does today (and it’s not even close).

    Yes, i do believe in the Iron Law of Oligarchy. But less than POTUS? Not sure about that. As long as POTUS goes along with the Establishment agenda, POTUS has nearly absolute power. But that is no arbitrary power: it is the power to do what the Establishment wants POTUS to do.

    BTW let’s be clear about something: what are you thinking of, when you talk about ‘absolute monarchies’?
    I tend to apply the term ‘absolute monarchy’ only from the Renaissance to what we might call the Age of Revolutions, 1642 to 1918.
    Before then, it was feudal monarchies, less absolute than they became with the Renaissance.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Still addressing Shlomo’s point 2:

    By calling them absolute in their power, Kings are able to tell the Special Interests, Lobbyists, Big Donors etc to fuck off if what they want hurts the interests of the Nation. Presidents and Prime Ministers are in the opposite, submissive position.

    That is true only when the people believe in the Divine Right of Kings; and even then, not absolutely true. (Pardon the pun.)

    Samuel Finer, incidentally, claimed that a ruler who uses religion as the principle of legitimization, is likely to be better for his subjects than one who uses something like the General Will as a principle of legitimization. That is for 2 reasons:

    A. A ruler appealing to the General Will must have total control over the media, otherwise the illusion of the General Will collapses when the people start complaining.
    (Sounds familiar?)

    B. A ruler appealing to the Divine Right of Kings must still follow the Divine Law if he wants to maintain the support of the people.
    That is, if people are literate enough to know what the Divine Law says; otherwise it is the religious authorities that must tell the people not to obey the ruler. Which they can only if there is separation between Church & State, and freedom of speech.

  • Snorri Godhi

    1. Democracies and constitutional republics restrain centralized authority by “rule of law” which is a much less effective means of doing so than the means of restraining centralized authority that are typically inherent to divine-right hereditary monarchies.

    I don’t know on what data you base this statement.
    Bradford De Long comes to the opposite conclusion based on rates of city growth. You know, like Houston and Dallas vs LA and San Francisco.
    In western Europe from 1000 to 1800, it was the same story.

    Added in proof: as i remember, Hugh Trevor-Roper made a similar point to De Long’s in his essay: The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. But i don’t have the essay at hand.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I will respond later today. One thing I noticed in your reply is I didn’t really see where you explained some of the reasons why you had said:

    Shlomo’s view is binary.
    He admits of no gradation of power of the rulers over the ruled.

    I’m not trying to interrogate you haha. I really do want to understand why you said it because I think many people around here are under the same impression and I’d love the opportunity to clarify specifically why I think it’s not true which is tough to do if I don’t really know the reasons why. Could you please clarify why you think this?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    Here we goooooo 🙂

    Incentives of the ruler is much better in a hereditary monarchy for obvious reasons. I can explain

    I understand, or i think that i do. A ruler whose family has ruled for a few centuries thinks twice before compromising himself and his progeny with some rash policy initiative.

    Yes that is true, but that’s a fairly minor reason why.

    Look across the western world what do you see? I see politicians doing exactly what is in their own self interests, which generally means: more debt, more regulations, more goodies for special interests, more printing of fake money, more unaccountable bureaucracy, more government spending, more meddling in private affairs, more violations of civil liberties, more intrusive violations of privacy.

    Are some of these things partly due to technology? Sure, the internet didn’t exist when King George was around so he couldn’t use his own intelligence services to spy on his subjects. So, would he have done so if he could have? Maybe.

    But I have read a lot of history. And, perhaps even more important, I have read a lot of political philosophy that would make the most right wing Republicans that exist in all of America blush. Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, Robert Filmer, Julius Evola, etc were not right about everything. But they were right about certain things and the fact that they were right about certain things is one reason (of several reasons) why their sublime works are not taught in universities today, while the works of Marx, Engel, Dostoevsky, Tocqueville, Keynes, Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes are.

    What were they right about? The many INHERENT pitfalls of constitutional republics and democracies. For instance, the incentives of politicians who lead constitutional republics/democracies are BY DESIGN opposed to the welfare, interests, and freedoms of The People.

    Let me repeat that: in constitutional democracies and democracies the incentives of politicians are BY DESIGN opposed to the welfare, interests, and freedoms of The People. This does not mean that America was designed by founding fathers who wanted to create such a system – au contraire! They were just mostly ignorant charlatans who, quite literally, did not understand the long-term impact of what they were doing.

    How long did it take for America to tax itself far more than King George had ever dreamed of taxing the American colonists?

    Regardless of your answer, it is my position that EXTREMELY few monarchs would do what is being done to peoples of the western world today by their political leaders. That’s not because most monarchs are “good” people. They’re not – very few people are good people. It’s because they are self-interested, it’s because they are selfish.

    The problem is, for some people thinking twice is not enough 🙂
    Some people can never think enough, because they cannot think at all.
    How do you prevent such people from becoming rulers?
    This is not just speculation. History is full of bad kings/emperors.

    “how do you prevent such people from becoming rulers” this encapsulates so many things:
    1. It is not true that how someone governs is primarily a consequence of what kind of a person he/she is
    2. How someone governs is mostly a function of INCENTIVES. INCENTIVES, INCENTIVES, INCENTIVES.
    3. Do you think Obama did what he did because he is a bad dude or because he belived in what he was doing? Maybe Obama is a bad dude or maybe he did believe in what he was doing (socialism etc) but neither of those things are key contributors to his actions as POTUS. Obama’s actions as POTUS – just like any other POTUS – were shaped by progressive special interests, lobbyists, getting goodies for his voter base, big donors, spending $ we don’t have to enrich progressives and liberal special interests. Why? To get re-elected and to enlarge his own power.
    4. POTUS is incentivized to get re-elected and expand his own power. INHERENTLY the way to do these things in democracy/constitutional republic is to grow government spending, enlarge the public debt, increase government meddling, increase regulations, and do many more things to satisfy the special interests, lobbyists, big donors, and political base.

    Monarchs are publicly thought to have absolute power even though they are not in privately thoughts thought to have absolute power. This does many great things: satiates the ruler’s vanity is a big thing (if he has a lot of it, which is of course not always the case) and also obviates the need to expand government to enlarge his own power.

    What is a monarch incentivizes to do? Generally, his bank account is the bank account of the country. Literally and figuratively. Humans tend to be selfish. Why do you think virtually every modern western democracy is up to its nose in public debt, skyrocketing government spending, and indebtedness? Because we have the opposite of a monarchy – a democracy.

    A monarch wants to leave his country more prosperous, more secure, more free, and more powerful than how he inherited it.

    This is a natural inclination of most humans (of course not all) to leave progeny something better than what you had. Moving up the rungs of the world, so to speak. As the country gets more prosperity, more security, more safety, and more power so does the ruler. The interests of the ruler in a monarchy are ALIGNED with the interests of the PEOPLE. This is of FUNDAMENTAL, and critical importance.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    To expand on my last comment:
    Since a country’s state treasury is the bank account of the monarch, and the monarch is human (ie, selfish), there is a natural tendency for the monarch to usually (though not always) to try to figure out from his advisors, the aristocracy, smart people, business people, the court, and other associates/advisors, “what can I do to make myself more wealthy?” Most give self-interested advice, but the monarch learns from experience.

    He might find, for instance, that cutting taxes, cutting government spending, cutting regulations increase prosperity. Not always, but usually. He may also find out (if his Mom or Dad never told him) that when you tax something, you get less of it. So if he wants to rule a country with a lot of success, wealth, inventions, prosperity, and cutting edge technologies, he might lower taxes.

    Also an important reason why absolute monarchies provide better governance than democracies/constitutional republics in most cases is the timeline. Politicians timeline is the next 2 or 4 or 6 years in the USA because their primary goal is re-election. Senators are elected every 6 years, House of Reps 2 and POTUS 4. This isn’t a great thing, is it? Wouldn’t it be better to make decisions for the long run?

    But it’s worse than that. Because the short term time horizon of the politicians when COMBINED with the destructive influence of the real rulers (lobbyists, special interests, big donors, interest groups, etc) who wield enormous power over every politician of any significance (and most of the politicians who aren’t significant, as well) leads to REALLY BAD decisions. Lobbyists, special interests, big donors, interest groups etc are ALL about the short term. They want goodies, they want regulatory capture, they want $, they want loopholes in the tax code, they want (as Paul Marks has pointed out) their competitors to be taxed more than they are (see Amazon vs. Mom and Pop shops for one of MANY examples).

    But it’s even worse than that. Because in any complex large organization or society the tough decisions are the ones that are for the long term good, generally speaking. And in constitutional republics/democracies the politicians rely on POPULAR SUPPORT. But the decisions that are for the long-term good are almost NEVER popular. So what happens? Sclerotic decay, massive spending, ballooning debt, no leadership, no tough decisions, just “we’ll pay for it tomorrow” every day. Every day “we will pay for that tomorrow and enjoy it today” every day for months, every day for years, every day for decades, etc.

    Do you ever wonder why Entitlements are never significantly cut? I’m sure you have, but have you really considered the possibility that maybe our system of government is at the heart of what causes this and that a different system of government would lead to Entitlements being cut immediately and drastically TO SAVE THE COUNTRY?

    Democracy and constitutional republics are sclerotic. There’s no leadership. There’s no real sovereignty that is centralized and unified and stable. In America sovereignty is (in a certain sense) broken into 330 million pieces. This is a collective action problem – about everything. It’s a collective action problem that prevents addressing regulations, taxes, spending, privacy, civil liberties, etc. in any kind of a real, adult manner. Our system is structured (unintentionally – the founders had good intentions) to produce leaders who DO NOT LEAD. Who cannot and do not make the hard decisions necessary for our long-term prosperity, security, freedom, and safety.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo:

    I’m not trying to interrogate you haha. I really do want to understand why you said it because I think many people around here are under the same impression and I’d love the opportunity to clarify specifically why I think it’s not true which is tough to do if I don’t really know the reasons why. Could you please clarify why you think this?

    I freely admit that i did not have sufficient evidence for my statement about your view being binary. In my defense i note that evidence beyond reasonable doubt should not be required for a blog comment 🙂

    (At least, as you note, i am not the only person who got that impression.)

    As to why i got that impression: that is because you wrote

    There are those who rule and there are those who are ruled. This is how it always has been and always will be.

    And then did not add any qualification.

    Also, your dismissal of the rule of law. I do not deny that there is never an ‘absolute’ rule of law; but again, i don’t remember your ever saying that there are degrees to which people can be ruled by the Law rather than by the arbitrary will of the ruling class.
    But this intersects with my previous comments, so i proceed to read your longer reply before expanding.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    2. Absolute monarchies are not absolute. Kings supposedly absolute in their power are not absolute in their power – ever. In fact, Kings who historically were apparently vested with absolute power from the Creator wielded far less control over the people than POTUS does today (and it’s not even close).

    Yes, i do believe in the Iron Law of Oligarchy. But less than POTUS? Not sure about that.

    Definitely less than the POTUS. For many reasons:
    1. So, incentives matter. In my other comment I went through why and how monarchs’ incentives are aligned with the interests of The People, while the incentives of politicians in democracy/constitutional republics are inherently and inevitably OPPOSED to the interests of The People, which leads to more intrusive government, skyrocketing debt, rising government spending, more regulations, more and more violations of civil liberties, etc
    2. Timeline. Making decisions based on the next 50 years instead of the next 4 years.
    3. There is a difference between having the theoretical power to do something and actually doing it. Absolute monarchs had the theoretical power (in theory) to do whatever they wanted, but the actual exercise of said theoretical power was limited by constitutions (not Constitutions) which are far more sturdy and restrictive on the government than they are in democracies/constitutional republics (as detailed below).
    4. It’s extremely difficult to compare rulers today to rulers even just 100 years ago. The past, it has been well said, is a foreign country. Truly alien to us – with different values, different culture, different power structures in society, different prejudices, different considerations about all public matters (and many private ones as well). So comparing the actions of a mean old man 200 years ago to the actions of a POTUS or PM today is ridiculous on its face. Instead, one must take into account circumstances of the time and place, perceptions of people and different stakeholders of the time and place, wealth of the time and place, culture of the time and place, standards of the time and place, values of the time and place, technology of the time and place, needs and wants of the time and place, etc and how all these different and complex factors interact with each other and WHY. This is a difficult and complex endeavor.

    Yes, King George violated American colonists liberty more than did Thomas Jefferson as POTUS. But is this proof that democracy/constitutional republic is a better limit on the power of the government than absolute monarchy? You may say the answer is no, but your reasons for saying no are far more few than the reasons why I think the answer is no.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo: I am too tired to read carefully all what you wrote. I might write a detailed answer tomorrow. For now, i note:

    * You did not address the De Long paper to which i linked. When you compare absolute monarchies and constitutional republics in the same historical period, you find that constitutional republics do better at limiting government power.

    * Comparing absolute monarchies before 1800 to constitutional republics today is like comparing apples and oranges. Today, you can take 30% or even 50% of people’s income in taxation and people won’t starve. Before the Anglo-Dutch agricultural revolution, if you took away 30% of farmer’s produce, farmers would begin to starve to death in bad years, and eventually there would be nobody to tax.

    * Of the authors that you approve, i haven’t read anything. I know that Filmer stimulated Locke into writing his 2 Treatises.

    As for the authors of whom you disapprove:
    Marx, Engel, Dostoevsky, Tocqueville, Keynes, Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes.
    That is quite a mixed bag.
    In fact, Marx and Hobbes are themselves mixed bags; and for now i’ll leave it at that.
    Dostoevsky is most helpful in shining light on the darkest recesses of human nature. That makes his work unpleasant to read, in my opinion. About his political thinking i don’t know anything.
    I strongly approve of Locke & Tocqueville, not that i have read all of what they wrote — and not that i think they provide a complete guide to politics.

    I identify first of all with the ‘classical republican’ tradition; by which i mean: Polybius, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas (perhaps), Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Montesquieu, Hume, and the US Founding Fathers. Also Gaetano Mosca and Hayek.
    But to understand them, i think it necessary to have read a bit of Plato & Aristotle.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    As long as POTUS goes along with the Establishment agenda, POTUS has nearly absolute power. But that is no arbitrary power

    Arbitrary power? What makes you think that absolute monarchs have arbitrary power? An absolute monarch, it is true, is SAID to have absolute power, but this is ENTIRELY different than having absolute power. This is where I reply to the heart of your original claim:

    Shlomo’s view is binary.
    He admits of no gradation of power of the rulers over the ruled.

    The constitution of a nation is not the Constitution of a nation.

    Let me explain.

    I am defining a constitution as the culture, business interests, structure, heritage, arrangement of power, values, religion(s), biases, prejudices, corporate privileges, propensities, etc of a society. This is the thing (the ongoing NEGOTIATION of everyone in society) that ACTUALLY limits the powers of government in society. The actual limitations on the powers of the government result from the constitution of the society. So while a Constitution limits the government’s powers in theory, it is (as the left knows all too well) the constitution of a society that limits the government’s powers in reality.

    The constitution of any society is always evolving. Thus, the ongoing negotiation of everyone in society as everyone competes for power, wealth, status etc is something that – for better or worse – the people who are (in) the government are also engaged in. Everyone is always negotiating. And if you bring value to the table, then you have more power to negotiate. This is inevitable – in every country, across all time and place. And it will always be so.

    The American left (consciously and sub consciously) recognizes that it is the constitution that limits the powers of the government. The American right thinks that the Constitution is what limits the powers of government in reality – and this is true to some extent for a period of time. But the Constitution only works to the extent that the people of the country understands, accepts, and believes in its original intent.

    Ask yourself, if the following two things were true then what would you expect to see in the world today?
    1. The constitution (and not the Constitution) is what actually limits what government can do in society.
    2. Politics is downstream of culture.

    If you were mistaking a symptom of a great constitution for its cause, how would you know? Yes, I admit that the Constitution has been used by those in power (judges) to restrict state powers many times. But still, if you were mistaking a symptom of a great constitution for its cause, how would you know? What I mean, on a deeper level, is that the constitution (not Constitution) of America is what made is a prosperous, free, secure, and a place that values liberty culturally AND LEGALLY. The legal decline of liberty in America is traced not to its Constitution but to its evolving constitution.

    Now, this is where things get deep. Hang with me here.

    It is my contention that liberty inherently loses its legal status overtime in democracies/constitutional republics. Why? Well, not only is the legal decline of liberty in America traced not to its Constitution but to its evolving constitution, but also the constitution of ANY democracy/constitutional republic NECESSARILY leads to the decline of liberty. There are many, many reasons for this. Two reasons why democracies/constitutional republics lead to a decline in the legal status of liberty on a basic level is: incentives and timeline, as mentioned before. What politicians do is what’s in their self interests: aka, destroy liberty to expand their power.

    I can expand on other reasons why liberty’s legal status inevitably declines in democracy/constitutional republics overtime, unlike in monarchies.

    But as a quick aside, I’d like to point out that it’s actually a very convenient and desirable mnemonic that the ruler is said to have absolute, undivided power in absolute hereditary monarchy. How do rulers in democracy/constitutional republics get power? By A. doing it and B. the courts upholding it. An absolute monarch has nothing to prove and far less power is gained by an absolute monarch by trampling on the people’s freedoms than by a POTUS or Prime Minister doing so.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    As for the authors of whom you disapprove:
    Marx, Engel, Dostoevsky, Tocqueville, Keynes, Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes.
    That is quite a mixed bag.

    Where did I say that I disapprove of these authors? I approve of some of them and disapprove of some of them.

    I freely admit that i did not have sufficient evidence for my statement about your view being binary. In my defense i note that evidence beyond reasonable doubt should not be required for a blog comment

    Sure, point taken. 🙂

    As to why i got that impression: that is because you wrote

    There are those who rule and there are those who are ruled. This is how it always has been and always will be.

    And then did not add any qualification.

    Well, yes. Fair enough.

    And I hope in my last few comments I addressed this and added sufficient clarity to my perspective.

    The constitutions vs. Constitutions distinction (and attendant explanation I provided) is not only an example of one reason why monarchs tend to not be as oppressive as democracies/constitutional republics, but also serves as an example of how complex the mechanisms are (in my opinion) that place limitations on the ACTUAL exercise of power by government.

    The world is not only not black and white, but to say there are gradations of gray is a massive understatement. Ten dimensional chess is far less complex than a proper and thorough understanding of how constitutions function and limit government’s actual exercise of power in society, in my view.

    Also, your dismissal of the rule of law. I do not deny that there is never an ‘absolute’ rule of law; but again, i don’t remember your ever saying that there are degrees to which people can be ruled by the Law rather than by the arbitrary will of the ruling class.

    Where have I said that the people are ruled by the arbitrary will of the ruling class? Again, I think this is just part and parcel of your misinterpretation (and many others’ misinterpretation – you are far from alone) of what I write. So I thank you for giving me a chance to clear some of it up.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In reply to Zilwerks:
    I looked at the Painkiller recipe and i am afraid that it contains too much sugar for me.

    Normally, I ingest refined sugars from only 2 sources: chocolate (normally, at least 70% cocoa) and Riga Black Balsam (which is supposed to contain honey rather than sugar as such).

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    Also, your dismissal of the rule of law. I do not deny that there is never an ‘absolute’ rule of law; but again, i don’t remember your ever saying that there are degrees to which people can be ruled by the Law rather than by the arbitrary will of the ruling class.

    So two things you mention: “the arbitrary will of the ruling class” and “people can be ruled by the Law”. Which one governs The People in democracy and/or constitutional republic and/or absolute monarchy?

    In a certain sense neither (in all three systems) and in another sense both (in all three systems) and in another sense [insert combination here]. I could justify all three positions – depending on exactly what is meant. It’s a complex thing – and I’m not trying to be evasive. American courts make decisions and often those decisions restrict state power in accordance with written law – so obviously rule of law exists right? Well, in a certain sense, yes of course. Absolutely. And that’s good.

    But I think the situation is more complicated that this.

    One quick point, as an example of the complexity: I’d argue that American rule of law that actually is enforced by American courts is never more pro-liberty than America’s culture was 50 years ago. We may agree that this isn’t a coincidence, but we probably disagree on all the reasons why. And yes, I recognize there are a few exceptions to my statement: like slavery, Dred Scott, Jim Crow. But basically, the historical trend is pretty clear, I’d say.

    I will respond to some other points you have made, including the De Long paper, later today or tomorrow.

  • Snorri Godhi

    OK, Shlomo, having read almost all of what you wrote, i’d say that my main points of disagreement are perhaps best explained in the De Long paper. (No better rebuttal of what you wrote comes to mind.) So it would be pointless for me to reply unless & until you feel like arguing against that paper.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: please note that De Long does deal with incentives. Only, he does not think that they work the way you (Shlomo) think they work. That is why the empirical evidence becomes important: to find out who is closer to the truth.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    Apologies for slow reply, life happens and all that.

    I skimmed the De Long paper. I’m not sure what you think it proves. Can you please explain?

    A few assorted thoughts.

    I don’t think they categorized “types” of governments properly. For instance, how De Long broke down merchants vs princes is not a good way of delineating which are “absolutist” and which are not. Furthermore, I think that the De Long brings his own biases to the table in mistaking a strong merchant interest for the absence of absolutist rule. Additionally, and more broadly speaking, a ruler who is said to have absolute power often does not and vice versa. So how the researcher delineated which are absolutist and which are not is flawed.

    The next section of the paper describes the data on urban populations we use, and briefly argues that urban populations are good measures of pre-industrial economic prosperity

    But De Long didn’t do this and it’s not. Urban population (growth) is not a good measure of pre-industrial economic prosperity. Also, the researcher is bringing his own biases to the table – economic prosperity is not the same as national wellbeing.

    Thus we can use the sizes of European cities as indicators of commercial prosperity only because the typical post-Classical European city was primarily a center of commerce, and not of bureaucracy, administration, or landlord consumption.

    I don’t buy this. Sounds like a load of crock to me.

    And note the use of “only because” in this sentence. This is a linchpin of De Long’s whole line of reasoning and if it’s wrong (which it is) there is no way to assess whether or not the data support the hypothesis that absolutist governments stunted the growth of commerce (or whatever their hypothesis is exactly).

    This paper has presented some statistical evidence showing that absolutist governments are associated with low economic growth, as measured by city growth, during 800 years prior to the industrial revolution.

    No. Because city growth was not and is not economic growth.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    No. Because city growth was not and is not economic growth. Also city growth is not and was not a good measure of economic growth.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo: thank you for the links.
    As i linked to the De Long paper, i was wondering whether more empirical research has been done on this important subject.

    However, I am afraid that your criticism of the De Long paper sounds like grabbing at straws.
    Well, ok, not straws; but fairly small pieces of wood.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Snorri,

    Again, as I previously said, it’s unclear to me what specifically you think the De Long paper proves. Can you please explain?

    You have merely linked to a study and not specified what you think it shows, why you think it shows that, and how in your opinion it contradicts a specific claim I had made.

    You can say I’m grasping at fairly small pieces of wood, but I am letting you know what my thoughts are in fairly specific terms. I had hoped for a bit more of a back and forth.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Shlomo: I am not sure why you ask me what I “think the De Long paper proves”. Surely, it is more important what De Long thinks it “proves”; and that is in the abstract.

    Except of course that there can be no conclusive proof.
    To me, stronger evidence against your thesis is the simple fact that absolute monarchy by (presumed) Divine Right has almost disappeared. I take the Darwinist position that what has disappeared was not fit to survive.

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