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Samizdata quote of the day – R.I.P. The Scottish Enlightenment 1697-2024

As a Scot who grew up in the 1970s in the drawing rooms of Edinburgh’s New Town, the architectural manifestation of the Scottish Enlightenment, I am truly appalled that the legacy of Aikenhead and the Scottish Enlightenment – a historical event far more relevant to the modern world than the War of Independence of the early 14th century that so enthrals the SNP and its activists, an event which put Scotland on the map of the world and one of which the nation can be rightly proud – has been trashed by the Scottish Parliament and the Yousaf Government. From April 1st 2024, saying the wrong thing at your own dinner table, let alone in a drunken pub rant like young Thomas did, will once again land you in significant trouble with the law, 327 years, eight months and 24 days after Thomas died.

Mr. Yousaf, his ministers and those who drafted and will enforce this law would do well to remember how history judged those who hanged Thomas Aikenhead on that bleak winter morning on the road to Leith. In doing so they should recall that this gross act of overreach and tyranny was the high tide of the power of the Kirk, power which was swept aside by the forces unleashed when the people said ‘enough’.

C.J. Strachan

29 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – R.I.P. The Scottish Enlightenment 1697-2024

  • But Mr. Yousaf, his ministers and those who drafted and will enforce this law are only too well aware that the people inhabiting Scotland now are not the people who, back then, said ‘enough’.

    Nothing like them, in fact.

  • Mark

    Oh I think it’s been dead a while.

  • rhoda klapp

    Am I to believe that the Scottish government can pass any law no matter how repressive or oppressive and that the government and judicial system of the UK as a whole has no way to impose any limit? What judge with an oath to do right by the law could jail a citizen for stating a fact at his own dinner table?

  • TomJ

    Scottish laws can be vetoed by gov.uk if they are deemed to modify UK law on reserved matters.

  • Steven R

    It sure would be nice if Royal Assent was withheld and Chuck said “hurt feelings are a small price to pay to ensure Free Speech lives.”

  • Chuck is one of them, not one of us.

  • Paul Marks

    Scotland is part of a movement that is all over the Western world and started about 60 years ago.

    Supposedly Freedom of Speech is “Repressive Tolerance” because it “harms” “disadvantaged and marginalised groups”.

    Note the word “harms” – John Stuart Mill left the door open for that attack when he wrote (in “On Liberty” – way back in 1859) that freedom could be restricted if it “harmed” people – not aggressed against them, “harmed” them (hence “the harm principle”) – and he gave the example of people “parading” their disapproval of the conduct of others (he meant the relationship between himself and Mrs Taylor) – people “parading their disapproval” (turning their backs, and so on) “harmed” him and Mrs Taylor.

    Of course, Mr Mill did NOT mean anything like the Scottish Bill (or all the other pieces of “Hate Speech” legislation in almost every other nation) – but because he said “harmed” (a nice vague word) he left the door open – and Herbert Marcuse and other leftist thinkers took advantage of that.

    What the left does is play on COMPASSION – on the desire to be nice to “disadvantaged groups”.

    And as both establishment conservatives and business people seem to be allergic to thinking philosophically, the left has run rings round them, and got these evil (and they are evil) doctrines of smashing Freedom of Speech (and all other basic liberties) passed into law and policy.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the specific case of Scotland. It is indeed a long philosophical decline from Thomas Reid (Common Sense) and the rest of the Scottish Enlightenment. Going all the way back to Buchanan and other thinkers as far back as the 16th century – the contribution of Buchanan was to argue that people could remove a ruler or rulers if the ruler or rulers aggressed against them, it was Buchanan who James the First (the Sixth of Scotland) opposed, and who Sir Francis Bacon and his follower Thomas Hobbes also opposed. The idea that the people could remove a ruler or rulers for aggressing against them is found in Buchanan a century before it is found in the works of John Locke in England.

    People who talk about “David Hume” and the Scottish Enlightenment have got things reversed in their minds, as Mr Hume was the great CRITIC of reason (of the Scottish Enlightenment) he disputed the basic founding principles of the Scottish Enlightenment – both philosophical and political. Basically to David Hume the Scottish Enlightenment gets what used to be called “the nature of man” wrong – we are, according to Mr Hume, not free will moral agents, and, therefore, neither have rights against the state or any right of self government (Mr Hume admired the absolutism of the French monarchy – although he was only a few years old when Louis XIV died and so, PERHAPS, had no clear idea what a terrible tyranny France had been under “The Sun King”). There is, to Mr Hume, no real moral reason “reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions”, the Scottish Enlightenment (like so many moral philosophers for thousands of years – Aristotle and so on) held that the role of moral reason was to resist the passions, not to be a slave to them, Mr Hume turned this on its head. And “you can not get an ought from an is” – so, according to Mr Hume, when human beings (well he denies that humans are beings – but leave that aside) say “this IS wrong so I OUGHT not to do it” we are wrong.

    Remember reason “ought to be” a slave of the passions – which would suggest that people (or human shaped creatures) should rob, rape, murder – and so on, just using reason in an instrumental way (to help us get away with our aggressions against others).

    Still – back to Scotland….

    Economic liberty has been on the decline in Scotland since, perhaps, the 1840s – the introduction of the Poor Law, unlike England most of Scotland did not have one before the Act of 1845. Although it may be the case that taxation was at its low point in Scotland (as a proportion of the economy) before the Act of Union in 1707 – but it is very hard to know for sure as figures for the size of the economy (and so on) are largely a matter of guesswork for that far back. Certainly it has been down hill since the 1870s – as it has been in England (in terms of the size of the state, relative to the size of the economy, increasing – and in terms of regulations).

    As for “the Kirk” – in terms of local people choosing their minister of religion (for, contrary to what CJS, whoever he really is, implies, clergymen in Scotland were under the control of local people in Scotland) – that ended in Scotland in 1712 with a top-down system of religious control over the local “Kirk” being established (far more rigid than with the Church of England – where local landowners often had a big say in who the local Vicar or Rector was).

    The divide between Presbyterians in Scotland and in Ireland started in 1712 – as the Irish Presbyterians kept the system of local selection of the minister. This led to the “Scots Irish” or “Ulster Scots” independent culture (rather different from Scotland) which led to so called “Redneck” culture in the United States – the people who did most of the fighting in the American War of Independence and in all later American wars. It is a mark of how bad America has become that the people who did the fighting that created it (the so called “Red Necks”) and have given their blood for America in war after war, are now hated and despised.

    Anyway Freedom of Speech only started to come under attack in Scotland recent decades – the same time it came under attack in England and all other Western countries.

    The rise of the so called “Hate Speech” doctrine – i.e. the doctrine that Freedom of Speech does not apply to speech the left does not agree with.

  • Paul Marks

    “Paul – surely you are not saying that Irish Protestants created the United States”.

    It was NOT just them – but if you look who actually did the killing that created America, whether it be the killing of British soldiers, or Indians, or Mexicans, or whoever, people of Irish Protestant ancestry are wildly over represented. They also did a great deal of the fighting on BOTH sides of the Civil War.

    The idea that local people should choose their minister of religion (the central thing in the lives of most people for most of history) and, by extension, their county sheriff and so on, and NOT be ruled from above (from some distant city) – then again this is from the Irish Protestants, the so called “Red Necks” although people from many nations (starting with settlers from England and Scotland who left the east coast and went into the woods with the “Rednecks” and became “Rednecks” themselves) were assimilated into this culture.

    “Where are you going?”

    “I am off to arrest Mr …. for stealing cattle”.

    “But he has many armed men, and powerful friends in the capital, and you are on your own”.

    “I was never much good at counting – I will just put a bullet in his head and play it from there”.

    I doubt the Chief Minister of Scotland, or whoever, saying that a man can not say what he wants to say, and can not carry a firearm, would get a gentle response from such a “Redneck”.

    “Battle of Athens” (Tennessee) and all that.

    The “Battle of Athens” (Tennessee – 1946) was something that Buchanan, or Thomas Reid or Noah Porter and James McCosh (the leading philosophers of the United States in the 19th century) would have supported – Thomas Hobbes and David Hume would not.

    Thomas Hobbes and David Hume would not have supported it any more than Jeremy Bentham supported the Duke of Wellington fighting a duel over a point of honour.

    “Nothing is worth dying for” is the real philosophy of Hobbes, Hume and Bentham – which is the philosophical position of slaves.

  • Aetius

    Paul removing a ruler who transgresses against their rights is mentioned in the Declaration of Arbroath in 1328, long before Buchanan or the Scottish Enlightenment:

    But if he should cease from these beginnings, wishing to give us or our kingdom to the English or the king of the English, we would immediately take steps to drive him out as the enemy and the subverter of his own rights and ours, and install another King who would make good our defence. Because, while a hundred of us remain alive, we will not submit in the slightest measure, to the domination of the English. We do not fight for honour, riches, or glory, but solely for freedom which no true man gives up but with his life.

  • Bill F

    This incident is an excellent example of “the devil makes work for idle hands”. Like so much of the Scottish agenda these days. And yes, we can fairly blame England for it, for resisting and preventing the Scots being fully responsible for themselves.

  • Mr Ed

    rhoda k

    Am I to believe that the Scottish government can pass any law no matter how repressive or oppressive and that the government and judicial system of the UK as a whole has no way to impose any limit?

    The answer is a nuanced ‘yes’, in that the Scottish Parliament has devolved powers to legislate on most areas of criminal law and (as per the Acts of Union 1707) Scots criminal law is (almost) entirely a matter for the Scottish courts, there is no right of appeal against the findings of the Scottish courts in criminal law to the United Kingdom Supreme Court, except (and this is an innovation that came with the Supreme Court) where there are ‘human rights’ issues at stake. So if you are convicted of some crime under Scots law, your appeal stops before Berwick except in exceptional circumstances or an appeal to Strasbourg (the European Court of Human Rights), which can issue opinions on the law.

    If the Scottish Parliament has passed a law that is outwith its competence under the Scotland Act 1998, then that act can be declared void by the courts, and the UK government can go direct to the UK’s Supreme Court to ask for a ruling on whether an Act of the Scottish Parliament is lawful and get it struck down. Similarly if an Act of the Scottish Parliament offends against Human Rights law, the Scottish courts and ultimately the UK’s Supreme Court can declare it invalid.

    And Human Rights law does not have red lines in the way that the US Constitution has, it has, generally, ‘balancing exercises’, e.g. finding a ‘balance’ between the right of Lefties to protest and the right of, say, ‘Red Sea Pedestrians’ to go about their lives unmolested by those exercising the right to assemble and association and of expression. Hence deporting a foreign convicted rapist was held to be a breach of his right to a family life, so unlawful.

    And there is no check on simple tyranny as the Covid terror showed, and it is the same in England.

  • Kirk

    It strikes me that in order to get rid of the “Red Guard Impulse”, you have to first have them take over, become outrageous, and then when everyone is good and tired of their BS, allow nature to take its course.

    You don’t get rid of them with sweet reason. And, they don’t seem to learn very quickly, or very well. If you go back and look at it, where did most of Mao’s Red Guards wind up? Running things, when the Chinese chose to liberalize. They morphed into yuppies so easily that it wasn’t funny, just like most of the French Revolutionaries were sycophantic toads to Napoleon and the later French monarchy iterations. Then, the Republic…

    Common thread, here? They’re all mindless little control freaks, following the cause du jour. They’re loyal to whatever gets them ahead, and whatever gives them power. Watch what happens when the body politic moves on to the next big thing, and how they’ll turn on the LGBTWTFBBQ types with an alacrity and viciousness that will quite make your head spin. They’ll likely be throwing gays off rooftops in Edinburgh when it’s over, in the name of doing away with pedos…

    I’ve a deep reservoir of contempt for these people. They’re mentally ill, the majority of them, and the ones who aren’t just aren’t all that bright. We’re cursed, I’m afraid, with the sad fact that higher intellectual capacity comes right along with a whole host of psychological problems. Back in the day when hard physical labor was the big requirement for the majority, that did not necessarily matter. Once we started transitioning to more of a “thought-worker” situation in our society, this tendency towards madness has become a big problem.

    I don’t think that most people appreciate quite how much of modern society rests on the efforts of these autistic savant types, the obsessive-compulsives like Brunnell, who was likely on the spectrum. As we progress towards the future, this crap is something we need to adapt to, and start pulling these idiots back from the edge, before they drag us over as well.

    This crap in Scotland is typical; they have decided, the activist LGBTWTFBBQ types, that they’re oppressed and abused. Well, they likely are, and that’s down to the normal reaction for pack- and band-oriented species to direct negative attention towards the aberrant and “odd”. You don’t conform? You act weird? You suffer the consequences, just like the “odd” wolf or the “odd” chimp does. Chickens do this crap, all the time; it’s a feature, not a bug. The fact that the LGBTWTFBBQ types can’t figure this out, and demand not only acceptance, but to enforce their aberrations on the rest of the pack structure? It’s a clear sign of delusional narcissism. You don’t fit in? Sadly, the problem is yours, and nobody else’s. This insane drive for excessive forced “tolerance” is killing our civilization, and it will stop once we run up against the end of the rope.

    I’ve never, ever fit in. I’m good with that; I’ve known I’m “neurodivergent” since about the first time I started interacting with the rest of you apes. I’m also self-aware enough to realize that I’m in the minority, and that me trying to force the rest of you to comply with my unique set of abnormalities is a non-starter. Apparently, that bit of wisdom is something that the activist types can’t quite wrap their warped little minds around, and they’re going to keep pushing, pushing, pushing until the “cis-gender normies” get good and tired of it, then start pushing back.

    Given that most of the LGBTWTFBBQ persuasion are fairly disturbed and unstable, I don’t think they’re going to be too bloody successful at any real resistance when the tide starts flowing back the other direction. Most are going to drown, and the rest are going to be left in tidal pools, flopping around as the water dries away…

    And, of course, the enablers for all this? They’ll be leading the charge to “return to normal”, seeking out what they see as their “natural level”, in charge of it all. Watch. It’ll be quite like how all those French Revolutionaries turned their coats from Jacobin Republican to Vive L’Empereur!!! overnight, only to abandon Napoleon for the House of Bourbon…

    The real assholes here are the ones who ride the popular enthusiasms of the moment, and those are the sort we really ought to drive out of public office, if not actually cull from the gene pool. Nothing vicious, mind you… Just some careful excisions of whatever common genes they all share, if we can find some, or perhaps just the same sort of sterilization they enforced when their enthusiasms ran towards eugenics…

  • Aetius

    Kirk, you have missed the point. The drivers of the Hate Crime Act are not LGBT etc people or ethnic minorities as such, but Frankfurt School Marxists. It is not being pursued in good faith to aid minorities, but to undermine our civilization. Eg Queer theory is not about helping gays, but about breaking down necessary distinctions, eg between children and adults.

  • Paul Marks

    Aetius – quite correct, the right to resist tyrants (i.e. rulers, be it one ruler or a group of rulers) is ancient mentioned in many famous declarations and statements of rights, most certainly including the Declaration of Arbroath .

    I was pointing to the Scottish Enlightenment – which was set off not by the terrible (and it was terrible) killing of student (who was found guilty by a jury – the same sort of ordinary people who choose local ministers of religion in those days – indeed up to 1712 when the Church of Scotland became a centralised top-down body – leading to breakaway churches later on) – but by the humanist scholar George Buchanan many years before.

    Aetius – you are also correct that it is NOT homosexuals, or women, or racial minorities who are to blame for the censorship – it is Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” or “Woke” Marxists who are USING them.

    Women, homosexuals and members of minority races have been VICTIMS of the Marxist “Woke” censorship if they take a step out of line – including a colleague of mine (who is black).

    As soon as a member of a supposed “victim group” commits the terrible “crime” of saying something conservative they are attacked – including (perhaps the most disgusting aspect of this) by some people inside the Conservative Party. Some people – a minority of the Conservative Party, but people who have got themselves into important positions.

  • Paul Marks

    As I have mentioned the first great figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, George Buchanan (all the way back in the 1500s – the 16th century) whose works were burned in Oxford and elsewhere, I should also mention the last great figure.

    Although the “Scottish Philosophy” of “Common Sense” (perhaps a poor choice of term by Thomas Reid – “ordinary reason” might have been better) carried on in the United States till the 1890s (the rise of the Pragmatists in philosophy and the Progressives in politics) with such figures as Noah Porter and James McCosh (McCosh was from Scotland), perhaps the last great figure in Scotland was the Rev. Thomas Chalmers – of the Free Church of Scotland, who organised voluntary poor relief in Glasgow in the early 19th century.

    With the Scottish Poor Law Act of 1845 and the take over of local church schools in Scotland (by the state – although, then, a Christian state) in 1872, the Scottish tradition of liberty was basically at an end, it was still (by modern standards) a very free society – but it was no longer more free than England.

    There were still features of Scots Law that were superior to England – for example a fixed number of days being held “on remand” in prison before someone had to be brought to trial, and no “plea bargaining”.

    But the good features of Scots Law have been undermined by the regime in power since “Devolution”, Scottish education (in some ways it used to be superior to English education) has also been undermined.

    It is a measure of the fanatical strength of the secular religion (and it is a secular religion) of “Social Reform” in the United Kingdom – that very few people say the blindingly obvious, namely that “Devolution” has been a disaster, that it has done great harm.

    One is not allowed to say that a major “Reform” has done harm – that would be against the religion of “Social Reform” which has had the United Kingdom in its grip since (at least) the 1870s.

  • Snorri Godhi


    [The Hate Crime Act] is not being pursued in good faith to aid minorities, but to undermine our civilization. Eg Queer theory is not about helping gays, but about breaking down necessary distinctions, eg between children and adults.

    I’ll go for a weaker claim: the Hate Crime Act and similar censorship do not, and will not, result in better conditions for minorities, but in more oppression for the middle & working classes.

    I believe that evidence for my claim is much easier to find than evidence for Aetius’ claim. In addition to which, the truth or falsity of my claim is a more practically relevant issue than the truth or falsity of Aetius’ claim.

  • Steven R

    Snorri Godhi:

    I’ll go for a weaker claim: the Hate Crime Act and similar censorship do not, and will not, result in better conditions for minorities, but in more oppression for the middle & working classes.

    It’s by design. When the censorship doesn’t alleviate the poor oppressed whoever, that doesn’t mean that censorship doesn’t work, it just means we need more and stricter censorship to make it work. Rinse and repeat. Our betters don’t care in the least about the cause du jour, just about maintaining power and if destroying the entire West and all of its values is the cost, so be it. They would rather rule over ashes than not be in command. And if Madame Guillotine should be reintroduced, so long as it’s the next generation that ends up getting haircuts what do those in charge today care?

  • It’s by design.

    Agreed, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  • Alex

    BillF opined:

    This incident is an excellent example of “the devil makes work for idle hands”. Like so much of the Scottish agenda these days. And yes, we can fairly blame England for it, for resisting and preventing the Scots being fully responsible for themselves.

    In what way did England prevent the Scots from being fully responsible for themselves? The “Better Together” campaigns were championed by Scots, Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, etc. Despite the fact that Scottish independence would have significant effects on England, the English did not have any say in the referendum.

    It’s quite extraordinary the idea that the English have any say over Scotland. It’s really quite the opposite, Scottish constituencies are smaller than UK ones with the Western Isles being the smallest by far, and can’t be merged with other constituencies due to specific protections in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act. A voter in that constituency has more than 5 times the voting power of a voter in the constituency I live in.

    Much of the utter rubbish passed by parliament in recent decades has been because of Scottish MPs.

  • A voter in that constituency has more than 5 times the voting power of a voter in the constituency I live in.

    Which really is intolerable.

  • Fraser Orr

    A voter in that constituency has more than 5 times the voting power of a voter in the constituency I live in.

    FWIW, it is worth remembering that five times zero is still zero.

  • Alex

    I don’t think that’s a useful observation Fraser.

    A parliamentary democracy rests on the idea of one person, one vote and the election of a member of parliament for that constituency. If you have two constituencies where one is >100,000 and the other is just 20,000 yet they both have one MP, the interests of the smaller constituency are over-represented in parliament. When you consider that there is already a bias in parliament from the personal views of the MPs, and that we do not select our candidates in open primaries but instead they are parachuted in by metropolitan political elites then the situation becomes worse and worse.

    Democracy may be a fiction, but it’s a useful fiction. We all prefer to live in a world where disputes are resolved through diplomacy and discussion rather than warfare. This is maintained by the idea that you can raise your grievances with your elected representative. There are already millions of voters who feel so completely disconnected with the system that they no longer vote. Turnout has been abysmal for years, but getting worse and worse at each election. At what point do people just abandon the system entirely? I think we will find out quite soon. Then glib comments about the lack of actual ability to change things with your vote will seem considerably less amusing.

  • Fraser Orr

    the interests of the smaller constituency are over-represented in parliament.

    In what sense are the interests of either constituency represented in parliament? Perhaps to keep this post office open, or name that road, but the issues of any non trivial matter are decided by the central party — the very ones that you, rightly, complain parachute in the candidates.

    Moreover, let’s say you have two constituencies A and B, and two parties P1 and P2. In consituency A P1 and P2 both get almost the same number of votes, but P1 wins, and in B P1 gets 70% of the vote and P2 30%. Overall P2 gets 40% of the vote and no representation. Extend that out over 650 constituencies and you get parties with considerable support and almost zero power. How is that any different?

    I feel these things are a distraction. Arguing over the relative fairness of some small aspect of a system that is, in itself, a bad system, like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog.

    I’m sure I hear a Churchill quote coming, but I don’t agree. There is a better system than democracy, and we used to have it. It is called freedom — where the vast majority of decisions are private or local, and the democratically elected government can’t get up to too much mischief because their very limited powers don’t have much effect on your day to day life.

    Democracy may be a fiction, but it’s a useful fiction. We all prefer to live in a world where disputes are resolved through diplomacy and discussion rather than warfare.

    Sure we do, but democracy is not the way in which disputes get resolved. They are resolved by the people with real power, and democracy is a bit of kabuki theatre to give it the veneer of legitimacy. When P1 wants to tax you at 50% and P2 wants to tax you at 60%, then voting for P1 is not at all a legitimization of the government’s right to eviscerate your bank account.

    Why, after all, does the monarchy (or the priesthood) wear all those fancy robes and live in fancy palaces? A little rational thought and a sensible person would recognize the idea they represent as all bullshit, but decorate it in some Christmas ornaments, mix in spectacular buildings and heart rousing music and the senses are stimulated enough to suspend all that rational thought. It is a patina of legitimacy so that you don’t notice them picking your pocket.

    Democracy is, as someone said, a brake not a steering wheel, and so it is to some degree useful for preventing us from spiraling into tyranny. Though I will say I’m not even sure of that. I think the rise of social media has led to such extreme polarization that even that benefit is looking pretty shaky. After all, here in the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” one party is using the legal system to try to utterly destroy their political opposition and his family to prevent him from winning an election. And half the voters, and a considerable part of the legal establishment, think that is a damn good idea.

  • Paul Marks

    The democratically elected Scottish government has greatly harmed Scots Law and Scottish education.

    As for America – elections are increasingly rigged via Democrat control not just of the education system and the media, but also of the casting and counting of votes in certain big cities.

    All the Founding Fathers were worried about Big City corruption – both of elections and, yes Frasor Orr, of the courts.

    This is because they had all read Aristotle (the lecture notes that we call “The Politics”) and so knew that a polity of elections worked when the people in it were mostly rural or lived in small towns and were independent farmers or craftsmen (or independent merchants – although Aristotle did not like merchants due to flaws in his understanding of economics) – but did NOT work if power was in the hands of an urban mob in a big city or big cities. The latter leading naturally to massive corruption.

    Aristotle did not need the example of Late Republic Rome to know this – indeed he wrote a century before.

    The analogy that trying to deal with poverty by giving people tax money or free services is like pouring liquid into a container with no bottom on it, is also from Aristotle. Again all the Founding Fathers knew it well.

  • Paul Marks

    Most American States used to have a Senate dominated by the rural areas and small towns – for the express purpose of preventing domination by the big cities – but the Supreme Court ruined State Senates back in the 1960s, in one of its many blatantly unconstitutional judgements.

  • GregWA

    What if we could balance power between rural and urban areas?

    Don’t look at a red/blue map of the US States, look at the red/blue map of the Counties. I suspect most everyone here knows the story these maps tell about urban vs rural political leanings, so on to my modest suggestion: give the rural counties one US Senator and the urban counties one Senator.

    How to decide what a county is, rural or urban? Easy: rank order the counties by population, at the point in the list where half the population is on one side and half on the other, you have your dividing line. No more letting the Seattle’s of the world dominate their State.

    The US Senate would immediately be more conservative as half the Senators would be “rural” and a few of the urban ones would be conservative (Texas, Florida, Wyoming, and a few others). None of the rural Senators would be leftists.

    CA is an exception, an anomaly, as it is in most ways. The best plan there is Lex Luther’s, a couple of well placed nukes to trigger the San Andreas!

    I’m kidding here of course! There are much better places to use nukes! 🙂

  • Snorri Godhi

    Steven R (March 22, 2024 at 3:41 pm):

    It’s by design.

    I am a bit late to the party, but let me remark that Steven (and Perry) seem to grossly under-estimate the brain damage that the xxi century Western diet can inflict.

  • Paul Marks

    GregWA – I have already pointed out that rural areas used to have a counter balance power to – via State Senates.

    This did not go away by accident – State Senates were deliberately ruined by Supreme Court in the 1960s – who insisted (in one of their many dishonest judgements) that State Senates be elected by population – thus destroying the point of them. And it clearly was by design.

    As for making the United States (Federal) Senate more representative of rural areas – no chance, if anything it is going to get worse (if D.C. and Porto Rico are made States – and anyone who objects will have “racist” screamed at them).

    But it is all too late anyway.

    The monetary and fiscal decay has gone too far – a massive breakdown is inevitable.

    Still – after the breakdown perhaps (perhaps) whatever new government that is created will be more limited.

    Get rid of he words “general welfare” and “regulate interstate commerce” – and insist that the only legal tender can be gold or silver, contracts to specify whether they are in gold or silver – and no contract violation by the government.

    Job done.

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