Saturday, March 9, 2013

"We will either revamp our institutions, or we will become Argentina."


From a very long essay on a "Constitutional Moment" - we are in one. We face problems remarkably similar to our young nation after the Revolutionary War. Most prominent of those is debt, but the writer calls for institutional reform. That may only happen when institutions are near collapse.

"That danger is very real. While we like to tell ourselves that all our constitutional stories must have a happy ending, constitutional moments are easily missed. The fear is palpable in The Federalist: Publius’s essays resound with do-or-die, now-or-never admonition. The Founders rose to the occasion.We may not: our politics may be too pathological, our circumstances too dire, our spirit too soft to seize the moment. However, there is no reward in a “how-do-you-feel-about-the-future” thumb sucker."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

21. Bastiat ~ The Choice Before Us



Frederic Bastiat was a French economist and statesman. During and after the Revolution in 1848, he warned of the inevitable degeneration of socialism into communism in The LawPrevious Bastiat posts can be found here.

From The Law


This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:
  1. The few plunder the many.
  2. Everybody plunders everybody.
  3. Nobody plunders anybody.
We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder. The law can follow only one of these three. 

Limited legal plunder: This system prevailed when the right to vote was restricted. One would turn back to this system to prevent the invasion of socialism.

Universal legal plunder: We have been threatened with this system since the franchise was made universal. The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that was used by their predecessors when the vote was limited.
 
No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Filibuster, 8 hours in right now!

Rand Paul is making filibuster history:
"If there was an ounce of courage in this body I would be joined by many other Senators," Sen. Paul said. "Would you tolerate a Republican who said I like the first amendment, I don't plan to violate the first amendment, but I might," he asked rhetorically. He then turned the question around and asked if Republicans would tolerate that sort of vaguery with regard to the 2nd amendment.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

19. & 20. Bastiat ~ Legal Plunder Has Many Names & Socialism Is Legal Plunder



Frederic Bastiat was a French economist and statesman. During and after the Revolution in 1848, he warned of the inevitable degeneration of socialism into communism in The LawPrevious Bastiat posts can be found here.

From The Law


Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole — with their common aim of legal plunder — constitute socialism. 

Now, since under this definition socialism is a body of doctrine, what attack can be made against it other than a war of doctrine? If you find this socialistic doctrine to be false, absurd, and evil, then refute it. And the more false, the more absurd, and the more evil it is, the easier it will be to refute. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be no light task. 

***

Mr. de Montalembert has been accused of desiring to fight socialism by the use of brute force. He ought to be exonerated from this accusation, for he has plainly said: "The war that we must fight against socialism must be in harmony with law, honor, and justice." 

But why does not Mr. de Montalembert see that he has placed himself in a vicious circle? You would use the law to oppose socialism? But it is upon the law that socialism itself relies. Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help. 

To prevent this, you would exclude socialism from entering into the making of laws? You would prevent socialists from entering the Legislative Palace? You shall not succeed, I predict, so long as legal plunder continues to be the main business of the legislature. It is illogical — in fact, absurd — to assume otherwise.