Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laissez-Fairre: the Economics of Individual Sovereignty

Laissez-Fairre: the Economics of Individual Sovereignty

The political accommodation of majority opinion is called democracy. The Constitution was established as a federal democratic republic form of government. This is fundamentally different from a democracy: it is removed from the tyranny of populist majority votes that cause injustices, incurred when a simple majority of votes determine the welfare and status of the losing side.

Federal means "A union of states under a central government distinct from the individual governments of the separate states;" [the antonym is "nationalism," where the government is centralized]

Democratic means "Characterized by the principle of political or social equality for all;" [but it cannot mean creating economic equalization, because those from whom capital is taken to be given to others in an attempt to balance the economics scales will be politically violated; those who recieve the alms will learn it can be expected to continue]

Republic means "A state or nation in which the supreme power rests in all the citizens entitled to vote but is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them and who are responsible to them." [definitions found at]

What that definition of republic leaves out is that democratic republicanism counters the tyranny found in "democracy by simple majority." Democracy that is direct, that is not filtered through the elected representatives of republicanism, would quickly become a totalitarianism by populism; in other words, which ever side, right or wrong, moral or immoral, had the most votes would determine the course of law. We would become a nation of despots.

This direct democracy is derived from the Greek "popular government" existing in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC, notably Athens. "In this form, there were no defined human rights or legal restraints upon the actions of assembly, making it the first instance of 'illiberal democracy.' An illiberal democracy is a governing system in which although fairly free elections take place, citizens are cut off from real power due to the lack of civil liberties." Wikipedia

"Civil liberties" is a misnomer, when "unlaienable liberties" is the literal description. The phrase "civil liberties" as used in the United States has always had the hollow ring for me of describing something other than "human rights." The rest of the world does not use "civil rights." The United Nations adopted the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," in 1948. "Human Rights Watch" is the name of an organization dedicated to "defending human rights nationwide." "European Convention on Human Rights (4 Nov 1950) and all Protocols" is obviously older than the American concept of "civil rights," as instituted in the attempts to gain for black Americans the unalienable and equal liberties not denied to white Americans.

Of course, the American phrase "civil liberties" absolutely means the same thing as "human rights," but I say it is a misnomer because it deflects the idea that all "human" rights are "individual" rights as determined by "individual sovereignty."

This concept of individual sovereignty is very often challeged by those who don't understand that it is derived from the Enlightenment idea of "common sovereignty."

John Locke and others made the case that "The government has no sovereignty of its own--it exists to serve the people."

go to Laissez-faire and Individual Sovereignty cont.

Obama is Jimmy Carter Redux

condensed from Rick Richman American Thinker

Barack Obama is taking America down a path modeled by Jimmy Carter, and threatens to be as bad a president as his trailblazer. A unlikely guide unwittingly will help make the case.

On November 3, 1976, the day after Jimmy Carter's election, the New York Times ran a profile explaining his remarkable political victory -- how a one-term governor from Georgia, with no significant record, began planning his presidential campaign in the second year of his one-and-only four-year term, and then went on to secure the nomination from more experienced rivals and defeat a sitting president:

"He believed passionately that if he could talk to enough voters about a "Government as good as the American people," he could win. . .
"Words, skillfully used, could play dual roles for him. Liberals came to conceive of him as one of their own. Conservatives responded to him sympathetically as well. Blacks in Harlem voiced their support. Whites in Mississippi got behind him. . . .
[T]he theme was always visible: a government as good as the people. It was voiced a hundred different ways, but the impact on his listeners was constant.
Americans, he said, were entitled to decent, compassionate, honest, competent government because Americans are decent, compassionate, honest and competent."

In other words: Jimmy Carter won by constantly telling Americans that he was the one they were waiting for.

Carter was certified as the One in the closing benediction at the 1976 Democratic convention, given by no less a figure than the father of Martin Luther King, Jr. Televised on all three networks (the entire visual media at the time), the benediction heralded Jimmy Carter as someone sent to redeem the country: "Surely the Lord sent Jimmy Carter to come on out and bring America back where she belongs."

Thirty-two years later, no one associates Jimmy Carter with Roosevelt or Kennedy, or with "governing." Few people believe the Lord sent him, or that he brought America back where she belonged.

What were we thinking when we elected him? The answer is: some of the same things we are thinking now."

Immortality Question Given Wrong Philosophical Answer

In Talking Philosophy - The Philosophers' Magazine Blog, (posted yesterday, October 21st, by Jeff Mason,) the question is asked about why humans search for the answer to immortality. Mason goes through the various civilization's searches, from the Egyptians to the Greeks to Christians.

But when all is said and done, he answers very little about the spiritual connection men have inside them to what is commonly called our souls. The soul is called into question and denied by scientific naturalists. It does not sound as if Mason fits that bill.

But his final answer is this: "The question of the existence or non-existence of an immortal soul is a practical metaphysical question. We cannot know the answer, but we have to take a stand. How we answer it says something about our ultimate values, our conception of the good life for human beings, the art of living well and the meaning of death."

Where Mason is wrong is that it becomes a metaphysical question only after the epistemological questions have been answered. For the majority of people this is done informally, as they question what and why the soul might be, and how and why it might be transcendental, surviving past physical death, or how it might have been "implanted" at the moment of conception.

People who go through the crisis of questioning their faith in God and the afterlife do have a serious metaphysical problem to contend with. But the problem will not be solved by answering a question of metaphysics. Metaphysics is the answer; the questions and the validations come from epistemology. Theology is epistemology applied to the spiritual side of metaphysics. Theology is supposed to answer those questions and lay a groundwork of metaphysics for the faithful and the believers.

Epistemology is the road traveled by Pilgrim in his "Progress"; metaphysics is the destination at which he arrived. Mason gets a "D" for his answer.

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