Friday, September 11, 2009

Situational Constitutionalism

In recognition of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks today, I wrote in my Twitter feed and similarly on my facebook status:
Trampling on the protections provided by the Constitution is no way to honor the fallen.
While I intended it to reference those who are wont to say "9/11 changed everything" or some other pap to justify torture, wiretaps, indefinite detention without charge etc. initiated by the Bush administration and--for the most part--wholeheartedly continued by the Obama administration, it dawned on me that some may take it as some sort of backhanded slap at the health care reform plans currently festering in Congress. Well, it wasn't, but since we're on the subject...

I am sick and tired of the Left (I patently refuse to refer to people who work to reestablish the age-old power of the state over people's lives as "progressive") complaining about the unconstitutionality of Bush administration actions while simultaneously holding in contempt those of us who read Article 1,§ 8 of the Constitution and Amendments 9 and 10 of the Bill of Rights as limits upon government action. If the Necessary and Proper, General Welfare, and Commerce clauses are to be read so broadly as to nullify the major safeguards against tyranny (e.g., arbitary seizure and reallocation of wealth and property) enshrined in our Founding documents, then those documents cease to mean anything at all. Explicit directives from the document upon which all federal laws are (meant to be) built are not to be casually tossed aside because legislators or presidents purportedly mean/meant well.

The Left is just as guilty as the Right of situational constitutionalism--standing by the document when its suits their particular policy interests, but ignoring it when the unambiguous meaning of the text prohibits the excessive power the government needs to implement their preferred goals. Either the Constitution grants the power or it does not. If it does not, the government does not legitimately have that power, in spite of what they or anyone else thinks is the "right thing to do."

If you don't like it, change the Constitution. Short of that, simply ignoring the text to play Robin Hood (or Jack Bauer, for that matter) is sickening and ignominious hypocrisy.

Update: Further comment on the Millhiser piece I linked to above, here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Perhaps the Most Preposterous Thought Ever Printed in the New York Times

And that is saying something.

But, without further ado, I present to you the unfathomable Thomas Friedman:
There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China's leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down...Our one-party democracy is worse.

For some reason, when I think of China and green automobiles, I think of this:

'Benevolent' dictatorship/autocracy beats the deliberative process of democratic republics because, dammit, those people can get things done!

Just don't look at the man behind the curtain jailing, censoring, beating, and executing untold numbers of dissenters, choking-off less desirable political content on the internet, forcing abortions on families, and only allowing markets to flourish in certain geographic locations while so many people still live in the countryside without basic amenities those contemptible and inefficient free nations have had for, oh, about 100 years.

There aren't words in our language strong enough to describe the abject imbecility of this column.

H/T: John Tabin and Matt Welch

more on this by Will Wilkinson and Kenneth Anderson.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

We ought to ask kids to think critically about presidential rhetoric, instead of prodding them to burble appreciatively about his compassionate plans for everybody.

-Gene Healy, author of "Cult of the Presidency," in today's Washington Examiner

Mood Music (Tuesday)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Words Fail Me

I give you, the Snuggie Sutra.

H/T: Daily Dish

(I'll do a 'Mood Music Tuesday' tomorrow when everyone goes back to work.)