Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oath Breakers

Should murder be legalized? What about speeding, reckless driving, arson, rape or gambling? No, you say? As far as I know, all of these things are legal as far as the federal government is concerned - that is to say that their regulation or prohibition is a state matter.

Ron Paul's support for "legalizing" drugs would legalize them in the same way that murder is now legal. Why should drugs be any different from murder or speeding? If a group of farmers decides to start growing opium poppies and open up an opium den associated with the farm, how is this a federal matter?

The late Congressman Larry McDonald said that he had several questions he asked himself before voting on - or maybe even reading - a bill:

(1) Is it constitutional?
(2) Can we afford it?
(3) Is it a good idea?

If a bill fails the first test you needn't proceed any further. It doesn't matter how great an idea it is if it isn't constitutional.

Government officials routinely perjure themselves by voting for, signing or upholding unconstitutional bills. Violating an oath is still perjury even if you think you have a good reason. St. Thomas Aquinas says that even if you swear to commit an evil act - e.g. murder someone - you cannot morally perform the act, but you are still a perjurer. Perjury has become so commonplace that nobody thinks anything about it.

A politician who honors his oath of office is so rare that Ron Paul is unique. There may be others, but I don't know who they are. There are quite a few who follow the constitution when it doesn't matter, but when the fat's to the fire, they will vote however they are supposed to. Thirty or so years ago, I was at a rally, and G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, a congressman from Mississippi was speaking about something long forgotten. One thing he said that hasn't been forgotten was that politicians with ratings in the 70s or 80s by the Americans For Constitutional Action are "conservative when it doesn't matter."

Most people who constantly squawk about obeying the constitution want to make exceptions in their own cases or for other "good reasons." One constantly recurring and popular violation is the awarding of gold medals to various people in a thinly veiled feel-good vote-buying scheme.

Ron Paul is sometimes portrayed as an ogre for opposing these bills. In 1997 there was a bill to award a medal to Mother Teresa, which he opposed.

From the Congressional Record, U.S. House of Representatives, May 20, 1997.
RON PAUL: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H. R. 1650. At the same time, I rise in total support of, and with complete respect for, the work of Mother Teresa, the Missionaries of Charity organization, and each of Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian efforts. I oppose the Gold Medal for Mother Teresa Act because appropriating $30,000 of taxpayer money is neither constitutional nor, in the spirit of Mother Teresa who dedicated her entire life to voluntary, charitable work, particularly humanitarian.
Because of my continuing and uncompromising opposition to appropriations not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, several of my colleagues found it amusing to question me personally as to whether, on this issue, I would maintain my resolve and commitment of the Constitution — a Constitution which, only months ago, each Member of Congress swore to uphold. In each of these instances, I offered to do a little more than uphold my constitutional oath.
In fact, as a means of demonstrating my personal regard and enthusiasm for the work of Mother Teresa, I invited each of my colleagues to match my private, personal contribution of $100 which, if accepted by the 435 Members of the House of Representatives, would more than satisfy the $30,000 cost necessary to mint and award a gold medal to the well-deserving Mother Teresa. To me, it seemed a particularly good opportunity to demonstrate one's genuine convictions by spending one's own money rather than that of the taxpayers who remain free to contribute, at their own discretion, to the work of Mother Teresa, and have consistently done so. For the record, not a single Representative who solicited my support for spending taxpayer's money, was willing to contribute their own money to demonstrate the courage of their so-called convictions and generosity.
It is, of course, very easy to be generous with other people’s money.
In a similar vein, there is a famous incident recounted here between Davy Crockett and a constituent named Horatio Bunce, in which Bunce reprimands Crockett for appropriating tax money in a charitable cause. Crockett did have the integrity to admit that Bunce was right and pledged to not do it again.

It is easy to see why politicians have no regard for their oath of office when nothing happens to them for violating it and one who holds it sacred is called a "kook" for honoring it. Anybody who claims they want a constitutionalist for president has no options other than Ron Paul. He is the only one who is bound by the dictates of the constitution and has a 24 year record to substantiate what he claims.

The record of all others who have a voting record contradicts any claim they make of honoring their oath to uphold the constitution. We have a system of men, not laws. No system of law is possible when it can be disregarded by those sworn to uphold it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not Enough Government

Is there any problem for which more government is not the solution? I have noticed signs appearing everywhere warning that chubbiness is not a cute attribute in children. I think these are erected by some private group, but I have no doubt that even if this is a private "educational" campaign, pretty soon it's going to become my responsibility to remedy the "problem" or "crisis" of childhood chubbiness. After all, "we" can't have children getting fat because we're all responsible for everybody else's health.

With the passage of socialized medical care we now have an excuse to horn in on everybody's behavior. Every malady - real or imagined - becomes a collective problem, or "challenge" as they like to say nowadays.

Are you a dope addict or a drunk who has ruined your health with intemperate behavior? Don't worry, we're all responsible for your expenses and treatment. Picked up a venereal disease down at the waterfront bar? That's everybody's responsibility too, and not only is treatment a collective obligation, but we must have "education" to teach people how to avoid catching something that has been known about for thousands of years.

Knowing the way government programs always develop mission creep, pretty soon we're going to have to pay for psychological counseling for women whose looks are deteriorating or guys that are going bald. Maybe men can be issued a voucher for free treatments at the Hair Club For Men and women can get a subsidized membership in Curves. This sounds far fetched now, but pretty soon it will be a "right."

Not to suggest any pernicious ideas, but why is schooling free until you get to college at which time you have to start paying for it? I realize that no education takes place in most of these schools, but since that's the supposed reason for their existence, why should it stop at grade 12? Maybe you want to get a doctorate in Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame - shouldn't your freedom from want (one of FDRs Four Freedoms) allow you to study or "explore" this at tax-victim expense?

Whenever a new program is proposed or introduced and has the effect that the opponents predicted, the reply is always that things would be much worse if said program had not been instituted. When sex education was imposed in spite of vigorous objections, it ended up having the results that the nay-sayers predicted, but the answer from the educrats was that things would have been much worse without it.

The same was true of the financial disaster. The crash wasn't caused by know-nothings monkeying around with the economy - no-  total ruin was averted by the prudent measures taken by omnicompetent bureaucrats to right the mistakes of private parties.

The government and the news organizations are in a meretricious relationship, and it never fails that we are instructed in the proper interpretation of events. Several years ago, when the government was trying to gin up AIDS hysteria, Magic Johnson became a vehicle to use in the effort. There were pronouncements that "Now we know that anybody can get AIDS."  Probably just about everybody already knew that without being told.
The annual flu scare is starting now so you had better rush out and get a flu shot because the CDC says that you should.

With the aforementioned passage of socialized medicine the government now has an excuse to meddle in almost every conceivable activity. Diet is the most obvious area open for control since everybody has to stay healthy so we don't cause any unnecessary expenses, but what about auto maintenance? If you're driving around with bald tires or defective brakes you might wreck or cause someone else to - better have some mandatory auto inspections.

Perhaps you have unrecognized health hazards at your house - dirty air filters on your HVAC system, pathogens lurking in your carpet, bugs, rats, moldy shower curtain, combustible materials near an ignition source, improperly secured swimming pool, over-temp refrigerator, cat walking on counter tops, ad infinitum.

At the grocery, maybe they can program the scanner to calculate the fat, salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine content of the items scanned and forbid the sale at a certain aggregate. You could be required to enter the number of people you were buying for so the machine could compensate - crazy, I know, but you can never out-crazy the government. Putting government in charge of medical services really does give it an all purpose excuse to forbid or mandate just about anything. It won't happen immediately, but it won't be at snail's pace either. When you go in for any reason, the "medical professional" (now a government agent) will be able to perform a drug test to see if you're endangering your health. Maybe every office can have a police precinct to haul violators to jail. It's all our business now. With government control of health, there is absolutely nothing that is none of its business. As the saying goes, "He that pays the piper calls the tune."

This health bill is going to be found to have all kinds of "penumbras" and "emanations" associated with it.
It really turns the keys to the Temple over to government.

Forty years ago, who would have thought that in just a few years the government would be telling you what kind of windows to put in your house, or what the picket spacing should be on your railings, the acceptable measurements for the rise and run of stairs, flow rates for toilets and shower heads, the required surface area of handrails, what kind of light bulbs are allowed, acceptable door widths, counter heights, switch heights and on and on? Some places prescribe the maximum allowable height for grass.

There is no subject about which government doesn't judge its competence superior to all others. This would be crazy even if the smartest people went into government employment, but they don't. Whenever there is a disaster of some kind there will be the usual "investigation" and the findings are always going to be a "failure" of some private person or entity.  It's never going to be found that there was too much regulation or that the existing regulations contributed to the problem.

Some children are smarter than others, at least that's the way it was when I was in school, but now it's believed that if we just have the right teachers, books, audio visual aids, class size, uniforms, school year length, metal detectors, hall marshals and on and on, we can get equal outcomes. It is never going to be admitted that some people are race horses, some plow mules, some mustangs and some jackasses.

This is because the jackasses are in charge.