Rebel Yid on Twitter Rebel Yid on Facebook
Print This Post Print This Post

The Invisible Bubble

from Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal, A Dramatic Lesson About Political Actors

“Borgen” captures this: History is human. Political leaders are driven by personal imperatives every bit as much as—often more than—public ones.

It demonstrates, knowingly or not, that to be of the left in the Western political context is to operate in a broad, deep, richly populated liberal-world that rarely if ever is pierced by contrary thought. They are in a bubble they can’t see, even as they accuse others of living in bubbles. Birgitte sees herself as practical and pragmatic, and she is—within a broader context of absolute and unquestioned ideology.

It reminded me that as a general rule political parties and political actors do not change their minds based on evidence or argument. They have to be beaten. Only then can they rationalize change to themselves and their colleagues: “We keep losing!” Defeat is the only condition in which they can see the need for change. They have to be concussed into it.

HKO

The Left wins, not because they are right, but because they are more politically united.

Read the whole article.

Print This Post Print This Post

Restraint and Accountability

From The Atlantic, How American Politics Went Insane by Jonathan Rauch

The Founders knew all too well about chaos. It was the condition that brought them together in 1787 under the Articles of Confederation. The central government had too few powers and powers of the wrong kinds, so they gave it more powers, and also multiple power centers. The core idea of the Constitution was to restrain ambition and excess by forcing competing powers and factions to bargain and compromise.

The Framers worried about demagogic excess and populist caprice, so they created buffers and gatekeepers between voters and the government. Only one chamber, the House of Representatives, would be directly elected. A radical who wanted to get into the Senate would need to get past the state legislature, which selected senators; a usurper who wanted to seize the presidency would need to get past the Electoral College, a convocation of elders who chose the president; and so on.

They were visionaries, those men in Philadelphia, but they could not foresee everything, and they made a serious omission. Unlike the British parliamentary system, the Constitution makes no provision for holding politicians accountable to one another. A rogue member of Congress can’t be “fired” by his party leaders, as a member of Parliament can; a renegade president cannot be evicted in a vote of no confidence, as a British prime minister can. By and large, American politicians are independent operators, and they became even more independent when later reforms, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, neutered the Electoral College and established direct election to the Senate.

Rauch’s article is a thorough look at the development that brought us here. We seek a tough balance between the restraint of government and the ability to actually govern. These restraints are particularly onerous to a government that has sought to involve itself into every nook of our lives.

Print This Post Print This Post

Democracy and Liberty

From National Affairs George Will writes The Limits of Majority Rule.  It is an excellent summary of the history of the court as it has moved from judicial review to activism.  The success of Progressivism has hinged on the court shifting from upholding constitutional restraints on majority rule to an activist approach to uphold the majoritarianism- what many would call democracy- of Congress.

an excerpt:

The court did not say, but it might as well have said, that majority rule requires that courts only reluctantly and rarely engage in the judicial supervision of democracy, because majority rule is the essence of the American project. There are, however, two things wrong with this formulation.

First, it is utterly unrealistic and simpleminded to think that there is majority support for, or majority interest in, or even majority awareness of, even a tiny fraction of what governments do in “dishing out” advantages to economic factions. Does anyone really think that, when the Nashville city government dispenses favors for the taxi and limo cartel, it is acting on the will of a majority of the city’s residents? Can anyone actually believe that a majority of Louisianans give a tinker’s dam about who sells caskets or arranges flowers?

The second fallacy behind a passive judiciary deferring to majoritarian institutions is more fundamental. It is rooted in the fact that we know, because he said so, clearly and often, that Lincoln took his political bearings from the Declaration of Independence. We know that Lincoln believed, because the Declaration says so, that governments are instituted to secure our natural rights. These rights therefore pre-exist government. And they include the unenumerated ones affirmed in the Constitution’s Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

 

HKO

The Progressive Era can be summarized as the point in our history where democracy became more important than liberty.  The Founders and Framers clearly valued Liberty much more.

Congress is the instrument of Democracy, but the Court is the instrument of the Constitution which was designed to be a limit to majoritarianism. Democracy is important but without the limits of the Constitution and the proper supervision of the court Democracy breed demagogues and dangerous populism. The Framers understood that democracy and demagogue have the same root.

Print This Post Print This Post

Executive Unilaterialism

Yuval Levin wrote The Fractured Republic, a very intelligent look at our political condition and highly recommended. Below is as excerpt from his recent article in National Review, Hillary Is an Embodiment of the Left’s Disdain for Democracy:

First, contemporary liberalism has come to ardently champion executive unilateralism. In some respects, this is nothing new. Modern progressivism has always idolized the presidency. Progressivism, as Teddy Roosevelt approvingly put it more than a century ago, is “impatient of the impotence which springs from over-division of governmental powers, the impotence which makes it possible for local selfishness or for legal cunning, hired by wealthy special interests, to bring national activities to a deadlock.” It therefore “regards the executive power as the steward of the public welfare.”

This enthusiasm has waxed and waned, and it is always stronger when Democrats are in the White House. But in the Obama years, it has reached heights unprecedented since at least the early days of the New Deal. Voicing the same kind of impatience TR did with the slow pace of American government, President Obama has repeatedly asserted his power to act alone. “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need,” he told his cabinet in 2014. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” he continued, pledging to use the federal bureaucracy to advance his agenda on his own if he had to.

In justifying these actions, Obama claimed merely to be setting a policy on how the executive branch would exercise its prosecutorial discretion. But he repeatedly undercut this justification by referring to his impatience with Congress and describing his own steps as a substitute for legislation. “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of [my] acting where Congress has failed,” he said, “I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

In justifying these actions, Obama claimed merely to be setting a policy on how the executive branch would exercise its prosecutorial discretion. But he repeatedly undercut this justification by referring to his impatience with Congress and describing his own steps as a substitute for legislation. “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of [my] acting where Congress has failed,” he said, “I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Print This Post Print This Post

The High Cost of Slow Growth

Scott Grannis at Calafia Beach Pundit is one of my favorite economics bloggers. He does not post often, but when he does he produces some real gems.  His work includes illuminating graphs that supports his clear analysis.

An excerpt from This election should be about growth-  I encourage you to read to whole post.

If Donald Trump wants to win the election, his campaign ought to promote the facts to be found in the chart above. The economy’s ability to grow by a little more than 3% per year on average for over four decades suddenly vanished beginning in 2009. For the first time in post-war history, the economy failed to recover to its former growth path following the 2008-09 recession, and it has managed to grow only 2.1% since then. Seven years of slow growth following a big recession have left the economy about $3 trillion smaller than it could have been. We’re missing out on approximately $3 trillion per year in income, and that’s yuuge. Put another way, the average family could have been earning about 18% more this year if the economy had recovered in typical fashion, and of course there would have been many more people working. The $3 trillion GDP shortfall is the easiest way to understand the widespread level of discontent in the U.S. today.