Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

Discourse and Anti Discourse

“..the desire for popularity is the original sin of the American intellectual: When he subordinates his independent mind to the demands of the herd, he ceases to perform any useful function. He abandons culture for Instant Culture, discourse for antidiscourse, and truth-seeking for status-seeking.”

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The Source of Judicial Controversies

“Regulation by agencies is relatively simple to promulgate—it merely takes the time and patience necessary to announce a rule, take comments, and show that the comments were in some way taken into consideration. Navigating bureaucratic procedure and red tape is easy compared with cobbling together a majority (or supermajority) of both houses of Congress and winning the president’s support. “

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Non-Delegation and the Administrative State

James Madison stated in Federalist #47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” In 1933 two laws were struck down on the non-delegation principle, the effective delegation of legislative authority to unelected regulatory agencies. The recent court has prepared to revisit that principle.

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Poverty and Inequality

The prioritization of inequality over poverty is attributed to envy in some cases but more often to a violation of some sense of fairness. But just as we should care not the think of the poor as a single entity, we should be even more cautious not to group the rich or even the super-rich as a single faceless group. Some of the super wealthy have benefited us all, and some have abused the system to their advantage while providing little value. We should distinguish between the rent seekers and the rich who have improved our lives.

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The Wealth Curse

Class warfare as political policy negates the need to articulate limits, acknowledge tradeoffs, understand the process of wealth creation, or do real math that measures and acknowledges real costs and revenues.

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Prosperity and Democracy

“..the longer a successful society is stable, the more numerous are the successful factions—not the poor, or the unemployed, or the new entrepreneurial risk-takers who are trying to gain a foothold against established competitors—who become deft at gaming the political system for advantages.”

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Holding Progressivism Accountable

The essence of conservatism is the recognition and acceptance of the flaws in human nature, and the need to build a political structure that mitigates it. Once government accepts a mission to improve upon his nature, the moral threat of power is muted. Once democracy is in the hands of unlimited political power, tyranny is almost assured. The founders understood this. Progressives rejected the political nature of man and replaced it with a mythical general will, antithetical to individual rights.

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Facing the Limits of the Administrative State

This leads to a rethinking of the Administrative State in line with lessons learned and new thinking on how such organizations function.  Regulators are OK for executing clear laws, but terrible at designing systems and regulations  to advance unproven political theories.

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Three Core Defects of Socialism

“The third problem is that socialism, following Marx’s dialectical theory of history, lends itself to a theory of inevitability or preordination that leaves no room for dissent, and that leads in consequence to the elevation of a political class that responds to failure by searching for wreckers and dissenters to punish. “

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A Democratic Condiment

“It is reasonably well understood in this country that to place the word “democratic” in front of, say, “speech restrictions” or “warrantless searches” or “juryless criminal prosecutions” would be in no way to legitimize those things or to make them more compatible with the preservation of a free society.”

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2020 Election Questions

The country can recover much more quickly from a bad character than from bad ideas with wide support. Will the independents have more to fear from the radical elements within the Democratic party and their bad ideas than they have to fear from Trump’s flawed character? That may be the central question in the 2020 election.

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Inflation and MMT

Descriptive powers do not naturally unfold into predictive accuracy. Models by their nature must eliminate variables that can be critical. An economy as large and as dynamic as ours is a wonderful and complicated thing and not cooperative to descriptions and predictions according to simple models.

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Capitalism in Perspective

“The best case for capitalism is a case for markets as one crucial set of institutions in a free society deeply rooted in the West’s liberal and pre-liberal soil. It is crucial because at its best it protects every man’s right to the fruits of his labor, encourages virtues crucial to living free, and has proven unbeatably capable of improving everyone’s living standards. But it must remain rooted, because man does not live by bread alone, and because both the market and the larger society depend upon other formative institutions that help us all become better human beings and citizens.”

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The Hazard of Over Promising

“But more importantly, when you promise people something you can’t deliver you make them mad when you don’t deliver it. I’m convinced that one of the reasons the Democrats spend their time calling every inconvenient institution and voter racist is that they are embittered by Barack Obama’s spectacular failure to deliver on the promises he made and the even grander promises his biggest fans projected upon him. “

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Der Sturmer Times

If it had appeared in Breitbart or a similar political tilt, the airwaves would be jammed with condemnations and no apology would suffice. Its proximity in time to the recent shooting at the Chabad in Poway near San Diego would have made it unforgivable.  That is how the New York Times treated far less offensive remarks from Republicans;  Sarah Palin’s use of the word ‘cross hairs’ in a political speech was enough to blame her for the Gabby Giffords shooting.

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Character and Ideas

The illiberal behavior on college campuses where free speech is quickly sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, where due process is sacrificed to the whims of social justice, and where violence and other uncivil behavior has been tolerated has now spread to the halls of Congress.  When the ends justify the means it becomes acceptable to scream at and harass government officials in public restaurants, during Senate hearings and in their office elevators.  This concerns me more than Donald Trump.

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The Mask of Power

“..unity is the mask power wears to justify itself. What liberals are nostalgic for is not unity but the kind of power they had back in the good old days. They can’t say, “Man, I really miss having the kind of power to do what we wanted,” so they gauze it up with false phantasms of national unity lost.”

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Trump ‘Splaining

But beneath these divisions and changes noted by Zito and Todd was a greater difference about their relation to the state. Few voters get into the weeds of political philosophy when they vote, and Trump certainly wasted no time on it, but the voters sensed that constitutional rights were being whittled away by a state that pretended to know what was better for them. The basic civic culture that had survived cycles of progressivism was eroding. Differences of opinion became hate speech; due process was sacrificed to social justice.

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Handcuffing the Invisible Hand

Advocates of single payer and free benefits prove to be ignorant of the price system, profit, productivity and how they function.  While they claim to allocate resources better than the ‘greed’ of the market (a claim easy to totally refute), they are clueless on how the wealth is generated in the first place.

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The Progressive Roots of Eugenics

Progressives believed in progress unmoored from permanent principles, and unrestrained from the constitutional limits of government power.Early progressives believed science would replace politics and religion.

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