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Fourth Branch Tyranny

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From the National Review, Tenured Partisans by Richard Samuelson

Excerpts:

Today we have the worst of both worlds: a tenured and partisan civil service. Government employees have civil-service protection and are seldom fired, only for the most egregious of crimes. Yet they lean to one party. From 1989 to 2012, two-thirds of donations from IRS employees, for example, went to Democrats. Even so, our civil servants seem to think that they are politically neutral. Hence the employees at the VA think it is reasonable to spy on (presumptively partisan) congressional investigators, and hard drives mysteriously get destroyed in the IRS scandal. Laws are for the little people, as Glenn Reynolds likes to say.

The rise of the “fourth branch” of government — the administrative bureaucracy — complicates things further. Obamacare was roughly 2,000 pages long when Congress passed it. Bureaucrats have added thousands more. The Hobby Lobby case was about a rule written by bureaucrats, not by Congress. In fact, Congress probably would never have passed such a law. Worse, our tenured partisans sometimes delegate their jobs to activists. Who drafted the EPA’s new greenhouse regulations? The National Resources Defense Council.

Nowadays, in other words, laws are, in effect, written, interpreted, and enforced by the bureaucratic equivalent of made men who are quite well paid. So much for checks and balances. Moreover, our legal code is so complicated that, as Harvey Silverglate notes, most businesses or individuals are probably guilty of breaking some law somewhere. That puts each of us at the mercy of the government.

In the 19th century, the social-science Ph.D. was new. Perhaps it was reasonable then to believe that science could provide neutral guidance on most issues, and to provide a professional ethic for the bureaucracy. Today that belief looks hopelessly naïve. Yet the hope is still alive on the left. One may even say that that hope has become the Left’s religion. From the time that the Temple of Reason was consecrated, through Marx’s science of history, up to today, the belief that all reasonable people are on the same side has been an essential support to the Left’s self-image. Only in the abstract do they allow that reasonable people may disagree. As William F. Buckley noted, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

 

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Microaggression

From American Thinker, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist by Danusha V. Goska:

Excerpt:

I appreciate Professor X’s desire to champion the downtrodden, but identifying a photograph of commuters on stairs as an act of microaggression and evidence that America is still an oppressive hegemon struck me as someone going out of his way to live his life in a state of high dudgeon. On the other hand, Prof. X could have chosen to speak of his own working-class students with more respect.

Yes, there is a time and a place when it is absolutely necessary for a person to cultivate awareness of his own pain, or of others’ pain. Doctors instruct patients to do this — “Locate the pain exactly; calculate where the pain falls on a scale of one to ten; assess whether the pain is sharp, dull, fleeting, or constant.” But doctors do this for a reason. They want the patient to heal, and to move beyond the pain. In the left, I found a desire to be in pain constantly, so as always to have something to protest, from one’s history of incest to the inability of handicapped people to mount flights of stairs.

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Idealism Kills

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“In retrospect it was apparent to me that most of the violence in my lifetime had been directed by utopians like myself against those who would not go along with their impossible dreams. “Idealism kills,” the philosopher Nietzsche had warned before all this bloodshed began. But nobody listened.”

“I agree with the observation more than I would like to. It is the human wish to be told lies that keeps us as primitive morally and socially as we are. But stoic realism is, after all, what being a conservative is about. It is about accepting the absolute limits that life places on human hope. One could define the viewpoint of the left as just the opposite. It is an obstinate, compulsive, destructive belief in the fantasy of change, in the hope of a human redemption.”

“I have watched my friends on the left, whose ideas created an empire of inhumanity, survive the catastrophe of their schemes and go on to unexpected triumphs by turning their backs on the ashes of their ideological defeats. Forced to witness the collapse of everything they had once dreamed of and worked to achieve, they have emerged unchastened and unchanged in pursuit of the same destructive illusions. And they have been rewarded for their misdeeds with a cultural cachet and unprecedented influence in the country most responsible for the worldwide defeat of their misguided schemes.

I cannot explain this dystopian paradox except by agreeing with my interlocutor that politics is indeed irrational; and that socialism is a wish that runs as deep as any religious faith. I do not know that the truth must necessarily remain in the shadows, as he writes. But I am persuaded that a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for mere reason to kill.”

Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.

This material may be protected by copyright.

 

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=703309153

 

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Political Modesty

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Politics in the Modest Age by Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal

Why are we talking about Harry Truman? You know.

We live in a time when politicians relentlessly enrich themselves. We are awed and horrified by the wealth they accumulate, by their use of connections, of money lines built on past and future power. It’s an operation to them. They are worth hundreds of millions. They have houses so fancy the houses have names. They make speeches to banks and universities for a quarter-million dollars and call their fees contributions to their foundations. They are their foundations.

They grab and grub. They never leave. They never go home. They don’t have a “home”: They were born in a place, found a launching pad, and shot themselves into glamour and wealth. They are operators—entitled, assuming. They “stand for the people.” They stand for themselves.

So I just wanted to note how it used to be, when leaders thought they had to be respectable. When they were respectable.

“Harry Truman, not a money-grubbing slob.” Who, years ago, imagined that would come to be remarkable?

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Illiberalism

From the Editors at National Review, Progressive Illiberalism

The prevailing view in Democratic circles is that Americans enjoy constitutional and legal rights when acting alone but not when acting jointly — i.e., not when it matters most to public affairs. Under this model, the owners of Hobby Lobby enjoy First Amendment religious protections, and RFRA protections, when they are kneeling in prayer by their bedsides, and perhaps, with certain limitations and IRS oversight, when they are in their church pews. But if they make a decision together, as a group of business owners with a particular vision of the good life and their own duties as people of conscience, then the Democrats believe that their legal and constitutional rights should be set aside, as though human beings and American citizens acting in concert with one another were less than human beings or less than American citizens because of that act of coordination.

That is morally and constitutionally illiterate, but it is the prevailing view on the Left — especially when it comes to the First Amendment. Once again vexed by the likes of Antonin Scalia and his Cro-Magnon insistence that words mean things, Senate Democrats have rallied behind Harry Reid’s attempt to repeal the First Amendment’s free-speech protections, proposing to effectively disembowel the Bill of Rights. Once again, the theory is that while individuals enjoy free-speech rights, associations do not — except for Democrat-friendly associations such as labor unions and the New York Times. Ordinary citizens acting together and pooling their resources to engage in political discourse are to be denied free-speech protection.

There is an ongoing debate on right about what to call our antagonists on the left. “Liberal” is the traditional word, and one that we still employ out of habit, but the Left is anything but liberal — in the matter of contraception as in the matter of free speech, it is fundamentally and incorrigibly illiberal. The word “progressive” has some appeal in that it does not invest the Left with the merits of a liberalism that it detests, but that term presents a problem, namely the question of: Progressing toward what? If Senators Reid, Murray, and Udall are any indication, the answer is an enlarged state under the management of a diminished intelligence.

HKO

There is a large intellectual gap between rights such as free speech and freedom of religion which are a recognition of your state of freedom and your right to acquire  services and products at someone else’s expense.  Such poorly named rights can not be both none of my business and remain my responsibility to fund.

It is very politically shortsighted to designate power to deliver political outcomes desired at the moment.  You need to visualize that power being in the hands of your worst nightmare.