June 27, 2008

"Americans love a winner!" -- G.S. Patton

A few years ago, I read a book by historian Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders. It contained a chapter on the wonderfulness of the Federalist Papers, as written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, comparing them to the Anti-Federalist Papers, written by a bunch of losers nobody has heard of since.

The Anti-Federalists would write, "If the Constitution is ratified,the federal government will grab the power to do X [or Y, or Z]." And Madison, Hamilton, or Jay would answer back, "Oh, no, that would never happen in a million years. It explicitly says right here in Article Whatever that only the states can do that."

But the funny thing is, Bailyn's long list of about a dozen or more things the Anti-Federalists warned would happen if the Constitution were ratified ... they have all happened. They didn't all happen right away. Many took until the Civil War, or the New Deal, or the Warren Court, or whatever. Still, when it comes to making long-run accurate predictions, the despised Anti-Federalists were right and the sainted Federalists were wrong.

But, nobody cares. People care about who won, not who turned out to be right.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

56 comments:

rightsaidfred said...

It seems to be a human condition not to see the possible misuse of power.

I have some liberal acquaintances who rhapsodize about the great things that will happen when the Feds take over health care and wring the inefficiencies out of the system. Yeah, right.

I didn't hear the stories directly, but my grandfather was in Russia during The revolution, and he would talk about how giddy with excitement the people were, with the hope that the central authorities would now wield their power to make life better. It reminds me of Obamamania.

TGGP said...

I've been preaching this gospel for quite a while now. Restore the Articles of Confederation!

Black Sea said...

Following on the point made by rightsaidfred, I've had more than one conversation with a friend or colleague who argues for an expansion of the scope and power of the federal government.

I usually ask them what they think of the current administration. Of course, they despise it. What about its predecessor? OK in some respects, but a disappointment overall. The administration prior to that? Terrible. Before that? A horror show. What about Congress? An eternal circus of corruption and deceit.

"So," I ask, "why do you want to give these people more money and power?"

It always boils down to their faith in the imminent emergence of a wiser and more virtuous voting public, ushering in a new class of political saints.

Anonymous said...

I've always had a soft spot for the Anti-Federalists, because I think they were mostly right. Robert Yates was one of their leaders, a New York judge who wrote under the name "Brutus." One of their complaints was that the original constitution did not include a bill of rights. This, of course, was remedied. But their other complaints were more prescient. They were especially concerned about the unchecked power of the Supreme Court and feared it might interpret the laws and constitution according to the "spirit of the age" rather than the "letter of the law." They were also worried that the "necessary and proper" clause would ultimately allow the government to do whatever it wanted. Yates was a delegate to the constitutional convention but resigned because he felt that the convention was exceeding its authority. Needless to say, not too many of these guys rose to positions of prominence under the new government. But, in retrospect, I think they were correct. The major threat to our liberty today is not Islamic terrorism, serious as that is - it is the unchecked growth and power of the federal government.

Anonymous said...

"But, nobody cares. People care about who won, not who turned out to be right."

Yep. And not just vis-a-vis the Constitution.

Now back to your saltmines and History Channel viewpoints, all of you.

Jeff Williams said...

I recently read a book containing the Anti-Federalist Papers, and there was a long statement in it from the Pennsylvania Anti-Federalists that I thought was almost eerily prescient. As I remember, they were right on every claim they made. They were also very clear about gun rights; they unambiguously asserted that guns were necessary for hunting and for self-protection.

On the other hand, both the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists in 1787 knew that an army would likely be needed to dislodge the British from the Northwest Territory, which the British had signed over to the U.S. in 1783, but where they were still squatting. The British did not clear out of Detroit until 1795, and they maintained some presence in the region until 1815. Also, as it turned out, a government was needed in 1803 that could, on very short notice, come up with $3 million in cash and $12 million in debt financing to purchase the Louisiana territory.

In discussing the Constitution vs. the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution’s impact on land acquisitions should be always be remembered.

Polistra said...

Basically the only sections of the Constitution that are still obeyed are the 'numerical' parts that give terms of employment and details of elections. President shall be 35 years old, Senators serve 6 years, etc. Everything else is either ignored or flagrantly violated.

A second proof of this: all the amendments since 1920 have been of the 'terms of employment' sections. This tells us the other parts have been completely superseded by the Collected Opinions of Black-Robed Saboteurs, so that amendments aren't worth the bother.

David said...

The people demand solutions!

Whether it's a more powerful government, or a fourth equity line of credit, or just a bottle of booze and a crack rock, we the people want something that will take care of our problems NOW.

Now, now, now!

Anyone standing in the way is wrong, wrong, wrong!

How many people fully transition from childhood to adulthood in a good way?

WLindsayWheeler said...

"Restore"?

The whole "American Experience" needs to be condemned. America is about building a New Order. Anything that destroys the Old order is Nihilist. America is nihilist and will continue to be--it is failing and will always fail.

albertosaurus said...

I think you are missing the point of the Constitution. It's not an undefended fortress that stands on its own against any subsequent attack. It must be manned and defended continuously.

The founders recognized a whole series of tendencies to which central governments are prone. They sought to restrict central power and preserve the rights of the individual and the constituent states. That individual liberty has subsequently eroded only proves that their suspicions were correct.

The Constitution was fashioned in the time period beween two wars against the most powerful nation on earth. The alternative to federalism was not a prolonged period of weak confederation. It was conquest by England or civil war.

The Federalists sought to fashion a nation strong enough to survive in the real world of the time but one constrained as much as possible from the abuses of such power to be used against its own citizens.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, the Founders *should* have been right. Eventually the demand for centralization got so strong that we started *ignoring* this provision and that provision.

-Adam Greenwood

Anonymous said...

Doesnt Steve become a racist or smthing for pointing this out?

Charles Martel said...

So the Anti-Federalists were writing that X would happen, and it would be a bad thing. Instead of arguing that "X will happen - and it's a good thing!" several members of the Convention, including the Consitution's author, Madison, argued that Y would happen.

So since no one involved in drafting and ratifying the thing apparently wanted X to happen, isn't that pretty solid evidence that X is not a valid interpretation of the Constitution?

Matt Parrott said...

A founding document is only as valid as the population beholden to it perceives it to be. I suggest that our constitution is an Anglo-American document which can only really be understood and obeyed by an Anglo-American population.

Attempting to enforce the original spirit and intent of the constitution while ignoring the demographic origins of its demise is analogous to attempting to enforce ballroom etiquette while letting a bunch of skateboarders into the ballroom.

The Ron Paul revolution, much like the War on Drugs, is another futile attempt to restore order while ignoring the root cause, which is too taboo to address directly.

You can go ahead preaching on about the abuses of the Commerce Clause and the virtues of limited government. You can suggest that some other tweak of the document would have made it all work out appropriately. Neither documents nor ideologies nor economics create governments.

People create governments, and there are different kinds of people.

testing99 said...

Steve you are unfair to the Federalists. The long States-rights drift during the Articles of Confederation left the nation helpless and vulnerable and divided.

Thus the need at a time when America was weak and vulnerable to outside enemies, particularly Britain, to construct a strong central government.

Wow, color me shocked that Civil War, big world wars, and the Great Depression deepened Federal power. Wow!

I see a bunch of people with totally unrealistic, irresponsible, and frankly, childish notions of how 305 million people are going to govern themselves, in a world where nuclear proliferation gives even someone like Osama or the Blind Sheik's folks the ability to kill a couple of American cities.

People are not going to live in some Libertardian Utopia, which will quickly degenerate into whatever strong warlord can extract from his local serfs.

That's the weakness of "decentralization" proposed by Libertards: it degenerates into Warlordism.

dearieme said...

"In discussing the Constitution vs. the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution’s impact on land acquisitions should be always be remembered." What impact? The LOuisiana Purchase was clearly unconstitutional. (So was the other great event in the making of the modern USA, the Civil War - clearly the states had every right to secede.)

Anonymous said...

"Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys!"
-P.J. O'Rourke

My girlfriend, a nurse case manager at a major teaching hospital in Boston, is taking courses toward her masters as a nurse practitioner. She just finished a course called "Healthcare Policy". The instructor outed herself in the first class as, not a practicing healthcare professional, but a registered lobbyist with a local group called Healthcare For All; they were part of the coalition, aided and abetted by our 80% Democrat legislature, that shoved the Massachusetts "universal" healthcare plan down our throats. My girlfriend showed me the syllabus for the course, and a major part of it was to spend 30 hours at a governmental meeting concerning healthcare policy. Such a time waster in a graduate level was something I found shocking.

She was the only "working" nurse in the class (a growing problem in the field) so she was sort of the den mother to the other students, all starting their masters directly after getting their BS. She took a group of them to a House session concerning the shortfall (by about 150% and rising) for the universal healthcare initiative. As the solons batted around various silly iseas for coming up with the money, like an additional $1/pack tax on cigarettes, she was surprised at how much the young students were behind the silliness, and, because they had limited real-world experience, how little they knew about what really drives costs in healthcare. They were all true believers that the government was going to fix all the problems.

This exacerbates the growing problem I alluded to earlier is this-these women go right out into the world with master's degrees and very little real world experience, and a lot of them will be nurse managers making policy decisions at their hospitals. That they've been indoctrinated by this type of "teacher" as to the efficacy of government programs leaves me chary of the future.

My girl wanted her A, so she played the game and was rewarded on the last day of class when the instructor asked for examples of waste they' seen in their careers. My girl told the story of one of her patients: 28-year old drug dealer who was spotted by the police making a sale and chased. He ducked behind a dumpster and swallowed the rest of the cocaine in his pockets before the police caught him; unfortunately for him, he started convulsing and had a stroke. He spent the next SIX MONTHS at this hospital, at a rate of $1,700/day, no insurance, threatening staff; with his mile-long rap sheet and emotional issues even the locked-ward facilities wouldn't take him.

The instructor couldn't answer when asked how many of this type of patient can the hospital sustain, and what society's interest in continuing the level of care was, so my girl felt taht she got SOMETHING out of the course!

The "Real" Brutus

James Kabala said...

There actually are a number of Anti-Federalist-sympathetic books out there. You might want to read Herbert Storing, Merrill Jensen, Jackson Turner Main, Saul Cornell, and even parts of Gordon Wood's Creation of the American Republic. I think pro-Federalist hagiography is actually stronger among the general public than among historians. (And even the general public honors men like Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and Samuel Adams without knowing they were Anti-Federalists.)

It's also worth noting that the Federalists had dire predictions of their own - that not adopting the Constitution would lead to a division of the Union, followed by war, corruption, faction, demagogy, and eventually some states under dictatorships, some back under foreign control, and very few free and happy. We'll never know how those predictions would have turned out. Human nature being what it is, it's like that bad things would have eventually happened no matter which path was chosen. (On the other hand, one could argue that these imaginary wars could not have been any worse than the Civil War that actually did occur, so the Constitution cannot be counted a success on that particular score.)

James Kabala said...

I forgot to mention the grandaddy of all anti-Federalist-sympathetic, Federalist-skeptical historians, namely Charles Beard. His specific arguments have generally been refuted by the painstaking work of Forrest McDonald, but he remains a provocative read and would appeal to Steve's increasingly cynical worldview.

H. said...

Matt Parrott's point is the very one that springs to my mind. Only a people of British stock could have ever aspired to anything like the US Constitution, let alone set up and abided by the system outlined in it. Today, it's just as true that only those of European descent, and who are anglicizable (sp?), can maintain such a set of institutions. All the non-European immigrant groups just maladapt the Constitution to serve their own ethnic agendas.

Anonymous said...

"All the non-European immigrant groups just maladapt the Constitution to serve their own ethnic agendas"

Yup, like the Supreme Court (a bunch of non-Europeans) and GHWBush (recent immigrant) and McCain (McCain-Feingold), you get the point.

Matt Parrott said...

You bring up an important point, "anonymous", which is that our government is still overwhelmingly White, far more White than the demographics would imply. I've been pondering on this and believe that age, citizenship, voting patterns, and representational disparities have assured that the American government is still over 80% White-influenced While the nation is less than 67% White.

My suggestion is that we have several factors which have allowed us to carry on as a White nation after we've stopped being one. The things we're seeing are just the tip of the iceberg to come.

When the Levee Breaks

hubble bubble said...

Sam Adams - brewer, patriot.
Yes indeed, the public honors him 12 ozs. at a time.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say that post-partum depression+breastfeeding proves that there is no loving creator god?

Anonymous said...

"I see a bunch of people with totally unrealistic, irresponsible, and frankly, childish notions of how 305 million people are going to govern themselves, in a world where nuclear proliferation gives even someone like Osama or the Blind Sheik's folks the ability to kill a couple of American cities."

If the US federal government wasn't such a behemoth, perhaps an Osama or a Blink Sheik would have nothing to gain by bombing an American city, and even less reason for a Timothy McVeigh to do so. It seems the federalist prescription for the problems caused by federalism is more federalism. Go figure.

Lester Hunt said...

History has shown that the Anti-Federalists were right about a great many things. Also, it is thanks to them that we have a bill of rights, which the generally more authoritarian authors of The Federalist were initially against.

James Kabala said...

Coincidentally I read this article today:

http://hnn.us/articles/49975.html

John Markley said...

"That's the weakness of "decentralization" proposed by Libertards: it degenerates into Warlordism."

You're absolutely right. This is driven home to me every morning, when I open the newspaper and shudder at the never-ending stream of horrors and atrocities committed by the eternally feuding warlords of Switzerland.

Anonymous said...

john markley:

don't bother with testing99. He hardly levels his arguments above 8th emotional maturity level -- as his constant name-calling (Paulnuts, Ru-Paulians, Libertards, etc.) should give a hint. To him, if a community so much as refuses to accept say Jewish hassidim among them, that's warlordism.

It's the argument confused conservatives never stop making: i.e. the reason why warlords rule Afghanistan is because they don't have a strong government. Naturally, the racialist argument goes in the opposite direct: what dimwits call "strong" government is actually Western government which isn't characterized by being "strong" (itself a warlord notion) but by being "lawful" which requires a population smart and evolved enough to understand that law is like traffic rules -- to everyone's benefit -- and therefore obey law without requiring a cop on every door.


JD

David Davenport said...

"That's the weakness of "decentralization" proposed by Libertards: it degenerates into Warlordism."

You're absolutely right. This is driven home to me every morning, when I open the newspaper and shudder at the never-ending stream of horrors and atrocities committed by the eternally feuding warlords of Switzerland.


What percentage of Swissland is non-white?

David Davenport said...

Furthermore, in what way is Switzerland a Libertarian country?

Seems to me that the Swiss federal government and local governments have many laws forbidding or regulating this or that, enforced by numerous regulatory agencies.

Lucius Vorenus said...

John Markley: This is driven home to me every morning, when I open the newspaper and shudder at the never-ending stream of horrors and atrocities committed by the eternally feuding warlords of Switzerland.

Sadly, Ayn Randian libertarianism is no more fecund a philosophy than is any other form of nihilism.

The Swiss people, with a TFR down around 1.4, will be effectively extinct within another decade or two [if they're not effectively exinct already].

Here are the fertility rates of the top 14 nations in Cato's rankings of economic freedom.

[Sorry, but the blogspot.com software package won't allow me to format this.]

EFR = Cato Institute Economic Freedom Rating
TFR = Total Fertility Rate [CIA and UN estimates, with the Caucasian number from the USA census bureau]

NATION EFR TFR

Hong Kong 8.9 1.00 CIA, 0.97 UN
Singapore 8.8 1.08 CIA, 1.26 UN
New Zealand 8.5 2.11 CIA, 1.99 UN
Switzerland 8.3 1.44 CIA, 1.42 UN
United States 8.1 1.864 [Caucasian]
United Kingdom 8.1 1.85 CIA*, 1.82 UN*
Canada 8.1 1.57/1.53, 1.53 UN
Estonia 8.0 1.41 CIA, 1.49 UN
Ireland 7.9 1.85 CIA, 1.96 UN
Australia 7.9 1.76/1.81 CIA, 1.79 UN
Finland 7.8 1.73/1.83 CIA, 1.83 UN
Luxembourg 7.8 1.78 CIA, 1.66 UN
Iceland 7.8 1.91/2.07 CIA, 2.05 UN
Chile 7.8 1.95 CIA, 1.94 UN

*Note: Includes Muslims immigrants, which almost certainly adds at least 0.2 [and possibly a great deal more than that] to the UK TFR.

Source: PDF DOCUMENT: Summary Economic Freedom Ratings, 2005
Source: List of countries and territories by fertility rate
Source: US Fertility

Lucius Vorenus said...

Matt Parrott I've been pondering on this and believe that age, citizenship, voting patterns, and representational disparities have assured that the American government is still over 80% White-influenced While the nation is less than 67% White. My suggestion is that we have several factors which have allowed us to carry on as a White nation after we've stopped being one. The things we're seeing are just the tip of the iceberg to come. When the Levee Breaks

I'm not sure what you mean here: You indicate that, for "Citizens 18 and Older", the figures are 75.5% white and 24.5% non-white, whereas for "Power", the figures are 80.1% white and 19.9% non-white.

That's a lag of only 4.6 points in either direction.

Our problem [really, our looming, catastrophic apocalypse] is that 45% of the children in this country under the age of five are now non-white, and the figure of "45%" is increasing with no upper bound in sight.

I.e. the United States is within 5 points of becoming effectively a third-world nation.

Of course, these dynamics are utterly unsustainable, and, circa 2020, when these third-world children come of age, and when the great zenith of the caucasian baby boomer bubble begins to move into the retirement years, the United States as we knew it will cease to exist, and will implode into something akin to Zimbabwe, or there will be a secession movement where a handful of Red States try to go their own way, or else there will be chaos on the streets and complete social disfunction and a lack of any unifying civic order.

David Davenport said...

If the US federal government wasn't such a behemoth, perhaps an Osama or a Blink Sheik would have nothing to gain by bombing an American city ...

Was the Washington government an overbearing behemoth when Charleston's Palmetto Guard militiamen took a notion to bombard Fort Sumter with privately purchased cannon?

David Davenport said...

Was the Washington government an overbearing behemoth when Charleston's Palmetto Guard militiamen bombarded an American ship with privately purchased cannon?

“…On December 26, 1860, five days after South Carolina declared its secession ( a very Libertarian thing to do, n’est ce pas? --DD ) , U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson abandoned the indefensible Fort Moultrie and secretly relocated his two companies (127 men, 13 of them musicians) of the 1st U.S. Artillery to Fort Sumter without official authorization or obedience to orders from Washington[1][2][3][4]. He thought that providing a stronger defense would delay a Rebel attack. The Fort was not yet complete at the time and fewer than half of the cannons that should have been there were unavailable due to military downsizing by James Buchanan. Over the next few months, repeated calls for the United States evacuation of Fort Sumter[5] from the government of South Carolina and later Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard were ignored. United States attempts to resupply and reinforce the garrison were repulsed on January 9, 1861 when the first shots of the war ( fired by the Palmetto Guard militia --DD ) prevented the steamer Star of the West, a ship hired by the United States to transport troops and supplies to Fort Sumter, from completing the task. After realizing that Anderson's command would run out of food by April 15, 1861, President Lincoln ordered a fleet of ships, under the command of Gustavus V. Fox, to attempt a forced entry into Charleston Harbor to reinforce Fort Sumter. The ships assigned were the steam sloop-of-war USS Pawnee, steam sloop-of-war USS Powhatan, transporting motorized launches and about 300 sailors (secretly removed from the Charleston fleet to join in the forced reenforcement of Fort Pickens, Pensacola, Fla.), armed screw steamer USS Pochaontas, Revenue Cutter USS Harriet Lane, steamer Baltic transporting about 200 troops, composed of companies C and D of the 2nd U.S. Artillery, and three hired tug boats.[6][7] By April 6, 1861 the first ships began to set sail for their rendezvous off the Charleston Bar. The first to arrive, the Harriet Lane, arriving before midnight of April 11, 1861.[8] 1861, inside the fort flying the Confederate Flag.

On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries opened fire, firing for 33 straight hours, on the fort. Edmund Ruffin, noted Virginian agronomist and secessionist, claimed that he fired the first shot on Fort Sumter. His story has been widely believed, but Lieutenant Henry S. Farley, commanding a battery of two mortars on James Island fired the first shot at 4:30 A.M. (Detzer 2001, pp. 269–71). The garrison returned fire, but it was ineffective, in part because Major Anderson did not use the guns mounted on the highest tier, the barbette tier, where the gun detachments would be more exposed to Confederate fire. On April 13, the fort was surrendered and evacuated. During the attack, the Union colors fell. Lt. Norman J. Hall risked life and limb to put them back up, burning off his eyebrows permanently. No Union soldiers died in the actual battle though a Confederate soldier bled to death having been wounded by a misfiring cannon. One Union soldier died and another was mortally wounded during the 27th shot of a 100 shot salute, allowed by the Confederacy. Afterwards the salute was shortened to 50 shots. Accounts, such as in the famous diary of Mary Chesnut, describe Charleston residents along what is now known as The Battery, sitting on balconies and drinking salutes to the start of the hostilities. …


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Sumter

Half Sigma said...

Also, it is thanks to them that we have a bill of rights, which the generally more authoritarian authors of The Federalist were initially against.

Not necessarily. One of the arguments against a Bill of Rights was that the enumeration of specific rights would create the suggestion that the federal government had unlimited power to do anything it wanted unless specifically prohibited by an enumerated right.

That prediction turned out to be true. The 9th and 10th amendments were added just for the purpose of preventing that from happening, but today those two amendments are laughed at. People who talk about the 10th Amendment are considered nutty.

kurt said...

"Steve you are unfair to the Federalists. The long States-rights drift during the Articles of Confederation left the nation helpless and vulnerable and divided.

Thus the need at a time when America was weak and vulnerable to outside enemies, particularly Britain, to construct a strong central government."

The flaw in this argument is the belief in the efficacy of bureaucracy.

All large scale human institutions are bureaucracies. Bureaucracy, by its very nature, is inherently dysfunctional. All bureaucracy is dysfunction because of innate human nature.

It is this reality of human nature that both the non-libertarian right and liberal-left seem intent to ignore at all costs. It is my recognition of this reality of human nature that is the reason why I am even more of a libertarian at age 45 than I was at age 20 (when I was "into" Ayn Rand).

It is precisely the bureaucratic nature of large scale human institutions (not to mention their tendency to suppress individual liberty) that is the reason why they are worthless and should not be accepted.

The Anti-Federalists were right.

Matt Parrott said...

Lucius,

The "Citizens 18 and older" designation is a profound (if temporary) barrier to minority and immigrant political expression, being that Whites are generally older and generally have citizenship. But perhaps I overstated my thesis.

One component of my proposition that America is managing to be far more politically White than it is demographically White is the impact of our "Winner takes all" bipartisan framework. As things remain right now, the politically amplified "swing voters" are still overwhelmingly White, and the government largely reflects that.

I wasn't capable of expressing that quantitatively so I left it out.

Saint Middens said...

john markley wrote:

You're absolutely right. This is driven home to me every morning, when I open the newspaper and shudder at the never-ending stream of horrors and atrocities committed by the eternally feuding warlords of Switzerland.

There's surely a lot to admire about Switzerland but it's not an example of a libertarian state. For one thing, it doesn't have open borders, which ironically prevents libertarians from moving there. Switzerland also has strong pollution control and lots of public transit, all of which are non-libertarian things which I personally approve of.

Libertarianism is a form of cognitave dissonence. The world already operates as a market, and the currency is power, whether its the power of the pulpit/tv, power of the gun, or power of the purse (all three of which buttress one another). How is this market any more or less "free" than the one you would prefer? Your libertarian dream is already realised, but it didn't turn out so well for you personally.

Conservatives like me will just muddle along trying to make the best of the real world, but then again I'm being a bit unfair because I understand opportunistic libertarianism, in todays PC climate. It makes sense that one would wish to cripple a government that actively undermines what you yourself believe in. Liberarianism may be a useful falseface to don under such a circumstance, since with its disavowal of all things tribal (Zionism excepted) one may do ones opposing whilst flying under the PC ideological radar, but it doesn't stir hearts and minds, so it fails in market terms, if you understand what I'm saying.

David Davenport said...

I get it.

Somebody thinks a Lib Lib Libertarian American regime would have a foreign policy and presence similar to Switzerland's.

Would that really be the case, however?

James Kabala said...

Has Testing99 ever confirmed that he is Evil Neocon? Their areas of concern don't seem very similar to me, and I've never understood why so many posters think they are the same.

travis said...

Was the Washington government an overbearing behemoth when Charleston's Palmetto Guard militiamen took a notion to bombard Fort Sumter with privately purchased cannon?

YES!

Art Deco said...

A founding document is only as valid as the population beholden to it perceives it to be. I suggest that our constitution is an Anglo-American document which can only really be understood and obeyed by an Anglo-American population.

Finicky disputes over the proper extent of federal power were a feature of the antebellum period, culminating with the years of unpleasantness from 1861-65. The immigration streams into the country were, up to about 1845, derived from the same loci as the colonial population. Subsequent to that, you had a considerable Irish Catholic and Scandinavian inflow. It is a bit much to attribute the post-bellum accretion of federal power to these groups, in that only a modest minority of the population was or is predominantly of either extraction. You might wish to make an argument that the reconstruction of political economy after 1929 had the eastern and southern European inflow of 1890-1924 as a handmaiden, but one might suggest that immediate economic conditions would be the salient vector here. The erection of mixed economies was characteristic of nearly all occidental countries, including those predominantly Anglo-American. The most resistant was Switzerland, which is not occupied by 'Anglo-Americans'. The last stand for laissez-faire was Hong Kong, whose inhabitants are not Anglo-American either.

Some countries with constitutional government have parliamentary systems, some separation-of-powers, some antique local variants; some federal systems, some not. There is nothing terribly refined about the American Constitution; it has had the curious property of being durable but not, as a positive law with a specific text, terribly adaptable.

David Davenport said...

Was the Washington government an overbearing behemoth when Charleston's Palmetto Guard militiamen took a notion to bombard Fort Sumter with privately purchased cannon?

YES!


But the overbearing behemoth won the war.

You know, the Old South was rather Libertarian: disdain for centralized government, resistance to paying taxes, and maximal personal and private property rights, at least for white men.

This is not the best way to organize to fight a big war.

Svigor said...

Has Testing99 ever confirmed that he is Evil Neocon? Their areas of concern don't seem very similar to me, and I've never understood why so many posters think they are the same.

I read this site fairly religiously and I've never seen him deny it. That's practically a confirmation in my book.

Svigor said...

There's surely a lot to admire about Switzerland but it's not an example of a libertarian state.

I think the point was about centralization, not so much about libertarianism.

'Sides, I suspect libertarianism is like communism in that its adherents will never accept any given example as "true" (especially when the example is negatively framed); too ideological.

Anonymous said...

"But the overbearing behemoth won the war."

While Federalism may be effective form of government for winning wars (in the short term), my original point was that, far from preventing terrorism, Federalism provokes it. On the day he bombed the Murrah Building, Timothy McVeigh was wearing a t-shirt he bought from the Southern Partisan -- the insurgency continues.

Anonymous said...

Has Testing99 ever confirmed that he is Evil Neocon? Their areas of concern don't seem very similar to me, and I've never understood why so many posters think they are the same.

Writing styles VERY similar.

Foreign policy views identical: insane, makes Cheney and Guiliani look like paleocons.

Furthermore, their arguments in support of Israel and neocon policies typically involve an alternate reality not located on this planet.

Anonymous said...

Art Deco - Hong Kong in its laissez-faire period was ruled by Anglo-Saxons, though the population was Chinese.

Paavo said...

Federalists seemed to have been right. would any looser union of states could have opposed communism or nazism. national states of Europe fell one after another. only those who had been colonialist of federalist enough to form large enough country still exist. England does exist. Wales not so much. they claim it does, but it's basically part of England UK.

In the current world order the nation states of europe would be preferable to all european nations in EU. democracy would be more valid. But against federalist superpowers like china and USA (who have erasted most regional differences) EU made of little nations doesn't stand a chance if it doesn't become a single entity itself.

Economies of scale control the warfare even if smaller units might bring more innovations. and existence of nations is all about warfare in the end.

James Kabala said...

I honestly don't remember a time when testing99 has expressed foreign policy views, let alone crazy ones. I generally no longer read threads on those subjects because they descend into unproductive bickering so quickly, but I'm surprised I never caught him doing it even once. His views on other issues usually seem moderate and well-considered.

James Kabala said...

Never mind - I Googled Testing99's old posts and they are pretty hardcore neocon. They tend to be more polite than Evil Neocon's, however; I can't find a record of Testing99 using abusive terms like "Paultards" as his predecessor or previous incarnation (whichever it was) did.

Anonymous said...

I see a bunch of people with totally unrealistic, irresponsible, and frankly, childish notions of how 305 million people are going to govern themselves

I submit that there is no good way to govern 305 million ethnically and culturally diverse people spread over similarly diverse geographies.

Break up the US now while it can still be done peacably.

-Senor Doug

M. Simon said...

The problem is that many people here believe that there is such a thing a a perfect or perfectible government.

Not going to happen. Anglos or not.

BTW the top dog country in the world is always subject to envy or hate.

I'd rather be the top dog. Somalia is not an attractive option. Heck, I'd rather be American than French. Or British. Evidently many Euros agree. (see Drain, Brain, Europe)

==

Many of the Founders thought that a ten or twenty year run was the best they could do. That they got about seventy years until the Civil War was probably more than they could have hoped for.

==

Things do get righted from time to time - see concealed carry recent history and the Supreme Court's reaction in Heller.

==

We will never know what bullets we have dodged in history. Speculation about the Rhineland in 1936 to follow.

==

Currently the American population leans center right. Not bad. Now if we can move it a little farther to the (libertarian) right we will have done good.

==

The real question is: is the current government conducive to wealth increase?

So why aren't Americans rebelling against the depredations of government? Simple. In real world terms the vast majority of us are rich. When life is marginal a 10% tax is a heavy burden. When you are rich a 30% tax is shrugged off.

==

Jefferson thought the Louisiana Purchase was illegal. He thought the benefits were worth it. He was probably right - in the long run. Now about Mayor Nagin. And so it goes with the Great Experiment.

M. Simon said...

All large scale human institutions are bureaucracies. Bureaucracy, by its very nature, is inherently dysfunctional.

Thus cubical land in big companies. And yet things get done. Airplanes do not fall out of the sky and companies make a profit.

I don't think 10,000 mom and pop companies united in confederation are going to build a 747-400. Some one has to give orders and they better have the money and power to do so.

Every system of organization has its defects.

M. Simon said...

World War 2 was such a shock that the ruling powers decided that it was the US mission to civilize the world.

You know - the white man's burden.

Sadly with so many extolling the virtues of white men few here get that such virtues come with responsibilities.

And why should the white man be charged with such responsibilities? For one thing a pacified world is good for business.

Decline and Fall
Desolation Row