The French hen shelters all the national chicks of Europe (including the German one bearing the swastika), while confused Switzerland and Sweden (neutral nations) think about it. Disgruntled Great Britain is entering an American trap with a Jewish star-of-David on its door.
In a recent editorial in Slate, 7th Circuit Appeals Court Judge Richard A. Posner contended explicitly that the opinions of the framers, the history of their arguments, the bases of their decisions, and the actual textual language of the Constitution itself are irrelevant to today’s reality.
I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today. David Strauss is right: The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.
In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.
Judge Posner went to Yale (Saybrook College) and graduated Summa in 1959, but it is obvious that Yale only thought him to be a smartass and a proficient sophist. He did not learn wisdom or humility there, and he obviously never studied Cicero, who wrote of Natural Law (De Re Publica, book 3):
True law is right reason in agreement with Nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.
The framers of the US Constitution tried in their imperfect human way to embody as much of Natural Law (those truths which Jefferson held to be self-evident) in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as they could. No genuinely intelligent person would believe that Human Nature, Justice, and the fundamental realities of life have changed over the course of a bit more than two centuries simply because men travel with automobiles instead of on horseback or because we write electronically on keyboards and computers instead of with ink and quill pens.
Judges appointed to Federal Courts of Appeal take two oaths. The second of these is precisely the same oath taken by members of Congress.
I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]
Judge Posner took that oath, and he is now telling us, openly and in public, that he does not believe that he has a genuine duty to “bear truth faith and allegiance” to that Constitution. He believes instead that federal judges are Platonic guardians, a class of rulers, independent of the (out-dated and irrelevant 18th century Constitution) free to apply their own superior wisdom and to make up the law any way they see fit.
He ought to be impeached and thrown out of office on the basis of that editorial.
Charles Foster is a modern incarnation of the madly eccentric British naturalist, traveller and explorer. He teaches Medical Law & Ethics at Oxford, is a Barrister, and is a qualified veterinary surgeon.
Outside Magazine excerpts Foster’s account of being hunted, like a red deer, by one of Britain’s bloodhound packs.
I was behaving very much like a hunted deer. My adrenals were pumping out cortisol and adrenaline. The cortisol made me taut. (The next day its immunosuppressive effect threw open the drawbridge of my throat to an invading virus.) Blood was diverted from my gut to my legs. Though I was slumping from the effort, I’d stop from time to time, hold my head up high, and reflexively sniff. If I’d had mobile ears they’d have pricked and swiveled. Though I looked for water, as deer do, to cool me and to send my scent spiraling away, I ran on the driest ground I could find. I knew (from well before birth, rather than because I’d read books and watched hounds) that dry earth doesn’t hold scent well, or, if it holds it, hugs the particles close, leaving few for snuffling noses.
Unlike a deer, though, I longed to be out of the wood. It’s often very difficult for staghounds to push deer into the open. Sometimes it takes hours. The deer double back, lie flat in deep cover, and saber-rattlingly confront hounds rather than breaking out.
It would have made sense for me to stay in the wood. Scent bounces off trees like balls in a pinball machine and eddies like the dark, curd-coated corners of the East Lyn River. It’s hard for even the most educated nose to read it there. Out in the open, there’s a slime trail of scent through the grass. It points in the direction of the prey.
My preference for the open was therefore strange. I suppose we want to die where we’ve evolved, just as an overwhelming majority of people say that they’d prefer to die at home.
When asked “Where are you from?” almost no one would answer “Europe,” because after 50 years of assiduous labor by the eurocrats, Europe remains a continent, not an identity. As Matthew Yglesias points out, an EU-wide soccer team would be invincible — but who would root for it? These sorts of tribal affiliations cause problems, obviously, which is why elites were so eager to tamp them down. Unfortunately, they are also what glues polities together, and makes people willing to sacrifice for them. Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday’s election results.
Elites missed this because they’re the exception — the one group that has a transnational identity. And in fact the arguments for the EU look a lot like the old arguments for national states: a project that will empower people like us against the scary people who aren’t.
Unhappily for the elites, there is no “Transnationalprofessionalistan” to which they can move. (And who would trim the hedges, make the widgets, and staff the nursing homes if there were?) They have to live in physical places, filled with other people whose loyalties are to a particular place and way of life, not an abstract ideal, or the joys of rootless cosmopolitanism.
Even simple self-interest suggests that it may be time for the elites in Britain and beyond to sue for peace, rather than letting their newborn transnational identity drive them into a war they can’t win.
però che, come su la cerchia tonda
Montereggion di torri si corona,
così la proda che ‘l pozzo circonda
torreggiavan di mezza la persona
li orribili giganti, cui minaccia
Giove del cielo ancora quando tuona.”
As, with circling turrets
Monteriggioni crowns its walls,
Just so, the shore encircling the abyss,
Was turreted, with half their length,
By horrible giants, whom Jove threatens
when he thunders.
Dr.Tom Whyman, (part-time) Philosophy teacher, University of Essex
Part-time red-brick academic Tom Whyman inveighs against his native English village in the American Sunday Times:
Alresford is my personal hell.
We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live: Houses in the center easily sell for upward of a million pounds. (What they will cost once the vote to leave the European Union makes the economy crater remains to be seen.)
But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognize from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. You can hear it in their bothered tutting at the bus stop (especially if they ever hear a visitor mispronouncing the name of the town), the shots that constantly ring out from across the countryside as they set about murdering as many of the local pheasants as they can. …
[I]t is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let’s call it “Alresfordism.” It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.
Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford. And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends. Then, sometimes, I think: What if I’m actually secretly comfortable here? What if I have chosen the security of death in Alresford over the risks of life elsewhere? What if I am in fact fully in the clutches of Alresfordism?
Michael Harrington performed some comparisons with previous primaries and calculated that there were 12,000,000 cross-over democrats voting in GOP primaries.
After a lot of work I have finished my math calculations. … Using 2000 and 2008 as baselines, the conclusion was staggering. Trump only got about 3.3 million Republican Votes. The rest are Democrats, approximately 12 million of them.
I also found via my studies by going back to 1992 that this behavior is not new, in fact even when there is a tight contest about 5% will “strategically vote” in the Republican Party primary/caucus. Even more disturbing is that it appears that there may be even a 5% not normally detectable, of Republicans who only vote Democrat. Aka plants that we always knew existed. …
[O]ur election was stolen. Trump would be in fourth, or worse, without Democrats, he would probably only have won New York and considering he would be doing so badly when that election happened it is unlikely even there. We have been tossed to the ground and electorally gang raped by Democrats.