This Should Be Interesting

The state legislature has passed a bill that would make it a crime for any person to attempt to implement the PP-ACA -- which is to say that, if Gov. Haley signs the bill, it will be against state law to implement Federal law. She may or may not sign it, but she's on the record as being totally opposed to implementation:
South Carolina does not want, and cannot afford, the president’s health care plan. Not now, and not ever. To that end, we will not pursue the type of government-run health exchanges being forced on us by Washington. Despite the rose-colored rhetoric coming out of D.C., these exchanges are nothing more than a way to make the state do the federal government’s bidding in spending massive amounts of taxpayer dollars on insurance subsidies that we can’t afford.
The article portrays this attempt at nullification as a "viable alternative to secession," but seeing organized resistance to the Federal government at the state level does not make secession less likely. Nullification crises also preceded the Civil War, after all, as well as other very tense moments in early American history that led to the several great compromises of the early 19th century. Another compromise might have put off, or avoided, the Civil War -- but there were some set on having their way, including not just the hot-tempered folks from South Carolina but a president, Lincoln, who was utterly sure of the rightness of his position.

Today we have both aggravating conditions as well as a law that is likely to meet nullification efforts elsewhere as well as in South Carolina. Its implementation may well prove incredibly unpopular given the vast increases in cost and taxes, and the damage it will do to people's ability to find work adequate to making a living. Congress can take no effective action to fix the problems with the law until 2015 at the earliest, and it will be 2017 before there is a chance of repeal. The Supreme Court has upheld the law, twisting themselves in a knot in attempt to find it constitutional. So the states have to be the field of action for the necessary resistance: there's no getting around that.

Well, it'll be an exciting time to be alive, anyway.

Mitt Romney Gives Democratic Advice

Mother Jones is subtly mocking him for his suggestion to new college graduates that they should begin having children as soon as is feasible, but it's the progressives who need to be rethinking their opposition to young marriage and child-rearing. More than they have yet realized, their beloved social insurance programs depend on solid families. For one thing, a married couple raising their own children is the one group least likely to drain the coffers of such programs. For another, a married couple is statistically likely to be far richer, and thus capable of paying higher taxes to support such programs. Finally, large families provide the seeds for more such families in the future -- more taxpayers, and taxpayers whose upbringing in successful marriages mean they are more likely to sustain successful marriages themselves.

The day is coming when they will no longer be able to pretend that is not so. The loudest calls for family and children will be coming from the Left: before you know it, now that the Baby Boomers have begun to retire, the young will be hearing that this is their patriotic duty.

A Finding

It's in the passive voice, but the percentages are about equal to those who felt the same way in, say, 1775.

May Day

The joys of spring and the greenwood to you, as we enter the cathedral of May.

Prison Couldn't Happen To A More Deserving Couple

It's rare to see our justice system produce so poetic a result.
“Your statement that I have disgraced my judgeship is true. My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame.”
The two judges face up to seven years in prison under a plea agreement made with the state.
If the result were fully poetic, of course, they would not have been offered a plea deal. They'd be railroaded into prison for an excessive period of time, having been kept away from legal representation. They benefit from the prosaic concerns of justice that they so often denied to others, in order to enrich themselves.

More amazing music


Democracy May Have Had Its Day

So argues a hero of the academy, in his final hour.
Democracy, wrote Mr. Kagan in "Pericles of Athens" (1991), is "one of the rarest, most delicate and fragile flowers in the jungle of human experience." It relies on "free, autonomous and self-reliant" citizens and "extraordinary leadership" to flourish, even survive.

These kinds of citizens aren't born—they need to be educated. "The essence of liberty, which is at the root of a liberal education, is that meaningful freedom means that you have choices to make," Mr. Kagan says. "At the university, there must be intellectual variety. If you don't have [that], it's not only that you are deprived of knowing some of the things you might know. It's that you are deprived of testing the things that you do know or do think you know or believe in, so that your knowledge is superficial."

As dean, Mr. Kagan championed hard sciences, rigorous hiring standards for faculty, and the protection of free speech. Those who see liberal education in crisis return to those ideas. "Crisis suggests it might recover," Mr. Kagan shoots back. "Maybe it's had its day. Democracy may have had its day. Concerns about the decline of liberty in our whole polity is what threatens all of the aspects of it, including democracy."

Taking a grim view of the Periclean era in Athens, Plato and Aristotle believed that democracy inevitably led to tyranny. The Founding Fathers took on their criticism and strove to balance liberty with equality under the law.
In just the last few weeks I have come to a realization about the way the Founders structured our system of government. As we have discussed here many times, Aristotle argued that there were three basic forms of government, each of which could become perverted by self-interest among the ruling class. Each of the three had characteristic strengths and weaknesses. The three forms of government are rule-by-one, rule-by-few, and rule-by-many: you can call them monarchy, aristocracy, and polity. If the monarch comes only to care about his own thoughts and interests, he becomes a tyrant; the aristocracy, an oligarchy; and the polity, on Aristotle's terms, a democracy.

What I've realized very recently is that the Founders took some pains to give us all three forms of government. It isn't just that the branches of government have checks and balances. It is that they are different forms of government, on just Aristotle's terms. The Congress is a polity (or democracy). It is popularly elected, and enacts decisions by majority rule. It is susceptible to both the goods and the harms of rule-by-many.

The judiciary is an aristocracy (or oligarchy). It is built around an elite class with barriers to entry. It has the strengths and the weaknesses of rule-by-few.

The executive is essentially a monarchy (or tyranny). One man dominates it, selects its leaders, and orders its functions. It has all the potential benefits and hazards of rule-by-one.

What the Founders did was to give us a system that not only checked three branches with three separate functions against one another. They also provided us with a system in which the three basic kinds of government were all present, and counterbalanced. We could get every good Aristotle saw in every system; and when one branch went bad, there was the hope that the competing interests of the other forms of government might right it.

It was a good idea. There is only one problem, and it is one Aristotle did not consider: the problem of scale. More and more, I think a government must adhere to a human scale in order to be just. I mean by "a human scale" that maximum set of people such that the members can all know one another, and care about one another. At levels beyond this, a fundamental aspect of humanity is lost: we don't love each other any more, and are content to treat the unloved members as less than the beloved ones.

Whether such a government can practically exist on earth, I do not know: much of that depends on the difficulty of being able to defend yourself against the other humans outside the order, who do not love you in any case. Unless we find a way to achieve it, though, I cannot imagine a society that will escape Jefferson's requirement: that of periodic overthrow and replacement, in order to keep the tree of liberty hale.

The worldwideweb

We lost our internet connection briefly this morning, which deprived me of access to essential information like this:

Update:  I guess that first link was broken.  This one is from YouTube, and should inspire you to check out the other offerings from these total nutcases.