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#Resistance and the Crisis of Authority in American Politics

When Leandra English, former chief of staff to the former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asked a federal judge to block President Trump’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney to replace her departing boss Richard Cordray, and to install her as the CFPB’s rightful leader, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., denied her request. Yet English’s legal team, rejecting the idea that President Trump held the directorship in his hands pursuant to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1988 and Article II of the Constitution, has since vowed to continue its resistance to the President’s action.

Regardless of what happens next in the CFPB matter, this episode illuminated a crisis of authority pervasive in American politics today. The dysfunction it laid bare tells us that we have forgotten what authority means and are thus no longer capable of identifying where it resides in our political system. The result is a post-political order that delegitimizes conflict and undermines the institutions on which we depend to resolve disagreement and forge compromise in a pluralistic society.

If asked, most people today would likely equate authority with power. Power is rightly understood as the ability to compel obedience through intimidation and force. But unlike power, authority does not compel through such coercion. Rather, it is self-evident; people submit to authority voluntarily. Authority, properly understood, transcends the back-and-forth of political life. In that way, it resides outside the government.

In America, authority resides in the people and is expressed in the Constitution. In 1796, James Madison acknowledged this relationship between popular authority and the Constitution, arguing that, prior to its ratification, the Constitution “was nothing more than the draught of a plan, nothing but a dead letter until life and validity were breathed into it, by the voice of the people.”

By virtue of this authority, the Constitution gives the government its power and stipulates both the ways in which that power may be used and the ends to which it may be directed. The Constitution also provides the means by which the people can check the government when it abuses its power.

This relationship between a people, their written Constitution, and the government made possible a political system powerful enough to preserve order but not one so powerful that it could threaten individual liberty. The Framers appreciated the fact that these two ends of politics—order and liberty—were in tension and viewed political conflict as crucial to sustaining a healthy balance between them.

Similarly, Niccolo Machiavelli attributed the success of the Roman Republic to “good” conflict. In his Discourses on Livy, (1531), Machiavelli writes that “those who condemn the disturbances between the nobles and the plebeians condemn those very things that were the primary cause of Roman liberty.” In doing so, Machiavelli continued, “they give more consideration to the noises and cries arising from such disturbances than to the good effects they produced.” As it would in the American experience over a thousand years later, the conflict transpiring within the Roman political sphere maintained balance between the patricians and plebeians, and thereby perpetuated liberty and order.

In the American context, the Constitution’s institutions make political conflict legitimate. Taken together, they create the space where the people and their elected representatives can peacefully resolve their differences. By engaging in politics, Americans affirm their fidelity to the Constitution’s authority and its institutions as instruments of legitimate political rule.

Conversely, rejecting the legitimacy of outcomes reached via the Constitution’s institutions severs the vital link between that document’s  authority and the government’s power. The result is that the decisions government makes are no longer legitimate in and of themselves. Lacking authority, properly understood, the government is left with no choice but to rely on a mix of intimidation and force to compel obedience with its edicts.

Routinely looking outside the political sphere to resolve disagreements undermines that sphere and narrows the issues over which political conflict is considered legitimate. In the absence of a universally accepted source of authority, it is impossible to maintain a shared space in which to resolve political disagreements. When authority is disconnected from the Constitution, we lose sight of its proper source in American politics.

The CFPB controversy encapsulates this well. English, in trying to enact Cordray’s plan for his succession, denies the existence of an authority above the government (above, in this case, the CFPB) that resides in the people and is expressed in the Constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to it.

But this crisis is not unique to the CFPB and its supporters. Prevalent among political actors of all stripes today is a worrisome tendency to dismiss the Constitution’s constraints when those constraints run counter to a desired outcome. It is also reflected in the widespread view by both sides that the administrative state and the judiciary are the primary places where politics occurs today. In different ways,  government agencies and the courts try to solve the problem of disagreement and legitimacy by substituting reason and technocratic expertise for the messy realities of republican politics. In doing so, they seek to take conflict out of the political sphere and, thus, out of politics.

Such thinking is possible to the extent that we unconsciously functionalize authority and the legitimacy it bestows on government action. Instead of defining legitimacy as that done in accordance with the Constitution, we define it as action which serves a specific function.

In the case of Cordray and English, that function is consumer protection. In their eyes, resistance to Trump is acceptable regardless of what the statute or the Constitution says because the ultimate authority in these matters lies not with the people, but with whether the outcome fulfills the function of consumer protection.

This thinking is reflected in English’s court complaint. In it, she cites Mulvaney’s description of the CFPB as a “sad, sick joke” and points to the fact that Mulvaney, who also serves as head of the Office of Management and Budget, cosponsored legislation proposing to eliminate the agency when he served in the House of Representatives, as reasons why the court should block his appointment. She even quotes Mulvaney as saying, “I don’t like the fact that CFPB exists, I’ll be perfectly honest with you.”

This is to argue that Mulvaney should not be acting director because he opposes the function of consumer protection through the CFPB. By extension, Trump lacks the power to name Mulvaney acting director because, in doing so, he would not be using his power to fulfill the function of consumer protection. For English, everything is rationalized to serve this one end, and “consumer protection” becomes synonymous with her prevailing against those who would seek to prevent her victory. She does not acknowledge that there exists an authority separate and apart from the government to which she and Mulvaney (and the courts) must submit, regardless of their personal views on consumer protection.

Even if the district judge had ruled in her favor, the fact remains that judges and bureaucrats cannot bestow legitimacy on their decisions because they lack the authority to do so. They need the Constitution, all of its institutions, and the resulting political sphere to compel obedience to their decisions.

Reader Discussion

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on December 06, 2017 at 10:10:32 am

Wallner touches on the provisions of American republicanism that have not yet publically surfaced.

So far, the American people, We the People of the United States, have not claimed their authority. In fact, very few citizens realize that the preamble to the constitution is a civic contract that divides the people: civic citizens vs dissidents to just human connections. Dissidence ranges from ignorance to criminality to evil.

The problem, as viewed by Rose Lane (mises.org/library/discovery-freedom) is that most people do not want the responsibility of human freedom: Most people want an authority to take the individual’s responsibility. Therefore, most people miss their life’s chance at human liberty. Most people miss their opportunity for human meaning: civic freedom, or the practice of personal liberty with civic morality. In other words, life’s opportunity to responsibly pursue personal preferences rather than someone else’s image for the person’s life.

For example, the elites of America think its OK for many American children to be born poor. Perhaps they think: There but for the grace of God go my children. “I’m blessed,” is an accepted, barbaric, wealth-expression. I do not want a nanny state but do want 1) procreation licensing so as to civically protect children from adults who will not appreciate them and 2) balancing GDP so that someone who fills a needed or wanted service may earn a living plus savings so as to build needed wealth.

The signers of the draft constitution for the USA, rather than the founders, designed a government that could be developed so as to foster responsible personal liberty. The signers, 2/3 of delegates, did not, could not negotiate an ideal starting point, for example, free the slaves. Also, they knew other provisions would prove to be unjust, so they provided for amendment, not by democracy, but by republicanism, with its insistence on reason if not correctness before change.

Fortunately, 229 years ago, nine of thirteen states ratified the draft constitution, establishing the USA leavng four remaining “free and independent states.” (Quoting the Treaty of Paris, ratified in 1784.) The USA began operations with ten states on March 4, 1789. The First Congress unfortunately re-established legislative factional-Protestantism, giving elected representatives the customary “divine authority.” The three dissident states eventually joined the Machiavellianism.

Wellner perhaps misses or obfuscates the point that “we, the people” did not object to the Christian usurpation of the people’s authority, and it has been that way ever since May, 1789. America suffers Chapter XI Machiavelianism: the partnership of church and state that subjugates the people who cannot brook freedom. In other words, the people who crave an authority to take their responsibility. The civic agreement offered by the singers to “We the People of the United States” never was considered, adopted, promoted, and celebrated by the majority, perhaps because Chapter XI regimes have suppressed the preamble and still do.

Physical discoveries, like affirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, in these 229 years have been exponential. Moral discovery can be brought up to par very rapidly---in a matter of under ten years. The-objective-truth can only be discovered. For example, Albert Einstein in 1941 pointed out that civic citizens do not lie, because they want to communicate. See the essay reprinted in samharris.org/blog/item/my-friend-einstein. It is shocking that journalism, which should chronical moral development has kept Einstein’s example about lying obfuscated for 76 years. The reform from social morality to civic morality can begin with Einstein’s example: we don’t lie so we can communicate. The people may realize that not collaborating for the-objective-truth is a form of lying. A free and irresponsible press lies, and journalism chronicles moral discovery as well as physical discovery.

In general, a civic people iteratively collaborate to discover and apply the-objective-truth. At last, American republicanism has an authority by which the constitution for the USA may be amended to increase civic justice: the-objective-truth. Arbitrary political proposals may be set aside by voluntarily civic people.

The writers in this forum can be instrumental in effecting this needed, uniquely American reform.

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phil beaver
on December 06, 2017 at 10:52:06 am

"1) procreation licensing so as to civically protect children from adults who will not appreciate them and ...."

How *bloody* gracious and thoughtful of you!

One wonders. will you also prescribe the proper "procreative techniques and methods?

"Arbitrary political proposals may be set aside by voluntarily civic people. "

And stupid proposals may rightly be dismissed by actual, real life people.
Apparently, you are off your meds again!

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gabe
on December 06, 2017 at 12:39:47 pm

gabe, you routinely express personal subjugation to authority. Human freedom requires open debate of issues such as civic responsibility to a people's children. You just can't stand the heat of civic debate, so you attack Phil Beaver in a flash.

Readers who might consider the-objective-truth may consider Marci Hamilton's work on abuse. Her books give me the impression that at least 30% of Americans have been involved in abuse, either as victim, perpetrator, or both.

A civic people (nation) protects its children. Barbarians could care less.

Just between you and me, your posts to me are boring; repetitious; suggesting "techniques and methods," indecent.

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phil beaver
on December 06, 2017 at 13:07:47 pm

Rather *decent* of you to propose licensing for procreation. I assume YOU will be the one issuing licenses!

Referring to oneself in the third person ia an indication of a need for stronger medication.

No go off and revoke some licenses as such action is typical of those who seek to arrogate to themselves the right to determine who shall "be fruitful and multiply"

Am curious, however, did Beavers require a license?

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gabe
on December 06, 2017 at 15:29:48 pm

Good Lord, Mr. Beavers, you are a fuzzy thinker and a confusing writer (the two are always related.)

Elitists (particularly on the Left) typically suffer from filiopietism (their principal expression of reverence) and that only for 1) the dreamy ancestral founders of utopianism (their primary religion) and 2) the practitioners of revolutionary violence (the Left's only tradition.) And elitists invariably take as granted their own inherent superiority (moral and intellectual) while relying upon various forms of social improvement (e.g., mass murder, gulags, torture, government control of public education and mass media, mass propaganda, the abolition of religion, Stassi-type police forces, starvation and similar methods of thought control) to upgrade the rest of the folks, for their "moral enhancement," one might say.

Lately, it seems, there is a growing school of thought that society should employ other means of social engineering to bring round the goal of dramatic moral improvement. Mr. Beavers, it seems to me, is of that school (we might call them "neo-utopian.") Yet the road to Hell is littered with the dead consequences of externally-imposed "moral-enhancement." The history of the 20th century from Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh to Kim Jong-Il , from the worldwide ban on DDT to Roe vs. Wade (all together killing hundreds of millions) has convinced me that that the "moral-enhancers" will, ultimately, exhibit no compunction about the use of coercion to have their way and to advance their theories and their utopian visions of human and social perfectibility.

If one doubts me, he should read the frightening new book, “Unfit for the Future, the Need for Moral Enhancement.” https://www.amazon.com/Unfit-Future-Enhancement-Uehiro-Practical/dp/019965364X

One would think such stuff is mere dystopian science fiction, but these people are dead-serious. When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in 1925 no one took him seriously and by 1938 he was headed full bore toward killing 60 million people. As Eric Hofer would say, “Never doubt a True Believer."

The new book that really cries to be written is, “Social Engineers Are Unfit and in Need of Moral Enhancement.” I recommend Christianity and Sunday school, the Bible and other Great Books. But before starting that felicitous, life-long adventure, read Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four" (are we there yet?) and Walker Percy's "Love in the Ruins" and its sequel "The Thanatos Syndrome."

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timothy
on December 06, 2017 at 16:27:25 pm

Actually, it would be more appropriate in this case to opine, "Never doubt a True [Beaver]."

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gabe
on December 06, 2017 at 16:55:22 pm

My name is Phil Beaver. You got to “Mr. Beavers” on your own.

My words and phrases are unusual, but they can be understood by people who want to communicate, clarify and collaborate. You wrote about another topic on your own.

I wrote “[Very] few citizens realize that the preamble to the constitution is a civic contract that divides the people: civic citizens vs dissidents to just human connections. Dissidence ranges from ignorance to criminality to evil.” You leaped to veneration of ancestors or tradition and utopianism on your own.

I wrote “Albert Einstein in 1941 pointed out that civic citizens do not lie, because they want to communicate.” On your own you accuse me of “social engineering” and “no compunction about the use of coercion.”

I have no problem that you recommend Christianity. Christianity provides believers hope for the hereafter and is a means of avoiding the responsibility to be a free human being---to push that opportunity onto their church and their Bible.

I hope to motivate citizens, including Christians, to nevertheless volunteer for civic peace during their lifetimes. People who have no time for civic peace relegate themselves to the class of dissidents respecting the preamble to the constitution for the USA and mutual collaboration to benefit from the-objective-truth. On their own, people who reject civic peace reject the responsible liberty human persons may discover.

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phil beaver
on December 06, 2017 at 17:26:41 pm

gabe, you volunteer for such silliness. It is amusing, though.

A procreation license would be based on the-objective-truth, which can only be discovered and I do not know. However, humankind has discovered that the human body does not complete constructing the wisdom parts of the brain before a quarter century of age. Giving a few years to build experiences and observations, procreation might be advisable near age 30 or so. That's only one of several thoughts I have listed.

Of course there was no licensing when I was conceived. However, Mom and Dad were great providers and, entering my eighth decade, I would be glad to live the same path again. The adolescent, young or old, who dies never having been appreciated motivates a civic people to license procreation. Dissidents to civic justice can't imagine the reform, and barbarians could not care less.

Christians (whoever they are) can be civic citizens. Civic morality is for the here and now, and Christian morality is for the hereafter (borrowing from Scalia-opinion). Scalia also did not know the-objective-truth that has not been discovered.

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phil beaver
on December 06, 2017 at 18:43:04 pm

Sorry for misspelling your name and sorry if I misconstrue your words, but your commentary is mostly rambling opacity pierced occasionally by worrisome clarity. And, while you seek a laudable goal, "civic peace,'' as I say, the soil of good intentions almost always grows the roots of unintended destructive consequences.

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timothy
on December 06, 2017 at 19:22:27 pm

"On their own, people who reject civic peace reject the responsible liberty human persons may discover" [and as such, as with our Progressive friends, these people are to be shunned, castigated, calumnized, and otherwise disavowed].

Off to Coventry they go, Phil!

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gabe
on December 06, 2017 at 19:36:52 pm

HaHa! Monty Python could do a skit.

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timothy
on December 06, 2017 at 20:23:56 pm

I appreciate the recognition of my name and cannot erase the willful offenses.

My writing, it is indeed worrisome, especially because it responds to Wallner's esteemed failures: to understand either the preamble or a civic people's collaboration for benefits using the-objective-truth rather than dominant opinion. That does not mean Wallner's thoughts were not useful---just incomplete.

We the People of the United States, in 2017, have the benefit of 229 years' both physical and psychological discoveries since the USA was established by 2/3 of the people in nine states. (People falsely claim July 4, 1776 as the USA's birthday.)

Our generation has the opportunity because past generations did not accept it. Most persons in past generations had not the courage to take responsibility for human freedom. Therefore, we have no idea what human freedom is like.

I think that in human freedom, most people collaborate for civic justice, and they develop statutory law that constrains dissidents using justice rather than arbitrary opinion, such as religion or none. The rule of statutory justice is what empowers happiness according to personal preference rather than in subjugation to someone else's dictates. In other words, the object is personal liberty with civic morality. Further, it is not only the preamble's division of the people into civic citizens vs dissidents, the development of statutory justice is key to the USA's promise.

In a civic culture, every no-harm religious belief flourishes.

I think the above summarizes what I wrote earlier and is worth a reader's time to comprehend then improve.

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phil beaver
on December 07, 2017 at 06:22:20 am

Does anyone honestly think a TRUMP appointee is going to be a fair arbiter of the law?

This is eerily reminiscent of what happened in Germany in 1933: the Nazis replaced judges and bureaucrats with their political operatives. But unlike the timorous and servile Germans, the majority of Americans have chosen to resist.

And as the week's news has revealed, not without good cause.

The national Republicans are not so much a Party as they are a criminal conspiracy. The entire Trump clan is balls' deep in Russian money laundering, and the real obstruction of justice is in killing the case against DoucheBank. Firing James Comey was one thing, but firing Preet Bharara is another. And to the extent that congressional committees are trying to kill the investigation, they are accessories after the fact.

And what about the tax bill? R donors told them that if they don't give them the tax bill they want, they will cut off their allowance. They don't even bother to hide the fact that they are blackmailing the Rs. And you would sit idly by and just watch the criminal looting of our Treasury?

Congress plainly intended to insulate this agency from political pressure, in much the same manner as they did the head of the FBl. Why can't they do that?

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Trevor Chase
on December 07, 2017 at 08:58:34 am

Yeah, Dawg, that's right the entire Trump Clan is awash in Russian ,omey. I mean look at how much The Trumpster got from the Uranium One deal - Oops, wait a minute says homer Simpson (you in this case) that was Hillary that got that money.

As to why they can't do it - well, how about COTUS and a couple of judges.

Goodness gracious, Dawg, your LW blinders are showing.

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gabe
on December 07, 2017 at 10:22:11 am

Ah, I am relieved to see that Trevor (in particular) is on the side of the CNN angels. He must write a dossier about the myriad unlawful facets of Trump's presidency. I recommend a dossier because it would be more widely read and believed than his beloved law review articles.

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timothy
on December 07, 2017 at 12:57:51 pm

Hey Dawg:

FYI AND from YOUR hero Randy Barnett:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/12/is-the-deep-state-attempting-a-coup.php

In which the estimable Prof Barnett asserts that the CFPB shenanigans amount to a "constitutional crisis"

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gabe
on December 07, 2017 at 13:00:42 pm

"the elites of America think its OK for many American children to be born poor"

In fact, most people think this is just fine. That's why somewhere between 97-99% of ALL BABIES EVER BORN were born poor.

"I do not want a nanny state"

Yes. You do. Implicit in your argument for baby licensure is that people are propert of the state, to be created and used only for the benefit of the state. Not only do you want a nanny state, you embrace the worst excesses of tyrants. You see people less as people, with wants and dreams of their own, but more as economic units upon which to be experimented to maximize some equation (for you it's GDP).

"the Christian usurpation of the people’s authority"

This didn't happen.

"Moral discovery can be brought up to par very rapidly—in a matter of under ten years."

False.

Further, morality isn't physics, as you pretend. In fact, science us subjugated by morality, not the other way around, as you pretend. WHAT is studied and WHY is more important than HOW it is studied. Sam Harris is a materialist who wholly (purposefully?) misses this point.

"In general, a civic people iteratively collaborate to discover and apply the-objective-truth."

Who cares what your imagined type of being does. ALL that matter is how real flesh and blood people ACTUALLY behave.

You've fallen victim to an idol as old as humanity. The belief that your belief system can perfect humanity. Your idol has resulted in untold misery, pain, and slaughter.

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Ken
on December 07, 2017 at 13:09:15 pm

This problem could be solved tomorrow.

Go to the American people. Explain the situation:

"I was elected to run the executive branch, but the executive bureaucracy thwarts my efforts to get control. They make on average $X a year and have enjoyed ironclad job security, while the average American worker makes only a fraction of that, and can be fired at will or get laid off. While those guys get fat and happy on your money, while you're struggling with your bills, they are doing things that actually kill the goose that lays those golden eggs: that's the American economy. That's you, ladies and gentleman.

"And do they act grateful? No. In fact, they harass businesses and taxpayers at will. And nobody stops them. We're trying to create jobs; they're trying to destroy them or send them overseas.

"We're going to put a stop to this. We're going to take away bureaucratic power by doing just one thing: by giving the President, his appointees, and the directors who work under them the power to fire federal employees who are not doing their job -- which is to serve you, the people.

"If we don't do that, then we might as well change the name of the Civil Service to the Civil Masters. If they can tell everyone what to do, when to do it, how much to pay, and sit right in the middle of every economic transaction that takes place in this great country, and are answerable to nobody, not the voters, not Congress, not the President -- then are not civil servants. They are civil masters; that's what they really are. They are my civil masters, they are your civil masters.

"I understand that people who don't like me are going to want to side with the bureaucracy. Don't listen to them. Our great county set things up so that everybody in government is supposed to answer to somebody. In the executive branch, that somebody is me. If you don't like me, if you think I'm doing a terrible job, you can vote me out of office in 2020. But nobody gets to vote on whether the bureaucrats who sent jobs overseas by the thousands through their horrible decision-making get to keep their jobs. Nobody gets to vote on whether the IRS bureaucrats who harassed conservative political groups get to keep their jobs. They just keep them, and we're supposed to be powerless to resist.

"We need to change the whole dynamic. Everybody in the private sector answers to somebody. I answer to somebody when I build hotels -- if customers doesn't like my product, my hotels lose their value. Everybody has a boss. You have a boss. You don't also need a civil master to ride on top of you, to give you a hundred reasons why you should spend twice as much money to make something, and then hold his hand hand out.

"Give me the power to fire them, and they become civil servants again."

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Reformed Trombonist
on December 07, 2017 at 13:17:17 pm

[…] The Normies begin to stir. […]

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#Resistance And The Crisis Of Authority In American Politics | Western Rifle Shooters Association
on December 07, 2017 at 14:49:17 pm

[…] http://www.libertylawsite.org/2017/12/06/resistance-and-the-crisis-of-authority-in-american-politics… Arthur Silber is correct in his analysis of our mis-placed emphasis and virtue signaling wrt sexual aggression : […]

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Daily Reading #1F1 | thinkpatriot
on December 07, 2017 at 15:25:45 pm

"I do not want a nanny state but do want 1) procreation licensing..."

Yes. You want a nanny state which will presumably force abortions. I do not, and I understand the authority the writer discusses. If you wish to turn this country into a totalitarian dictatorship, you will be faced with the authority of the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment.

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Button Gwinnet
on December 07, 2017 at 16:00:28 pm

[…] is one of the most dangerous things in modern America. These people need to be summarily fired and […]

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Glibertarians | Thursday Afternoon Links
on December 07, 2017 at 22:15:01 pm

gabe: "your LW blinders are showing."

Bonnie Parker Clinton was a crime wave in a pantsuit. But that fact doesn't make Trump clean.

What have l preached to you, gabe? "Follow the goddamned money!!!"

ln the beginning, l thought that Trump was more like Romney: he had disreputable partners (MR got his seed $ from Central American warlords), but he was probably OK because he was getting loans from reputable banks like DB. But in the wake of the DB money-laundering scandal, it appears that virtually all his money was coming from Daddy Vladdy. He's Vlad's bitch; at this point, the evidence for this borders on the irrefutable. Trump can fire Mueller, but the one he has to worry about is Schneiderman. He can't even pardon himself!

As for the CFPB, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act does not empower the President to supersede Dodd-Frank’s later-enacted, more specific, and mandatory text. Specific and subsequent enactments always trump broader and less-specific ones, if you are an originalist. (l don't care who wins here, as Trump can always get the dumbest fuck to ever fall off a turnip truck past our rubber-stamp Senate.)

HRC turned State into a pay-for-play operation; the Republicans have turned the whole damn government into one.

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Trevor Chase
on December 07, 2017 at 22:15:43 pm

This isn't about his Presidency,. This is about the money-laundering he did to preserve his empire. NY AG Schneiderman ought to have his sorry ass dead to rights--that's what the revelation about the DB subpoenas means. He gets what Mueller gets.

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Trevor Chase
on December 07, 2017 at 23:28:08 pm

Starting at the end of your statements and working backwards, I oppose believing. Since I stopped believing, I admit to myself that I do not know what I do not know. It does not matter to me, but your beliefs about my beliefs are for you and of you. They influence neither me nor people who are interested in civic peace.

Your claim that there are no civic citizens---that I imagine them---is false. Many “real flesh and blood people” in America are responsibly free and many of them practice the civic agreement that is stated in the preamble. What I propose is the acceptance that the preamble’s inclusiveness, “We the People of the United States,” will perhaps never be. That is, there will always be dissidents to the agreement that is stated in the preamble. But the civic citizens care about the civic vs dissidents division---contrary to your claim “who cares.” Perhaps you are hung up on the-objective-truth and physics. People avoid falling off bridges because they know the power of gravity. (Borrowing from Lane.)

Furthermore, dissidents are, after all, human beings, and as such are too psychologically powerful to accept dominant opinion, such as factional-Christian doctrines, as the-objective-truth. Aware humans civically subject themselves only to actual-reality, and some hope for a favorable hereafter. Therefore, a civic culture must be based on collaboration to discover and use the-objective-truth to establish statutory justice, law, and law enforcement. Human beings will not accept religious beliefs as a basis of civic justice.

By collaborating on the-objective-truth, civic citizens empower themselves to responsibly pursue the happiness they perceive rather than the idea someone else has for them. When most people are living with responsible freedom, dissidents will observe the benefits and reform, such that the culture asymptotically approaches We the People of the United States.

Despite my stand, when most people behave with responsible freedom, every no-harm belief flourishes, whether it’s a personal belief or an association of believers. The fact that I oppose the practice of believing, so as to trust and commit to the-objective-truth (which I do not know), harms neither me nor anyone else in the world.

You belittle physics---reality---by changing the subject to science, a study. You might sober up a bit (toward physics) by reading Rudyard Kipling’s story, “The Man Who Would be King,” 1888, or watch the great John Huston movie of the same name. It is an outstanding illustration of the power of biology, a progeny of physics, over religious belief. Also, you may then go to your mirror and say to the face there: You are the pretender: be thankful and sober up.

Sam Harris has nothing to do with either Albert Einstein or me. I discovered Einstein’s essay there by google search and am glad to share the information, despite blind skeptics who write before they read. I have never tried to understand why Harris reprinted Einstein's essay.

“This didn’t happen” is meaningless beyond personal denial. The fact is, Christianity falsely labels the preamble a secular sentence. The preamble is neutral to religion and is a civic contract. But denial of the-objective-truth is how dissidents divide themselves from a civic people.

On the contrary, people like Barack Obama think of people as objects for the state. Obama said, “Together we determined that a modern economy requires . . . schools and colleges to train our workers.” I want an education system that coaches children to understand the basics and intend to live a full life in responsible freedom.

Thank you for pointing out a poor choice of words. I hereby revise the statement to “the elites of America think its OK for many American children to be born only to continue generations of poverty.” No thanks for your arrogant “baby licensure” whatever it means. I wrote “procreation licensing so as to civically protect children from adults who will not appreciate them.” An interminable skeptic would easily distort my statement.

I arrived at where you started. I hope you have a better idea of what I am working for and have begun to think about how the people may collaborate for civic peace.

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phil beaver
on December 08, 2017 at 00:05:52 am

The procreation license I have in mind solely protects children from being conceived for a life without love.

For example, humankind understands that the human body does not complete construction of the wisdom-building parts of the brain until age 23 (female) or 25 (male). I suggest the procreation license require the woman be older than 28 and the man older than 30.

The idea is to inform people rather than force people.

As for abortion, I constantly write that I oppose abortion for fun but otherwise oppose tyranny against a woman who is pregnant. Her decision to remain pregnant is private.

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phil beaver
on December 08, 2017 at 07:20:53 am

Read it (l follow his Twitter feed) ... and laughed. Process matters; an honest originalist judge would have granted English's request for an injunction, for reasons previously stated. All Dolt45 had to do was appoint Mulvaney, who the lickspittle Senate would confirm without a moment's thought. But unless and until he does, English is in the right.

We have no shortage of important constitutional crises on our hands. This really isn't one of them.

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Trevor Chase
on December 08, 2017 at 10:29:23 am

[…] #Resistance and the Crisis of Authority in American Politics […]

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Not Before My Morning Coffee: 12-8-17 | The Universal Spectator
on December 08, 2017 at 22:03:07 pm

Wallner’s essay is so rich almost every paragraph can be developed into a proposal that is both vital to a civic people and under intense 2017-consideration. I came back to the essay due to civic obligations to help reverse Obergefell v. Hodges. Let me start with this erroneous paragraph:

“If asked, most people today would likely equate authority with power. Power is rightly understood as the ability to compel obedience through intimidation and force. But unlike power, authority does not compel through such coercion. Rather, it is self-evident; people submit to authority voluntarily. Authority, properly understood, transcends the back-and-forth of political life. In that way, it resides outside the government.”

(I worry that Wallner is code-wording his way to Christianity.) Regardless, the paragraph is both “rightly” and “properly” understood in Wallner’s proprietary world. With no particular fault by Wallner (it's typical), it does not pertain to “We the People of the United States” as defined by the civic agreement in the preamble to the constitution for the USA. Such people behave for justice in daily connections with other people more than to cooperate with municipal rules or social conventions. That’s not hypothetical: There are many civic citizens in this country.

Consider the unique psychological power of human beings. A herd of sheep can be led over a cliff. But humans may reject terminal subjugation and develop the psychological power to control their personal energy. Yet charismatic persons convince groups to drink poisoned cool aide or in other ways commit suicide. People who submit to falsehood do so either through misinformation or through greed and gullibility to personal wisdom. But the informed, humble person cannot be persuaded to do wrong, as demonstrated by many people who were survived Nazi concentration camps.

The-objective-truth is power and authority. For example, the informed human being accepts the power of gravity and conforms to gravity’s authority. In other words, the human submits to the authority of gravity. Personifying gravity, we may say that gravity forces the person’s obedience. Only by misunderstanding or greed would a person defy the power of gravity. But a person who understands and submits to gravity did not “submit to authority voluntarily,” as Wallner claims. People submit to gravity for survival. Some people died trying to fly like a bird.

Relative to gravity, death is a less understood power. Yet each human encounters death’s authority.

Each human is comprised of body, mind and person. When the body and mind cease functioning, the person lives on in the memories of loved ones, friends and acquaintances and in the person’s concrete accomplishments---children and grandchildren and beyond, fine arts, literature, inventions, awards, cities they built, reactors they designed, people they helped and so on. Some people achieve responsible freedom over the course of their lifetimes.

Some people claim that beyond the body, mind, and person there exists a soul, whereby there is an afterdeath beyond dust. The person’s afterdeath may be favorable or not depending upon expressed acceptance of an authority.

Undiscovered, the authority is constructed on its mystery. Some people bargain with the mystery for the favorable afterdeath. They bargain with the mystery---did not “submit to authority voluntarily”. They bargained with the mystery for a favorable afterdeath rather than in freedom.

I think this issue---private hope for a favorable afterdeath---is, unnecessarily, the bane of American republicanism. Evolution developed one species, the human being, who is too physically and psychologically powerful to submit to any way of living that does not accommodate his or her responsible liberty. Some develop belief in a favorable afterdeath and some reject that mystery. Believers have no power over non-believers: non-believers reject the authority of mystery.

In these 229 years since the USA was established (on June 21, 1788, by 2/3 of the people in 2/3 of the states, among 1/3 dissidents for their reasons), separation of church and state has never been accomplished. I think most citizens want civic peace. It can be accomplished by using the preamble to order civic issues, keeping religious concerns private. The civic debates may start with the people and extend through the states to the three branches of the federal government. Civic citizens may collaborate to discover and utilize the-objective-truth rather than dominant opinion to discover justice. A free and responsible press may chronical a civic people’s ineluctable march to justice. Civic citizens who believe in the mystery of the soul may pursue the happiness they want without conflicting the civic peace. The non-believer and the believer may mutually appreciate personal liberty with civic morality.

I think and hope this change is happening as I write.

By the way, I was motivated to write again on re-reading Matthew J. Franck, “The Problem of Judicial Supremacy,” National Affairs, No. 27, Spring 2016, page 137; nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-problem-of-judicial-supremacy. I wrote in 2015 to suggest to Kyle Duncan, working for Louisiana’s Attorney General, to defend marriage for procreation rather than “between a man and a woman.” I was disappointed. In general, religion has no power to discover civic justice, and that is especially so in the USA.

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phil beaver

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