Tuesday, February 28, 2017

White House Decorum?

WASHINGTON — Photos of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway kneeling on an Oval Office couch with her shoes on have sparked an online debate about decorum in the executive mansion.


The scandal is sometimes referred to as "Monicagate," Lewinskygate," "Tailgate," "Sexgate," and "Zippergate”…

Monday, February 27, 2017

Food for Thought

Taken from an essay by Dr. Michael Vlahos, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, entitled “America: Imagined Community, Imagined Kinship.”

The focus of his essay is to develop the concept of “kinship as a key dimension in modern state relations….”  More interesting to me is the underlying idea of imagined kinship as opposed to actual kinship. (In all cases, emphasis added.)

Kinship drives culture, and cultural rules shape society.

This is quite easy for most to understand and accept, I hope. 

The nation most dependent on invented kinship as the basis of its politics is the United States…

Who does the inventing?  Isn’t that the question?  And the answer is…

Imagined kinship is the foundation of national community…. Imagined community also makes the state the trusted manager of this process…

There you have it.

Nations remain together, and belong together, because people believe, at some level, that they are a clan, a tribe, a family.

This belief is certainly being challenged today both in the United States and between the states of Europe.

But if the nation, however amazing and wondrous, is simply a collective human artifact, then the nation-state is a construct within a construct. The state, arguably, is even more dependent on conscious collective loyalty than is the nation, its mother.

Hence, explaining the need for the state to perpetuate myths.

This judgment has been proven throughout modernity—the epoch of the nation-state. Nations since 1789 have overturned state regimes and their establishments by the hundreds. Hence, it is understandable, even necessary, that the state accomplish three things to ensure its perpetuity.

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

First, it must cement the conviction that the nation and its state form a unitary body, which the state rules as the head (the caput), and the nation lives as the body: a true "body politic" that is necessary only to support the ruling life and thought of the head.


Second, the state must arrange the civic—even the daily personal life—of the nation so that it is always ritually and symbolically reminded in public display that the body serves the state's sacred vision (again, the US Pledge of Allegiance is a prime example).


Finally, the state must seize constitutional power to claim the lives of its citizens in times of crisis, so that such authority over the body, however the idea is sold politically, is understood by all citizens to rest with the state.


There should be no doubt that the life of the state depends on the death of kinship and traditional culture; this is why the state works so hard to destroy it. 

There will be something that holds society together beyond respect for property.  Libertarians who avoid this avoid fundamental human nature; we have no choice on this matter.  The only question that remains: what shall be that something?

I suggest kinship and culture.  Legislation from afar and by strangers (if not enemies) has proven neither stable nor favorable toward peace.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

We Have Begun a Revolution…

So says Angelo Codevilla in his interview at LRC.

I have referenced Codevilla once or twice in the past.  I find his thinking on the current situation regarding the open battle between what Trump represents on the one hand and the ruling class on the other to be the most compelling analysis that I have heard or read.

It is well worth the 25 minute investment to listen to the interview; many of you will listen more than once in any case. 

I offer one quote from Codevilla:

Hear me…you see the entire ruling class essentially rejecting the Constitution, the American way, rejecting the legitimacy of elections.  There can be no mild response to that, and there isn’t one.  Trump’s voters want certain results and they don’t particularly care how they get them.  The ruling class wants its power and doesn’t particularly care how it holds on to it.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Clinton Cooperates With Russia

It seems cooperating with Russia is only allowable when someone named Clinton does the cooperating:

“By the spring of his first year in office,” [Strobe] Talbott later recalled, “Clinton had become the U.S. government’s principal Russia hand, and so he remained for the duration of his presidency.”

“…the spring of his first year…” would be within a couple of months of taking office.

During the seven years both were in office, “Bill and Boris” met eighteen times, nearly as often as their predecessors had met throughout the entire Cold War. For his first trip abroad, Clinton met Yeltsin in Vancouver in April 1993.

Eighteen meetings?  This is how rumors start.

Well, one thing I am sure of: this was a one-way conversation; Clinton doing the demanding and Yeltsin doing the obeying.  There was no dialogue; they didn’t try to work out issues:

Where the two Governments differ, [Clinton] said, there could be dialogue without threat.

No there can’t!  You call this diplomacy?  Threats are what make the world go ‘round.  The US has to threaten Russia; Russia is the biggest security threat to US and international security.  Don’t you get it?

"We have proved that this is a good relationship, that it is worth the investment, and that we are approaching it in a proper way," [Clinton] said. "The people of the United States, the people of Russia and the people of the world are safer today than they were two years ago and than they were before this last meeting between us occurred."

Hillary, can you talk some sense into that husband of yours?

We need to find the adult in the room.  Let’s ask Yeltsin what he thinks:

I would say that emotions sometimes get the upper hand in assessing Russian-American partnership. This is not the approach that Bill and I have.

Bill, can you talk some sense into that wife of yours?


May 1997 - NATO-Russia Founding Act: Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin met at the Elysee Palace in Paris to sign the NATO-Russia Founding Act. In the Founding Act's preamble, NATO and Russia stated that they no longer considered each other as adversaries.

I guess this is true for only as long as Russia acquiesces to whatever NATO demands.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Logical Inconsistency of Open Borders...

…for libertarians…

Jacob Hornberger has written a new post on open borders.  Several months ago I went on a back-and-forth exchange with him on this topic.  I found it a most frustrating experience, as he would either ignore or misrepresent my positions (for those interested, I offer the running dialogue, in order: here, here, here, here, and here).  Therefore, I will not comment directly on his current post – instead, I will touch on one logical inconsistency inherent in his view.

Anarcho-Libertarian Borders

I have argued before that in an anarcho-libertarian world, there would be no such thing as (state) “borders” because there would be no such thing as states.  I welcome anyone to prove this wrong.

In such a world, every “border” would be a private border demarcating private property and that these borders most certainly would be “managed” by the property owner.  I welcome anyone to argue otherwise.

In such a world, everyone has a right to emigrate (assuming the individual has not voluntarily bound himself to stay); no one has a right to immigrate.  Immigration onto a private border without invitation is a trespass.  Again, I welcome contrary opinions.

In conclusion, in an anarcho-libertarian world, there would be no such thing as open borders.

Limited Government Libertarian Borders

I have suggested that in a world of state borders, there is no libertarian answer to the issue of crossing those borders.  There are, of course, libertarians such as Hornberger who disagree.  The closest libertarian-consistent answer I can derive is one where the potential immigrant has an invitation from a citizen, along with guarantees of employment and housing.

There are many libertarians who advocate for limited government; Hornberger is one of these.  What is typically meant by “limited government”?  I offer a definition from Hornberger:

Thus, as limited-government proponents have long pointed out, there are three primary and legitimate functions of government: (1) to punish murderers, rapists, robbers, and the like; (2) to provide a court system in which people can peacefully resolve their disputes; and (3) to defend the nation from foreign invasion.

The Logical Inconsistency

Hornberger advocates for limited government; Hornberger advocates for open borders.  These two positions are logically inconsistent.

The limited government has responsibility “to defend the nation from foreign invasion.”

Does this not require controlling the border?