Contributed by: filbert Wednesday, July 06 2011 @ 08:43 AM CST
(The post title is of course a play on Benjamin Franklin’s comment to a passing woman in Philadelphia in 1789 who inquired of the elderly statesman “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin replied “A Republic, if you can keep it.”)
The term “republic” is not synonymous with “democracy.” In fact, the American Founders were deeply distrustful of a pure democracy–nearly as distrustful of that form of government as they were of monarchy. They were concerned with the tyranny of the majority as they were concerned with the tyranny of a single man, or any group. This was the uniquely American innovation: a form of government so divided that no single institution was entrusted with the power to become tyrannical (the term “tyranny” meaning government by a person or group which is unconstrained by any law–in essence, the modern word for a tyranny is “totalitarian.”)
The beneficence or cruelty of a totalitarian government is not the identifying feature of a tyranny–it is simply the disregard for the rule of law which marks a government as being tyrannical.
The problem with kindly tyrannies is that they can turn cruel upon–literally–a whim.
What kind of whim, you ask?
A SWAT team can break down a harmless elderly couple’s front door and terrorize them for hours, simply upon the say-so of some shady underworld informant who gave the police the wrong address–and the SWAT team not only is not constrained to obtain a search warrant, the members of the SWAT team and the officials overseeing the team and ordering the lawless attack are never punished or disciplined effectively for the error.
That kind of whim.
Politics Versus Reality[*2] — The irreplacable Thomas Sowell:
It is hard to understand politics if you are hung up on reality. Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.
Not only among politicians, but also among much of the media, and even among some of the public, the quest is not for truth about reality but for talking points that fit a vision or advance an agenda. Some seem to see it as a personal contest about who is best at fencing with words.
Pursuing Liberty — from author Sarah Hoyt. I haven’t read one of her books yet, but she just won an award for her latest. She blogs at Classical Values among other places. I may have to give her fiction work a look.
The French – and most other revolutionaries – fought for ideals of an abstract and high nature “Liberte, fraternite, egalite.” It doesn’t seem to have occurred to any of them – Lafayette included – that by mandating fraternite and egalite they were denying the liberte. And the fraternity and equality one being a lofty feeling, and the other an absolute measurement always prone to more and finer adjustment, both could be used as levers for the new upper classes to get more and more tyrannical power, until you could be executed as an “aristo” because you knew how to read or you wore glasses. Or you had one plate more than your destitute neighbor.
Americans, on the other hand, based their revolution on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You are free to pursue happiness. You have equality under the law on your right to pursue it.
No one guarantees you will catch it or that you’ll be happy when you do it. Well, at least we didn’t use to. In the twentieth century the statist excesses have infected even the US, and we’ve regulated more and more how equal you have to be and how much happiness you can attain and how much is “good for you.” This is a wrong path.
The more people know about science, the less they believe in global warming.[*4] — The Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, links to an academic study funded by the National Science Foundation, the lead author of which is from the Yale Law School. The conclusion does not “support the narrative” that “the science is settled.”
The riddle of the missing US ambassador as London toasts Ronald Reagan centenary[*5] — When all you see is politics, then everything becomes fair game. No behavior is outré, if it conforms to the appropriate political narrative. You can snub, shout down, or beat down your political opponents with wild abandon. Because they’re ignorant, wrong and stupid. And you’re intelligent, right, and care more than they do. Because “good guys” are never tyrants–at least in their own minds. They always have good and adequate reasons for the horrible things that they do.
If you don’t like the Casey Anthony verdict look in the mirror[*6] — This will be the only mention of this case which will ever appear here at Medary. Because it simply isn’t that important in the greater scheme of things. This case was, more than anything else, fodder to feed the insatiable 24/7 cable news channels’ ratings. Outside its immediate locale, and outside the family involved, it has no value other than lurid, prurient, semi-pornographic emotional stimulation.
Obama really might have made it worse[*7] — $278,000 per job created by the “Stimulus?” Yeah, I could have done better. Nearly anyone could have done better. But then, Obama has never spent a day working for a private company, has he?
OK, I’m done here. I have to go pour off the homebrew into the secondary fermentation carboys. And see about the service indicator thingie on the car. And other stuff. That darn reality, you know.