Donald Trump isn’t your guy, now what?

 

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This campaign cycle has been incredibly easy for some people, those who are anti-establishment. For the anti-establishment folk, there is Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Socialist realm and Donald Trump of the Authoritarian Populist realm. However, if your vote isn’t dictated by being ‘other’ but rather by your Conservative values of limited government this campaign cycle has been a meltdown of the Presidency and America as you know it. It has created a fracture in the Republican Party so baffling that one is reminded how after the 1960’s the Democratic Party abandoned classical Liberals and became more left.

By June 7th one of the candidates will have secured the nomination for their party and let’s face it, it will be Clinton and Trump so let’s examine what we do now.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Both Clinton and Trump, to the limited-government voter, are unsavory candidates. Hillary Clinton is a woman who rose to power with the advantage of her husband Bill, “two-for-the-price-of-one” as Bill said during his Presidential campaign in 1992 and now her time has come to step out as the first in command of the Clinton machine, a machine that has dominated Democratic politics for a quarter of a Century. In her corner she has feminism, her years in the White House as First Lady, years of experience in the Senate and years of experience as Secretary of State.

Her feminism has historically been revealed as opportunistic. On November 22nd 2015 she tweeted that “Every survivor of sexual assault has a right to be heard, believed, and supported.” However, she consistently protected and stood with the oppressors, not the victims, during Bill Clinton’s sexual assault scandal. According to Carl Bernstein, an investigative journalist for such publications as The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and the network ABC, in his biography of Hillary Clinton: A Woman In Charge, Hillary pushed to get sworn statements from women Bill had been rumored to have been involved with, statements in which they were supposed to say they’d had no relationship with him. She even interviewed one of these women herself, at her law firm. She also led efforts to undermine Gennifer Flowers, whom she referred to as “trailer trash.”

Her record and values as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State has overwhelmingly been an exercise in government intervention into private life and enterprise. Of children’s rights she was quoted saying “Even among persons in the children’s rights movement, there is a concern that extending rights to children against their parents is too difficult to control, and in all but the most extreme cases such questions should be resolved by the families, not the courts. I prefer that [government] intervention into an ongoing family dispute be limited to decisions that could have long-term and possibly irreparable effects if they were not resolved. Decisions [children could make] about motherhood and abortion, schooling, cosmetic surgery, treatment of venereal disease or employment, and others where the decision or lack of one will significantly affect the child’s future should not be made unilaterally by the parents. Children should have a right to be permitted to decide their own future if they are competent.” State intervention, via the courts, into the family is a position Clinton takes which leads to my final point about the courts I’ll get to later. Such views and policies ignore the broad cultural debate over government assuming the roles of parents. This ideology also has creepy connections to other Leftist regimes in which, written in the protocol, there was the deliberate intent of driving a wedge between parents and children, breaking up the family and cultivating ‘regime youth’ for ‘their own good.’

In business and the economy Hillary Clinton has proposed “raising the median income.” Never mind that government does not produce income but rather redistributes wealth. She called for new “public investments,” and establishing an “infrastructure bank” to “ channel public and private funds.” Those were her words; government to channel funds. The government steers and the market only rows, in her view. Does government have a better record handling finances? Current US debt is $19 Trillion.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton embraced intervention as her foreign policy, pressing for intervention in Libya against Barack Obama’s initial wariness of intervention, leaving Libya a failed State and a terrorist haven, not to mention the tragic September 11th, 2012 Benghazi attack that left 4 US diplomats dead including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens who was the first Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. In Iraq, the United States had intervened and occupied — and things had gone to hell. In Libya, the United States had intervened but not occupied — and things had gone to hell. And in Syria, the United States had neither intervened nor occupied — and things had still gone to hell. Obviously there is a broad debate about whether intervention is appropriate and how to strategize intervention in a tribal region that has trouble maintaining democracy. However, now in the embarrassing aftermath she has taken a position of categorical unaccountability stating “At the end of the day, this was the President’s decision.”

So if Hillary Clinton is a champion of government intervention and you believe in limited government what about Donald Trump?

Donald Trump passionately defends eminent domain, which is the right of the government to confiscate private property for government use. In an interview with Bret Baier on October 6th, 2015 he insisted that the compensated, involuntary transfer of private property by the government was in the public’s best interests. He first used the example of a government seizing land for a road or highway — generally the least controversial and most broadly supported use of eminent domain. But he quickly broadened his argument, insisting that government should always be allowed to take private land for development projects if the promised public benefits are big enough. “If you have a factory, where you have thousands of jobs, you need eminent domain, it’s called economic development,” Trump said. “Now you’re employing thousands of people and you’re able to build a factory, you’re able to build an Apple computer center, where thousands of people can work. You can do that, or you can say, ‘Let the man have his house.’”

Donald Trump has an affinity for using the courts. Donald Trump is named in at least 169 Federal lawsuits.  In the bulk of them he is a defendant but in more than 50 lawsuits he is a plaintiff and these lawsuits were waged because things haven’t gone his way, he didn’t get what he wanted, or brand and image were compromised. Trump threatened to sue Ted Cruz over a TV ad. He also promises, “One of the things I’m going to do if I win… I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” No Federal law currently exists that handles libel suits because they’re handled at the state level. Donald Trump has a deep-seated problem with free speech and his policies could seriously undermine our first constitutional right. Most limited-government supporters want to reform our legal system to cut down on frivolous lawsuits but Donald Trump wants to expand them and put in place Federal controls on free speech.

In regard to healthcare Donald Trump is quoted saying in an interview on 60 Minutes “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes. Everybody is going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” A mantra that perpetuates the paternalism and expansiveness of the government. He goes on to say, “…the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.” We can have everything with the governments help. That is Donald Trump’s message. He is also quoted in the 2016 CNN GOP debate saying, “I like the mandate,” meaning the government mandate to purchase a product (health insurance). Another quote from 2000 in The America We Deserve by Donald Trump he is quoted saying, “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by health care expenses. We must not allow citizens with medical problems to go untreated because of financial problems or red tape. The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than America. We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”

It is increasingly clear that Donald Trump is paternalistic in his view of the role of government. Much like his opponent he has the view that because we cannot help ourselves we need help from the government.

These are just a few examples of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s paternalistic philosophies and their big government approach. So, limited-government voter where does that leave you?

You will have four options for the General Election in November. A) vote for Donald Trump, B) vote for Hillary Clinton, C) write in a candidate, or D) don’t vote.

I am personally as disappointed as any voter who values limited government and individual liberty. I am forced to vote for a rock or a hard place and it’s unfortunate, it’s maddening. The culture of this country is changing and therefore the politics of this country are changing and let’s be honest it’s going more Left. Rather than pursuing a life for themselves more and more people want their living validated and provided for them. I fear that now, just as after the 60’s the Democratic Party left Liberalism and went to Leftism, the Republican Party is leaving Conservatism and embracing Populism. Sure, Donald Trump is a loyalist. He wants to secure the borders and protect the country, he supports your 2nd amendment right, he has business experience but our country isn’t only capitalist with a CEO dictating the dealings, it is also a Republic that is confined to its constitution. A constitution that has been revolutionary in its fundamental re-scripting of assumptions about government. Chief among them was the invention of popular sovereignty, a conception of the people as both rulers and ruled, who had none to govern but themselves. This concept was necessary to accommodate another innovation, federalism- the separation of the powers of government into national, state, county, city. Over two centuries, these solutions, radical for their time (and for ours), have been instrumental in the development of a more democratic and egalitarian nation. The Constitution also established a new but untested and controversial theory about the relationship between power and liberty.

So, this is my final argument to give credence and perhaps comfort to your vote this fall. The outcome of this election will be critical in determining the court’s future composition and the Supreme Court is paramount to interpreting our hallowed constitution.  The current Supreme Court consists of these members with the ones in bold nearing old age:

Liberal Appointees

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83, a Bill Clinton appointee

Stephen Breyer, 78, a Bill Clinton appointee

Sonja Sotomeyer, 61, Barack Obama appointee

Elena Kagan, 56, Barack Obama appointee

 

Swing vote

Anthony Kennedy, 80, a Ronald Reagan appointee (he has been a notable swing vote, conceding to the left on several cases)

 

Conservative Appointees

Clarence Thomas, 67, George H.W. Bush appointee

Samuel Alito, 66, George W Bush appointee

John Roberts, 61, George W Bush appointee.

 

As you can see, 3 seats on the Supreme Court will be vacated in the next few years and one is currently available because Conservative Justice Scalia died this year. Four of the current SC Justices have a liberal voting record and three have a conservative voting record with one swing vote that tends to go more liberal. In essence, the court is currently 5-3 a liberal court.

With the addition of 4 Justices under a Clinton Presidency (with either she or Obama appointing the Scalia replacement) it would be 6-3 in favor of a national power view of the Constitution. Under a Trump Presidency it would either be 6-3 (if Obama appoints the Scalia successor) or 7-2 in favor of a local power view of the Constitution. Now, this assumes that Trump would appoint true Conservatives to the bench and not faux Conservatives like himself but he would feel the pressure from Republicans in Congress. Supreme Court Justices, depending on their age, can serve for 30 or 40 years on the bench. Think of how a one term President can influence the decades to come (hello FDR). How much more a 30-year Justice with a nationalist bent will undermine the revolutionary aspects of our constitution? It sounds relaxing to have a Leftist culture, country and court but at what cost? $19 Trillion plus and your sovereign life.

 

 

 

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Donald Trump isn’t your guy, now what?

What are the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ in 21st Century America?

 

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Left <—Fascism—Communism—Socialism—Progressivism—Liberalism

—Moderate—

Neo-Conservatism—Conservatism—Libertarianism—Anarchism—> Right

           

   Left 

  • More government
  • ‘the people’
  • egalitarian
  • every realm of life is political
  • faith in the perfectibility of society
  • special interest in youth
  • public
  • permanent crisis
  • proletarian ascendance
  • living constitution
  • fondness of French Revolution

 

Right

  • Less government
  • ‘the person’
  • liberty
  • self-governing
  • understanding that nature is flawed
  • wisdom with age
  • private
  • self-sustaining
  • capitalism
  • originalist constitution
  • fondness of American Revolution

 

 

This figure is what I’m going to explore and keep in mind that I’m talking about the American political spectrum in the terms I list above with Left being most State control and Right being most individual freedom, which is much different than the European political spectrum. For example American Conservatism is Classical Liberalism in Europe. Though the American system has influence from the European system, as we shall see.

But first let me address your natural and historically groomed recoil by seeing Fascism on the Left.  Before World War II Fascism was seen as a Progressive social movement with many sympathizers in Europe and America and the word dictator was not dirty. It wasn’t until after the war that Fascism started to stink in the nostrils of the Left, which caused American Progressives to switch teams, going from ‘the blackshirts’ (Italian Fascism under Mussolini) to The Reds (Communism under Stalin). Stalin had a clever way of labeling inconvenient ideas and movements as fascist just as we see today, thus the birth of fascism as being ‘right-wing’ and anti-progressive, mainly because ‘right-wing’ and anti-progressive was ‘other than’ Stalin’s Communism. It was a propaganda technique.

Mussolini, the Father of Fascism, coined the word Totalitarian and it wasn’t a bad word until after the war. His definition was a society where everyone belonged, where everyone was taken care of, where everything was inside the State, nothing was outside the State. The Italian word ‘fascio’ meaning bundle is a synonym for union. In the 1920’s American youth and Academia fully embraced Italian Fascism calling it “the World’s first successful youth movement”. In the 20’s Hollywood was an admiring fan of Mussolini. He eventually appeared in 1923’s The Eternal City starring Lionel Barrymore. Unlike Classical Liberalism, which believed in checks and balances of powers, Progressives and intellectuals believed that the increase in state power was akin to the natural evolutionary process (Darwinism was in vogue and influential in shaping this ideology) in which collectivism of the body politic was the new freedom. They found it to be a natural Marxist process that was inevitable and any opposition was a block.

Let’s go back a little further. When the prospect of World War I was manifesting Mussolini’s Socialism, which originally found war to be imperialistic for the sake of capitalism, adapted. Mussolini steadily became pro-war because it was what the masses wanted. War is not antithesis to the Progressive movement so long as it’s a war of good cause, of Progressive cause, such as bringing those on the margins into the fold and transcending class distinctions for the sake of a social equality and a unified collective. We see evidence of this in modern rhetoric such as ‘the War On Poverty’ or the ‘the War On Women.’

Thus World War I gave birth to Fascism, a militant humanitarianism. In essence Fascism is Socialism that uses military force. War advances the Socialist cause of a Proletarian Nation. An ideological distinction between Marxist (Materialist) Socialism and Italian Fascism, which was non-Marxist Socialism, is that Marxist Socialism regards a person’s status only in terms of its class. Race, nationality, culture, and religion were only illusions. However, Fascism regards nationality to be more important than class. Mussolini ended up serving in the First World War and this furthered his new ideology. He had fought as an Italian, not as a worker.

Some of the goals of Mussolini’s new found Fascism were establishing a minimum wage, ending the draft, giving voting rights to all women, establishing a legal workday of 8 actual hours, farmers cooperatives, a large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time expropriation of riches, the seizure of all goods obtained from religious institutions, the creation of government bodies run by workers’ representatives. These were Proletarian goals that cannot be seen as ‘right-wing’. However, the international Socialist movement still didn’t like Mussolini’s new Socialism since it was Nationalist in scope, so they labeled him ‘right-wing’ but really he was a Populist-Socialist. Populist means mobilizing the people by appealing to their sentiments and anger. At the end of his life he died a Socialist through and through just like he said he’d remain.

As we can see Socialism and Fascism are born out of the same ideological soil: ‘power to the people’. Communism too runs in this vein. American Progressives and Liberals are too woven out of the same cloth. The difference is not ideology but mechanism. I place Fascism on the far left because it is militant Socialism, everything within the State, nothing outside the State. Although, Communism has a broader scope in that it doesn’t believe in centralized power in nation states but rather a global, international system. This could be seen as the more powerful system since it has goals for global reach but Communism as it has been manifested has been slightly less authoritarian. Let’s explore Communism.

Karl Marx who wrote The Communist Manifesto envisions a society where Communism is the final evolution of the socio-economic condition from feudal (laborers who are dispossessed of their land by Lords and must sell their produce to survive) to Capitalist (laborers who choose to sell their goods and services for a wage, commoditization and surplus is born, a gap between worker and employer emerges) to Socialist (the workers start to rise up against the capitalists, depending on a government composed of workers representatives to mediate production) to Communist (a final Proletarian dictatorship in which the workers in a body politic hold absolute power) where there is no need for political or class distinction because all the produce, power and wealth will be in the hands of the Proletariat, the worker. It will be a dictatorship of the worker.

Vladimir Lenin and his Russian Bolsheviks had the theory that the intellectual leaders of the movement would direct the economy and the society through a government that deliberately excluded the exploiters or Capitalists, since the proletariat was too sedated to start a revolution himself. The movement would overthrow the Bourgeoisie, the Capitalists, and the intellectual leaders who are representatives of the workers, would then govern the cooperative goods and wealth. Soviet democracy nationalized industry and established a foreign-trade monopoly to allow the productive coordination of the national economy, and so prevent Russian national industries from competing against each other.  It started out as a cooperative in which several worker parties were represented in political affairs, save for the Capitalists who were excluded, but eventually developed into a one-party dictatorship of the Proletariat managed by the Vanguard Party. Lenin was against Nationalism, which he found oppressive toward the Proletariat in other nations. In all forms of Communism, though they vary slightly, exclusion of the Capitalists is central and class-consciousness and Proletariat Dictatorship are paramount. They vary on issues such as Nationalism or allowance of private land ownership in agriculture. Ultimately Lenin died and Stalin took over. Lenin was the more Democratic of the two leaders while Stalin took agriculture into the State’s hands Lenin allowed private agriculture ownership. While Lenin was more popular with the masses, Stalin was more ruthless. So while Marxism had a revolutionary thought of working class transcending the middle class and Capitalists in a borderless, completely egalitarian, government free society it has never come to fruition. There has always been a government of intellectuals that decide and direct on behalf of the Proletariat. And ultimately when there are a few in charge on behalf of the many, even an intelligentsia with the most hospitable intentions, corruption breeds.

Socialism has included many different manifestations. Again, it is defined as social ownership and democratic control of the means for production. How much state control varies. Some Socialist governments allow for private property. Unlike Marx who believed that the state would whither away into a Proletariat dictatorship some Socialists considered the state to be an entity independent of class allegiances and an instrument of justice that would therefore be essential for achieving socialism.

American Progressives around the First World War were more Nationalist and authoritarian than Progressives today but that was on trend at that time. In fact one could conclude it was a watered down Fascism. Woodrow Wilson is an example of this.   Wilson found the antiquated checks and balances of the American system to be outdated and pushed for more Congressional power. He believed the constitution to also be outdated and felt it should be a living, organic, evolving constitution. He believed that the entire society was one organic whole and that there was no room for dissidents. Your home, your thoughts, everything was part of the body politic that the state was charged with redeeming. From the 1890’s to World War I American Progressives and European Socialists were fighting the same fight. Wilson, being a social scientist, had faith that society could bend to the will of social planners ‘for its own good.’ The Progressive ideal of marrying individualism and socialism was an attempt at adapting antiquity to modernity. Modernity, they thought, is organic, scientific, enlightened, evolving while antiquity (and we’re talking the American system which is not old) is beholden, decadent, capitalist, industrialist. In other words, the Progressives were going to divinize man while under the Classical Liberals the people were asleep.

Wilson put into use unprecedented sweeping Progressive legislative policies and Progressive mobilization philosophies including reinstitution of the Federal Income Tax and developing the Progressive tax structure, he oversaw propaganda techniques to coerce Americans to ration food and buy Liberty Bonds to fund the war, he set up a war industries board, put the Secretary of Treasury in charge of the railroads, promoted labor union cooperation, passed the Espionage Act and conducted the Palmer Raids which sniffed out and suppressed all dissidents against the war and the Sedition Act under which 75 literary magazines were banned for not being more enthusiastic about the movement. Under Wilson the Justice Department created the American Protective League in which members were mobilized to spy on their neighbors in order to weed out dissident opinion against Wilson’s Progressive movement. This included reading their mail and listening in on their phone calls with government approval. Under its full operation the APL had a quarter of a million members. Tens of thousands of people were jailed for failing to display their patriotism in one way or another. All this effort was for the minds of men, to elevate past their barbaric individualism into the collective order, to establish a Progressive Third Way in which class distinction is transcended into a National collective consciousness for the good of mankind.

With FDR Liberalism replaced Progressivism but are they really that different? Let’s explore. FDR took the office of Presidency in the depth of the Great Depression and in the first 100 days of his Presidency, much like Wilson, he passed unprecedented sweeping Progressive legislation that would have lasting effects for decades upon decades after. This was an expansion of the federal government never before seen. Whether it was to our advantage or to our detriment is up to you and your values. Here is what he’s done. He hired a group of young Ivy League intellectuals and New York social workers known together as the ‘Brain Trust’ to engineer reforms that he would put into use with carte blanche from Congress since they were so desperate. He set out to “wage a war against the emergency.” Through the Brain Trust he was charting our collective future. The New Deal emerges. He passed the Wagner Act that promoted labor unions and the Works Progress Administration that made the Federal government by far the largest employer in the US. He established the National Recovery Administration and passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act which reduced agricultural production by paying farmers subsidies to kill off their crops and slaughter their livestock in order to reduce surplus and artificially raise and set prices. The government bought 6 million pigs from farmers only to slaughter them for price fixing. Bowing to union pressure FDR ‘repatriated’ (deported) 400,000 Mexican Americans who were American citizens in order to take them off jobs that union workers wanted which was a gross violation of their civil liberties. Two years later the National Recovery Administration and the AAA were decided unconstitutional by the Supreme Court although the AAA was amended and is still on the books today.

Last but not least the Social Security Act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court as Constitutional because of the clever way it was packaged. How can mandatory purchase of insurance be constitutional? Here’s how it was done: One title of the Act was a “true tax”, an income tax that is collected as revenue without earmarks for any specific purpose. Another title spoke of old-age benefits being valid expenditures for the general welfare of the nation that Congress has the authority to determine. The Supreme Court analyzed the titles separately and adhered to the view that the social security program consists of separate taxing and spending provisions and are not, constitutionally speaking, social insurance programs. Therefore, it is constitutional. The Court’s decision in the social security cases represented a significant constitutional development in establishing the breadth of Congress’ powers to tax and spend for the general welfare. The decision not only cleared the way for other general welfare programs, but more fundamentally provided the Federal Government with the substantive power and institutional flexibility to respond to the changing needs and wants of the Nation.  FDR was the only President to serve an unprecedented 4 terms and, frustrated with the Conservatives on the Supreme Court who were striking down parts of his New Deal, also attempted to ‘pack the courts’ with Liberals to constitutionally pass his legislation by proposing a bill to Congress that would give the President authority to place extra younger justices on the Supreme court when the sitting justices are over the age of 70 (and considered by him too senile to discern the constitution). This would have allowed him to expand the court by 15 justices as well as up to 44 judges of the lower federal courts. The bill was voted down 70-22 but it left a lasting impression on the Supreme Court who began to relent and uphold his New Deal package. FDR and the New Deal were popular. In crisis the masses choose big government but at what cost? Oh, how fleeting our memory of history is when a mere 150 years earlier we were sacrificing comforts and security to throw off the crown. In the 1930’s we were sacrificing our enterprise for the paternal protection of the state.

The current differences between Modern Progressivism and Liberalism are debatable because of their intersecting philosophical history. As we can try to decipher, modern Progressives are the more Left leaning Liberals that hearken back to the early American Progressives such as Wilson. Liberals and Progressives believe in more government intervention in socio-economics. They believe that the problems society faces (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) are best addressed by providing government solutions. Progressives and Liberals believe that government should be a tool for societal change. Progressives and Liberals believe in the power of the state but still embrace the democratic voting process and the constitution, however they find the constitution to be malleable and evolving and prefer the popular vote to the Electoral College. Progressivism is more indignant about channeling Capitalism’s profits into societal priorities.

Liberalism is the slightly more conservative socio-economic system of the Left. Liberals may support moralist foreign policy and American intervention in the world. Liberalism is more about negotiating government intervention in a slightly more bi-partisan way. Modern Liberals supported bank bailouts and the market based Affordable Care Act while Progressives want more regulation of private enterprise and universal healthcare.

Moderates in the American political spectrum are those that find the Left and the Right as overly ideological. Roughly 1/3 of Americans call themselves Moderate. Moderates tend to find sympathy for arguments on both sides of the aisle. They tend to find government solutions to be failures yet wish there were a way for more equality in society.

Neo-Conservatives believe in “responsibility and results,” coupled with an obligation to help “citizens in need.” Neo-Conservatism is also known as Compassionate Conservatism. This philosophy believes in using Conservative techniques to improve the general welfare of society. George W Bush is an example. Examples of his Neo-Conservative policies are the Medicare Prescription Drug program, the No Child Left Behind Act and assistance to struggling countries around the world such as his $15 Million PEPFAR Plan (HIV/AIDS relief in Africa). Neo-Conservatism is a slightly left leaning ‘bleeding heart’ Conservative position.

American Conservatism believes in small government, individual states rights, American moralist foreign policy, traditional Judeo-Christian values, checks and balance of government branches, pursuit of private property, Capitalism, a fixed, originalist constitution as opposed to the ‘living constitution’ that Progressives support, and multi-cultural assimilation. Conservatives believe in addressing social and economic problems locally through private church and charities, family, community, and their local government. Federal government should only provide relief in emergencies and only in ways that produce tried and true results. Conservatives believe in opportunity and personal success. What Americans call Conservatism the rest of the world calls classical Liberalism. There is also the newly formed Tea Party, which focuses on de-centralization of government and strict constitutionalism. Conservatives vary on whether to have a completely unfettered Capitalism or minor government regulations. The more Right one goes the more toward total individual liberty.

Libertarianism seeks to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice. They have skepticism of authority. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling to restrict or even to wholly dissolve coercive social institutions such as the IRS, the Department of Education, the EPA and replacing it with the free market, individual freedom and responsibility.   They are against governmental social engineering. They are isolationist on foreign policy.

Obviously Anarchism is complete individual freedom and the dissolution of government. Interestingly throughout European history there has been Anarchist-Communism, Libertarian-Socialism, etc.

Why hasn’t America ever fully incorporated Socialism? Historians will submit that it’s because we don’t have Feudalism in our history. This is true. We are exceptional. America, since its inception, has always been a Right leaning country. This is inherent in its foundation. It was designed with checks and balances to the powers of the branches of government and an electoral college to give fair representation to lesser-populated rural areas rather than the popular vote, which would be heavy-handed in favor to the metropolises. Under this system it’s hard to effect radical change which, to many, is a relief since radical change has historically gone the way of corruption. The American Revolution was not an experiment, a fond word on the Left, or a government with the purpose of socially engineering Man. It was a movement toward the individual in which the individual engineers his own life. America believes in inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of property and the government was designed only as an institution to protect these rights with the consent of the people. America was specifically designed to avoid the rule of a single authority, whether that be a supreme leader or an organized collective which is exactly why we have a separation of powers and the diversity of the United States. A bloated federal government is antithesis to the local government design of the states. However, throughout American history a movement of intellectuals and a Progressive body politic borrowing from European ideology have always sought a unified collective in which Mankind would emerge equal, provided for and at peace, at the price of liberty but to the Left liberty is a small price to pay for utopia.

What are the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ in 21st Century America?

Civil Asset Forfeiture: The encroachment of the State

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A question that’s always in the back of my mind is will there be a day in America’s future that private property no longer exists? Ultimately, will the state so encroach on our freedoms that we forfeit our inalienable right to free will and become property of the State?

Asset forfeiture has been on my mind since I saw it happen locally and I’ve been doing some research into the matter. Recently there was a case in the news in which a Pennsylvania family lost their $350,000 home to civil forfeiture when the police caught their teenage son selling $40 worth of heroin at a separate location not on their property. For months they fought it, back and forth. They had no knowledge of their son’s activities let alone any participation in illegal activity and yet the police had the authority to come and take their private property. Not until they contacted the Institute for Justice did they finally get their property back. If you find yourself involved with civil forfeiture keep the Institute for Justice in mind!

There was also a neighbor of ours that was forced to evacuate his home while police went in and destroyed his property making it uninhabitable even though they never found any evidence of illegal activity. They had no evidence, they had no charges, they had no conviction and before the passage of SF 874 in Minnesota they didn’t have to. There was also an acquaintance that was followed by the Metro Gang Strike Force of Minnesota, disbanded in 2009 for corruption including counting on seized drug dealer money to fund the force after legislators slimmed down state funding, sloppy record keeping and lax financial controls pointing towards fraud and embezzlement. Ultimately a settlement awarded 96 victims $840,000 and returned some of their property. The outrage spurred lawmakers to pass a law requiring forfeiture reporting. The resulting data was later used by IJ in its “Stacked Deck” report. In turn, that research helped catalyze the passage of SF 874. The acquaintance I know had half a million dollars seized and ended up only getting back $5,000.

asset-forfeiture

Here’s how civil asset forfeiture works. It’s a legal tool that allows law enforcement officials to seize property that they assert has been involved in certain criminal activity. In fact, the owner of the property doesn’t even need to be guilty of a crime: Civil asset forfeiture proceedings charge the property itself with involvement in a crime. This means that police can seize your car, home, money, or valuables without ever having to charge you with a crime. It came into more feverish use with the institution of the ‘war on drugs’. There are many stories of innocent people being stripped of their money and property by law enforcement. Also, if an owner wants to get their property back, they have to prove their property was not the instrument or proceeds of the charged drug crime.  Owners have to prove a negative in civil court. Being acquitted of the drug charge in criminal court does not matter to the forfeiture case in civil court. In other words, your property is guilty until proven innocent even if you’ve been proven innocent in criminal court. It is disconcerting that a person has more legal right and protection in a criminal case than a civil case after all in a criminal case you are innocent until proven guilty and you’re provided with an attorney if you cannot afford one.

In Minnesota, not only was there an appalling lack of due process for civil forfeiture proceedings, law enforcement can keep up to 90 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property. That clearly creates a perverse incentive to police for profit. A report by the Institute for Justice found that forfeiture revenue grew by 75 percent from 2003 to 2010, earning police almost $30 million. In 2012 alone, there were 6,851 property seizures that amounted to $6.7 million according to the state auditor’s office. This growth occurred despite the fact that the crime rate was actually dropping in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Last fall, 2014, Governor Dayton of Minnesota signed into law bill SF 874 that rewrites civil forfeiture law so that now the government can only take property if it obtains a criminal conviction or its equivalent, like if a property owner pleads guilty to a crime or becomes an informant. The bill also shifts the burden of proof onto the government, where it rightfully belongs.

This is good news right? Partially. Federal law can do an end run around good state law. A process called equitable sharing allows local law enforcement officials to team up with federal law enforcement agents to seize property under federal forfeiture law that could not be seized under applicable state forfeiture law. Through equitable sharing, local law enforcement agencies pocket a portion of the proceeds from the seizure and the feds keep the rest. This is a way for local law enforcement to circumvent state law and continue to profit from civil asset forfeitures.

You may think this only happens to guilty people who deserve it, right? After all, this is America and if the police are seizing property it must be for good reason, right? While, for any good society to work we must depend on the police force to maintain justice the police force is not immune to corruption and checks and balances must be in place to monitor their activities. Anywhere there are people there is a temptation for corruption. Civil asset forfeiture profoundly affects the poor since their livelihood desperately depends on the assets that are taken and they can’t afford to be tied up in legal proceedings.

I am personally thankful for the passage of this bill, for the Institute for Justice, and for the whistle blowers that chose not to abet further corruption. I thoroughly stand by the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ as the tenet of our justice system especially if the person in question is cooperative with the investigation.

What does this say about encroachment of the State? If you’re a person that believes in freedom, the pursuit of private property, due process, innocence until proof of guilt you should have a HUGE problem with this. Loss of freedom always happens slowly and often under the good intention of social justice and security. Your material property is only the beginning, soon it’s your ability to make choices; your free will.  I am suggesting a renewed interest in checks and balances and a strengthening of our foundational principles. If we forget our inception we’re bound to regress.

The government was once an institute that protected your freedom against the trespassing of other people. More and more it seems that the government is taking your freedoms for ‘your own good’. This is defined as Hard Paternalism (there is also Soft Paternalism which is the passive-aggressive little sister of Hard Paternalism, be wary of both). For example, seat belt and helmet laws negotiated by insurance companies, seizing your earned income for redistribution programs such as welfare, mandatory retirement savings, swim restriction in public waters because there is no life guard on duty, mandatory curfews, etc. Paternalism is objectionable because it violates what the philosopher Immanuel Kant called the equal “dignity” of all human beings. Respect for human dignity implies respect for people’s ability to think and choose for themselves. Paternalism, however, imposes choices based on what someone else thinks is good for a person.

People who are interfered with are not treated as equals capable of making their own choices, Kant claims, but are treated as means to someone else’s view of what their choices should be, “like immature children unable to distinguish between what is truly useful or harmful to them.”

John Stuart Mill’s warns in his essay “On Liberty”: “He who lets the world . . . choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.” By contrast, the free individual must possess reason and judgment to make his own decisions, “and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision.”

When we forfeit our individual freedoms for ‘our own good’, it soon follows that the State and all it’s agencies will spread their authority further seizing your property and your freedoms under an ever expanding definition of what’s for our good. The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. Will the citizen, someday, be so small they vanish?

Civil Asset Forfeiture: The encroachment of the State

Arguments Opposed To The Redefinition Of Marriage

*I want to preface this with a disclaimer that these are the most rational arguments I’ve heard in defense of the traditional definition of marriage. I realize people make their own judgments and I am in no way making them for you or trying to bully anyone and their point of view nor alienate anyone emotionally this is simply a cognitive assessment on the topic of redefining marriage.   I was asked a while ago what the best arguments I’ve heard in support of traditional marriage are so I did my research and I’ve compiled lengthy material into this fairly concise essay. If certain arguments are off limits then we don’t live in a free society let alone one that thinks.

Arguments Opposed To The Redefinition Of Marriage

The Organic Bodily Union Argument:

Regarding marriage there is the conjugal view and the revisionist view.

In the conjugal view marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good and why the state should recognize and regulate it.

In the revisionist view marriage is the union of two people (whether of the same sex or of opposite sexes) who commit to romantically loving and caring for each other and to sharing the burdens and benefits of domestic life. It is essentially a union of hearts and minds, enhanced by whatever forms of sexual intimacy both partners find agreeable. The state should recognize and regulate marriage because it has an interest in stable romantic partnerships and in the concrete needs of spouses and any children they may choose to rear.

First of all what is marriage?  Most will agree that marriage involves three elements: (1) a comprehensive union; (2) a unique link to children; (3) norms of permanence and exclusivity.  While most revisionists wish to dispense with the second element, few would dispute the remaining two.

Comprehensive Union

Regarding (1), while there are many important and/or intimate human relationships (filial, familial, business, etc.), a marital relationship is unique among human relationships because it is comprehensive in scope, involving every aspect of a couple’s being.  A marital relationship not only involves the sharing of one’s life, emotions, will, and resources with another individual, but also a sharing of one’s body (sexual relationship, or “organic bodily union”).  A relationship that lacks organic bodily union is not comprehensive, and thus not of the marital sort.

That organic bodily union is integral to a marital relationship is evident.  Imagine if two people committed to marriage on the basis of their shared love for tennis rather than on a sexually exclusive relationship.  Would that make it a marriage?  No.  It would be indistinguishable from a friendship between roommates.  Sexual intercourse is necessary for a bodily union – and hence marriage – because our reproductive organs are the only organs we possess that naturally require the aid of another human being to fulfill their intended purpose.  All other bodily systems such as digestion and circulation can fulfill their natural function on their own.  Only in sexual intercourse are two bodies “coordinated for some biological purpose of the whole,” and thus sexual intercourse is required for a bodily, organic union of persons:

It follows that for two individuals to unite organically, and thus bodily, their bodies must be coordinated for some biological purpose of the whole. That sort of union is impossible in relation to functions such as digestion and circulation, for which the human individual is by nature sufficient. But individual adults are naturally incomplete with respect to one biological function: sexual reproduction. In coitus, but not in other forms of sexual contact, a man and a woman’s bodies coordinate by way of their sexual organs for the common biological purpose of reproduction. They perform the first step of the complex reproductive process. Thus, their bodies become, in a strong sense, one—they are biologically united, and do not merely rub together—in coitus (and only in coitus), similarly to the way in which one’s heart, lungs, and other organs form a unity: by coordinating for the biological good of the whole. In this case, the whole is made up of the man and woman as a couple, and the biological good of that whole is their reproduction.

Two people of the same sex cannot achieve organic bodily union because they do not share any bodily functions that require a coordination of their bodies.  If they cannot achieve organic bodily union, and yet organic bodily union is required of a comprehensive union which, in turn, is an essential element of a marital relationship, then it follows that the same-sex relationships are not, and can never be a marital relationship.

A revisionist could deny that organic bodily union is required for a relationship to be of the marital sort.  If so, then why not provide two same-sex roommates with marriage benefits if they desire to get married?  What about best friends?  Wouldn’t it be discriminatory to prevent them from exercising their right to marriage on the grounds that their relationship is neither romantic nor sexual?  If so, then the fact that two people of the same sex are having a sexual relationship should not privilege their relationship above anyone else’s.

We might even ask why three romantically involved individuals cannot marry.  Why should they be prohibited from exercising their marital rights just because there are three individuals who are romantically and sexually involved rather than two?  On the revisionist definition of marriage there is no principled reason to forbid this, but on the conjugal view there is: two—and only two—people of the opposite sex can create an organic, bodily union.  Furthermore, children can only have two biological parents, which makes sense of why marriage has always been understood to be between two individuals of the opposite sex (no more persons are needed to create a child).

Unique Link to Children

Regarding (2), a marital relationship is naturally oriented toward children.  This naturally follows from the organic bodily union between spouses since children are the ultimate goal of the human reproductive system.  There is a connection between children and the way marriages are created and renewed: sexual union.

What about same-sex couples who are raising children together?  Does this justify opening up the institution of marriage to same-sex couples?  No.  A commitment to raise children together, by itself, does not make a relationship of the marital kind.  Two brothers who commit to raising their deceased sister’s child together do not thereby acquire a marital relationship.  Furthermore, our social and legal traditions have always recognized a couple as married prior to the birth of their first child.  A childless couple is still married in virtue of their comprehensive union and mutual commitment to permanence and exclusivity.  The kind of relationship and union they enjoy is naturally oriented toward procreation, and thus is a genuine marriage even if they cannot, or choose not to have children.  This is analogous to a sports team.  The structure of the team is such that it is naturally oriented toward winning.  It may fail to win any games.  While it would fail to reach its ultimate goal, it does not cease to be a team.

Permanence and Exclusivity

Regarding (3), the conjugal view of marriage makes sense of our intuition that the marriage ideal entails permanence and sexual fidelity.  Organic bodily union makes sense of the permanence of marriage since it involves a coordination of our reproductive system into a single whole.  Just as we remain joined to the rest of our bodily systems for the duration of our life, we are to remain with our marital partner (our other sexual half) for the duration of our life as well.  Relationships that lack such bodily union have no rational basis for such permanence.

Indeed, apart from children, there would be no reason for governments to involve themselves with the regulation of marriage:

A thought experiment might crystallize our central argument. Almost every culture in every time and place has had some institution that resembles what we know as marriage. But imagine that human beings reproduced asexually and that human offspring were self-sufficient. In that case, would any culture have developed an institution anything like what we know as marriage? It seems clear that the answer is no. And our view explains why not. If human beings reproduced asexually, then organic bodily union—and thus comprehensive interpersonal union—would be impossible, no kind of union would have any special relationship to bearing and rearing children, and the norms that these two realities require would be at best optional features of any relationship. Thus, the essential features of marriage would be missing; there would be no human need that only marriage could fill.

‘The Historical Thus Traditional Definition Of Marriage’ Argument:

Historically marriage has always been defined as a legally binding covenant or wedding between the different sexes, male and female. The word wed even means to take a spouse of the opposite sex. Even the word marriage in cooking language has always denoted the combining of ingredients that are not alike in order to obtain a rich and robust complimentary flavor in one dish. Indeed, it would be a redefinition of the word to apply it to male-male and female-female relationships. Words have meaning. I can’t start calling camels pumpkins just because I feel that camels have the right to be defined as pumpkins. When we all close our eyes and think of a camel, guaranteed we’re all imagining a tall brown hairy spitting animal with humps standing in a desert or something of the sort not a round seamed orange colored fruit. The earth in this universe has definition and our society is framed around it. Another example of definition is people born with female biology are female. People born with male biology are male. Society has made the designation that females go into the women’s bathroom, men go into the men’s. Some will point out that there used to be designation between the ‘coloreds’ and the whites with usage of facilities. Why is there still segregation of men and women? In 2015? Why are there mens and womens bathrooms? If bathrooms become undesignated what follows? Predatory men lurking next to urinating women? Or perhaps not that criminal. What if it’s a 14 year old girl sharing a bathroom with a well intentioned 40 year old man?   I’m confident declaring that the majority of people want separate bathrooms for the sexes. So why is it that we still observe this? If the definition of marriage is useless and worth redefining where do we stop? Should a person’s sex have no definition?

 ‘Redefinition Of Marriage Is A Thinly Veiled Attempt To Nullify The Sexes’ argument:

The redefinition of marriage is an attempt to nullify the significant differences between the sexes. Marriage is the building block of society. Changing its nature will therefore change society. Among other things, same-sex marriage means that because sex (now called “gender”) no longer matters for society’s most important institution, marriage, it no longer matters in general. Most Americans who support same-sex marriage feel (and “feel” is the crucial verb here, as the change to same-sex marriage is much more felt than thought through) that gays should have the right to marry a member of their own sex. It is perceived as unfair to gays that they cannot do so. And that is true. It is unfair to gays. But it is not only gays who experience unfairness. Plenty of people cannot marry the one they love. A man cannot marry a married woman whom he loves, a woman cannot marry her brother whom she loves, a man cannot marry his refrigerator whom he loves, for example. Ridiculous examples, maybe, but they make a point. Where is the advocacy for human-inanimate object marriage? There is no general right to marry someone you love.

But the price paid for eliminating this unfairness is enormous: It is the end of marriage as every society has known it. And it is more than that. It is the end of any significance to the sexes. Men and women are now declared interchangeable.

‘The Nullification Of Male Female Leads To The Nullification Of Mother Father’ Argument:

Since men and women are interchangeable; there is no use for a father and mother in a child’s life let alone the biological mother and father. The words mother and father are now irrelevant. I wonder if many same sex couples when deciding to have or adopt children would be worried about providing an influence of the opposite sex as them for their children? I’m willing to bet most of them would not. As the saying goes back in the 1970’s feminist age: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. I wonder if to same sex couples a child needs the influence of the opposite sex like a fish needs a bicycle? If not, then where is the concern? How could society so flippantly change the definition of marriage without considering the implications, the floodgates it would open in regard to all other definitions?

‘Why The State Is Interested In The Traditional View Of Marriage’ Argument:

The state recognizes marriage as it is traditionally defined, aside from the fact that it has been historically defined and accepted by the mainstream as male-female from the beginning of time, because of these reasons…

If you’re a gambling man, which relationship has higher odds of producing offspring? Male-female relationships have the highest odds of producing offspring. In fact they are the only organic union that produces offspring. Offspring are good for society for two reasons: they grow the population to defend against encroachment and tyranny and they grow the economy to prosper and achieve success. And really they are two sides of the same coin because the country with the largest economy will always be the country with the largest defense. Our geopolitical future depends on population, though the left would have you think we’re overpopulated. If it keeps at the same rate, the US will not be a super power and Europe has already collapsed. The only advantage we still have while our population numbers are falling is that our GDP is still more than double that of the 2nd place country (China). If our GDP dips below China we will be creamed because they have a population of 1 Billion to our 300 Million.

The state has an interest in supporting the nuclear family because it has the highest odds of producing functioning adults and functioning adults breed innovation, entrepreneurship, lower crime rates, etc.

The Empowered Courts Argument:

If it is not amended into the state constitution by the voters that marriage is a union between a man and a woman it gives license to activist judges to decide what marriage is in regard to any union. It opens the floodgates for judicial misuse. Fortunately we live in a country in which the government works for us, not for its own suspect agenda.

*Update: June 26th 2015, the SCOTUS made the unprecedented ruling that same sex marriage is granted to the nation through the feeble support of the 14th amendment.

John Roberts said it best when he said, “If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

He goes on to say, “Five lawyers (now judges) have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.”

It turns out judicial misuse is upon us with fervor.

Arguments Opposed To The Redefinition Of Marriage

Death Penalty Response Part II

How man, in the image of God, meets appropriate justice in the abhorrent case of murder

I gathered this interpretation from the wise John Piper:

The covenant with Noah in Genesis chapter 9: Whoever sheds mans blood, by man his blood should be shed. For in the image of God he made man. The principle of capital punishment is the only fitting response to anybody who murders a human being. Human beings are so incredibly unique and significant that when there is a high handed crime to take another human beings life, the only way to settle accounts and uphold the dignity of life is to take that persons life. The image of God is the key in this covenant. The principle of capital punishment is biblical and right. What about Mercy? To want mercy is good. But that mercy would take form in a social setting where you don’t release criminals on the world. It would take the form of wanting him to be forgiven, praying for him, perhaps even visiting him in prison and offering to forgive him. But that forgiveness does not say, “I think it would be a good idea if he got let go or let up,” if he got a miscarriage of justice in the form of a lesser sentence of life in prison or pardoned. He will be let go in heaven, but here society won’t work. Romans 13 sets it up so that the government carries the sword to reward the good and to punish the evil, because society won’t work if governments don’t carry swords, prisons, fines, death penalties. So yes, it’s right to want mercy for criminals—to forgive them, not to hold grudges against them—and to want them to be punished.

Death Penalty Response Part II

Death Penalty

Death Penalty: should we believe in it? Reasons one wouldn’t: belief in rehabilitation, belief that the death penalty doesn’t deter crime, belief in God as the ultimate arbiter, belief in Christian or sentimental mercy/forgiveness, equating justice as revenge.

  1. Jesus Christ is the ultimate case of the death penalty. He became a man and was put to death to justify and acquit our egregious sins. Would it have been justice if our infinite sins against our infinitely good God were punished by Jesus sitting in a prison for life (the mere 60 more years on his 33 years of age an average human would live)? The crime: infinite sins, the punishment life in prison/60 years.   Justice is the death of God’s son (infinite goodness) who became man for our infinite sins. An infinite for an infinite.
  1. C.S. Lewis explains that treating criminals not with a view to punishment, but only with a view to remediation and deterrence is the end of justice and the seedbed of tyranny. It is dehumanization with a gentle face. Here is his quote: “Thus when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case.’” If a criminal’s sentence does not have to accord with what he deserves, it does not have to be just. At that point we are all at the mercy of those who are in power to call anything we do a crime and give it any therapeutic or remedial solution they choose, including gas chambers and medical alterations.
  1. What about Christian mercy? If the concept of what a criminal deserves, and with it the concept of justice, is lost, mercy ceases to be. It is replaced by sentiment and caprice. As Lewis observes, “The essential act of mercy was to pardon; and pardon in its very essence involves the recognition of guilt and deserved punishment in the recipient. Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice; transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed.”
  1. God is the ultimate judge but God has given license to mankind to conduct societies and governments and to carry out justice in this life. He will be the final judge of our souls in the next life but in this life there are governmental bodies and manifestations of justice that we, men, are the arbiters of. Romans 13 sets it up so that the government carries the sword to reward the good and to punish the evil, because society won’t work if governments don’t carry swords, prisons, fines, death penalties.
  1. Revenge is the exact opposite of justice. Revenge is brazen and chaotic. It is emotional instead of retributional. Revenge cares not whether the harm inflicted on someone for the wrong suffered at their hands is equal in scope to the wrong committed. Justice, on the other hand, is methodical and rational. It is the exact degree of punishment a crime deserves regardless of any one persons wanton feelings about it. Justice by definition is the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.

 

  1. Here is a hypothetical for the case that the death penalty does deter crime if it is equally implemented. Say on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays anyone that commits 1st degree murder gets the death penalty and on Sundays, Tuesdays , Thursdays and Saturdays everyone who commits 1st degree murder gets life in prison with the option of appeals and a lesser sentence on good behavior. Which days would 1st degree murders happen?

Remember this story? Anders Breivik’s sentence for killing 77 people at a youth camp in Norway on July 22, 2011 is outrageous. He was deemed sane and sentenced to serve 21 years in prison “in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop.” That’s 100 days of posh prison time for each person he murdered, with a legal release possible at age 53. Life is cheap in Norway. The news agencies explained that such a sentence “is consistent with Norway’s general approach to criminal justice. Like the rest of Europe . . . Norway no longer has the death penalty and considers prison more a means for rehabilitation than retribution.”

They explained that “many Europeans” consider America’s criminal justice system to be “cruelly punitive.”

In fact, the news story explains that, after his 21-year smack-on-the-hand for killing 77 people, Breivik “could be kept there indefinitely by judges adding a succession of five-year extensions.” There it is. The issue is not what he deserves. The issue is not justice. The issue is power in the hands of judges who will decide if he has been “rehabilitated” sufficiently, and if his detainment has served the community to a suitable degree rather than serving his objectively just punishment which would be death.

Do you see the error in this? C. S. Lewis did.

Death Penalty