No, this isn’t about Nazis. It’s about humans.

For good, obvious reasons, I don’t like to leap to Nazi analogies, references or allusions.

RememberBut so many people have been claiming that the Governor is fully authorized to suspend rights because of what they think are constitutional “emergency powers,” that I’m afraid I must point out six fundamental truths (before I exhume the Nazis):

1. Indiana Code (IC 10-14-3, “Emergency Management and Disaster Law”), and not the constitution, is where the emergency powers were passed as “law.”  You will not find any emergency Executive powers in either state or federal constitution.  Please look yourself.
My contention is that this IC chapter that seems to conjure this power is unconstitutional, not law, and should be entirely eliminated, for the reasons that follow.

2. Indiana’s constitution is the necessary, fundamental authority for all Indiana laws. Just as you and I can’t just make laws from our easy chairs, the Indiana General Assembly can’t just do whatever it wants.  It has to be properly authorized to do whatever it does. The Indiana Constitution is that authority.  And the Governor cannot make any laws at all (Article 4).

FIRST, authority, and THEN, law:
Article I Section 25:No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.

The constitution used to clearly state that any law that transcends what’s clearly written is null and void (they “amended” that away)…but they never removed Article I Section 25.

And even the Indiana Code agrees about the constitutional hierarchy of law. This is IC 1-1-2: Sec. 1:

The law governing this state is declared to be:

  • First. The Constitution of the United States and of this state.
  • Second. All statutes of the general assembly of the state in force, and not inconsistent with such constitutions.
  • Third. All statutes of the United States in force, and relating to subjects over which congress has power to legislate for the states, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.
  • Fourth. The common law of England, and statutes of the British Parliament made in aid thereof prior to the fourth year of the reign of James the First (except the second section of the sixth chapter of forty-third Elizabeth, the eighth chapter of thirteenth Elizabeth, and the ninth chapter of thirty-seventh Henry the Eighth,) and which are of a general nature, not local to that kingdom, and not inconsistent with the first, second and third specifications of this section.

The Governor and GA cannot give away what does not belong to them…and that includes our rights.   The actions taken by our Governor specifically violated Article I Section 25; Article I, Section 26; Article 3; and Article 4, Section 9.

3. Our rights, however, can be compromised in emergencies. There is constitutional authority for that…but only by the General Assembly!
Article I, Section 26: “The operation of the laws shall never be suspended, except by the authority of the General Assembly.”
If you read what was said about this in period, there are very good reasons for local accountability.  Different regions have different needs.  A tornado doesn’t destroy the whole state.  Rural areas are different from cities.  And, mostly, no one person should have so much power…or accountability!
We need to have more access to the people who make decisions that affect us so severely, and we want to be able to fire them or reward them with another term as needed.
I understand why legislators don’t want to make tough decisions that could get them fired on a Tuesday in November…but this is the point!
We want these people accountable to us, locally.  So there IS an emergency power structure…and it’s in only the GA.  …Not in the Executive office.

4. This is clarified by Article 3 – Distribution of Powers: “The powers of the Government are divided into three separate departments; the Legislative, the Executive including the Administrative, and the Judicial: and no person, charged with official duties under one of these departments, shall exercise any of the functions of another, except as in this Constitution expressly provided.
There are good, unequivocal reasons and principles here that should not be violated.  Ever.  …I mean it, not ever.

5. Ditto the federal constitution and its only-somewhat-related US Code.
Here’s the Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This is the same principle as the Indiana Constitution’s Article I Section 25.
Politicians cannot take, abuse or give away what doesn’t belong to them.

6. “Ah, but…” the fancy pants pseudointellectuals claim in their whiny voices, “…the constitution doesn’t specifically prohibit emergency Executive powers, so the real question is how to properly limit them in scope and duration.”
Shut up and read the preceding again.
Yes, the constitution does specifically prohibit such powers, and no court case, bench ruling or pundit rumination can change that.

Whatever isn’t specifically authorized is completely prohibited.

In fact, there are long-standing, very serious punishments (including death) made by law for those operating under the “color of law” that violate our constitutional rights.

We didn’t throw away our rights and erect Caesars over polio or the 1918 flu.  There were emergencies, and there were emergency sessions in legislative assemblies all across the country to deal with them…at state and local levels.  Even in this pandemic hysteria, there have been many Mayors, businesses and other local institutions that took local action while Presidents and Governors hesitated.  That’s the right way for things to happen.
There has always been a right way to respond to emergencies, and it’s all written down…in constitutions, state and federal.

A few more details before I get to the Nazis.

First, the obligatory Confucius quote: “An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.

Next, this country made it over 200 years before passing the National Emergencies Act.
Think about how many emergencies (pandemics, droughts, floods, wars and economic catastrophes) had already come and gone by 1976.Enabling_Act_in_colour

OK.  So.  I’ll not say much about Nazis other than to say you really ought to look up the “Enabling Act of 1933,” or “Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich” (“Law to remedy the plight of the people and the empire”).
I assume I need not mention how that turned out.
But I do need to mention that this was signed into law by Reich President von Hindenburg, when Hitler was only Reich Chancellor.

So first, the enabling act of expanding power and reducing rights; and thenEOHolcomb2

Governor Holcomb is no madman Hitler.  Not even close.  I like the guy, actually.

But you should never, ever, law or no law, give ANYBODY this much power, because the next Executive, Caesar, Poohbah or King will only add to that power.

Power takes power.  It accumulates and festers and expands until societal calamity.

On August 3, 1857, in an era of much greater harshness than we face from a virus, Frederick Douglass spoke the words that, more than any other single thing I can think of, pushed me toward philosophical libertarianism:Comments on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass ...
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

You know this, right?  It’s all over human history that people’s own government becomes their biggest enemy, right?

Well, the Germans didn’t think it could happen to them, either.

Open letter to Governor Holcomb

Governor Holcomb, I know you’re not a bad man.  In fact I believe you’re a man who means well.  I’m certain your advisors assured you that what you’ve been doing is legal.  And I know that many applaud your “leadership” in closing businesses and schools, forbidding all manner of association and movement, and in general, suspending rule of law as a state-wide, one-size-fits-all rule. Untitled But right is right and wrong is wrong.  And while I know you don’t believe you’ve done wrong, you have. I of course wish you had called an emergency session (Indiana Constitution Article 4 Section 9) so that Indiana’s General Assembly could have constitutionally authorized (by Article I, Section 26) what you have been doing …in violation of your oath of office. I’m betting they’d have come up with measured, regional plans that made more sense and relieved you of total accountability for this mess. The scared-stupid post-9/11 security blanket standing order from the legislature (IC 10-14-3) was both unconstitutional and foolish – not so different from 1973’s War Powers Act that so many regret today.  Such vague, inherently corrupt delegations/ surrender of authority nullify the whole point of the separation and limitation of powers.  Besides, Governor, unilaterally taking such unconstitutional authoritarianism upon yourself when it’s not only illegal, needlessly inflammatory, and raises fears about our new, dangerous form of government, is also bad politics. KingNo one person should wield so much power.  And under our constitutions, no one person does. I’m sure that, given the circumstance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease, the General Assembly would have granted you specific, timely and focused authority to do what needed doing, where it needed doing …and without the suspension of laws that are in only the GA’s authority to suspend.PlagueDoctor While I think what politicians have been doing in response to this pandemic is based more in fear and self-interest than in fact (and the corruption has become obvious, in case you’re wondering), it should still be done by constitutional rules. Anything else is unconstitutional, specifically illegal (Article I, Section 25), and contrary to the most fundamental principles of this nation’s purpose. Please read this: https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/indiana-constitution-book.pdf Remember You took “…an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States” I’m sure we’d all be both relieved, and favorably impressed, if in a public mea culpa, you’d recognize the chain of errors and misapplication of force, and resolve to do what’s right…and legal. Nobody expects a politician to be perfect, you know.  But we’re all looking for somebody to earn our trust in these pivotal, tumultuous times. Going legit, and governing our government according to constitutional rule of law, would be a great start.

Desperate Times call for …Rational Thought

I get the whole “desperate times call for desperate measures” shtick, though that phrase has typically been mere rationalization of political corruption and usurpation.  But I get it.  And I sympathize with our tendency to fall for it.  A pandemic really is a more serious threat than are “terrorists” and our incessant and horridly expensive game of global Whack-A-Mole.  Fear is a real thing.Jobless graph

But at some point, deaths resulting from our forcibly-imprisoned populace and arrested commerce (lack of HVAC, medicine, food, for example), rising suicides, domestic violence, neglect, and of course, deaths by less-popular and therefore untreated diseases, could surpass deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease.  (see Venezuela)

Very few talk about such deaths caused by our sequestration, and the suppression of our economy, perhaps because it’s impossible to know exactly at what point the death graph lines would cross, and our government actions would become much more harm than help.  It seems unlikely since we seem to be doing so well right now, all things considered.  But then, the effects of current shutdowns won’t be fully felt for months, or maybe years if this is the straw that breaks our house-of-cards economy
It’s really the same “unseen” opportunity cost problem so well described by Bastiat in his excellent “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.”

PlagueDoctorIt’s also the case that these poverty-caused deaths would be almost entirely in the lower half of our socio-economic bell curve.  And despite the Democratic Party’s loud crocodile tears for less-fortunate humans, it’ll be mostly in areas where the D tribe is already in control, and therefore nobody in either crony party camp, really cares.  Poor people don’t contribute to reelection campaigns, after all…but dead people do vote, so… 

SaveUs

Keep in mind how Social Security works: 1. Politicians keep increasing the benefit age because it’s their inherent desire that you die before you can claim benefits.  2. They keep whatever money they don’t give back to you, personally (it doesn’t go to your family, of course).  3. They tax the benefits that they already taxed.  4. They don’t actually have to give it to you anyway.  When times get really tough, it won’t be there.  And that will be when most people depend upon it most. 

This is a very simple example of central planners destroying options for individual planners.  In other words, people can’t serve themselves when politicians, claiming to serve everybody, suck up all the resources and take away all the options, leaving individuals sucking for air…proving once again that we humans have no disease more deadly than the collective’s Caesar.

Of course I wish our culture would rise to a better vision

But we’re already suffering a pandemic of debt, corruption, monetary madness, Orwellian war, fascism/corporate socialism and cultural division that will soon make the fall of Rome look like a lady’s gentle sneeze.  No mask or gloves or sanitizer can protect us from it.

Only a revolutionary change of heart and mind, and action, (and that’s likely only by Divine Intervention) can save us now.