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.

Yeah, he was a socialist.

cropped-libertyI am just about to give up trying to convince people that most of the various -isms are divisive bunk, and that, really, the spectrum of -isms from authoritarianism to libertarianism boil down to a very simple principle: primacy of the state, versus primacy of the individual.

But let us at the very least put to rest the idea that Nazis weren’t socialists.

First of all, they called themselves socialists!  The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei, NSDAP or National Socialist German Workers’ Party claimed to be an anti-capitalist, socialist party, and its party platform certainly reflected that.  But I’ve been told many times that what they called themselves and how they acted and what they said was not real socialism, so…

Here is a ten-year-old article, which is, I think, just about the correct distance from the present to be more clearly separated from today’s tribal hysteria and concomitant “Democratic Socialism” blindness.

The core argument is that Hitler called himself a socialist of a sort derived from Marx, and that his deviation from the USSR’s variety of socialism (“Jewish Marxism” in Hitler’s words) was in two key forks that made it, in Hitler’s opinion (as well as that of Mussolini, who wrote much on the subject) more workable.

  1. National Socialism relied on geography and race to avoid the needlessly divisive self-destructive civil war as the Russians had suffered. Hitler felt that Germans shouldn’t fight Germans (like the way USA citizens are increasingly divided and opposed), so he elevated race above pure socialist dogma in an effort to unite more to his general cause. In Hitler’s words, “…find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution.
  2. Recognizing private property rights is necessary to economic success and social unity. In Hitler’s own words (not from the article), “Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. …Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.”  So Hitler socialists, like today’s Prius-driving, iPhone-toting, mocha Frappuccino-sipping Democratic Socialists, can have cool stuff.

I can understand some confusion, as Hitler had over the years said many things that could, in isolation, fuel the notion that he was anti-Marx; certainly he was anti- “Jewish Marxism.”  But I believe that’s only when viewing Hitler through a partisan lens. Because he made it abundantly clear in his own words that he was a socialist with rhetoric that should seem very familiar today.

In a long critique of Mussolini’s newly-coined “fascism,” Hitler wrote of his own economic plan, “Point No. 13 in that program demands the nationalization of all public companies, in other words socialization, or what is known here as socialism.”

So let me be clear on this…  Mussolini was the fascist.  Mussolini coined the term and defined it exhaustively.  Hitler disagreed with many key parts of fascism, and called himself a socialist.  

As of 1936, the German government dictated wages, prices, products, distribution channels…everything.  The “owners” of corporations were allowed to keep a percentage of profits as a motivator (a key reason their industries worked better than the soviets’), but, really, the “owners” were government employees.  …Just like everybody else.

The principle behind it all was that the “common good” (as defined by Hitler) was everything, and the individual was just a cog in the government machinery.  Or, as Spock said, ““The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Doesn’t that sound good to modern socialists’ ears?

The way people are redefining socialism and fascism along Democratic Party and Republican Party lines (or worse…”Right Wing” and “Left Wing.”  Both are on one bird, right?) is absurd.  Both of our entrenched, corrupt and anti-constitutional crony parties are increasingly authoritarian …and that should concern us all.

To more or less summarize my argument, as well as that in the article and referenced book, I’ll end with Hitler’s own words, and let you think on where we are today, and why so many Americans admired the man back in the day:

The Germany of today is a National Socialist State.  The ideology that dominates us is in diametrical contradiction to that of Soviet Russia.  National Socialism is a doctrine that has reference exclusively to the German people.  Bolshevism lays stress on international mission.  We National Socialists believe a man can, in the long run, be happy only among his own people.  We are convinced the happiness and achievements of Europe are indissolubly tied up with the continuation of the system of independent and free national States. Bolshevism preaches the establishment of a world empire…

Yeah, well, OK…like today’s socialists, Hitler was also fine with changing the terms and rules as he went.  And like today’s socialists, and socialists everywhere forever, he also silenced opposition.

Can politicians even define “health care?”

I’ve worked in healthcare since 1978 in public health, research, clinical, education and industry roles.  And I can’t tell you what healthcare is.

Ascelpius-V-PoliticsTo my wife, it’s massage and things that smell nice.  To others, it’s Reiki, or heterodox nutrition.  Some debate that vaccines are bad medicine, but marijuana is great healthcare.  And they have convincing arguments.

Is gender-reassignment, or voodoo healthcare too?  Who decides?

I think cardiovascular science and technology is really cool stuff, it’s my specialty, and I think it should qualify as healthcare.  But as for everything else?  I can’t even give you a clean definition of “health.”  And I’ve been in the business my whole life.

Politicians sure think they know all about it.  And by the Election Day polling numbers, well-over 90% of us believe and trust that politicians should control …everything.

But after the more than 100 years the unionized AMA has wielded political monopoly power, the 80 years of taxpayer subsidized health insurance, 60 years of socialized health, education and welfare, and the almost 50 years of even more directly socialized healthcare in the form of our rapidly swelling Medicare system, I’m appalled that we think we want more politics in healthcare.  I’m disgusted that we’ve been lead to believe that health insurance is what we want when that is often antithetical to healthcare.  And I’m embarrassed that We The People haven’t seen a better way to live that’s always been right before us.

In every field of science, technology and plain old merchandise that isn’t so political, costs decrease while quality, efficacy and availability increases with every new advance.  Luxuries of yesterday like cellphones and personal computers are now ubiquitous and powerful necessities.

The in-your-face availability and range of price/quality in shoes, coffee, kitchen gadgets and even things like used magazines and historical wristwatch reproductions has become amazing in a relative freedom from political control.

There’ve been innumerable healthcare advances in the last century that would’ve made healthcare cheap, effective, and easily available to all…if not for all the politics that’s been creeping in since Teddy Roosevelt’s time.
Politicians have already made everything related to medicine unfair, complicated, ever-changing, severely limited, and ghastly expensive.

And they’re not done yet.

However, none of the preceding is any part of my main objection to more politics in healthcare.
I’ll let others quibble over whether politicians will finally be able to keep a promise, or make something work at all as advertised.

The real problem, whenever we rub that genie’s lamp of politics, is corruption, and calamity.

Everything government does, it does by force.  Politics can’t do anything without at least the threat of fines, taxes, courts, guns and prisons.

It’s easy to dream that this kind of force can be used for good.  But the usual reality, as evidenced by all of human history, is a scale and degree of injustice and death that only politics can achieve.
Power is of course a seduction for those who’d wield it.  But it’s just as attractive to those who can simply buy the portion of such power as suits their purposes.

And make no mistake.  All power is for sale.

Whenever politicians are allowed to steal a new power, there’s a new industry in lobbying for the use of that power.  We can see how that lobby has worked for the military industrialists and bankers, and we should see what it has done to our health, education and welfare as well.

Adding more power to government, with more snooping into things that are more personal than ever before possible, only makes the resulting corruption more dangerous.

Hitler’s infamous “T4” eugenics/euthanasia program under Germany’s socialized healthcare system certainly demonstrated one hazard in giving politicians so much power over life.  But think about what we already know of our own government; what they’ve admitted to from the past (testing plutonium on school kids, syphilis experiments on black men, experiments on soldiers), and what they’ve been forced to admit recently about their spying, militarization and deceit.   Think hard about how much more secretive, powerful and deceitful we know our government to be now than ever before; and just what such a government is capable of doing with the actual coding in our cells.

And changing the role of healthcare workers from healers to government agents who’ll give to politicians everything from your DNA to your intimate personal and family details, will, over time, change the sort of people who’d seek out such a career.
You really shouldn’t want that to happen.

We The People have exactly and only what we have freely and repetitiously chosen not just every every day we sigh, and yield to what we know is wrong and isn’t working; but also every Election Day.

Elections were meant to be a means of peaceful revolution.  We’d better finally use them for that purpose, because the power over our bodies we’re granting to politicians now will have no good end, unless that end is determined by our change of heart and mind.

RELATED POSTS:
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/a-short-history-of-health-care-let-doctors-be-doctors/
https://wedeclare.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/health-insurance%E2%80%A6or-healthcare%E2%80%A6choose-one/

An open letter to my fellow patriots

distressMy liberty-loving friends, we have lost.  We had our chance, and we muffed it.   By focusing on only our favorite part of our constitutions, we’ve thrown away the rest.  By demanding our rights while denying others theirs, we’ve lost them all.

Some claim that human rights transcend law…but that is neither what history or our nature demonstrates in every era around the world.

Without constitutions, you’ve got no rights to property, due process or even life, because without constitutions, there are no agreed-upon, legal, contractual or practical restraints upon political power.  And it’s the nature of political power to oppose individual rights, because it’s your neighbors’ nature to serve himself at your expense, by means of political power. 

Most of us have fought for one right while opposing another for decades.  Speech activists oppose the constitutions’ religious freedom, while gun rights activists typically oppose the constitutions in moral, drug and lifestyle issues.  We demand our unconstitutional claims on other people’s incomes (Social Security, Medicare…when we’re trillions in debt.  We’re stealing from our grand kids now, you know), and then whine that cops are driving tanks now.

We have stubbornly refused to unite over what it is that would serve us best (Rule of Law under our existing constitutions, as written), while our enemies represent no more than humanity’s ancient default state of oppression, slavery, genocide and war.  They win by our default in disunity.  We have torn ourselves apart and have nobody to blame but ourselves.  Our government is a global crime ring, and it’s by our collective free choice, dammit.

Sigh…

But let us not be bad sports.  Our side lost.  C’est ça.  Finito.  Now we must all Move On.

For years I have championed Rule of Law, but from now on, I want to be a Good Socialist.andolini

Look at the positive side.  Authoritarians have always had the best uniforms.  Most people look good in a trim little cap, a neat military outfit with red epaulets and brass buttons.  And those shiny black boots sound so fetching as you’re running down side streets on a cold, rainy night, chasing down someone who just won’t fit in.

Think of the imagery.  Who else gathers thousands of cheering idolaters under triumphant banners and bold emblems?  Who else goose-steps a half-million troops with tanks and jet formations right through the heart of the capital?  What thrills!  Authoritarians have chutzpah! 

OK, I do so hope we don’t get stuck with a bad-hair ruler like the North Koreans got.  And murderous thugs like Che too often lack any cultural polish at all.  

But I, like Hitler and Mussolini, do enjoy fine cars, art, and well-choreographed young people.  I adore the martial music and stylized posters depicting gloriously happy workers.  I am ready to raise my arm in salute to our great Obama nation!

Dear friends, we must become the Übermensch; perfection in body, mind and… well, not spirit.  Who needs spirit when you have the state!

We must reject our fetish with freedom, and replace it with devotion to global citizenship.  We must grow past and even spurn the apron strings and umbilicus of “traditional” family ties and norms, in favor of service to the state!

No sacrifice is too great for this dream.  You may be asked to give your life, but the promise is no more sickness, no more poverty, no more homelessness, no more injustice.  You may have to report your mother to the authorities, but you’ll be rewarded with at least a strong likelihood of a warm embrace from the global collective, very soon … from each according to ability, to each according to need … however the state defines that.

Forget the tear-filled past with its tiresome clinging to “right” and “wrong.”  Forget the laws and old ways that held you back.  Forget humility and restraint.  Forget the chains and cages of individualism and family, and embrace the Power of Pride!

We are now building a human bridge over the troubled waters of humanity’s brutal past; to embark upon a wonderful voyage so buoyed by promises, that you’ll be jubilant and grateful to give your all, right up to your very last, bullet-riddled and tasered, choking gasp.

Join me, my friends.  Let us erase and even reverse the boundaries between nations and faiths and social morality, and march triumphantly toward the cliffs of a new day…

…In matching outfits!

NewSpeak

I wrote this column in 2002.  But I think it’s still relevant:

The word “egregious” comes from a Latin root that means “outside the flock.” Originally, and for quite some time, “egregious” meant “illustrious,” or exceptionally good. But ours being a brave new world, “egregious” now means exceptionally bad.
The word never meant “average” or “centrist;” not even briefly.  It just flipped from one extreme to another with no stops in between – just like quantum physics.  This phenomenon is odd, but harmless in common speech.
Quantum political speech, however, is another matter.  In politics the stakes are wealth and poverty, life and death, peace and war.  And in politics, words are law.
“Federal” used to mean a limited, distributed trust between sovereign states.  What we call federal government now is actually its opposite; an all-powerful central force that should be called “unitary.”
“Liberal” used to describe our libertarian founders view of limited government; now the word means its exact opposite, socialism…government limited only by its ultimate collapse in starvation and violence.   “Conservative” used to mean a desire to keep status quo. But modern conservatives spend more money, and increase the size and scope of government to a degree and speed that “liberals” must surely envy.
JFK gave the rich their biggest tax cut ever.   In 1932, FDR called Hoover a socialist and campaigned for fiscal restraint.  The anti-communist Nixon was more socialist than Bill Clinton.  Republican Teddy Roosevelt was an anti-big-business tree-hugger.  And Democratic Senator Byrd of West Virginia is called “Sheets.” …You know why.
Every label, every stereotype, every concept of party we apply to American politics has flip-flopped in the most egregious manner.
So with all the talk about “Democracy” in Iraq, I’d like us to pause, take a cleansing breath, and think before we leap into yet another brave new meaning.
Alexander Hamilton wrote of the early USA, “We are now forming a republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy.”
Benjamin Franklin was more to the point, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.  Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
I hope you know that we don’t live in a democracy.  Democratic elections are merely the method by which we select our proxies in a Republic.  And as any minority should know; real democracy, or majority rule, can mean slavery, Jim Crow, and that the angry mob gets its way.
After the democratic rise of Hitler, Mussolini, and a gaggle of tin-pot dictators around the globe, we really should ask ourselves which we’d rather have; democracy or liberty, because you can’t have both.  We should ask if it’ll be democracy, or rule of law, because you can’t have both.
And as we speak the word “democracy” in reverential tones, let’s remember that less than half of our eligible citizens vote.  So we may claim great wonders from our democratic process, but it’s only in ignorance of the real blessings of citizen freedom and might, and of all the wealth and opportunity made possible by a “liberal” form of government kept on a constitutional leash.

I wish we’d remember that the purpose of elections was never to simply hire politicians.  They hire themselves if you let them.

No, the purpose of elections is to fire politicians.  Elections are our power of peaceful revolution so that we don’t have to have…the other kind.

We need to invoke that power to restore the proper meaning of “liberty,” because even to the imperfect degree that we’d ever achieved it, liberty is what made the USA strong, prosperous, and egregious, in the best sense of that word.

Leash Laws – The Only Ones That Matter

With every new anti-constitutional law, people say, “the innocent have nothing to fear.”

Given that none of us are truly innocent (I’ve seen y’all drive, and I know how y’all vote), I already see a a problem.  But given the history of human government (oppression, slavery, genocide and war), that phrase, “the innocent have nothing to fear,” is an inexcuseably stupid thing to say.  …Particularly when a power-mad nut-job decides the meaning of “innocent.”

But OK, how about we turn that saying around and see if it works?  Would an innocent government fear citizens?  Certainly not, right?  But that raises questions about our secretive, increasingly intrusive and authoritarian government.  Or at least it should raise a lot of questions.

Because, who should you fear most; some head-case hermit with a gun, or a malevolent Hitler with a Napoleon complex who has around three million troops (including the Reserves), each armed with weapons that you are forbidden to own?

The loner can kill, at most, 30 or 40 before getting nailed (probably by one of the few citizens still armed).  But when governments go sour, death tolls spike into the millions.  A thief can steal your house; but only government can steal all you own, including your house…along with any record that you ever existed.

Why mention all this depressing stuff? 

The “Continuity of Government Commission” (COGC) and rapidly increasing numbers of anti-constitutional laws seem like a responsible attempt to keep America safe and secure from the zealots who’ve attacked us with boxcutters and exploding shoes.  But there are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

1.      No such radical alteration of our governance happened during the Cold War with nuclear missiles pointed at us.   It never happened when we fought Hitler.  It certainly didn’t happen when Washington, D.C. was sacked and burned by the British.  In fact, the closer in history we were to real knowledge of oppression, the more Americans defended their liberties…not some false sense of “security.”

2.      Our government is already unlike it ever was before.  In every way but open recognition of fact, our government has become fascist (seriously; read how Mussolini – the man who coined the term himself – defined fascism).  You mean nothing.  The government means everything.  Very Un-American.

3.      You hardly need more than #2 above, but keep in mind that the history of such arrangements is 100% grim death and oppression.  There is no good history here.  Only bad.  Very bad.

4.      The laws enacting it have already been signed.  You probably never heard about it.  You can’t have read some of them…they’re kept secret.  …From you.

But hey, the innocent have nothing to fear, right?

If you’d like to do something about this, here’s what you do:

1.      Read this and this.  It won’t take long, it shouldn’t be painful, and it’s a perspective you’ve never been taught in government schools.

2.      You can almost certainly summarize better than I can.  I’m pretty wordy.  So summarize what you get out of those things and write letters to your politicians; particularly the executives.  Ask them to, in short, obey their side of the contracts.  Obey written laws as written.  Tell them to take the leash off of you, and put it on politicians, where it belongs.

3.      Stay tuned.  We must do something organized, public, and (to get the media there) a bit dramatic to insist that politicians obey their leash laws. 

Our constitutions are leash laws, y’know.  They are a leash on power; a leash on politicians; a leash on all who’d be dangerous to you in the most dangerous ways.

Our politicians are dangerous beasts indeed.  It’s time we treat them appropriately.