The View From 1776
Friday, September 30, 2005
Conservative Joe: A Terrific Website
From an email exchange with John Lawrence, the editor and writer, I have become aware of a Canadian website that is a must-read.
Conservative Joe deals trenchantly and lucidly with the moral and political aspects of today’s controversies. In addition, it offers a portal for us in the United States to get a better grasp of Canadian social and political issues from a conservative perspective.
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Teaching Evolution: Addendum
More reasons why students must be informed that Darwinism is only a hypothetical speculation that has never been proved.
Disagreeing with the prior post, a reader points out that, “Taxonomy is only a minor field within biology, in terms of people, research, or funding. Much larger (in both the plant and animal fields) are anatomy, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and the applied fields of veterinary and medical science.”
He is, of course, correct. I was using biology in much too narrow a sense, as referring only to classification of life forms.
However, the reader’s reference to biochemistry is surprising, as he also says that, “All of these fields use evolutionary ideas to more efficiently guide their research.”
Biochemistry has all but demolished Darwinism at its core by demonstrating that the simplest forms of life have interdependent systems of irreducible complexity. That means that even the simplest forms of life could not have evolved their internal systems over the millennia postulated by Darwin.
Darwinians supposed that the earliest forms of life were just a cell membrane filled with a primordial liquid, rather like a balloon filled with water. From that presumed life form all the complicated organs and systems we see now in life forms supposedly evolved in infinitely tiny steps over millions of years.
Biochemists have demonstrated that this is impossible. From the word go, the simplest of life forms had to have fully functioning, separate systems to find food, capture food, ingest and digest food, transport waste products away from the digestion system, and then to expel it to prevent the toxicity of food waste from poisoning the cell.
If any one of these complex systems is not present in these simplest of all life forms, the life form cannot survive. This means that it would be completely impossible, as envisioned in Darwinism, for these simple forms of life to have evolved from some less complicated life forms.
Each of these systems has a large number of complex amino acids, with different acids in each system. No Darwinian or other scientist has ever been able to duplicate, or even credibly postulate, purely material conditions, unaided by a Creator God, that could have produced these amino acids, let alone create living tissue.
Richard Dawkins, one of the present-day leading lights of Darwinism, believes that DNA and RNA are the secret mechanisms that carry the information for Darwinian evolution. When pushed to explain how DNA and RNA came into existence, he theorizes that inorganic chemicals in mud crystals, when washed along in streams, managed to coagulate into crystalline patterns that became proto-DNA, which in turn somehow managed to become living tissue.
This is a more credible theory than Intelligent Design?
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Thursday, September 29, 2005
Teaching Evolution: The Argument Is Not About Science
The ACLU has sued to stop the Dover Area [Pennsylvania] School District from instructing students that Darwinism is not necessarily a scientific fact, because, they say, doing so amounts to “an establishment of religion.”
The ACLU is correct that religion is involved, but it’s on the wrong side of the street. Darwinian evolution has nothing to do with science and everything to do with establishing atheistic socialism as the official national religion.
The absolutely essential doctrine of Darwinism is atheism, the assertion that life came into being by accident, via purely physical means. Without this doctrine and the corresponding thesis that all animal and plant life evolved from a single, primitive life form, there is no point at all in advocating Darwinism. Without the atheistic rejection of God as the Creator of the entire universe, Darwinism would be no more than a footnote in taxonomic classification of plants and animals.
Science can deal only with aspects of the material world to describe the phenomena of nature and to seek explanations for the processes of nature. Science cannot claim to deal with ontology, the branch of philosophy that seeks to understand the nature and source of Being itself (how the phenomena and processes of nature came to exist), an inquiry that inevitably travels the path of religious explanations.
But that is precisely what Darwinism claims to do. Without its religious ontological content, Darwinian evolution brings nothing useful to the table that earlier schools of biology had not already delivered.
In sharp distinction to Darwinian evolution, the only part of biology that is truly scientific is taxonomic description and classification of life forms into family, genus, and species. Even there, fierce debate rages within the biological community, because biology is not an exact science in the same way that chemistry and physics are.
Darwinian evolution, unlike true sciences such as chemistry and physics, cannot be employed to predict anything or to make exact classifications of anything. It is nothing more than a speculative hypothesis with no way to employ normal scientific tests to assess its validity. Believers have nothing to cling to beyond the word of Darwinians that things “could have been” as they hypothesize.
Darwin, whose family included notorious atheists, wrote that his efforts to concoct the hypothesis of evolution were motivated by a desire to discredit the Book of Genesis and what he called the damnable doctrine of Christianity.
Darwinism is not, as popularly thought, merely the idea of natural selection, which proposes that, when environmental conditions change substantially enough to impact life forms, some individual members of a species may be better adapted to the new environmental conditions and will survive in greater numbers than other members of the same species. This also has been called survival of the fittest.
Few people will disagree with this idea. But no one needed Charles Darwin to bring it to society’s attention, because people had been selectively breeding and hybridizing animals and plants for thousands of years.
Darwinism is, however, exceedingly useful to the secular religion of socialism, which accounts for the ACLU’s rabid support.
By hypothesizing secular and material factors as the sole agents affecting life, Darwin provided a rationalization to support liberal-socialists’ proclivities for controlling all human thought and activity by collectivized government regulation.
Thomas Huxley, the English biologist who in the 1860s and 70s became the best known promoter of Darwinism, coined the term agnostic and declared that there is no such thing as right or wrong, no such thing as sin; there is only the struggle for survival in a continually evolving world of material, social, and life forms. Karl Marx was a contemporary of Darwin, and his followers enthusiastically endorsed Darwinism as proof of Marx’s theory of atheistic, materialistic, dialectic processes of history that would inevitably lead to world socialism.
Without Darwinism there would have been no “science” of eugenics, which was conceptualized by Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, in 1865, six years after Darwin’s publication of “On the Origin of Species.” Eugenics endeavors to give natural selection a hand by deciding whether, in the interests of perfecting humanity, certain individuals ought to be sterilized to eliminate them as breeding stock that would mongrelize the human race.
Both Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood and Adolph Hitler’s master-race theories were based upon Darwinian eugenics.
John Dewey in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century established what has become today’s multi-cultural and politically-correct education. Among its central tenets are moral relativism and the psychological thesis that humans have no immortal souls, but are simply mechanisms that respond to sensual pleasure or pain. Dewey based today’s educational theories on Darwin’s assertion that everything is continually evolving. Therefore, Dewey concluded, there can be no such thing as timeless principles of morality. All that counts is whether your actions get you what you want.
Note that Dewey’s philosophy of a Darwinian world with no timeless moral standards is also the theoretical basis for liberal-socialist judicial activism, yet another reason for the ACLU’s near hysterical support of Darwinism. Liberal media like the New York Times never tire of telling us that the Constitution must evolve to encompass the latest fads of hedonism, marital infidelity, and sexual promiscuity.
Of course, if there is no God and none of the constraints of Judeo-Christian morality upon the powers of government, if political life is only a matter of survival of the fittest, the way is open for totalitarianism in Stalin’s Soviet Russia and Hitler’s National Socialist Germany.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Liberals Have to Believe in Magic
Liberal-socialism is, from the first step out of the box, founded upon mythology, and its theories are ivory-tower abstractions so unconnected with reality that they fall within the realm of magic. John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and their fellow socialists behave like wanna-be actors auditioning for wizard roles in the next Harry Potter movie.
Blaming the President alone for disasters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is, in effect, to attribute to his office the powers of God. Even for atheistic liberal-socialists, who believe that the human mind creates and controls everything, it’s a big stretch to say that any President, Democrat or Republican, should have foreseen the fumbling incompetence of Louisiana’s Governor.
It’s hardly surprising that the President’s political opponents would use any news item at hand to discredit him. It is, however, disheartening to see the extent to which the public has swallowed the liberal-socialist propaganda line.
Since the conversion of public education in the 1960s and 1970s to socialist indoctrination, public understanding has departed very far from historical reality. Once again, let’s remind ourselves that this is because liberalism is the American sect of socialism, an atheistic and materialistic religion founded on belief in magic spells.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a founder of French socialism and a prime contributor to Diderot’s French Encyclopedia, admitted that he had no factual basis for his theory that private property was the cause of all social ills. He simply imagined that in the prehistoric past property had been owned in common and that human life therefore was harmonious and tranquil. Therefore, eliminating private ownership of property would return political society to the original Garden of Eden. That’s another way to say that socialism is a work of fiction that advocates magic.
The most extraordinary manifestation of this alienation from reality is the idea that a vast and unimaginably complicated social and economic complex like the United States can be managed by regulations issuing from a bureaucracy in Washington and that a single person, the President, is responsible for our daily well-being.
We hear it on all sides in political discourse. Claims, for example, that a President “created” jobs; charges that a President failed to repeal the law of supply and demand and is thus responsible for high gasoline prices, along with the solemn pronouncement that Hurricane Katrina was caused by our failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
The coin of this magic realm is “ideas” learned at the Hogworts Schools of liberal wizardry, the elite secular universities dominated by liberal-socialist teaching faculties. “Ideas” are thought to be magic spells that, once expounded, produce the effect envisioned by the liberal “thinker.” Recitations of outright falsehood are believed sufficiently powerful to change the actual events of American history retroactively, as in the Soviet Union, where out-of-favor officials were simply erased from all books, photographs, and public records, as if they had never existed.
Ronald Reagan, one of the most effective Presidents in our history, was sneered at by liberals, because he hadn’t been trained in the wizardry of “ideas.” The mindset of liberalism was famously revealed by Lionel Trilling, one of the icons of liberal literary criticism in the 1940s and 1950s. In “The Liberal Imagination,” Professor Trilling wrote: “In the United States at this time  liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadys there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.”
In the world-view of liberal socialists, not to have “ideas,” not to believe in the magical power of socialistic theories, not to believe that only the Federal government, in the hands of liberal wizards, can improve the everyday lives of American citizens, is to be ignorant, to be unworthy of ordinary courtesy and respect.
Unpleasant realities seldom penetrate the fog of magic surrounding liberals. They look no farther than the intentions animating abstract “ideas” to regulate us into conformity with French philosophers’ theories of social justice.
Senator Patrick Leahy’s response to my letter some years ago assured me, for instance, that I was misinformed; it was the Senator’s understanding that Great Society entitlements had, in fact, essentially eliminated poverty. At the same time, liberal-socialists like Senator Leahy repeatedly proclaim that the income-gap between the wealthy and the poor is continually widening and that the poor are today worse off than they were in the early 1970s, in the midst of Great Society stagflation, when in the Senator’s recollection there was little or no poverty.
Liberals’ social-justice programs regularly fail to attain their goals and usually make matters worse. One reason is their faith that conjuring an “idea” is sufficiently powerful to make everyone behave as they expect. No allowance is made for the reactions of real people upon whom their schemes are to be imposed.
Liberal-socialism’s “ideas” require a static world without the dimension of reactions of millions of people over time. If liberal “ideas” envision limitations on spending to reform the Presidential election process, it doesn’t occur to them that humans will be clever enough to find a George Soros to subvert the scheme.
Nor do they acknowledge that such reform “ideas” curtail freedom of speech. Such blind reliance on the power and rightness of their “ideas” elsewhere has led to totalitarian repression. Individuals have always resisted arbitrary regulation, and their liberal-socialist rulers responded, in Soviet Russia and National Socialist Germany, by liquidating a few million dissidents.
Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1856 ?The Old Regime and the French Revolution? described the French socialist intellectuals’ simplistic obsession with abstract theories to perfect political and economic society:
“This kind of abstract, literary politics found its way, in varying proportions, into all the writings of the day….this was the belief that what was wanted was to replace the complex of traditional customs governing the social order of the day by simple, elementary rules derived from the exercise of human reason and natural law….”
Tocqueville could have written the same thing about the policy “wonkism” of President-elect Bill Clinton, when he convoked a gathering of socialist intellectuals in Little Rock in 1992 before his first inauguration. The liberal-socialist media rhapsodized that, at last, decisions will be taken out of the hands of capitalist businessmen and ignorant individuals, and again collectivized in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Magic “ideas” would again be the currency of political life.
The list of liberal magic incantations is lengthy. A few samples: world peace is simply a matter of saying that you favor it; defending ourselves when we are attacked causes war; Al Queda’s billionaire leaders would make nice to us if we shared our wealth with them; redistributing wealth with President Johnson’s Great Society entitlements would eliminate crime and fully employ everyone; high gasoline prices can be fixed by imposing price controls and by mandating alternative energy sources; social justice can be achieved only by steadily raising tax rates on “the rich” (in fact, the opposite is true; tax cuts boost economic activity, which adds jobs and increases total tax revenues).
In my recent posting titled New Orleans and Germany, I described the views of Michael Harrington, the American Socialist Party chairman, which informed President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. That experiment in socialist magic was an unmitigated disaster that left cities like Newark, NJ, and Detroit in ruins, reduced the performance of our educational system to near the bottom of the developed world, accelerated crime rates, drug abuse, illegitimate births and single-parent families, and guaranteed the lawlessness in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
On a global scale, two egregious examples of the genre are the UN Oil for Humanitarian Aid program in Iraq, and the G8 Millennium Goals. The former is the biggest criminal embezzlement in world history. The latter presumes to transform African tribal culture solely by the materialistic and magical application of money.
In both cases nothing could be more divorced from reality than entrusting development of plans for their implementation to the UN. Comparisons that come to mind are trusting a wolf pack to perform as baby sitters, or assigning to an elephant the job of knitting sweaters.
John Luik in “Millennium Development Holes,” posted on the TechCentral Station website, notes the typical UN, socialist lack of planning and pie-in-the-sky expectations. He writes:
“What is objectionable, however, is the fact that the agency given lead responsibility for moving the MDG [Millennium Development Goals] from platitude to reality is the incompetent, corrupt and strategically challenged UN…. Poor water and sanitation annually kills about five million people, according to the UN’s own statistics, and 50% of people in the developing world suffer from a disease associated with poor water quality and inadequate sanitation. Given these facts, you would think that there would be some carefully crafted plan, as part of the MDG strategy, for addressing these problems. Yet there is none.
“What there is instead is a wealth of empty talk about action. Kofi Annan, for instance, speaks about the “sustained action across the entire decade between now and the deadline. It takes time to train the teachers, nurses and engineers; to build the roads, schools, and hospitals; to grow the small and large businesses able to create the jobs and income needed.” But this talk is disconnected from a credible strategic plan as to how such difficult goals can be met…..
“Writing in the New York Times (9/13/05), Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa noted that the UN’s deputy Secretary General, Canadian Louise Frechette, “instructed the organization’s scientists that she didn’t want the summit meeting being ‘distracted by arguments over the measurement of the Millennium Development Goals’ and ordered that they refrain from proposing any refinements to the goals.”
“The reasons for this reluctance to confront the measurement problem stem both from the fact that with many of the goals - such as reducing maternal and infant mortality and the incidence of mortality for instance—it is difficult to know with any degree of precision what mortality and incidence rates currently are and thus to talk in any meaningful way about progress to some goal is impossible.”
Liberals, of course, believe that mythical “international law” residing in a mythical realm called “the community of nations” is administered by the UN and that “international law” supersedes the Constitution of the United States.
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Sunday, September 25, 2005
The Hypocrisy of G8 Millennium Goals
?Bob? Geldof, Bono, and all the well-intentioned throngs who turned out for the UK?s Glastonbury Festival and the Gleneagles concerts have been bamboozled. The grandiose Millennium Goals are an unattainable sham, for the simple reason that there is no way to measure the afflictions they propose to cure. In short, we are dealing with an empty PR scheme that amounts to no more than a show-and-tell public-relations recitation of the religious catechism of materialistic socialism.
As usual, socialism fails to deliver the goods, but all the world’s socialists can feel good about their intentions, while socialist intellectuals sneer at Christian missionaries and the many thousands of Christian churches that do more real good in a year for third-world peoples than socialism can accomplish in a century.
Richard Tren, a director of the South Africa-based health advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria, explains in “The Millennium Development Goal Merry-Go-Round” on the TechCentralStation website.
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The New York Times front-pages a story alleging systematic torturing of Iraqui prisoners.
Who could possibly have imagined that a story like this would come to light at just the moment when the Democrats believe that Hurricane Katrina has put President Bush on the ropes?
In a top-line, front page article in the Saturday, September 24, 2005, edition, New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt’s wrote, “3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine: Three former members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division say soldiers in their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves.”
Needless to say, the Department of Defense must investigate this report and take appropriate punitive action if it proves to be true.
The point to be noted here, however, is that this is not breaking news. The allegations concern actions allegedly taken many months ago. Why then should the Times make this story a featured, front-page one? Is this really news, or just one more instance of the Times editorializing via “news” stories? Is it anything more than a political attack on the President?
Recall that the first set of such allegations about Abu Ghraib was leaked during Senator Kerry’s bid for the Presidency. Note also that the news front had been so dead before the Hurricane Katrina problems that Cindy Sheehan’s “sainthood” vigil outside the President’s Texas ranch was featured news day after day.
Let’s stipulate that, in a Federal republic, the press should be free to attack any politician. But let’s also stipulate that editors ought to exercise judgment and refrain from costing unnecessary lives of American military personnel in Iraq. It’s fair game to go after President Bush, but stories such as Mr. Schmitt’s simply embolden Al Queda to redouble attacks on American military people, hoping to repeat the Vietnam War experience.
The Times, by acting as a propaganda mouthpiece for Human Rights Watch, the issuer of the story, is doing for Al Queda what American media and self-aggrandizing people like John Kerry did for the North Vietnamese. After the war ended, North Vietnamese officials told us that they had no hope of winning the war militarily, that the American media, by inflaming public opinion against our own troops, won the war for them.
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Foreign Policy and Democracy
Critics attack the administration’s focus on instituting democracy as the best long-term policy to defuse Islamic jihad. Rudy Rummel makes the case in behalf of democracy in his “Never Again: Ending War, Democide, & Famine Through Democratic Freedom.”
Readers should take advantage of his extraordinary offer of a free pdf version of the book, which can be downloaded here.
Rudy writes of this book:
The book also provides an essential understanding of the theoretical and historical basis of President George Bush’s democratic peace foreign policy—his Forward Strategy of Freedom. It argues philosophically, and from international law, that individual freedom is the most basic human right. This, and that freedom is a natural desire of all people, would be enough to justify freedom for everyone. But, the major substance of Never Again goes far beyond these justifications to establish that freedom is also a Moral Good.
One Moral Good is that liberal democracies, those whose people are individually free with secure civil and political rights and liberties, don’t make war on each other, as President Bush has stated correctly in support of his foreign policy. Another is that their democratic governments do not murder them. And a third is that their internal political violence is minimal compared to non-democracies.
All this alone would make freedom the foremost Moral Good. But this book also shows that free people—democracies—never have famines, and that freedom is an engine of the greatest wealth and development among nations.
In short, to the Moral Imperative, “No people should ever suffer war, democide, famine, and mass impoverishment, no, never again,” this book proves that fostering individual freedom is the practical way to assure this.
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Canada and New Orleans
Canada, like Germany and France, is willingly wading into the quicksand of socialism. The very same servility that drags European socialist nations down, morally and economically, is making the old popular song “Canadian Sunset” into a prediction of reality.
I am indebted to my cousin Bill Service for the following article, which he understands appeared in The Ottawa Citizen. I am unable to confirm its genuineness, as I can search The Ottowa Citizen’s website back only seven days.
In any case, the observations in this opinion piece reflect the reality of Canada’s contemptible, groveling worship before the altar of socialism and its self-righteous condemnation of the United States, upon whose military forces the survival of Canada will ultimately depend.
The Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, September 11, 2005
There’s plenty wrong with America, since you asked. I’m tempted to say that the only difference from Canada is that they have a few things right.
?That would be unfair, of course—I am often pleased to discover things we still get right.
But one of them would not be disaster preparation. If something happened up here, on the scale of Katrina, we wouldn’t even have the resources to arrive late. We would be waiting for the Americans to come save us, the same way the government in Louisiana just waved and pointed at Washington, D.C. The theory being that, when you’re in real trouble, that’s where the adults live.
And that isn’t an exaggeration. Almost everything that has worked in the recovery operation along the U.S. Gulf Coast has been military and National Guard. Within a few days, under several commands, finally consolidated under the remarkable Lt.-Gen. Russel Honore, it was once again the U.S. military efficiently cobbling together a recovery operation on a scale beyond the capacity of any other earthly institution.
We hardly have a military up here. We have elected one feckless government after another that has cut corners until there is nothing substantial left. We don’t have the ability even to transport and equip our few soldiers. Should disaster strike at home, on a big scale, we become a Third World country. At which point, our national smugness is of no avail.
From Democrats and the American Left—the U.S. equivalent to the people who run Canada—we are still hearing that the disaster in New Orleans showed that a heartless, white Republican America had abandoned its underclass.
This is garbage. The great majority of those not evacuated lived in assisted housing and receive food stamps, prescription medicine and government support through many other programs. Many have, all their lives, expected someone to lift them to safety, without input from themselves. And the demagogic mayor they elected left, quite literally, hundreds of transit and school buses that could have driven them out of town parked in rows, to be lost in the flood.
Yes, that was insensitive. But it is also the truth; and sooner or later we must acknowledge that welfare dependency creates exactly the sort of haplessness and social degeneration we saw on display, as the floodwaters rose. Many suffered terribly, and many died, and one’s heart goes out. But already the survivors are being put up in new accommodations, and their various entitlements have been directed to new locations.
The scale of private charity has also been unprecedented. There are yet no statistics, but I’ll wager the most generous state in the union will prove to have been arch-Republican Texas and that, nationally, contributions in cash and kind are coming disproportionately from people who vote Republican. For the world divides into “the mouths” and “the wallets.”
The Bush-bashing, both down there and up here, has so far lost touch with reality, as to raise questions about the bashers’ state of mind.
Consult any authoritative source on how government works in the United States and you will learn that the U.S. federal government’s legal, constitutional, and institutional responsibility for first response to Katrina, as to any natural disaster, was zero.
Notwithstanding, President Bush took the prescient step of declaring a disaster, in order to begin deploying FEMA and other federal assets, two full days in advance of the stormfall. In the little time since, he has managed to co-ordinate an immense recovery operation—the largest in human history—without invoking martial powers. He has been sufficiently presidential to respond, not even once, to the extraordinarily mendacious and childish blame-throwing.
One thinks of Kipling’s poem If, which I learned to recite as a lad, and mention now in the full knowledge that it drives postmodern leftoids and gliberals to apoplexy—as anything that is good, beautiful, or true:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise .
Unlike his critics, Bush is a man, in the full sense presented by these verses. A fallible man, like all the rest, but a man.
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Judicial Activism: Part VIII (The Birth of an Issue)
Judicial activism since the 1950s has been driven by liberalism’s presumption that the mind of man controls everything, therefore any perceived imperfection in social conditions must, and can, be righted. Katrina’s destruction offers us a glimpse of a liberal social-justice issue aborning.
Close upon the heels of Hurricane Katrina, we can see a devastating legal storm gathering to exploit the free-for-all created by judicial activism under liberal-socialism’s absence of moral and legal standards.
In a September 24, 2005, opinion article in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Olson writes about the process of creating an issue for judicial activism:
“Sometimes it takes a good lawyer to get an insurance company to pay up on the promises it made. But if you want insurers to pay billions on promises they never made—risks they were at pains to avoid underwriting, never collected premiums for, and never set aside reserves against—then a pair of very special lawyers, Jim Hood and Dickie Scruggs, are at your service.
“In case you’re arriving late, insurance pros worldwide stood transfixed last week at the news that Mr. Hood, the elected attorney general of Mississippi, and his ally Mr. Scruggs, the Pascagoula wheeler-dealer known for his role in the $246 billion tobacco litigation, were suing to invalidate—as “unconscionable” and contrary to public policy—the standard flood exclusion in every Magnolia State homeowner’s contract. Assuming ordinary readings of policy language, the early estimates have insurers on the hook for a record $40-$60 billion in Katrina payouts. Knock out the flood exclusions and that exposure will increase by many billions more—scores of billions if the principle gets applied in Louisiana….
“There are some genuine, knotty issues that will arise in resolving Katrina coverage. Ambiguous policy language, unsettled issues of state law, situations in which a structure was damaged first by wind and then by floodwater—all will fuel litigation by policyholders, some of it meritorious. But that’s quite a different question from whether clear and long-standing contract language should be tossed in the wastebin.
“The flood exclusions, Mr. Hood asserts, were hidden “in the fine print” of coastal residents’ policies. If so, it was some of the most publicized fine print in history. “Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage”—blares the warning on one of the federal government’s own consumer-affairs Web sites. In fact, the well-known exclusion dates back decades and has been generally respected by courts.
“Unconscionable”? Contrary to “public policy”? The exclusion prevails in all 50 states, including those states—Mississippi is one—where regulators must okay the offering of new standard policies. Mississippi’s insurance authorities, like their counterparts elsewhere, had green-lighted the flood exclusion, amid little controversy.”
How could this piracy possibly survive the scrutiny of Federal or state court judges? The answer, of course, is that since 1937, and particularly since the 1950s, liberal-socialist doctrines have come to dominate the bench. And that doctrine both denies the idea of fixed principles of law or moral conduct, and follows the precept that the judge’s task is to decide a legal case in accordance with what he believes the outcome OUGHT to be.
What possible justification can there be for this legal anarchy?
Liberal-socialism, the American sect of the world religion of socialism, is grounded in the atheistic faith that belief in a transcendent, all-powerful Creator God is an ignorant superstition, a sort of fairy tale concocted to soothe the uneducated masses. Religion is, in liberal-socialist doctrine, not only ignorance, but a force of social oppression that must be destroyed. Karl Marx called religion the opium of the masses, devised by the propertied ruling classes to keep the workers subjugated in ignorance.
It follows, in liberal-socialist logic, that, there being no God, man is in charge of the universe. But, because past religious faith has made most people ignorant, it naturally also follows that only intellectuals, who understand all of this, are able to point the way to society’s earthly salvation.
Thus a liberal-socialist society is to be ruled by intellectuals, such as the New York Times’s editorial board and anti-American university professors. Needless to say, these intellectuals are the only ones with sufficient understanding to select appointees to the Federal judiciary, and, of course, those appointees must be atheistic socialists.
Proposition two in the chain of liberal-socialist logic is that the rational mind of man is responsible for everything we see around us and therefore empowered to realign social conditions that are at variance with the intellectuals’ current ideas of social justice.
Proposition three is that the only things that matter in realigning social conditions are the materialistic factors such as working conditions, living conditions, and income. From this comes proposition four that social ills, conditions at variance with current ideas of social justice, are caused by unequal distribution of these materialistic factors, most notably income, which affect working and living conditions.
Proposition five is the Marxian and Darwinian doctrine that there is no such thing as human nature. All things, most especially standards of social belief and behavior, are continually evolving as the external, materialistic conditions of the economy and political regulations change. As Darwin’s champion Thomas Huxley pictured it, there is no right or wrong, no such thing as sin; there is only the struggle for survival, another term for Darwin’s natural selection as the creator of species.
What has this to do with judicial activism?
First, and most consequentially, it means that there are no independent standards of law against which to measure the constitutionality of laws or human behavior. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., notoriously stated it, the law is only the opinion of a judge in a given case. And in the world of liberal socialism, that means the judge’s opinion of how thing ought to be, regardless of what a statute says or what the law, for centuries, may have been.
It will be observed that there is an element of circularity in this liberal-socialist scheme, leading to instability, even chaos. The judge himself is at the mercy of changing external material conditions, as he has no timeless principles of religious morality to circumscribe his opinions. He is a rudderless ship driven by changing public opinion, whatever may be the latest social-justice issue to capture the enthusiasm of Hollywood, TV, and the print media. Yesterday’s established principle of law may be overturned without a backward glance.
When no one can be sure of what the law is respecting a given issue, a measure of economic and social paralysis results. The largest corporations, with teams of the best available lawyers, and assuredly poor individuals, are left to make at best educated guesses about whether policies or conduct will survive the scrutiny of Federal and state judges.
Corporations forego new projects that might have created thousands of new jobs and produced innovative and cheaper products for people, because their lawyers fear potentially ruinous law suits. Doctors order scores of ferociously expensive tests for patients, even when those tests are unneeded in their best medical judgment, because any pretext can be exploited by attorneys for malpractice awards that will bankrupt the physicians.
The one sure effect of liberal-socialist doctrine applied to the judiciary is diversion of prodigious amounts of money and armies of otherwise useful talent into the ranks of lawyers and accountants. To this extent, everyone is poorer, both in spirit and in the pocketbook.
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Saturday, September 24, 2005
China and North Korea
Columnist Charles Krauthammer’s recent column supports, and adds new aspects, to the view expressed earlier in Foreign Policy Realism vs Play-Acting
By Charles Krauthammer
?Friday, September 23, 2005; A23
In September 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt brokered the Treaty of Portsmouth (New Hampshire), which settled the Russo-Japanese War. Settling an extra-hemispheric dispute between foreign powers marked the emergence of the United States, an economic and demographic dynamo, as a world power and serious actor on the international stage.
Exactly 100 years later, a statement of principles has been issued from Beijing on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. If it holds—the “if” is very large—it will mark China’s emergence from an economic and demographic dynamo to a major actor on the world stage, and serious rival to American dominance in the Pacific.
Why is the Beijing agreement different from the worthless “Agreed Framework” Bill Clinton signed in 1994 and North Korea violated (we now know) from the very first day? That agreement was bilateral. This one is six-party, but the major player is China.
China conspicuously made itself the locus of the conference and its host. Its vice foreign minister declared that “North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to a nuclear nonproliferation treaty.” If China can succeed where the United States failed miserably in solving the knottiest problem in the Pacific, China will have emerged. That means a lot for China. It has a large stake in this agreement.
Moreover, China controls 30 percent of the food and at least 70 percent of the fuel going into North Korea. That is leverage. The question is why China has decided to use it now.
Until now China had been content to allow North Korea to putter along with its threats, bluster, promises and violations. This served a useful purpose for China in that it was a distraction to the United States, a thorn in its side. Nor were the Chinese in a particular mood to jeopardize the stability of a useful client state.
If this new agreement bears fruit, it will be because China has recalculated its interests, by first deciding that if these negotiations go nowhere and North Korea remains nuclear, it is only a matter of time before Japan goes nuclear, too. A nuclear Japan is China’s ultimate nightmare.
Second, the usefulness of North Korea as a thorn in the side of the United States may have diminished. America has thorns aplenty, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Palestine to Venezuela, to say nothing of its Katrina-related domestic problems.
Third and perhaps most important, this was less a crisis than an opportunity. China has spent the past decade trying to translate its economic power into geopolitical power to make itself the arbiter of Asian affairs. It has established several regional organizations with Asian neighbors (ASEAN Plus Three, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, East Asian Summit) that pointedly exclude the United States. Its major ambition is to displace America as the major Pacific power. At which point, specific and smaller objectives, such as the absorption of Taiwan and the extension of oil rights to waters claimed by weaker neighbors, become infinitely more possible.
By succeeding at denuclearizing Pyongyang, China can demonstrate that the road to getting things done in Asia runs through Beijing. It will have shown its neighbors that the future lies in association with China, with or without the United States.
For this to happen, however, the declaration of principles has to translate into actual dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program. The declaration itself is problematic. It leaves ambiguous the fate of the uranium enrichment program, which North Korea admitted to in 2002 and now claims does not exist.
Success is also contingent on the North Koreans agreeing to postpone, at U.S. insistence, talks about a new light-water nuclear reactor until after it has dismantled its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons facilities. Yet, within a day after the declaration of principles, Pyongyang issued a statement directly contradicting this and saying that nothing will occur unless it gets the light-water reactors right away.
China is the only country that can force North Korea to give way. China will do so if it decides that this is its Portsmouth moment. That would be a blessing, but not unalloyed. It would solve the most acute and dangerous problem in the Pacific—nuclear weapons in the hands of the half-mad Caligula that is Kim Jong Il—at the warranted but still significant cost of seeing our principal rival in the Pacific rise from its slumber.
??2005?The Washington Post Company