The View From 1776
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Science vs Religion, Part 2
From an intellectual viewpoint, there is no inherent conflict between religion and science. Trouble comes from the efforts of atheistic materialists to hijack science.
As noted in Science vs Religion?, religion is obviously no impediment to scientific study of the natural world. All of the 17th century’s groundbreaking discoveries and applications of mathematics to the natural world were the work of devout Christians. In only one case ? Galileo ? was there conflict with the church, and that was primarily a political matter.
Galileo’s fight with the Church was not solely the result of his heliocentric theories.? One of his personal friends, the local bishop, had supported publication of Galileo?s scientific work.? But, after his friend became Pope, Galileo published a satirical work in which some church doctrine was presented as foolish.? It was one thing to publish scientific papers, quite another to ridicule the Pope and the Church during the Reformation’s spiritual and political warfare.
Religion looks at the big picture, science at particular natural instances. Mathematics is a bridge between the two: applicable to particulars, but drawing its theorems from extrapolations into the immateriality of mental constructs, as did Plato with his paradigm of Ideal Forms.
In the 17th century, when natural science emerged as a new paradigm, religion and science were understood to be equally valid ways to study God’s creation. The laws of mathematics and natural science had, after all, been created by God as part of the whole universe. The emerging paradigm of scientific experimentation was not conceived by seminal thinkers like Francis Bacon as replacing religion and classical philosophy. The physical sciences were, instead, to be a supplemental method to determine the nature of the physical world.
Religion, and the closely related field of classical Greek philosophy, are concerned with ultimate questions: who are we? whence came we? whither shall we go? why do humans uniquely among God’s creatures construct political societies? what is the highest aim or purpose of humans and political society? how may we best attain them?
Science seeks to answer more immediate questions: how do things in the material world work?
In physics, the sub-field of cosmology deals with the structure, origin, and natural laws of the whole universe. The best known cosmological hypothesis is the Big Bang, in which the universe and time as we know it commenced with the explosion of unimaginably dense matter in a colossal release of energy at the sub-atomic level.
The Big Bang requires that all of the laws of physics, mathematics, and chemistry be in existence prior to the Big Bang. This means, inescapably, that God existed outside of time and outside of the universe, and that the Mind of God is the source of all the natural laws and mathematics that form the subject matter of the physical sciences. God is what Aristotle called the Unmoved Mover where the buck stops, the source of all energy, of all potential and actual movement in the cosmos. Matter being just another form of energy, God is also the source of everything that scientists study to understand the laws of nature.
Thus, when atheistic materialists, aka socialists and liberals, denounce religion and Greek philosophy as ignorant superstition, they are sinking their own canoe.
From the standpoint of atheistic and materialistic liberals, however, it is necessary first to destroy Western civilization’s paradigm of religious morality if they are to replace it with atheistic materialism. Hence the unending assaults by the ACLU and other socialist organizations.
Liberal-socialism is a simplistic, one-dimensional paradigm in which human nature is a variable that can be changed by external, material forces. The whole of Western socialism (of which American liberalism is a sect) depends upon the theorized ability of intellectual planners and bureaucratic administrators to perfect human existence by centralized planning to create the necessary external, material forces. Diktats from regulatory bureaus theoretically will restructure society, alter working and living conditions, and equalize income levels. Manipulation of DNA and cloning are to be ultimate material forces to conform human nature to the design of socialist intellectuals. Individual initiative and personal responsibility will be replaced with socialized, collectivistic dependence upon the political state as the final source of authority in all matters of human conduct.
It is for this reason that liberals have labored, since the 19th century, to decapitate Western civilization by discrediting God and the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. To that end, they hijacked science by claiming that Marxian socialism is the ultimate science from which all else flows. Since late in the 19th century, American universities have taught that to be a progressive, scientific person of the modern world one must be a socialist.
If, however, liberals were actually to adopt the methods of science to which they give lip service, they would analyze the real-world experiential data of 200 years and draw the scientific conclusion that liberal-socialism is both a pipe dream and a savagely destructive religion. Without it, the totalitarianism of Soviet Russia and National Socialist Germany would have been impossible.
If liberals were to become truly scientific, we could then return to the cumulative wisdom of Western civilization. Religion and philosophy would study humans’ relations to the Divine and to each other, and science would stick to discoveries relating to the God-created material world.
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Monday, August 28, 2006
Science vs Religion?
In the popular picture, assiduously promoted by our socialist educational system, Christianity is a dark force of ignorance seeking to halt the advances of science. The truth is that all of the greatest groundbreaking scientific work of the seminal period of modern physical science, the 17th and early 18th centuries, was done by devout Christians.
As in the field of social welfare, liberals simply assume that all changes for the good of society were introduced by socialists against fierce opposition from Christians and other traditionalists. In fact, every major social change was first introduced by Christians. These range from public education, to humane prisons, abolition of slavery, improvement of workplace safety, and child labor laws.
Liberals’ contribution to social progress has been limited to inheritance taxes, wage and price controls, crushing Federal regulation of all aspects of private life, legalized murder (aka abortion), and same-sex marriage.
Other measures, such as the 1960s civil rights movement, were started and impelled by Christian groups.
In a First Things posting dated August 28, 2006, Stephen Barr discussed the falsity of what students are taught regarding religion’s role in science.
There is a template that many books on science or science history follow when they touch upon the relations of science and religion: Bold Scientist Persecuted by the Church for Thinking New Thoughts. The Galileo case does to a large extent fit the template, but few if any other cases do. Darwin was not persecuted by any church and was buried with great honor in Westminster Abbey. Giordano Bruno was not burned at the stake for believing in a plurality of worlds, as suggested by countless books on astronomy. Teilhard de Chardin was not disciplined by the Church because he believed in evolution. (The June 30, 1962, monitum of the Holy Office explicitly said that that it was ?prescinding from a judgment about those points that concern the positive sciences.?) On and on goes the list of manufactured martyrs to scientific truth at the hands of bigoted ecclesiastics.
However, we religious folk deserve a lot of the blame for the distortions of scientific history, because we have allowed the real story to go largely untold, when we ought to be at the forefront in telling it. Most people, including most scientists, do not realize that the majority of the great founders of modern science, up until at least the middle of the nineteenth century, were religious believers and often very devout. This includes such giants as Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, Lavoisier, Faraday, Maxwell, and Pasteur. Even less well known is that many important scientific discoveries were made by clergymen. Everyone knows about Gregor Mendel, the Austrian monk who founded modern genetics, but there are numerous other examples: One of the two founders of the Big Bang theory was a Belgian priest/physicist named Georges Lema?tre. The first asteroid was discovered by a priest named Giuseppe Piazzi. Fr. Ren?-Just H?uy is called the ?father of crystallography.? Fr. Christoph Scheiner was one of the discoverers of sunspots and discovered the rotation of the sun on its axis.
An extremely important effect in physics called the ?diffraction? of light was discovered by Fr. Francesco Grimaldi in the seventeenth century (something no physics textbook that I have ever seen bothers to mention, so that few scientists are aware of it). One of the top biologists in the world in the eighteenth century was Fr. Lazzaro Spallanzani. Among his many accomplishments was to disprove the theory of ?spontaneous generation.? (Pasteur later made use of Spallanzani?s work in doing his own famous experiments disproving spontaneous generation.)
Fr. Marin Mersenne is considered the ?father of acoustics.? Many of the basic facts about wave motion and sound that are taught in freshman physics courses were discovered by Mersenne (though, again, textbooks never mention this). The first ?binary star? was discovered by Fr. Giovanni Riccioli. One of the founders of modern astrophysics was Fr. Angelo Secchi. Priests also figure prominently in the history of mathematics, including Nicholas Oresme, fourteenth-century bishop of Lisieux, who was the first to graph mathematical functions and who discovered how to combine exponents (he also had important ideas in physics); Girolamo Saccheri, a forerunner of non-Euclidean geometry; Francesco Cavalieri, who made important contributions to the foundation of integral calculus; and Bernhard Bolzano, one of the people who helped put calculus and the theory of real numbers on a more rigorous basis.
One of the most impressive priest/scientists is Niels Stensen (also known as Nicolaus Steno). Stensen, who lived in the mid-seventeenth century, made major contributions to four branches of science: anatomy, geology, paleontology, and crystallography. He is considered, in fact, one of the founders of the science of geology. It is his theories of the origin of geological strata that unlocked the history of the earth. Stensen was a convert to Catholicism who became a priest and eventually a bishop. As a bishop he was known for his severe asceticism and his labors on behalf of the poor. In 1988, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Fortunately, there is a wonderful biography of Stensen that came out in 2003, entitled The Seashell on the Mountaintop: How Nicolaus Steno Solved an Ancient Mystery and Created a Science of the Earth. The author, Alan Cutler, does not seem to be religious himself, but takes pains to counteract the very slanted conventional picture of the relationship between science and religion. It is a wonderfully readable book. One can only hope that this book is part of a trend that will bring to the attention of scientists and the general public the glorious record of religious believers and of the Church in science.
Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware. He is the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith and A Student’s Guide to Natural Science.
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Something to Like in Swedish Socialism
Since the 1930s, the Scandinavian socialist countries, particularly Sweden, have been held up as the models for social-justice policies that liberals want the United States to emulate. Swedish citizens are actually better off than we, but not in ways the liberals anticipated: they don’t have inheritance taxes or minimum wage laws, and they do have a school voucher system.
In a TCSDaily posting titled America: More Like Sweden Than You Thought, Tim Worstall writes: “One of the joys of my working life is that I get to read papers like The State of Working America from the Economic Policy Institute. They are, as you may know, the people who urge that the USA become more like the European countries, most especially the Scandinavian ones. Less income inequality, more leisure time, stronger unions and so on. All good stuff from a particular type of liberal and progressive mindset—i.e. that society must be managed to produce the outcome that technocrats believe society really desires, rather than an outcome the actual members of society prove they desire by building it.”
But are social and economic conditions in Scandinavia and Finland really better than in the United States?
Using the statistical analysis provided by the socialist Economic Policy Institute, Mr. Worstall observes, “... In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It’s not worth quibbling over 1% so let’s take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don’t you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely ... nothing.”
Mr. Worstall also observes, “I will admit that I do find it odd the way that only certain parts of the, say, Swedish, “miracle” are held up as ideas for us to copy. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we were urged to adopt some other Swedish policies? Abolish inheritance tax (Sweden doesn’t have one), have a pure voucher scheme to pay for the education system (as Sweden does), do not have a national minimum wage (as Sweden does not) and most certainly do not run the health system as a national monolith (as Sweden again does not). But then those policies don’t accord with the liberal and progressive ideas in the USA so perhaps their being glossed over is understandable, eh?”
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Sunday, August 27, 2006
The NEA’s Top Educational Priority
In The Curious Case of NEA Priorities, Alan Sears writes:
“Plunging test scores. Floods of incoming college freshman who can?t read at even a sixth-grade level. Principals and school boards groping for incentives that will draw better teachers into lifelong service for high stress and infrequent appreciation….
“Teacher morale remains low, as many grapple daily with parents who are disengaged and apathetic, neurotic or demanding, angry or eager to move their child into alternative educational settings…..
“The toughest question was undoubtedly the first one: where do we start, when it comes to fixing America?s schools?”
Answer: NEA leaders decided that “.... the first thing our teachers have to do is win popular support for homosexual ?marriage.?
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Will Our Grandchildren Understand the Meaning of Virtue?
The Bible’s truth is an endangered heritage, caught between the atheistic secularism of our reigning religion, liberalism, and the onrushing assault of Islam. The United States today is in the position so often recorded in the Old Testament books of the prophets: a stiff-necked people abandons God and worships its own man-made gods of wealth and power, always suffering devastation by foreign foes as a consequence.
Writer Gary Kelly submitted the following thoughts from the introduction to his book “Lessons of the Holy Spirit: A Guide for Entering the Kingdom of God; And Discover Why It Pleased God to Hide His Kingdom from the Wise.”
By Gary Kelly
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
There is a worldly wisdom of men, and there is the wisdom of God. Scripture says those wise in this world consider believing or having faith in the Cross of Christ as foolishness. God in His wisdom has purposely chosen this foolishness to confound those who consider themselves wise in this world.
These two aspects of wisdom are defined in Scripture. We are keenly aware of worldly human or intellectual wisdom, yet Scripture refers to this wisdom as that of flesh and blood. Scriptures tells us there is also a spiritual wisdom. One must discern within the Scriptures whether worldly wisdom or spiritual wisdom is being addressed, for they are not the same. Spiritual or heavenly wisdom is higher than man’s worldly wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is eternal, worldly wisdom is temporary.
When man and woman first sinned, God said they now knew good and evil. This is intellectual ego and is the primary stumblingblock whereby one must overcome in acknowledging the Creator as an all-loving, all-knowing God, and come to terms that we are not.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” ( Isaiah 55:6-11)
Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ( Matthew 11:25-30)
Gary Kelly’s website is http://www.earstohear.net
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Is Judicial Activism OK?
Edward A. Kole presents an interesting argument in support of judicial activism as a long-range defense of the Constitution.
He argues that the underpinning of all our laws is the common law, and that judges’ job is to make the common law conform to changes in social, economic, and technological conditions.
So long as judicial activism is limited to judicial interpretation of age-old traditions of common law, it is held more or less in check. Our 20th and 21st century problem, however, has been judicial activism as a tool for discovering hitherto unprecedented Constitutional “rights,” such as abortion and same-sex marriage, particularly when those “rights” are strongly opposed by the majority of citizens.
Mr. Kole is certainly correct in categorizing common law as judge-made law that has evolved continuously since the 12th century. Cases tried under common law sometimes involve unusual conditions not addressed in earlier cases. Judges both select the prior law cases and principles they believe to be applicable, and then apply their reasoning to the new case in ways that may alter the meaning of the older common law principle for future litigants.
The 20th century doctrine of legal realism espoused by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., went much further. Justice Holmes flatly denied that there are any higher principles of morality or law that guide judicial decisions. The law, he wrote, is nothing more than whatever a judge says it is.
Therein lies the inherent danger in judge-made law.
NOTHING WRONG WITH “JUDGE-MADE LAW”
By Edward A. Kole
On Sunday, August 20, 2006, in “Setting the Record Straight, Part 3” Mr. Brewton wrote: ?“It’s a pity that the Bill of Rights didn?t incorporate language found in many of the contemporary state constitutions.”
Mr. Brewton continued with, “Many of the state constitutions, between the time of the Articles of Confederation and our 1787 Constitution, contained clauses similar to Delaware’s, granting freedom of worship ...unless under colour of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of society. ?Were such language in the First Amendment, vast numbers of vexatious problems could have been avoided. . . . “?
I wholly agree with Mr. Brewton. ?However, it is also my opinion that the Founders crafted a permanent remedy for all inequities and criminal acts simply by framing a Common Law Constitution. ?Unfortunately, recent generations have lost their Common Law connections, for in that ignorance they no longer appreciated the Founder’s vision for a Common Law Constitution. ?By sanctioning the Common Law as the Law of the Land they elevated the Judiciary to the level of the Legislature and the Executive. ??For those who believe we did not lose our connection to the Common Law, then why does blood boil when we perceive Judges as legislators? ?Does not “Common Law” translate as “Judge-made Law?” ?
Before discussing “Common Law” and “Judge-made Law” let us see how the Common Laws of 1776 answers to Mr. Brewton’s concerns. ?What follows are just a few of many Common Law Rules that answer to his concerns. ?
Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England Book the Fourth - Chapter the Eleventh: Of Offenses Against the Public Peace
9. ?THE offence of riding or going armed, with dangerous or unusual weapons, is a crime against the public peace, by terrifying the good people of the land; and is particularly prohibited by the statute of Northampton, upon pain of forfeiture of the arms, and imprisonment during the king’s pleasure: in like manner as, by the laws of Solon, every Athenian was finable who walked about the city in armour. ?
10. ?SPREADING false news, to make discord between the king and nobility, or concerning any great man of the realm, is punifhed by common law with fine and imprisonment; which is confirmed by statutes. ??
11. ?FALSE and pretended prophecies, with intent to disturb the peace, are equally unlawful, and more penal; as they raise enthusiastic jealousies in the people, and terrify them with imaginary fears. ?They are therefore punished by our law, upon the same principle that spreading of public news of any kind, without communicating it first to the magistrate, was prohibited by the antient Gauls. ?Such false and pretended prophecies were punished capitally by statute which was repealed in the reign of queen Mary. ?And now by the statute the penalty for the first offence is a fine of 100 /., and one year’s imprisonment; for the second, forfeiture of all goods and chattels, and imprisonment during life. ?
12. ?BESIDES actual breaches of the peace, any thing that tends to provoke or excite others to break it, is an offence of the same denomination. ?Therefore challenges to fight, either by word or letter, or to be the bearer of such challenge, are punishable by fine and imprisonment, according to the circumstances of the offence. . ?If this challenge arises on account of any money won at gaming, or if any assault or affray happen upon such account, the offender, by statute shall forfeit all his goods to the crown, and suffer two years imprisonment. ?
Our Common Law Federal Constitution is Judge-made, and People-approved.
From a time out of mind to date, it has been the custom of English and Colonial American jurisprudence, that the Common Law, Statutes and Constitutions are to be honored. ?As such, we agree that the Common Law will override Custom Law, that Statutes override the Common Law, and Constitutions will override Statutes. ?Still, however uncomplicated these rules, to leave so profound a notion without further explanation diminishes the enormity of the Framer’s revolutionary vision and accomplishments. ?In a world of varying degrees of privilege and class, and where might makes right, the Colonial Americans abandoned these ageless convictions and joined themselves to a Common Law Constitution. ?Instead of creating a nation committed to class and privilege, they created a nation of political equals, ?committed to the notion that no man is above the law. ?The American Common Law Constitution forever quashed the idea that certain people inherit the right to rule, or are superior to others because they claim some unique divine knowledge. ?Instead of creating a Theocratic Monarchy, the American?s chose a Constitution that raises the rule of the Common Law as the highest authority. ?
Common Law is NEVER created as Legislatures create Statutes. ?Common Laws are “discovered,” but only after proving its “perfection” after generations of unchanging, continuing and uninterrupted use. ?Should any Law or Court Opinion be found with a fault, the People and their Judges discarded it, or invested it with new found knowledge. ?The age of the Common Law is not its weakness. On the contrary, its antiquity is PRECISELY the REASON for the American?s trust, esteem and affection. ?Another fundamental difference between Common Law and Statute Law is the Common Law’s dependence on reason, its universal application in all circumstances, and the People’s good common sense. ?On the other hand Statute Law is arbitrary law and continues only for the coercive power of the State. ?
Unlike Statute Law, Common Law is not born in the fleeting passions of mere generations. ?We discover Common Law after Courts learn of their injustices, or we have made a new technology, or when we discover, rediscover or uncover the true character of our human nature. ?For instance, the right of self defence does not change according to the technology or for political transitions. ?Whether we use the “Right” to defend ourselves with a stone, club, arrow, or bullet . . . a shield or a bulletproof vest, the Right of Self Defence does not change. Whether we are scratching the surface of a clay tablet, writing with ink filled goose quills, or typing on a computer keyboard, the need to express ones self does not change, for the Common Law stipulates and protects our unalienable RIGHTS to speak, assemble and publish. ?These freedoms are inseparable parts of our physical being and do not exist as permissions by advocates of some political or religious dogma or lunacy. ?
England’s abuses to Colonial Englishmen and the Common Law make up most of the Declaration of Independence. ?Correcting those grievances became the mission and blueprint for the U.S. Constitution and the first thirteen State Constitutions. ?Forever to remedy the Declaration’s grievances, the Framers chose the English Common Law as the standard by which the Judges interpret Constitutions, Statutes, Proclamations, Executive Orders and Judicial opinions. ?To this end the Founders wrote the following into the Constitution ?. . . ??
Article III. Section II: ?The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of Admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States, between a State and Citizens of another State, between Citizens of different States, between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizen thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects. ?
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. ?
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed. ?
ARTICLE THE SEVENTH: ?In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact, tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. ?
To protect the Common Law and the People the Founders made sweeping changes in the Law’s pecking order ??Then as NOW, Common Law overrides Custom Law. ?Statutes override the Common Law, and Constitutions override Statutes. ?
However, with Common Law Constitutions, it is the Constitution’s Common Laws that is the Supreme Law of the Land. ?NOW those Common Laws override Statute Law. ?
But just what has the Common Law provided, and where in the Constitution is it?
The most obvious Common Laws are in the Bill of Rights. ?Just to name a few we have Trial by Jury, Indictment by Grand Jury, Writ of Habeas Corpus, rejection Bills of Attainder, or Ex Post Facto Laws, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, the separations of power, that no man will be a judge in his own cause, the Corruptions of Blood, Equality under the Law, one man one vote, the Rule of Law and a host of definitions and penalties for all manners of Crime. This short list only begins to enumerate the Common Laws that forms the Constitution and the principles of self governance. ?
Because the most Colonial Americans were Englishmen who believed and trusted in the Common Law, then it is to the Common Law and Colonials’ First State Constitutions that we must go to discover the measure of their trust and what they intended for the themselves and their posterity. ?Only then can we learn why they (and we should) reexamine, redefine to reinvigorate our Common Law heritage. ?
As proof of the Framers Common Law intent, I offer some selected texts from “The True Intent of the First American Constitutions of 1776-1791”
Account of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut.
“The superior and county courts try matters of fact by a jury, according to the course of the Common Law. . . .”
The Constitution of the State of Delaware.
“25. The Common Law of England, as well as so much of the statute law as have been heretofore adopted in practice in this state, shall remain in force, unless they shall be altered by a future law of the legislature; such parts only excepted as are repugnant to the rights and privileges contained in this constitution and declaration of rights, &c. agreed to by this convention.”
The Declaration of Rights of the State of Maryland.
“3. That the inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the Common Law of England, and the trial by jury, according to the course of that law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes, as existed at the time of their first emigration… ’
Constitution of the State of New-Jersey.
“22. That the Common Law of England, as well as so much of the statute law as have been heretofore practiced in this colony, shall still remain in force, until they shall be altered by a future law of the legislature; such parts only excepted as are repugnant to the rights and privileges contained in this charter; and that the inestimable right of trial by jury shall remain confirmed, as a part of the law of this colony, without repeal for ever.”
The Constitution of the State of New-York.
“35. And this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ordain, determine, and declare, that such parts of the Common Law of England, and of the statute law of England and Great-Britain, and of the acts of the legislature of the colony of New-York,. ” ?
Judicial Activism, a.k.a. Judge-made Law or Legislation from the Bench, attempts to describe Judges whose opinions we perceive as unconstitutional intrusions into constitutional places they should not enter. ?In the main, these catchy politicized phrases are used to criminalize Judges who for their differences of opinion, we accuse of usurping powers constitutionally entrusted to other branches or departments of government. ?Without frustration or rancor, it is also fair to say that we in recent generations often perceive Judge-made law as illegal, stupid or despotic. ??Nonetheless, whatever a Judge’s politics or opinion, in the passage of time and the ever changing political landscape, different Judges in different generations will produce other opinions that will rewrite offensive interpretations into just Common Laws. ?Today “Judge-made laws” compel the People to debate unresolved issues such as abortion and the alleged right to privacy, stem cell research and murder, suicide and the alleged right to die, same sex marriage, eminent domain, selective discrimination or put another way, affirmative action, the profiling of terrorists and undocumented aliens’, terrorism and religious intolerance, assimilation and balkanization. ?These are some issues in which our Judges, and the People, are concurrently seeking a Common Law solution. ?
Given our Common Law Constitutions, I fully expect our esteemed activist Judges, and an activist citizenry, will resolve their differences, for only they are charged to discover the Common Laws that remedy every unresolved case and issue. ?
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Friday, August 25, 2006
Income Tax Destroyed Connecticut Jobs
A think-tank study documents the destruction wrought by Connecticut’s adoption of an income tax on wages and salaries.
Fiscal conservatives, defined as those with some grasp of economic realities, have long recognized that taxing an activity tends to depress it. If the costs of a business increase, it becomes less feasible for that business to grow and to hire additional employees.
Cutting taxes, on the other hand, has demonstrably resulted in rapid and widespread growth of real economic output and the creation of millions of new jobs. First under President John F, Kennedy, then under President Ronald Reagan, and most recently under President George W. Bush, we have seen tax-cutting work as predicted.
Conversely, when President Franklin Roosevelt during the 1930s Depression hiked taxes from the 25% range to more than 80%, business was strangled. The Depression dragged on for eight years, until Japan brought us into World War II. The median level of unemployment never dropped below double figures under FDR’s punitive taxes. Not until after World War II did the Dow Jones Industrial average regain its 1929 high.
Illustrating the destructive effects of high income taxes at the state level, Maggie’s Farm website alerted me to a just-released study sponsored by Yankee Institute for Public Policy, based in Hartford, CT.
The report’s author D. Dowd Muska writes in the executive summary:
“In August 1991, Connecticut legislators and Governor Lowell P. Weicker responded to a short-term budget crisis by enacting the state?s first broad-based income tax. Supporters hailed the income tax as a powerful mechanism to fix the state?s fiscal condition and—because it allowed minor cuts in other taxes—jumpstart the Connecticut economy.
“But a decade and a half after its passage, it is now clear that the income tax has failed. The income tax has not been an effective fiscal tool:
* when the state entered another recession at the turn of the century, budget deficits returned, as did tax hikes, heavy borrowing, and the complete withdrawal of Connecticut?s ?rainy day fund?
* Connecticut?s state tax burden continued to rise significantly after 1991, and tax hikes as well as entirely new levies were adopted
* revenue from the income tax did not lead to property-tax relief—between 1991 and 2003, Connecticut property-tax collections rose 19.8 percent
* the ?spending cap? enacted to control state expenditures was riddled with loopholes, and has been violated again and again by governors and lawmakers
* contrary to the claims of many income-tax supporters, not one of the nation?s non-income tax states followed Connecticut?s lead.
Neither has the income tax spurred economic growth:
* Connecticut job growth has been nonexistent since 1991—the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reports that since the early 1990s, ?no other state ? has had such stagnation in employment?
* personal-income growth slowed significantly in the Nutmeg State in the post-1991 era
* median household income in Connecticut has fallen, in inflationadjusted terms, since 1991—nationally, median household income has grown
* Connecticut lost over 240,000 native-born citizens between 1990 and 2002, and in the 1990s, no state lost a greater percentage of its 18-to-34-year-olds It?s time to admit that Connecticut?s income tax was a major policy blunder. The state should consider shifting to a sales tax on all retail transactions (with a generous rebate program for low-income households). Doing so would likely produce a more reliable revenue stream, as well as eliminate the income tax?s strong disincentives to work and invest.”
It should be noted that the author of this calamity was nominal Republican, but deep-blue liberal, Lowell Weicker, who perhaps not coincidentally was born in Paris, France. Mr. Weicker served three terms as United States Senator from Connecticut, before being defeated in 1989 by Joseph Lieberman. Naturally enough, Mr. Weicker actively supported Ned Lamont in his recent defeat of Senator Lieberman in the Democratic primary.
The Democrats continue to dominate the State Assembly in Hartford and they are once again playing with fire, this time in the form of the so-called “millionaires” tax. This initiative is outright pandering, a call for the masses to stick it to the the only citizens who would be affected, wealthy denizens of Fairfield County who make their money in Wall Street and, increasingly, in Greenwich and Stamford, managing hedge funds and other private pools of money.
The latter can literally operate from any base in the world, given today’s instantaneous communications. If the Democrats impose the “millionaires tax,” look for erosion of the only dynamic work force in Connecticut.
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Question of the Day - August 25, 2006
Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his Toward Tradition?Newsletter asks why should the Jewish Anti-Demafation League denounce a TV documentary titled “Darwin?s Deadly Legacy”?
This documentary, released by Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, “features prominent intellectuals like University of California law professor Phillip Johnson, and scientists with unimpeachable academic credentials like professors Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells,” according to Rabbi Lapin.
Rabbi Lapin writes, “This dazzling production shows how ideas always have consequences, often unintended, and how Darwinism has impacted American culture. ?It discusses how the philosophy of evolution can dehumanize people and how Adolf Hitler, on his own admission, was influenced by Darwinian thought.”
“This is how the ADL blasted the documentary (reportedly, before seeing it): ?This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust.?? ADL National Director Abe Foxman warns that, ?It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of Christian Supremacists who seek to reclaim America for Christ and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.?
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Thursday, August 24, 2006
Question of the Day - August 24, 2006
If the New York Times and Al Gore can declare “case closed” on their agendas by invoking the opinion of “all of the world’s scientists,” what are we to make of astronomers’ recent decision, after nearly a century of unchallenged opinion by all the world’s scientists, that Pluto is no longer to be classified as a planet?
Melting of Greenland’s glaciers is cited by “all of the world’s scientists,” according to the Times and Mr. Gore, as irrefutable evidence that so-called greenhouse gases will destroy the planet. What then are we to make of the recently published research findings by Danish scientists at Aarhus University?
Quoting from the AFP news article:
“Greenland’s glaciers have been shrinking for the past century, according to a Danish study, suggesting that the ice melt is not a recent phenomenon caused by global warming.
” Danish researchers from Aarhus University studied glaciers on Disko island, in western Greenland in the Atlantic, from the end of the 19th century until the present day.
“This study, which covers 247 of 350 glaciers on Disko, is the most comprehensive ever conducted on the movements of Greenland’s glaciers,” glaciologist Jacob Clement Yde, who carried out the study with Niels Tvis Knudsen, told AFP.
“..... The shrinking of the glaciers since the 19th century is “the result of the atmosphere’s natural warming, following volcanic eruptions for example and greenhouse gases, created by human activities, which have aggravated the situation further,” he said.”
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Question of the Day - August 23, 2006
If Darwin’s Galapagos Island finches with slight differences in their beaks are different species, why aren’t caucasians, blacks, and Asiatics, with much more marked superficial differences, also different species?
Why is there such fierce disagreement among evolutionary biologists about the proper species classification of many plants and animals, if Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis is definitive and unquestionable science?
Is it possible that evolutionary biology is just a set of arbitrary classifications arising originally as a political and philosophical effort to discredit Judeo-Christianity?
Note that, from the Judeo-Christian viewpoint, caucasians, blacks, and Asiatics all are equally children of God.