Archive for May, 2008

eminent domain

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

wikipedia: Eminent domain

The doctrine of eminent domain, which allows governmental entities to force the sale to itself of private properties that it desires to possess, makes it a prime generator of spaces in which corruption may take root.

One of the primary justifications for government is the protection of private property. People are too often covetous of each other’s possessions. Therefore Pax Romana, or Pax Anything is not totally an unmitigated disaster. It is sort of a mitigated disaster, or else to say its unmitigated disaster quality is not total. People will acquiesce to higher level control if such is perceived to obviate lower level problems. Since people in society often exist as lower level problems to each other, authoritarian control is sometimes conceived as the better choice.

But. There are limits. How to talk about the limits?

Jefferson and others I won’t mention were influenced by John Locke, who rationalized the departure away from monarchical concepts of just governance, toward democratic concepts of the same.

I strongly suggest that we not imagine that any system of government will replace the need for us to keep our eyes open to what is actually going on, to the degree we are able. This is especially true of the functioning of governmental entities. We need to keep an eye on them. As the power of the socially interested human being serving some office increases, the power of the self interested human being serving the same office also increases.

Complexification of systems is much overrated as a problem-solving technique, in my view.

Corruption in office is a signal to a democracy that citizen involvement in government must increase.

The powerful, particularly – they are most the inheritors of the fruits of American ideals – we must insist that they not turn their backs on those ideals.

The developers who buy-off city hall are not patriotic Americans. They make believe that they are, may even think that they are, but we can do better with our use of language than that, certainly. I don’t want to quibble about the meaning of patriotism, but be assured that I do not endorse the too often utilized socio-pathological sense of “patriotism” that is jingoistic. Simply put, people who corrupt our hard won political institutions are not our friends.

But, corrupted by money and power, scoundrels do turn their backs on those ideals. It happens at all levels. This is a country rife with corruption at all levels. When you encounter honesty and transparency in government at any level support it, defend it. Just like any endangered species that you may care about. The hypocritical juxtaposition of patriotic symbols with conniving back room political dealing must be called out for what it is. We can’t let those jerks steal any credit for “love” of country whatsoever. They don’t love us, and they don’t love our political institutions. Their true function within our system is as a parasite. Do parasites love us? (Maybe, if we avoid much garlic.) The form of this political parasitism is roughly the same, regardless of the scale on which it occurs. I don’t know if the bigger lies are really harder to detect – maybe just more challenging to talk about. But I dare anyone to walk into any public venue and boldly claim that [pick your favorite governmental entity] operates transparently, without cronyism, favoritism, graft or other forms of corruption. Try it, anyway. I can almost promise that some rays of new light will be shed upon the subject from the infinite resources of the Tao, or its secular equivalent.

Human failing in such a manner is itself always a sad story, and some, for humanistic reasons, may be sympathetic to official crooks and liars. Granted, acknowledged, even promoted. Sympathy is a wonderful phenomenon, and possibly among the constellation of our better traits that may save us, if any may. That said, my sympathy for small corrupt officials is similar to my sympathy for the war criminals hiding in plain sight in the executive branch, and it is scheduled to receive more of my consideration directly after they are removed from office.

Ninth Circuit panel decision in favor of school uniforms

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

9th Circuit Upholds School Uniform Policy

If attaining freedom were easily accomplished, American ideals would not be so significant in European history and the broader sweep of Western civilization – not so significant in what has become now World civilization. If Americans are so ready to lay down their freedoms, imagine other populations who have not been indoctrinated to believe that freedom is a basic right of everyone. To take that fundamental stake as basic, and let all restrictions come as exceptions to the basic rule of freedom, that represents taking a stake in the American ideals that might be conceivable to a student growing up in the public school systems in Iowa during the 1950′s and 1960′s.

But now that I see that the American citizenry is apparently willing to let an imperial executive branch set stunningly corrupt precedents with impunity, I am not so sure I can continue to promote the faith that the People only need be presented with the real facts in order that they will meet any national crisis. They certainly have the facts, yet they do next to nothing about it.

Those who believe that American salvation will issue from classrooms more similar to Pacific Rim factory modalities than anything else that comes readily to mind, they perhaps long for the days of Sparta. More likely is simply a regression to the mean, and we are being presented a portrait of our own basic stuff – the kind of stuff that is brought forward in any justification of governance. The kind of stuff that Americans forged our Constitution to protect us from.

There is some kind of cusp between the far reaches of the Right, and the far reaches of the Left. Along that cusp we find all kinds of interesting experimental suggestions regarding human social behavior.

How different are the old-fashioned American ideals. Those who feel them instinctively in their depths must not assume that such is a norm of human social psychological behavior. Those tend toward polarities of command and subservience. American ideals therefore only survive if we keep the flame alive. If the current trend continues, that flame of truth will not be an allowable symbol on school uniforms, I fear.