In David Brooks’ NYTimes column this morning, When The Good Do Bad, he presents in his view of modern day philosophy-religion that man is born good but some are born evil, “According to this view, most people are naturally good, because nature is good. The monstrosities of the world are caused by the few people (like Hitler or Idi Amin) who are fundamentally warped and evil.”
Brooks illustrates this through the recent slaughter of 16 people (including children) in Iraq by Robert Bales, who those who’ve known him say they are astounded – “Friends and teachers describe him as caring, gregarious and self-confident”.
Brooks digs back into centuries old Christianity and Philosophical thought on Good vs. Evil, quoting John Calvin, GK Chesterton and CS Lewis who believed like the Bible says in Jeremiah 17.9, that the heart of man is deceitful (wicked) above all things and who can truly know it.
The modern worldview of Good vs. Evil is simplistic as Brooks says, “This worldview gives us an easy conscience, because we don’t have to contemplate the evil in ourselves. But when somebody who seems mostly good does something completely awful, we’re rendered mute or confused.” But, in that confusion the modern worldview grapples for answers on how to identify and protect against those external evils in others and isolate them from the good. He identifies the Hitlers and Idi Amin for example.
Brooks ends his article positing this, “According to this older worldview, Robert Bales, like all of us, is a mixture of virtue and depravity. His job is to struggle daily to strengthen the good and resist the evil, policing small transgressions to prevent larger ones. If he didn’t do that, and if he was swept up in a whirlwind, then even a formerly good man is capable of monstrous acts that shock the soul and sear the brain.”
I would take this a step further and propose this question framed within our Presidential election process as the backdrop. Do these two contrasting views of `Man is either Good or Bad’ versus `Man is a combination of Good and Bad’ play a factor in determining the type of Government System we should have?
If you believe that Man is born with different natures of Good and Bad, wouldn’t you try to find `The Best’ to run the country and forfeit the most power to them? On the other hand if Man is a mixture of Good and Bad, wouldn’t you like James Madison and the other framers of the US Constitution and architect of our Nation, build a government designed not for the best to rule, but to protect against the worst?
Our government was designed by men who believed that Man is a combination of potential Good and Evil, that he could do amazing exploits of courage and patriotism but had the potential for the worst depravity and self interest at the expense of his neighbor. They built a government with that in mind, that allowed for the greatest amount of freedom but punished bad acts and they divided the powers of government between federal offices and State Powers. This was also to prevent the same potentials in Man for the depravity of self interest at the expense of others and the power to lord over another from becoming systematic.
So two final questions:
- Do you think in modern worldview as David Brooks subscribes, Man is basically Good but there are some that are Bad? Or do you believe like those in our past that Man is a mixture and has the potential for great exploits or the worst depravity?
- Having decided upon one of those worldviews, do you think that should affect the type of government we should have?
Christopher M. Mahon, Editor
While the country prepared for St. Patrick Day celebrations on March 16, 2012 Friday night, the White House Press Office discreetly released Executive Order, `National Defense Resources Preparedness‘ which in a time of `national crisis’ arbitrarily determined by the Federal Government, shifts control of private business, industry, travel and even the labor of professionals and specialists that are deemed critical to operations into the possession of the Federal Government.
Now, at first blush and within the backdrop of present day societal economic and foreign diplomatic challenges seems like a radical and dangerous Executive Order (EO); this Order actually has a genesis from an FDR EO from 1939. There have been several additional amendments and several similar orders that were crafted to protect homeland threats from abroad. But what has happened though in the cloak of legislation to protect American Liberties? In 1950 EO10323 (Defense Production Act of 1950) by President Truman, it moved designated business equipment production under federal power during attacks (Korean War). EO12656, under President Reagan in 1988 put language in previous EOs to include Nuclear Engagement. In 1994 under President Clinton, EO12919 entered the language to include Terrorism and recognized the potential for domestic attacks. The National Defense Resources Preparedness by President Obama, the most recent EO, which seeks to broaden even further language to protect US financial, agricultural, transportation, military and utilities structures against the threat of `extremists’ and others as a result of both foreign and domestic crises is arbitrarily defined by the Federal Government; it has dismantled further constitutional separation of power and consolidated federal powers and opens up the ability of the federal government to step in during an economic or civil unrest crisis that it deems potentially threatening to US society.
Also, because of recent legislation through Congress: the Patriot Act 2001, which was resigned by President Obama in May 2011 and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2012 give the federal government even more power to control the freedoms and property of US Citizens, this EO by President Obama is even more potent than past orders. Also, this EO revokes Reagan and Clinton’s EOs which while nuanced is very important to recognize. There was language in those that recognized the US Constitution as the final arbiter between the powers of the federal and state governments. Also, there was language in both that recognized the coordination of powers between the federal and state government. As of President Obama’s EO these `bumpers’ on federal power have been removed. The danger of abuse either by pragmatic overreach of government in a time of crisis or the potential for tyrannical power has just been increased.
Another change that could have great impact is in the Loan section 300, where instead of the Treasury raising money in the market (Import-Export Bank, etc) it is now authorized to go behind closed doors with the Federal Reserve. This means the potential for mischief has increased. Solyndra type debacles could be bailed out without public scrutiny and banks now have `Speakeasy’ access to credit.
In Section 700, it names a `governing committee’ which names most federal agency heads but includes a few private institutions that oversea potential threats and the management of preparedness in the order of a FEMA type operation. Oddly though, there is no state representation on the committee: No Board of Governors, nothing.
- Section 300: Loans done through Federal Reserve (banks) coordinated by Department of Treasury so theoretically hidden from public scrutiny and the possibility of Solyndra-type financial problems being buried and the abuse of `Crony Capitalism’.
- Previous legislation (EO 12656 -Reagan 1988, EO12919 -Clinton 1994) referred to State level coordination and adherence to constitutional design and limited actions to Defense, that would limit the scope of homeland federal abuse, this Executive Order removes that language.
- Adds the word `Threat’ to the language which could allow for preemptive actions by federal authorities and the possibility of state, local and individual (property) overreach.
- This Executive Order dovetailed with NDAA 2012 broadens the scope of Homeland (domestic) security to include `enemy combatants’ and non-defense threats with loss of due process protections.
- Changes to Section 300 where access to Loans by banks and business is through Federal Reserve and opens the door to mischief and abuse.
Christopher M. Mahon, Editor
In a March 9th article in Reason Magazine, `Ron Paul Revolution: What Now? Brian Doherty sums up the frustration of Ron Paul supporters as their candidate hasn’t won a single primary or caucus state, and media channels like Politico have written him off. The math of Super Tuesday last week also shows that Congressman Paul has no chance of winning the nomination. So what is left of his candidacy? Who or how can the Constitution and Individual Liberty be brought to the forefront as Washington Insider interests jockey for power with large funding resources and powerful media connections?
Doherty mulls over a brokered convention in Tampa, “Given the general attitudes of the average GOP stalwart, though, it’s hard to imagine Ron Paul coming out of one a winner. Ronald Reagan in 1976 made quite the push to deny leader Gerald Ford the nomination when Ford lacked a clear majority going into the convention, and even Reagan, god-saint of modern Republicanism, failed. Former GOP super-strategist Roger Stone, who lived through those days, reminded me that Reagan actually represented the views and enthusiasms of the mass of GOP activists in his day in a way Ron Paul does not now. This makes it even less likely Paul will succeed with any last-minute Tampa coup.”
But all is not lost. Ron Paul and his campaign support bring a couple of surprises to a brokered convention. First, the media has discounted loyal delegate support for Ron Paul in states where delegates are not bound and can move their support, and in the training and volunteer effort that the Paul camp has made since 2008 in getting their people into key precinct positions in each state will help. While it may be a long, long shot when considering Reagan failed, still Paul’s influence will be felt at the convention.
Finally, when you again run through the numbers and where Ron Paul runs strong: Independents, Reagan Democrats and the Youth (twenty somethings); even without the holdout for a brokered convention, just as the King of Israel contended with Elijah so will the eventual GOP nominee need Paul support going into November. Unlike deals made with past failed candidacies, to get Ron Paul support and a successful national campaign there will need to be tangible evidence of foreign and domestic policy revisions that align with constitutional principles.
If Mitt Romney runs against President Obama with $1billion cut in spending in the first year, a new military footprint and a Defense rather than Military Intervention policy that respects national sovereignty around the globe – until they violate ours; and an audit of the Federal Reserve with a change in objective from Employment/Inflation to inflation only and creates a committee in his first year to look at role of Federal Reserve going forward, then we can consider the Paul campaign of 2012 very successful.
My friends, don’t give up the good fight! Evangelize those around you to the Constitution and Individual Liberty as vital to a healthy society and the well being of a nation. As Madison suggested in Federalist Papers #39, our success hinges on `Self-Government’.
NOTE: If you wish to be more involved, contact your county party office that you are registered with and find out how you can be involved. You could become a committee member and precinct representative. Each state is vital in the fight against federal power encroachment, the best weapon the states have against that encroachment sits rusty and unused – Nullification. Finally, many are standing up to Universal Health Care. Get involved.
Christopher M. Mahon, Editor