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Crafty_Dog
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« on: November 26, 2005, 08:34:49 AM »

I start this thread with a read recently shared with me by a friend.  Interesting to note when and by whom it was written:
=======================================

An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqaddimah)of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi.

SOCIETY AND STATE

Origins of Society

Human society is necessary. Philosophers express this truth by saying that man is social by nature, i.e. he needs a society, or city as they call it. The reason for this is that...each individual?s capacity for acquiring food falls short of what is necessary to sustain life. Even taking a minimum, such as one day?s supply of wheat, it is clear that this requires operations (grinding and kneading and baking) each of which necessitates utensils and tools, which presuppose the presence of carpenters, smiths, potmakers, and other craftsmen. Even granting that he eat the wheat unground, he can only obtain it in that state after many more operations, such as sowing and reaping and threshing, to separate the grain from the chaff, all of which processes require even more tools and crafts.

Now it is impossible for an individual to carry out all the above-mentioned work, or even part of it. Hence it becomes necessary for him to unite his efforts with those of his fellow men who by co-operating can produce enough for many times their number. Similarly each individual needs the help of his fellow men for the purposes of defense. For God...gave to many brute beasts more power than to man. Thus the horse, the ass and the bull are more powerful than man, while the lion and elephant are many times as strong. And whereas enmity is natural between animals, He gave to each kind an organ of self-defense. To man, however, He gave the mind and the hand which, in the service of the mind, can apply itself to the crafts and produce tools which take the place of the natural organs with which other animals are endowed for self-defense. Thus spears replace horns; swords, claws; shields, thick hides; and so forth, as was mentioned by Galen in his book on the uses of organs.

But an individual human being cannot resist an animal, especially a beast of prey, nor is his tool-using capacity of any avail unless he join with his fellow men, for he cannot, unaided, make the many tools needed. And unless he so co-operate with others he cannot obtain the food without which he cannot live, nor defend himself, for want of weapons, but will fall a prey to the beasts and his species will be extinct. Co-operation however, secures both food and weapons, thus fulfilling God?s will of preserving the species. Society is therefore necessary to man...and it is society which forms the subject of this science....

[Here is a parallel passage from Aristotle?s Politics, written 1700 years earlier: "A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used with intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society." Bk. One, Chapter 2 p.181.]

Origins of the State

....Human society having, as we have shown, been achieved and spread over the face of the earth, there arises the need of a restraining force to keep men off each other in view of their animal propensities for aggressiveness and oppression of others. Now the weapons with which they defend themselves against wild beasts cannot serve as a restraint, seeing that each man can make equal use of them. Nor can the restraint come from other than men, seeing the animals fall far short of men in their mental capacity. The restraint must therefore be constituted by one man, who wields power and authority with a firm hand and thus prevents anyone from attacking anyone else, i.e. by a sovereign. Sovereignty is therefore peculiar to man, suited to his nature and indispensable to his existence.

According to certain philosophers, Sovereignty may also be found in certain animal species, such as bees and locusts, which have been observed to follow the leadership of one of their species, distinguished from the rest by its size and form. But in animals Sovereignty exists in virtue of instinct and divine providence, not of reflection aiming at establishing a political organization....

It is maintained by some that rule can be founded on a Divine Law, commanded by God and revealed by Him to a man whom He has so endowed with outstanding qualities that other men willingly and unfeigningly obey him and surrender themselves to him. But this proposition cannot be demonstrated: for human society can exist without such a Divine Law, merely in virtue of the authority imposed by one man or of the Social Solidarity which compels the others to follow and obey him. And it is clear that the People of the Book and those who have followed the teachings of the prophets are few in comparison with the pagans, who do not have a book and who constitute a majority of the inhabitants of the world. And yet these pagans have not only lived but have founded states and left monuments. And until this day they form societies in the extreme northern and southern zones. Their condition is therefore not one of anarchy, i.e. of men left to themselves without restraint, for such a condition cannot possibly exist....

State and Society

....The state is therefore to society as form is to matter, for the form by its nature preserves the matter and, as philosophers have shown, the two are inseparable. For a state is inconceivable without a society; while a society without a state is well nigh impossible, owing to the aggressive propensities of men, which require a restraint. A polity therefore arises, either theocratic or kingly, and this is what we mean by state.

The two being inseparable, any disturbance in either of them will cause a disturbance in the other; just as the disappearance of one leads to the disappearance of the other. The greatest source of disturbance is in the breakdown of such empires as the Roman, Persian, or Arab; or in the [breakdown of a whole] dynasty, such as the Omayyad or Abbaside. Individual rulers, such as Heraclius, or Anushirvan, or ?Abdel Malik Ibn Marwan, or Harun al Rashid, are merely successive rulers and guardians of society. The succession of such rulers does not affect society greatly for they resemble each other closely. Moreover the real force which operates on society is solidarity and power, which persists through [successive] rulers. Should such a solidarity disappear, and be replaced by another solidarity which acts on society, the whole Ruling Class would disappear and the disturbance thus caused be very great... [Vol. II, p. 264]

Political Sanctions

....We have already refuted the view [declaring that no society can be constituted without a Divine Law revealed by a prophet]. For one of the premises of this view is that a Sanction can only be provided by a Divine Law which is blindly obeyed by all because of their faith. Now this is false, for a sanction can be provided by the power of the king, or of a ruling group, without there being any Divine Law -- as took place, for instance, among the pagans who did not have a Revelation or Sacred Book. Nay, conflict may stop if every person is clearly aware, by the light of his reason, that he has no right to oppress his neighbour....Oppression and strife might therefore cease...if men undertook to restrain themselves.... [Vol. I, p. 345]

Social Solidarity Is Based on Kinship

Social solidarity is found only in groups related by blood ties or by other ties which fulfill the same functions. This is because blood ties have a force binding on most men, which makes them concerned with any injury inflicted on their next of kin. Men resent the oppression of their relatives, and the impulse to ward off any harm that may befall those relatives is natural and deep rooted in men. If the degree of kinship between two persons helping each other is very close, it is obviously the blood tie, which, by its very evidence, leads to the required solidarity. If the degree of kinship is distant, the blood tie is somewhat weakened but in its place there exists a family feeling based on the widespread knowledge of kinship. Hence each will help the other for fear of the dishonour which would arise if he failed in his duties towards one who is known by all to be related to him. The clients and allies of a great nobleman often stand in the same relationship towards him as his kinsmen. Patron and client are ready to help each other because of the feeling of indignation which arises when the rights of a neighbour, a kinsman, or a friend are violated. In fact, the ties of clientship are almost as powerful as those of blood.

This explains the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, "Learn your genealogies to know who are your near of kin," meaning that kinship only serves a function when blood ties lead to actual co-operation and mutual aid in danger -- other degrees of kinship being insignificant. The fact is that such relationship is more of an emotional than an objective fact in that it acts only by bringing together the hearts and affections of men. If the kinship is evident in acts as a natural urge leading to solidarity; if it is based on the mere knowledge of descent from a common ancestor it is weakened and has little influence on the sentiments and hence little practical effect. [Vol. I, p. 235]

Ties of kinship come out most clearly among savage peoples living in wildernesses, such as the Bedouins and other like peoples. This is because of he peculiarly hard life, poor conditions and forbidding environment which necessity has imposed upon such peoples. For their livelihood is based upon the produce of camels, and camel breeding draws them out into the wilderness where the camels graze on the bushes and plants of the desert sands; as we mentioned earlier. Now the wilderness is a hard and hungry home, to which such men adapted their nature and character in successive generations. Other peoples, however, do not try to go out into the desert or to live with the nomads and share their fate; nay, should a nomad see the possibility of exchanging his condition for another he would not fail to do so. As a result of all this, the genealogies of nomads are in no danger of being mixed or confused but remain clear and known to all... [Vol. I, p. 236]

Proximity and a Common Life as the Basis of Solidarity

....Clientship and the mixing with slaves and allies can replace kinship [as the basis of solidarity]. For although kinship is natural and objective it is also emotional. For group ties are formed by such things as living together, companionship, prolonged acquaintance or friendship, growing up
together, having the same foster parents, and other such matters of life and death. Such ties once formed lead to mutual help and the warding off of injuries inflicted on others; as can be commonly seen to occur. An example of this is provided by the relation of dependence. For there arises a special tie between a patron and those in his service which draws them close together so that although kinship is absent the fruits of kinship are present.... [Vol. I, p. 332]

Solidarity in Tribes

....Aggressiveness and the lust for power are common characteristics of men and whenever a man?s eye dwells on the goods of his neighbour his hand is apt to follow it, unless he be checked by some restraint.... As regards towns and villages, their mutual aggressiveness is checked by the governors and the State, which restrain their subjects from attacking or oppressing each other; in other words, the power of the rulers preserves the people from oppression, unless it be the oppression of those same rulers. External aggression, for its part, is warded off by means of walls and fortifications, which protect a city by night, prevent surprises, and moreover supplement an otherwise inadequate defense; while the garrisons of the State carry out a prepared and prolonged resistance. In nomadic societies, intragroup aggressiveness is checked by the chiefs and elders, owing to the prestige and respect with which they are regarded by the tribesmen. Aggression from outside, aimed at their possessions, is warded off by those of their young men who are noted for their bravery. And such defense can succeed only when they are united by a strong social solidarity arising out of kinship, for this greatly increases their strength.... [Vol. I, p. 233]

Transition From Tribal To Village and City Life and Consequent Weakening of Solidarity

....The above [i.e. purity of race and tribal solidarity] holds true only for nomadic Arabs. The caliph Omar said: "Learn your genealogies and be not like the Nabateans of Mesopotamia who, if asked about their origins reply: ?I come from such and such a village.?" Those Arabs who took up a more sedentary life, however, found themselves, in their quest for more fertile lands and rich pastures, crowding in on other peoples -- all of which led to a mixture [of blood] and a confusion of genealogies. This is what happened at the beginning of the Muslim era, when men began to be designated by the localities [in which they dwelt]. Thus people would refer to the military province of Qinnasrin or the military province of Damascus or that of al ?Awasim. The usage then spread to Spain.

This does not mean, however, that the Arabs were no longer designated by their genealogies; they merely added to their tribal name a place-name which allowed their rulers to distinguish between them more easily. Later on, however, further mixture took place, in the cities, between Arabs and non-Arabs. This led to a complete confusion of genealogies, and a consequent weakening of that solidarity which is the fruit of tribal kinship; hence tribal names tended to be cast aside. Finally, the tribes themselves were absorbed and disappeared and with them all traces of tribal solidarity. The nomads, however, continued as they had always been. "And God shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it." [Vol. I, p. 237]

Solidarity in Cities

It is evident that men are by nature in contact with and tied to each other, even where kinship is absent; though, as we have said before, in such cases such ties are weaker than where they are reinforced by kinship. Such contact may produce a solidarity nearly as powerful as that produced by kinship. Now many city dwellers are interrelated by marriage, thus forming groups of kinsmen, divided into parties and factions, between which there exist the same relations of friendship and enmity as exist between tribes.... [Vol. II, p. 267]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Sovereignty

The end of social solidarity is sovereignty. This is because, as we have said before, it is solidarity which makes men unite their efforts for common objects, defend themselves, and repulse or overcome their enemies. We have also seen that every human society requires a restraint, and a chief who can keep men from injuring each other. Such a chief must command a powerful support, else he will not be able to carry out his restraining function. The domination he exercises is Sovereignty, which exceeds the power of a tribal leader; for a tribal leader enjoys leadership and is followed by his men whom he cannot however compel. Sovereignty, on the other hand, is rule by compulsion, by means of the power at the disposal of the ruler. Now rulers always strive to increase their power, hence a chief who secures a following will not miss the chance of transforming, if he can, his rule into sovereignty; for power is the desire of men?s souls. And sovereignty can be secured only with the help of the followers on whom the ruler relies to secure the acquiescence of his people, so that kingly sovereignty is the final end to which social solidarity leads.... [Vol. I, p. 252]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Kingship

Kingship and dynasties can be founded only on popular support and solidarity. The reason for this is, as we have seen before, that victory, or even the mere avoidance of defeat, goes to the side which has most solidarity and whose members are readiest to fight and to die for each other. Now kingship is an honoured and coveted post, giving its holder all worldly goods as well as bodily and mental gratifications. Hence it is the object of much competition and is rarely given up willingly, but only under compulsion. Competition leads to struggle and wars and the overthrow of thrones, none of which can occur without social solidarity. Such matters are usually unknown to, or forgotten by, the masses, who do not remember the time when the dynasty was first established, but have grown up, generation after generation, in a fixed spot, under its rule. They know nothing of the means by which God set up the dynasty; all they see is their monarchs, whose power has been consolidated and is no longer the object of dispute and who do not need to base their rule any more on social solidarity. They do not know how matters stood at first and what difficulties were encountered by the founders of the dynasty.... [Vol. I, p. 278]

Once the State Is Established Solidarity Becomes Superfluous

Once consolidated the state can dispense with social solidarity. The reason is that newly founded states can secure the obedience of their subjects only by much coercion and force. This is because the people have not had the time to get accustomed to the new and foreign rule. Once kingship has been established, however, and inherited by successive generations or dynasties, the people forget their original condition, the rulers are invested with the aura of leadership, and the subjects obey them almost as they obey the precepts of their religion, and fight for them as they would fight for their faith. At this stage the rulers do not need to rely on a great armed force, since their rule is accepted as the will of God, which does not admit of change or contradiction. It is surely significant that the discussion of the Imamate is inserted [in theological books] at the end of the discussion of doctrinal beliefs, as though it formed an integral part of them. From this time onward the authority of the king is based on the clients and freedmen of the royal household, men who have grown up under its protection; or else the king relies on foreign bands of warriors whom he attaches to himself.

An example of this is provided by the Abbaside dynasty. By the time of the Caliph Al Mu?tasim and his son Al Wathiq, the kings relied mainly on clients recruited from Persians, Turks, Deylamites, Seljuks, and others. These foreigners soon came to control the provinces, the Abbasides? rule being confined to the neighbourhood of Baghdad. Then the Deylamites marched on Baghdad and occupied it, holding the Caliphs under their rule. They were succeeded by the Seljuks, who were followed by the Tatars, who killed the Caliph and wiped out that dynasty.... The same is true of the Omayyad dynasty in Spain. When the spirit and solidarity of the Arabs weakened, the feudal lords pounced on the kingdom and divided it up among themselves. Each of them set himself up as supreme lord in his region and, following the example of the foreigners in the Abbaside empire, usurped the emblems and titles of sovereignty....They upheld their authority by means of clients and freedmen and with the help of tribesmen recruited from the Berbers, Zenata and other North Africans.... [Vol. I, p. 279]

* *


SOCIETY AND STATE

Origins of Society

Human society is necessary. Philosophers express this truth by saying that man is social by nature, i.e. he needs a society, or city as they call it. The reason for this is that...each individual?s capacity for acquiring food falls short of what is necessary to sustain life. Even taking a minimum, such as one day?s supply of wheat, it is clear that this requires operations (grinding and kneading and baking) each of which necessitates utensils and tools, which presuppose the presence of carpenters, smiths, potmakers, and other craftsmen. Even granting that he eat the wheat unground, he can only obtain it in that state after many more operations, such as sowing and reaping and threshing, to separate the grain from the chaff, all of which processes require even more tools and crafts.

Now it is impossible for an individual to carry out all the above-mentioned work, or even part of it. Hence it becomes necessary for him to unite his efforts with those of his fellow men who by co-operating can produce enough for many times their number. Similarly each individual needs the help of his fellow men for the purposes of defense. For God...gave to many brute beasts more power than to man. Thus the horse, the ass and the bull are more powerful than man, while the lion and elephant are many times as strong. And whereas enmity is natural between animals, He gave to each kind an organ of self-defense. To man, however, He gave the mind and the hand which, in the service of the mind, can apply itself to the crafts and produce tools which take the place of the natural organs with which other animals are endowed for self-defense. Thus spears replace horns; swords, claws; shields, thick hides; and so forth, as was mentioned by Galen in his book on the uses of organs.

But an individual human being cannot resist an animal, especially a beast of prey, nor is his tool-using capacity of any avail unless he join with his fellow men, for he cannot, unaided, make the many tools needed. And unless he so co-operate with others he cannot obtain the food without which he cannot live, nor defend himself, for want of weapons, but will fall a prey to the beasts and his species will be extinct. Co-operation however, secures both food and weapons, thus fulfilling God?s will of preserving the species. Society is therefore necessary to man...and it is society which forms the subject of this science....

[Here is a parallel passage from Aristotle?s Politics, written 1700 years earlier: "A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used with intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society." Bk. One, Chapter 2 p.181.]

Origins of the State

....Human society having, as we have shown, been achieved and spread over the face of the earth, there arises the need of a restraining force to keep men off each other in view of their animal propensities for aggressiveness and oppression of others. Now the weapons with which they defend themselves against wild beasts cannot serve as a restraint, seeing that each man can make equal use of them. Nor can the restraint come from other than men, seeing the animals fall far short of men in their mental capacity. The restraint must therefore be constituted by one man, who wields power and authority with a firm hand and thus prevents anyone from attacking anyone else, i.e. by a sovereign. Sovereignty is therefore peculiar to man, suited to his nature and indispensable to his existence.

According to certain philosophers, Sovereignty may also be found in certain animal species, such as bees and locusts, which have been observed to follow the leadership of one of their species, distinguished from the rest by its size and form. But in animals Sovereignty exists in virtue of instinct and divine providence, not of reflection aiming at establishing a political organization....

It is maintained by some that rule can be founded on a Divine Law, commanded by God and revealed by Him to a man whom He has so endowed with outstanding qualities that other men willingly and unfeigningly obey him and surrender themselves to him. But this proposition cannot be demonstrated: for human society can exist without such a Divine Law, merely in virtue of the authority imposed by one man or of the Social Solidarity which compels the others to follow and obey him. And it is clear that the People of the Book and those who have followed the teachings of the prophets are few in comparison with the pagans, who do not have a book and who constitute a majority of the inhabitants of the world. And yet these pagans have not only lived but have founded states and left monuments. And until this day they form societies in the extreme northern and southern zones. Their condition is therefore not one of anarchy, i.e. of men left to themselves without restraint, for such a condition cannot possibly exist....

State and Society

....The state is therefore to society as form is to matter, for the form by its nature preserves the matter and, as philosophers have shown, the two are inseparable. For a state is inconceivable without a society; while a society without a state is well nigh impossible, owing to the aggressive propensities of men, which require a restraint. A polity therefore arises, either theocratic or kingly, and this is what we mean by state.

The two being inseparable, any disturbance in either of them will cause a disturbance in the other; just as the disappearance of one leads to the disappearance of the other. The greatest source of disturbance is in the breakdown of such empires as the Roman, Persian, or Arab; or in the [breakdown of a whole] dynasty, such as the Omayyad or Abbaside. Individual rulers, such as Heraclius, or Anushirvan, or ?Abdel Malik Ibn Marwan, or Harun al Rashid, are merely successive rulers and guardians of society. The succession of such rulers does not affect society greatly for they resemble each other closely. Moreover the real force which operates on society is solidarity and power, which persists through [successive] rulers. Should such a solidarity disappear, and be replaced by another solidarity which acts on society, the whole Ruling Class would disappear and the disturbance thus caused be very great... [Vol. II, p. 264]

Political Sanctions

....We have already refuted the view [declaring that no society can be constituted without a Divine Law revealed by a prophet]. For one of the premises of this view is that a Sanction can only be provided by a Divine Law which is blindly obeyed by all because of their faith. Now this is false, for a sanction can be provided by the power of the king, or of a ruling group, without there being any Divine Law -- as took place, for instance, among the pagans who did not have a Revelation or Sacred Book. Nay, conflict may stop if every person is clearly aware, by the light of his reason, that he has no right to oppress his neighbour....Oppression and strife might therefore cease...if men undertook to restrain themselves.... [Vol. I, p. 345]

Social Solidarity Is Based on Kinship

Social solidarity is found only in groups related by blood ties or by other ties which fulfill the same functions. This is because blood ties have a force binding on most men, which makes them concerned with any injury inflicted on their next of kin. Men resent the oppression of their relatives, and the impulse to ward off any harm that may befall those relatives is natural and deep rooted in men. If the degree of kinship between two persons helping each other is very close, it is obviously the blood tie, which, by its very evidence, leads to the required solidarity. If the degree of kinship is distant, the blood tie is somewhat weakened but in its place there exists a family feeling based on the widespread knowledge of kinship. Hence each will help the other for fear of the dishonour which would arise if he failed in his duties towards one who is known by all to be related to him. The clients and allies of a great nobleman often stand in the same relationship towards him as his kinsmen. Patron and client are ready to help each other because of the feeling of indignation which arises when the rights of a neighbour, a kinsman, or a friend are violated. In fact, the ties of clientship are almost as powerful as those of blood.

This explains the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, "Learn your genealogies to know who are your near of kin," meaning that kinship only serves a function when blood ties lead to actual co-operation and mutual aid in danger -- other degrees of kinship being insignificant. The fact is that such relationship is more of an emotional than an objective fact in that it acts only by bringing together the hearts and affections of men. If the kinship is evident in acts as a natural urge leading to solidarity; if it is based on the mere knowledge of descent from a common ancestor it is weakened and has little influence on the sentiments and hence little practical effect. [Vol. I, p. 235]

Ties of kinship come out most clearly among savage peoples living in wildernesses, such as the Bedouins and other like peoples. This is because of he peculiarly hard life, poor conditions and forbidding environment which necessity has imposed upon such peoples. For their livelihood is based upon the produce of camels, and camel breeding draws them out into the wilderness where the camels graze on the bushes and plants of the desert sands; as we mentioned earlier. Now the wilderness is a hard and hungry home, to which such men adapted their nature and character in successive generations. Other peoples, however, do not try to go out into the desert or to live with the nomads and share their fate; nay, should a nomad see the possibility of exchanging his condition for another he would not fail to do so. As a result of all this, the genealogies of nomads are in no danger of being mixed or confused but remain clear and known to all... [Vol. I, p. 236]

Proximity and a Common Life as the Basis of Solidarity

....Clientship and the mixing with slaves and allies can replace kinship [as the basis of solidarity]. For although kinship is natural and objective it is also emotional. For group ties are formed by such things as living together, companionship, prolonged acquaintance or friendship, growing up
together, having the same foster parents, and other such matters of life and death. Such ties once formed lead to mutual help and the warding off of injuries inflicted on others; as can be commonly seen to occur. An example of this is provided by the relation of dependence. For there arises a special tie between a patron and those in his service which draws them close together so that although kinship is absent the fruits of kinship are present.... [Vol. I, p. 332]

Solidarity in Tribes

....Aggressiveness and the lust for power are common characteristics of men and whenever a man?s eye dwells on the goods of his neighbour his hand is apt to follow it, unless he be checked by some restraint.... As regards towns and villages, their mutual aggressiveness is checked by the governors and the State, which restrain their subjects from attacking or oppressing each other; in other words, the power of the rulers preserves the people from oppression, unless it be the oppression of those same rulers. External aggression, for its part, is warded off by means of walls and fortifications, which protect a city by night, prevent surprises, and moreover supplement an otherwise inadequate defense; while the garrisons of the State carry out a prepared and prolonged resistance. In nomadic societies, intragroup aggressiveness is checked by the chiefs and elders, owing to the prestige and respect with which they are regarded by the tribesmen. Aggression from outside, aimed at their possessions, is warded off by those of their young men who are noted for their bravery. And such defense can succeed only when they are united by a strong social solidarity arising out of kinship, for this greatly increases their strength.... [Vol. I, p. 233]

Transition From Tribal To Village and City Life and Consequent Weakening of Solidarity

....The above [i.e. purity of race and tribal solidarity] holds true only for nomadic Arabs. The caliph Omar said: "Learn your genealogies and be not like the Nabateans of Mesopotamia who, if asked about their origins reply: ?I come from such and such a village.?" Those Arabs who took up a more sedentary life, however, found themselves, in their quest for more fertile lands and rich pastures, crowding in on other peoples -- all of which led to a mixture [of blood] and a confusion of genealogies. This is what happened at the beginning of the Muslim era, when men began to be designated by the localities [in which they dwelt]. Thus people would refer to the military province of Qinnasrin or the military province of Damascus or that of al ?Awasim. The usage then spread to Spain.

This does not mean, however, that the Arabs were no longer designated by their genealogies; they merely added to their tribal name a place-name which allowed their rulers to distinguish between them more easily. Later on, however, further mixture took place, in the cities, between Arabs and non-Arabs. This led to a complete confusion of genealogies, and a consequent weakening of that solidarity which is the fruit of tribal kinship; hence tribal names tended to be cast aside. Finally, the tribes themselves were absorbed and disappeared and with them all traces of tribal solidarity. The nomads, however, continued as they had always been. "And God shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it." [Vol. I, p. 237]

Solidarity in Cities

It is evident that men are by nature in contact with and tied to each other, even where kinship is absent; though, as we have said before, in such cases such ties are weaker than where they are reinforced by kinship. Such contact may produce a solidarity nearly as powerful as that produced by kinship. Now many city dwellers are interrelated by marriage, thus forming groups of kinsmen, divided into parties and factions, between which there exist the same relations of friendship and enmity as exist between tribes.... [Vol. II, p. 267]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Sovereignty

The end of social solidarity is sovereignty. This is because, as we have said before, it is solidarity which makes men unite their efforts for common objects, defend themselves, and repulse or overcome their enemies. We have also seen that every human society requires a restraint, and a chief who can keep men from injuring each other. Such a chief must command a powerful support, else he will not be able to carry out his restraining function. The domination he exercises is Sovereignty, which exceeds the power of a tribal leader; for a tribal leader enjoys leadership and is followed by his men whom he cannot however compel. Sovereignty, on the other hand, is rule by compulsion, by means of the power at the disposal of the ruler. Now rulers always strive to increase their power, hence a chief who secures a following will not miss the chance of transforming, if he can, his rule into sovereignty; for power is the desire of men?s souls. And sovereignty can be secured only with the help of the followers on whom the ruler relies to secure the acquiescence of his people, so that kingly sovereignty is the final end to which social solidarity leads.... [Vol. I, p. 252]

Solidarity Is the Basis of Kingship

Kingship and dynasties can be founded only on popular support and solidarity. The reason for this is, as we have seen before, that victory, or even the mere avoidance of defeat, goes to the side which has most solidarity and whose members are readiest to fight and to die for each other. Now kingship is an honoured and coveted post, giving its holder all worldly goods as well as bodily and mental gratifications. Hence it is the object of much competition and is rarely given up willingly, but only under compulsion. Competition leads to struggle and wars and the overthrow of thrones, none of which can occur without social solidarity. Such matters are usually unknown to, or forgotten by, the masses, who do not remember the time when the dynasty was first established, but have grown up, generation after generation, in a fixed spot, under its rule. They know nothing of the means by which God set up the dynasty; all they see is their monarchs, whose power has been consolidated and is no longer the object of dispute and who do not need to base their rule any more on social solidarity. They do not know how matters stood at first and what difficulties were encountered by the founders of the dynasty.... [Vol. I, p. 278]

Once the State Is Established Solidarity Becomes Superfluous

Once consolidated the state can dispense with social solidarity. The reason is that newly founded states can secure the obedience of their subjects only by much coercion and force. This is because the people have not had the time to get accustomed to the new and foreign rule. Once kingship has been established, however, and inherited by successive generations or dynasties, the people forget their original condition, the rulers are invested with the aura of leadership, and the subjects obey them almost as they obey the precepts of their religion, and fight for them as they would fight for their faith. At this stage the rulers do not need to rely on a great armed force, since their rule is accepted as the will of God, which does not admit of change or contradiction. It is surely significant that the discussion of the Imamate is inserted [in theological books] at the end of the discussion of doctrinal beliefs, as though it formed an integral part of them. From this time onward the authority of the king is based on the clients and freedmen of the royal household, men who have grown up under its protection; or else the king relies on foreign bands of warriors whom he attaches to himself.

An example of this is provided by the Abbaside dynasty. By the time of the Caliph Al Mu?tasim and his son Al Wathiq, the kings relied mainly on clients recruited from Persians, Turks, Deylamites, Seljuks, and others. These foreigners soon came to control the provinces, the Abbasides? rule being confined to the neighbourhood of Baghdad. Then the Deylamites marched on Baghdad and occupied it, holding the Caliphs under their rule. They were succeeded by the Seljuks, who were followed by the Tatars, who killed the Caliph and wiped out that dynasty.... The same is true of the Omayyad dynasty in Spain. When the spirit and solidarity of the Arabs weakened, the feudal lords pounced on the kingdom and divided it up among themselves. Each of them set himself up as supreme lord in his region and, following the example of the foreigners in the Abbaside empire, usurped the emblems and titles of sovereignty....They upheld their authority by means of clients and freedmen and with the help of tribesmen recruited from the Berbers, Zenata and other North Africans.... [Vol. I, p. 279]
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An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqadimmah) of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi. Second portion of Chapter Six, "Society and State."

Topics:

Opposition of Tribes and Bands

Nature of Kingship

Concentration of Authority

Need of the King for a Bureaucracy

Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy

Natural Ages of the State

Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms

Growth of Luxury

Luxury and Power

Growth of Docility



Opposition of Tribes and Bands <back>

It is rare that a state can be securely established in lands inhabited by many tribes and bands. The reason is that in such lands there will be a diversity of opinions and inclinations, each opinion or viewpoint being backed by a social solidarity to which it can appeal for protection. Defections and rebellions against the state then become frequent, even though the state itself be based on some solidarity, because each tribe feels itself secure and powerful.

Consider, for instance, what has been happening in North Africa and in Morocco from the Islamic conquest until today. The Berber inhabitants of these lands being grouped in well-knit tribes, the first conquests effected by Ibn Abi Sarh over them and the Franks were of no avail; for they repeatedly rose in revolt and recanted the Muslim faith, killing large numbers of Muslims. And even when the Muslim religion had been firmly planted in these lands, they persisted in revolting and rebelling and in adopting the heterodox beliefs of the Kharijites. According to Ibn Abi Zaid, "The Berbers of Morocco recanted Islam twelve times, that religion not being firmly established until the governorship of Musa Ibn Nusair, or even later." This explains the reported saying of Omar that "North Africa divided the hearts of its inhabitants." By this saying he meant that the great number of tribes and bands leads them to refuse obedience and reject leadership.

Iraq and Syria, at that time, were in a very different state, the garrisons consisting of Persian or Byzantine troops, and the masses, of spiritless city dwellers. Hence, once the Muslims had defeated these garrisons and wrested the land from the rulers, they encountered no further resistance or difficulty. The Berbers of Morocco, on the other hand, are organized in innumerable, well-knit tribes, all of them nomadic; hence no sooner is one tribe wiped out than another takes its place as a rebel and renegade, which explains the length of time it took the Arabs to establish themselves in North Africa and Morocco. This too was the position of Syria at the time of the Israelites. For the land was full of the tribes of the Canaanites, the Philistines, the children of Esau, the Midianites, the children of Lot, the Edomites, the Armenians, the Amalekites, the Girgashites, and, in the direction of Arabia and Mosul, the Nabateans -- an innumerable and diverse host of cohesive peoples. This made it very difficult for the Israelites to establish and secure their rule, as they had to face one disturbance after another. Nay, this state of unrest communicated itself to them, leading to factions and rebellions against their kings. Nor did they enjoy a secure, firm state during the rest of their history; being eventually conquered by the Persians, then by the Greeks, then by the Romans, and were finally dispersed in the Diaspora.

The position is just the reverse in countries where there are no cohesive tribes; for there it is easy to establish a state because, owing to the lack of disturbances and defections, the king can without difficulty restrain the inhabitants and secure the state without much solidarity on his side. Examples are provided by Egypt and Syria today, which are inhabited by sedentary people. Indeed Syria, which was a breeding ground of tribes and bands, is devoid of them today. In Egypt the state is very well established and meets only with docility, in view of the rareness of rebellions and opposing bands. It consists of a Sultan and his subjects, and rests on the armed bands of the Turkish feudal princes....
[Vol. I, p. 295]



Nature of Kingship <back>

Kingship is a position natural to mankind. For, as we have shown, men can exist and survive only if they live in groups and co-operate in their search for food and the other necessities of life. Now congregation for the satisfaction of needs implies intercourse, which means that owing to the animal propensities of aggressiveness and oppression each will help himself to the possessions of his fellows. The person so attacked will hit back, spurred by pride and anger and enabled to do so by the strength he shares with other human beings. All this leads to quarrels and strife, which provoke unrest, bloodshed, and the loss of life, endangering the survival of the species whose preservation is willed by God Himself.

It is, therefore, impossible for men to survive in a state of anarchy, without a sanction which restrains them from mutual aggression. This sanction is provided by a ruler, who is, by the very force of human nature, a strong and masterful king....
[Vol. I, p. 337]



Concentration of Authority <back>

It is of the nature of states that authority becomes concentrated in one person. This is because, as we have said before, a state is founded upon solidarity. Now solidarity is formed by the union of many groups, one of which, being more powerful than the rest, dominates and directs the others and finally absorbs them, thus forming an association which ensures victory over other peoples and states....

This wider union and solidarity will be achieved by some group belonging to a leading family; and within that family there is bound to be some prominent individual who leads and dominates the rest. That person will therefore be appointed as leader of the wider group, because of the domination enjoyed by his house over the others.

And once this leader is so appointed, his animal nature is bound to breed in him feelings of pride and haughtiness. He will then disdain to share with any one his rule over his followers; nay, he will soon think himself a god, as human beings are wont to do. Add to this the fact that sound politics demands undivided rule, for where there are many leaders the result is confusion, and if there were other gods than God in the universe, there would be chaos.

Steps are therefore taken to curb the power and to clip the wings and weaken the solidarity of the other groups, so that they shall not aspire to dispute the power of the ruler. The ruler monopolizes all power, leaving nothing to others, and enjoys alone the glory derived therefrom.

And this process may be achieved by the first king of the dynasty, or it may only come about under the second or the third, according to the power and resistance offered by the groups; but come about it certainly must.
[Vol. I, p. 299]



Need of the King for a Bureaucracy <back>

Know then that the King by himself is a feeble creature, on whom a very heavy burden is laid and who consequently needs the help of his fellow men. For if he needs their help in securing his livelihood and the necessities of life, how much more, then, does he need it in governing a society of human beings!

He whom God has chosen as a ruler must protect his community from external aggression, preserve order, and enforce the laws, in order to prevent the encroachment by any one on the rights of others. He must protect property by making the highways secure. He must seek to promote the interest of his subjects and hence, in order to facilitate transactions and make it easier for his subjects to earn their livelihood, inspect foodstuffs, weights, and measures, to prevent adulteration or fraud. He must, too, test the coinage which they use, in order to prevent counterfeiting....
[It is the United States which must set the unit of account... JW]

[Vol. II, p. 1]


Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy
<back>

Know then that the ruler requires both a civilian and a military establishment to aid him in carrying on with the affairs of state. At the beginning of a dynasty, when the rulers are consolidating their power, the need for the military is greater than that for a civilian bureaucracy; for the civilians are mere servants, carrying out the orders of the king, whereas the military are his partners and fellow workers. The same is also true of the period of decline of a dynasty, when old age has weakened social solidarity and caused the population to decrease, as we said before; in such a case, too, the need for soldiers, for the purposes of defence, makes itself as urgently felt as it had been during the period of consolidation of the state. In both those stages, then, the sword plays a more important part than the pen, and the military enjoy more prestige and wealth, and are granted richer fiefs than the civilians.
[In the period ahead, perhaps for a decade or two while the world is getting used to US sovereignty, we must bear the expense of maintaining the military until it is clear the "tribes" will accept our sovereignty. JW]

During the middle period of the dynasty, on the other hand, the ruler is relatively independent of the military. For, his rule having been established, his main concern is to pick the fruits of domination, such as the collection of taxes, the recording [of income and expenditure], the rivaling [in ostentation] with other sovereigns, and the enforcing of his decrees. Now for all this it is to the [men of the] pen that he must look for help, hence their importance increases. The sword, on the other hand, is left unused in its scabbard, unless it be to meet some unexpected danger or incursion; otherwise there is no need for it. The civilians, in these circumstances when their services are required, enjoy more prestige, a higher rank in the hierarchy of the state, and more wealth; it is they whom the king calls into his councils and consults in his closet; for it is they whom he needs most if he is to enjoy the fruits of his rule....
[Vol. II, p. 40]


Natural Ages of the State <back>

....And the ages of the state, too, may differ according to astronomical conjunctures. Nevertheless, generally speaking, it is rare that the age of the state should exceed three generations, a generation being the average age of an individual, that is forty years or the time necessary for full growth and development....

We said that the age of the state rarely exceeds three generations because the first generation still retains its nomadic roughness and savagery, and such nomadic characteristics as a hard life, courage, predatoriness, and the desire to share glory. All this means that the strength of the solidarity uniting the people is still firm, which makes that people feared and powerful and able to dominate others.

The second generation, however, have already passed from the nomadic to the sedentary way of life, owing to the power they wield and the luxury they enjoy. They have abandoned their rough life for an easy and luxurious one. Instead of all sharing in the power and glory of the state, one wields it alone, the rest being too indolent to claim their part. Instead of aggressiveness and the desire for conquest we see in them contentment with what they have. All this relaxes the ties of solidarity, to a certain extent, and humility and submissiveness begin to appear in them; yet they still retain much of their pristine spirit because of what they have seen and remembered of the previous generation, with its self-confidence, pursuit of glory, and power to defend and protect itself. They cannot entirely give up all these characteristics, even though they have abandoned some of them. They still hope to regain the conditions prevailing in the previous generation, or even have the illusion that these virtues are still to be found in them.

As for the third generation, they have completely forgotten the nomadic and rough stage, as though it had never existed. They have also lost their love of power and their social solidarity through having been accustomed to being ruled. Luxury corrupts them, because of the pleasant and easy way of living in which they have been brought up. As a result, they become a liability on the state, like women and children who need to be protected. Solidarity is completely relaxed and the arts of defending oneself and of attacking the enemy are forgotten.

They deceive people by their insignia, dress, horse-riding and culture; yet all the while they are more cowardly than women. If then a claimant or aggressor appear, they are incapable of pushing him back. Consequently, the head of the state is compelled to rely on others for defence, making extensive use of clients and mercenaries, who may to some extent replace the original free warriors.... [Two years ago, I told friends in the People?s Republic of China that the reason I wish to help them grow strong is so they will provide competition for us, for without it we will become fat and lazy and arrogant. JW]

[Vol. I, p. 306]



Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms <back>

....The civilized form [of state], then, necessarily succeeds the nomadic one, as domination leads to luxury. For the rulers of a state, once they have become sedentary, always imitate in their ways of living those of the state to which they have succeeded and whose condition they have seen and generally adopted.

This is what happened to the Arabs, when they conquered and ruled over the Persian and Byzantine empires and took the daughters and sons of the Persians and Byzantines into their service. Up till then they had known nothing of civilization. Thus it is said that when presented with thin loaves of bread they mistook it for parchment, and when they discovered some camphor in the treasure houses of Chosroes they used it as salt in their dough, and did many other similar things. When, however, they had subjugated the populations of the lands they conquered and employed them in their households as servants and craftsmen, choosing the ablest in their different lines, together with their supervisors, they soon learned from them how to change their ways and to make the proper use of things. Nay, they even pushed these things to the point of refinement, especially with the improvement in their mode of living. Indeed, they reached the height of luxury in their way of living, their good food and drink, clothing, houses, arms, furniture, vessels, and household equipment....
[Vol. I, p. 309]



Growth of Luxury <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed luxury. This is because when a people overcomes and dispossesses the inhabitants of a previously existing state, its wealth and prosperity increase and with them its wants, so that the bare necessities of life no longer satisfy, but only the amenities and luxuries....
[Vol. I, p. 300]



Luxury and Power <back>

Luxury will at first increase the power of a state. This is because when a tribe secures domination and luxury, its birth-rate goes up and the number of its children increases, which provides a greater supply of armed men. At the same time, the members of the tribe make wider use of clients and dependents. And their children growing up in this atmosphere of prosperity and luxury will further increase and wax stronger because of their greater number of troops.

Once, however, the first and second generations have passed away, and the state has begun to decline, the clients and dependents are incapable of forming a state of their own, independently; for they never enjoyed independent action, but were always dependent on the rulers, whom they helped; once, therefore, the trunk has been removed, the branches cannot strike roots for themselves, but wither and pass away. The state, then, cannot retain its former power.

Consider what occurred to the Arab state, in Islam. At the time of the Prophet and the early Caliphs they [i.e. the Muslims] numbered some 150,000 [fighting men], including both Maturates and Qahtanites as we said before. When, however, luxury began to spread, under the later dynasties, their numbers began to grow with their prosperity. Moreover the Caliphs began to make increasing use of clients and dependents, so that the total rose to many times the above-mentioned figure...
[Vol. I, p. 313]



Growth of Docility <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed docility and inaction. This is because a people can achieve dominion only by strife, which strife leads to victory and the foundation of a state. When these ends are achieved there is an end to strife....

Once, then, they have established their state they no longer make the strenuous efforts which they had previously exerted, but prefer rest and easy life and inaction. They now seek to enjoy the fruits of power; such as fine homes and clothes. They build palaces, draw waters to them, plant parks, and show great refinement in their dress, food, furniture and household goods, and, generally speaking, prefer a life of enjoyment to one of exertion. Soon they get accustomed to such a mode of living and transmit it to their descendants. And so the matter goes on increasing until God puts an end to it.
[Vol. I, p. 301]

* * * * *



An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena (Muqadimmah) of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406), edited by Charles Issawi. Second portion of Chapter Six, "Society and State."

Topics:

Opposition of Tribes and Bands

Nature of Kingship

Concentration of Authority

Need of the King for a Bureaucracy

Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy

Natural Ages of the State

Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms

Growth of Luxury

Luxury and Power

Growth of Docility



Opposition of Tribes and Bands <back>

It is rare that a state can be securely established in lands inhabited by many tribes and bands. The reason is that in such lands there will be a diversity of opinions and inclinations, each opinion or viewpoint being backed by a social solidarity to which it can appeal for protection. Defections and rebellions against the state then become frequent, even though the state itself be based on some solidarity, because each tribe feels itself secure and powerful.

Consider, for instance, what has been happening in North Africa and in Morocco from the Islamic conquest until today. The Berber inhabitants of these lands being grouped in well-knit tribes, the first conquests effected by Ibn Abi Sarh over them and the Franks were of no avail; for they repeatedly rose in revolt and recanted the Muslim faith, killing large numbers of Muslims. And even when the Muslim religion had been firmly planted in these lands, they persisted in revolting and rebelling and in adopting the heterodox beliefs of the Kharijites. According to Ibn Abi Zaid, "The Berbers of Morocco recanted Islam twelve times, that religion not being firmly established until the governorship of Musa Ibn Nusair, or even later." This explains the reported saying of Omar that "North Africa divided the hearts of its inhabitants." By this saying he meant that the great number of tribes and bands leads them to refuse obedience and reject leadership.

Iraq and Syria, at that time, were in a very different state, the garrisons consisting of Persian or Byzantine troops, and the masses, of spiritless city dwellers. Hence, once the Muslims had defeated these garrisons and wrested the land from the rulers, they encountered no further resistance or difficulty. The Berbers of Morocco, on the other hand, are organized in innumerable, well-knit tribes, all of them nomadic; hence no sooner is one tribe wiped out than another takes its place as a rebel and renegade, which explains the length of time it took the Arabs to establish themselves in North Africa and Morocco. This too was the position of Syria at the time of the Israelites. For the land was full of the tribes of the Canaanites, the Philistines, the children of Esau, the Midianites, the children of Lot, the Edomites, the Armenians, the Amalekites, the Girgashites, and, in the direction of Arabia and Mosul, the Nabateans -- an innumerable and diverse host of cohesive peoples. This made it very difficult for the Israelites to establish and secure their rule, as they had to face one disturbance after another. Nay, this state of unrest communicated itself to them, leading to factions and rebellions against their kings. Nor did they enjoy a secure, firm state during the rest of their history; being eventually conquered by the Persians, then by the Greeks, then by the Romans, and were finally dispersed in the Diaspora.

The position is just the reverse in countries where there are no cohesive tribes; for there it is easy to establish a state because, owing to the lack of disturbances and defections, the king can without difficulty restrain the inhabitants and secure the state without much solidarity on his side. Examples are provided by Egypt and Syria today, which are inhabited by sedentary people. Indeed Syria, which was a breeding ground of tribes and bands, is devoid of them today. In Egypt the state is very well established and meets only with docility, in view of the rareness of rebellions and opposing bands. It consists of a Sultan and his subjects, and rests on the armed bands of the Turkish feudal princes....
[Vol. I, p. 295]



Nature of Kingship <back>

Kingship is a position natural to mankind. For, as we have shown, men can exist and survive only if they live in groups and co-operate in their search for food and the other necessities of life. Now congregation for the satisfaction of needs implies intercourse, which means that owing to the animal propensities of aggressiveness and oppression each will help himself to the possessions of his fellows. The person so attacked will hit back, spurred by pride and anger and enabled to do so by the strength he shares with other human beings. All this leads to quarrels and strife, which provoke unrest, bloodshed, and the loss of life, endangering the survival of the species whose preservation is willed by God Himself.

It is, therefore, impossible for men to survive in a state of anarchy, without a sanction which restrains them from mutual aggression. This sanction is provided by a ruler, who is, by the very force of human nature, a strong and masterful king....
[Vol. I, p. 337]



Concentration of Authority <back>

It is of the nature of states that authority becomes concentrated in one person. This is because, as we have said before, a state is founded upon solidarity. Now solidarity is formed by the union of many groups, one of which, being more powerful than the rest, dominates and directs the others and finally absorbs them, thus forming an association which ensures victory over other peoples and states....

This wider union and solidarity will be achieved by some group belonging to a leading family; and within that family there is bound to be some prominent individual who leads and dominates the rest. That person will therefore be appointed as leader of the wider group, because of the domination enjoyed by his house over the others.

And once this leader is so appointed, his animal nature is bound to breed in him feelings of pride and haughtiness. He will then disdain to share with any one his rule over his followers; nay, he will soon think himself a god, as human beings are wont to do. Add to this the fact that sound politics demands undivided rule, for where there are many leaders the result is confusion, and if there were other gods than God in the universe, there would be chaos.

Steps are therefore taken to curb the power and to clip the wings and weaken the solidarity of the other groups, so that they shall not aspire to dispute the power of the ruler. The ruler monopolizes all power, leaving nothing to others, and enjoys alone the glory derived therefrom.

And this process may be achieved by the first king of the dynasty, or it may only come about under the second or the third, according to the power and resistance offered by the groups; but come about it certainly must.
[Vol. I, p. 299]



Need of the King for a Bureaucracy <back>


Know then that the King by himself is a feeble creature, on whom a very heavy burden is laid and who consequently needs the help of his fellow men. For if he needs their help in securing his livelihood and the necessities of life, how much more, then, does he need it in governing a society of human beings!

He whom God has chosen as a ruler must protect his community from external aggression, preserve order, and enforce the laws, in order to prevent the encroachment by any one on the rights of others. He must protect property by making the highways secure. He must seek to promote the interest of his subjects and hence, in order to facilitate transactions and make it easier for his subjects to earn their livelihood, inspect foodstuffs, weights, and measures, to prevent adulteration or fraud. He must, too, test the coinage which they use, in order to prevent counterfeiting....
[It is the United States which must set the unit of account... JW]

[Vol. II, p. 1]


Changes in the Composition of the Bureaucracy
<back>

Know then that the ruler requires both a civilian and a military establishment to aid him in carrying on with the affairs of state. At the beginning of a dynasty, when the rulers are consolidating their power, the need for the military is greater than that for a civilian bureaucracy; for the civilians are mere servants, carrying out the orders of the king, whereas the military are his partners and fellow workers. The same is also true of the period of decline of a dynasty, when old age has weakened social solidarity and caused the population to decrease, as we said before; in such a case, too, the need for soldiers, for the purposes of defence, makes itself as urgently felt as it had been during the period of consolidation of the state. In both those stages, then, the sword plays a more important part than the pen, and the military enjoy more prestige and wealth, and are granted richer fiefs than the civilians.
[In the period ahead, perhaps for a decade or two while the world is getting used to US sovereignty, we must bear the expense of maintaining the military until it is clear the "tribes" will accept our sovereignty. JW]

During the middle period of the dynasty, on the other hand, the ruler is relatively independent of the military. For, his rule having been established, his main concern is to pick the fruits of domination, such as the collection of taxes, the recording [of income and expenditure], the rivaling [in ostentation] with other sovereigns, and the enforcing of his decrees. Now for all this it is to the [men of the] pen that he must look for help, hence their importance increases. The sword, on the other hand, is left unused in its scabbard, unless it be to meet some unexpected danger or incursion; otherwise there is no need for it. The civilians, in these circumstances when their services are required, enjoy more prestige, a higher rank in the hierarchy of the state, and more wealth; it is they whom the king calls into his councils and consults in his closet; for it is they whom he needs most if he is to enjoy the fruits of his rule....
[Vol. II, p. 40]


Natural Ages of the State <back>

....And the ages of the state, too, may differ according to astronomical conjunctures. Nevertheless, generally speaking, it is rare that the age of the state should exceed three generations, a generation being the average age of an individual, that is forty years or the time necessary for full growth and development....

We said that the age of the state rarely exceeds three generations because the first generation still retains its nomadic roughness and savagery, and such nomadic characteristics as a hard life, courage, predatoriness, and the desire to share glory. All this means that the strength of the solidarity uniting the people is still firm, which makes that people feared and powerful and able to dominate others.

The second generation, however, have already passed from the nomadic to the sedentary way of life, owing to the power they wield and the luxury they enjoy. They have abandoned their rough life for an easy and luxurious one. Instead of all sharing in the power and glory of the state, one wields it alone, the rest being too indolent to claim their part. Instead of aggressiveness and the desire for conquest we see in them contentment with what they have. All this relaxes the ties of solidarity, to a certain extent, and humility and submissiveness begin to appear in them; yet they still retain much of their pristine spirit because of what they have seen and remembered of the previous generation, with its self-confidence, pursuit of glory, and power to defend and protect itself. They cannot entirely give up all these characteristics, even though they have abandoned some of them. They still hope to regain the conditions prevailing in the previous generation, or even have the illusion that these virtues are still to be found in them.

As for the third generation, they have completely forgotten the nomadic and rough stage, as though it had never existed. They have also lost their love of power and their social solidarity through having been accustomed to being ruled. Luxury corrupts them, because of the pleasant and easy way of living in which they have been brought up. As a result, they become a liability on the state, like women and children who need to be protected. Solidarity is completely relaxed and the arts of defending oneself and of attacking the enemy are forgotten.

They deceive people by their insignia, dress, horse-riding and culture; yet all the while they are more cowardly than women. If then a claimant or aggressor appear, they are incapable of pushing him back. Consequently, the head of the state is compelled to rely on others for defence, making extensive use of clients and mercenaries, who may to some extent replace the original free warriors.... [Two years ago, I told friends in the People?s Republic of China that the reason I wish to help them grow strong is so they will provide competition for us, for without it we will become fat and lazy and arrogant. JW]

[Vol. I, p. 306]



Transition From Nomadic to Sedentary Forms <back>

....The civilized form [of state], then, necessarily succeeds the nomadic one, as domination leads to luxury. For the rulers of a state, once they have become sedentary, always imitate in their ways of living those of the state to which they have succeeded and whose condition they have seen and generally adopted.

This is what happened to the Arabs, when they conquered and ruled over the Persian and Byzantine empires and took the daughters and sons of the Persians and Byzantines into their service. Up till then they had known nothing of civilization. Thus it is said that when presented with thin loaves of bread they mistook it for parchment, and when they discovered some camphor in the treasure houses of Chosroes they used it as salt in their dough, and did many other similar things. When, however, they had subjugated the populations of the lands they conquered and employed them in their households as servants and craftsmen, choosing the ablest in their different lines, together with their supervisors, they soon learned from them how to change their ways and to make the proper use of things. Nay, they even pushed these things to the point of refinement, especially with the improvement in their mode of living. Indeed, they reached the height of luxury in their way of living, their good food and drink, clothing, houses, arms, furniture, vessels, and household equipment....
[Vol. I, p. 309]



Growth of Luxury <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed luxury. This is because when a people overcomes and dispossesses the inhabitants of a previously existing state, its wealth and prosperity increase and with them its wants, so that the bare necessities of life no longer satisfy, but only the amenities and luxuries....
[Vol. I, p. 300]



Luxury and Power <back>

Luxury will at first increase the power of a state. This is because when a tribe secures domination and luxury, its birth-rate goes up and the number of its children increases, which provides a greater supply of armed men. At the same time, the members of the tribe make wider use of clients and dependents. And their children growing up in this atmosphere of prosperity and luxury will further increase and wax stronger because of their greater number of troops.

Once, however, the first and second generations have passed away, and the state has begun to decline, the clients and dependents are incapable of forming a state of their own, independently; for they never enjoyed independent action, but were always dependent on the rulers, whom they helped; once, therefore, the trunk has been removed, the branches cannot strike roots for themselves, but wither and pass away. The state, then, cannot retain its former power.

Consider what occurred to the Arab state, in Islam. At the time of the Prophet and the early Caliphs they [i.e. the Muslims] numbered some 150,000 [fighting men], including both Maturates and Qahtanites as we said before. When, however, luxury began to spread, under the later dynasties, their numbers began to grow with their prosperity. Moreover the Caliphs began to make increasing use of clients and dependents, so that the total rose to many times the above-mentioned figure...
[Vol. I, p. 313]



Growth of Docility <back>

It is of the nature of states to breed docility and inaction. This is because a people can achieve dominion only by strife, which strife leads to victory and the foundation of a state. When these ends are achieved there is an end to strife....

Once, then, they have established their state they no longer make the strenuous efforts which they had previously exerted, but prefer rest and easy life and inaction. They now seek to enjoy the fruits of power; such as fine homes and clothes. They build palaces, draw waters to them, plant parks, and show great refinement in their dress, food, furniture and household goods, and, generally speaking, prefer a life of enjoyment to one of exertion. Soon they get accustomed to such a mode of living and transmit it to their descendants. And so the matter goes on increasing until God puts an end to it.
[Vol. I, p. 301]

* * * * *
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2005, 08:23:12 PM »

This qualifies for more than one thread, but I put it here:

The Psychology of Bush hatred:

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2004/11/psychology-of-bush-hatred.html
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buzwardo
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2005, 12:26:57 PM »

I lived in Madison Wisconsin for several years, arriving as a left-leaning Libertarian and departing as a right leaning one. The ideological homogeneity demanded by the left there and then was the major reason for my migration: seemed like the left was only able to sing from the hymnal ever more shrilly while vigorous informed debate could be found on the right. This piece further explores that schism.


December 07, 2005, 8:32 a.m.
Debate Amongst Yourselves
Free advice for liberals.
Jonah Goldberg


Liberals have been suffering from conservative envy for several years now. Oh, they don't envy us our evil ways, our penchant for extreme cruelty or the fact that we smell like cabbage. They envy us our toys and success.

The liberal Center for American Progress was founded explicitly to be the Left's answer to the conservative Heritage Foundation. The lefty radio network, "Air America," was launched to copy the success of Rush Limbaugh & Co. Today, deep-pocketed liberals are scrambling to copy conservative foundations, even though liberal foundations have always had more money.

Most conservatives I know snicker at all this. It's not that talk radio, think tanks, and foundations haven't been essential to the rise of American conservatism in the last five decades. They have been (see my colleague John Miller's excellent new book, A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America, for a window into that effort). But liberals are emphasizing hardware because they don't want to question the validity of their very outdated software.

Look, conservatives would love to switch places with liberals. We'd get the universities, Hollywood, the Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie and Pew Foundations, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the New York Times, National Public Radio, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, CBS, including 60 Minutes and Dan Rather's thousand-fingers massage chair, and so forth. Liberals, meanwhile, would get the Washington Times and Fox News, along with a few conservative foundations. I guess National Review and The New Republic would switch offices, which is fine by me. It'd make my commute easier.

And that sort of makes the point: Not only does the Left have better stuff, but even if that weren't the case, the Left's problem isn't a lack of mechanisms to "get their message out." Megaphones matter, but not as much as what you say into them.

If liberals really want to emulate conservative successes, I have some advice for them: Get into some big, honking arguments ? not with conservatives, but with each other. The history of the conservative movement's successes has been the history of intellectual donnybrooks, between libertarians and traditionalists, hawks and isolationists, so-called neocons and so-called paleocons, less-filling versus tastes great. Liberals would be smart to copy that and stop worrying how to mimic our direct mail strategies.

Liberals have a tendency to mistake political tactics for political principles, and vice versa. Exhibit A is the Left's fascination with "unity." Unity is often useful in politics, but it's often a handicap if you haven't figured out what to be unified about. Just as the Socratic method leads to wisdom, big fights not only illuminate big ideas, but they force people to become invested in them. Unfortunately, liberals define diversity by skin color and sex, not by ideas, which makes it difficult to have really good arguments.

Of course there are arguments on the Left and there are individual liberals with deep-seated convictions and principles. But most of the arguments are about how to "build a movement" or how to win elections, not about what liberalism is. Even the "Get out of Iraq now!" demands from the base of the Democratic party aren't grounded in anything like a coherent foreign policy. Ten years ago liberals championed nation-building. Now they call it imperialism because George W. Bush is doing it.

A good illustration of the fundamental difference between Left and Right can be found in two books edited by Peter Berkowitz for the Hoover Institution, Varieties of Conservatism in America and Varieties of Progressivism in America. Each contains thoughtful essays by leading conservatives and liberals. But while the conservatives defend different ideological philosophical schools ? neoconservatism, traditionalism, etc. ? the liberals argue almost exclusively about which tactics Democrats should embrace to win the White House.

Bill Clinton was the only Democratic president elected to two terms since Franklin Roosevelt. One of the reasons for his success was that he was willing to pick fights with his own party. One can argue about the sincerity of some of those fights. But we remember the Sista Souljah moment for a reason.

Right now Washington is marveling at how the Democratic party has simultaneously made the Iraq war the central and defining political issue of the decade while at the same time having no clue what it is they want to do about it. Worse, it's looking increasingly like the Democrats' position on the war is based largely on the polls, not principles.

One of the most important events in the rise of conservatism was the 1978 Firing Line debate over U.S. control of the Panama Canal. William F. Buckley favored giving it up. The governor of California, Ronald Reagan, favored keeping it. Reagan's side lost the argument, in Congress at least, but conservatives once again demonstrated our willingness to duke it out on such issues. And Reagan's career hardly suffered. If liberals were smart, they'd do something similar. Have Joe Lieberman debate Nancy Pelosi, or John Murtha. Make liberals get past their passion and explore what they think. My guess is it would be good for liberalism in the long run ? and even better for America.

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200512070832.asp
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buzwardo
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2006, 11:45:58 PM »

Go to the URL at the end for a well annotated version of this piece.


Folk Beliefs Have Consequences [Locke-ism v. Marxism]
TCSDaily.com ^ | January 23, 2006 | Arnold Kling


The views of important thinkers become distilled into folk beliefs that shape our societies. John Locke and Karl Marx are two thinkers whose enormous influence can be described using this model.



            "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute"
-- Maureen Dowd, the New York Times

Maureen Dowd's statement is Marxist. No, she did not advocate revolution by the proletariat. She did not say that we ought to have a Communist state. But her famous remark that someone in a particular class of victims has "absolute" moral authority is derived from "folk Marxism," as will be explained below.

In my previous essay, I talked about the process by which the views of important thinkers become distilled into folk beliefs. I argued that it is these folk beliefs that shape our societies. I suggested that John Locke and Karl Marx are two thinkers whose enormous influence can be described using this model. In this essay, I want to elaborate on the folk beliefs that followed Locke and Marx.

Folk Locke-ism

Seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke's theory of government influenced America's founders. It has become deeply embedded in our culture. Beliefs that Locke helped to encourage include:

-- individuals have inalienable rights
-- those who govern have obligations to the governed (and not just vice-versa)
-- government's rightful powers are limited, not absolute

At the level of folk beliefs, Locke's views have been distilled into a jaunty defiance of tyrants, whether they are actual, potential, or imagined. This can be seen in expressions such as Give me liberty or give me death! or Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade. or "You'll have to pry this gun from my cold, dead fingers."

As Americans, we cannot conceive of ourselves submitting meekly to tyranny. We cannot picture a regime like that of North Korea or Saddam Hussein's Iraq taking root in our soil.

By maintaining our Lockean tradition, we have built a vibrant society and a prosperous economy. Limited government has allowed innovation to flourish in a peaceful, gradual, evolutionary way.

Folk Marxism

Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as on oppressor and other countries as oppressed.

I believe that folk Marxism helps to explain the pride and joy that many people felt when Maryland passed its anti-Walmart law. They think of Walmart as an oppressor, and they think of other businesses and Walmart workers as the oppressed. The mainstream media share this folk Marxism, as they reported the Maryland law as a "victory for labor."

The folk Marxist view of Iraq is that the United States is the oppressor, and the groups fighting the United States are the oppressed. At the extreme, Michael Moore and Ted Rall have made explicit statements to this effect. However, even reporters in the mainstream media who are not openly supporting the enemy take this folk Marxist view when they refer to "the insurgency."

If you think about it, the forces fighting America in Iraq consist of former oppressors and would-be future oppressors. But because America is a rich, powerful country, the folk Marxist instinct is to romanticize ("insurgency") the real oppressors and to demonize ("occupation") the real liberators.

I am not saying that only a folk Marxist would oppose the way we went to war in Iraq or the way that the war has been conducted. However, I would say that it is striking that the basic narrative of the war coming through the mainstream media is folk Marxist. This is particularly true in Europe, where the folk Marxist view of America's presence in Iraq appears to be broadly and deeply held.

The rationale for tax cuts -- "It's your money" -- makes sense to folk-Locke-ism. It drives folk Marxists crazy. Folk Marxists ask What's the Matter with Kansas?. They cannot understand why the oppressed do not see the advantages of higher taxes on their "rich" oppressors.

Folk Marxism can explain why some environmentalists do not like using taxes to control pollution. If you think of polluters as the oppressors and everyone else as the oppressed, then merely taxing pollution is not morally satisfying.

The Consequences of Locke and Marx

The contrast between the results of following Locke and those of following Marx could not be sharper. Marxist countries have murdered millions, imposed a regime of fear and repression on their citizens, and impeded economic development. Where the "natural experiment" was performed of splitting one culture into Communist and non-Communist regions (North and South Korea, East and West Germany), well-being in the non-Communist country ended up several times higher than in the Communist country. People fled Communist countries by the millions, while barely a trickle of individuals chose to emigrate in the other direction.

The differing consequences of Locke and Marx are not an accident. Under folk Locke-ism, each individual has moral standing. We all are endowed with rights, and we all are obligated to follow the law. It should be no surprise that the principle of equality before the law would lead individuals to focus on mutually advantageous interactions. It should be no surprise that inequality before the law, such as the Jim Crow South of 50 years ago, would come to be regarded as a blot and a national disgrace.

Under folk Marxism, the oppressed class has inherent moral superiority to the oppressor class -- recall the quote which opens this essay. Class membership trumps individual character in determining moral standing. It should be no surprise that this belief could lead to tyranny and wanton murder by government. It should be no surprise that this belief has failed to improve the lot of those regarded as "oppressed." It inverts Martin Luther King's call to judge people by the content of their character.

Even when Marxism does not lead to tyranny, it retards economic growth, as the stagnation of continental Europe indicates. If you believe that the poor are oppressed and the rich are oppressors, then your impulse is to penalize work, risk-taking, innovation, and saving -- the engines of economic progress. As entrepreneur Paul Graham put it,

"So let's be clear what reducing economic inequality means. It is identical with taking money from the rich...It sounds benevolent to say we ought to reduce economic inequality. When you phrase it that way, who can argue with you? Inequality has to be bad, right? It sounds a good deal less benevolent to say we ought to reduce the rate at which new companies are founded. And yet the one implies the other."

Marx and the Academy

The vast majority of college professors are folk Marxists, even though they do not advocate for Communism. Their folk Marxism is dangerous because they do not even realize the extent to which it colors their world view. Although the academy is also the last bastion of avowed Marxists, it is not the overt Marxists who trouble me. They are not winning converts.

Every day, in big and small ways, academic speech reinforces the view that the world consists of oppressor classes and oppressed classes. In a way, the controversy over Lawrence Summers as President of Harvard reflects his defiance of folk Marxist orthodoxy. Folk Marxism is so automatic and so pervasive that it effectively goes unnoticed.

I would consider it a great step forward for liberals in the academic community to acknowledge the existence of folk Locke-ism and folk Marxism. If my liberal friends want to express support for folk Marxism, that is fine. If they want to criticize folk Locke-ism, that is all right, too. If they would like to give a less loaded name than "folk Marxism" to the oppressed/oppressor paradigm, I have no problem using a different label.

My concern with what I call folk Marxism is substantive, not rhetorical. To me, the danger of folk Marxism in the academy today is that it is implicit and unrecognized -- and therefore unquestioned.

Arnold Kling is author of Learning Economics.

(Editor?s Note: This article is part of a series on the effects of ideas on the popular mindset. You can read Part One here.)

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=012206D
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buzwardo
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006, 07:10:40 PM »

This piece contains a lot of graphs and other data that need to be viewed as one reads the piece. As such I haven't excerpted the text and dropped it here. As that may be, it's well worth a read, exploring under just what conditions democracy can take hold and where the problem areas will be as Iraq heads a democratic direction.

http://www.policyreview.org/135/boix.html
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buzwardo
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2006, 05:39:19 PM »

The Islamist Challenge to the U.S. Constitution
netWMD - The War to Mobilize Democracy  
March 21, 2006
David Kennedy Houck


First in Europe and now in the United States, Muslim groups have petitioned to establish enclaves in which they can uphold and enforce greater compliance to Islamic law. While the U.S. Constitution enshrines the right to religious freedom and the prohibition against a state religion, when it comes to the rights of religious enclaves to impose communal rules, the dividing line is more nebulous. Can U.S. enclaves, homeowner associations, and other groups enforce Islamic law?

Such questions are no longer theoretical. While Muslim organizations first established enclaves in Europe,[1] the trend is now crossing the Atlantic. Some Islamist community leaders in the United States are challenging the principles of assimilation and equality once central to the civil rights movement, seeking instead to live according to a separate but equal philosophy. The Gwynnoaks Muslim Residential Development group, for example, has established an informal enclave in Baltimore because, according to John Yahya Cason, director of the Islamic Education and Community Development Initiative, a Baltimore-based Muslim advocacy group, "there was no community in the U.S. that showed the totality of the essential components of Muslim social, economic, and political structure."[2]

Baltimore is not alone. In August 2004, a local planning commission in Little Rock, Arkansas, granted The Islamic Center for Human Excellence authorization to build an internal Islamic enclave to include a mosque, a school, and twenty-two homes.[3] While the imam, Aquil Hamidullah, says his goal is to create "a clean community, free of alcohol, drugs, and free of gangs,"[4] the implications for U.S. jurisprudence of this and other internal enclaves are greater: while the Little Rock enclave might prevent the sale of alcohol, can it punish possession and in what manner? Can it force all women, be they residents or visitors, to don Islamic hijab (headscarf)? Such enclaves raise the fundamental questions of when, how, and to what extent religious practice may supersede the U.S. Constitution.

The Internal Muslim Enclave

The internal Muslim enclave proposed by the Islamic Center for Human Excellence in Arkansas represents a new direction for Islam in the United States. The group seeks to transform a loosely organized Muslim population into a tangible community presence. The group has foreign financial support: it falls under the umbrella of a much larger Islamic group, "Islam 4 the World," an organization sponsored by Sharjah, one of the constituent emirates of the United Arab Emirates.[5] While the Islamic Center for Human Excellence has yet to articulate detailed plans for its Little Rock enclave, the group's reliance on foreign funding is troublesome. Past investments by the United Arab Emirates' rulers and institutions have promoted radical interpretations of Islam. [6]

The Islamic Center for Human Excellence may seek to segregate schools and offices by gender. The enclave might also exercise broad control upon commerce within its boundaries?provided the economic restrictions did not discriminate against out-of-state interests or create an undue burden upon interstate commerce. But most critically, the enclave could promulgate every internal law?from enforcing strict religious dress codes to banning alcohol possession and music; it could even enforce limits upon religious and political tolerance. Although such concepts are antithetical to a free society, U.S. democracy allows the internal enclave to function beyond the established boundaries of our constitutional framework. At the very least, the permissible parameters of an Islamist enclave are ill defined.

The greater American Muslim community's unapologetic and public manifestation of belief in a separate but equal ideology does not bode well. In September 2004, the New Jersey branch of the Islamic Circle of North America rented Six Flags Adventure Park in New Jersey for "The Great Muslim Adventure Day." The advertisement announcing the event stated: "The entire park for Muslims only." While legal?and perhaps analogous to corporate or other non-religious groups renting facilities, the advertisement expressly implied a mindset that a proof of faith was required for admission to the park. In his weblog, commentator Daniel Pipes raises a relevant and troubling question about the event: because it is designated for Muslims only, "Need one recite the shahada to enter the fairgrounds?"[7]

While U.S. law might give such Muslims-only events the benefit of the doubt, flexibility may not go both ways. There is precedent of Islamists taking advantage of liberal flexibility to more extreme ends. Canada provides a useful example into how Islamist groups can exploit liberal legal tolerance. In 1991, Ontario, Canada, passed a seemingly innocuous law called the "Arbitration Act."[8] This act permitted commercial, religious, or such other designated arbitrators to settle civil disputes outside the Canadian justice system so long as the result did not contradict Canadian law. Like U.S. authorities are beginning to do now, Canadian legislators decided to give religious groups the benefit of the doubt, assuming that they would still hold national law to be paramount.

In October 2003, under the auspices of the Ontario legislation, the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice created Muslim arbitration boards and stated its intent to arbitrate on the basis of Islamic law.[9] A national furor erupted, particularly among Canadian Muslim women's groups that opposed the application of traditional Islamic (Shari?a) laws that would supersede their far more liberal and egalitarian democratic rights. After nearly two years of legal wrangling, the premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, held that religious-based arbitrations "threaten our common ground," and announced, "There will be no Shari?a law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians."[10] On November 15, 2005, McGuinty's provincial government submitted legislation to amend the arbitration act to abrogate, in effect, all religious arbitration.[11] Requests for Muslim enclaves within larger U.S. communities may signal that U.S. jurisprudence will soon be faced with a similar conundrum. Islamist exceptionalism can abuse the tolerance liberal societies have traditionally extended to interface between religious and secular law.

Prior to the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice demands to impose Shari?a, the Arbitration Act worked well. Unfortunately for Canadian Jews, the repeal ended state-enforcement of agreements reached by the use of a millennia-old rabbinical court system called beit din (house of law) that had for decades quietly settled marriage, custody, and business disputes. Joel Richler, Ontario region chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress, expressed his lament: "If there have been any problems flowing from any rabbinical court decisions, I'm not aware of them."[12] Canadian Catholics likewise were stopped from being able to annul marriages according to Canon Law and avoid undue entanglement in civil courts. Abuse of the spirit of the law, though, ended up curtailing local liberty. Rather than soften the edge between religion and state, the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice threatened to eliminate it with the imposition of Shari?a. The Canadian experience demonstrates how flexibility can backfire when all parties do not seek to uphold basic precepts of tolerance. The Little Rock application raises the specter of a parallel situation. While The Islamic Center for Human Excellence may state it wants to create a clean-living community, might the community's extreme interpretation of Shari?a force a reconsideration of just how much leeway the U.S. government gives religious communities?

As the Muslim community in the United States grows, an increasingly active Islamist lobby has submitted numerous white papers and amicus briefs to legislators and courts arguing for the religious right of Muslims to apply Shari?a law, particularly in relation to family law disputes.[13] This looming jurisprudential conflict is significant for it raises issues about the rights of community members to marry outside the community, forced marriages, and the minimum age of brides, and whether wives and daughters may enjoy equal inheritance. In cases of non-family law, it raises the question about whether the testimony of women will be considered on par with that of men.

No previous enclave in U.S. history has ever been so vigorously protected by agents of group identity politics or so adamantly defended by legal watchdogs; nor has any previous religious enclave possessed the potency of more than one billion believers around the world. Islamic-only communities may also benefit from the largess provided by billions of petrol dollars to finance growth. The track record of Saudi and other wealthy Persian Gulf donations and charitable efforts are worrisome. There is a direct correlation between Saudi money received and the spread of intolerant practices. In 2004, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of Al-Haramein Foundation, one of Saudi Arabia's largest nongovernmental organizations, because of its financial links to Al-Qaeda.[14] Additionally, American graduates of Saudi academies advance Wahhabist interpretations of Islam inside the U.S. prison system,[15] and Saudi-subsidized publications promote intolerance inside U.S. mosques.[16]

A Muslim enclave is uniquely perilous because there are few if any internal enclaves that adhere to a polity dedicated to the active abrogation of secular law and the imposition of a supreme religious law. The concept of Shari?a is so fundamental to Islam, that even today, prominent Muslim jurists argue over whether a Muslim can fully discharge Shari?a obligations while residing in a non-Muslim territory.[17] Yet, in spite of this apparent conundrum, Muslims have resided peacefully in non-Muslim lands since the seventh century. In the greater context, there may be a breach in the dike for Islamist groups residing in the United States because the Baltimore and Little Rock enclaves must acknowledge the U.S. Constitution as the paramount basis of civil law.

A dissident Islamic sub-community is filled with dichotomous propositions: from the presumed supremacy of Shari?a-based law over secular law; the melding of religion and polity versus the constitutionally mandated separation of same; to the politics of group and factionalism, versus assimilation and pluralism. To deny the settlement of a Muslim-only community based solely upon prejudices formed after September 11 would be illiberal. But the alternative, opening the door to Islamic enclaves without scrutiny, is as dubious.

The Enclave under U.S. Law

Existing U.S. legal precedent, though, may provide some grounds for handling expansive demands for Islamic enclaves. U.S. legal views of internal enclaves derive from the famous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled the concept of separate but equal to be unconstitutional.[18] While the case revolved around the right of black children to attend white schools, it promulgated a concept that is anathema in today's world of multiculturalism: neither the state nor any constituent group could claim equality through separation.

Enclaves can exist, though. As courts have ruled on issues relating to equality under the law and upon the autonomy of religious practice, two distinctive features of internal U.S. enclaves have taken shape: first, the boundaries of the enclave should be recognized by local inhabitants. Second, the enclave cannot supersede the constitutionally protected rights of the citizens of a state.

Because most rights secured by the constitution are protected only against infringement by government action, the Supreme Court has avoided establishing a bright-line test as to the limits of religious liberty. Any religious group or individual seeking to establish an internal enclave has the right to limit residency, promulgate local rules, and perhaps even collect fees or taxes to support nominal community services.

Such enclaves do not hold final sway over the rights of non-residents, however. In Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Company[19] and Flagg Brothers v. Brooks,[20] the court outlined constitutional protections for private citizens in which any entity, religious or otherwise, exercising governmental authority over private citizens remains subject to the provisions of the First and Fourteenth amendments. In both cases, the court affirmed that citizens of a state retain their right to "due process of law" under the Fourteenth Amendment, even when inside an enclave. These holdings, however, do not prevent enclaves from restricting the individual freedoms of their inhabitants.

The Supreme Court has ruled upon the limits of religious liberty. In Cantwell v. Connecticut, the court outlined the circumstances in which the government could act to restrict religious independence. The court held that the free exercise clause "embraces two concepts?freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society."[21]

Christopher L. Eisgruber, professor of law at New York University, explained. He argued that, "the Constitution permits government to nurture ideological sub-communities founded upon premises inconsistent with the constitution's own commitments."[22] He maintained that such dissident sub-communities can provide important "sources of dissent"[23] and asserted that even if an enclave embraced ideals contrary to constitutional ideals, it should still be granted the right to pursue its own vision of good. For example, he wrote:

[Though] it is regrettable that young women in Kiryas Joel [a Satmar Hasidic enclave] will grow up in a starkly sexist culture, and it is regrettable that the Amish children of Yoder will find it very hard to become astronomers or lawyers ? it would also be regrettable if the United States were not home to any sub-communities which, like the Satmars or the Amish, rejected principles of justice fundamental to the American regime.[24]

According to Eisgruber, tolerance of the intolerant is fundamental to the freedoms espoused by Western liberal democracy. While Islamists might use such logic to argue for the permissibility of Shari?a communities, such tolerance has limits. Enclaves do not have carte blanche to act. Both the state and national legislatures must retain control over the extent of accommodation, and there should be no subsidization of the enclave by the government.[25] Such limits ensure that the government can constrain those sub-communities that might espouse more radical, violent, or racist views.[26]

It is usually when the U.S. government moves to uphold the rule of law that most Americans first learn of an internal enclave. Few Americans knew of the philosophy espoused by anti-government activist Randy Weaver until 1992 when the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms raided his compound at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, killing Vicki Weaver, their infant son, Sam, and the family dog.[27] Nor did many Americans know about David Koresh and his religious views until a raid the following year on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in which a resulting fire killed fifty adults and twenty-five children under the age of fifteen.[28] While tragic, such events involved cults or political splinter groups. The growth of Muslim enclaves raises the specter of such conflicts occurring on a much larger scale.

While the court has interpreted the establishment clause to empower the government to constrain dissident sub-communities when necessary to protect public safety, it has been wary of addressing legal issues requiring intrusion upon the religious polity. Because the First Amendment provides for religious freedom, the court has confined itself to ruling upon three basic issues: property disputes between national religious hierarchical organizations with affiliated breakaway entities; accommodations under the free exercise clause; and the prohibition against the establishment of a state religion. New challenges, though, may lead to new interpretations.

The Antithesis to Democracy

Is concern over internal Muslim enclaves justified? On their face, the fundamental principles of the internal Muslim enclave are no more invidious than any other religious enclave. But ideology matters. Many proponents of an Islamic polity promote an ideology at odds with U.S. constitutional jurisprudence and the prohibition against the establishment of a state-sponsored religion. The refusal to recognize federal law makes Islamist enclaves more akin to Ruby Ridge than to the Hasidic and Amish cases cited by Eisgruber.

Muslim theologians describe Islam not only as a religion but also as a system of state. The Qur'an?viewed by Muslims as the word of God?is replete with instructions about governance. An enclave promoting Islamic mores does not necessarily restrict itself to a social atmosphere but also one of governance. Traditional Islamic law controls the most basic aspects of everyday life and may make any Islamic enclave irreconcilable with the basic presumptions of Western liberal democracy and secular law.

While many American Muslims practice Islam and embrace the fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution, others do not. There are consistent attempts by Islamist elements overseas to strengthen their own radical interpretation of Islam at the expense of moderation and tolerance. Saudi donors, for example, have propagated the ideology of Islamism, which seeks to interweave a narrow and often intolerant interpretation of religion into an all-encompassing political ideology. The number of imams and jihadists who have been outspoken in identifying the supremacy of Shari?a to democracy underlines the incompatibility of Islamism and democracy. The late Saudi theologian, Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Jubair, for example, stated,

Only one ambition is worthy of Islam, to save the world from the curse of democracy: to teach men that they cannot rule themselves on the basis of man-made laws. Mankind has strayed from the path of God, we must return to that path or face certain annihilation.[29]

Prior to Iraq's January 30, 2005 elections, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, released an audiotape in which he declared war upon democracy and denounced its tenets as "the very essence of heresy, polytheism, and error."[30] Nor is Islamist antipathy for democracy limited to popular elections. According to a Saudi publication distributed at a San Diego mosque, "[Democracy is] responsible for all the horrible wars ? more than 130 wars with more than 120 million people dead [in the twentieth century alone]; not counting victims of poverty, hunger and disease."[31] Such sentiments reflect a common theme among Islamists: democracy is the antithesis to everything pious and pure in Islam; and, in truth, democracy is the direct and substantial causal effect of Muslim suffering and injustice in the world today.

This does not mean that Islamists are unwilling to use democracy for their ends. But while they accept the trappings of democracy, they continue to reject its principles because the Shari?a, to them the perfect rule of law, cannot be abrogated or altered by the shifting moods of a secular electorate. Mohamed Elhachmi Hamdi, editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab weekly Al-Mustakillah, explained,

The heart of the matter is that no Islamic state can be legitimate in the eyes of its subjects without obeying the main teachings of the Shari?a. A secular government might coerce obedience, but Muslims will not abandon their belief that state affairs should be supervised by the just teachings of the holy law.[32]

He could draw from plenty of examples. In 1992, for example, Ali Balhadj, a leader of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria, declared, "When we are in power, there will be no more elections because God will be ruling."[33] While mayor of Istanbul, Islamist Turkish politician Recep Tayyip Erdo?an quipped, "For us, democracy is a streetcar. We would go as far as we could, and then get off."[34] As he eviscerates the judiciary, many Turks wonder about his sincerity.[35]

Experience abroad is relevant, as it goes to the heart of the sincerity of proponents of the Little Rock and Baltimore enclaves, an issue compounded by the willingness to accept donations from Persian Gulf financiers.

Conclusion

How Muslims reconcile Islamic polity within the confines of Western liberal democracy is an unresolved issue. This process will take years to evolve and is likely to convulse in further violent episodes. Presently, many Muslims reject wholesale the notion of a dominant secular law and instead seek the imposition of a pan-Islamist state under the guidance of Shari?a. These Islamists view secular modernity and the democratic practices of radical egalitarianism, individual rights, and free exercise of religion as a direct and substantial threat to their belief system, and they are intent on employing violence against the West for the foreseeable future. The remainder and majority of the Muslim world must reject nihilism and engage in widespread debate regarding Islam's role within the world community.

The local planning commission in Little Rock, Arkansas, might proceed with the proposed Muslim enclave, but the Arkansas courts and its legislature should not abdicate its responsibilities to ensure that Western liberal rights and protections remain supreme. The government should monitor both the rhetoric and behavior of these communities. As the Supreme Court stated in Cantwell: the freedom to believe is absolute, but the freedom to act, in the nature of things, cannot be, especially as to the safety and preservation of the American democracy.[36]

David Kennedy Houck is an attorney at Houck O'Brien LLC, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[1] See, for example, discussion of the Sonali Gardens project in London, The Evening Standard (London), Apr. 27, 2004.
[2] Marya Morris, "Muslim Community Development Initiatives," American Planning Association, Apr. 25, 2004.
[3] "Muslim Community Development Plans," Fox 16 News, Aug. 26, 2004.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Information on the Arkansas Islamic Center for Human Excellence website, accessed on Nov. 2, 2005, linked visitors to the "Islam 4 the World" website.
[6] U.S. Department of State, news release, Feb. 19, 2004.
[7] Daniel Pipes, "Muslims Only!" at Six Flags Adventure Park," www.DanielPipes.org, Sept. 10, 2004.
[8] "Arbitration Act," S.O. 1991, "Ontario Statutes and Regulations," e-Laws News, c. 17.
[9] Daniel Pipes, "Enforce Islamic Law in Canada?" The New York Sun, Sept. 27, 2005.
[10] Canadian Press News Agency, Sept. 11, 2005.
[11] Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, news release, Nov. 15, 2005.
[12] Canadian Press News Agency, Sept. 11, 2005.
[13] See, Asifa Quaraishi and Najeeba Syeed-Miller, "No Altars: A Survey of Islamic Family Law in the United States," Islamic Family Law project, Law and Religion Program, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.; American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA) in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on the juvenile aspect of the death penalty that included citations to Shari'a law.
[14] U.S. Department of State, news release, Feb. 19, 2004.
[15] The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, 2003.
[16] Khaleel Mohammed, "Assessing English Translations of the Qu'ran," Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2005, pp. 59-71.
[17] Khaled Abou El Fadl, "Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities: The Juristic Discourse on Muslim Minorities from the Second/Eighth to the Eleventh/Seventeenth Centuries," Islamic Law and Society, 1:2(1994): 141-4.
[18] Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
[19] Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Company, 419 U.S. 345 (1974).
[20] Flagg Brothers v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149 (1978).
[21] Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S 296 (1940), pp. 303-4.
[22] Christopher L. Eisgruber, "The Constitutional Value of Assimilation," The Columbia Law Review, Jan. 1996, pp. 87-8.
[23] Ibid., p. 91.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Ibid., pp. 89, 91.
[26] Ibid., pp. 87, 92.
[27] CNN News, Aug. 21, 1997.
[28] "The Aftermath of the April 19 Fire," Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas (redacted version: Oct. 8, 1993), U.S. Department of Justice, chap. XIII.
[29] Amir Taheri, "Islam and Democracy: The Impossible Union," The Sunday Times (London), May 23, 2004.
[30] Nimrod Raphaeli, "The Sheikh of the Slaughterers": Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi and the Al-Qa'ida Connection," Middle East Research Media Institute (MEMRI), Inquiry and Analysis Series, no. 231, July 1, 2005.
[31] "Anti-American," Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, chap. 4, p. 4.
[32] Mohamed Elhachmi Hamdi, "Islam and Liberal Democracy: The Limits of the Western Model," Journal of Democracy, Apr. 1996, pp. 81-5.
[33] Michael Rubin, "Islamists Are Intrinsically Anti-democratic," www.bitterlemons-international.org, June 2, 2005.
[34] H?rriyet (Istanbul), Apr. 23, 1998.
[35] Milliyet (Istanbul), June 6, 2005.
[36] Cantwell, pp. 303-4.


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buzwardo
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 03:50:54 PM »

The Great (and Continuing) Economic Debate of the 20th Century
Imprimis/Hillsdale College  
March 2006
Steve Forbes


The great economic debate of the twentieth century was between collectivists and free-marketers. In one sense, the free-marketers won: When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was widely acknowledged that Soviet socialism had been a catastrophic, not to say murderous, failure. But in another sense, the debate continues. Democratic capitalism still has not vanquished the idea of collectivism. Far from it.

At the beginning of the last century, free markets seemed to be on the ascendancy everywhere. But two events gave collectivism its lease on life. The first was World War I. In addition to the slaughter?and to breeding the ideologies of communism, state fascism, Nazism, and even the Islamic fascism we are battling today?World War I served as an intoxicating drug to those in the West who believed that a handful of people in government could manage affairs better than the messy way in which free peoples tend to do so. Massive increases in government powers, coupled with massive increases in taxation, gave many the idea that you can achieve massive increases in production by commandeering the financial resources of society.

The second event that served as a boon to collectivism was the Great Depression, which was widely seen as a free-market failure. This view was false. Misguided government policies were at fault?the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, for instance, which dried up the flow of capital in and out of the country. If you track the stock market crash of 1929, it parallels the course of this tariff bill through Congress. When Smoot-Hawley arose in the fall of 1929, the markets fell; when it looked like the tariff bill was sidetracked in late 1929, the markets revived (the Dow Jones went up 50 percent from its lows in November); in the spring of 1930 it was signed into law, and the rest is history. There were other factors at work in the Great Depression, of course, such as President Hoover?s gigantic tax increases of 1931. But despite the fact that these also involved bad policies, the lesson taken away by many was that economies will implode unless the government manages them. John Maynard Keynes, the intellectual guiding light behind New Deal economics, believed that an economy was like a machine: If you put doses of money into it or pull money out at the right times, he thought, you can achieve an equilibrium. This idea that government can drive an economy as if it were an automobile has had baleful consequences.

Other leading economists at the time, such as Joseph Schumpeter, recognized that an economy is an aggregate of disparate activities?thus that the idea of achieving equilibrium, while it makes for a neat theory, is nonsense in the real world. A vibrant economy is full of constant disequilibria: New enterprises rise up, old ones decline, etc. Snapshots of such economies mean very little. In the real world, therefore, free markets operate rationally and efficiently in a way that government regulators simply can?t. Here in America we came to this realization at the end of the 1970s. Following World War II, we largely bought into the idea that government must play an active role to prevent the economy from going off the cliff. But in the late 1970s, the devastation of inflation and high taxes brought about a reassessment. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the U.S. took a step back from Keynesian economics. Since then, as Western Europe has stagnated?creating, for instance, only a fraction of the private sector jobs that the U.S. has created?our country has undergone an economic revival.

Nonetheless, democratic capitalism often still seems on the defensive. Why?

Is Democratic Capitalism Good?

One of the great vulnerabilities of capitalism is the perception that it is somehow less than moral, if not positively amoral. A common view of business was depicted in the movie Wall Street, in which Michael Douglas?s character made famous the phrase, ?Greed is good.? Capitalism is widely seen as promoting selfishness. We tolerate it because it gives us jobs and prosperity, but many look on this as a Faustian bargain. Charity and capitalism are seen as polar opposites. Thus there?s a phrase that?s often used today?I myself use it from time to time without thinking?which is ?giving back.? If you?ve succeeded in business, it?s counted a good thing if you ?give back? to the community. And charity is, of course, a good thing. The problem with this phrase is its implication that by succeeding, we have taken something that wasn?t ours. The same idea is summed up in the cynical saying, ?Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.? This way of thinking about democratic capitalism is wrong.

In fact, philanthropy and capitalism are two sides of the same coin. To succeed in business in a free-market economy, one must meet the needs and wants of others. Even someone who makes babies cry is not going to succeed unless he or she provides a product or a service that people want. This system weaves intricate webs of cooperation that we don?t even think about. Take a restaurant: Someone who opens a restaurant assumes that farmers will provide the food and that someone else will process and package it and that someone else will deliver it, having been supplied the fuel to do so by yet someone else, etc. These marvelous webs of cooperation happen every day throughout a free economy. No one is commanding it. It occurs spontaneously in a way that economists like Schumpeter understood.

Free markets also force people to look to the future and take risks. Misers do not found companies like Microsoft. Nor should we look on it as immoral for people to work for the betterment of themselves and their families. We are all born with God-given talents, and it is right to develop them to the fullest. The great virtue of democratic capitalism is that it guarantees that as we develop our talents, we?re contributing to the public good. Statistics show that the U.S. is both the most commercial nation and the most philanthropic nation in human history. And this is no paradox. The two go hand-in-hand.

Another vulnerability of democratic capitalism is that although it leads to progress and to an increase in our societal standard of living, progress is usually disruptive. This allows collectivists to play on people?s natural fear of change. We saw this with the rise of industrialism in the 19th century. We had paintings and writings depicting a pastoral agricultural past. Then railroads came along to disrupt the canals, and cars came along to disrupt the railroads. Buggy-whip makers and blacksmiths were done for. One can imagine what 60 Minutes would have been investigating 100 years ago: the poor blacksmiths being put out of work by Henry Ford. Likewise, when TV came along in the late 1940s and early 1950s, most movie theaters in the country went broke. Now the Internet is disrupting newspapers and Craig?s List is disrupting classified advertising. Disruptions are inevitable in a free-market system. The political challenge is to allow these disruptions to take place?they are ultimately constructive, after all?rather than reacting in a way that stymies progress.

In recent decades, collectivists have also hijacked the cause of environmentalism to promote their agenda. I?m not talking about the desire to have clean water; we?re all in favor of that. Or clean air; one of the great things we?ve done in the last century is getting lead out of the air. Saving tigers and elephants is also a good thing. I?m talking about those who use the mantra of environmentalism to try to control the economy the way the old-time socialists wanted to, breathing hellfire and damnation on those who don?t subscribe to their new, post-Christian religion. The fact is, if our goal is to improve the environment, increasing government regulation and destroying manufacturing is counterproductive. Affluence is the friend, not the enemy, of the environment. As people become better off, they want a higher quality of life, including environmental improvements. And new technology drives such improvements. Consider the east coast of the U.S. Even though its population has more than doubled?in some areas, it?s tripled?and even though there are more developments, malls, and urban sprawl, there are more trees today than there were 80 years ago. Why? Because of technology that allows us to grow more food on less land. Technology is a friend of the environment.

Additional Collectivist Myths

Let me mention three additional myths that are used to promote collectivism. One is the idea that demand is the key to economic growth. Collectivist economists often talk about means to increase ?aggregate demand,? as if that would ensure that the economy will grow. Following Keynes, they assume that the economy is like a machine. But again, the economy is an aggregate of tens of millions of people, millions of businesses, millions of technologies. We don?t know how it interacts on a day-to-day basis. We don?t know what?s going to work or not work. Who could have conceived of eBay ten to twelve years ago? But today, 400,000 people make their livings on eBay. When Google was launched, there were ten other search engines. Who would have thought another one was needed? Isn?t that how you get so-called ?bubbles?? But Google found a way to do it better and ended up on top. Innovation is the key. Whether it?s railroads, cars, computers, the Internet, or iPods, risk-taking is messy. It is often irrational, and seemingly wasteful. But it?s the only way to determine what works best and what doesn?t.

Another collectivist myth concerns trade. If I were dictator of the world?even though I believe in the First Amendment?I would ban trade numbers, especially merchandise trade numbers. They just lead to mischief. We are given the impression that a trade surplus is like a profit and a trade deficit is like a loss. But trade is not a transaction between countries. It takes place between parties. For example, Forbes magazine buys paper. For all of the 88 years that we?ve been in existence, we?ve run a trade deficit with our paper suppliers. If you look just at that trade deficit, you might think we are doing poorly. But if you look at the two parties involved, that turns out to be an illusion. The paper supplier thinks he?s going to make money selling his paper. We think we?re going to make money by taking the paper and putting print on it, with value added. So it?s a mutually profitable transaction, even if it looks like a trade deficit. Or consider a book printed in Taiwan. Looking at the trade number alone, it appears there is a two dollar trade deficit with Taiwan. Yet the book comes back here and retails for $24.95. The value added is in the U.S. The author gets a cut, the publisher gets a cut, booksellers get a cut, distributors get a cut, and remainder stores get a cut. Something similar happened with iPods: A lot of its parts are made overseas, but where is most of the value added? Here in the United States. North America has had a merchandise trade deficit for 350 out of the last 400 years, and we have done very well, thank you.

The final myth I?ll mention concerns budget deficits. Milton Friedman said several years ago that if he had a choice between a federal budget of $1 trillion that was in the red and a federal budget of $2 trillion that was balanced, he would take the former. Deficits, in and of themselves, are not evil. Deficits must be put in context, because Washington?s inability to curb spending is often used as an excuse to raise taxes.

Principles of Prosperity

Now let me turn to five basic principles of economic growth. First and foremost is the rule of law: Without individual equality before the law, entrepreneurs cannot challenge already existing businesses. Alliances between the latter and government regulators who place barriers before entrepreneurs must be guarded against.

The second essential principle is property rights. We take it for granted in this country that if you buy a piece of property, everyone acknowledges that you own it. Most countries don?t have that kind of uniform property system. A few years ago, Hernando DeSoto, a great economist from Peru, saw that in countries like his, although there is entrepreneurial activity, there isn?t the corresponding prosperity found in the U.S. And he wondered why. In his recent book?The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else?one of the key factors he cites is the absence in so many other countries of a legal foundation for property rights. In Brazil?s shanty towns, an individual may know that he owns the house in which he lives, and his neighbors may know it, but the fact is not recognized elsewhere.

Mr. DeSoto was asked by the Egyptian government a few years ago to determine who owns the businesses and residences in Egypt. His finding was that 88 percent of the businesses in Egypt are illegal. Why is that? Here in the U.S., it is possible to set up a business legally in a matter of days. In Egypt, it takes a couple of years. It requires going through numerous bureaucracies, doling out numerous bribes, etc. So it makes sense to proceed ?informally.? On the other hand, running a business outside the law limits its growth. Most ?informal? enterprises never grow beyond the level of family enterprises, because if they get too big, they might attract the attention of the tax collector. DeSoto?s group also reported that 92 percent of Egyptian housing is illegal. People living in residences may have deeds; but only a few miles away, those deeds are not recognized. In Egypt, as in so many other places, there is no uniform system of establishing and protecting property rights. As a result, four billion people around the world own $9 trillion of assets that amount to dead capital.

What do I mean by ?dead capital?? Remember that here in the U.S., the most important source of capital for new ventures is not Wall Street, the local banker or the venture capitalist. It is the mortgage market. People either increase their mortgage or take out a second mortgage in order to start businesses. This is not possible in countries like Egypt. Understanding this was the key to Japan?s post-World War II economic boom. General MacArthur reformed a feudalistic property system, in which the peasants had only an informal system of property exchange, into a system with formalized property rights. Immediately, the Japanese economy took off. The importance of property rights is not sufficiently recognized by those of us who take them for granted.

The third principle of economic prosperity is low taxes. Taxes are not just a means of raising revenue for the government. They are also a price. Income taxes are a price paid for working; taxes on profits are the price paid for being successful in business; taxes on capital gains are the price paid for taking risks. In light of this, the importance of low taxes is easy to see: When you lower the price of good things?things like work, success and risk-taking?you tend to get more of them. Raise the price of these good things and you get less. In 2003, we lowered tax rates in the U.S. and the economy started to grow again. As we?ve seen time and again, tax cuts do not mean a loss of tax revenue. By increasing incentives, the government comes out ahead. Washington?s revenues in the last fiscal year were up 15 percent?$100 billion above expectations. Washington?s problem is not revenue, but spending.

The fourth principle I would mention is making it simpler to launch legal businesses. Getting bureaucracy out of the way will inject a new vibrancy into the economy. The fifth and final principle is free trade. Expanding markets and creating greater opportunity for trade benefits us all.

In closing, I will remind you of a point I made earlier: The reason that the great economic debate continues into the 21st century, despite the proven superiority of free markets in terms of delivering prosperity, is because of the misperceptions that keep democratic capitalism from capturing the moral high ground. Dispelling these misperceptions should be our priority as we carry on that debate in the years ahead.

http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/default.asp
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buzwardo
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2006, 02:04:48 PM »

The original piece, linked below, contains many links that I did not include here.

Harry Potter and the War On Terror
May 9th, 2006

Not too long ago, there was a lot of giggling on the right side of the blogosphere when it learned about a book called Why Mommy is a Democrat, which its publisher proudly boasts is ?A Different Kind of Children?s Book.?  The book?s point is that, just as a child views Mommy in a saintly light, he should project that view onto Democrats because they share Mommy?s values.  For example, just as Mommies do, Democrats make sure people share.  And so that no one misses this message, the well-dressed, silver-haired, obviously Republican white folk in the background walk by a homeless man with noses upturned.  Likewise, just as Mommy does, Democrats make sure everyone can go to school, while those same pompous white Republicans allow in only the rich.

Probably because it is so rich in venom and stereotyping, Why Mommy is a Democrat has not made much of an impact the publishing world. It?s self-published, and I wasn?t even able to find it on Amazon.com.  Conservatives are actually doing better in this area.  Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed is actually sold through Amazon, although it places at a wan 5,700 in the Amazon rankings.

The push to get children to think in politically correct ways doesn?t stop with books.  Just recently, Hollywood released Hoot, a somewhat turgid movie about children learning lessons in eco-terrorism.   (Even the New York Times, while it liked the message, admitted the movie had little to offer in the way of enjoyment.)

These books and movies remind us how boring polemics are.  You have to appreciate these heavy-handed attempts at pop culture indoctrination, however, because those on the Left are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to our kids.

You think I?m kidding?  I?m not.  In the last five years, through a series of rousing movies and books, our children have been introduced to some of the best conservative thinking ever put to paper or put on film.

In 2001, Hollywood released The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring, based on the first part J.R.R. Tolkien?s Ring trilogy.   The movie was a blockbuster hit, and is currently the thirteenth most profitable movie ever made.   It also wholeheartedly affirms traditional Victorian values: honor, loyalty, bravery and steadfastness.  More than that, the movie?s story acknowledges that evil exists and recognizes that the only thing to be done against evil is to attack it, root and branch.  A war against evil is a total war, from which one cannot walk away.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, The Fellowship of the Ring has no talk about trying to understand Saruman?s unhappy childhood as a way of exonerating his evil acts.  Even Boromir?s manifest unhappiness is not an excuse for the envy in his heart ? something he himself recognizes at the end, when he sacrifices himself to save the Fellowship.  The two subsequent movies in the Ring Trilogy ( The Two Towers  and The Return of the King) keep up the same steady drumbeat: honor, loyalty, steadfastness, and the recognition that evil cannot be destroyed with half measures.

In 2003, the same year Hollywood released Return of the King (which is the second highest grossing movie ever made), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out.  To date, this book has sold 13.7 million copies in the United States alone (including a one day sales record of 5 million books in 24 hours).  This popularity, obviously, didn?t arise in isolation.  It was a logical result of the Harry Potter juggernaut that began in 1989, and that has been increasing ever since (helped by some very popular movies).  I?m focusing in this article on the Order of the Phoenix, though, because it?s very different from the Harry Potter books that preceded it.

As the reviewers noted when Order of the Phoenix first came out, this book is much darker than its predecessors  .  In the earlier Harry Potter books, there was always a rather giddy, ?Boy?s Life? adventure quality to the books.  Voldemort was out there, but merely as ?You Know Who.?  We got a glimpse of him in each book, but nothing really serious ? that is, until the very end of the book immediately preceding the Order of the Phoenix.  In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Voldemort emerged, fully formed. The problem was that only Harry lived to see Voldemort and his Death Eaters resurgent.

In the wake of Voldemort?s perverted resurrection, The Order of the Phoenix centers on Harry?s desperate efforts to convince the Powers That Be that evil once again walks among them.  What Harry discovers is that nobody wants to hear him.  He is reviled as a liar, attention seeker, and trouble-maker.  Dolores Umbridge, who is the ultimate smug bureaucrat, with grim smiles mires Harry in endless, aimless tasks, all intended to reduce his ability to focus on Voldemort?s existence.  Only with tremendous effort is he able to rally some believers to his side and prepare them for war.

I don?t pretend to know what J.K. Rowling was thinking when she wrote Order of the Phoenix, but I can?t help but see in this post-9/11 book a perfect analogy to the situation the West faces today, in the real world, in its War against Islamofascism.  Some of us, like Harry, know that we have seen evil, acknowledge its existence, and are prepared to fight it.  But just as Harry must deal with a government Ministry bound and determined to explain away or ignore the evil in its midst, we too face an anti-War movement that endlessly ignores, explains away, and excuses the most vile acts of terror and human degradation.  I have to believe, however, that there are at least some young people who experienced the Twin Towers falling as the formative event of their youth, and who will find guidance and inspiration in Harry?s struggle to wage overcome both evil itself and a cultural indifference to that same evil.

Rowling?s dark tone continues unabated ? indeed, it deepens ? in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which has sold a breathtaking 20 million copies just in the United States).  As Half-Blood Prince begins, the denouement in Order of the Phoenix, which saw Harry and his allies at the Ministry of Magic engaged in a pitched battle against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, has finally convinced the governing forces in the Wizard world that there is a real problem.

There?s an awful lot of plot in Half-Blood Prince that simply moves the characters forward, but the book also contains a powerful defense of a just war.  Near the book?s end, Harry questions whether it?s worthwhile engaging in a fight so destructive to the Wizarding community.  Dumbledore will have none of this.  Essentially, he tells Harry that, in the battle between Good and Evil, those on the side of Good cannot give up, but must press ahead, knowing that they are doing the right thing.  Again, I can?t think of any better message for countless young people throughout the Western world to read.  Some, at least, will figure out that, despite the worldwide media?s negative drumbeat regarding America and her military, true evil resides in those who gleefully torture and murder in the name of their God.

The last of the big pop culture hits that I hope will infuse our children with conservative values is, of course, The Chronicles of Narnia : The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  Although this movie doesn?t quite rank with the revenue numbers for the Ring trilogy or the Harry Potter movies, it has already earned a respectable $291,706,092 in the United States.  Indeed, for 2005 releases, it placed second only to the most recent Star Wars movie.  

When it came out, the Narnia movie was much praised for its allegorical retelling of Christ?s death and resurrection.  I have also noted its reaffirmation of traditional masculine values.   What no one has yet addressed is that, as with the Ring movies and the Harry Potter series, this movie not only emphasizes those old-fashioned virtues of loyalty, bravery, steadfastness, it also does away with moral relativism, recognizes evil, and honors the fight against it.

The Narnia movie has one other virtue: its has spurred a new generation to read the entire series of C.S. Lewis? Narnia books.   The books are wonderful adventure stories, but they also have one peculiar twist.  The last book ? The Last Battle ? imagines the end of the world, complete with an Armageddon type battle; a Judgment Day; the destruction of the world as we (or, rather, the Narnians) know it; and a glorious eternal Paradise.  I?ve always found it a very satisfying book.

In recent years, though, I?ve also found The Last Battle rather surprisingly relevant to modern times.  This is because the adversaries whose invasion of Narnia triggers the Apocalypse are essentially Muslims.  Lewis calls them Calormen, but it is clear that he?s pulled their manners and values right out of A Thousand and One Nights.  This means that, back in 1956 when Lewis wrote this book, his imagination carried him to a place in which Muslim-like people attack the West and usher in the end of the world.  This is an especially eerie premise given President Ahmadinejad?s outspoken Messianic delusions and apocaplyptic visions, most of which center on immolating Israel, but many of which include America in the flames.

As both a parent and a former child, I?ve discovered that you can feed children a tremendous amount of pap, in the form of silly rock songs, vapid movies, and endless American Idol contests without affecting their core inner values.  That is, while these products won?t enrich our children, they won?t harm them either.  Some things, though, do matter.  It is therefore a great comfort to me that the most popular and compelling products our children devour affirm values that will aid America in the fight against the Islamist forces arrayed against us.

Bookworm is the pseudonym of the proprietor of the webiste Bokworm Room. She lives as a crypto-conservative.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5480
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buzwardo
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2006, 12:41:55 PM »

When Bigots Become Reformers
The Progressive Era?s shameful record on race.
Damon W. Root


The Progressive Era and Race: Reform and Reaction, 1900?1917, by David W. Southern, Wheeling, W.V.: Harlan Davidson, 240 pages, $15.95


The Progressive movement swept America from roughly the early 1890s through the early 1920s, producing a broad popular consensus that government should be the primary agent of social change. To that end, legions of idealistic young crusaders, operating at the local, state, and federal levels, seized and wielded sweeping new powers and enacted a mountain of new legislation, including minimum wage and maximum hour laws, antitrust statutes, restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, appropriations for hundreds of miles of roads and highways, assistance to new immigrants and the poor, women?s suffrage, and electoral reform, among much else.


Today many on the liberal left would like to revive that movement and its aura of social justice. Journalist Bill Moyers, speaking at a conference sponsored by the left-wing Campaign for America?s Future, described Progressivism as ?one of the country?s great traditions.? Progressives, he told the crowd, ?exalted and extended the original American Revolution. They spelled out new terms of partnership between the people and their rulers. And they kindled a flame that lit some of the most prosperous decades in modern history.?


Yet the Progressive Era was also a time of vicious, state-sponsored racism. In fact, from the standpoint of African-American history, the Progressive Era qualifies as arguably the single worst period since Emancipation. The wholesale disfranchisement of Southern black voters occurred during these years, as did the rise and triumph of Jim Crow. Furthermore, as the Westminster College historian David W. Southern notes in his recent book, The Progressive Era and Race: Reform and Reaction, 1900?1917, the very worst of it?disfranchisement, segregation, race baiting, lynching??went hand-in-hand with the most advanced forms of southern progressivism.? Racism was the norm, not the exception, among the very crusaders romanticized by today?s activist left.


At the heart of Southern?s flawed but useful study is a deceptively simple question: How did reformers infused with lofty ideals embrace such abominable bigotry? His answer begins with the race-based pseudoscience that dominated educated opinion at the turn of the 20th century. ?At college,? Southern notes, ?budding progressives not only read expos?s of capitalistic barons and attacks on laissez-faire economics by muckraking journalists, they also read racist tracts that drew on the latest anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, eugenics, and medical science.?


Popular titles included Charles Carroll?s The Negro a Beast (1900) and R.W. Shufeldt?s The Negro, a Menace to American Civilization (1907). One bestseller, Madison Grant?s The Passing of the Great Race (1916), discussed the concept of ?race suicide,? the theory that inferior races were out-breeding their betters. President Theodore Roosevelt was one of many Progressives captivated by this notion: He opposed voting rights for African-American men, which were guaranteed by the 15th amendment, on the grounds that the black race was still in its adolescence.


Such thinking, which emphasized ?expert? opinion and advocated sweeping governmental power, fit perfectly within the Progressive worldview, which favored a large, active government that engaged in technocratic, paternalistic planning. As for reconciling white supremacy with egalitarian democracy, keep in mind that when a racist Progressive championed ?the working man,? ?the common man,? or ?the people,? he typically prefixed the silent adjective white.


For a good illustration, consider Carter Glass of Virginia. Glass was a Progressive state and U.S. senator and, as chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, one of the major architects of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of his state?s massive effort to disfranchise black voters. ?Discrimination! Why that is exactly what we propose,? he declared to one journalist. ?To remove every negro voter who can be gotten rid of, legally, without materially impairing the numerical strength of the white electorate.?


Then there was political scientist John R. Commons, an adviser to the Progressive Wisconsin governor and senator Robert M. LaFollette and a member of Theodore Roosevelt?s Immigration Commission. Commons, the author of Races and Immigrants in America (1907), criticized immigration on both protectionist grounds (he believed immigrants depressed wages and weakened labor unions) and racist ones (he wrote that the so-called tropical races were ?indolent and fickle?).


Woodrow Wilson, whose Progressive presidential legacy includes the Federal Reserve System, a federal loan program for farmers, and an eight-hour workday for railroad employees, segregated the federal bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. ?I have recently spent several days in Washington,? the black leader Booker T. Washington wrote during Wilson?s first term, ?and I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.?


Perhaps the most notorious figure of the era was Benjamin ?Pitchfork? Tillman, a leading Southern Progressive and inveterate white supremacist. As senator from South Carolina from 1895 to 1918, Tillman stumped for ?Free Silver,? the economic panacea of the agrarian populist (and future secretary of state) William Jennings Bryan, whom Tillman repeatedly supported for president. ?Pitchfork? Tillman favored such Progressive staples as antitrust laws, railroad regulations, and public education, but felt the latter was fit only for whites. ?When you educate a negro,? he brayed, ?you educate a candidate for the penitentiary or spoil a good field hand.?


Nor did African Americans always fare better among those radicals situated entirely to the left of the Progressives. Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs, though personally sympathetic to blacks, declared during his 1912 campaign for the presidency, ?We have nothing special to offer the Negro.? Other leading radicals offered even less. Writing in the Socialist Democratic Herald, Victor Berger, the leader of the party?s right wing, declared that ?there can be no doubt that the negroes and mulattoes constitute a lower race?that the Caucasian and even the Mongolian have the start on them in civilization by many years.? The celebrated left-wing novelist Jack London, covering the 1908 heavyweight title bout between black challenger Jack Johnson and white boxing champ Tommy Burns, filled his New York Herald story with lurid ethnic caricatures and incessant race baiting. ?Though he was a committed socialist,? observed Jack Johnson biographer Geoffrey C. Ward, London?s ?solidarity with the working class did not extend to black people.?


As Southern thoroughly documents, these examples just begin to scratch the surface. Progressivism was infested with the most repugnant strains of racism. But was there something more, something inherent in Progressivism itself that facilitated the era?s harsh treatment of blacks? According to Southern, who repeatedly maintains that racism derailed ?the great promise? of Progressivism, the answer is no. ?The ideas of race and color were powerful, controlling elements in progressive social and political thinking,? he argues. ?And this fixation on race explains how democratic reform and racism went hand-in-hand.?


That is surely correct, but is it the whole story? As the legal scholar Richard Epstein has noted, ?the sad but simple truth is that the Jim Crow resegregation of America depended on a conception of constitutional law that gave property rights short shrift, and showed broad deference to state action under the police power.? Progressivism itself, in other words, granted the state vast new authority to manage all walks of American life while at the same time weakening traditional checks on government power, including property rights and liberty of contract. Such a mixture was ripe for the racist abuse that occurred.


Take the Supreme Court?s notorious decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), a case that has rightly come to symbolize the South?s Jim Crow regime. In Plessy, the Court considered a Louisiana statute forbidding railroads from selling first-class tickets to blacks, a clear violation of economic liberty. In its 7?1 ruling, the Court upheld segregation in public accommodations so long as ?separate but equal? facilities were provided for each race, setting off an orgy of legislation throughout the old Confederacy. South Carolina, for example, segregated trains two years after Plessy. Streetcars followed in 1905, train depots and restaurants in 1906, textile plants in 1915?16, circuses in 1917, pool halls in 1924, and beaches in 1934.


No doubt many of those businesses would have excluded or mistreated black customers whatever the law. But in a market free from Jim Crow regulations, other businesses would have welcomed blacks, or at least black dollars, forcing racist enterprises to bear the full cost of excluding or mistreating all those potential paying customers. (This was one of the chief reasons the segregationists pushed for those laws in the first place.) The state, in the eloquent words of the historian C. Vann Woodward, granted ?free rein and the majesty of the law to mass aggressions that might otherwise have been curbed, blunted, or deflected.?


Furthermore, this tangled web of regulations, ordinances, codes, and controls was spun during the heyday of Progressivism, precisely when such official actions were least likely to receive any meaningful scrutiny. Southern, despite his otherwise close attention to the many permutations of race and racism, fails to recognize this major defect in the Progressive worldview.


A similar failure handicaps his treatment of one of the era?s rare victories for African Americans. In Buchanan v. Warley (1917), the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a Louisville ordinance segregating residential housing blocks by race. The case involved a voluntary contract between a white seller and a black buyer for a housing lot located in a majority-white neighborhood. Under the law, the new black owner could not live on the property he had just purchased.


Writing for the Court, Justice William Rufus Day held that ?this attempt to prevent the alienation of the property in question to a person of color?is in direct violation of the fundamental law enacted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution preventing state interference with property rights except by due process of law.?


Yet Southern dismisses this rare and important victory as ?hollow? and incorrectly asserts that it ?was decided not on the grounds of human rights, but on those of white property rights.? In fact, the judicial recognition of black rights stood at the very center of the decision. Justice Day?s opinion clearly states that the Fourteenth Amendment ?operate to qualify and entitle a colored man to acquire property without state legislation discriminating against him solely because of color.?


Nor should Southern?s characterization of this victory as ?hollow? pass unchallenged. As the legal scholars David Bernstein and Ilya Somin have argued, the Buchanan ruling played a major though sadly underappreciated role in the burgeoning fight for civil rights. ?Buchanan could not force whites to live in the same neighborhood as blacks,? Bernstein and Somin write, ?but it did prevent cities from stifling black migration by creating de jure and inflexible boundaries for black neighborhoods, and may have prevented even more damaging legislation.? It is well worth noting, they continue, that the South did not adopt South African?style apartheid at this time, despite widespread white support for such measures.


In addition, Buchanan was the first major Supreme Court victory for the four-year-old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a huge boon for the organization that would go on to win the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954), overturning Plessy. W.E.B Du Bois, an NAACP founder and longtime editor of its newsletter, The Crisis, gave Buchanan credit for ?the breaking of the backbone of segregation.?


Despite these significant shortcomings, The Progressive Era and Race deserves careful attention. The Progressive movement unleashed, aided, and abetted some of the most destructive forces in 20th-century America. The better we understand this history, the less likely we are to repeat it.


Damon W. Root is a writer living in New York City.


Page printed from:
http://www.reason.com/0605/cr.dr.when.shtml
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xtremekali
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2006, 12:46:07 PM »

Suicide Terror ? How real is the danger and what could be done
By Henry Morgenstern
President
Security Solutions International (SSI)
www.securitysolutionsint.com
Security Solutions International is the leading national training company for Homeland Security from awareness training for first responders, to hospital and medical response and even helicopter and marine emergency response to acts of terror.

Many Police Departments view the threat of Suicide Terror on American Soil seriously but feel that if this happens it will happen somewhere else and therefore it is not a direct threat to their jurisdiction. Scarce funds are therefore not allocated to training for this possibility. We all hope this will never happen but events show that there are no good grounds for being optimistic about if, when and where terrorism could strike in our communities.

Everything happening in Iraq shows that the weapon is effective as far as terrorists are concerned. In training hundreds of Police Departments to deal with terrorist threats, we have learned a few things: number one is that are no red lines where terrorists are concerned; that terrorists will employ the most inconceivable methods in unpredictable places; experience in Middle East, in Asia and in Europe demonstrates that their targets are very difficult to determine.

In the light of this, it pays Police Departments ? the first line of Homeland Security ? to be aware of the mindset of terrorists, their modus operandi and some ideas for preventing or preempting these attacks.

Suicide Terror in the Mind of Terrorists
The first attack of Suicide Terror occurred in
Lebanon in 1983. On April 19th a car that had been
watching the US Embassy there drove a few blocks
and flashed its lights to a truck waiting for that
signal. As the truck sped towards its destination,
the many Embassy staff, including the entire
Intelligence division, had no idea that their world
was about to end. Within minutes, 63 Americans
were dead and hundreds more were injured.

Within a few months the success of this first mission
encouraged enemies of the US Peace mission in
Lebanon to employ a far deadlier attack. In place of
a 2000 pound bomb used against the Embassy, a
12,000 pound bomb was used against the Marine
Barracks.  The deadly attack, pictured here, killed
242 Americans and caused the US to leave Lebanon.                                                                      

 

                                                                                                                   Bombing of the Marine Barracks on Oct.23 1983

 The birth of the Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) heralded a new era.

Not only had the terrorists in Lebanon successfully attacked a super-power without having sophisticated weapons. In employing what is arguably the most sophisticated weapon available ? a human bomb, one that can change its mind, defer delivery, change target or even decide not to deploy ? they forced the US to leave Lebanon. That created the justification for use of Suicide Terror as a weapon.

Since then, the weapon has been used extensively by terrorists ? and not only by Islamic Fundamentalists. The Tamil Tigers have even used it more than the Islamic groups.
The reason: it was successful from their point of view.

What is the Modus Operandi of Terrorists
Every terror group uses different methods in carrying out their heinous attacks against indiscriminate targets. In reviewing many case studies relating to the use of the weapon in Iraq and using classified information obtained by the Israeli Police after having interviewed many suicide terrorists, we have come to some important conclusions.

The idea that the act of Suicide Terrorism is the act of a deranged individual who is a young male and a fundamentalist fanatic is totally wrong. There is a well-oiled machine that deploys this weapon. It relies on:

Funding to achieve its aims, usually in the guise of benevolent fund-raising but also utilizing crime such as cigarette smuggling, drug dealing and theft
A recruitment procedure that uses the values of the Moslem Community to recruit even reluctant participants
Religious justification ? since Suicide itself is forbidden by most religions, this forms a vital factor in enabling recruits to contradict their religious faith.
Generally, Islamic Fundamentalist groups use the Mosque as the main focus of recruitment. By having cell members interact with the community, they can discover people that are fanatics, recently bereaved, even those whose moral standards are at odds with the community?s values. All these issues are used for recruitment.

So the potential Suicide Terrorist may come from a different backgrounds, different age groups, be male or female, educated or uneducated, an upstanding citizen, or a deviant.

When a potential suicide bomber is spotted, various means are employed to monitor their behavior but all result in the same. When the final approach is made it must result in success or risk the entire mission. After recruitment the ?ticking bomb? goes through a process of preparation that can take weeks or hours.

Religious sanctification of the act is first and foremost. For this terrorists will rely on ?Fatwas? or religious opinions such as the one of that most famous of ?clerics? Osama Bin Laden in 1998 that attacking any American anywhere is completely justified. The well-known promise of 72 virgins in the after life is just one potential reward. Much more effective are promises that a family with a member of suspect moral standards will be redeemed completely as a result of his act.

When the recruit has the bomb operation explained to him, he will undergo mental preparation for the task at hand. This can involve lying in graves to prepare the recruit for death, careful analysis of the target and briefing about how and when, and finally the recruit will be sent to his or her target and rituals of purification before the end of this life.
Spot the Suicide Terrorist? ? Answer: All of them!


What does all this have to do with the US? Right now in Mexico?s Chiapas region a very worrying increase in Islamic Fundamentalism is taking place among the impoverished of that area and could translate into fertile ground for recruitment. In Islamic communities across the US, there are families that are torn apart by the culture clash, when younger members adopt US standards of behavior. In these communities, the very suspicion of extra-marital affairs or even ?dating? without the proper protocol may shame the family, lower their status drastically and create the conditions for successful recruitment.

The Bomb ? Knowing how to recognize materials      
One of the areas we find most lacking here in the US is knowledge of improvised explosives. Such knowledge could lead to successful prevention. After the infamous attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, everyone knows what fertilizer can do. But that is being reactive and not proactive. We must know something about the materials used in these attacks so that we can help officers recognize a potential bomb lab. Apart from necessary but easily recognizable materials such as the detonator, there are many materials available to the terrorists to create a bomb that should be instantly recognized as such.

 

 

 

Our training programs try to instill an awareness of what these materials are and the effects they cause. Also, with Force safety in mind, we try and teach how they act or react. Should a patrol man called to a house to investigate something else, notice that extensive corrosion is present on metal objects because the place is being used to mix explosives? What should he or she do?
The types of improvised explosives are wide spread, easy to obtain and readily commercially available. Terrorist instructions for making them are available on the Internet. But good intelligence, by knowing these materials well, can reveal an impending attack more keenly than other methods.

Shrapnel used in a terrorist bomb to make it more effective

                                               

Is there anything that can be done to stop terror attacks
One of the frequent questions we are asked as we explain the way terrorists work is this: How realistic is it to think that an attacks carried out in this way, with very few people involved ? maybe a small cell? be effectively deterred?

The experience in Israel, where over the last four years some 850 people have been killed in these attacks, effectively answers this question.

Translating that figure to US population would mean something like 38,000 deaths. This caused social and economic devastation. It took time for the Israeli authorities to understand the nature of the weapon being employed against them from 2000 to the present. Yet, in the last year, some 90% of attacks have been stalled.  We here in the US can learn some valuable lessons from the hard-won and very costly Israeli experience.

1.  Intelligence

One of the critical factors in the Israeli success is intelligence. By utilizing the law-abiding Moslem American citizens and knowing how they think and paying attention to their social rules, Law Enforcement could develop very effective intelligence into the communities, their fund-raising activities and monitor potential trouble. This requires some cultural sensitivity, language ability but these skills are obtainable.

In addition, Intelligence must take a less technological approach and see the value in knowing what is happening in the community, despite the tremendous case-log that most officers are faced with. For example, a 10,000 pound theft of fertilizer may not rank up there with a homicide investigation but it could lead to a very important prevention of a much greater homicide attack. Was the theft of a few detonators from a local factory significant? Were the Drug Dealers background interests investigated thoroughly?

For example, in the aftermath of 9/11, some Middle Easterners asking questions about crop-sprayers like they did in Belle Glades, Florida or others learning to fly, but not land, a Jet certainly would raise the concern of authorities. What other examples can you think of that might raise your concern now?

Local intelligence about these types of incidents can be a powerful force and may even be more effective than federal agencies usually responsible for this. You are the person closest to the potential incident and can learn the most.

2. Force Coordination

This is a readily understood concept that gets a lot of lip service but ends up being buried under turf wars and real technological difficulties. Without the complete cooperation of Federal, State and Local enforcement, there is no possibility of preventing these attacks.

This cooperation must seek to duplicate the Israeli model where everyone has served in that Nation?s army. Therefore, people know each other across the spectrum of Law Enforcement activities and have access to each other across units and jurisdictions. Clearly, Israel is a very small country but a lot more could be done to make cooperation a reality in the US despite its size. Apart from the joint exercises conducted by Homeland Security ? usually an annual event at best ? the regular training schedule of forces could include observers and participants from other units.

Technological barriers like communication equipment and access to information have to be more centralized.

3. Training

Our experience is that US Law Enforcement takes a back seat to no other law enforcement in any other country. With the volume of dangerous crime here, and the constant volume of cases, the experience of Law Enforcement here could be a model for other countries to follow in the prevention, solution and prosecution of crimes.

However, in terms of terrorism this is a new field of activity for most law enforcement. We have found that a small amount of training could make a major difference. Taking the example of SWAT or Special Op Forces, it would take a few days to drill teams in the very subtly different but extremely dangerous situation of dealing with people whose mission in life is dying and taking as many with them as they can. When taking a building where there are hostages in the hands of terrorists (that may be armed with devastating bombs) should the same tactics be used for breaching? Certainly not! But teaching these very experienced and skilled forces the differences of dealing with Suicide Terror may only take a few days of training because of their underlying skills.

The focus on Homeland Security has definitely made a difference. Two years ago few were interested in our training offerings and now we are inundated with requests. However, training
in Counter-terrorism should be an ongoing (at the very least annually) part of law enforcement?s training program.

Remember: the enemy in this case is a very creative, and well-organized foe and we need to keep up with their mindset, methods and activities to avoid their vicious weapons becoming a fact of life in the US.
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xtremekali
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2006, 10:31:48 AM »

Multiple Terrorist Doctrine
By: Frank Borelli
with thanks to John Giduck


Not long ago I read through the book, "Terror At Beslan: A Russian Tragedy with Lessons for America's Schools" by John Giduck (review of the book here). The book so convinced me that we in law enforcement are training for the wrong threat (Active Shooter) that I doubted my own thought process. So, to double check my understanding, this past week I attended a presentation by John Giduck given at a conference in Washington, DC. What I found was that not only did I understand the book correctly, but the situation is worse than I actually perceived it. Understand that all of the following is provided thanks to Mr. John Giduck and his insights into the Beslan incident. I am merely reiterating his material and hope I got it all right out of my notes.

Through his presentation, Mr. Giduck explains the terrorist thought process and how the attacks / sieges they've committed have been motivated, planned and performed. Yes, I said "sieges". As Mr. Giduck explained:

There are two types of prevalent terrorist attacks -
The Decimation Assault - such as suicide bombings, drive by shootings, etc.
The Siege - otherwise known as a Mass Hostage Siege.

Recent history shows us two that were reported in the popular media: The taking of over 800 hostages at the NordOst Theater in Moscow, and the taking of over 1,200 students, teachers and parents at the school in Beslan.

As Mr. Giduck pointed out: the Beslan siege had a larger number of hostages than that of the NordOst theater. Every time the terrorists attack they have to do something bigger and better. Follow that to the logical conclusion and that means that IF or WHEN they take over a target in America, the number of hostages will HAVE to be in excess of 1,200.

Now let's take a look at the popular targets, preferred method of attack and the resultant bad news for the United States:

1) Transportation: public transit systems can be attacked to cause interuption in service. The preferred method of attack is a Decimation Assault - suicide (although I prefer the term HOMICIDE) bomber. Poison has been used in other attacks, but the end affect is still roughly the same - there are a limited number of victims and a relatively short burst of media attention.

2) Malls: although we have these in abundance in the United States, the number of terrorists required to actually take over, secure and hold a mall would be difficult to mount. Therefore, the preferred method of attack would likely be the Decimation Assault. Not that the numbers of victims would be small. Virtually any urban mall on a Saturday night is packed with potential casualties.

3) Places of Worship: bearing in mind that a number of Imams have specifically stated that places of worship are viable targets. Skip Saturday night at the mall and you can hit Sunday morning in the churches all around our country. It is not coincidental that our "heartland" is largely populated by conservative devout citizens. Again, the method of attack would most likely be a Decimation Assault simply because there are very few churches where any terrorist would have a hope of taking more than 1,200 hostages.

4) Schools: Here is the bad news. We have schools in abundance. A great many high schools, and even plenty of our junior high / middle schools have student counts in excess of 1,200. I went to a private high school and even it had a student count near 1,000. Add in teachers and staff and how quick can you reach 1,200 or more? Now let's make it even scarier. We all know how the country reacted to two students killing thirteen people at Columbine. Those were high school students and a teacher. All of them were at least fourteen years old. Look at what the reaction was. Now imagine what it would have been had that been an elementary school and that those thirteen dead had been children under the age of ten. At Beslan, the terrorists had, as their hostages, babies still in diapers and children of all ages.

Now consider this: Al Queda trains to hit four targets at once. Why? As Mr. Giduck explains, because even terrorists understand Murphy's Law: what can go wrong will. If they plan and attempt to execute four simultaneous attacks, they expect at least two to move forward. If only ONE does and they get the kind of media attention they crave, then they've succeeded in part of their goal.

Now, before I attended Mr. Giduck's presentation, I would have assumed that there was simply no way that 49 or 50 terrorists could infiltrate the United States, secure weapons, plan the attack(s) and execute them. If you look at the recent news reports you can find - on any given day - reports on how many illegal immigrants are flowing into our country. How many of them could be terrorists? Potentially worse yet, how many terrorists are applying for political asylum from any country and getting temporary or permanent visas? We already know that they know how to get student and visitor visas. Still, how realistic is it to expect that 49 terrorists (the number that took Beslan school) will attack a single American school?

Let's take a look at a relatively small number: 15. Even using as an example only fifteen terrorists taking over a school, the challenges we face are immediate and daunting.

First, let's consider this: who is responsible for responding? Who will negotiate? Who will assault? Do any of our current tactical protocols effectively address the situation? I will answer these in that order.

1) Terrorism is a crime in the United States. Since it is a crime, law enforcement personnel will have to deal with it. Posse Comitatus explicitely prohibits the use of soldiers to affect an arrest, and even though arrest may not be on anyone's mind, all politicians will have to maintain a civil facade. Any terrorist that wants to surrender will have to be arrested and not executed. Let's just hope they aren't wrapped in explosives as they come out with their hands up, chanting to Allah before blowing themselves and anyone nearby into smithereens. So, it will be law enforcement that responds. Eventually the FBI will get on scene and take over. How long will that take? And how much longer will it be before a sufficient number of FBI HRT members are on hand to mount an assault? LONGER THAN WE CAN AFFORD.

2) Initially a local representative will negotiate. When the FBI arrives arrives and assumes command, an FBI agent will negotiate. Here in the United States we have a general rule of thumb: the longer we negotiate the better our chances are for a peaceful conclusion. We have time on our side. With "normal" criminals that's true. With terrorists, negotiation only provides time for more media to arrive while the terrorists fortify their positions inside the structure.

3) It's easy to think that the FBI HRT members will make any necessary assault. I'm not sure there are enough of them though. A standard rule of infantry is that it takes personnel numbering 3-to-1 (good guys to bad guys / assaulters to terrorists) to overwhelm a NON-entrenched enemy. If you give the enemy time to fortify their position, it takes closer to 9 or 10-to-1. Okay: so using that 15 terrorist scenario, we need about 150 FBI HRT guys on ready stand by to do the assault. Let's not forget: we also need 150 FBI HRT agents planning and training for the assault. Oh, and we have another 150 FBI HRT agents getting some down time - they have to sleep too. So that's a total of 450 FBI HRT agents. Are there that many? That's just assault troops, too. What about inner and outer perimeter? What about crowd control? What about counter-snipers?

4) Do any of our current tactical protocols effectively address the situation? No that I'm familiar with in law enforcement training. Right now we deliver, on a fairly regular basis, training that DOES adequately address the two-student-shooters model of Columbine High School. I don't believe our current training is even adequate to have responded to the five-shooter model that was stopped just last week in Kentucky. A four- or five-man diamond (so standard now) is decent against two students who have had no training and who may be quickly overcome. That same four- or five-man diamond would have faced a challenge with five student shooters. OK: so I here some of you mentally arguing, "But more teams form up and come in on a constant basis." Yep, you're right. And they move to the sound of shots aggressively - using that diamond formation with carefully trained tactics for checking doors, bypassing IEDs, etc.

"No plan survives first contact with the enemy." Remember that? The diamond is going to fall apart as soon as the team finds itself under any more than one shot or two at the most. Seeking cover will become a primary concern. How many agencies today train their officers to move under fire? Is Fire and Maneuver taught in any police academy? It took Russia's BEST troops in excess of nine hours to take back the Beslan school. What will our reaction be?

Well, here's how it's usually been presented in training for Active Shooter / Immediate Response:

"When you first arrive on the scene, listen for the sounds of shots. If there is an Active Shooter, advise communications and maintain a good position of observation until enough units arrive to form a team. Leave one officer in charge of communications while the team moves in under command of the first officer who arrived on the team. Move to the sound of shots and neutralize the threat."

What's going to happen when the 911 call comes in but when the officer arrives at the school he hears no shots? In the event of a terrorist takeover at any school, what our law enforcement personnel should be looking for is:

- a couple of large trucks with their motors running in the immediate vicinity.

- no children in any windows.

- no children evacuating (an emergency where no one is leaving?)

- no sounds of gunfire (because the terrorists KNOW how we train - they aren't stupid)

If that's what we find when we roll up, we had better get our act together hard and fast. Every second that passes guarantees two things: dead hostages and a more securely entrenched enemy.

Yes, we're going to lose cops. I disagree with the basic labelling of "terrorism" in this country. I don't think it should be considered a crime. I think it should be considered an act of war. That way we could at least get the military to assist. Speaking of that, if the governor declares a state of emergency fast enough, you MIGHT get National Guard troops to help with crowd control. You might get some equipment made available from them.

So, understanding that these terrorists are there getting their position hardened, the best thing we can do is attack as fast as we can plan and mount an assault. Yes, cops are going to die. Yes, hostages may die. What is guaranteed is that hostages WILL die if we SIT WAIT AND TALK.

For this very reason it is imperative that a new doctrine for response to Active Shooters be developed. "Active Shooter / Immediate Response" tactics and training must evolve into a training methodology that prepares our front line police officers to have some reasonable expectation of effectiveness if they assault into a school being held by terrorists armed with AK74s and explosives. The four- and five-man diamond will not work. In fact, every formation I can think of will fall apart pretty fast. Small unit tactics, applied to fire-team size (four) or even assault pairs (two), have to be developed, put into policy and then trained. What will be even more difficult is the following: cops have to be hardened both mentally and emotionally to face true battle.

Let's be honest: some cops today aren't warriors. They are civil servants who are dedicated to their jobs and do them well. But we all know a few that would be perfectly happy to man the radio while we go into the building where an Active Shooter is hunting innocent prey. We can't afford that. The harsh reality of life behind a badge is that we are the front line defense against anyone and anything that threatens to harm the innocents of our community. If we take the oath to Protect and Serve, we'd damned well better be as good as our word.

As the Russian Special Forces say, "If not me, who?" When the terrorists come to threaten and harm our children, I ask you: If not me, who? If not YOU, who?

I'd like to thank John Giduck for the work he's doing spreading much needed information to the law enforcement community in our country. It's information many don't want to hear because they are too busy hiding their heads in the sand. They'll fall where they stand when the time comes. Thank you, John, for your information and motivation.

Mr. John Giduck is an honorably discharged American Special Forces Soldier, survivor of eight wars / conflicts. He is also president of the Archangel Group, a nonprofit organization that provides consulting and training at all levels of public safety and military operations.

BE SAFE!

John Giduck is the feature speaker at the 1st SWATdigest Tactical Counter Terrorism Conference on July 20-21, 2006 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2006, 11:48:49 PM »

A Politically Incorrect Guide to Science

Tom Bethell

More taxpayer money will not give us better science. Why is this so hard for the federal government to understand? By Tom Bethell.


Science in the United States has become heavily politicized, largely because the federal government transformed itself from a government of limited and specified powers to an all-purpose caring agency. Once upon a time, it provided for the common defense and a common currency. Then the restraints gave way, like the New Orleans levees, and it took on any role that could be called compassionate. Soon it was awash in a flood of issues and missions, and it became less and less able to cope with any of them.

Science hopped on board. If the discovery of emergencies and crises entitled you to a share of federal largesse, scientists could play that game. They had the equipment, after all?the measuring devices, the radar, the thermometers, the satellite sensors.

A chicken in the Orkneys died of a mysterious ailment? A fowl epidemic might be heading our way! Seven people came down with a strange flu in Ho Chi Minh City? Call Lawrence Altman at the New York Times! Eight drops of mercury were found in a Washington, D.C., high school basement? More surveillance required!

 

The (Very) High Price of Science

As recently as 1989, the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was $7.9 billion. By 2005 it had almost quadrupled to $28.8 billion. In his odd but interesting book, Science, Money, and Politics, Daniel S. Greenberg, who for years published a newsletter about science and politics, said:

NIH was not a hard sell [in Congress]. Faith in the great scientific center of disease fighting was a non-ideological, bipartisan verity of Capitol Hill. Political support arose naturally, from fear and hope, but was also cultivated by the NIH management.

Greenberg tells the story of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a ?standard, anti-Washington, budget-cutting conservative,? finding a lump under his arm and calling the National Cancer Institute. They told him to ?come right out there.? It was diagnosed as a fatty deposit. Ever since, Hatch declared, he has been a big supporter of NIH, in tandem with liberal Democrat Henry Waxman of California.

(Greenberg?s book is odd because he first demonstrates the entanglement of science and politics and then criticizes scientists for not being political enough. Greenberg himself is a man of the Left.)

Scientists have followed in the teachers? footsteps. Public education declined in quality even as the amount of taxpayers? money spent on it sharply increased. Step by step, the teachers and their unions learned they could put their own welfare ahead of the students?. And get away with it. President Bush was played for a sucker by the education lobby when he called for ?no child left behind.? For years, the decline in public education was construed as just another indicator that not enough money had been spent.

Science is heading down the same path. A problem is discerned, or invented, the government steps in, and then the problem seems to grow more serious even as more attention is paid to it. That suits many of the scientists just fine.

Leaf through Science magazine and you will see that the maintenance of government spending on science is perhaps its leading preoccupation. Budgets are a major topic, scrutinized week after week. A few recent headlines: ?Tight Budgets Force Lab Layoffs,? ?Bush Victory Leaves Scars?and Concerns about Funding,? ?A Dangerous Signal to Science? (there was great concern in this editorial because the EPA and the National Science Foundation ?actually had their funding reduced from FY 2004 levels?). Dozens of such articles are published every year.

Still, bigger government is not a particularly ?scientific? response to any crisis. Rarely are problems ?solved? that way. But government spending does help some people, including the recipients of grants and those who administer them.

 

You, Too, Can Have a Building Named After You

Flattery can work wonders, especially with prospective ?donors.? NIH buildings are named after members of Congress who control the purse strings. The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center was named after the longtime chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee after he vowed to then?NIH director Harold Varmus that he would protect the agency from budget cuts. ?We may fail, but if we fail we?re going to die with our boots on,? Hatfield vowed. The balanced budget amendment duly failed by one vote.

The John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center was named after the Illinois congressman who in 1995 became chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee for NIH, the starting point for medical research appropriations. He led a delegation of scientists to meet with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to plead for favored treatment for the NIH budget, and when budget cutting loomed in 1996, he ?telephoned ten university presidents and urged them to enlist the members of their boards of trustees in behalf of NIH.?

After Congressman Louis Stokes of Ohio retired in 1998, a $75 million building on the NIH campus was named the Louis Stokes Laboratory Building. One of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus, Stokes was present at the dedication ceremony in 2001 and said that when Congressman Porter told him that the building would be named after him he was ?absolutely surprised and stunned.? Until that moment he had ?absolutely no idea what it would be like having a building bearing my name? on the campus ?of the greatest biomedical research institution in the world.? Just think, he said, ?from a little boy growing up in the projects in Cleveland to having a building named after you at the National Institutes of Health.?

Stokes?s ?humanity? was praised. There was a jazz ensemble, and a pastor from Ebenezer Baptist Church blessed the event. But somehow the NIH news story failed to mention that before control of Congress shifted to Republican hands in 1995, Stokes had chaired the same appropriations subcommittee that Porter had taken over. Even so, the acting director of the NIH gave the game away when she said of Stokes: ?His word was his bond?you could take it to the bank. And we did, many times.?

Younger members of the Black Caucus in attendance surely got the message?keep the money flowing and you too can have a building named after you. The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities will furnish them with plenty of rationales to keep on pouring the cash into NIH coffers. Absent from these political shenanigans has been even the slightest trace of doubt about the underlying equation: More money will give us better science.

Philanthropists of old could give away their own money and have university buildings named after them and yet still be dismissed as robber barons. Today, a member of Congress can give away other people?s money and be memorialized as a Hero of Science.

 

Gaming the System

Scientists are peddling hope as well as fear. There?s a growing utopian inclination to believe that relief from the human condition?disease, aging, and perhaps even death itself?can be engineered with the latest technology. Spare body parts and replacement tissue may be created by bioengineers, much as mechanical engineers rebuild an automobile. Again, though, taxpayers are expected to foot the bill, which is where politics comes in. The stem-cell hullabaloo boils down to the single issue of getting the federal government to pay for research that doesn?t look too attractive to venture capitalists.

Scientists have learned to ?game the system,? in other words. They didn?t start out that way. But slowly, year by year, they learned to consult their own advantage: Discern a crisis, set up a hue and cry, send out press releases, reward friendly journalists with a heads-up about upcoming results that look newsworthy.

Scientists like to see themselves as motivated by idealism, but self-interest is not far behind. Their embrace of politics has undermined the objectivity that is supposed to be central to science. Day-to-day concerns about their own funding and security, and the fate of their latest grant proposals, overwhelm the more abstract concerns they may once have had about the integrity of the scientific method.

Adapted from the new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, by Tom Bethell. Published by Regnery (2005). Available from the Hoover Press is To America?s Health: A Proposal to Reform the Food and Drug Administration, by Henry I. Miller. To order, call 800.935.2882 or visit www.hooverpress.org.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/2905356.html
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2006, 04:53:18 AM »

Demographic Reality and the Entitlement State


November 13,  2006   


The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, is an investigative arm of Congress charged with the thankless task of accounting for the money received and spent by the federal government. As you might imagine, people who spend all day examining the nitty-gritty realities of federal spending and deficits might not share the voters' enthusiasm for grand campaign promises.

David Walker, Comptroller General at GAO, has been on a speaking tour of the U.S recently-- and he pulls no punches when explaining just how precarious our nation's entitlement system really is.

He explains that Social Security and Medicare are headed for a train wreck because of demographic trends and rising health care costs. The number of younger taxpayers for each older retiree will continue to decline. The demand for "free" prescription drugs under Medicare will explode. If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes.

Furthermore, Walker asserts, we cannot grow our way out of this problem. Faster economic growth can only delay the inevitable hard choices. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.

In short, Mr. Walker is telling the political class that the status quo cannot be maintained. He is to be commended for his refreshing honesty and unwillingness to provide excuses for the two political parties, the administration, or the even the entitlement-minded American public.

I urge everyone interested to visit the GAO website at www.gao.gov, where you can view a report entitled: "Our Nation's Fiscal Outlook: The Federal Government's Long-Term Budget Imbalance." This report should be required reading for every politician in Washington.

Are ever growing entitlement and military expenditures really consistent with a free country? Do these expenditures, and the resulting deficits, make us more free or less free? Should the government or the marketplace provide medical care? Should younger taxpayers be expected to provide retirement security and health care even for affluent retirees? Should the U.S. military be used to remake whole nations? Are the programs, agencies, and departments funded by Congress each year constitutional? Are they effective? Could they operate with a smaller budget? Would the public even notice if certain programs were eliminated altogether? These are the kinds of questions the American people must ask, even though Congress lacks the courage to do so.

If we hope to avoid a calamitous financial future for our nation, we must address the hardest question of all: What is the proper role for government in our society? The answer to this question will determine how prosperous and free we remain in the decades to come.
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2007, 12:19:20 PM »

PatriotPost.US

The roots of liberty— “The unanimous Declaration...”
The roots of liberty and American government run deep—back to the year 1164 in Clarendon, England. At that time, the idea of democratic republicanism and the liberal state could hardly be imagined. The student of English history will remember this as the place and date of the Constitutions of Clarendon, which struck the decisive blow in the battle over royal prerogatives between Henry II, King of England, and Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Installed as a puppet, Becket had found true faith and refused to bow to the whims of a tyrannical king. Becket’s refusal to sign and submit to the Constitutions of Clarendon forced him into exile and, ultimately, led to his assassination at the hands of Henry’s knights—hardly a picture of democratic process.

Clarendon has been remembered as a loss of rights for the church, a triumph of the secular over the sacred. However true this interpretation of events may be, Clarendon’s significance for the movement toward the modern liberal state is equally important. With Clarendon, the English church would no longer be able to use excommunication to enforce its temporal demands over the subjects of the crown. Rather, trial by jury began to remove arbitrary justice from the hands of bishops and kings alike, replaced by justice dispensed under a code of law administered by fellow citizens. Despite Henry’s dubious intentions, Clarendon begins to delineate the modern relationship between church and state: Civil law, not Rome, would hereafter govern temporal affairs.

Half a century later, in 1215, the next major leap forward in modern liberal governance would be ushered in with Magna Carta, the “Great Charter,” issued by King John of England at the demand of his rebellious barons. Magna Carta was reissued several times and comes to us in its final form, issued in 1297 by Edward I, John’s grandson. Though the context for Magna Carta is a very different one, it is nonetheless an important corrective to the abuses of Clarendon, establishing the inviolable freedom of the Church of England from the English crown. If Clarendon protected the state from the church, Magna Carta protected the church from the intrusions of the state.

Far from limited to church-state relations, Magna Carta formalized the fundamental rights enjoyed by all citizens of the modern liberal state. Among others, Magna Carta codified the following: rights of inheritance, property rights, protections for debtors, the rights of localities to a degree of self-government, trade rights, retributive justice (designing punishments to fit the crime, as opposed to one punishment for all crimes), protections for citizens from the abuses of domestic authorities, requirements of witnesses to establish guilt, and the right to trial by one’s peers. Most important, however, was the heart of Magna Carta, which established the objective rule of law over and above the subjective rule of the king. Rex Lex (“The king is law”) was slowly being replaced by Lex Rex (“The law is king”). With Magna Carta, the king was bound under the law by a national covenant—a declaration of mutual obligations of the ruler and those ruled to one another.

John Locke would articulate this contractual vision of a government of laws existing to protect the liberties of its citizens in his Second Treatise on Government (1690). The context for Locke’s thought was the Glorious Revolution (1688) and the English Bill of Rights (1689), in which William and Mary of Orange affirmed the limits of government, protecting the liberties of its citizens and correcting the gross abuse of royal power under James II.

It is in this setting that Locke summarizes the purpose of the state. In Chapter 9 of his Second Treatise, “Of the Ends of Political Society and Government,” Locke writes on the preservation of property, concluding that men come together and subject themselves to laws. Governments exist to judge and enforce this rule of law. In this way men voluntarily covenant together to form governments, each surrendering some freedom in order to preserve the liberty of all. The one (the state) and the many (its members) thus mutually serve the cause of liberty.

When the Stamp Act was passed for the American colonies in 1765, when courts of admiralty enforced justice without trial by jury and a standing army held in the colonies during a time of peace, the purpose of government to guarantee the liberties of its citizens was foremost in the minds of many colonists.

The First Continental Congress met in October 1774 to seek redress for the colonies’ grievances. Their Declaration and Resolves laid claim to the rights that had evolved over the centuries, from Clarendon to the English Bill of Rights. The colonies are entitled, Congress declared, to “life, liberty and property,” and “they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.”

When the British crown and parliament refused to recognize the equal rights of the colonists as British citizens, the Americans seized upon another essential feature of the idea of government as covenant: If a government ceases to exist under its obligations to its citizens as the preserver of liberty, then the contract is broken and the citizens reserve the right to abjure that delinquent government. In other words, government is by consent of the governed.

Over the course of America’s struggle for independence, this theme would be rearticulated and expanded upon by some of the colonies’ greatest minds: Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, Thomas Jefferson’s Lockean forerunner to the colonies’ Declaration of Independence; Patrick Henry’s Resolutions of the Stamp Act (1765) and his later cry of, “Give me liberty or give me death!” (1775); Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1776) and The Rights of Man (1792); and Samuel Adams’ speech at the statehouse in Philadelphia (1776), to name a few. Government is a covenant, they said, and a covenant cannot be broken without consequence.

Later, these Patriots would turn from justifications for their declaration of independence from the old government to articulations of what should replace it. The 12 years between the institution of the Articles of Confederation (1777), which maintained the maximal autonomy of the individual states, and the ratification and implementation of the United States Constitution (1789), which would turn a confederation of states into a federal republic, where punctuated by heated debate about the sustenance of liberty under any unified government.

Having thrown off one tyrannical government, federalists, who advocated a strong central government, and anti-federalists, who advocated states’ rights, were sharply divided as to the powers of the new government. Which model would better guarantee the objective of a government existing to preserve the liberties of its citizens?

The federalists won that debate, but two centuries later, it is clear that many of the elements of a “tyrannical government” have re-emerged, as predicted by anti-federalist protagonist Thomas Jefferson. Most notably, Jefferson warned that the judiciary would become a “despotic branch” and that the Constitution would be “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

Indeed, the despotic branch has twisted and shaped our government’s foundational document into what in now called in common parlance, a “Living Constitution”, effectively undermining “Constitutional eisegesis”—the constructionist interpretation of the Constitution as written and ratified.

If the Constitution can be amended by judicial diktat rather than as prescribed by law, then we are a nation governed by men rather than the law, and the consequences are dire.

Where does that leave us today? Few who serve in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of our national government honor their oaths to “support and defend” our Constitution.

Of course, the Constitution is subordinate to the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution’s author, James Madison, wrote Thomas Jefferson on 8 February 1825 these words concerning the supremacy of the Declaration of Independence over our nation’s Constitution: “On the distinctive principles of the Government... of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in... The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States.”

The Declaration elucidates “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It also records “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...”

Liberty is elusive, and awaits its next great leap forward.
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2007, 07:20:41 AM »

Contempt and Congress
The Democrats' attack on executive privilege shows blatant disregard for the Constitution.

BY JOHN YOO
Monday, July 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Republicans aren't exactly racing to defend President Bush's assertion of executive privilege against Congress's investigation of his firing of nine U.S. attorneys. This leaves former political director Sara Taylor and Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, facing possible contempt sanctions. If this sword of Damocles drops, an important constitutional showdown between the branches might well reach the Supreme Court.

Rather than run from this fight, supporters of the constitutional system ought to stand firm with the president. Presidents, Congresses, and the courts have long accepted a president's right to keep internal executive discussions confidential. Even when the Supreme Court ordered Richard Nixon to hand over the Watergate tapes, it recognized "the necessity for protection of the public interest in candid, objective, and even blunt or harsh opinions in Presidential decisionmaking."

Without secrecy, the government can't function. No one thinks conversations between federal judges and their clerks, or members of Congress and their staff, ought to be aired publicly without good reason. The same goes for presidents--even if their poll ratings are low.

Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower (whose administration invented the phrase "executive privilege") Kennedy and Reagan, among others, have kept executive deliberations secret from congressional inquiries, usually over matters of diplomacy, national security and law enforcement. Courts have recognized that discussions among their senior advisors, not just meetings when presidents are in the room, also receive protection. So why aren't Republicans fighting to defend executive privilege now?

Those who made their bones investigating the Clinton administration's misdeeds might squirm over Mr. Bush's assertion of privilege today. But then, Democrats who supported President Bill Clinton's assertions of executive privilege in the '90s are being hypocritical by jumping all over Mr. Bush now, too.

The issues at stake are light years from those of the Clinton years. Mr. Clinton was fighting claims of sexual harassment brought by Arkansas state employee Paula Jones, an independent counsel corruption investigation into Whitewater, and his extracurricular relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Mr. Clinton asserted executive secrecy to protect his personal affairs. This is legally important because the federal courts of appeals have held that the privilege only applies to communications between the president and his advisers on "official government matters."

Mr. Clinton's personal recklessness undermined executive privilege for all future presidents. At worst, today's flap might ultimately show some lax management, or partisanship, but the hiring or firing of U.S. attorneys for any or no reason is squarely within a president's constitutional prerogative. Mr. Clinton's groundless claims of privilege don't invalidate assertions of executive privilege for all time. Pundits who imply otherwise are just blowing partisan smoke.





Some Senate Democrats say Mr. Bush is just "stonewalling" and insinuate that he must be trying to hide something, as Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) has darkly intoned. But as he well knows, executive privilege traces its lineage to George Washington. In 1796, the House of Representatives demanded all his papers related to the controversial Jay Treaty with Great Britain. Washington refused, saying that the Constitution barred the House from the making of treaties. Firing U.S. attorneys and any other executive officers, including those requiring Senate approval, rests beyond the constitutional powers of Congress, and totally within those of the presidency. This has been true since the first cabinet departments were established in 1789.
The Supreme Court held in 1959 that, "Since Congress may only investigate into those areas in which it may potentially legislate or appropriate, it cannot inquire into matters which are within the exclusive province of one or the other branches of the Government." In the 1974 Watergate tapes case, the Supreme Court said that the president's right to protect information is strongest when law enforcement, national security or his other constitutional powers are involved. Under that rule, Mr. Leahy has no right to see the president's communications about the firing of federal attorneys, the nomination of John Roberts or Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court or the reduction of Scooter Libby's sentence.

That doesn't mean the president's power is limitless. Congress can conduct oversight needed to pass legislation. On the fig leaf that Congress is superintending the Justice Department's funding or statutory authorities, DOJ has accommodatingly turned over thousands of documents and made its senior staff available for testimony. Congress can always engage in good old-fashioned horse trading to get its way. If Senate Democrats really cared to see any of Mr. Bush's communications, as opposed to lobbing allegations of "scandal" endlessly on the front pages, they could refuse to confirm any new U.S. attorneys, high officials or judges until they got what they wanted. Not bothering suggests that there is no real wrongdoing here, just an intent to keep the scandal machine running.

Presidents can't invoke executive privilege to protect information needed for a criminal investigation, except perhaps if national security is at stake. Kenneth Starr pursued Mr. Clinton not for harassing Paula Jones, or having a relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but because Mr. Clinton apparently committed perjury and obstructed criminal investigations. Senate Democrats have yet to show that the firings have arguably violated a single law. Dumb and bad politics, maybe--criminal, no. If Senate Democrats really thought there was any crime here, then they ought to find somebody maliciously or politically prosecuted by a new U.S. attorney, or an FBI agent forced to drop a good case because of a new U.S. Attorney's partisan agenda. There is nothing criminal about a president's changing law-enforcement priorities, or replacing his political appointees with new blood.





Republicans unhappy with Mr. Bush for one reason or another don't care to use up their own political capital for an unpopular president. Others expect the administration to crumble at the end of the face-off, and who wants to be stuck defending a loser just because it's the principled thing to do?
But the odds are that Mr. Bush will win this fight. Even if a few Republicans defect, he has the Constitution on his side. His poll numbers may be low, but Congress's are even lower. Congressional Democrats have failed to follow through on the reforms promised in the 2006 campaign. They're too preoccupied with investigating rather than legislating. If the House or Senate vote contempt motions against Ms. Taylor or Ms. Miers, a U.S. Attorney must enforce them, and since they're all Bush appointees, nothing should come of it. The president has every right to order his prosecutors not to bring charges against officials who defend his legitimate constitutional claims. And what if the case gets to court? Vice President Dick Cheney prevailed in 2004 before the Supreme Court against efforts to learn the workings of his Energy Task Force.

With his domestic agenda exhausted, Mr. Bush has nothing to lose defending the rights of future presidents under the Constitution.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He served in the Justice Department from 2001-03.
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2008, 02:46:13 PM »

 
Transcript: A Declaration of Independence for the Conservative Movement
 
 
35th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference
Washington D.C.
February 9, 2008

Click here to view video of the full speech

Click here to listen to an audio-only version

PODCAST version here

(Transcript made from speech as delivered.)

Thank you all for that remarkable welcome.  I’m deeply, deeply grateful, and Callista and I are delighted to be back here once again at the most important single meeting of the conservative movement in a historic time.  <Applause> 

Many of you know that my background includes being a teacher, and I am going to try in the next few minutes to offer a little bit of a lesson.  My Dad was a career soldier, served 27 years in the infantry, and when I was very young, he convinced me that leadership and courage and a willingness to think deeply are vital to the survival of a free country. <Applause> 

Between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, when we were stationed first in Orleans, France, and then in Stuttgart, Germany, I concluded that what we are doing here today is really, really important.  It’s part of the dialogue by which a free people govern themselves.  My dad was reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, and in 1960, I was a volunteer as a high school student in the Nixon-Lodge campaign.  So I want to talk to you this afternoon from having spent what will be this August, fifty years studying and thinking about what it takes for America to survive.  In many ways, they’ve been remarkable years.  The Georgia I arrived at in 1960, was legally segregated and a one-party Democratic state.  Today it is legally integrated and a two-party state with a Republican governor, two Republican senators, and a Republican legislature.<Applause> 

When I decided at the beginning of my sophomore year in high school that I would study national security and I would try to understand how we acquire the power legitimately from the people in order to implement the policies we need, the Soviet Empire was a real and a direct threat to the survival of freedom on this planet.  Because of the courage persistence, clarity, and vision of one person, the Soviet Union does not exist today, and that person was Ronald Wilson Reagan.  <Applause>  Next month will be the 25th anniversary of two speeches: the speech in which he broke with the elite, morally neutral, real politik, accommodationist view, and described the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”, the beginning of the end of that evil…<Applause>  and 13 days later, the speech in which he outlined a proposal for a science-and-technology-based, entrepreneurial approach to national security to develop a strategic defense initiative which would in effect bankrupt the Soviet Union and lead to its collapse.  <Applause> 

Those two speeches could have been given by no other leader in the last fifty years.  He had the courage, he had the conviction, and from 1947 on, he had been systematically thinking about and studying communism and trying to find out how to defeat it.  Now, he made the first CPAC conference really important, because he came here at a time when we were in despair, when the Republican Party was crumbling under the weight of Watergate, when the Left was on offense, when the counterculture was in full steam, and he said in [March of 1975] that we must have a flag of bold colors, no pale pastels. [“Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”—Ronald Reagan] <Applause> 

I tried in thinking through what I could say to you this afternoon to literally ask what would Ronald Reagan have said in this setting at this time, not to repeat what he said in other times, but to think about the clarity and the historic context.  I went back and looked at what Barry Goldwater said in 1960 when there was a conservative eruption because Nixon was going too far to the left, and Goldwater’s name was put a nomination for vice-president, and he withdrew it and said he would support the ticket. Compared to the other party, there was no choice.  I looked at what Ronald Reagan said in 1976, when having risen in rebellion against an incumbent Republican President and come within 70 votes of the nomination, he said that given a choice between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, there was no choice, because Jimmy Carter would be about as bad as he turned out to be.  <Laughter & Applause> 

So I want to say several things that are fairly complicated and I hope you will bare with me, because I think we are at a moment of historic choice for the conservative movement’s future.  I want to give you four sets of numbers, those of you who are truly interested in this may want to write them down, we gave you a copy of the Platform of the American People which I’ll talk about in a minute, but feel free to write on the back of it.  I think you’ll find this interesting as a lesson in history and as a thought process about where we are now.  The first is the number 9 million.  The second is two numbers: 1928 and 68.  The third is 0 to 6, and the fourth is 14.6 to 8.3.  I believe in these four sets of numbers, lies a diagnosis of where we are and where we must go. 

The first number, 9 million, is the number of additional votes who came out to vote in 1994, the largest one-party increase in an off-year election in the history of the United States, brought out by a proud, positive, clear, and very, very bold Contract with America.  <Applause>  I cite it to point out that when we stand clearly, simply, and directly for large-scale change, that year it was welfare reform, the first tax cut in 16 years, a balanced federal budget, accountability for the Congress, stronger national defense and intelligence. The American people responded. 

The second set of numbers, 1928 and 68.  In 1928 was the last time a Republican Congress was reelected.  We had held the House from 1946 for two years, we held the House in 1952 for two years, and when I became Speaker I felt the greatest challenge I had was to ensure that we would in fact keep a majority in 1996 for the first time in 68 years.  Now, it was a doubly difficult problem because I had every expectation that President Clinton, as one of the smartest, most agile, and least inhibited by principle politicians in America, would flow magically to whatever he had to in order to get reelected.  So my assumption all along was that come the presidential campaign, we would have an uphill fight.  No Republican House had been reelected with a Democratic President winning.  And I want to share three keys with you that people don’t understand to this day in this city: 

The first key is, we kept our word on the Contract, and we voted on every single item in the first 93 days, and people began to believe we were serious.  <Applause>

The second, is something that the news media and the elites and the Republican consultants got exactly backwards.  We got into a struggle over balancing the budget with Bill Clinton and the federal government was closed.  Everyone says, “What a huge mistake,” and I keep trying to say to them, “We were the first reelected majority in 68 years and you think it was a mistake?”  If we had broken our word with fiscal conservatives, if we had rolled over and caved, if we had failed to fight, we would not have held the Congress in 1996.  In fact, it was precisely because people suddenly looked up and said, “Wait a second.  These guys actually believe it enough to lay their careers on the line and stand for something even when they’re being yelled at,” that led people to decide that we were real.<Applause> 

And third, we voluntarily committed that we would balance the federal budget.  We weren’t required to by the Contract.  The Contract said we’d vote on a balanced budget amendment.  But we said when the amendment passed the House and failed by one vote in the Senate, we would go ahead and behave as though it had passed.  And we said by definition if we were going to pass the amendment we thought we could balance the budget in seven years because that’s what to amendment said.  And so we held a meeting and I’ll never forget it.  Dick Armey, Bob Walker, Bob Livingston, Bill Archer, John Kasich, Tom Delay.  We all sat down and we looked at each other.  And I said, “We have a chance to decisively make history if we have the courage to make history.”  Now in order to do that, we had to reform Medicare in the middle of an election year with a liberal Democrat in the White House.  And we had to do so, so carefully, and with such training that all of our members could go home and explain what we were doing.  And we had to do so with such care that AARP would not attack us, because we couldn’t have withstood it if they had decided to tell every senior citizen that we were against them.  When we finished keeping our word on the Contract, standing firm even if it had involved a real fight, and moving towards a balanced budget with an effective reform of Medicare that people agreed was needed and correct, we kept the U.S. House for the first time in 68 years.  And there’s a big lesson there. 

Now the third number, which I think should have led to a vastly bigger discussion in the Republican Party, is 0 to 6.  That’s the track record of incumbent U.S. Senators in a close election in 2006.  Now if your party loses every single close incumbent election despite having raised an immense amount of money, maybe there’s something wrong.  I don’t want to be too bold, <Laughter> but I want to suggest that if I were a stockholder and we were 0 for 6, I would like to talk about what’s going on.  And yet we sleepwalk through 2007. 

Now, because we were sleepwalking through 2007, we get to the last set of numbers which should sober every person in this country who does not want to have a left wing president.  On Super Tuesday, there were 14.6 million Democratic votes, and 8.3 million Republican votes.  Now, I want to repeat this because I want it to sink it in here.  There were 14.6 million Democrats who thought the presidential nomination was worth voting for, and there were 8.3 million Republicans on Super Tuesday.  That is a warning of a catastrophic election.  I was in Idaho this last week, and Barack Obama on last Saturday had 16,000 people in Boise.  The idea that the most liberal Democratic Senator getting 16,000 people in Boise was inconceivable.  And every person who cares about the conservative movement and every person who cares about the Republican Party had better stop and say to themselves, “There is something big happening in this country.  We don’t understand it.  We’re not responding to it.  And we’re currently not competitive.  And if we want to get to be competitive, we had better change and we had better change now.”

Let me tell you flatly.  I said the week before Super Tuesday, actually a week before the Super Bowl, reporters asked me, I think it was on Hannity and Colmes, and they said, “What are the Republican chances this fall?”  And I said, “Well, I think they’re about as good as the New York Giants beating the Patriots.” <Laughter>

Now, and this next comment comes with a little pain because I’m a Green Bay fan, and I learned a lot about the Giants when they played in Green Bay recently, but here’s the point I was making.  People thought I was saying we didn’t have a chance to win.  I was saying, the game hasn’t started, and if we field the right team with the right issues in the right way, we have fully was much chance to win as the Giants did, but I’ll tell you, we are currently no where near being ready to do this.  This is not a comment–I want to make this clear for the news media–this is not a comment about any of the current candidates for president. 

This is a comment about the conservative movement, and it's a comment about the Republican Party, and all the candidates currently running fit within those two phrases. But it is about all of us. It is about our Congressman, our Senator, our governors, our county commissioners, our school board members.

And let me make this very clear, I believe we have to change or expect defeat.

And I believe that this is a time for the conservative movement, to issue a declaration of independence. And let me explain what I mean by issuing a declaration of independence.

First of all, I think we need to get independent from a Washington fixation. <Applause> There are 513,000 elected officials in the United States and the conservative movement should believe in a decentralized United States, where every elected official has real responsibility, and we should be developing a conservative action plan, at every level of this country, and not simply focused over and over again on arguments about the White House.

Second, I think we need to get independent from this leader fascination with the presidency. Remember Ronald Reagan rose in rebellion because Gerald Ford was negotiating the Panama Canal Treaty. I voted against two Reagan tax increases. I voted against George H. W. Bush’s 1990 tax increase. It is a totally honorable and legitimate thing to say I am going to support the candidate and oppose the policy. This idea [is] that I think we [did] President George W. Bush a grave disservice by not being dramatically more aggressive in criticizing when they were wrong, and being more open when they were making mistakes.

And I don’t think it helped them or the country.  <Applause>

I also think that we need to declare our independence from trying to protect and defend failed bureaucracies that magically become our’s as soon as we are in charge of them. We appoint solid conservatives to a department and within three weeks they are defending and protecting the very department that they would have been attacking before they got appointed. And this is a fundamental problem and I think it comes from some very great challenges. And I want to suggest to you, and I spent a lot of time since 1999 thinking about this. That’s the part of why I wrote the book Real Change, and why I have tried to lay out at American Solutions a fundamentally different approach to how we think about solving our problems. 

I think that there are two grave lessons for the conservative movement since 1980. The first, which we still haven’t come to grips with, is that governing is much harder than campaigning. Our consultants may be terrific at winning one election, they don’t know anything about governing. And unfortunately most of our candidates listen to our consultants. And so you end up with people who don’t understand briefing people who don’t know, and together they have no clue. <Laughter>

We win the election and then we lose the government. And this happens at every level. It happens in Sacramento, it happens in Tallahassee, it happens in Albany, it happens Trenton, and it happens in Washington D.C.

So the first lesson is that we are going to have to learn as a movement how to actually create conservative government, not just conservative politics. And that is a fundamentally harder thing. <Applause>

The second thing that I think has been a very sobering surprise to me, and it really started when we won in 1994, and I thought that the Democrats would stop and say “Wow we just lost power that we had for forty years, I guess maybe we did something wrong.”

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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2008, 02:48:07 PM »

 


They didn’t say that at all. They said, “Gingrich must have cheated.” And their most partisan members just hated me. They filed 83 ethic charges and they did all sorts of things because they just couldn’t stand it. They knew they were supposed to be chairman. In fact, the first couple of weeks, people would come in and sit in the chairman’s seat and we would have to say to them, you know, you’re the ranking member now, and they were just beside themselves because they can’t have been wrong. <laughter> And frankly this is why they hate George W. Bush so much. The notion that we might have actually been elected under the rules in 2000, the notion that we might actually be doing the right thing, just drives the Left crazy. <Applause>

But it is a deeper problem. I had no real understanding of how decisively and deeply entrenched our opponents are from every level. From the Marxist tenure faculty member running for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota, achieving the impossible, the only man in America who could be to the left of Al Franken, and a vivid reminder of how much our University campuses are filled with people who hate the very country that provides them their salary, that provides them their tenure, and provides them their freedom. <Applause>

To a Detroit school bureaucracy which is crippling the children of Detroit, which graduates only 25% of its entering freshman on time, which is one of the highest paid and most expensive programs in the country, and which, when a successful millionaire offered to give $200 million dollars, to help create charter schools to save the children of Detroit, promptly attacked him as a racist because no white man had the right to step in and save black children, and in fact drove him out of Detroit, because he was such a threat, by insisting that teachers actually be competent, and that the purpose of schools was actually to teach. <Applause>

But we have seen the same thing right here. Any of youo who have listened to Ambassador John Bolton knows that we have a vast portion of the State Department deeply committed to defeating the policies of President Bush. We have a large proportion of the Intelligence community deeply committed to defeating the policies of President Bush. The fact that he is the elected Commander in Chief of the American people, the fact that the laws have been passed by the elected legislators of the American people, seems to be no matter to this bureaucratic elite, which arrogates to itself the right to do things that are stunningly destructive.

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran can only be understood as a bureaucratic coup d’état, deliberately designed to undermine the policies of the United States, on behalf of some weird goal. <Applause>

There is one other declaration of independence we need and this will startle some of you. And remember I say this from a background of having been active in the Georgia Republican Party since 1960. In a fundamental way, the conservative movement has to declare itself independent from the Republican Party. <Applause>

Let me make very clear what I'm saying here. I am not saying there should be a third party – I think a third party is a dumb idea, will not get anywhere, and in the end will achieve nothing. <Applause>

I actually believe that any reasonable conservative will, in the end, find that they have an absolute requirement to support the Republican nominee for president this fall. <Applause>

And let me remind you, I say that in the context of personally believing that the McCain-Feingold Act is unconstitutional and a threat to our civil liberties. <Applause>

And I say that in the context of believing that the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill was a disaster and was correctly stopped by the American people. <Applause>

But I would rather, as a citizen, and I say this with Callista and I have two wonderful grandchildren. Maggie who is 8 and Robert who is 6. We think about their future. As a citizen, I would rather have a President McCain that we fight with 20% of the time, than a President Clinton or a President Obama that we fight with 90% of the time. <Applause>

Let me, if I might, carry this a step further so that you understand where I am coming from. I believe the conservative movement has to think about reaching out to every American of every background.  I think we have to decide that in 2010, we are going to recruit and support conservative candidates in Democratic districts, because the right answer to gerrymandering is to beat them in the primary. <Applause>

Now all of you have a copy, I hope you got a copy, but if you didn't, you can get it later on outside of the Platform of the American People from American Solutions. And it’s also at the back of my new book Real Change. And you can also get it at AmericanSolutions.com. And you can download it for free.

Let me tell you how we developed this. This is a work in progress and this is phase 1. We had a Solutions Day workshop last September with over 100,000 people participating across the country on the internet, in person, and on television. We had over 25,000 people in telephone and townhall meetings where we asked them to be involved and we listened to their questions and worked with them. We took six national surveys. And what we were looking for, and what’s in this Platform of the American People is issues which are tripartisan. They get a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of independents.

Now it turns out when you develop a tripartisan platform, it's a center-right platform because this is a center-right country. The fascinating thing will be watching Senator Obama who is for “Real Change” and has “change” on all his slogans, and I am for it. We wrote the book Real Change last summer and I want to thank the people at Regnery for going along with the title, it turns out this February that it was really a good title.<Laughter>
 
But it was also an obvious title.  But here’s the question:  Are you for the right change or the wrong change?

Let me give you a couple of examples from here.  And this isn’t the Gingrich Platform, this is the Platform of the American People.  And by the way, we’re going to want your help when you go back home reaching out to Democrats and Republicans, to get them at your county, at your district, at your state, in both parties to adopt this platform.  Everything in here has a majority Democrat support.  It doesn’t have a majority elite support, but I’m hoping you’ll go back home and I do want to introduce for one second Princella Smith who’s here somewhere.  Princella is the chief advocate of the Platform of the American People and she’d love to talk to you later on and be available to explain it and work on it.  

And here’s my point.  Let’s talk about the right change versus the wrong change.  85% of the American people believe we have an absolute obligation to defend America and her allies.  <Applause>

So if we need to strengthen our intelligence capabilities, and strengthen our interdiction and surveillance capabilities, and strengthen our ability to win wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere that would be the right change.  But if we want to have weakness, under funding, and crippling of our departments of security that would be the wrong change.  

Now let me give you a second example.  75% of the American people believe we have an obligation to defeat our enemies.  Pretty strong language.  Actually a higher number than I thought we’d get.  75% to 16%.  So if we knew how to be clear and articulate and explain it, if we knew how to communicate to every American what the Director of National Intelligence said last week about the depth and intensity of al-Qaeda and this was on public record it just wasn’t, people didn’t pay attention to it, the news media didn’t want to cover it.  The Director of National Intelligence said, let me tell you, al-Qaeda is working all day every day to find a way how to kill Americans.  And they’re recruiting Westerners to have more sophisticated people to come and kill Americans.  Now you would think if that was on then someone might say to Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, okay if al-Qaeda wants to come here, would you like to stop them over there?  And if you want to stop them over there, how can you run back home to here if we’re trying to stop them over there? <Applause>

Just three more examples to show you the difference between right change and wrong change.  92% of the American people believe that for us to compete with China and India in an age of science and technology we have to dramatically improve math and science education.  Now, I am prepared to change every bureaucracy in America that is failing our children until we get them to actually succeed, and I think the change should start today, because we shouldn’t lose a single child to prison who ought to be in college if only they had a decent school to go to. <Applause>

And the question for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton is simple.  Are you prepared to put the children ahead of your union allies, and actually measure achievement rather than union dues as a primary success? <Applause>

Two last examples.  87% of the American people believe English should be the official language of government.  <Applause>

Now, 87% means an absolute majority of Democrats favor English as the official language of government.  An absolute majority of Republicans favor English as the official language of government.  An absolute majority of independents favor English as the official language of government.  An absolute majority of Hispanics favor English as the official language of government. <Applause>

Both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton voted against 87% percent of the American people, but nobody knows it.  <Booing>

Well, it’s not their fault that nobody knows it, it’s our fault.  So I would think if you want an example of real change, I think the Senate Republicans should say you know we like this idea of working together, we like this idea of getting real change, we’re prepared to work with Senator Obama next week, and Senator Clinton next week, and then once a week I would give them a chance to vote up or down on making English the official language of government.  And let it just keep drawing it out. <Applause>

Because there’s a profound principle here.  If something is both historically right, and has 87% of the American people in favor of it, then leadership which is prepared to stand firm will in the end be successful in getting the right change, not the wrong change, for America’s future.

Lastly, 84% of the American people would like to have a one page tax form with an optional flat tax. <Applause>

 I know a number of you favor the Fair Tax, I’m just pointing out as an interim transition step, a one page flat tax wouldn’t be a bad interim step.  And here’s my point about real change.  If every Republican in the House and Senate were to send out a mailer to all of their constituents in March with literally the one page tax form, and an explanation on the back, and a little questionnaire that said, “Hi.  Would you like to just change the whole tax code and have the option, now you can keep the current code if you want.  If you like record keeping and you think you need your deductions, and you want to pay your CPA and your tax accountant or attorney, that’s fine.  But if you’d like simplicity, clarity, and certainty, you could have this.”  You would suddenly change the entire tax debate from finding a way to get more money for Washington, to finding a way to save an immense amount of time and clarity, and all of a sudden the Democrats would have to answer the question:  Would they like to have real change now, and would they like to have the right change now?<Applause & Laughter>

Those of you who have cell phones with you I’m going to give you a chance to do a text message if you want to know more about what we’re doing.  At American Solutions, we are dedicated to reaching out to everybody in the country.  And so if you’d like to text Newt, see they made as easy for you as they could, we’d love to find out how to stay in touch with you.

I believe the following.  And I say this having lived through the narrow defeat of 1960, the great convention victory of Goldwater followed by a disastrous defeat in ’64, the recovery in the ’66 off-year election, the very narrow election of Nixon in ’68, the stunning landslide over McGovern in ’72, the collapse of the Nixon administration, and the rise of Reagan, the loss to Jimmy Carter, the extraordinary victory of 1980.  

I believe we have two futures this year.  

I believe we can be for real change now.  We can put the Democrats on record every day from here on out.  We could use the House and Senate as opportunities to have the country focused on what’s the right change and what’s the wrong change.  We can take on the bureaucracies and decide that we don’t care who the nominal head is.  The permanent bureaucracy is permanently liberal, permanently obsolete, permanently incapable of doing its job, and we need fundamental deep change from school board to city council to county commission to the sheriff’s office to the state legislature to the governor to Washington, D.C., and we are the movement of real change by this summer I suspect we will win one of the most cataclysmic elections in American history.  Because the sad reality is that our friends on the Left are trapped by their allies, they’re trapped by the trial lawyers, they’re trapped by the unions, they’re trapped by the big city bureaucracies, they are trapped by their allies in tenured faculty, they are trapped by the Hollywood Left.  

And if there is a clear choice of which change, we will win.  But if we run a traditional consultant-dominated tactical Republican campaign, like we’ve seen in the last eight years, we will be defeated this fall, and we will be having a CPAC meeting next year talking about how we rebuild for the future with either President Obama or President Clinton in charge.  <Booing>  

I’m here as somebody who has spent his entire life practically, since I was fifteen years old, trying to find a way for us.  And we’ve had great successes.  We cut taxes dramatically, we re-launched the American economy in the 1980s, we eliminated the Soviet Union.  The fact is we won the Cold War.  People are freer. <Applause>

So we have had great successes.  But we can’t rest on them.  And so we need to go out dedicated to insist on real change now, on the right change now, and about making sure that every American, of every background, in every neighborhood, understands that their future, their children’s future, and their country’s future, rest on creating the kind of opportunities that we are building, and that that requires real change in the obsolete, expensive, and destructive bureaucracies we’ve inherited in the past.  

With your help, at every level, starting with adopting the Platform of the American People, and moving on to encouraging every elected official you know to be active in the reform movement, we have a chance I think to set the stage for a dramatically better American future.  Thank you, good luck, and God bless you.<Applause>
 
 
 
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2008, 06:34:39 AM »

http://www.anxietycenter.com/warning/main.htm#topstory

Quote:

Why the Electoral College Decides
Alan Caruba

Call it the Gore Curse. In 2000 Albert Gore had a slim margin of popular votes nationwide until the Supreme Court shut down what had already become an endless process of re-counting the Florida votes. When, as Vice President, Gore presided over the counting of the Electoral College votes in the Senate, it was George W. Bush who was the winner.

That was precisely the way the Founding Fathers intended the election of a President should be. It is also pretty much a mystery to most voters who assume that whoever gets the most popular votes is the winner.

As Sen. Mitch M. McConnell says in an interesting book on the subject, “Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College”, this unique instrument of the Constitution, was “the only thing that kept us from an even worse national nightmare.”

I recall thinking at the time how calmly Americans accepted the Supreme Court decision and the outcome of the election. The judges had read the Constitution!

What many Americans do not realize when they go to the polls is that presidential elections are “state-by-state battles to accumulate a majority in the Electoral College.” As McConnell explains it, “When our citizens go to vote, they are technically not voting directly for president. Rather, they are voting for a slate of electors who are pledged to vote for a particular presidential candidate.”

The Constitution is such a devilishly clever—nay, brilliant—instrument of government that I can’t blame the average citizen for a lack of understanding of it, but its essential principles are not difficult to understand. First, all power resides in the nation’s citizens. They in turn elect Electoral College and congressional representatives on the basis of population per state (updated by regularly scheduled census) to conduct the nation’s affairs.

Thus, several weeks after an election, those electors meet in their state capitals where they cast two ballots—one for president and one for vice president. Those ballots are then sealed and sent to Congress to be opened and counted in January. In theory they are free to vote for whomever they want. In practice, they are party activists and loyal supporters of the presidential candidate in their state. All the votes are then counted in a joint session of Congress.

That’s how the President and Vice President are chosen! One candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes cast to become President. These days, that number is 270, out of 538 total electoral votes. Failure to achieve that would throw the election into the House of Representatives where they would vote as a state delegation, not as individuals.

It is ingenious and it reflects the fact that America is a republic composed of separate republics, the States, each of which has a constitution of its own. The Constitution delineates the specific powers and limitations on the federal government while specifically stating in the Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The whole purpose of the Constitution is to defuse power so that neither the President, nor the Supreme Court, nor Congress could become a tyranny over the people. It deliberately made the process of passing legislation laborious in order to slow it down for adequate deliberation and for the people’s voices to be heard.

As Gary L. Gregg II, the editor of “Securing Democracy” points out, “Properly understood, the Electoral College and its origins point to the ideas and values that undergird the entire America constitutional system as these were embedded in the foundations of the Electoral College itself.”

Everything about the Constitution is about the republican form of government that is dependent on “the consent of the governed.” That implies, as it should, that citizens have a responsibility to be involved as voters and be responsive in terms of letting their elected representatives know what they wish their government to do.

As the Democrat Party met on Saturday, May 31, to figure out what to do with their horrid primary system that left Michigan and Florida hanging like so many chads, the argument that Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan put forth was that two nearly all-white States, New Hampshire and Iowa, should not and do not have the right to go first on the primary calendar and thus force candidates to spend an inordinate amount of time and money in order to influence the other state primaries.

This is why the nomination process came down to the power of the Democrat Party’s super delegates. It is the Gore curse. Hillary Clinton may have the popular vote, but Barack Obama has the delegate votes. She could argue she is more “electable”, but he had worked within the system devised to secure the party’s nomination.

In January 2009, the Electoral College will have the final vote as to who becomes the next President of the United States of America. This is precisely the outcome the Founding Fathers and the Constitution intended.
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2008, 08:54:33 PM »

WSJ

Don't Mess With the Electoral College
By DAVID LEWIS SCHAEFER
July 12, 2008; Page A9

With their appeal to independents, Barack Obama and John McCain may scramble the electoral map in November. Others want to go further and throw out the Electoral College completely, replacing this "complicated" and "undemocratic" system with a direct, nationwide popular vote for the presidency. Despite its democratic allure, it's a bad idea.

Backers of the popular vote do not seek to amend the Constitution; they know this is a nonstarter. Instead, a growing "National Popular Vote" (NPV) movement wants state legislatures to instruct their electors to vote for the winner of the greatest number of popular votes in the national election -- regardless of the ballots cast by voters in their own states.

Massachusetts (12 electoral votes) may enact an NPV law as early as next week. Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii (with a total of 50 electoral votes) have already signed on. It's being considered in North Carolina, Rhode Island and California. To succeed, the plan needs to enlist just enough states to command 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the Electoral College.

But NPV advocates fail to understand how the Electoral College system contributes to effective presidential leadership and representative government -- or to appreciate the problems that could arise if it is changed.

Counting electoral votes by state, in conjunction with the "winner-take-all" procedure followed by all states except Maine and Nebraska, favors the two-party system. It also ensures that the winner will have geographically broad (rather than merely sectional) support, and will be at least acceptable to the vast majority of the electorate.

Today voters have little incentive to vote for candidates nominated by minor parties such as the Libertarians, the Greens or Ross Perot's 1992 Reform Party. Since winning even 30% of the vote nationwide is likely to yield very few (if any) electoral votes, most voters wind up choosing one of the two major-party candidates.

Those who think that fact a vice should consider the alternative. Under NPV, states commit their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of how small a percentage of the overall vote that candidate wins. Thus a candidate whom a large majority of Americans finds highly unacceptable might become the next president. That's because the NPV would encourage more minor-party or "insurgent" candidates who'd been denied the nomination of one of the major parties.

Another problem: If vote totals are close, the losing candidate has a strong incentive to demand recounts or challenge voting procedures in every state, regardless of how badly he lost. After all, "every vote counts." Imagine the Florida debacle of 2000 spread across dozens of states, every four years.

Is there really any need to abolish the existing system, just because candidates who "lose" the popular vote by a small margin sometimes come out on top in the electoral vote? The true purpose of an electoral system is not to ensure that the presidential candidate preferred by 51% of the electorate is chosen. Rather, it is to choose an effective leader whom even most supporters of the losing major-party candidate will regard as tolerable -- so that the government is perceived as representing the people as a whole, not just victorious partisans.

That's why leading-party candidates typically "run toward the middle" during the general election campaign. In a two-party race, you can't win an election without demonstrating your acceptability to a large swath of the public.

Mr. Schaefer is professor of political science at College of the Holy Cross.
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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2008, 09:43:18 AM »

 

 
The Far Left's War on Direct Democracy
By JOHN FUND
July 26, 2008; Page A9

A total of 24 states allow voters to change laws on their own by collecting signatures and putting initiatives on the ballot. It's healthy that the entrenched political class should face some real legislative competition from initiative-toting citizens. Unfortunately, some special interests have declared war on the initiative process, using tactics ranging from restrictive laws to outright thuggery.

 
David G. Klein 
The initiative is a reform born out of the Progressive Era, when there was general agreement that powerful interests had too much influence over legislators. It was adopted by most states in the Midwest and West, including Ohio and California. It was largely rejected by Eastern states, which were dominated by political machines, and in the South, where Jim Crow legislators feared giving more power to ordinary people.

But more power to ordinary people remains unpopular in some quarters, and nothing illustrates the war on the initiative more than the reaction to Ward Connerly's measures to ban racial quotas and preferences. The former University of California regent has convinced three liberal states -- California, Washington and Michigan -- to approve race-neutral government policies in public hiring, contracting and university admissions. He also prodded Florida lawmakers into passing such a law. This year his American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) aimed to make the ballot in five more states. But thanks to strong-arm tactics, the initiative has only made the ballot in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska.

"The key to defeating the initiative is to keep it off the ballot in the first place," says Donna Stern, Midwest director for the Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). "That's the only way we're going to win." Her group's name certainly describes the tactics that are being used to thwart Mr. Connerly.

Aggressive legal challenges have bordered on the absurd, going so far as to claim that a blank line on one petition was a "duplicate" of another blank line on another petition and thus evidence of fraud. In Missouri, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan completely rewrote the initiative's ballot summary to portray it in a negative light. By the time courts ruled she had overstepped her authority, there wasn't enough time to collect sufficient signatures.

Those who did circulate petitions faced bizarre obstacles. In Kansas City, a petitioner was arrested for collecting signatures outside of a public library. Officials finally allowed petitioners a table inside the library but forbade them to talk. In Nebraska, a group in favor of racial preferences ran a radio ad that warned that those who signed the "deceptive" petition "could be at risk for identity theft, robbery, and much worse."

Mr. Connerly says that it's ironic that those who claim to believe in "people power" want to keep people from voting on his proposal: "Their tactics challenge the legitimacy of our system."

He's not alone. Liberal columnist Anne Denogean of the Tucson Citizen opposes the Connerly initiative, but last month she wrote that BAMN "is showing a disgusting lack of respect for the democratic process and the right of all Arizonans to participate in it." She detailed how members of this organization harass petitioners and film people who sign the petition, while telling them they are backing a racist measure.

The police had to be called when BAMN blocked the entrance of a Phoenix office where circulators had to deliver their petitions. "BAMN's tactics," she concluded, "resemble those used by anti-abortion activists to prevent women from entering abortion clinics."

But BAMN proudly posts videos on its success in scaring away voters, or convincing circulators to hand over their petitions to its shock troops. "If you give me your signatures, we'll leave you alone," says a BAMN volunteer on one tape to someone who's earning money by circulating several different petitions.

What about voters' rights to sign ACRI's petitions? BAMN organizer Monica Smith equates race-neutral laws with Jim-Crow segregation laws and slavery. She told Tuscon columnist Denogean that voters are simply being educated that ACRI is "trying to end affirmative action . . . We let them know it's up on the KKK's Web site." Mr. Connerly has repudiated any support from racists.

Other opponents of Mr. Connerly deplore the blocking and name-calling. Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema told me that initiatives have been used to pass ideas such as campaign finance and redistricting reform often opposed by entrenched legislators. "People have a right to sign a petition, hear the arguments and then vote," she says. Ms. Sinema thinks Arizonans can be persuaded to vote down ACRI's measure, much as they voted down a ban on gay marriage in 2006.

The war against citizen initiatives has other fronts. This year in Michigan, taxpayer groups tried to recall House Speaker Andy Dillon after he pushed through a 22% increase in the state income tax. But petitioners collecting the necessary 8,724 signatures in his suburban Detroit district were set upon. In Redford, police union members held a rally backing Mr. Dillon and would alert blockers to the location of recall petitioners. Outsiders would then surround petitioners and potential signers, using threatening language.

Mr. Dillon denied organizing such activity. Then it was revealed two of the harassers were state employees working directly for him. Another "voter educator" hired by the state's Democratic Party had been convicted of armed robbery. After 2,000 signatures were thrown out on technical grounds, the recall effort fell 700 signatures short.

Ever since voters in virtually every state with direct democracy passed term limits in the 1990s, state legislators have been hostile to the process. Now Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado have all passed legislation to prohibit people from out-of-state from circulating a petition, and also to ban payment to circulators on a per-signature basis.

To his credit, Colorado's Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed such curbs. In March, a Sixth Circuit federal appeals court panel unanimously ruled that an Ohio law barring per-signature payment violated the First Amendment. Similarly, a Ninth Circuit panel just voted unanimously to strike down Arizona's residency law for circulators.

Some judges think the "blocking" of signature gatherers has gone too far. In 2006, Nevada Judge Sally Loehrers decreed a "civility zone" that barred opposing sides from coming within arms' length of each other at petition signing sites. "The blockers were off the streets within two days," says Paul Jacob, the head of Citizens in Charge, which promotes the initiative process.

Last year, Mr. Jacob was charged with conspiracy to defraud the state of Oklahoma in a bizarre prosecution that claimed he brought in out-of-state signature gatherers in violation of the state's residency requirement. Yet local public sector unions opposed to Mr. Jacob hired out-of-state outfits such as the Voter Education Project, an AFL-CIO offshoot that specializes in harassing signature drives.

Representative government will remain the enduring feature of American democracy, but the initiative process is a valuable safety valve. So long as elected officials gerrymander their districts and otherwise make it nearly impossible for voters to oust them, direct lawmaking will be popular. That's why attempts to arbitrarily curb the initiative, or to intimidate people from exercising their right to participate, must be resisted. It's a civil liberties issue that should unite people of good will on both the right and left.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.
 
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