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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

free people can govern themselves

what do people mean when they say that?

I've heard it often, most recently in the Republican party's pledge to America.

They start out by saying,
America is more than a country.

America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

Do members of the Republican party really believe that idea? What would be the actions of a person who believes that idea? Would that person support regulating businesses?

I am working on a blentry (thank my brother David for that term) about what people mean when they say "a right to" so I won't go into details on that here, but what would be the actions of a person who meant what they said when they use the phrase, "each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?

Then they say,
America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Do they mean America the country, or America the idea that is stated above? If they mean America the country, can they verify this? Many people around the world know what America the country really is and it is no inspiration to anyone who yearns to be free. Do people who live in America yearn to be free? Do they have the ability to determine their own destiny? Or are they taxed and regulated and therefore prohibited by legislation and regulation from having the ability to determine their own destiny?

Then they say, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence of those in a certain demarcated area of the north American continent from the rule of Great Britain,
Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

Is that conceptually identical to, "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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."?

I don't think so, at any rate. The way I understand those two phrases, the one identifies the agenda of a government within that government's form. The other identifies the form used in an attempt to enact an agenda.

[Definition of AGENDA
1: a list or outline of things to be considered or done {agendas of faculty meetings}
2: an underlying often ideological plan or program {a political agenda} ]

Wouldn't the stated agenda of the government of the USofA be to secure the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? How can the agenda of the government then become destructive of these ends? Isn't that a contradiction? Isn't it more precisely the actions of those in positions of power that become destructive of these ends?
At what point do these actions become acts that violate the principles of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"?

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.
What proof do the authors of these words have to support their assertion that these principles have endured? What has actually been the fruit of the labors of those who for generations sacrificed for and were commited to them? Are we now able to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Or do we spend the majority of our time complying with government intervention into our lives and working to provide the resources to those who impose their whims upon us and murder and maim others supposedly in our names?

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

How does one assent to or revoke one's consent to be governed? What claim is the author of this statement making? Does consent only have to be given or revoked for particular policies of a particular iteration of a method of government? What policies is it to which the governed do not consent? Which governed do not consent to them? What can/are they doing about it?

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down longstanding laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

Are they saying this is a recent occurence with this current administration?
Are they saying these long standing laws and institutions were consistent with the principles stated above? Are they saying the consitution of the USofA has anything at all to do with "the will of the people"? Even if "the will of the people" is counter to the principles stated above?

Well, let's skip ahead to the pledge, no sense belaboring the rest of the preamble for now.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

Sounds pretty good so far. Not sure what they acually mean when they use those words, but if they use them with their precise meanings that is an admirable pledge.

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all 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.

Seems like the Tenth amendment has become pretty popular lately. Do they state how they intend to follow through with that pledge? Do they plan to prosecute those who violate that amendment or who have done so in the past? What is the statute of limitations on violations of superior law by those promoting inferior law?

What about the second? In regard to the tenth, the second and the ninth at least, will those who are running for executive branch positions pardon all those currently in prison for non violent gun crimes, drug crimes and any other crimes where there was no victim? Will those running for legislative branch positions not attempt to enact new laws that make criminals out of people engaging in consentual acts with no victims? Will they repeal all legislative acts making criminals out of people who engage in consentual acts with no victims? Will those in the judicial branch cease supporting the conviction and punishment of those who have not engaged in any acts where there are victims?

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

Can we find mention of any of those policies anywhere?
What policies promote those things? Don't policies instead prevent those things? Wouldn't it be a lack of policies that prevent those things? Will they state in words that hold their meanings, policies that will do those things or are they just making statements they think people want to hear? I can state principles, not policies, that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity and national economic prosperity. Are they interested?
Here's one. Eliminate all bureaucratic agencies and their regulations. There is nothing in the constitution that authorized the delegation of the legislative process to bureaucratic agencies. Regulations are created to both create barriers to entry and to sustain the existence of bureaucratic agencies employing people who create nothing, add nothing to the economy and in effect drain resources from the economy.

And what policies will they advance that promote a robust defense? Will they advance policies that remove the threat of the military and all the covert agencies of the USofA of attacking people in other countries and subverting their choices as sovereign nations? Will they bring all of our troops home and close all our bases in countries not within the borders of the USofA? Do they understand the difference in definition between the words "defend" and "attack"? Will they end the standing army we were warned against by our founders?

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

What meaning does this statement actually express? How do those things form the core of our American values? Which American values?
Is it an American value to force your whims upon others regarding their choice of life partner?
To which faith-based organizations do they refer? I notice much ire has been directed to a faith based organization that intends to build a faith based community center in downtown Manhattan.

Isn't the core of our American values the principle that all men are created equal?

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

How do they plan to do that? Do they intend to continue to keep secrets from those whom it serves? If a government is not taking covert actions that work against the people it serves, why does it need to keep secrets from them?
Stewardship over what, in particular? Do they elaborate on that anywhere or is it another vacuous claim? The only entity over which they are charged with stewardship is the constitution to which they swear or affirm an oath. How do they plan to carefully steward the constitution?
What do they mean by honest in their dealings?

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

Can anyone explain to me what is meant by that statement?
What is the purpose and promise of a better America? What would make America better? What blessings of what liberty? Are the hopes of mankind buoyed for any thinking people anywhere in the world who observe the infringment of our liberties and the inherent stifling of any inherent blessings?

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

Since when are they to pledge their allegiance to the people they represent? How does that square with an oath to protect and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic? Isn't it quite possible that can conflict with said oath? If so, what or who wins out?

What are their plans for this new agenda? Why do we need a new agenda?

In essence, what in this pledge makes it clear those who make this pledge really intend for free people to govern themselves or even understand what it means for free people to govern themselves?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A representative government

A representative government, what do people mean when they say that?

I don't have time to really go through what other people might think, but I haven't posted a new blentry in a long time. I recently more or less addressed this topic in a reply to a friend or 2 on facebook.

Although I don't think most people actually have an understanding of what they mean when they say a representative government. I believe most people claim the government of the USofA and the states, counties and cities within it are representative governments.

What might you mean by "a representative government"?

Here's the tail end of the reply that sparked my response.

You and Matt both, dont want people to represent you but in your case you go and protest that you ae not being represented yet you dont want to be. I dont get it. You were there repreenting yourself though, so really you were being represented, I gues its an enigma, wrapped in a riddle.

I also don't have time at the moment to edit my response into a workable blentry, so I'll just paste it as is:

It really isn't an enigma. You have to twist words right out of their meanings to imagine what you are saying.
I don't vote. I don't sanction the system where people can take my stuff and tell me what I can and can't do.
In your system, by definition, you get to tell people what they can and can't do and take their stuff. You get to kill women and children by proxy. And you are allowed to evade the fact that that is what you are doing. But I will never let you get away with that evasion. And I make public statements about it and you can't deny what it is I am saying when I use words that actually maintain their meanings throughout. Meanings that you can look up in a dictionary. Many times I actually include the meaning, so there is no mistake what I am saying.
Please deny this in public with words that maintain their meanings throughout.
Since you claim allegiance to a representative government, whether you want to call it a democracy, a republic, a mobocracy. etc., it is in fact a representative government, then someone represents you.
Before I make my statement, I'd like to ask this question (or two). If you choose to vote in the elections, do you consent to be represented by the winner of the election?
Only if you answer yes to that, (if you answer no to that I'd like to hear your reason why?) then answer this, please. If you consent to be represented by another person, is every official act he makes made as your proxy?
If not, why not? And who gets to decide which are and are not acts as your proxy?
Can someone acting as your proxy commit an act you could not commit on your own?
You claim that I am represented even if I take two actions, which I take and claim publicly whenever I get the chance.
First, I do not vote. I do not vote, because I can see with my own two eyes and feel in my very heart that people who would claim to act as my proxy if they won the election will engage in acts I would not be able to commit if acting on my own. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.
So the second act I take is to publicly claim often that no one represents me. No one who tells other people to go to other countries and kill and maim and starve and torture their men, women and children is acting as my proxy. Ever. I renounce those acts as acts of my proxy. Are there any words in there I am mincing, misusing or misdefining? Is my meaning clear? I HAVE NO PROXY!!! No one murders for ME. No one steals for ME. No one tells other people how they can run their business for ME. No one tells others they can't carry a firearm or smoke a joint acting as my proxy. NO ONE!!!!
No one imprisons another person for a crime with no victim acting as my proxy. NO ONE!!!
Do I make myself clear? Is my position sufficiently understood?

{Main Entry: proxy
Pronunciation: \'präk-se\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural prox·ies
Etymology: Middle English proxi, procucie, contraction of procuracie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin procuratia, alteration of Latin procuratio procuration
Date: 15th century

1 : the agency, function, or office of a deputy who acts as a substitute for another
2 a : authority or power to act for another b : a document giving such authority; specifically : a power of attorney authorizing a specified person to vote corporate stock
3 : a person authorized to act for another : procurator}

See what that says? NO ONE commits acts I would not be able to commit on my own as my proxy.

How many people are willing to publicly make that statement?

(oh, and I just noticed 2.b. -
there is no document authorizing anyone to commit acts as my proxy that I would not be able to commit acting as a sole agent of myself. If someone can present one to me, I would be happy to renounce it on the spot. I do not remember signing any such document. If I did, I didn't understand what I was signing and therefore repeat, I renounce it.)

Let me phrase it this way. Anyone who claims to act as my proxy is, in fact, as of this writing a liar.

Are there any other words I need to define to make myself more clear?

If so, please let me know or look them up yourself.

Okay, so now that I am clear on my position (I hope).

Are people acting as your proxy to murder innocent men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan? Can you deny that without using made up excuses like "collateral damage" or "we've got to fight them there so we don't have to fight them here"? I asked a while ago in a few places for people to explain how to tell which ones to kill when you are killing them there (attacking other people in their own country) rather than killing them here (defending yourself). No one can tell me how they know. I guess it's telepathy or something. But I don't know a court in the world that would find a not guilty verdict on the testimony of telepathy.
So they are attacking and murdering them. In your name.

Somehow you have made the claim more than once that they represent me even if I choose not to vote. How can that be? They would only be able to do that by coercing my consent, and you would certainly know when they decide to do that. And I don't think you can call it consent if coercion is involved.

Do people, acting as your proxy, take property from others against their will for carrying a firearm or smoking a joint? Do people, acting as your proxy, accost, kidnap and hold for ransom other people because they carry a firearm or smoke a joint?
They don't in my name. I publicly make that claim.

You know, the internet is a pretty big place. You keep telling me I need to do something rather than sit on my butt and complain. What you take for complaining is me stating my claim. So, I guess you could say I'm claiming. You tell me I should be working for change. I cannot work for change within a system based on force and violence to achieve an end, since what I am working toward is a society where force and violence play no part.

Please don't take that to mean that I am aloof and don't understand that people will still want to initiate violence against me. I realize that. I just don't want them to have the sanction of proxy. I don't want them to be in an exalted position by process of acting as a government agent. I don't want to be prohibited by a show of virtually unlimited force from defending myself or assisting my neighbor to defend himself from someone who would attempt to initiate force against me or him to gain an end that he could not gain without said show of force.

I claim this is something I can do:
I can ask how many other people in the world can claim that no one acts as their proxy when engaging in acts that he would not be able to take acting on his own.

As of the time of this posting, the estimated population is:
U.S. 310,060,127
World 6,864,089,393
I can' t imagine I am 1 in 6,864,089,393, but it is entirely possible.

If enough people, in enough different countries, made the claim that no one has permission to act as their proxy to commit an act that they could not commit acting on their own, then all the wars and taxes would be seen for what they are.

Whadda ya say, Dustin? Do people commit those acts as your proxy?

{Main Entry: be·half
Pronunciation: \bi-'haf, -'häf, be-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from by + half half, side
Date: 14th century

: interest, benefit; also : support, defense

— on behalf of or in behalf of : in the interest of; also : as a representative of}

Do they act in your behalf?
They don't act in my behalf. And I am willingly stating that claim.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We have to win this war.

We have to win this war. What do people mean when they say that?
Here's a guy who says we never declared war with Iraq.
I disagree with his assertion that we win the declared wars. Well, I guess that depends on what you mean by win. When has this country been attacked when it did not antagonize an assailant? Do you know there wouldn't have even been a war with Germany if Rockefellers had refused to sell any fuel to Germany? But the people who think it's their position in life to pull strings never care where the boodle comes from.

Here's an excerpt from Ron Paul

But I am very interested also in the process that we are pursuing. This is not a resolution to declare war. We know that. This is a resolution that does something much different. This resolution transfers the responsibility, the authority, and the power of the Congress to the President so he can declare war when and if he wants to. He has not even indicated that he wants to go to war or has to go to war; but he will make the full decision, not the Congress, not the people through the Congress of this country in that manner.

Bin Laden didn't mince any words.
He said why
The latest and the greatest of these aggressions,incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (ALLAH’S BLESSING AND SALUTATIONS ON HIM) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka’ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies. (We bemoan this and can only say: “No power and power acquiring except through Allah”).
And here's the title


A Message from Usama bin Muhammad bin Laden unto
his Muslim Brethren all over the world generally,
and in the Arab Peninsula specifically

Have you ever read it? Do you know why he declared war against the USofA? He told us why. Do you think he lied about it? How could you possibly think he lied about it (if that is what you think)?

Have you ever read his letter to America?
While seeking Allah's help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:

(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.
(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

I don't support it. No one represents me. Why should I support it?

Is he lying? The government of the USofA does these things to its own "citizens," you can certainly imagine they could do it to other peoples.

We never did declare war on him. Some people say we declared war on Iraq. Did "we" go to that amount of detail? I won't excerpt any more from Bin Laden's, but I think he makes it pretty clear. He wants us out of their business. What's wrong with that? I want us out of their business. Do you want us out of their business? What's the cost in dollars and lives for us staying in their business?

So, do you want me to tell you exactly what it means to "win this war?" If you don't, don't read on. If you do. And you dispute my claim. Tell me why I am wrong.

First, think about what it means to you to, "win this war with Iraq".
To win this war (actually with Bin Laden and whomever swears allegiance to his views) we need to beat on them until they say, "We surrender. Since the reason we declared war was that we wanted you out of our business, I guess the terms of the surrender will be we have to let you get in our business. So, congratulations, you have beaten us into submission. You can establish infrastructure, take resources, stay as long as you like."

What is the likelihood of that? So what is the reason we can't just get out of their business?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A friend of mine on Facebook recently joined a group called, "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money".

What do people mean when they say that?

I went to the website to see what they meant. Well, it's not a "they" it's a guy named Frank Colacone. At least that's how he identifies himself there. As I was looking around to see if I could find a purpose I found this, "Islam Will Not Be Tolerated In the United States. Keep Your Shit in The Middle East or Face The Consequences." Now it reads, "An Islamist takeover Will Not Be Tolerated In the United States. Keep Your Shit in The Middle East or Face The Consequences. Let us Send C.A.I.R Packing!"

Now, there really is a world of difference in those 2 statements. The first does not sound at all consistent with the name of the group. The second, more so. When I read some of the posts in that group there was much anti muslim talk going on. I found this inconsistent. There is a gaping contradiction between that statement and the name of the group.

What would be the root of "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money?" It seems to me it has the same root as "don't tell me what I can and can't do as long as I am not interfering with your rights." So, to say "Islam Will Not Be Tolerated In the United States." and "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money." creates a contradiction. If someone wants to practise a religion, isn't telling them they can't the same as putting your hands on their property?

I read more on the page and see some things that are consistent with the title and then a lot of slams against muslims and against those who don't speak English. Somehow categories of people are created in his mind that don't get to say, "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money". How does that work? Wouldn't it go both ways if it has any legitimate moral value?

Does he mean by that; taxing agencies should keep their hands off his money? Does he mean he should not have to ask permission to build on his property? Does he mean he should not have to ask permission to start a business on his property? Does he mean he should not be told people cannot smoke on his property? Tobacco or anything else that is smokable? I don't know. I haven't asked him. I decided I really needed to add a post to my blog, rather than ask him. I'll link to this in his blog and if he wants to read it he will see the questions here and can answer them.

What do all those things in the above paragraph mean? If you think those things are not included in the meaning of the phrase, why aren't they? Have you created a category of people in your head that can come onto your property and put their hands on your money? Why? What is so special about those people that they get to come onto your property and take your money?

Here's what I mean when I say, "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money". I mean exactly that with no exceptions. I mean if I want to start a business on my property I don't have to beg permission from anyone. If I want to allow people to smoke in my establishment I don't have to listen to anyone but my customers. I mean I don't have to comply with a bunch of arbitrary regulations imposed upon me by people who have no financial interest in my well being. I mean no one can take my money against my will, which includes those who allege some claim to my money under the guise of "taxation". Are there people who will kill me rather than accept that I mean what I say? Lots of them. Are there more of them employed by government in one form or another than there are regular people on the street? Am I "permitted" to defend myself from any of them? Am I "prohibited" from defending myself from any of them? Why? Why am I not permitted to say, "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money" and mean it and have that claim respected by everyone?

What do you mean when (if) you say, "Stay Off My Property and Keep Your Hands Off My Money"?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

of laws and not of men

"... of laws and not of men."
What do people mean when they say that?
John Adams, writing as Novanglus, quoted James Harrington from a 1656 work, The Commonwealth of Oceana as describing government as the empire of laws and not of men.
What did Harrington mean?
What did John Adams mean?
Many people use the phrase, "... of laws and not of men" in conversation today. What do they mean?

I have tried to make sense of it.

Webster's 1828 has 26 definitions. Here are ones I see as relevant to my question.
LAW, n. [L. lex; from the root of lay. See lay. A law is that which is laid, set or fixed, like statute, constitution, from L. statuo.]

1. A rule, particularly an established or permanent rule, prescribed by the supreme power of a state to its subjects, for regulating their actions, particularly their social actions. Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborn; or permissive, declaring what may be done without incurring a penalty. The laws which enjoin the duties of piety and morality, are prescribed by God and found in the Scriptures.

Law is beneficence acting by rule.

2. Municipal law, is a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power of a state, commanding what its subjects are to do, and prohibiting what they are to forbear; a statute.

Municipal or civil laws are established by the decrees, edicts or ordinances of absolute princes, as emperors and kings, or by the formal acts of the legislatures of free states. Law therefore is sometimes equivalent to decree, edict, or ordinance.

3. Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power.

4. Laws of animal nature, the inherent principles by which the economy and functions of animal bodies are performed, such as respiration, the circulation of the blood, digestion, nutrition, various secretions, &c.

6. Physical laws, or laws of nature. The invariable tendency or determination of any species of matter to a particular form with definite properties, and the determination of a body to certain motions, changes, and relations, which uniformly take place in the same circumstances, is called a physical law. These tendencies or determinations, whether called laws or affections of matter, have been established by the Creator, and are, with a peculiar felicity of expression, denominated in Scripture, ordinances of heaven.

And here is how he defines men:

MEN, plu. of man. Two or more males, individuals of the human race.

1. Males of bravery. We will live in honor, or die like men.

2. Persons; people; mankind; in an indefinite sense. Men are apt to forget the benefactor, while they riot on the benefit.

How could people be using "men"? I think what is meant is most likely in the singular sense, referring to any particular person. So, what could be the actual intent of the term? Is it possible to determine from the use of "men" what is actually meant by the phrase? I don't think so. I think it needs to be balanced against the use of the word "laws". So, which meaning above would people be using for law?

My guess, from the context and the way I usually hear that phrase in the course of conversation is meaning 1 or 2. Are definitions 1 and 2 actually that different? Are they different in kind? I really don't think they are. Definition 1 controls social actions and 2 dictates civil conduct.

A nation of commands, prohibitions, edicts and decrees but not of men? Is that what people mean?

What about 3? a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, but not of men?

Did John Adams mean that? Did James Harrington mean that? Is that the type of society in which we live?

We know its not 4, but I'm leaving that in for a reason.

How about 6? Well, that is fairly similar to 4 in kind.

What do 3, 4 and 6 have in common that differentiate them in kind from 1 and 2?
It seems to me that 3,4 and 6 are inherent in the nature of things. They are laws that are discovered. 1 and 2 are laws that are decreed. How can 2 concepts that are so entirely different in kind from each other be subsumed by the same word? Well, there are plenty of words that have very diverse meanings. But, one can usually tell by the context what meaning is implied.

So, why is it the case that the majority of people assume meanings 1 and 2?
1 : an order usually having the force of law

2 a : an authoritative rule dealing with details or procedure b : a rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law

So, to rephrase again so we can better understand what is meant, "the empire of a rule or an order from a man backed by force by a man, but not of men".

Does this make any sense? Is there a contradiction in the two phrases of that statement? How can one claim it is not an empire of men when it is man made laws that are enforced by men that are the type of laws in question? Doesn't that reduce to "a nation of men, but not of men?" Is there any meaning in that? Is it even a phrase that has any point to its utterance? Is there yet a contradiction in the statement that needs to be resolved? I see the contradiction in the fact that for the statement to have any meaning there must be a contradistinction between the two phrases and there isn't one. From the use of the words, it seems apparent to me that what is meant by "men" is "the whims of individual persons". Decrees and the like are often created from the whims of individual persons.

How can we resolve that contradiction?

What if we choose the concept expressed by 3, 4 and 6? The concept of discovered laws; laws inherent in and determined by the nature of things. How would the phrase then read?
"an empire based on the identified nature of things and not the whims of men". Does this make sense? Do we find an actual contradistinction between the two phrases? It seems to me we do.

If the statement is to have any meaning and any value in being uttered, doesn't it seem that there should be an obvious difference between the two phrases?

The way I see it, what should be meant when people use that statement is the second meaning. What would it be like to live in a society based on natural laws where no whim of one man could be inflicted on another man by force?

So, I ask again: "... of laws and not of men."
What do people mean when they say that?
Do they mean the same thing Adams and Harrington meant? Did Adams mean what Harrington meant? Here's an excerpt from page 7 of The Commonwealth of Oceana from gutenberg:
And government (to define it de facto, or according to modern prudence) is an art whereby some man, or some few men, subject a city or a nation, and rule it according to his or their private interest; which, because the laws in such cases are made according to the interest of a man, or of some few families, may be said to be the empire of men, and not of laws.

The former kind is that which Machiavel (whose books are neglected) is the only politician that has gone about to retrieve; and that Leviathan (who would have his book imposed upon the universities) goes about to destroy. For "it is," says he, "another error of Aristotle's politics that in a well-ordered commonwealth, not men should govern, but the laws. What man that has his natural senses, though he can neither write nor read, does not find himself governed by them he fears, and believes can kill or hurt him when he obeys not? or, who believes that the law can hurt him, which is but words and paper, without the hands and swords of men?" I confess that the magistrate upon his bench is that to the law which a gunner upon his platform is to his cannon. Nevertheless, I should not dare to argue with a man of any ingenuity after this manner. A whole army, though they can neither write nor read, are not afraid of a platform, which they know is but earth or stone; nor of a cannon, which, without a hand to give fire to it, is but cold iron; therefore a whole army is afraid of one man. But of this kind is the ratiocination of Leviathan, as I shall show in divers places that come in my way, throughout his whole politics, or worse; as where he says, "of Aristotle and of Cicero, of the Greeks, and of the Romans, who lived under popular States, that they derived those rights, not from the principles of nature, but transcribed them into their books out of the practice of their own commonwealths, as grammarians describe the rules of language out of poets." Which is as if a man should tell famous Harvey that he transcribed his circulation of the blood, not out of the principles of nature, but out of the anatomy of this or that body.
(emphasis mine)

Well, I couldn't find the actual quote, but I found the inverse.
It sounds as if Harrington meant it the way I interpret it.

Do you use that statement?
What do you mean when you say that?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Introducing my blog

I have had a few people tell me I should get a blog. Particularly my daughter and son-in-law. I was not really prepared to start right out with an entry, as it is so late that I really should be doing something like checking the backs of my eyelids for light leaks. But, I figured if I didn't at least create the blog, I would never get around to it.

I don't know if I will post every day. I don't know if I will reply to every comment. I might get involved in a discussion due to a comment and then not get back to it. I can't promise anything. I have been in some Facebook conversations where my reply was fairly lengthy and over time might have made a good blog post. I might paste some of those here.

I also hear things in the news and wonder what someone means when they use a word or phrase, such as when President Obama said he supports a free market. He obviously means something different when he says that than I do when I say it.

The phrase I heard when I decided to quit procrastinating and start a blog was, "it's not about issues it's about principles." This had something to do with whom to select at the polls. That might be my first actual post. Or not.