Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Hamiltonian quoting Jefferson

Please join in the Valley of the Shadow Annual Fundraiser. We are raising $7,700. Please hit the Tip Jar here to contribute. Thank you.
In my last post, I wrote, "It is intellectually lazy to hate President Bush because as Thomas Jefferson said 'That which is popular is not always right'"

I live in Los Angeles, California, where fads and popularity move the landscape rather then political will or policy differences (that is DC). When Paris Hilton bought a little dog, every aspiring hipster (I was going to say actress, but actresses actually study acting not trends) in LA wanted the little dog too. Imitation shows no originality, no flair.

When I say "It is intellectually lazy," I see a country following Paris Hilton, sorry I meant to say, Maureen Dowd. President Clinton was not my favorite President, however, since I respected the office he temporarily held, I always made it a point to list three things that he should be respected for. I may be partisan, but I know that we live in a two party system. And some people will never vote my way. It's easy to hate, it's harder to try to look across the aisle and say "Why do these people vote for that person?" It is an intellectual game that no Leftist (that includes you, Jason) tries to engage in.

This Hamiltonian quotes Thomas Jefferson saying: That which is popular is not always right. Let's go over some popular trends in the United States. Slavery was popular in the United States from 1600 until 1865. Did that make it right? Treating African Americans as second class citizens in the North and the South was popular from 1865 until 1965. Was that right? Neither of these things were right, but they were popular, just like hating President Bush.

Hamilton believed the tax coffers of the country will come from the urban dwellers whereas Jefferson believed in the farmer. From Nixon onward, America believed in Realpolitik, supporting dictators while maintaining the illusion of peace. President Bush believes that Dictators are what cause terrorism. Do modern Democrats today believe in supporting dictators?

So, my question to the my democratic party readers is two-fold. Email me if you don't want to publicly comment here, if you wish:
1) To stop being intellectually lazy, write three things that president Bush is doing right.
2) Does the modern Democratic party believe it is better to support dictators then promote Democracy?

I will await your replies.


  1. 1) OK, 3 things Bush is doing right:

    Damn it, there's not a damn thing I can think of. It's not lazy, I genuinely can't think of a single good thing the man has done. He has been on the wrong side of everything from the second he got into office.

    2) I'm not registered as a democrat. I typically vote for them since I consider them less bad than republicans, so I certainly don't speak for that party in any way whatsoever. But I see where you're going with this question. You're obviously talking about Saddam. In hindsight, it turned out that despite his miserable abuses of human rights, he was the only one who could keep the various factions in Iraq from killing each other. I don't for one second think that there will ever be democracy in Iraq as long as there are Muslim extremists killing each other in order to form their own brand of theocracy. In this case, a secular dictator is better than a theocratic dictator. There are plenty of dictators in the world right now. Is it our country's job to meddle in the affairs of every other country? Many of these dictators were put in place by the US in the first place because they'd be better for business, and many times it's bitten us in the ass.

    PS: Thanks for the link!

  2. I am neither a Democrat nor am I Republican in the strictest sense of those terms.

    Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson was correct when he observed the following before his death:

    Had Mr. Lincoln scrupulously observed the Taney policy I do not know whether we would have had any liberty, and had the Chief Justice adopted Mr. Lincoln's philosophy as the philosophy of the law, I again do not know whether we would have had any liberty.

    As Justice Jackson pointed out in 1951 the questions we must confront on daily basis involve a balancing of the vested rights of an individual and the authority to restrict those rights.

    The issue between authority and liberty is not between a right and a wrong—that never presents a dilemma. The dilemma is because the conflict is between two rights, each in its own way important. Speech Given at Buffalo Law School 9 May 1951

    Indeed of all the rights granted to the American populace, the freedom of speech is the most hallowed and treasured of all freedoms, yet, most dangerous to wield as President Wilson argued
    in 1919.

    I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. It cannot be so easily discovered if you allow him to remain silent and look wise, but if you let him speak, the secret is out and the world knows that he is a fool. So it is by the exposure of folly that it is defeated; not by the seclusion of folly, and in this free air of free speech men get into that sort of communication with one another which constitutes the basis of all common achievement. Address at the Institute of France, Paris, May 10, 1919.

  3. Jason,

    I feel like Commander Locke in "The Matrix Revolutions" after everyone returns to Zion. This is something that goes beyond Saddam. The Speaker going to Syria and Iran, isn't that the Sec. of States job? The last Speaker to make foreign policy on his own was Speaker Wright and look where he ended up.

    Also, you have proven my point. Nothing, not one thing? I despise Clinton (President and Senator), but since, as an American, I only have one President at a time, I try to think of something good to say if I should meet someone overseas who talks bad about this country. Even if it someone you despise, it helps build your arguement by saying, "Well, I like your guy because of..." And thus, you might gain a new vote for your side. Just a thought.

  4. JSF, I really tried to find something Bush has done that I liked, and the only couple of things I could think of (involving ethanol and other alternatives to petroleum) seemed to be all talk an no action. I don't know if you've noticed that the levels of hate for Bush go much deeper than any feelings for previous presidents, even right wing hate for Clinton. Are you trying to say that's the majority of Americans who disaprove of the job he's been doing are just crazy, or could it have something to do with the way he's been running the country?

    As for Pelosi's Syria visit, I can't say I have a problem with it. Diplomacy has been a very weak link of this administration, and I welcome attempts by somebody who might do a better job than the Ice Queen. Would I like it if a republican congressional leader did that to a democratic state department? On first thought, probably not, but I'd really have to weigh the results. As Pelosi's visit seems to have kickstarted the State Department into trying to have diplomatic relations with Syria, I think that it was a success. Remember, war is the failure of diplomacy and we've had enough war.

  5. JSF and Jason I should offer a word if I may?

    Considering the current social, political, and economic ongoing within the nation we as Americans posssess a duty to exert the rights, priveliges, and duties under the Constitution of the United States and to maintain the vitality of the Republic because, as Learned Hand pointed out the continued freedom of the nation lies within the hearts of the populace.

    Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. The Spirit of Liberty 1944.

    It is only with the preservation of liberty that justice and freedom can endure.

    I would like to close with this thought by Judge Learned Hand:

    If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice. Learned Hand Speech to the New York Legal Aid Society February 16, 1951

  6. Gentlemen, sorry for the delay, but real life sometimes intrudes. But, back to the conversation. What inspired this was an ex-girlfriend saying "everything" was the President's fault. Of course, there are flaws to President Bush (more or less depending on where on the spectrum you fall), but until we elect Robots and AI's, we get flawed people. To not support any President (GOP or Dem) during a time of crisis, is bad; It coarsons the Body Politic.

    Jason, The modern Democratic party (of which you align with) harkens back to a Nixonian worldview of balance of power in a unipolar world. Why should Darfur be important if dictators are fine? Why should the United States care about the rest of the world if, under the Democratic party current policies, we become isolationist again? The second term of Bush is a replay of Woodrow Wlson after the stroke with the modern Dem Party playing isolationist Republicans.


Welcome to the Valley! Please comment about the post and keep to the subject.

There is only one person (JSF) keeping track of comments, so as long as what you write is civil and close to the purpose of the post, you will see it.

Keep this in mind: Politics should not be Personal; then you have a place here.

Write! History will remember your words!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...