Charges of Racism and its Chilling Effect on Policy Debate

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 10th, 2014

Politics 101

Flying is so Safe already that to make it any Safer is nearly Statistically Impossible

Air travel is the safest way to travel.  People are far more likely to die on the way to the airport than in an airplane.  Air plane accidents and incidents are so rare these days that when one happens it is huge news.  For weeks some networks devoted near 24/7 coverage of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.  Even though they had nothing to report.  But that didn’t stop them from going to air to speculate about what happened.  Because an airplane just disappearing like that is extremely rare.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates aircraft accidents and incidents to determine the cause.  And to come up with new ways to make aviation safer.  But improving safety any more is getting difficult.  And costly.  They put a cost on the loss of life and compare that to the cost for the airlines (and the people who buy their tickets) to implement a proposed change.  And then judge the likelihood that spending that money will actually save any lives.  They could reduce the number of deaths from flying to zero simply by grounding all aircraft permanently.  But the flying public wants to fly.  And is apparently willing to fly even if there is a slim chance of dying.

When a plane crashes because of an event that is statistically likely to happen, say, one in 100 million flights it’s hard to justify the added expense.  As that cost will not make flying any safer statistically.  This is the problem with making flying safer today.  It is so safe already that to make it any safer is nearly statistically impossible.  And spending more resources to try and make it safe 100% of the time is just not possible.  And it’s just too costly to try.

Racism is so Trivial in the Aggregate that it could not prevent a Black Child from growing up to be President

There are a lot of people on the left who say we need a dialogue on race.  Because there is still racism in this country.  Not Southern Democrat Jim Crowe racism.  But systemic racism that stacks the deck against blacks.  Despite that ‘racist’ America having elected a black president.  Twice.  Who appointed a black man as attorney general.  Eric Holder.  America’s top cop.  This couldn’t have happened without a majority of white voters voting for President Obama.  As blacks make up only approximately 13.1% of the population while whites make up approximately 77.9% (see United States Census QuickFacts).

So there may be some racism in America.  But clearly not a lot of it.  For if there was a lot of it there would have been enough people to vote against President Obama.  But there wasn’t.  And he won reelection.  Even though his record wasn’t that good.  On the economy.  Or on national security.  So there would have been a lot of reasons to vote against him.  Especially if the American people were racist.  But this didn’t happen.  Suggesting that America is not as racist as those on the left would have you believe.

Sure, there is racism in America.  As there is everywhere.  And always will be.  But is it systemic?  Is it impossible for a black child to grow up to be the president of the United States?  To be the top cop in the land?  No.  Because these things have happened.  So is it necessary to focus the Justice Department only on racial injustice in the United States?  Even those on the left will concede that things are a lot better now than they ever were.  So should the Justice Department focus on removing the last vestiges of racism when if doing so will be very difficult if not impossible?  As some people simply cannot be reasoned with?  If these people were running the country perhaps it would be.  But they’re not.  These instances of racism are isolated incidents.  So trivial in the aggregate that they could not prevent a black child growing up to be president.

Despite all of their Efforts to End Racism they haven’t reduced the Need to End Racism

A lot of people voted for President Obama to end racism once and for all.  To move away from our racist past.  But it seems like the left finds more racism than ever since President Obama’s election.  In fact, they call any criticism of President Obama an act of racism.  Making it difficult to criticize the president.  As no one wants to be labeled a racist.  In fact the left uses this to try and shut down debate over policy issues.  Unable to defeat conservatives in the arena of ideas (as conservatives outnumber liberals 2-1) they are quick to try and shut down debate with charges of racism.

Even Attorney General Eric Holder responded angrily when testifying in Congress.  Later when speaking to a mostly black audience he asked was there ever an attorney general or a president treated as poorly as he and President Obama?  (Yes, there were.  Especially when they were Republican).  Implying that the people’s representatives, and, therefore, the people, were racist.  So he can stand morally indignant as he stood in contempt of Congress.  The victim.  A lot in the media have come to his support.  While few criticized him.  Because no one wants to be called a racist.  And because no one does it is a very powerful way to shift attention away from any wrongdoing by shifting the attention to those accusing you of said wrongdoing.  A tactic right from the far-left strategist Saul Alinsky’s playbook (see Corrupt AG’s Feigned Outrage Shouldn’t Be Distraction posted 4/10/2014 on Investors.com).

The NTSB is trying to remove the last vestiges of air travel deaths.  Which is more and more difficult to do these days as there are so few ways left to improve aviation safety.  There are a lot of people trying to end racism.  But if you listen to them the problem of racism has never been worse.  Despite the success of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.  Who actually benefit from this perceived racism.  As they can discount any criticism of them because they’re black.  And the American people are racist.  Despite these same American people being responsible for their success.  For a country with a 77.9% white population could have been racist enough to prevent the election of a black president.  And they were given two opportunities to show just how racist they are.  But didn’t.  Still, the charge of racism is a powerful weapon in their arsenal.  Which is why despite all of their efforts to end racism they haven’t reduced the need to end racism.  For if they did that they may just have to answer for their policies.

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Tyranny of the One, Tyranny of the Few, Tyranny of the Many, Drone Strikes and the Rand Paul Filibuster

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 7th, 2013

Politics 101

Trusting that only Good People will Serve in Government is Sheer Folly

History has been a struggle for power.  Those who wanted it fought those who had it.  And those who had it tried to eliminate anyone who didn’t have it but wanted it.  So people have killed each other since the dawn of time for power.  Making for a rather Hobbesian existence.  “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  A quote from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan.  Where he posits that only an all powerful dictator can provide a just society.  Otherwise there would be great unrest and civil wars.  Such as was going on in England at the time he wrote Leviathan.

England, though, would choose a non-Hobbesian path.  Choosing to restrict the powers of their monarch with a represented body of the people.  Parliament.  Evolving into what John Adams once called the best system of government.  A constitutional monarchy where power was balanced between the few, the many and the one.  The few, the rich, paid the taxes that the one, the king, spent.  The common people were the many.  Who had a say in what the rich and the king could do.  So everyone had a say.  And no one group, the majority, the minority or the one, could do whatever they wanted.  Which is why John Adams once thought it was the best system of government.

John Adams wanted a strong executive in the new United States.  Not a hereditary king.  But something close to the king of England.  Who would advance the new nation to greatness.  And with disinterested men of the Enlightenment serving in the new government Adams didn’t worry about any abuses of power.  For this wasn’t Great Britain.  But not everyone had Adams’ confidence in the nobility of men.  Worrying that given the chance they would try to form a new nobility.  As James Madison said in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  And that was the problem.  Men are not angels.  And trusting that only good men would serve in government was sheer folly.  So we should form governments under the assumption that bad people would reach positions of power.  And thus limit the power of government.

Today both Houses of Congress win Elections by Appealing to Populism

So the Americans settled on a similar system.  They separated powers between a legislature, an executive and a judiciary.  Further, they separated the legislature into two bodies.  The House of Representatives.  And the Senate.  Representation in the House being apportioned by population.  The more populous a state the greater that state’s representation.  And the greater influence they had in writing law.  They chose their representatives by popular vote.  Making it truly the house of the people.

The states, though, feared a tyranny of the majority.  Where the largest states could have their way.  And force the smaller states to accept their rule.  For in a true democracy the majority could vote anything into law.  Such as the subjugation and oppression of a minority group.  Like the Nazi Party passed legislation subjugating and oppressing the Jews.  So minorities need protection from majorities.  In the United States the Senate provided a check on majority rule.  For each state had equal representation.  Each state had two senators.  And to further protect the interests of the states (and their sovereignty) the states chose their senators.  A constitutional amendment changed this later.  Which weakened the sovereignty of the states.  By making the Senate a true democracy.  Where the people could vote for the senators that promised them the most from the treasury.

Today both houses of Congress win elections by appealing to populism.  Representatives and Senators are, in general, no longer ‘disinterested men of the Enlightenment’ but pure politicians trying to buy votes.  Which is what James Madison worried about.  The people in government are not angels.  And they’re becoming less like angels as time goes on.  Proving the need of a separation of powers.  And a bicameral legislature.  To keep any one group, or person, from amassing too much power.  So there can be no tyranny of the many.  No tyranny of the few.  And no tyranny of the one.

The Obama Administration can’t use the Military to Kill Suspect Americans on U.S. Soil

Senator Rand Paul just recently completed a 13 hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate.  To delay the vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director.  Not because he had a problem with Brennan.  But because he had a problem with the Obama administration.  Specifically with Attorney General Eric Holder.  Senator Paul had asked Holder if the Obama administration could use a drone to kill an American on American soil without due process even if that person posed no imminent threat.  The attorney general gave his answer in a letter.  In which he didn’t say ‘no’.  Which bothered Senator Paul.  Because the Obama administration had killed an American or two on foreign soil without due process.  Including the son of a guy that posed an imminent threat.  While the son did not.

U.S. drone strikes have killed many terrorists overseas.  And they’ve killed a lot of innocent bystanders who had the misfortune to be in the same vicinity.  Such as being in the same coffee shop.  Basically a policy of ‘kill them all and let God sort them out’.  But you don’t hear a lot about this collateral damage.  As the Obama administration simply counts all the dead from a drone strike as being a terrorist that posed an imminent threat to U.S. security.  And the innocent son that was killed in a drone strike?  Well, he should have chosen a better father.  Or so said a member of the Obama administration.  Which is what so bothered Senator Paul.  For in the War on Terror the battlefield is worldwide.  Including the United States.  Which means given the right set of circumstances the Attorney General of the United States stated the government had the legal right to use a drone to kill an American on U.S. soil without due process.

In the United States there is a thing called the Constitution.  Which guarantees American citizens due process.  If you’re an American fighting Americans on foreign soil you have no Constitutional protections.  And can be killed by a drone strike without due process.  But if you’re on U.S. soil you have Constitutional protections.  Which means the government can’t use the military to kill suspect Americans.  No.  On U.S. soil we have police forces.  And courts.  Miranda rights.  On U.S. soil you have to convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant.  Then you have to collect evidence to present in a trial.  And then you have to convince a jury of a person’s guilt.  Then and only then can you take away a person’s freedom.  Or life.  Thus protecting all Americans from the tyranny of the one.  The tyranny of the few.  And the tyranny of the many.

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