Here is another meme I’ve created, thanks to QuickMeme.
Here is another meme I’ve created, thanks to QuickMeme.
Throughout my life, cars have been more aggravating to me rather than liberating. Either something breaks down, someone just nearly sideswiped me, or the compulsory insurance policy needs to be renewed. Unfortunately, much like central banking, Americans are currently stuck with using their licensed internal combustion engines and the government roads they drive them on, because the entire physical infrastructure has been created around it.
I’ve noticed over the years that when it comes to American car ownership, there isn’t a lot of gray area, but very much a “love it or hate it” attitude. As I was growing up, I tended to be more neutral on the subject, leaning slightly more towards “loving it” because I appreciated it’s utilitarian qualities (such as being able to transport people and their things across longer distances in less time with nearly nowhere as much effort). Nowadays, I am leaning not-so-slightly towards “hating it” because my various encounters with agents of the State who used my traveling on the public roads in my personally owned automobile (which resulted in absolutely no damage to property or injury to people) as the context within which to make up some lame excuse to pull me over, under indirect threat of arrest. In other words, my growing distaste for American car ownership isn’t really about the ownership itself (which is a perfectly allowable expression of the free market), but really more about its abuse by government in such forms as licensure, registration, and mandatory insurance.
Needless to say, the author has quite a different view when it comes to American cars, especially the ones he’s had. Despite his absurd optimism, I throughly enjoyed O’Rourke’s orations about the various and sundry cars he’s had the pleasure of enjoying over the years, as well as his philosophy of life (well, only insofar as it relates to driving, of course). Take for instance this portion of an article he wrote, addressed to his younger self concerning the dangers of driving too quickly (which, in some ways, is reminiscent of his argument in favor of automobiles over pedestrians):
“The moose is another example of God and Darwin ganging up on us. Obviously the moose existed before the automobile. But the moose’s only discernible biological purpose – other than providing passable steaks and oversized lodge decorations – is to kill automobile drivers. Talk about seeing big things in the road. True, moose aren’t scaly and they have only four feet. But I don’t recommend running them over. The moose stands on legs the exact average height of a car hood. These legs are fragile appendages, just temporary props holding fifteen hundred pounds of car-spanning body weight at eye level. Be your car ever so big, and the advice of the gentleman who used to shine shoes in the Baltimore train station notwithstanding, whatever happens when you collide with a moose happens ‘right in yo’ face.’”
Such is the logic o’ the Irish, but what of Americans themselves? O’Rourke elaborates:
“The South is what we’ve had all along in this bizarre, slightly troubling, basically wonderful country – fun, danger, real friendliness, energy, enthusiasm, and brave, crazy, tough people. After all, America is where the toughest crazy people on the planet came to do anything they damn pleased. And a NASCAR weekend pretty much covers all the everything. America’s original Indians were themselves tough and crazy. Put us all together and we’re the biggest, baddest, best sons of bitches anywhere, and the hell with foreign countries because that’s where all the sane wimps stayed.”
One may wonder whether this paints an attractive picture of who are supposed to be “our” fellow countrymen, yet I can’t bring myself to care one way or another, other than just chuckle about it a bit, especially since I knew people like that during my childhood.
The one thing I will say here that is good about cars is that they are a way of measuring time, particularly with regard to the stages in your own life. Considering that you don’t change cars every other week (or shouldn’t, anyway), it would stand to reason that you could form an estimated chronology of your life only by the sequence of cars that you have owned. O’Rourke’s description of his Jeep Cherokee was especially nostalgic for me:
“Our Cherokee was, of course, what we used to haul Muffin home from the stork roost. It was a good, commodious, mechanically reliable vehicle. But the Cherokee, through no fault of its own, had faults. By 1997 Cherokees, as SUVs, seemed to have been designed about the time of the meteor impact that caused the extinction of the British sports car. This particular Cherokee had been used extensively for transporting filthy dogs, deceased fish and game, and outdoorsmen with aromas both dead and unhousebroken and for the smoking of cigars that smelled worse than all of these. The Cherokee had a permanent, embedded stink so bad that, in place of a pine tree-shaped air freshener, you could have hung a dirty diaper from the rearview mirror and it would have been an improvement.”
What else can I say, other than truer words may have indeed been spoken, but this one nails it right on the head?
P.J. O’Rourke’s Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-Bending is an intriguing, and at times frustrating, but always comedic take on the American love affair with the car. Although the references to car model numbers usually went way over my head, most of the time I kinda got the gist of what was going on. I can only hope that the next generation, who collectively tend to be more technologically savvy than I am, can only begin to appreciate whatever the hell a carburetor is supposed to do anyway.
The following is the officially released unanswered indictment from the Committee of Safety – Common Law Court in the matter of Chris Mortenson v. Ed Snook. On July 22nd of 2013, the Grand Jury found probable cause on 10 counts against Ed Snook.
Count 1: Breach of Contract – That no paperwork was provided by Snook to either Mortenson or Swan, verifying the existence of a Contract; That no accounting was provided, as required by the Contract, indicating charges; That no notice of termination was provided to the Client. That minimally any verbal statement as to termination, if even that existed, is contrary to the Contract, itself.
Count 2: Breach of Contract – That Snook had terminated the Contract without cause, notwithstanding that claim that he can terminate the Contract at any time, since the Contract has specific causes for termination [E, Provisions of Contract], which is contradictory to the blanket provision for termination at discretion [G, Provisions of Contract], which is unjustified if specific provisions are provided (one negates the other), which would lead on to believe that any discretion would have to be based upon the enumerated causes.
Count 3: Breach of Contract – In that Ed Snook entered into multiple contracts with non-aligned clients on the same case of Charles Dyer, much to the detriment of not only Chris Mortenson, but also Janet Dyer, and Amy Dark, in violation of his obligation to Mortenson.
Count 4: Fraudulent Inducement to Contract – In that Ed Snook fraudulently induced Debra Swan, on behalf of Chris Mortenson, to sign a contract by offering a money-back guarantee should Snook fail to keep up his obligation under the contract.
Count 5: Fraud – In that Ed Snook fraudulently solicited for payment from Janet Dyer, and her daughter Amy Dark, all the while knowing that the US Observer contract for the Charles Dyer article had already been contracted with Chris Mortenson.
Count 6: Fraud – In that Ed Snook fraudulently contracted with the Dyer family to write the Charles Dyer story while also receiving payment from Chris Mortenson for the exact same product.
Count 7: Threat – Ed Snook threatened to engage in character assassination campaign against Debra Swan (agent for Mortenson) if she did not comply with his demands.
Count 8: Libel – Ed Snook wrote and published an article in the US Observer whereby, with malicious intent, he caused public derision and hatred against Chris Mortenson and Debra Swan.
Count 9: Slander – Ed Snook was interviewed on The Free American rado show where he made malicious mischaracterizations of Debra Swan and Chris Mortenson.
Count 10: Defamation – Ed Snook, and his known associates, have made inflammatory and malicious accusations about Chris Mortenson and Debra Swan, and claimed that there was no contract.
Here is a meme I’ve created, thanks to QuickMeme.
There have been people I’ve talked to over the years who seem to exhibit traits indicative of a blind adherence to the hollow rhetoric emanating from the Patriot Rockstars. Such a devoted following to these creatures deserves to be scrutinized for behavioral habits that would be suggestive of what is a rather unpleasant pathology. As a followup to “Patriot Rockstar Characteristics,” I figured that listing the signs of this mental abnormality might assist those individuals interested in identifying and handling such a popular affliction as they see fit.
You may be addicted to a Patriot Rockstar if:
Here is the response I received from US Senator John Cornyn after I had sent him the Under One Banner petition (specifically, this version). Either he does not understand the difference between a letter and a petition, or his legislative staff simply shot back a standard, non-committal form letter (the latter of which is what I think happened). If there was ever proof that writing your congresscritter does not work, or that petitioning doesn’t work either, this is it. With “customer service” like this, is it really any wonder that I already unregistered from the voter rolls?
“Thank you for your recent letter. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.
“As your elected representative, it is my responsibility to promote the interests of Texas in the United States Senate. Our state boasts a rich history, diverse cultures, and an unmatched tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship. I am proud to represent more than 26 million of our fellow citizens, and I rely on your input to do my job.
“I believe that open government is one of the most basic requirements of democracy. It allows taxpayers to see how their government is operating, permits an honest exchange of information that ensures government accountability, and upholds the ideal that government never rules without the consent of the people.
“Meanwhile, I will continue my efforts to restore America’s fiscal health, help Texas businesses innovate and create jobs, strengthen our national security, support our veterans and military personnel, protect U.S. sovereignty, and tackle our health care challenges. For more information about policies I support, I encourage you to visit my website at: http://cornyn.senate.gov/.
“I appreciate your concerns regarding congressional priorities, and you can be sure that I will keep your views in mind. I am honored to represent Texas in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
“Sincerely, JOHN CORNYN, United States Senator”
Due to the copious references and many questions I’ve received about who, and more importantly, what the Patriot Rockstars are, I decided to list the characteristics common to this breed of animal. As a natural product of the Carnival of Distractions, they manage the Carousel of Carnivores by setting the agenda on whatever the news cycle happens to be this week. As such, they also function as gatekeepers (akin to a political party’s majority or minority whip) who maintain talking point discipline by either ignoring or marginalizing anyone who dare challenge their authenticity, as I do.
Patriot Rockstars usually tend to want to:
It is often said that history is written by the victor. Since the Federalists were able to get the all thirteen states to ratify their proposed Constitution, it only makes sense that their justifications for ratification were made easily and publicly available. But what did their opponents have to say? As a friend of mine likes to incessantly point out, “There are always two sides to every story.”
Far from preventing balkanization amongst the newly christened American people, Philanthropos argued that ratification of the Constitution will actually cause it. He claimed that the Virginia constitution was better designed to secure liberty than the proposed federal Constitution, at least without proper amendments before ratification [Anti-Federalist Paper #7]. John Mercer feared that the US Senate’s Article 2, Section 2 power to ratify the President’s treaties was “of a nature most liable to abuse.” Mercer was alarmed that this power will “tempt the avarice and ambition of men to a violation of the rights of their fellow citizens, and they will be screened under the sanction of an undefined and unlimited authority,” thus generating competing factions [Anti-Federalist Paper #60]. Perhaps most revealingly, the Federal Farmer thought that a consolidation of the states would inevitably create a hegemonic two-party system [Anti-Federalist Paper #37].
One of the biggest contentions between the Federalists and their Anti-Federalist opponents was the preferability of a confederacy over that of a federated republic. Centinel points out that the Articles of Confederation failed because there was no enforcement for the collection of impost taxes [Anti-Federalist Paper #21]. Candidus proposed a 7 point plan in amending the Articles, which he claimed would negate the necessity for a Constitution in the first place [Anti-Federalist Paper #22]. Montezuma satirically implied that the Federalists already knew that the Constitution dangerously centralized power:
“We have for some time considered the freedom of the press as a great evil – it spreads information, and begets a licentiousness in the people which needs the rein more than the spur; besides, a daring printer may expose the plans of government and lessen the consequence of our president and senate – for these and many other reasons we have said nothing with respect to the ‘right of the people to speak and publish their sentiments’ or about their ‘palladiums of liberty’ and such stuff. We do not much like that sturdy privilege of the people – the right to demand the writ of habeas corpus. We have therefore reserved the power of refusing it in cases of rebellion, and you know we are the judges of what is rebellion…” [Anti-Federalist Paper #9]
Cato judged that limited government must also be geographically small, thus negating the utility of a consolidated federal republic [Anti-Federalist Paper #14]. Brutus considered the “Necessary and Proper” clause under Article 1, Section 8 to be indicative of a centralized, not dual, system of federalism [Anti-Federalist Paper #17]. Centinel didn’t think that a separation of powers could be achieved under the proposed Constitution [Anti-Federalist Paper #47], and neither did Leonidas [Anti-Federalist Paper #48]. Artisocrotis went to far as to ridicule the Philadelphia Convention:
“From these remarks, I think it is evident, that the grand convention hath dexterously provided for the removal of every thing that hath ever operated as a restraint upon government in any place or age of the world. But perhaps some weak heads may think that the constitution itself will be a check upon the new congress. But this I deny, for the convention has so happily worded themselves, that every part of this constitution either bears double meaning, or no meaning at all; and if any concessions are made to the people in one place, it is effectually cancelled in another – so that in fact this constitution is much better and gives more scope to the rulers than they durst safely take if there was no constitution at all.” [Anti-Federalist Paper #51]
Deliberator contemplated the implications of Congress’ enumerated powers as being too much [Anti-Federalist Paper #44]. Alfred urged everyone to read their respective state constitutions, which he, like Philanthropos, thought sufficiently defended their liberties [Anti-Federalist Paper #16]. To round out this mere sample of oppositions to a consolidated government, Amicus plead for the power of a popular recall against elected legislators [Anti-Federalist Paper #53].
Like the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists were conflicted regarding the “peculiar institution” of race slavery. An anonymous writer illustrated the superfluousness of the Federalists’ twenty year plan to gradually eliminate the importation of slaves by mentioning that Rhode Island’s General Assembly already legislated that all blacks born after March of 1784 “are absolutely and at once free,” in addition to immediately and permanently halting any more importations [Anti-Federalist Paper #15]. Unfortunately, Cato and A Georgian thought that representation should only be apportioned by the number of free inhabitants in a community, or by the states themselves, respectively [Anti-Federalist Paper #54].
Having just secured their Liberty by defeating the British Empire victoriously during the American Revolutionary War for Independence, the colonists were still very much cognizant of the dangers accompanying a standing army. Patrick Henry rebutted the Federalist claim that the proposed federal government would require a standing army in order to curtail the potential emergence of foreign invasions, internal rebellions, and Indian wars; he saw such justification for war preparations as just mere Federalist propaganda [Anti-Federalist Paper #4]. Brutus asserted that since the Congress is not subject to removal by the various state legislatures, and the requirement for raising such a standing army is much less stringent than under the Articles of Confederation, then this provision of the Constitution enabled too much power to the Congress and thus was inimical to the principles of Liberty [Anti-Federalist Paper #24]. Dangerous is this arrangement of power, Brutus argues, for:
“The liberties of the people are in danger from a large standing army, not only because the rulers may employ them for the purposes of supporting themselves in any usurpations of power, which they may see proper to exercise; but there is great hazard, that an army will subvert the forms of the government, under whose authority they are raised, and establish one [rule] according to the pleasure of their leaders.” [Anti-Federalist Paper #25]
Philadelphiensis expressed a deep suspicion that the President was in effect an elective King of the very worst sort, in that the most decrepit traits of both kinds of government agents are present without the benefits of either. Since he is the Commander-in-Chief of a standing army, the President’s power is not limited, thus contradicting the very foundation of republicanism itself [Anti-Federalist Paper #74].
Americans had a deep and abiding hatred of taxes and government intervention in the free market throughout the revolutionary period. Cincinnatus thought it was foolhardy to rely on the public credit to pay off (without using specie) debts incurred during the Revolution as this might yet cause another rebellion [Anti-Federalist Paper #12]. Patrick Henry declared that concurrent taxation (that is, both state and federal tax collection) is at odds with American liberty [Anti-Federalist Paper #34]. Cato Uticensis hated excise taxes, going even so far as calling them “those instruments of tyranny,” and he asked, in a tone of righteous indignation, whether any of his fellow Virginians would ever live to see the day where a government, other than the Virginian General Assembly, would ever impose a direct tax in Virginia [Anti-Federalist Papers #30, 31]. The Federal Farmer asserted that direct taxation was inherently not representative at all [Anti-Federalist Paper #39]. Agrippa argued that the Interstate Commerce clause was in fact an unlimited power of Congress [Anti-Federalist Paper #11].
Converting the many and sundry local militia units into a standing army was an alarming worry for the Anti-Federalists. A Democratic Federalist objected to the centralization of the militia [Anti-Federalist Paper #29]. Similarly, A Federal Republican stated the obvious that standing armies, such as consolidated militias, would be used to stifle revolts [Anti-Federalist Paper #8]. It would sadly appear to be the case that this concern was well founded, as was manifested only a few years later during the Whiskey Rebellion.
Probably the issue most dear to the Anti-Federalists was their common request for a bill of rights, as a way of offsetting the most egregious aspects of the Constitution quickly and simply. A Farmer argued that such a bill of rights would limit the amount that congressmen would be able to borrow on the credit of the United States [Anti-Federalist Paper #13]. Luther Martin warned that jury trials would become lost under the proposed composition for the federal judiciary [Anti-Federalist Paper #83]. Brutus suggested that the lack of a bill of rights, which would enumerate limits on government power against individual citizens, might very well be indicative of a massive power grab by the Federalists [Anti-Federalist Paper #84].
Related to the key issue of ratifying a bill of rights alongside the proposed Constitution was the attitude of “take this or nothing” by the Federalists, and how this affected whether the Constitution should incorporate previous (pre-ratification) amendments, or whether the Anti-Federalists should just wait to pass subsequent (post-ratification) amendments. An Old Whig commented on the Article V power of holding constitutional conventions, saying:
“If the principles of liberty are not firmly fixed and established in the present constitution, in vain may we hope for retrieving them hereafter. The greater the abuse of power, the more obstinately is it always persisted in.” [Anti-Federalist Paper #49]
Similarly, both A Countryman and A Plebian remarked that there was no need for alarm (as the Federalists were trying to stir up), and that there was plenty of time to reflect and adjust the details of government as needed without having to reinvent the wheel [Anti-Federalist Papers #38, 85].
Unmitigated reverence for the Constitution should be tempered by the incredible powers granted unto it. For instance, would you initially sign a contract with the mere promise that sometime later, you might be able to negotiate on some of the terms (that you already agreed to) a little bit? Wouldn’t it make more sense to get it right the first time and tailor the details of the contract before you sign it, even if it ends up taking a lot longer than if you had succumbed to the intimidation tactic of “take this or nothing?” If it weren’t for the Anti-Federalists, there would be no Bill of Rights, and I think our current situation would, more likely than not, be much worse than it already is without that finger in the dike. Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the Bill of Rights only protects your liberty so long as the judicial branch happens to agree with you, which is not too often these days.
The Anti-Federalist Papers, written by fifty some-odd pseudonym’d and publicly known authors, were truly the voice of colonial America. I found Morton Borden’s arrangement of the 85 most important essays and essay segments to be the most accessible, without having to delve into the multi-volume Herbert Storing archive (there is also The Anti-Federalist Papers (Special Edition) available for free download as an alternative format). Overall, I must insist that every dissident who can spare a week or two read these essays, for they are intrinsically more significant than The Federalist Papers, especially for understanding what needs to be altered during the Constitutional Compliance Convention that will hopefully take place in the later stages of restoring constitutional government.
“Political activists are usually terrible tacticians, and even worse strategists.”