Archive for March, 2008

Lawyers and Power

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that the thrust of Madison’s Federalist Paper number Ten (10) was that we must guard, at all cost, against letting a faction control more than one branch of our government. He stressed this over and over. A faction that gains the reigns of government is a faction that will visit tyranny upon us all. To see Federalist Paper number Ten (10) papers/no 10/no_10.htm .

As a faction lawyers have total control of the Judicial Branch of our government. Laymen are barred from the Judicial Branch. Only those that have passed the Bar Exam and are licensed can be members. The Legislative Branch of our government is at least 2/3 two thirds lawyers. Lawyers have overriding authority in the Legislative as well.

Most of our president’s have been attorneys. Making all three Branches of our government most of our history in the hands of attorneys. Madison himself was an attorney. With at least two branches under control of lawyers at all times, and all three Branches under control of one faction some times, we might have a problem.

If we take as a self evident fact that people do what they perceive to be in their personal best interest, then lawyers being human, they are as susceptible as any other human to this attribute. They will work together as a faction consciously and unconsciously to improve their lot. To the detriment of the rest of us.

Further, an honest examination of the facts will show the unbiased observer that Lawyers do business outside the market. They as a faction and as a profession, are outside the normal ebb and flow of market forces, determining the rate of pay for the work. What other profession charges at least $125.00 an hour even when there is a glut of workers in the field?

What other profession is held to a lower standard than the layman? If you appear in court per se, and the opposing lawyer forgets to file some important paperwork, he or she will be given a pass. You, however, will absolutely not. Even if the omission is obvious and has been brought to the attention of the attorney. If you even forget to file an obscure and arcane piece of paperwork the opposing lawyer will file a motion to whatever, and it will be granted. Game over. This is one of the ways that lawyers keep themselves outside market forces. Is there any other profession where a lay person is held to a much higher standard than someone licensed?

Have you ever wondered why tort reform is so obnoxious to the legislature? They ardently resist any push to control frivolous law suits. Everyone has heard of some of the more insane verdicts. The burglar that won tens of thousands of dollars for cutting himself on the window he broke to get in, the guy who won hundreds of thousands for trying to stop the spinning chainsaw chain with his fingers, etc… Why is the Legislature so reluctant to take on this issue? The answer is obvious, most legislators are lawyers. No one hurts themselves!

Who makes out in a class action lawsuit? The people that suffer actual damages get a pittance. The big winner, often making tens, or hundreds of millions of dollars, are the lawyers. Who wins when there is a large amount of crime, Lawyers. Who wins when society mistrusts itself, Lawyers. Who wins when people are sue happy, Lawyers. Who wins when there is turmoil in business, Lawyers. Are we seeing a pattern yet?

If decadence, chaos, instability, etc… in society enriches attorneys, and attorneys, as a faction, control government, and people do what is in their personal best interest, consciously or unconsciously, why would we assume that lawyers work to make society otherwise? Is it truly in our best interest to allow lawyers have so much power?

Most of all, why assume that attorneys are more virtuous than society as a whole?


Saturday, March 29th, 2008

It seems to me that the most egregious condition that humans live under is slavery. Other egregious conditions such as poverty and ill-health are generally not directly visited by humans on humans. Making them subjective bads. They are only objective in that we who live under better conditions are offended that others are impoverished, and sick. People do not intentionally impoverish or sicken others, sometimes it is a byproduct of rapine but not as a direct means to an end.

Slavery however is the direct, intentional, and conscious ruining of the human condition of another individual human being as an means to some selfish end. Slavery is objective as well as subjective. To the person enslaved slavery is very subjective. To the person enslaving another, slavery is objective and subjective to himself. Objective in that he is not visited by the evil he visits on others. Subjective in that he is involved intricately in the operation.

In the Twenty First Century that there should be human slavery is obnoxious to all human hearted people. Societies that allow the traffic in human beings as chattel prove their unworthiness. Worthy societies have at least minimum protections on the rights of the individual.

Societies that allow the marketing of people in their midst prove their corruption as well. Machiavelli said that a “corrupt society can never be free.” Watching other human beings being enslaved and sold in your presence sows the seeds of your own enslavement by the State. Thus Saint Augustine’s adage that people get the government they deserve, is proven. Societies that allow slavery are, or soon will be, under the jack boot of a tyrant.

The opposite is also true. Societies that do not allow slavery tend to be less corrupt as a people. They are less likely to be under a dictator. As a society becomes less decadent and more virtuous it naturally finds the shackles of tyranny more and more suffocating. Society grows but the bindings don’t. Pressure builds until the chain is sundered and society finds itself free. When society shrinks in decadence the bonds of tyranny are ever more binding, and don‘t seem to suffocate.

Slavery is a pretty good predictor of the economic outcome of a society. History supplies plenty of examples of this. Rome practiced slavery. While Rome was a Republic there were few slaves and many plebeians. The people had work. When Rome became decadent under the emperors and slavery increased due to the conquering of other peoples, the plebeians had less and less work. More and more was done by slaves. The plebeians were made dependant on the State. Slaves did all the work. The people refused to fight in war as well. If they didn’t have to work, why fight? The mercenaries would do the fighting for the Romans. Attila the Hun was the logical outcome of this reasoning.

Another example is the USA. When Slavery was legal here the GDP growth was fairly flat. Expansion into the territories was the primary engine of economic growth. After the Civil War slavery was abolished. And shortly after territorial expansion ground to a halt. The primary engine of economic growth was slowed dramatically and the catastrophe of war needed to be cleaned up. Yet the American economy continued to grow at a brisk pace. There were brief recession’s but real GDP continued to grow. With the demise of slavery the former slaves had to be paid for their production. That pay, little as it was, triggered more economic growth. Keynesian economics at work. To argue that the industrial revolution was the primary driver is to ignore that places that still had slavery didn’t participate in the economic expansion of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century.

Places like the Barbary Coast at the time had real GDP’s that were the equal of the USA at the time. In some cases higher per capita GDP. They had and have slavery to this day and the lot of the people has declined in proportion as the lot in America has grown.

If a society wants real economic growth to raise the lot of it’s people it must be virtuous. Slavery is the antithesis of virtue in a society. It inevitably leads the society to tyranny, crime, poverty and sickness. Perhaps this is the result of God’s being displeased. I think that God’s intervention is not required. The natural dynamics at work, (rules as set down by God), inevitably lead to this outcome.

Right Role of Right Government in Religion

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that it is a self evident fact that good government works for the good of all. Bad government tries to help one faction, segment, ethnicity, or any other why in which you want to group people. The goal of right government is to promote the good of all.

Another self evident fact is that “good” is subjective not objective. The individual only knows the state of his or her heart. This knowledge is foreign to the other. To have some other impose a “good” upon an individual against his or her will is applying an extrinsic good where an intrinsic “good” is the correct object. This would be the antithesis of good. Good is subjective not objective.

There are three parts to the human being. Physical, the body and the physiological possesses that keep us alive. Mental, the conscious and unconscious minds. Working together to order our lives. And the spiritual, the inner longing we have for God, or some higher calling. As we all know, if an attribute is not used, it atrophies. When we live a sedentary life without exercising we grow fat and weak. When we live as mind numbed robots, never using our minds, we become mind numbed robots. When we don’t exercise our spiritual side with prayer and meditation we become corrupt and fall prey to all sorts of myths and superstitions.

Religious good is subjective also in that it is within the individual to find his or her own way to God or their higher existence. Each person’s path is unique to him or herself. This makes it Right Government’s goal to work for the freedom of the individual to choose his or her personal path. To try to channel the people’s religiosity to some perceived social “good” is to deny the very premise on which right government is founded on. Government must promote the good of all, since good is subjective, the religion must be chosen subjectively. Government tampering with religion is objectively imposing a subjective good.

Government has three options in dealing with the question of religion. It can, promote religion, be ambivalent to religion, or suppress religion. Since we have determined the role of right government we have only to apply our new rectification of terms to the question. To promote, would be to try to channel religion… not good. To suppress would be to try to channel religion… Also not good. Ocham’s Razor tells us that once all other option’s are removed, whatever is left no matter how absurd, is correct. In this case we have the middle option, that government must be ambivalent to religion. Religion must be allowed in the public square. Religious schools must have equal access to the public funding of education arbitrated by the marketplace, and government must not establish religion or irreligion. Government must be ambivalent to religion. That, A Priory, is the role of Right Government in religion.


Monday, March 10th, 2008

 Dear Reader,

Imagine the man or woman who thought up the idea of putting ridges on twist off lids. This little innovation, one built upon many others, has eased the opening of container lids in an ever so small a way… each use. Cumulatively over a lifetime this little, seemingly irrelevant, innovation saves us all much strength. Multiply that by all the people who’s life has been eased and it is a tremendous amount of energy saved in the course of daily work. Now multiply that, over all the people, throughout time, who will be unburdened by this little small innovation, and you have a mind numbing amount of people helped and energy saved. This is my definition of a brick.

Seems to me that it is with the bricks of innovation that the artifices of mankind are erected. Each brick adding to the mass. The whole improving the lot of man. We are impelled to add bricks to our artifice building it higher to improve the lives’ of our children. They for their children. Mankind slowly, not wafting, but climbing, on the structure of our own creation. That artifice built of the bricks of our innovation. Someone who had seen the artifice even a few hundred years ago would not even recognize it today. But, someone who had seen the artifice one thousand years ago would have recognized the similarities with the artifice of the 1600’s.

Back to the guy or gal who invented the ridges on container lids. When this person stands before the Pearly Gates, they must carry quite a bit of water with the Gate Keeper. The person may have been unjust, cruel, or simply quick tempered. These personal traits at least have some off set. Improving the lot of man. That, is a pretty good offset. This person probably has never thought about this offset, rest assured, it will be brought up in their intercourse with our Gate Keeper. But how much weight should an outcome have on the weight on a man’s soul if he or she was not aware of the magnitude of the virtue/sin? —Too deep… Basically, every little innovation helps. We are called to innovate and think of a better way of doing things. Something that makes people’s lives easier, funnier, or fitter. Then, people’s lives are improved and we all win! The essence of International Capitalism.


Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Dear Readers,

It seems to me that in the long run it doesn’t matter who wins any particular election.

History is inevitable and resolute. We are history, like the tendency of water to flow down hill, the societies of man will tend eventually to gravitate to human heartedness. The marketplace gives us a glimpse into the way in which history unfolds.

The marketplace rewards good ideas and punishes bad ideas. It is amoral and doesn‘t choose sides. It is simply a set of rules, like a complex game, that is merely the framework. The outcome and the method is totally the prerogative of the player. If the player chooses poorly, she is punished. If she chooses well she is rewarded. But as in any game the player must choose well sometimes else the game will be over. The few correct choices will eventually lead her nearer and nearer to the goal. If the player is persistent, she will win…eventually. History as has been relayed to us through the ages verifies this.

A compass that points approximately north is still better than none at all. If only the navigator’s of our society would bother to look at it now and then. If someone were to look at human history, without bias, and simply gauge which philosophy of governance, and society has garnered the highest standard of living, in every way, for it’s inhabitant’s, most rational people would say the philosophy and governance of the USA since it’s inception.

Here is a compass that doesn’t point true north, there is some angle of imprecision . Does that mean that our leaders should disregard the tool? Many would have us throw it away and follow the path as blazed by histories great populists, Caesar, Napoleon, Vladimir Ulunove, and a painter from Austria. That, according to our compass, is almost directly south. If our goal is north…

The long and short of it is that mankind can build as many monuments to dictators as we want. History will topple them all. The Societies that come closer to the way, fact, or actual, will live better, longer healthier lives. Not necessarily happier lives. Until we get beyond the ‘misery factor‘…

Healthy society is always growing. The artifices man places upon himself are always getting too tight, they chafe. In chafing they sow the seeds of their destruction. When the sores rubbing on the framework, become unbearable, we smash them. And build another, hopefully, one with a better fit and has the ability to grow. The more flexibility, the less a societal framework chafes, creating sores on society, the lives of the people will be better, longer, healthier, and more decadent.

Under this paradigm society will eventually evolve into one that fits us best. As humans we will make many mistakes. That is inevitable, but like evolutionists say, eventually…

History, like the market, and like a game makes no distinction to mankind’s wishes. History flows to the goal. The reason we fall is our own stubbornness. We are constantly pushed towards the path. We have only to open our eyes.

“Societies are the result of man’s virtue, Government the result of his vice.” -John Stuart Mill