Archive for April, 2008

Just Law, or just law?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that If we were to ask a person who is on trial for murder. “Irrespective of your case, are the laws against murder just?” almost everyone would say that yes, the laws against murder are just. This makes the law against murder, “Just Law“. As we move from law to law we would find that some laws would have more or less, of the people on trial for those offences, admit the justice of the law they are charged with.

You will come to some laws that almost universally the defendant would argue that no, the laws against “A” are not Just. Political trials come immediately to mind. Other examples, to a greater or lesser degree, include laws against homosexuality, prostitution, drugs, bigamy, etc… I’m sure you can think of some if you try.

By this scalar, these laws are Unjust, or at least questionable. The middle ground of laws that are attested to be Just, by half the defendants, are probably Unjust as well. Providing the laws in question are ‘victimless’. Anyone who infringes on another human beings fundamental human rights, and is charged with Law, is being Justly charged.

How do unjust laws get passed and added to the cannon of jurisprudence? They are reactionary laws that seek to erase some flawed human predilection, and force some perceived form of perfection in human nature on society. This may be laudable but the road to hell is paved with laudable intentions.

Unjust laws make society less human hearted not more human hearted. Human hearted government recognizes that people are flawed and tries to work within the propensities of human beings. Human propensities are like water. If you stop it up, it will inevitably build and seek a path. Once the path has been found water will enlarge the opening until the backup results in a torrent , destroying anything in it’s path. (The lives of people).

Perhaps a better way would be to direct the flow of human frailties into a safe channel. Allowing the negative human propensities a safe ‘path to ground‘. Were this done, there would be no backup of wants and desires. There would be no overflowing of this pressure and no resulting torrent when the dam is breached. Society would be better served and people would be happier and less stressed.

In other words, legalize and regulate these actions. Bring them above the table. When done in the light regulated by the final temporal arbiter, (the government), flawed human predilections will be far less harmful to society and it’s members.

However, it is also in human nature, to want to control the lives and decisions of others. We believe that we are more wise than our neighbors. The lives of our neighbors would be vastly improved if we made their decisions for them. We see the tragic mistakes that they make, and want to fix it. If only they listened to us…

As Jesus said, “Look to the plank in your own eye before plucking the speck from someone else’s.”

Money in Politics

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that the huge amount of money that politicians spend to get into office today is telling of what they want from the office. Why would a sane person be willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to be elected to an office that pays under five hundred thousand per year? Of course most if not all of the money is someone else’s. But still, tens of millions of dollars?

The founding Fathers said that they wanted a WEAK but STABLE government. Weak in that it was severely limited in the scope of the Federal government’s power. Stable in that the government was to be regularly and, with a minimum of political convulsions, transferred to the next regime.

The Constitution was the limiter of governmental power. The tenth amendment says it all, “The 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.”

Powers that are not given to the government cannot be exercised by the government. Madison was against the Amendments. His logic went like this, If the government is not given the power to do a thing. Then it has not the power to do that thing. However, if the government is barred from one thing, and is not given the power to do another thing, does that mean that since the government was barred from the one, the other may be permitted. It could then be argued then that anything not put in or barred from government was ok. Thus the Amendments were to him redundant and dangerous.

The Constitution guarantees stability by separating powers, and providing for a straight forward means of transferring power. Much debate was given to the terms of all members of the government. The terms were to be long enough to be profitable to the people but short enough for the people to exercise their power of suffrage effectively.

The underlying philosophy of government was this. Stable governments are conducive to business. Weak governments have less regulation and taxation releasing the power of business. With the guarantees of property and liberty, the thought was, that free people freely exercising their liberty would build, a better, more sound, and with an ever higher standard of living, society.

Today with the “Living Breathing Document” of a Constitution we have toilet paper. The greatest fears of our Founding Fathers is realized. We have willingly put out collective heads into the ox yoke of dependence. The same corrosive habit that destroyed Rome. We have let our government grow strong, by becoming dependant on it, and with the giant sums of money more factious and thus less stable.

As the power of government has grown so has the penchant of politicians to spend more and more money to get into office. The inordinate power of government today can be directly measured by considering the vast ocean of money that surrounds it.

Ideas about Infrastructure

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Dear Reader,

It seems to me that the news is full of stories about our crumbling roads. Not to be outdone the bridges are ready to catastrophically fail at any second. Remember London Bridges Falling Down?

Well here is a innovative concept. Look at what has been done in the past and worked. Simple use of best practice. What roads and what bridges built by what people in the past have held up the best and fulfilled the task they were designed to do?

The answer is clear, Roman roads and bridges. In Europe today there are Roman bridges that carry car and truck traffic. Think about that for a moment. These bridges were built over a thousand years ago. Thousand year old bridges working today. Compare that to bridges built today.

The state of the art bridges on our intestate highway system are elegant and thin. They span great distances while carrying great loads, (cars and trucks). They also only last thirty to fifty years before they need to be totally rebuilt. Some abutments can stay and the steel can sometimes be reused but obsolescence is built in. One half century compared to ten centuries of functional life.

On an annualized maintenance cost basis the Roman made bridge is exponentially more cost efficient. Plus think of how much more transportation funds would be available for road improvement. Forget for the sake of argument that a free spending legislature might rob some of the transportation funds for some other enterprise like education spending.

Some would argue that building a dry laid stone bridge today would be too difficult. With CAD software and thousands of grout piles throughout the USA. Simply put a modern Saw plant at the base of a large grout pile, take prints from engineers, and a computerized saw could turn out bridges like kits. Some assembly required. The means are at hand, The will but lacking.

Instead of burdening our children with crushing debt and obsolete infrastructure perhaps we might think of making some things that actually last.