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February 25, 2013

Great Podcast with Glenn Reynolds

A whole lot of sense here. Quoted here are his thoughts on liberals deciding to selectively ignore the Constitution -- which makes him wonder if he therefore has any obligation to obey it.

REYNOLDS: Here’s the problem with public officials — because that’s really [Seidman’s] audience — deciding to ignore the Constitution: If you’re the president, if you’re a member of Congress, if you are a TSA agent, the only reason why somebody should listen to what you say, instead of horsewhipping you out of town for your impertinence, is because you exercise power via the Constitution. If the Constitution doesn’t count, you don’t have any legitimate power. You’re a thief, a brigand, an officious busybody, somebody who should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail for trying to exercise power you don’t possess.

So if we’re going to start ignoring the Constitution, I’m fine with that. The first part I’m going to start ignoring is the part that says, I have to do whatever they say.

ROBERTS: But his argument is that we already ignore the Constitution; it’s not really much of a binding document.

REYNOLDS: Oh, well, then I’m free to do whatever I want! And actually, that is a damning admission, because what that really says is: If you believe Seidman’s argument; if you believe that we already ignore the Constitution anyway, then in fact, the government rules by sheer naked force, and nothing else. And if that’s what you believe, then all of this talk of revolution suddenly doesn’t seem so crazy, it seems almost mandatory.

ROBERTS: Well, he would say – well, I won’t speak for him, but some would say that, well, there’s a social contract, we’ve all agreed to kind of play by these rules…

REYNOLDS: Oh really?!

ROBERTS: …of electing officials, and…

REYNOLDS: Well, the rules I agreed to electing these officials are the Constitution. I thought we were going to ignore that. That’s my social contract.

He talks about government being too big for democracy at around 4:30-- quoting Jerry Pournelle's thoughts. Capture of the Government is now too important a prize:

POURNELLE: We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It’s worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.

Reynolds carries this thought:

That captures an important point. The more powerful the government becomes, the more people are willing to do in order to seize the prize, and the more afraid they become when someone else has control. So it was after the 2004 election when liberals talked revolution, and so again after 2012, when secession petitions flooded the White House.

There are two possible ways to address this problem. One is to elect people that everyone trusts. The problem with that is that there aren't any politicians that everyone trusts -- and, alas, if there were, the odds are good that such trust would turn out to be misplaced.

The other option is to place less power within the political sphere.


His column discussing this is here here.


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posted by Ace at 06:01 PM

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