Monday Brief


Feb. 22, 2010

The Foundation

“Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” –Thomas Jefferson


“Suppose you suggest to a congressman that given our budget crisis, we could save some money by dispensing with the 2010 census. I guarantee you that he’ll say something along the lines that the Constitution mandates a decennial counting of the American people and he would be absolutely right. Article I, Section 2 of our Constitution reads: ‘The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.’ What purpose did the Constitution’s framers have in mind ordering an enumeration or count of the American people every 10 years? The purpose of the headcount is to apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives and derived from that, along with two senators from each state, the number of electors to the Electoral College. The Census Bureau tells us that this year, it will use a shorter questionnaire, consisting of only 10 questions. From what I see, only one of them serves the constitutional purpose of enumeration – namely, ‘How many people were living or staying at this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?’ The Census Bureau’s shorter questionnaire claim is deceptive at best. The American Community Survey, long form, that used to be sent to 1 in 6 households during the decennial count, is now being sent to many people every year. Here’s a brief sample of its questions, and I want someone to tell me which question serves the constitutional function of apportioning the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives: Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, a bathtub or shower, a sink with a faucet, a refrigerator, a stove? Last month, what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment, or mobile home? How many times has this person been married? After each question, the Bureau of the Census provides a statement of how the answer meets a federal need. I would prefer that they provide a statement of how answers to the questions meet the constitutional need as expressed in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. … Americans need to stand up to Washington’s intrusion into our private lives. … Unless a census taker can show me a constitutional requirement, the only information I plan to give are the number and names of the people in my household.” –economist Walter E. Williams


“If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, incessant distractions are the way that politicians take away our freedoms, in order to enhance their own power and longevity in office. … Few distractions have had such a long and impressive political track record as getting people to resent and, if necessary, hate other people. The most politically effective totalitarian systems have gotten people to give up their own freedom in order to vent their resentment or hatred at other people…. We have not yet reached these levels of hostility, but those who are taking away our freedoms, bit by bit, on the installment plan, have been incessantly supplying us with people to resent. One of the most audacious attempts to take away our freedom to live our lives as we see fit has been the so-called ‘health care reform’ bills that were being rushed through Congress before either the public or the members of Congress themselves had a chance to discover all that was in it. For this, we were taught to resent doctors, insurance companies and even people with ‘Cadillac health insurance plans,’ who were to be singled out for special taxes. Meanwhile, our freedom to make our own medical decisions – on which life and death can depend – was to be quietly taken from us and transferred to our betters in Washington. … The more they can get us all to resent those they designate, the more they can distract us from their increasing control of our own lives – but only if we sell our freedom cheap.” –economist Thomas Sowell

The Gipper

“Our current circumstances in the 20th century are not greatly different from those surrounding our Founders, who remarked on the long train of abuses and usurpations whose ultimate design seemed clearly to abrogate all the citizens’ rights and render them subjects of an absolute despotism. The Founders’ impending tyranny arose under an unjust king; ours derives from a centralizing and increasingly powerful national government that intrudes into ever-growing aspects of our lives, and prevents us from freely exercising our acts of self-government. We New Federalists therefore seek a return to our foundation on the principles of self-government. We seek a new birth of federalism because we seek a new birth of freedom, both for ourselves and for our posterity.” –Ronald Reagan

Political Futures

“Are this year’s ‘tea parties’ really tea parties? What could today’s protesters have in common with the ‘Indians’ who dumped 90,000 pounds of tea in Boston harbor in 1773? Quite a bit, actually. What do today’s tea partiers want? According to the Christian Science Monitor, the movement ‘is about safeguarding individual liberty, cutting taxes, and ending bailouts for business while the American taxpayer gets burdened with more public debt. It is fueled by concern that the United States under Mr. Obama is becoming a European-style social democracy where individual initiative is sapped by the needs of the collective.’ Broadly speaking, the tea parties reflect a growing anger in America that the government seems to be a closed circle, run by an elite in both parties. These elites, combined with a class of bureaucrats, lawyers, journalists and businessmen, use government power to serve their own ends, and not the public good. … When the government is unresponsive to the views of the people, and, beyond that, when our administrative and judicial branches restrict the scope of the people’s legislative rights, protest rises. President Obama, an heir to the Progressive tradition, wants to strengthen this unaccountable, administrative state. The response has been altogether fitting.” –columnist Richard Samuelson

Re: The Left

“Political fraud and scientific swindle can be measured by collapsing ‘science.’ The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in Britain was regarded as the leader in climate research and the fount of raw data on which the science was based until leaked e-mails between researchers revealed evidence of doctoring of data and manipulation of evidence. The director of the research unit, professor Phil Jones, was regarded as an archbishop in the Church of Global Warming. He was pressured to resign in the wake of the scandal. Now he has conceded to an interviewer from the BBC that based on the evidence in his findings, the globe might have been warmer in medieval times. If so, the notion that fluctuations in earthly temperatures are man-made is rendered just that, a man-made notion. The learned professor told his interviewer that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming. … Terry Mills, a professor of applied statistics at Britain’s Loughborough University, looks at the U.N. panel’s data and applies a little skepticism. ‘The earth,’ he told London’s Daily Mail, ‘has gone through warming spells like these at least twice before in the last thousand years.’ The global-warming hysteria, on which the Obama administration wants to base enormous new tax burdens, is just about as reliable as the weather hysteria presented nightly on your favorite television channel.” –Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden

Opinion in Brief

“This column was scoffing at global warming back when global warming was still cool. But even we have been surprised at the extent of the past three months’ ‘meltdown’ of global warmism, to use the metaphor that everyone seems to have settled on. As we’ve written on various occasions, we didn’t know enough about the substance of the underlying science to make a judgment about it. But we know enough about science itself to recognize that the popular rendition of global warmism – dogmatic, doctrinaire and scornful of skepticism – is not the least bit scientific. The revelations in the Climategate emails show that these attitudes were common among actual scientists, not just the popularizers of their work. Still, we would not have gone so far as to say that global warming was just a hoax. Surely there was some actual science to back it, even if there was a lot less certainty than was claimed. Now, though, we’re wondering if this was too charitable a view.” –Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto

Reader Comments

“Alexander’s essay, Warfighting 101, especially his comments about our young uniformed Patriots, truly touched my heart. The summary of the issue with ‘jihadists’ was excellent and the pre and post Medina references very astute. I am a double leg amputee from Vietnam (5th Special Forces Group, 1967) who was, by the grace of God, healed from PTSD. Today I devote my energy, time and efforts in service to our troops, visiting hospitals and bases and sharing my own story of healing. Please have your military readers visit” –Allen

“In Mr. Alexander’s excellent essay, he notes that ‘orthodox Muslims’ adhere to the pre-Medina Q'uran, while it is the post-Mecca Muslims who advocate jihad. This clearly is a reference to the fact that the suras of the Q'uran dictated during the Mecca phase are in contradiction to the Medina phase suras and the Hadith. However, both the Mecca phase and the Medina phase together comprise the Q'uran and all Muslims are bound by all the Q'uran and the Hadith. I would suggest that it is the jihadists who are the ‘orthodox’ Muslims, since it is they who are strictly following the later teachings of Mohammed, (see the Doctrine of Abrogation) and that is why those who might wish to oppose them are subject to the charge of trying to refute the Prophet’s teachings, the penalty for which is death.” –Mary

“It should be clarified that Dr. John Christy, enlisted by the IPCC as a climate expert, has been countering the UN-IPCC claims on global warming and the causes of climate change for years and years, with scientific evidence. He is a good scientist and not a recent convert. Much of the evidence that bloggers and other political workers against the socialist agenda of the global-warmists have been using his reputation and work.” –Eric

“The last sentence in your And Last item Friday made me feel uncomfortable in how it was presented. ‘Jesus said, "Let your light shine before others.” This calendar, however, is apparently referring to 3 Gore-inthians: “Don’t let your light shine – turn it off to save energy.”’ I would hope you in making such a statement are not suggesting that the Catholic Church would think of asking us to turn off the light of Christ that shines within us? The Church has been and continues to do this for the last 2,000 years. I would hope that you would not use this holy time of year as we remember what Our Savior did for us all for a bit of bad humor. To point out the ‘green’ aspects of it fine, political ok, but to say it suggests to turn off the light of Christ is very offensive to me and in poor taste.“ –Michael

Editor’s Reply: We think you’re reading a bit too much into our word play on light and light bulb.

The Last Word

”[S]ome 80 conservative leaders, including the heads of some of the nation’s most influential groups of the right, gather[ed] to sign a document that has been more than a year in the making called the Mount Vernon Statement. For those of us seeking to pass on our conservative values and ideals to our children, this new document reinvigorates the old – but not outdated – concepts behind the founding of our country. According to Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator and a member of the Conservative Action Project, the workgroup behind the Mount Vernon Statement, its purpose is to articulate the common core values of all facets of the conservative movement. … Importantly, the Mount Vernon Statement is not geared to any election or candidate or specific piece of legislation. ‘We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding,’ the Statement begins. ‘Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government. These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people.’ … Visitors to and the Web sites of the various organizations supporting the project are invited to sign the Statement online and to use it as a blueprint going forward for activism and policymaking. It’s meant to go viral as a creed, of sorts, for modern day conservative believers. Amen to that.“ –columnist Marybeth Hicks

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