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"Indeed, the rage of theorists to make constitutions a vehicle for the conveyance of their own crude, and visionary aphorisms of government, requires to be guarded against with the most unceasing vigilance."
     -- Joseph Story
     Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States
     Book III, § 1857.
 

Thursday, November 18, 2004

From all over the place, but I'll pick on Hugh Hewitt as representative, since he's got an informal symposium going on it. Target has decided to ban Salvation Army bell-ringers from its stores. The official excuse is, they're finding it increasingly difficult to make an exception, for the Salvation Army, to their policy that otherwise bans solicitors.

Here's some news for you, Target. I know it will be hard for you to believe. Are you ready for it? Here it is....

You're not a court of law.

Big shocker, right? Not at all fashionable these days, is it, for a corporation to think that way. I assure you, though, you're not. So there's no reason why you can't make whatever exceptions you wish to whatever policies it pleases you to have, for whatever reason seems good to you, or for no reason at all. And guess what? There's no appeal.

On the other hand, there are really good reasons not to irritate your customers. And -- just in case you haven't had enough surprises -- there's no appeal there, either.

-- posted by Clayton 11/18/2004 11:00:00 PM | comments (4)


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Via Instapundit, a discussion of voting vs. population density.

That population density predicts voting has been obvious for a long time; the question is, why? The proposals put forward by the author don't convince, so here's another. Consider the following:

  • The higher the population density, the safer it is for those in local government to ignore constituents' views.
  • The higher the population density, the longer it will have been the case, that it is safe for those in local government to ignore constituents' views.
  • The safer it is for those in local government to ignore constituents' views, the more likely it is, that local government will fill up with those pursuing their own ends.
  • The higher the population density, the fuller local government will be with those pursuing their own ends.
  • The higher the population density, the longer it will be, that those in local government have been pursuing their own ends.
  • Those who enter local government for the pursuit of their own ends, are far more likely to be attracted to, rather than wary of, the powers of government.
  • Those in local government are far more likely to fill the public payroll with persons who agree with them, than with persons who disagree.
  • The higher the population density, the fuller the public payroll will be with persons who are attracted to, rather than wary of, the powers of government.
  • The faculties of public schools are part of the public payroll.
  • The higher the population density, the fuller the public schools' faculties will be with persons who are attracted to, rather than wary of, the powers of government.
  • The closer the public schools approach to a monolithic orthodoxy, the more likely it will be that they train their students to that same orthodoxy.
  • The longer the public schools' faculties remain a monolithic orthodoxy, the less likely that said orthodoxy will face serious challenge.
  • The higher the population density, the more susceptible it is to the establishment of an unchallenged orthodoxy attracted to, rather than wary of, the powers of government.

This explains why high-population areas trend Democratic. As to low-population areas trending Republican, the explanation is even simpler:

  • The lower the population density, the more likely it is that a person will often find himself alone.
  • The more often a person finds himself alone, the higher the premium placed upon self-reliance.
  • The lower the population density, the higher the premium placed upon self-reliance.
  • The higher the premium placed upon self-reliance, the more likely it is that a person will be wary of, rather than attracted to, the powers of government.
  • The lower the population density, the more likely it is that a person will be wary of, rather than attracted to, the powers of government.
  • The lower the population density, the more perilous it is for those in local government to ignore consituents' views.
  • The lower the population density, the more likely it is that local policy will favor self-reliance.

Note that this is more fragile than the Democratic hold upon urban areas, because it is not assisted by a systemic self-perpetuating orthodoxy; indeed, orthodoxy and self-reliance are antithetical.

Finally, an observation on a difference in approach to disagreements with local policy, and its consequences. Persons who are self-reliant (and thus wary of the powers of government), when confronted with a disagreeable local policy, are far more likely to solve the problem by moving elsewhere; persons who are attracted to the powers of government (and thus less self-reliant) are far more likely to agitate for a solution based in local policy. Thus it happens, that Democrats become progressively more obnoxious, and Republicans then vote with their feet.

Which means, of course, that I don't expect the current rancor to abate any time soon.

-- posted by Clayton 11/17/2004 05:03:00 PM | comments (0)


Monday, November 15, 2004

James Lileks:

Yay Condi Rice. I want her to go to Saudi Arabia, and I want her first words upon getting off the plane to be “I’ll drive.”
Beautiful, just beautiful....

-- posted by Clayton 11/15/2004 10:57:00 PM | comments (0)


Can you say, "wasteful complexity"? From today's Corner:

Dave Hoppe recommends:
My proposal would be to change the Senate rules so that every nominee would be guaranteed a vote on the floor. The committees would retain an advisory role, but wouldn't be able to scuttle a nominee. After a nominee is submitted to the Senate and has handed in the paperwork, the committee would have 20 session days to hold a hearing. Then the committee would have another 20 session days to vote on the nominee. If after these days have elapsed, the committee has not voted on the nomination, the nominee would be discharged from the committee and placed on the executive calendar. Then the full Senate would have 20 session days to vote on the nominee on the floor. If it has not voted after these days have elapsed, any senator would be allowed to bring up the nomination for a four-hour debate and vote. No extended debate would be allowed on a floor vote on a nomination. Every nominee could get a vote in the Senate after his nomination has been in the Senate for 60 session days.

Hey, guys, you're making this way too complex. There's no need to nail down Senate procedure; all that need be provided is that, if the Senate fails to vote on a nominee within 60 days, that nominee is automatically confirmed.

-- posted by Clayton 11/15/2004 08:58:00 PM | comments (0)


 

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