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Debates Forum

  1. 18 Jan '11 02:55 / 8 edits
    By George Will

    Unlike most of the 111 that proceeded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the natinoal regime and civic culture the Founders bequethed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

    Many congressional Republicans, and surely some Democrats with institutional pride, think Congress is being derogated and marginalized by two developments. One is the apotheosis of the presidency as the mainspring of the government and the custodian of the nation's soul. The second is the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, an apparatus responsive to presidents.

    The eclipse of Congress by the executive branch and other agencies is Congress's fault. It is the result of lazy legislating and lax oversight. Too many "laws" actually are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social gaols -- environmental, educational, etc. -- the meanings of which are later defined by executive branch rule making. In creating faux laws, the national legislature often creates legislatures in the executive branch, making a mockery of the seperation of powers. And Congress makes a mockery of itself when the Federal Register, a compilation of the regulatory state's in recoil against an overbearing executive's "reported injuries and usurpations" (the Declaration of Independence), modern conservatism was born in reaction against executive aggrandizement, first by Franklin Roosevelt, then by his acolyte LBJ.

    But beginning in 1968, Republicans won five of six and then seven of 10 presidential elections, and experienced rapture with Ronald Reagan. Then they lost their wholesome wariness of executive power. Today, conservatives should curl up with a good book by a founding editor of National Review -- James Burnham's "Congress and the American Tradition."

    Regarding the relevance of the Constitution, you must remember this: Rep Nancy Pelosi, asked about the constitutionality of the health-care legislation -- a subject now being seriously litigated -- said, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" She was serious.

    She seriously cannot comprehend that anyone seriously thinks James Madison was serious when he wrote (Federalist 45), "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined." Unfortunately, for too long too many supine courts have flinched from enforcing the doctrine of enumerated powers, and too many Congresses have enjoyed emancipation from that doctrine. So restraint by the Judiciary must be replaced by congressional self-restraint.

    The idea of American exceptionalism is obnoxious to pregressives, who, evidently unaware of the idea's long pedigree (it traces to Alexis de Toequeville) and the rich scholarship concerning the idea, assume it is a crude strain of patriotism. America, Tocqueville said, is unique because it was born free -- free of a feudal past, free from an entrenched aristocracy and established religion.

    The American Revolution was a political, not a social, revolution, it was about emancipating individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and oppurtunity. Hence our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them.

    Americans are exceptionally committed to limited government because they are exceptionally confident of social mobility through personal striving. And they are exceptionally immune to a distinctively modern pessimism: It holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society's vast impersonal forces, so people must become wards of government, which supposedly is the locus and engine of society's creativity.

    Two years into Barak Obama's presidency, we now know what he means about "hope" and "change" -- he and other progressives hope to change our national character. Three weeks into his presidency, Newsweek, unhinged by adoration of him and allowing its wishes to father its thoughts, announced that "we are all socialists now" and that America "is moving toward a modern European state." The electorate emphatically diagreed and created the 112th Congress, with its exceptionally important agenda.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Although I liked the article, I would argue that Republican progressives should have been cited equally as Democrats. My guess is that those who were recently placed in office are also suspect. Can they do more than simply read the Constitution? Can they actually act and do something that mirrors conservatism?

    The bit about American exeptionalism got me thinking. As George rightly says, it was created by Alexis de Tocqueville who said America was unique because it was born free of a feudal past and an entrenched aristocracy and an established religion. Although true then, is it true today?

    And lastly, if conservatives only have Ronald Reagan to hang their hat on, who ballooned government spending, has conservativsm really been given a chance in the US since the dawn of progressivism in the 20th century?
  2. 18 Jan '11 03:07 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    By George Will

    Unlike most of the 111 that proceeded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the natinoal regime and civic culture the Founders bequethed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

    Many congressional Republicans, and chance in the US since the dawn of progressivism in the 20th century?
    Well shall invade you again Whodey if you want, sorrowful sons of rebellion that you are, we leave you a few hundred years and your at each others throats!
  3. 18 Jan '11 03:09 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Well shall invade you again Whodey if you want, sorrowful sons of rebellion that you are, we leave you a few hundred years and your at each others throats!
    I would compare the progressives in the US wanting a European like government to the Israelites whining to Moses to allow them to go back to Egypt because they had it sooo much better there.
  4. 18 Jan '11 04:15 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    I would compare the progressives in the US wanting a European like government to the Israelites whining to Moses to allow them to go back to Egypt because they had it sooo much better there.
    wow thats bitter, considering your national debts is astronomical, your currency worthless. your politicians throughy deviod of answers, you media a jingoistic circus, you never had it so good under the protection of her Majesty's Government (him at the time), a little light taxation was all (representation would have come in time), and now look at you, eating Carob pods as a hired labourer for foreigners! Return the prodigal son, i will fatten the calf and prepare a banquet, for America was lost but now it has been found again!

    If you pardon the irony Whodey, your own form of government, with a senate etc, is like practically Roman, that is like sooo 55 B.C. surely , surely you must have made a little progress since then?
  5. Subscriber FreakyKBH
    Acquired Taste...
    18 Jan '11 04:52
    Originally posted by whodey
    By George Will

    Unlike most of the 111 that proceeded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the natinoal regime and civic culture the Founders bequethed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

    Many congressional Republicans, and ...[text shortened]... chance in the US since the dawn of progressivism in the 20th century?
    Damn! I love me some George Will. Sober head in a sea of bobbing drunkards.
  6. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    18 Jan '11 06:10 / 1 edit
    If Congress tries to assert itself they're liable to get shot these days.
  7. 18 Jan '11 06:49
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    If Congress tries to assert itself they're liable to get shot these days.
    muhahaha!
  8. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    18 Jan '11 07:26
    I think it's a shame that so many people in the United States refuse to accept the idea that patriotism and constructive criticism are not mutually exclusive sentiments toward the American government, just as pride and humility expressed towards members of the United States military does not exclude one from criticizing the acts of war executed by the country as a whole. Frankly it is dangerous when we simplify our logic and emotions to the point that we only see one-dimensionally.

    Relative to the majority of countries around the world, access to health care in the United States was still exceptional prior to the reform enacted last year, most definitely. Does that mean it is bad that we found a means of improving the system to allow students to stay on their parents' insurance plans after they graduate, to offer subsidies to the poor who could not otherwise afford insurance, to reduce the long-term national deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars? Of course not. Does that reform guarantee that the new system is perfect? Most certainly not.

    We are, after all, aiming for "a more perfect union."
  9. 18 Jan '11 09:31
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    I think it's a shame that so many people in the United States refuse to accept the idea that patriotism and constructive criticism are not mutually exclusive sentiments toward the American government, just as pride and humility expressed towards members of the United States military does not exclude one from criticizing the acts of war executed by the cou ...[text shortened]... erfect? Most certainly not.

    We are, after all, aiming for "a more perfect union."
    Beautifully expressed!
  10. 18 Jan '11 16:21 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    [b]I think it's a shame that so many people in the United States refuse to accept the idea that patriotism and constructive criticism are not mutually exclusive sentiments toward the American government, just as pride and humility expressed towards members of the United States military does not exclude one from criticizing the acts of war executed by the cou ...[text shortened]... dangerous when we simplify our logic and emotions to the point that we only see one-dimensionally.
    I don't recall the article questioning ones patriotism. In fact, when Nancy Pelosi responded, "Are you serious? Are you serious?", to the question as to whether or not Obamacare was Constitutional, I think she was serious. I also think she thinks she is doing what is best for the country. However, just like her judgement as to whether Obamacare could be challenged Constitutionally was waaaay out of wack, so to is her belief is that she is doing what is best for the country.
  11. 18 Jan '11 16:34
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    [Relative to the majority of countries around the world, access to health care in the United States was still exceptional prior to the reform enacted last year, most definitely. Does that mean it is bad that we found a means of improving the system to allow students to stay on their parents' insurance plans after they graduate, to offer subsidies to the poo ...[text shortened]... perfect? Most certainly not.

    We are, after all, aiming for "a more perfect union."[/b]
    With 46% of the American people desiring repeal of Obamacare, why not let democracy have a say? After all, when Scott Brown was elected the Congress chose Reconciliation to pass a bill so that Brown could not nix it. They then said they needed to pass it in order to know what was in it.

    Is it just me or do the progressives think that democracy failed when the voters chose Scott Brown?
  12. 18 Jan '11 16:46
    Originally posted by whodey
    Is it just me or do the progressives think that democracy failed when the voters chose Scott Brown?
    It is just you.
  13. 18 Jan '11 16:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    It is just you.
    Face it, progressives could care less about democracy because they know what is best for the nation. Case in point was when Kennedy tried to get the laws changed in MA before he stepped down so that an election would not be held to prevent someone like Brown from getting into office who could nix Obamacare. Then when he loses this fight Brown is elected and the turn to plan "B" which is Reconciliation to avoid the Senate vote.

    History will not be kind to the progressives.
  14. 18 Jan '11 16:54
    Originally posted by whodey
    Face it, progressives could care less about democracy because they know what is best for the nation. Case in point was when Kennedy tried to get the laws changed in MA before he stepped down so that an election would not be held to prevent someone like Brown from getting into office who could nix Obamacare. Then when he loses this fight Brown is elected and ...[text shortened]... is Reconciliation to avoid the Senate vote.

    History will not be kind to the progressives.
    You wouldn't know a progressive if they smacked you in the face.

    Reconciliation was used to pass a law .. so what? It's not anti-democratic to use reconciliation, after all reconciliation still required a vote - it just requires more than 50% to vote for it.

    How is it undemocratic to require a 50% vote? Is it only democratic if you have 60 votes to bypass a filibuster?
  15. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    18 Jan '11 18:02 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    By George Will

    Unlike most of the 111 that proceeded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the natinoal regime and civic culture the Founders bequethed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.

    Many congressional Republicans, and chance in the US since the dawn of progressivism in the 20th century?
    I'm generally happy with Obama's method of governing. I don't agree with every detail of course, but I think it's an improvement over the years of Bush and Co. Sorry Whodey...you can whine about big government all you want, but Obama and the Democrats were handed a country on the edge of total economic collapse in early 2009. Frankly, I think they've done a decent job.