Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Harry Reid channels his forefathers by calling conservatives "anarchists"

A few days ago in the Senate, Harry Reid gave a small speech in which he called tea partiers "non-violent anarchists". Most people will probably either debate the merits of his points or refute them, I want to point out that historically, he is in line with what earlier progressives believed. Before I give you the quotes, my reason for doing this is to highlight one single thing: Progressives do not change. They change the outside; they wear different suits, they use different language and key words, they even call themselves by different titles. "I'm a liberal", or "I'm a moderate", thus masking their true beliefs and intent. But if you know their history you will always be able to nail 'em, which is why I do what I do, the way I do it.

Harry Reid says:

When I was in school, I studied government and I learned about the anarchists. Now, they were different than the Tea Party because they were violent. But they were anarchists because they did not believe in government in any level and they acknowledged it. The Tea Party kind of hides that. They don't say they're against government, but that is what it all amounts to.

Woodrow Wilson says: (full synopsis)

Such a commission would be in fact a commission to discover, amidst our present economic chaos, a common interest, so that we might legislate for the whole country instead of for this, that, or the other interest, one by one.

John Dewey says:

Peoples who have learned that billions are available for public needs when the occasion presses will not forget the lesson, and having seen that portions of these billions are necessarily diverted into physical training, industrial education, better housing, and the setting up of agencies for securing a public service and function from private industries will ask why in the future the main stream should not be directed in the same channels.

In short, we shall have a better organized world internally as well as externally, a more integrated, less anarchic, system.

FDR's Fabian advisor, Stuart Chase, says:

Political democracy can remain if it confines itself to all but economic matters; democracy in consumption will make enormous strides as standards of living are leveled upward; industrial individualism - anarchy is a better term - in the sense of each businessman for himself, each corporation for itself, must be disallowed.

FDR says, Raymond Moley tells us: (I had to use multiple links to put this together)

The beliefs that economic bigness was here to stay; that the problem of government was to enable the whole people to enjoy the benefits of mass production and distribution (economy and security); and that it was the duty of government to devise, with business, the means of social and individual adjustment to the facts of the industrial age—these were the heart and soul of the New Deal.

Its fundamental purpose was an effort to modify the characteristics of a chaotic competitive system that could and did produce sweatshops, child labor, rackets, ruinous price cutting, a devastated agriculture, and a score of other blights even in the peak year of 1928. Its chief objective was the initiation of preliminary steps toward a balanced and dynamic economic system.

So as you can see, Harry Reid's belief is nothing new. Progressives have been confusing free markets with anarchy for 100 years. It's a short-coming of the central planner, he believes that if he or government is not the one controlling it, then nobody must be controlling it, ergo, it's anarchic. The idea of limited government and the rule of law is a false narrative to the statist.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Professors are not disengaged observers, they take an active role

In the book "The Godless Constitution", written by Isaac Kramnick and J. Laurence Moore, the following is written about footnotes:
Because we have intended the book to reach a general audience, and because the material we have cited is for the most part familiar to historians and political scientists, we have dispensed with the usual scholarly apparatus of footnotes.

There's just one problem. It's up to us to prove that this is what the book actually states. Google Books has two entries, (1) (2) neither of which allow you see page 179, which is the page that this is on. You might get lucky and reference some other book on Google Books, if you're lucky enough to find the appropriate footnote. David Barton has shown this book and it's page in one of his numerous TV appearances, but unless you know specifically off hand which You Tube video to reference, you're stuck. (If it's even on You Tube to begin with)

So here it is, page 179: (click for larger)

Kramnick and Moore are outright arrogant. Their position is that "we know better than you, we don't need to prove anything to a peon like you, so you should just trust us because we have the credentials to prove our greatness and intellectual prowess".

No, I would rather not. You people in academia have proven without a shadow of a doubt that you cannot be trusted. But this does present us with what on the surface appears to be a tricky scenario. If the general reporting is to believed, educators are not paid nearly enough and we need to put more money into education. Without getting stuck on examples to the contrary, because there indeed are plenty of well paid educators out there, what is the interest of professors if it's not money? Benjamin Franklin explained this very clearly, at the Constitutional Convention:

There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money.

This is interesting, because we all have heard of the phrase "Follow the money". But how do we "Follow the power", to coin a phrase that's simple and straightforward comparative to it's cousin. I might have an idea:

The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible.

That was stated by Woodrow Wilson, America's second no-holds-barred,(TR was first) pedal to the metal statist. Now on the surface, this quote could be taken innocently. "But what if the father is uneducated, or maybe stuck in a low level job?" Fortunately, I have the full transcript of that portion of Wilson's speech, and it's hardly innocent:

"The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible," He said. "By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life. Every man of established success is dangerous to society. His tendency is to keep society as it is. His success has been founded upon it. You will not find many reformers among the successful men.

So now perhaps we can achieve what we set out to do. In order to follow power, we have to ask "What is power?" and in doing so once we discover what a given goal is, we can follow it. The power to completely change society? That's power, and that's the interest that way too many professors have, regardless of the amount of money they can make. Could they make money off of their endeavors? Perhaps. But that's not guaranteed. What is guaranteed is the flexing of muscle and increase of power. Just as Benjamin Franklin stated. They are aspiring to their own ambitions.

It's important to understand what a college really is, not what they used to be. They used to be places where people went to learn a skill for their own betterment.(or for that matter, the people around them given the benefits of that the skill would create) Colleges is where our rulers are being groomed. It's where revolutionaries are being grown, by design. In this instance, Woodrow Wilson is not wrong. Kramnick and Moore's book is the fulfillment of Wilson's dreams.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Do you want to make government bigger? Try running it like a business.

A few days ago I wrote how Progressives proposed and ultimately turned the veto and budgeting process on its head, by taking that power away from congress and giving it to the executive, despite the fact that that's unconstitutional. There's an interesting fact wrapped up in all this. In "The decline and resurgence of Congress", by James L Sundquist, the following observations are made: (page 40)

When President Taft took office, he made budget reform a matter of major concern. Among other steps, he appointed a Commission on Economy and Efficiency; it recommended that the executive branch be required to prepare a single budget, and Taft in his last week in office did just that, submitting his own consolidated budget for the executive branch as an alternative to the book of estimates.

It's probably true that in many businesses, the chief executive is the one who does this. I wouldn't know, I've never run a Fortune 500 conglomerate, but I do feel confident in saying that it's not the people running the fryolator who are doing the budgets for McDonalds. As it pertains to the chief executive of the United States, this is not what the Founding Fathers said. Article 1, Section 7, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution state the following:

1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.

The Founders did not leave any room here. The House owns this task, as a constitutional matter anyways. On page 40 of Sundquist's book, he writes this:

By 1916, a pledge to introduce a "simple businesslike budget system" had found its way into the Republican platform(the Democrats only promised to consolidate appropriations responsibility in a single committee in each house of the Congress). Then came the explosive growth of government in World War 1, and the lack of management became intolerable. ... "The Government has been running wild, the ship has been rudderless, the captain has been off watch, and there has been no head who might be held responsible," declared Representative Martin B. Madden, Republican of Illinois, who served on the House Select Committee on the Budget.

This sounds very attractive, but every single person who will end up reading this has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Since the President and Congress passed their unconstitutional budgeting act which makes the President the source of the budget, has government gotten smaller or bigger?

It's gotten bigger. Much bigger. The Founding Fathers specifically delegated this power to congress as a way to divest power away from the President as a matter of preventing the rise of a new monarch, among other reasons. Culturally, this has created a scenario where the President gets to set the tone, not congress who is much closer to we the people. Naturally, this leads to bigger government just by observing it and thinking about what would happen. It's no wonder the progressives wanted this to be the case, what do progressives always want? Bigger government. So logically it follows.

I suppose I have probably kicked a hornets nest with this because the modern conventional wisdom is that government isn't run like a business and that's precisely the problem. Well, that sentiment is simply hogwash, and I'm going to use none other than Woodrow Wilson to prove my case:

Jefferson wrote of “the laws of Nature”—and then by way of afterthought—“and of Nature’s God.” And they constructed a government as they would have constructed an orrery—to display the laws of nature. Politics in their thought was a variety of mechanics. The Constitution was founded on the law of gravitation. The government was to exist and move by virtue of the efficacy of “checks and balances.”

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick co-operation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is a body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day, of specialization, with a common task and purpose. Their co-operation is indispensable, their warfare fatal.

Woodrow Wilson means this as a way to undermine the Constitution, and he is 100% wrong. But apply these words to most businesses, and you have largely accurate statements. No business could survive a system of "checks and balances". How quickly would Google go out of business if Google's research and development department was constantly in an active state of warfare against Google's marketing department? That would be a suicidal way to run a business. I know that plenty of businesses have departments which have their differences, but I mean as an active "first order of business" policy going forward.

Here's the problem. In a lot of ways, modern business is constructed like a totalitarian state. Internally, you're dealing largely with an oligarchy.(sometimes, a monarch) Which is a good thing for an entity which has little to no effect upon the people who in the end only buy it's products or services. But in government, you want checks and balances. You do not want a well oiled machine controlling the levers of power and the laws of the nation. Take a look around the world, where do you see such a government? Communist China. The Soviets were very capable of "getting things done". Venezuela. You could probably name most of them, actually.

Businesses largely are "living things" in that they do have living constitutions that are "shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life". What the Founders gave us is not. It's set in stone, because they believed that liberty is timeless.

History has shown that the only way Liberty can thrive is when government is slowed down. Not just slowed down a little bit, massively slowed down. That's partially what the Constitution does. But if a business was slowed down massively, it probably would not survive. So the next time you say to yourself "I wish government could be run more like a business", be careful what you wish for. You just might get it, and you probably won't like what you get considering that we are already partially down that path. So far, it's not looking very good.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Founding Fathers discussed Socialism at the Constitutional Convention

Even called it dangerous. On May 31st, 1787, Elbridge Gerry made the following remark:
Mr. GERRY. The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massts. it had been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute. One principal evil arises from the want of due provision for those employed in the administration of Governmt. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants. He mentioned the popular clamour in Massts. for the reduction of salaries and the attack made on that of the Govr. though secured by the spirit of the Constitution itself. He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levilling spirit.

This is actually quite loaded. First, He is pointing out the evils of democracy.(Remember, the founders set up a Republic, which is inherently democratic but it's not a Democracy) As I have been repeatedly pointing out, modern leftists view democracy as a form of socialism and they have for over a century.

Second, the last line says this:

He had he said been too republican heretofore: he was still however republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the levilling spirit.

What is levelling? Samuel Adams explains this better than anybody I have ever seen. In a letter to Dennys De Berdt, January 12, 1768, Samuel Adams writes the following: (page 137)

Property is admitted to have an existence, even in the savage state of nature. The bow, the arrow, and the tomahawk; the hunting and the fishing ground, are species of property, as important to an American savage, as pearls, rubies, and diamonds are to the Mogul, or a Nabob in the East, or the lands, tenements, hereditaments, messuages, gold and silver to the Europeans. And if property is necessary for the support of savage life, it is by no means less so in civil society. The Utopian schemes of levelling, and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional. Now, what property can the colonists be conceived to have, if their money may be granted away by others, without their consent?

Samuel Adams was never one to mince words, I love it. But you can easily see what levelling is in his description. It's socialism! These damn socialists have been renaming themselves for centuries now! They were renaming themselves and playing sophist word games during the time of our founding and before it!

Well then, it makes total sense that Elbridge Gerry would call out the dangers of "the levilling spirit".(It was mis-spelled in the transcript, so I'm not surprised that so many people have missed it) For brevity's sake, I'm going to use wikipedia to explain this.

Before the socialists called themselves socialists, they called themselves "levellers", as in "levelling the playing field", you know, everybody gets the same paycheck, "make everything equal in everybody's house", that sort of thing. Mostly, the radical "we are going to steal your wealth" levellers ended up being called diggers. Note how Wikipedia describes them:

The Diggers tried (by "leveling" real property) to reform the existing social order with an agrarian lifestyle based on their ideas for the creation of small egalitarian rural communities. They were one of a number of nonconformist dissenting groups that emerged around this time.

Socialists. An early leader of the "digger/levellers" was William Everard. Here is his "The Declaration and Standard of the Levellers of England". They only gained their name as 'diggers' because they chose to farm on government property.

Now that I have made my way through the weeds here, Elbridge Gerry is not the only Founding Father who discussed Socialism at the Convention. Benjamin Franklin did too. He also called it despotic:

Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharoah, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever.

Wealth redistribution. Benjamin Franklin just described ACORN. The king(Obama) redistributes wealth to his partisans.(Solyndra) There's thousands of groups to pick from here. Ever notice how Obama always needs more taxes? Franklin did.

Reading all of this, you would almost get the idea that the Founders warned us.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Big Lie: Liberty today is "Economic Liberty"

In "The New Democracy", by Walter Weyl, the following is written: (page 163-164)
All the inspiring texts of democracy fall into nonsense or worse when given a strict individualistic interpretation. "Government should rest upon the consent of the governed" is a great political truth, if by "the governed" is meant the whole people, or an effective majority of the people; but if each individual governed retains the right at all times to withhold his consent, government and social union itself become impossible. So, too, the phrase "taxation without representation is tyranny," if interpreted strictly in an individualistic sense, leads to the theory that government should be in the hands of property owners, that they who pay the piper (in taxes) should set the tune, that they who are without "a stake in the country" should not participate, or at least not equally, in a government designed to raise money and to expend it.

First, we have the watering down of the actual struggle of liberty and tyranny that individuals have faced. Then we have the watering down of "democracy" by qualifying it and re-categorizing it as "social democracy":

In the socialized democracy towards which we are moving, all these conceptions will fall to the ground. It will be sought to make taxes conform more or less to the ability of each to pay; but the engine of taxation, like all other social engines, will be used to accomplish great social ends, among which will be the more equal distribution of income. The state will tax to improve education, health, recreation, communication, "to provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare," and from these taxes no social group will be immune because it fails to benefit in proportion to cost. The government of the nation, in the hands of the: people, will establish its unquestioned sovereignty over the industry of the nation, so largely in the hands of individuals. The political liberties of the people will be supplemented by other provisions which will safeguard their industrial liberties.

We have the continued watering down of Liberty by re-categorizing it as "industrial liberty", and then we see how it all fits together:

To-day the chief restrictions upon liberty are economic, not legal, and the chief prerogatives desired are economic, not political. It is a curious, but not inexplicable, development, moreover, that our constitutional provisions, safeguarding our political liberties, are often used to deprive us of economic liberties. The constitutional provision that "no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law" has seldom prevented an Alabama Negro from illegally being sent to the chain gang, but it has often prevented the people of a State from securing relief from great interstate corporations. The restraints upon the liberty of the poor are to-day economic. A law forbidding a woman to work in the textile mills at night is a law increasing rather than restricting her liberty, simply because it takes from the employer his former right to compel her through sheer economic pressure to work at night when she would prefer to work by day. So a law against adulteration of food products increases the economic liberty of food purchasers, as a tenement house law increases the liberty of tenement dwellers.

This bastardization of reality and the language itself comes right out of The Road to Serfdom. Because Progressives hid themselves so well, it's a sad fact that Hayek's Road to Serfdom is all about progressivism, without ever properly calling them out by name. From Chapter 14 of Hayek's Road to Serfdom: (page 207, chapter 14)

The "End of Economic Man" bids fair to become one of the governing myths of our age. Before we accept this claim, or treat the change as praiseworthy, we must inquire a little further how far it is true. When we consider the claims for social reconstruction which are most strongly pressed it appears that they are almost all economic in character: we have seen already that the "re-interpretation in economic terms" of the political ideals of the past, of liberty, equality, and security, is one of the main demands of people who at the same time proclaim the end of economic man.

Again, at the beginning of chapter 9: (page 123)

Like the spurious "economic freedom", and with more justice, economic security is often represented as an indispensable condition of real liberty. In a sense this is both true and important. Independence of mind or strength of character are rarely found among those who cannot be confident that they will make their way by their own effort. Yet the idea of economic security is no less vague and ambiguous than most other terms in this field; and because of this the general approval given to the demand for security may become a danger to liberty. Indeed, when security is understood in too absolute a sense, the general striving for it, far from increasing the chances of freedom, becomes the gravest threat to it.

All of this is easy to understand, especially when you throw wealth redistribution into the mix. (which Weyl plainly calls for in what I quoted) If the government has the power to steal the wealth of some, it has the power to steal it from all. In that, there is not a free citizen in the society with which you are discussing. All are slaves under a regime capable of redistribution.

Weyl writes one more relevant passage: (page 164-165)

In two respects, the democracy towards which we are striving differs from that of to-day. Firstly, the democracy of to-morrow, being a real and not a merely formal democracy, does not content itself with the mere right to vote, with political immunities, and generalizations about the rights of men. Secondly, it is a plenary, socialized democracy, emphasizing social rather than merely individual aims, and carrying over its ideals from the political into the industrial and social fields.

Because of this wideness of its aims, the new spirit, in a curiously cautious, conservative way, is profoundly revolutionary. The mind of the people slowly awakens to the realization of the people's needs; the new social spirit gradually undermines the crust of inherited and promulgated ideas; the rising popular will overflows old barriers and converts former institutions to new uses. It is a deep-lying, potent, swelling movement. It is not noiseless, for rotten iron cracks with a great sound, and clamor accompanies the decay of profit-yielding privileges. It is not uncontested, for men, threatened with the loss of a tithe of their pretensions, sometimes fight harder than the wholly disinherited. It does not proceed everywhere at equal pace; the movement is not uniform nor uninterrupted. And yet, measured by decades, or even by years, the revolution grows.

These progressives know exactly what they are doing. Abusing the language, completely re-working society in their own image. It's not accidental, it's systematic.

This idea that today's liberty is economic is a very important foundational cornerstone, and it's something that most if not all progressives believe. What is an "Economic Bill of Rights" if not a testament to the belief that liberty today is economic in nature? FDR's new bill of rights is something that progressives have salivated over since he proposed it.(And as Weyl's 1912 book makes clear, they salivated over this before he proposed it) Richard Trumka has called for the Second Bill of Rights, Cass Sunstein claimed that Obama is a fan if it, and he himself favors it as well.

"Economic liberty" is what enables a large portion of the progressive programme. In order to have class warfare, you have to harbor the belief of economic liberty. Why are the rich evil? They threaten liberty by hoarding it all. See how this works? You never have to even entertain the concept of "earnings" with this, because liberty is greater than earnings. Economic Liberty enables wealth redistribution, in FDR's own words: "Necessitous men are not free men". You have to steal from one and give to another, in order to make sure that the necessitous stop needing, he even went further than "need" and proclaimed a "freedom from want". And of course, from here, the door is opened to the welfare state and all of this which is currently bankrupting our society.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How progressives turned the veto and budget processes on their head

In "The Lesson of Popular Government", by Gamaliel Bradford, the following is written: (pages 366-367)
The present French President has no veto except upon subordinate councils, just as the prefects have upon the decisions of local councils. The French suspensory veto of 1789 was repeated in the Spanish constitution of 1812 and the Norwegian of 1814. The Swiss executive has no veto on the acts of the Assembly, but it rests with the popular vote in the referendum. In the United States the general principle, both in the federal government and in the States, except North Carolina, Ohio, Delaware, and Rhode Island, where no veto exists, is that the executive veto may be overcome by a competent proportion of the legislature, for the most part two-thirds of a quorum, with the provision that the act shall become a law unless returned by the executive within a specified time.

It is evident that a government cannot be carried on by negatives. That the head of a great system of administration should be obliged to sit waiting till a large body of men, in no wise responsible for that administration and with each of those men separately under strong pressure from local and private interests, can come to an agreement as to the rules under which that administration shall be carried on is almost sure to condemn it to impotence. It seems obvious that the head of the administration should himself prepare the rules which he thinks necessary for his action and submit them to the legislature for acceptance or rejection; in other words, that the veto should be applied the other way.

Again, after a legislature has taken the trouble to debate and go through all the procedure of passing a bill, to have it rejected and sent back by the executive cannot fail to excite hostility and conflict between the two branches, in which the legislature, which has command of the purse, is certain to get the upper hand at least as long as peaceful methods only are employed. The French suspensory veto must have greatly increased this exasperation, as the legislature could not know during two sessions whether its perhaps hardly contested decisions were to become law or not.

The veto again is defective because it does not throw any light from the wants of administration upon the process of framing and upon the discussion of legislation. As we shall see, it leaves to the incoherence and passion, to the compromises and intrigues of the houses, the making of laws which should be free from all those conditions. In a word, the veto power is merely an illustration of the dependence of an executive upon a legislature.

Like so many other progressives, Bradford was one of these intellectuals, proposing his own ways of removing government barriers that would set government free to wreak havok upon our liberties. It seems to me that Bradford means for the President to be the originating source of all legislation, yet if you look at the construct of this idea, this does appear to resemble what happened with the budgeting process. The US Constitution states the following: (Art. 1 Sec. 7 Cl. 1)

1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Yet how does modern Budgeting actually happen? Obama sends the budget. Many of the people within the Republican party are complicit in this unconstitutional behavior, many of which have even gone out to grandstand on this fact. Clause 2 of Article 1 Section 7 says this:

2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.

He shall return it to that house in which it shall have originated. The Founders were very specific about this, were they not? The progressives do not care about that.

As was pointed out in the video above, and this article makes this easier to deal with in written form:

The modern executive budget process, requiring an annual White House budget submission to Congress, was established under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. The law also created the agency that would eventually become the White House Office of Management and Budget. And, every year since then, according to the Library of Congress and The New York Times, the President’s submission has represented the start of the budget process--until now.

From a legal standpoint, it is my understanding that "Shall" is rock solid, with virtually no wiggle room. This is how it's going to be.

Yet since the B.A.A. of 1921, the Constitution's Article 1 Section 7 has been re-written with a simple majority in congress and the senate, instead of the standard two thirds of both houses and the states involvement. How did this come to be? In "The decline and resurgence of Congress", by James L. Sundquist, the following is written: (page 38-40)

The responsibility of the Congress to authorize, finance, and supervise the activities of the executive branch has been called its "board of directors" function, as distinct from its strictly legislative duties. As the government grew, the sheer magnitude of its operations compelled its board of directors - like any board in a comparable situation - to delegate more and more authority to its general manager.

Even if such delegation is unconstitutional, does that even matter? Sundquist continues:

Unlike other boards of directors, however, and unlike legislatures in parliamentary countries, the United States government's board neither selects its general manager nor has the power to remove him under ordinary circumstances; and on occasion it may be in political opposition to him. Nevertheless, much delegation perforce has occurred, and the President has been steadily strengthened as the general manager of the government's vast establishment. What had been the President as an individual, aided only by a couple of secretaries and a tiny clerical staff housed in the President's own home - the White House - in the past half century has become the presidency, an assortment of managerial and directing agencies so large that they overflow even two large buildings that look down on and dwarf the White House.
The first major shift of managerial authority came in the fiscal field. Before 1921, a President did not have to have a program for the whole of the government, and none did; after that date, he was compelled by the Budget and Accounting Act to present a program for every department and every bureau, and to do it annually. That act made the President a leader, a policy and program initiator, and a manager, whether he wished to be or not. The modern presidency, judged in terms of institutional responsibilities, began on June 10, 1921, the day that President Harding signed the Budget and Accounting Act.

Page 40:

When President Taft took office, he made budget reform a matter of major concern. Among other steps, he appointed a Commission on Economy and Efficiency; it recommended that the executive branch be required to prepare a single budget, and Taft in his last week in office did just that, submitting his own consolidated budget for the executive branch as an alternative to the book of estimates.

This is the root of it in elective politics. Theodore Roosevelt's hand-picked successor, William Taft. (Who later on, Roosevelt got upset with because he was not progressive enough. But still too progressive for my tastes) Thankfully, Taft's initial proposal was ignored by congress. But the thing about progressives is that they are very patient. They will wait for the next opportunity, the next personality, and then they will strike. Sundquist continues:

As the deficits continued and as the size and the costs of government increased, however, public agitation for a comprehensive budget system grew.

This means that the Walter Lippmann media was out there reporting and teaching the citizens all of the wrong things, much like it does today.

By 1916, a pledge to introduce a "simple businesslike budget system" had found its way into the Republican platform(the Democrats only promised to consolidate appropriations responsibility in a single committee in each house of the Congress). Then came the explosive growth of government in World War 1, and the lack of management became intolerable. ... "The Government has been running wild, the ship has been rudderless, the captain has been off watch, and there has been no head who might be held responsible," declared Representative Martin B. Madden, Republican of Illinois, who served on the House Select Committee on the Budget.

So it was the progressives in the republican party who did this bit of the necessary work of setting the presidency free of it's constitutional restraints on the spending side. Martin B. Madden wasn't just an Illinois Republican, he was a Chicago Republican, from Hinsdale.

Government cannot be run like a business. It is not a business. Interestingly enough, the drive to do just that has led to a massive increase of government largess. Considering where we are today, with Obama running everybody over with the government steamroller, we can look back and see just how dangerous that Gamaliel Bradford's proposal really was. As to the veto process, if congress is vetoing the President's budget, that's not really how its supposed to work.

The Founders specifically gave this power to congress and congress alone to protect us, and with this one bit of protection being circumvented, it's easy to see how yet again, the Founders got it right.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Founders recipe for reaching immigrant communities: translate into their language

On the whole, the Spanish Translation of George Washington's Fifth Annual Address here, that I was involved with creating, has been met with positive response both online as well as personally. But I do think that among quite a few that there has been a bit of either a miscommunication, or perhaps even outright resistance. There really isn't any need for that, and I hope that I can either clear things up for some, or for others, persuade them that this is not only a good thing to pursue but the right course of action.(one among many, naturally)

Firstly, I would like to start here: I believe very strongly in the following ideal:

There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit

For those who recognize it, yes, that's a Reaganism. He even had this quote on his desk. This is why there are no names directly associated with the translation, and it is not on my YouTube pages. I purposely did not want credit, it's been my hope that people within the larger Tea Party/912 movement would look at this and seek to follow the example, as well as being able to say that 'this is what our movement is capable of doing' and I am in the process of pursuing this further. If I can make that happen, those too will not bear anybody's name. I won't work with someone who's overly credit-seeking.

Secondly, as to my post headline. I'm referring chiefly to the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, but Benjamin Rush's work also applies, I think. The story of Franklin's newspaper, the "Philadelphische Zeitung" carries the message poignantly, and Franklin's own words regarding German immigrants best lays the foundation for the question in my mind:

With regard to the Germans, I think Methods of great tenderness should be used, and nothing that looks like a hardship be imposed. Their fondness for their own Language and Manners is natural: It is not a Crime.

So then if Franklin and Rush reached the colonial German population through their own Germanic language, why would we not follow the same formula with regard to today's Spanish speaking population? For those who followed the sources back as best as possible(I encourage this) you probably noticed that Franklin's paper was short lived and put out of business by a competitor. That did not stop Franklin. He would go on to support reaching German immigrants through education:

In private correspondence Franklin embraced proposals to establish free English schools in German communities, to require that all legal documents be written in English, and to require that all public officials be competent speakers of English.

As I noted in the earlier blog posting, this is the exact opposite of how progressives use the school systems today. But besides that, it occurs to me that two of Franklin's proposals are actively pursued by many people around me. That is, English only for (for example) electoral ballots. I'm certainly on board with proposals like this, but that too is beside the point.

All of the above. Why not do all of the above? John Quincy Adams was another avid translator, though he may not have had the specific purposes that Franklin and Rush had, it still shows how previous generations were generous with their translation duties.

It's interesting to note that over 70% of the hispanic population view bigger government paternally, if even as the very source of prosperity. But why is this? It's not a racial thing at all, it's a cultural thing. Hugo Chavez and his hero Simon Bolivar provide an easy example. Who is the anti-Hugo Chavez? Who is the anti-Simon Bolivar? Particularly Bolivar, because he is the historical figure in the equation. Cultural/history is hard to overcome, which is why for centuries we have seen revolutionaries do book burn sessions.

With pre-American English History we can point to great icons like Adam Smith and John Locke among many, many others as liberty-minded historical figures. This of course powerfully helped to shape early American history, and when we look to the history of the creation of America, we have an entire movement of men who used their energies to limit their own power(as well as the King's). Any one of the Founders could have potentially proclaimed themselves king, but instead what they created was, according to Gladstone:

The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.

Reagan words this better than anybody: (audio)

Our Founding Fathers, here in this country, brought about the only true revolution that has ever taken place in man's history. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another set of rulers. But only here did that little band of men so advanced beyond their time that the world has never seen their like since, evolve the idea that you and I have within ourselves the God-given right and the ability to determine our own destiny. But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them with the well thought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don't do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.

This is 100% true, and terrifyingly so. But why is it true? Because tyranny is the natural state of man. Liberty is learned behavior. In the animal world, many animals from birth never know their parents(such as some born from eggs) and thus are born independent. Some animals are born and can practically walk at birth. But humans are born into dependence. For all practical purposes, you could say that 100% of children are born socialists, with parents redistributing their wealth to their children until they can go out on their own. This is not an easy thing to overcome, particularly when you think that American history is totally unique in all of the world. There is no "America" in the Spanish world, Russian world, Chinese, African, or any other. I'm sure at least one of you could point to an anti-Simon Bolivar. Yeah, ok. Think you could point to 56 of them? Living in the same era? (AFAIK there were 56 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, if this is wrong, let me know and I'll fix it)

So you want to reach the Hispanic community, or any other for that matter? Then you might want to consider translating, as Franklin did. There are plenty who would listen. The politicians want to pander, which will never work. Translating the Founders isn't pandering, it's reaching out with right reason. Sure, it's a lot of hard work. I can attest to that first hand, especially since I don't even speak the language. But the easy way isn't the right way, the hard way usually is. In the description of the Washington Translation, this is written:

what we decided to do with this is reach out to a new audience. Not to pander, but to reach out with the truth and with right reason.

And again:

when we see barriers we do not see a place to stop, we see a challenge to overcome.

It may be a mistake to admit this, but those words are of my own hand; but I do not want to quote myself without being honest about it. It may not be so bad, I have not hid my involvement from the beginning.

If we want Hispanics to stop coming to this country seeking tyranny, and instead, if we want them to start seeking Liberty, then someone has to teach them. We have to teach them.

Nobody else can.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hero Worship: Robespierre and Jean Jacques Rousseau

Yesterday I wrote of Wilson's over the top respect for Walter Bagehot. I did not really quote Wilson's essays, which I will do here, but rather a letter he wrote in which he details a visit to Bagehot's grave site. Robespierre also exhibited this behavior. In "The Life of Maximilien Robespierre", by George Henry Lewes, the following is written: (page 337)
Robespierre, although he had no precise doctrine, had, in an extraordinary degree, what Lamartine calls the sentiment of the revolution. He felt—no one more strongly—the necessity of a doctrine: and that religious tendency which I have been careful to point out as characteristic of his mind, now suggested to him his famous festival " de l'Etre Supreme." A republic, he thought, should have no other sovereignty than that of morality; it should have for its basis a divine idea.

In the beginning of April, he passed some days in the forest of Montmorency. There he often visited the hut in which Jean Jacques Rousseau had lived. It was in this house, in this garden, where his master had so eloquently written of God, that he finished his famous report.

Here is what Wilson wrote:

I saw Glastonbury this morning, and came here this afternoon. It is a quaint interesting little place. The churchyard lies upon a hill, standing at Bagehot’s grave, one looks out upon just such a view as that from Prospect Ave [in Princeton], only more beautiful with a sweet river running through it, and a wonderful golden light lying on it, as, it would seem, the whole of Somerset. The leaf enclosed is from Bagehot's grave, darling; please press it and keep it for me.

Simply going to visit a man's grave is not inherently wrong, even if they aren't specifically your family members. Millions of people have been to New York's Trinity Church Cemetery, where several Founding Fathers and delegates to the Continental Congress are laid to rest. The difference is the worshipping part. Robespierre gave speeches in which he mentioned Rousseau, such as this portion: (page 339)

"A sect propagated with great zeal the materialism which prevailed amongst the nobles and the beaux esprits; to it is owing, in great part, that practical philosophy which, reducing egotism to a system, regards human society as a war of cunning, success as the rule of the just and of the unjust, honesty as an affair of taste and convenience, and the world as the patrimony of adroit rogues. Amongst those who, at the time of which I speak, signalized themselves in the career of letters and of philosophy, one man, Rousseau, by the elevation of his mind and the grandeur of his character, showed himself worthy of being the'preceptor of the human race. He openly attacked tyranny. He spoke with the enthusiasm of the Divinity ; his masculine and virtuous eloquence painted in glowing colors the charms of virtue; it defended those consolatory dogmas with which reason supports the human heart. The purity of his doctrine, drawn from nature, and in profound hatred of vice, no less than his invincible contempt for the intriguing sophists who usurped the name of philosophers, drew upon him the hatred and persecution of his rivals and of his false friends. Ah, if he had witnessed this Revolution, of which he was the precursor, and which has carried him to the Pantheon, who can doubt that his generous soul would have embraced with transport the cause of justice and equality? But what have his cowardly adversaries done for it? They have fought against the Revolution from the moment they feared that it would raise the people above them.
And Wilson: (A Literary Politician)
Walter Bagehot is a name known to not a few of those who have a zest for the juiciest things of literature, for the wit that illuminates and the knowledge that refreshes. But his fame is still singularly disproportioned to his charm; and one feels once and again like publishing him at least to all spirits of his own kind. It would be a most agreeable good fortune to introduce Bagehot to men who have not read him! To ask your friend to know Bagehot is like inviting him to seek pleasure. Occasionally, a man is born into the world whose mission it evidently is to clarify the thought of his generation, and to vivify it; to give it speed where it is slow, vision where it is blind, balance where it is out of poise, saving humor where it is dry, - and such a man was Walter Bagehot. When he wrote of history, he made it seem human and probable; when he wrote of political economy, he made it seem credible, entertaining, - nay, engaging, even ; when he wrote criticism, he wrote sense. You have in him a man who can jest to your instruction, who will beguile you into being informed beyond your wont and wise beyond your birthright. Full of manly, straightforward meaning, earnest to find the facts that guide and strengthen conduct, a lover of good men and seers, full of knowledge and a consuming desire for it, he is yet genial withal, with the geniality of a man of wit, and alive in every fibre of him, with a life he can communicate to you. One is constrained to agree, almost, with the verdict of a witty countryman of his, who happily still lives to cheer us, that when Bagehot died he "carried away into the next world more originality of thought than is now to be found in the three Estates of the Realm."

There are plenty of key words used that stand out in both sections, but the one thing that stands out the most is that both elevate their idols beyond all reason. I have plenty of respect for our Founding Fathers, but I don't describe them this way. It's the ideas, not the man. Benjamin Franklin was right. In his speech on the floor of the Continental Congress, (among other things) Franklin wrote the following:

There is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government.

Both of them use that phrasing: "one man". One man.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hero Worship: Woodrow Wilson and Walter Bagehot

Personalities and cults of personalities surrounding revolutionaries, revolutionary leaders, and the people that revolutionaries look up to, is nothing new. So it goes for Woodrow Wilson as well. In a letter to his wife Ellen Axson Wilson, Woodrow Wilson wrote the following: (Links throughout for context)
To Ellen Axson Wilson Langport, Somerset, 12 August, 1896

My own darling, Langport is the place where Bagehot was born and lived; his grave is in the churchyard here, and in the church there is a beautiful memorial window to him, put in by his wife, who still lives at the family place (Herds Hill) here when she is not in London. Almost the first sign that caught my eye when I rode into Wells was “Stuckey’s Banking Co” and it at once occurred to me to ask how far off Langport was. I found it was only some 18 miles away, and Glastonbury on the same road. I saw Glastonbury this morning, and came here this afternoon. It is a quaint interesting little place. The churchyard lies upon a hill, standing at Bagehot’s grave, one looks out upon just such a view as that from Prospect Ave [in Princeton], only more beautiful with a sweet river running through it, and a wonderful golden light lying on it, as, it would seem, the whole of Somerset. The leaf enclosed is from Bagehot's grave, darling; please press it and keep it for me.

The word "groupie" comes to mind.

Wilson wrote two major essays regarding Bagehot, which are pretty well elaborated in this Google Blog page:

A Literary Politician (1895), full transcript.

A Wit and a Seer (1898), full transcript.


A Literary Politician

What follows is the direct transcript of Woodrow Wilson's essay "A Literary Politician", Wilson's 1895 essay which pays homage to his love for the writings of Walter Bagehot.


"Literary politician" is not a label much in vogue, and may need first of all a justification, lest even the man of whom I am about to speak should decline it from his very urn. I do not mean a politician who affects literature; who seems to appreciate the solemn moral purpose of Wordsworth's Happy Warrior, and yet is opposed to ballot reform. Neither do I mean a literary man who affects politics; who earns his victories through the publishers, and his defeats at the hands of the men who control the primaries. I mean the man who has the genius to see deep into affairs, and the discretion to keep out of them, - the man to whom, by reason of knowledge and imagination and sympathy, governments and policies are as open books, but who, instead of trying to put haphazard characters of his own into those books, wisely prefers to read their pages aloud to others. A man this who knows politics, and yet does not handle policies.

There is, no doubt, a very widespread skepticism as to the existence of such a man. Many people would ask you to prove him as well as define him; and that, as they assume, upon a very obvious principle. It is a rule of universal acceptance in theatrical circles that no one can write a good play who has no practical acquaintance with the stage. A knowledge of greenroom possibilities and of stage machinery, it is held, must go before all successful attempts to put either passion or humor into action on the boards, if pit and gallery are to get a sense of reality from the performance. No wonder that Sheridan's plays were effective, for Sheridan was both author and actor; but abundant wonder that simple Goldsmith succeeded with his exquisite She Stoops to Conquer, - unless we are to suppose that an Irishman of the last century, like the Irishman of this, had some sixth sense which enabled him to understand other people's business better than his own; for poor Goldsmith could not act (even off the stage), and his only connection with the theatre seems to have been his acquaintance with Garrick. Lytton, we know, had Macready constantly at his elbow, to give and enforce suggestions calculated to render plays playable. And in our own day, the authors of what we indulgently call "dramatic literature" find themselves constantly obliged to turn tragedies into comedies, comedies into farces, to satisfy the managers ; for managers know the stage, and pretend to know all possible audiences also. The writer for the stage must be playwright first, author second.

Similar principles of criticism are not a little affected by those who play the parts, great and small, on the stage of politics. There is on that stage, too, it is said, a complex machinery of action and scene-shifting, a greenroom tradition and practice as to costume and make-up, as to entry and exit, necessities of concession to footlights and of appeal to the pit, quite as rigorous and quite as proper for study as are the concomitants of that other art which we frankly call acting. This is an idea, indeed, accepted in some quarters outside the political playhouse as well as within it. Mr. Sidney Colvin, for example, declares very rightly that -

"Men of letters and of thought are habitually too much given to declaiming at their ease against the delinquencies of men of action and affairs. The inevitable friction of practical politics," he argues, "generates heat enough already, and the office of the thinker and critic should be to supply, not heat, but light. The difficulties which attend his own unmolested task - the task of seeking after and proclaiming salutary truths - should teach him to make allowance for the far more urgent difficulties which beset the politician; the man obliged, amidst the clash of interests and temptations, to practice from hand to mouth, and at his peril, the most uncertain and at the same time the most indispensable of the experimental arts."

Mr. Colvin is himself of the class of men of letters and of thought; he accordingly puts the case against his class rather mildly, - much more mildly than the practical politician would desire to see it put. Practical politicians are wont to regard closeted writers upon politics with a certain condescension, dashed with slight traces of apprehension, or at least of uneasy concern. "Literary men can say strong things of their age," observes Mr. Bagehot, "for no one expects that they will go out and act on them. They are a kind of ticket-ofleave lunatics, from whom no harm is for the moment expected; who seem quiet, but on whose vagaries a practical public must have its eye." I suppose that the really serious, practical man in politics would see nothing of satirical humor in this description. He would have you note that, although traced with a sharp point of wit, the picture is nevertheless true. He can cite you a score of instances illustrative of the danger of putting faith in the political judgments of those who are not politicians bred in the shrewd and moving world of political management.

The genuine practical politician, such as (even our enemies being the witnesses) we must be acknowledged to produce in great numbers and perfection in this country, reserves his acidest contempt for the literary man who assumes to utter judgments touching public affairs and political institutions. If he be a reading man, as will sometimes happen, he is able to point you, in illustration of what you are to expect in such cases, to the very remarkable essays of the late Mr. Matthew Arnold on parliamentary policy and the Irish question. If he be not a reading man, as sometimes happens, he is able to ask, much to your confusion, "What does a fellow who lives inside a library know about politics, anyhow?" You have to admit, if you ore candid, that most fellows who live in libraries know little enough. You remember Hacaulay, and acknowledge that, although he made admirable speeches in Parliament, held high political office, and knew all the considerable public men of his time, he did imagine the creation to have been made in accordance with Whig notions; did hope to find the judgments of Lord Somers some day answering mankind as standards for all possible times and circumstances. You recall Gibbon, and allow, to your own thought at least, that, had he not remained silent in his seat, a very few of his sentences would probahly have sufficed to freeze the House of Commons stiff. The ordinary literary man, even though he be an eminent historian, is ill enough fitted to be a mentor in affairs of government. For, it must be admitted, things are for the most part very simple in books, and in practical life very complex. Not all the bindings of a library inclose the various world of circumstance.

But the practical politician should discriminate. Let him find a man with an imagination which, though it stands aloof, is yet quick to conceive the very things in the thick of which the politician struggles. To that man he should resort for instruction. And that there is occasionally such a man we have proof in Bagehot, the man who first clearly distinguished the facts of the English constitution from its theory.

Walter Bagehot is a name known to not a few of those who have a zest for the juiciest things of literature, for the wit that illuminates and the knowledge that refreshes. But his fame is still singularly disproportioned to his charm; and one feels once and again like publishing him at least to all spirits of his own kind. It would be a most agreeable good fortune to introduce Bagehot to men who have not read him! To ask your friend to know Bagehot is like inviting him to seek pleasure. Occasionally, a man is born into the world whose mission it evidently is to clarify the thought of his generation, and to vivify it; to give it speed where it is slow, vision where it is blind, balance where it is out of poise, saving humor where it is dry, - and such a man was Walter Bagehot. When he wrote of history, he made it seem human and probable; when he wrote of political economy, he made it seem credible, entertaining, - nay, engaging, even ; when he wrote criticism, he wrote sense. You have in him a man who can jest to your instruction, who will beguile you into being informed beyond your wont and wise beyond your birthright. Full of manly, straightforward meaning, earnest to find the facts that guide and strengthen conduct, a lover of good men and seers, full of knowledge and a consuming desire for it, he is yet genial withal, with the geniality of a man of wit, and alive in every fibre of him, with a life he can communicate to you. One is constrained to agree, almost, with the verdict of a witty countryman of his, who happily still lives to cheer us, that when Bagehot died he "carried away into the next world more originality of thought than is now to be found in the three Estates of the Realm."

An epitome of Bagehot's life can be given very briefly. He was born in February, 1826, and died in March, 1877, the month in which one would prefer to die. Between those two dates he had much quaint experience as a boy, and much sober business experience as a man. He wrote essays on poets, prose writers, statesmen, whom he would, with abundant insight, but without too much respect of persons; also books on banking, on the early development of society, and on English politics, kindling a flame of interest with these dry materials such as made men stare who had often described the facts of society themselves, but who had never dreamed of applying fire to them, as Bagehot did, to make them give forth light and wholesome heat. He set the minds of a few fortunate friends aglow with the delights of the very wonderful tongue which nature had given him through his mother. And then he died, while his power was yet young. Not a life of event or adventure, but a life of deep interest, none the less, because a life in which those two things of our modern life, commonly deemed incompatible, business and literature, namely, were combined without detriment to either; and from which, more interesting still, politics gained a profound expounder in one who was no politician and no party man, but, as he himself said, "between sizes in politics."

Mr. Bagehot was born in the centre of Somersetshire, that southwestern county of old England whose coast towns look across Bristol Channel to the highlands of Wales : a county of small farms, and pastures that keep their promise of fatness to many generous milkers; a county broken into abrupt hills, and sodden moors hardly kept from the inroads of the sea, as well as rural valleys open to the sun; a county visited by mists from the sea, and bathed in a fine soft atmosphere all its own; visited also by people of fashion, for it contains Bath; visited now also by those who have read Lorna Doone, for within it lies part of that Exmoor Forest in which stalwart John Eidd lived and wrought his mighty deeds of strength and love: a land which the Celts kept for long against both Saxon and Roman, but which Christianity easily conquered, building Wells Cathedral and the monastery at Glastonbury. Nowhere else, in days of travel, could Bagehot find a land of so great delight save in the northwest corner of Spain, where a golden light lay upon everything, where the sea shone with a rare, soft lustre, and where there was a like varied coast-line to that he knew and loved at home. He called it "a sort of better Devonshire :" and Devonshire is Somersetshire, - only more so! The atmospheric effects of his county certainly entered the boy Bagehot, and colored the nature of the man. He had its glow, its variety, its richness, and its imaginative depth.

But better than a fair county is a good parentage, and that, too, Bagehot had; just the parentage one would wish to have who desired to be a force in the world's thought. His father, Thomas Watson Bagehot, was for thirty years managing director and vice - president of Stuckey's Banking Company, one of the oldest and best of those sturdy jointstock companies which have for so many years stood stoutly up alongside the Bank of England as managers of the vast English fortune. But he was something more than a banker. He was a man of mind, of strong liberal convictions in politics, and of an abundant knowledge of English history wherewith to back up his opinions. He was one of the men who think, and who think in straight lines; who see, and see things. His mother was a Miss Stuckey, a niece of the founder of the banking company. But it was not her connection with bankers that made her an invaluable mother. She had, besides beauty, a most lively and stimulating wit; such a mind as we most desire to see in a woman, - a mind that stirs without irritating you, that rouses but does not belabor, amuses and yet subtly instructs. She could preside over the young life of her son in such a way as at once to awaken his curiosity and set him in the way of satisfying it. She was brilliant company for a boy, and rewarding for a man. She had suggestive people, besides, among her kinsmen, into whose companionship she could bring her son. Bagehot had that for which no university can ever offer an equivalent, - the constant and intelligent sympathy of both his parents in his studies, and their companionship in his tastes. To his father's strength his mother added vivacity. He would have been wise, perhaps, without her; hut he would not have been wise so delightfully.

Bagehot got his schooling in Bristol, his university training in London. In Bristol lived Dr. Prichard, his mother's brother-in-law, and author of a notable book on the Races of Men. From him Bagehot unquestionably got his bent towards the study of race origins and development. In London, Cobden and Bright were carrying on an important part of their great agitation for the repeal of the corn laws, and were making such speeches as it stirred and bettered young men to hear. Bagehot had gone to University Hall, London, rather than to Oxford or Cambridge, because his father was a Unitarian, and would not have his son submit to the religious tests then required at the great universities. But there can be no doubt that there was more to be had at University Hall in that day than at either Oxford or Cambridge. Oxford and Cambridge were still dragging the very heavy chains of a hindering tradition; the faculty of University Hall contained many thorough and some eminent scholars ; what was more, University Hall was in London, and London itself was a quickening and inspiring teacher for a lad in love with both books and affairs, as Bagehot was. He could ask penetrating questions of his professors, and he could also ask questions of London, seek out her secrets of history, and so experience to the full the charm of her abounding life. In after-years, though he loved Somersetshire and clung to it with a strong homekeeping affection, he could never stay away from London for more than six weeks at a time. Eventually he made it his place of permanent residence.

His university career over, Bagehot did what so many thousands of young graduates before him had done, - he studied for the bar; and then, having prepared himself to practice law, followed another large body of young men in deciding to abandon it. He joined his father in his business as ship-owner and banker in Somersetshire, and after a time succeeded to the office of vice-president of the banking company. For the rest of his life, this man, whom the world knows as a man of letters, was first of all a man of business. In his later years, however, he identified himself with what may be called the literary side of business by becoming editor of that great financial authority, the London Economist. He had, so to say, married into this position. His wife was the daughter of the Rt. Hon. James Wilson, who was the mind and manager, as well as the founder, of the Economist. Wilson's death seemed to leave the great financial weekly by natural succession to Bagehot, and certainly natural selection never made a better choice. It was under Bagehot that the Economist became a sort of financial providence for business men on both sides of the Atlantic. Its sagacious prescience constituted Bagehot himself a sort of supplementary chancellor of the exchequer, the chancellors of both parties resorting to him with equal confidence and solicitude. His constant contact with London, and with, the leaders of politics and opinion there, of course materially assisted him also to those penetrating judgments touching the structure and working of English institutions which have made his volume on the English Constitution and his essays on Bolingbroke and Brougham and Peel, on Mr. Gladstone and Sir George Cornewall Lewis, the admiration and despair of all who have read them.

Those who know Bagehot only as the writer of some of the most delightful and suggestive literary criticisms in the language wonder that he should have been an authority on practical politics; those who used to regard the London Economist as omniscient, and who knew him only as the editor of it, marvel that he dabbled in literary criticism, and incline to ask themselves, when they learn of his vagaries in that direction, whether he can have been so safe a guide as they deemed him, after all; those who know him through his political writings alone venture upon the perusal of his miscellaneous writings with not a little surprise and misgiving that their master should wander so far afield. And yet the whole Bagehot is the only Bagehot. Each part of the man is incomplete, not only, but a trifle incomprehensible, also, without the other parts. What delights us most in his literary essays is their broad practical sagacity, so uniquely married as it is with pure taste and the style of a rapid artist in words. What makes his financial and political writings whole and sound is the scope of his mind outside finance and politics, the validity of his observation all around the circle of thought and affairs. There is constant balance, there is just perspective everywhere. He was the better critic for being a competent man of business and a trusted financial authority. He was the more surefooted in his political judgments because of his play of mind in other and supplementary spheres of human activity.

The very appearance of the man was a sort of outer index to the singular variety of capacity that has made him so notable a figure in the literary annals of England. A mass of black, wavy hair; a dark eye, with depths full of slumberous, playful fire; a ruddy skin that bespoke active blood, quick in its rounds; the lithe figure of an excellent horseman; a nostril, full, delicate, quivering, like that of a blooded racer, - such were the fitting outward marks of a man in whom life and thought and fancy abounded; the aspect of a man of unflagging vivacity, of wholesome, hearty humor, of a ready intellectual sympathy, of wide and penetrative observation. It is no narrow, logical shrewdness or cold penetration that looks forth at you through that face, even if a bit of mockery does lurk in the privatest corner of the eye. Among the qualities which he seeks out for special praise in Shakespeare is a broad tolerance and sympathy for illogical and common minds. It seems to him an evidence of size in Shakespeare that he was not vexed with smallness, but was patient, nay, sympathetic even, in his portrayal of it. "If every one were logical and literary," he exclaims, "how would there be scavengers, or watchmen, or caulkers, or coopers? A patient sympathy, a kindly fellow-feeling for the narrow intelligence necessarily induced by narrow circumstances, - a narrowness which, in some degrees, seems to be inevitable, and is perhaps more serviceable than most things to the wise conduct of life, - this, though quick and half-bred minds may despise it, seems to be a necessary constituent in the composition of manifold genius. 'How shall the world be served?' asks the host in Chaucer. We must have cart-horses as well as race-horses, draymen as well as poets. It is no bad thing, after all, to be a slow man and to have one idea a year. You don't make a figure, perhaps, in argumentative society, which requires a quicker species of thought, but is that the worse?"

One of the things which strikes us most in Bagehot himself is his capacity to understand inferior minds; and there can be no better test of sound genius. He stood in the midst of affairs, and knew the dull duty and humdrum fidelity which make up the equipment of the ordinary mind for business, for the business which keeps the world steady in its grooves and makes it fit for habitation. He perceived quite calmly, though with an odd, sober amusement, that the world is under the dominion, in most things, of the average man, and the average man he knows. He is, he explains, with his characteristic covert humor, "a cool, common person, with a considerate air. with figures in his mind, with his own business to attend to, with a set of ordinary opinions arising from and suited to ordinary life. He can't bear novelty or originalities. He says, 'Sir, I never heard such a thing before in my life ;' and he thinks this a reductio ad absurdum. You may see his taste by the reading of which he approves. Is there a more splendid monument of talent and industry than the Times? No wonder that the average man - that any one - believes in it. ... But did you ever see anything there you had never seen before? . . . Where are the deep theories, and the wise axioms, and the everlasting sentiments which the writers of the most influential publication in the world have been the first to communicate to an ignorant species? Such writers are far too shrewd. . . . The purchaser desires an article which he can appreciate at sight, which he can lay down and say, 'An excellent article, very excellent; exactly my own sentiments.' Original theories give trouble; besides, a grave man on the Coal Exchange does not desire to be an apostle of novelties among the contemporaneous dealers in fuel; he wants to be provided with remarks he can make on the topics of the day which will not be known not to be his, that are not too profound, which he can fancy the paper only reminded him of. And just in the same way," - thus he proceeds with the sagacious moral, - " precisely as the most popular political paper is not that which is abstractedly the best or most instructive, but that which most exactly takes up the minds of men where it finds them, catches the floating sentiment of society, puts it in such a form as society can fancy would convince another society which did not believe, so the most influential of constitutional statesmen is the one who most felicitously expresses the creed of the moment, who administers it, who embodies it in laws and institutions, who gives it the highest life it is capable of, who induces the average man to think, ' I could not have done it any better if I had had time myself.'"

See how his knowledge of politics proceeds out of his knowledge of men. "You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius," he exclaims, "but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor. What law is so cruel as the law of doing what he does? What yoke is so galling as the necessity of being like him? What espionage of despotism comes to your door so effectually as the eye of the man who lives at your door? Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to fqllow other men's habits. Of course, if we do not, no formal ban issues, no corporeal pain, the coarse penalty of a barbarous society, is inflicted on the offender, but we are called ' eccentric;' there is a gentle murmur of 'most unfortunate ideas,' 'singular young man,' ' well intentioned. I dare say, but unsafe, sir, quite unsafe.' The prudent, of course, conform."

There is, no doubt, a touch of mockery in all this, but there is unquestionable insight in it, too, and a sane knowledge also of the fact that dull, common judgments are, after all, the cement of society. It is Bagehot who says somewhere that it is only dull nations, like the Romans and the English, who can become or remain for any length of time self-governing nations, because it is only among them that duty is done, through lack of knowledge sufficient or imagination enough to suggest anything else to do; only among them that the stability of slow habit can be had.

It would be superficial criticism to put forward Bagehot's political opinions as themselves the proof of his extraordinary power as a student and analyst of institutions. His life, his broad range of study, his quick versatility, his shrewd appreciation of common men, his excursions through all the fields that men traverse in their thought of one another and in their contact with the world's business, - these are the soil out of which his political judgments spring, from which they get their sap and bloom. In order to know institutions, you must know men; you must bo able to imagine histories, to appreciate characters radically unlike your own, to see into the heart of society and assess its notions, great and small. Your average critic, it must be acknowledged, would be the worst possible commentator on affairs. He has all the movements of intelligence without any of its reality. But a man who sees authors with a Chaucerian insight into them as men, who knows literature as a realm of vital thought conceived by real men, of actual motive felt by concrete persons, this is a man whose opinions you may confidently ask, if not on current politics, at any rate on all that concerns the permanent relations of men in society.

It is for such reasons that one must first make known the most masterly of the critics of English political institutions as a man of catholic tastes and attainments, shrewdly observant of many kinds of men and affairs. Know him once in this way, and his mastery in political thought is explained. If I were to make choice, therefore, of extracts from his works with a view to recommend him as a politician, I should choose those passages which show him a man of infinite capacity to see and understand men of all kinds, past and present. By showing in his case the equipment of a mind open on all sides to the life and thought of society, and penetrative of human secrets of many sorts, I should authenticate his credentials as a writer upon politics, which is nothing else than the public and organic life of society.

Examples may be taken almost at random. There is the passage on Sydney Smith, in the essay on The First Edinburgh Reviewers. "We have all laughed with that great-hearted clerical wit; but it is questionable whether we have all appreciated him as a man who wrote and wrought wisdom. Indeed, Sydney Smith may be made a very delicate test of sound judgment, the which to apply to friends of whom you are suspicious. There was a man beneath those excellent witticisms, a big, wholesome, thinking man; but none save men of like wholesome natures can see and value his manhood and his mind at their real worth.

"Sydney Smith was an after-dinner writer. His words have a flow, a vigor, an expression, which is not given to hungry mortals. . . . There is little trace of labor in his composition ; it is poured forth like an unceasing torrent, rejoicing daily to run its course. And what courage there is in it! There is as much variety of pluck in writing across a sheet as in riding across a country. Cautious men ... go tremulously, like a timid rider; they turn hither and thither; they do not go straight across a subject, like a masterly mind. A few sentences are enough for a master of sentences. The writing of Sydney Smith is suited to the broader kind of important questions. For anything requiring fine nicety of speculation, long elaborateness of deduction, evanescent sharpness of distinction, neither his style nor his mind was fit. He had no patience for long argument, no acuteness for delicate precision, no fangs for recondite research. Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders. Sydney Smith was a molar. He did not run a long, sharp argument into the interior of a question; he did not, in the common phrase, go deeply into it; but he kept it steadily under the contact of a strong, capable, jawlike understanding, - pressing its surface, effacing its intricacies, grinding it down. Yet this is done without toil. The play of the molar is instinctive and placid; he could not help it; it would seem that he had an enjoyment in it."

One reads this with a feeling that Bagehot both knows and likes Sydney Smith, and heartily appreciates him as an engine of Whig thought; and with the conviction that Bagehot himself, knowing thus and enjoying Smith's freehand method of writing, could have done the like himself, - could himself have made English ring to all the old Whig tunes, like an anvil under the hammer. And yet you have only to turn back a page in the same essay to find quite another Bagehot, - a Bagehot such as Sydney Smith could not have been. He is speaking of that other militant Edinburgh reviewer, Lord Jeffrey, and is recalling, as every one recalls, Jeffrey's review of Wordsworth's Excursion. The first words of that review, as everybody remembers, were, " This will never do ;" and there followed upon those words, though not a little praise of the poetical beauties of the poem, a thoroughly meant condemnation of the school of poets of which Wordsworth was the greatest representative. Very celebrated in the world of literature is the leading case of Jeffrey v. Wordsworth. It is in summing up this case that Bagehot gives us a very different taste of his quality: -

"The world has given judgment. Both Mr. Wordsworth and Lord Jeffrey have received their reward. The one had his own generation, the laughter of men, the applause of drawing-rooms, the concurrence of the crowd; the other a succeeding age, the fond enthusiasm of secret students, the lonely rapture of lonely minds. And each has received according to his kind. If all cultivated men speak differently because of the existence of Wordsworth and Coleridge; if not a thoughtful English book has appeared for forty years without some trace for good or evil of their influence; if sermon-writers subsist upon their thoughts; if 'sacred poets' thrive by translating their weaker portions into the speech of women; if, when all this is over, some sufficient part of their writing will ever be found fitting food for wild musing and solitary meditation, surely this is because they possessed the inner nature, - 'an intense and glowing mind,' 'the vision and the faculty divine.' But if, perchance, in their weaker moments, the great authors of the Lyrical Ballads did ever imagine that the world was to pause because of their verses, that Peter Bell would be popular in drawing-rooms, that Christabel would be perused in the city, that people of fashion would make a handbook of The Excursion, it was well for them to be told at once that this was not so. Nature ingeniously prepared a shrill artificial voice, which spoke in season and out of season, enough and more than enough, what will ever be the idea of the cities of the plain concerning those who live alone among the mountains, of the frivolous concerning the grave, of the gregarious concerning the recluse, of those who laugh concerning those who laugh not, of the common concerning the uncommon, of those who lend on usury concerning those who lend not; the notion of the world of those whom it will not reckon among the righteous, - it said, 'This won't do!' And so in all time will the lovers of polished Liberalism speak concerning the intense and lonely prophet."

This is no longer the Bagehot who could "write across a sheet " with Sydney Smith. It is now a Bagehot whose heart is turned away from the cudgeling Whigs to see such things as are hidden from the bearers of cudgels, and revealed only to those who can await in the sanctuary of a quiet mind the coming of the vision.

Single specimens of such a man's writing do not suffice, of course, even as specimens. They need their context to show their appositeness, the full body of the writing from which they are taken to show the mass and system of the thought. Even separated pieces of his matter prepare us, nevertheless, for finding in Bagehot keener, juster estimates of difficult historical and political characters than it is given the merely exact historian, with his head full of facts and his heart purged of all imagination, to speak. There is his estimate of the cavalier, for example: " A cavalier is always young. The buoyant life arises before us, rich in hope, strong in vigor, irregular in action: men young and ardent, 'framed in the prodigality of nature ;' open to every enjoyment, alive to every passion, eager, impulsive ; brave without discipline, noble without principle; prizing luxury, despising danger; capable of high sentiment, but in each of whom the

'addiction was to courses vain;

His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow;

His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,

And never noted in him any study,

Any retirement, any sequestration

From open haunts and popularity.'

The political sentiment is part of the character; the essence of Toryism is enjoyment. . . . The way to keep up old customs is to enjoy old customs; the way to be satisfied with the present state of things is to enjoy the present state of things. Over the cavalier mind this world passes with a thrill of delight; there is an exultation in a daily event, zest in the 'regular thing,' joy at an old feast."

Is it not most natural that the writer of a passage like that should have been a consummate critic of politics, seeing institutions through men, the only natural way? It was as necessary that he should be able to enjoy Sydney Smith and recognize the seer in Wordsworth as that he should be able to conceive the cavalier life and point of view; and in each perception there is the same power. He is as little at fault in understanding men of his own day. What would you wish better than his celebrated character of a "constitutional statesman," for example? "A constitutional statesman is a man of common opinions and uncommon abilities." Peel is his example. "His opinions resembled the daily accumulating insensible deposits of a rich alluvial soil. The great stream of time flows on with all things on its surface; and slowly, grain by grain, a mould of wise experience is unconsciously left on the still, extended intellect. . . . The stealthy accumulating words of Peel seem like the quiet leavings of some outward tendency, which brought these, but might as well have brought others. There is no peculiar stamp, either, on the ideas. They might have been any one's ideas. They belong to the general diffused stock of observations which are to be found in the civilized world. . . . He insensibly takes in and imbibes the ideas of those around him. If he were left in a vacuum, he would have no ideas."

What strikes one most, perhaps, in all these passages, is the realizing imagination which illuminates them. And it is an imagination with a practical character all its own. It is not a creating, but a conceiving imagination; not the imagination of the fancy, but the imagination of the understanding. Conceiving imaginations, however, are of two kinds. Fop the one kind the understanding serves as a lamp of guidance; upon the other the understanding acts as an electric excitant, a keen irritant. Bagehot's was evidently of the first kind; Carlyle's, conspicuously of the second. There is something in common between the minds of these two men as they conceive society. Both have a capital grip upon the actual; both can conceive without confusion the complex phenomena of society; both send humorous glances of searching insight into the hearts of men. But it is the difference between the men that most arrests our attention. Bagehot has the scientific imagination, Carlyle the passionate. Bagehot is the embodiment of witty common sense; all the movements of his mind illustrate that vivacious sanity which lie has himself called "animated moderation." Carlyle, on the other hand, conceives men and their motives too often with a hot intolerance; there is heat in his imagination, - a heat that sometimes scorches and consumes. Life is for him dramatic, full of fierce, imperative forces. Even when the world rings with laughter, it is laughter which, in his ears, is succeeded by an echo of mockery; laughter which is but a defiance of tears. The actual which you touch in Bagehot is the practical, operative actual of a world of workshops and parliaments, - a world of which workshops and parliaments are the natural and desirable products. Carlyle flouts at modern legislative assemblies as "talking shops," and yearns for action such as is commanded by masters of action; preaches the doctrine of work and silence in some thirty volumes octavo. Bagehot points out that prompt, crude action is the instinct and practice of the savage; that talk, the deliberation of assemblies, the slow concert of masses of men, is the cultivated fruit of civilization, nourishing to all the powers of right action in a society which is not simple and primitive, but advanced and complex. He is no more imposed upon by parliamentary debates than Carlyle is. He knows that they are stupid, and, so far as wise utterance goes, in large part futile, too. But he is not irritated, as Carlyle is, for, to say the fact, he sees more than Carlyle sees. He sees the force and value of the stupidity. He is wise, along with Burke, in regarding prejudice as the cement of society. He knows that slow thought is the ballast of a self-governing state. Stanch, knitted timbers are as necessary to the ship as sails. Unless the hull is conservative in holding stubbornly together in the face of every argument of sea weather, there '11 be lives and fortunes lost. Bagehot can laugh at unreasoning bias. It brings a merry twinkle into his eye to undertake the good sport of dissecting stolid stupidity. But he would not for the world abolish bias and stupidity. He would much rather have society hold together; much rather see it grow than undertake to reconstruct it. "You remember my joke against you about the moon," writes Sydney Smith to Jeffrey; "d-n the solar system - bad light - planets too distant - pestered with comets - feeble contrivance; could make a better with great ease." There was nothing of this in Bagehot. He was inclined to be quite tolerant of the solar system. He understood that society was more quickly bettered by sympathy than by antagonism.

Bagehot's limitations, though they do not obtrude themselves upon your attention as his excellencies do, are in truth as sharp-cut and clear as his thought itself. It would not be just the truth to say that his power is that of critical analysis only, for he can and does construct thought concerning antique and obscure systems of political life and social action. But it is true that he does not construct for the future. You receive stimulation from him and a certain feeling of elation. There is a fresh air stirring in all his utterances that is unspeakably refreshing. You open your mind to the fine influence, and feel younger for having been in such an atmosphere. It is an atmosphere clarified and bracing almost beyond example elsewhere. But you know what you lack in Bagehot if you have read Burke. You miss the deep eloquence which awakens purpose. You are not in contact with systems of thought or with principles that dictate action, but only with a 'perfect explanation. You would go to Burke, not to Bagehot, for inspiration in the infinite tasks of self-government, though you would, if you were wise, go to Bagehot rather than to Burke if you wished to realize just what were the practical daily conditions under which those tasks were to be worked out.

Moreover, there is a deeper lack in Bagehot. He has no sympathy with the voiceless body of the people, with the "mass of unknown men." He conceives the work of government to be a work which is possible only to the instructed few. He would have the mass served, and served with devotion, but he would tremble to see them attempt to serve themselves. He has not the stout fibre and the unquestioning faith in the right and capacity of inorganic majorities which makes the democrat. He has none of the heroic boldness necessary for faith in wholesale political aptitude and capacity. He takes democracy in detail in his thought, and to take it in detail makes it look very awkward indeed.

And yet surely it would not occur to the veriest democrat that ever vociferated the "sovereignty of the people" to take umbrage at anything Bagehot might chance to say in dissection of democracy. What he says is seldom provokingly true. There is something in it all that is better than a " saving clause," and that is a saving humor. Humor ever keeps the whole of his matter sound; it is an excellent salt that keeps sweet the sharpest of his sayings. Indeed, Bagehot's wit is so prominent among his gifts that I am tempted here to enter a general plea for wit as fit company for high thoughts and weighty subjects. Wit does not make a subject light; it simply beats it into shape to be handled readily. For my part, I make free acknowledgment that no man seems to me master of his subject who cannot take liberties with it; who cannot slap his propositions on the back and be hail-fellow well met with them. Suspect a man of shallowness who always takes himself and all that he thinks seriously. For light on a dark subject commend me to a ray of wit. Most of your solemn explanations are mere farthing candles in the great expanse of a difficult question. Wit is not, I admit, a steady light, but ah ! its flashes give you sudden glimpses of unsuspected things such as you will never see without it. It is the summer lightning, which will bring more to your startled eye in an instant, out of the hiding of the night, than you will ever be at the pains to observe in the full blaze of noon.

Wit is movement, is play of mind; and the mind cannot get play without a sufficient playground. Without movement outside the world of books, it is impossible a man should see aught but the very neatly arranged phenomena of that world. But it is possible for a man's thought to be instructed by the world of affairs without the man himself becoming a part of it. Indeed, it is exceedingly hard for one who is in and of it to hold the world of affairs off at arm's length and observe it. He has no vantage-ground. He had better for a while seek the distance of books, and get his perspective. The literary politician, let it be distinctly said, is a very fine, a very superior species of the man thoughts f ul. He reads books as he would listen to men talk. He stands apart, and looks on, with humorous, sympathetic smile, at the play of policies. He will tell you for the asking what the players are thinking about. He divines at once how the parts are cast. He knows beforehand what each act is to discover. He might readily guess what the dialogue is to contain. Were you short of scene-shifters, he could serve you admirably in an emergency. And he is a better critic of the play than the players.

Had I command of the culture of men, I should wish to raise up for the instruction and stimulation of my nation more than one sane, sagacious, penetrative critic of men and affairs like Walter Bagehot. But that, of course. The proper thesis to draw from his singular genius is this: It is not the constitutional lawyer, nor the student of the mere machinery and legal structure of institutions, nor the politician, a mere handler of that machinery, who is competent to understand and expound government; but the man who finds the materials for his thought far and wide, in everything that reveals character and circumstance and motive. It is necessary to stand with the poets as well as with lawgivers; with the fathers of the race as well as with your neighbor of today; with those who toil and are sick at heart as well as with those who prosper and laugh and take their pleasure; with the merchant and the manufacturer as well as with the closeted student; with the schoolmaster and with those whose only school is life; with the orator and with the men who have wrought always in silence; in the midst of thought and also in the midst of affairs, if you would really comprehend those great wholes of history and of character which are the vital substance of politics.

Woodrow Wilson.