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States’ Rights and Less Regulation

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In addition to being uniformly anti-Obama, the Republican field in the race for the 2012 presidency has other common attributes; one such is the extreme ideology many of them profess. Ron Paul is a leading libertarian, and his thinking is unsettling to many of us. But Ron Paul may see himself as being less interested in the presidency than in the potential to have his ideas heard.

Among the Republicans, including libertarians, evangelicals, and a wide range of anthrostrategists, we find some who support the corporate domination issue. This is not something new; following WWll, Eisenhower was called a communist because of his aversion to the military/industrial complex of the 1950’s. Further back, Judge Robert W. Archbald of the United States Commerce Court was removed from the bench by a House Judiciary Committee for accepting favors from corporations. Again, this is nothing new.

Mitt Romney still seeks the support of the Heritage/Limbaugh people, which some would agree makes him old school. Rick Perry while making some effort to distance himself from that old school thinking, is solidly in good standing with George W. Bush, and is a cohort of Karl Rove. The old school politicians are a threat to America, and all the worse for proclaiming to the naïve tea party constituency that they are solidly for the people.

Many of the Republicans agree to end taxation, a noble idea, but not consistent with rational behavior. Statist thinking restricts media coverage of the administrators and promotes corruption. To take a position that bringing the power to the 50 states will instill in diplomats’ new zeal and patriotism is not altogether consistent with human behavior. The election of 2008 was steeped in demands for new accountability and transparency, and we now see a swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction. If the tea party people have a firm belief that our free and democratic society is forever assured, they may be setting themselves up for a shock.

The strict libertarians might have abhorrence about spending our dollars on the victims of the current hurricanes in the east, or the people of Haiti, or the starving infants in Somalia. We Americans gain strength from that kind of aid. As to the protection of seekers of freedom around the world, we, in the long run, aid ourselves by coming to their defense. Add to that the necessity of keeping the oil lines open, and the world nuclear free, and we see these expenses are unavoidable. Bush supported one world government; now we have the Euro to contend with. It was Bush who invaded Iraq, and the loss of life is incomprehensible.  There is no hope for any positive outcome in Afghanistan. These issues can’t be decided on a school of philosophy, they have to be considered each for its own merits. The choice is not between a new world order, or some degree of isolationism; rather a middle road might be the solution.

Rick Perry is a blusterer and can be outspoken. In November of 2010, he and Newt Gingrich published Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, in which were listed a number of suggestions he and the former speaker had for changing the American Constitution.

The authors of the Constitution were fervent and dedicated; filled with zeal for the new nation. Now, in 2011, the dedication has taken a destructive turn, as politicians pride themselves in circumventing democratic morality.

The balance of power is a concept embraced by those espousing many philosophical systems. It is a basic premise to our way of life. The three branches of government, all equal, are to be constantly watchful for any breach of ethics and morals, and will address any impropriety; they will not rest until governmental virtue is restored. In Perry’s constitution, the Supreme Court justices, indeed, all judges, will come and go. Much like the senators and the members of the House, they will need to have concerns about their continued presence. The problem, Perry reasons, is that members of the judiciary are “unaccountable” to the people, and their lifetime tenure gives them free license to act however they want. Under Perry, the judges will have to kowtow to the politicians, and the balance will be the cost. Perry has a goal of severely limiting the power of the bench. Congress, by a two thirds majority, could override judicial decisions. The judges are astute students of the law and of the Constitution. The senators might not be so well prepared. Further, under Perry’s plan, the senators would appoint state legislators, thus depriving the people of one additional right.

The move toward a state-run America would be enhanced by the elimination of the federal Income tax. If the states have more money, the legislators in Washington will have much less. In addition to other advantages, we then will do away with some ponderous regulation, which many see as curtailments of liberty. This author favors addressing each issue of regulation separately. Keeping them in a bunch, while voicing philosophical explanations, won’t work. On that matter, credit card fees, floating rate mortgages, air pollution, and safe vehicles all may be included; that’s just the start.

Perry is a dedicated proponent of states’ rights, yet on the matters of abortion, and gay marriage, he specifically calls for national regulation. Abortion is an important issue; does that explain his departure? Perry feels the termination of unwanted pregnancies should be illegal in all 50 states. Prior to the legalization of abortion, death on kitchen-table operating venues was a common cause of mortality in women. Gay marriage is as trivial as anything that can swing an election, but here too, he would leave the decision to the feds.

Many in the Republican field are extreme in their views; this new extremism, much exacerbated by the vocal Tea Party, may cost the GOP the election. A better solution might be a new era of cooperation, and an acceptance of reality over fantasy by the Republicans in Washington.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Liberty is security

    Ron Paul or nobody. I will never vote for any of the phonies on either the right or left side of the corporatist monster again.

  • teparttenthry

    I stopped reading after I read they support corporate domination. I also should have stopped when you said that Eisenhower was a communist for not supporting the military industrial complex. I would like to point out that democrats are the ones that used that in Vietnam and to push an aggressive anti-soviet campaign which accelerated the cold war. I would also like to point out that this article provided no quotes of any leading conservative saying Ike was a communist.

  • John Lake

    I clearly and distinctly said Eisenhower was ACCUSED of being a communist. In fact he was a great patriot. It was in fact the notorious John Birchers, made the claim.
    In the military/industrial complex, I don’t see much to to tangibly support. Eisenhower was in a position, as former General, and President of the United States to be aware of and warn the public of an unlimited potential for corruption.
    while it is difficult to link the Birchers to a movement which would give all power to the corporations, and give only enough support to the people to provide an appearance of decency, I do believe the Birchers were the forerunners of Bush, Cheney, and the Haliburton bunch.

  • Cannonshop

    #3 except that Halliburton’s a great example of what Ike was warning against-that Big Government NEEDS Big Business to perpetuate itself, and the relationship is, well, for want of a better term, symbiotic and self-reinforcing (Big Business NEEDS regulations to be arcane and complex in order to stifle and prevent competition from smaller, leaner, more effective enterprises. To wit: Halliburton got the contracts because they were the last company of their sort still standing after decades of regulatory paring of the industry, combined with a commerce dept. that encouraged merger-mania.)

    Neither Bush, nor Cheney, were really ‘conservative’ as it would apply to, say, the rank-and-file of the so-called “Tea Party”, they’re just as big-government as Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter, just the targets for ‘soaking’ and areas of desired control (mostly) change. Actions DO speak louder than words (or speeches)-they’re “NeoCons”: big-government statists with a religious veneer and a rhetorical coat of paint.

  • Clavos

    they’re “NeoCons”: big-government statists with a religious veneer and a rhetorical coat of paint.

    Nicely turned phrase.

  • Cannonshop

    Thank you Clavos.

  • zingzing

    take this at face value, cannon and clavos: why do you (if you do,) support the citizens united decision?

  • @4

    Can’t help but agree, Cannon. And you can’t break that combination.

  • Cannonshop

    Support it? considering that the law it overturned abjectly failed to reform campaign finance in any meaningful way?

    The first fundamental flaw is that the law recognizes corporations and interest groups as if they were real, flesh-and-blood citizens. Within the framework of the rest of the existing legal maze, the decision was probably consistent…

    the real problem, is the treatment of non-individuals (organizations, groups, etc.) as if they were actual people-a situation not addressed by the law that was overturned. Until this climate of “collective rights” and “Collective identity” (aside from citizenship) is dealt with, you can expect MORE ‘Citizens United’ style decisions-someone gave nonhuman entities (Corporations, interest groups and the like) the same rights as real people, since they did that, infringing on those rights becomes wrong, ergo, within the framework, the decision is correct.

    Morally, I find it questionable, legally? not so much-it is merely unfortunate that what is “Moral” has become synonymous in certain aspects of our culture to what is Legal-and vice-versa.

    The first step, therefore, is to somehow get into the law, a clear, defining separation between the rights of the Citizen (the individual) and the privelages (not RIGHTS) of corporate entities, organizations, and pressure groups…

    Which ain’t going to happen. face it, the UAW and General Motors would be on exactly the same page here as the KKK and the Black Panthers, or GreenPeace and Halliburton.

    They’d fight tooth and nail and empty their warchests to preserve those protections of their ‘corporate’ rights.

  • Cannonshop

    #8 any combination can be broken, but it takes the will to do so, and it’s difficult. The first step, of course, is to recognize it for what it is, and refuse to buy into the sales tactics that keep it going.

  • zingzing

    so you agree that, as a human, that shit is wrong. but legally… it’s different. i guess i agree. that precedent had better not go further. farther? i don’t know what the grammar says at this stage. distance?

  • @10

    You’re thinking, Cannon, begins to converge with mine.

    If we take your corporations & trade unions analogy at face value, each as an example of “corporate rights,” then what we have here is a case of class warfare delimited to the legal arena (which accounts, partly, for political stalemate). And on this view, in deciding on Citizens United, SCOTUS sided with the ruling (capitalist) class. Is the legal arena a polite and civil manner of conducting class warfare, in the context provided by liberal democracies? I suppose so, but then there’s a price to be paid in political inaction. Which kind of points to the limitations of the legal system to resolve real-life conflicts.

    A combination can’t be broken if the relationship is symbiotic. To break it, you’ve got to get rid of both terms of the equation.

  • “Corporations are people, my friend.”
    — Mitt Romney

  • troll

    “My friends are corporations, people.”

    – Mitt’s Id

  • Ain’t biting.

  • Clavos


    As Cannon points out, the law has, for some time now, defined them as “people.”

    Laws, of course, can be changed and/or rescinded…

  • Igor

    Actually, ¨the law¨ doesn´t define corporations as ´people´, there is just a rump opinion in the old Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific case which was added by a SCOTUS court reporter, in 1886 IIRC. Doesn´t have the force of law.

    ¨Corporate Personhood¨ is a vigorously debated legal concept, but not law.

    If a corporation is a person, then how do we imprison PGE (Pacific Gas and Electric, corp.) after the negligence preceding the gas main explosion last year that killed several people and burned 30 homes to the ground? How do we remand PGE pending trial for Criminal Negligence to prevent them doing further harm and make sure they don´t flee or cause their dollar assets to flee? If PGE is convicted of Criminal Manslaughter, as many believe they should, how do we imprison them to make sure they stop doing it? How would we administer Capital Punishment if they are convicted of murder?

    Or is it simply the opinion of the Peanut Gallery here assembled that corporations have people rights but no people responsibilities?

  • John Lake

    The law notwithstanding, the situation of legislators doing the will of the corporations is not in keeping with democratic government. In today’s real lawmaking, the needs of corporations are being considered, even when they directly oppose the needs of people. Some politicians would end regulations that protect people from banks and loaners. Some will submit to health providers who prescribe five tests, when one will do. Tests, referrals, and treatments all are subject to regulation. A person will vote for entitlements, and money for devastated areas, with no concern for profit. A corporation has no goal, beyond some matters of ‘image’ beyond profit. We have said, a CEO with a conscience, and goals not profit related, will soon be gone. The phrase, soul-less corporation applies.
    If the corporations could run full tilt, without reservation, we might someday find America bombing third world nations, then reaping the harvest in weapon production, and rebuilding. A corporation doesn’t consider as a factor, loss of life. That’s an extreme example, but not incomprehensible.

  • Cannonshop

    #17 your question effectively defines the problem-they have the rights (free speech, property, redress of grievances) but none of the responsibilities/accounatbility (not quite the same thing there).

    #18 A person, John, may vote for those things, without concern for profit, he might also vote those things without concern for how they might be paid for-so long as he does not believe he, himself is paying for it. Being generous with other people’s money is very much in line with the unscrupulous board of directors that vote themselves huge bonuses in spite of the company being near bankruptcy.

    Both cases are grossly irresponsible, the difference is, the board can’t give themselves bonuses from money the corporation doesn’t have, but we see entitlements and relief paid out from money the entire COUNTRY doesn’t have.

  • Sliding back, Cannon, into old mode of thinking. For a while I thought you were on the cutting edge.

  • the difference is, the board can’t give themselves bonuses from money the corporation doesn’t have

    Umm… where have you been for the last couple of years, Cannon?

  • If a corporation is a person, then how do we imprison PGE (Pacific Gas and Electric, corp.) after the negligence preceding the gas main explosion last year that killed several people and burned 30 homes to the ground?

    Perhaps the US needs a corporate manslaughter law like the one in my native England, where corporations can be held criminally responsible for fatal negligence or recklessness. Not only does the law allow for corporations to be convicted and fined, but individual directors can also be imprisoned.

  • Cannonshop

    #20 Roger, I never LEFT old-mode thinking-there’s usually a reason some ideas survive past the first couple centuries of their existence-they work.

    As long as you’re going to have a medium of exchange that involves symbols of value (i.e. money), you’re going to have certain behaviours associated with that medium of exchange. Individual PEOPLE tend to be generous and compassionate, but when you separate them a few degrees out (say, with Corporations, or Charities, or Government) those little talismans of value grow in importance, and at the same time, what is done with them becomes trivial-a paradox in the same mind.

    In many ways, Government has taken the same talisman position that The Church held for centuries-and the same can be said of business corporate entities, or associations like Labour Unions or political action committees or special-interest-lib groups, or even political parties.

    Thus, people fall into the belief that, for instance,the government that prints the money on paper, has a bottomless source of real value to tap in paying it out-whether those people are government suppliers, or charity-case advocates, the same falsehood sits under the hood. Big Government types will then use this subliminal belief, and when the money dries up, they’ll seek another faceless entity (The Rich today, or the Jews in the past) to blame for cutting the well of plenty off, because the concept that something that big, that ‘too big to fail’, could possibly be broke, that their dreams of utopia could possibly be stymied by a mere lack of funds (those little fetishistic symbols of value we call money).

    The desire to do good is insufficient-this is a lesson that has to be re-learned every few generations. It is necessary to have the means-and those means in a system where the medium of exchange for goods, and services, is a little fetish of paper or metal with a number on it that represents a ‘something’ considered valuable, depends on production of things of REAL value-physical value. Food, for instance, is not free. Nor is medicine, nor is shelter. The more of those you have, the less it costs, but it never reaches value=zero, because those things require farmers, builders, laborers, and raw materials along with time.

    There is a moral hazard in being generous with other people’s life-energy, their time, their sweat, their blood. Governments and Corporations spend these resources wastefully because it is not THEIR life energy, their blood, their sweat, and the bigger and more removed they are from the core processes, the more wastefully they expend those assets.

    Governments do it for power, corps do it for ‘profit’, which is just an indirect way of saying power, there are slight differences in the rules they have to abide, but whether it’s buying votes with relief supplies and speeches, or buying loyalty with wages, it comes down to the same thing.

  • You don’t need to justify for me where you’re coming from unless you want to hear yourself speak. I’m more anti-statist than you are, so cut to the chase.

    How do you break the gridlock, Big Business vs. Big Government? It’s a symbiotic relationship and they feed one off another.

    Another question I raised was the inadequacy of the legalistic model in certain situations, especially when there’s real-life, unresolved conflict (class warfare, in this instance). The legalistic system manages only to mask the conflict by veneer of civility, not to resolve it. Political gridlock and inaction is the result.

    Conservative though you may be, in subscribing to the legalistic mode you’re subscribing to the philosophy of liberalism. Just as big business and the state are at constant odds with one another, yet each is necessary to the other’s existence, so are you and Handy, for instance. Your relationship exhibits the same kind of conflict and underlying agreement, only in miniature.

  • i’ve been trying to bang the gong for voter-enforced campaign finance reform because no bought off elected official will turn down fists full of cash. the idea is simple, but requires a plurality of voters committed to this goal: voting only for candidates who refuse any contribution over $200 from any one donor. no voter in his or her right mind would knowingly vote for a pederast or convicted felon; so why should anyone support a candidate who is compromised to the gills in elite, special interest cash?

  • Cannonshop

    #24 It’s not a “vs” situation, though-outside of the rhetoric, they have the same mindset, the same solutions to the same (self created) problems, and the same goals.

    The difference between US, Roger, is that you’re anti-State, I’m simply Pro-Individual, and it IS a significant difference. I don’t see smashing the state as a viable alternative, I see Anarchy as the transition to autocratic tyranny and rule by those who have the ability to organize men with guns.

    AnCap is a nice fantasy, but it doesn’t work, a trait it shares with Marx’s vision of Communism-the result is either Napoleon, or Stalin.

    Do I have an answer? not really. There is no neat solution-set out there that will just ‘drop in’ and function, the world and human action are too complicated for neat, elegant solutions, but there are incremental changes that might steer things into a more survivable, even reformed, condition. The tough part, is identifying which levers will do this, and which ones will only guarantee more of the same but with different rhetorical paint.

    WE didn’t get here in a single generation, it took decades to devolve things to the point of danger we’re at now, and it’s going to take just as long or longer to get us out of this hole-assuming we start things NOW.

  • For you to claim that I’m anti-state and that you’re pro-individual captures the main difference between our views is to completely misunderstand (and misrepresent) my position. I’m anti-state precisely because I’m pro-individual. (Of course, there may be significant differences between what you and I may mean by being “pro-individual.”)

    You’re right in that it is not a “vs. situation,” that it is, in essence, a relationship of mutual interdependence (if not reciprocity), which is being portrayed by the powers that be as a relationship of conflict resulting from presumably opposite objectives/ends — so as not to upset the apple cart. Still, for you to say that “there is no neat solution” is in effect to say that there’s no solution, and your suggestions as to what might be done and how to proceed surely must sound feeble at best, even to your own ear. If there’s a cancer in the body politic, it has to be surgically or chemically removed; tinkering with it only alleviates the symptoms. So yes, you and your online friends from the other side of the political divide are equally part of the same liberal mindset.

    That’s what I find frustrating, Cannon. Occasionally you say things which are truly on the cutting edge, but thus far, you’ve not followed through.