If you’re bothered by the royal family of Britain now, you should have been alive — I mean an adult: a being of passion reason — when Shy Di was regular news in the major media, and permanent news in the grocery tabloids. I should know. I’m very fond of food. And while I wait in the check-out lines, I always catch up on the people’s national and international headlines.
When Di was asked to apply for the job of princess, she was certainly told the position was a personal P.R. job. She’d be an actress. A grand actress. She’d act for England. Indeed, she would enact England! But they say Princess Di got sick of playing little Miss England, especially sartorially. They even say she never wore the same clothes twice in public. It must be true. Heidegger wrote a whole chapter on “the they” in his vigorous volume. And why Diana did this is also common knowledge. They say she’d been anointed The Royal Clothes Horse. The national fashion designers wanted a Princess on the walk-ways of reality to display their latest weeds. I imagine at the end of the day when back at home — Balmoral or whatever her address was, some gated place — Di probably dressed in holey jeans or the tweedy equivalent and like a lawn dog eagerly rolled around on the grass. Or at least the Persian carpets.
But, alas, it was too late. The stiffness of all those new clothes, which were never comfortable like the rumpled sheets of a familiar bed, had rubbed her spontaneity to callousness, and hardened her happiness to moral starch. So she ran off with an Egyptian shop keeper’s son and had a smashing good time.
It was the shop keeper thing that shocked the dignity of English consciousness. Parliament began taxing the royal family for the first time since the mastodons. The Queen, who is a very nice girl, could royally forgive many things. After all, if royalty isn’t frisky, how can the crown line endure for centuries? But don’t do it in public! And, of course, there are things royalty never does. Royalty doesn’t divorce, it doesn’t tweet the masses, and it doesn’t abdicate because of old age. What’s wrong the Vatican these days? As for Charles V, good riddance! He was a trial run for Napoleon and Hitler. But then to be taxed — and by the Commons! Where’s a good headsman when you need him! No, it just won’t do. And now, to punish Charles for his magisterial lack of princess management techniques, the Queen has decided to outlive him so he’ll never be king. So there! ER
Meanwhile, as announced in the Royal Times, the Prince Consort — or whatever England’s half-king is called — has retired himself from any new and most old public commitments. He was an honorary member of some 150 organizations. Imagine how many public meals that would be each year! Each week! Daily! Think of Nero Wolfe! So much of human happiness consists of the homey relaxations of domestic life. Your domestic life. As you like it. On the other hand, Englishmen lived in their clubs in the empire days — and even slept there. That might explain it. To the furthest ends of the earth! — away from the English home life and the English home wife. Hitchens continually refers to intimate English domesticities. Didn’t he write a piece entitled “Gare de Loo”?
Regardless, I can sympathize with the British view. Let’s say you belong to a fraternal order or some such civic organization. It stages its annual revelry. And the King shows up. The King. The King isn’t some temporary office holder like the president of the United States. He’s England in the flesh. That’s a real meal. It’s an unforgettable feast — a supper to be recollected forever. It has a tactile reality not found in your image-surfeited republics. In commercial republics, brand names — made by ads, not birth — command the highest respect and lowest obeisance as the symbols of significance and success. Yes, I could enjoy an immanent ontology of regal panache. No, that’s not a Fritz dish. But I cannot suffer after-dinner speeches. I recently fled such an affair successfully, and got home with all my faculties intact — though shaken and in need of an ale or something stouter. My fondness for aristocracies, like my love of fossils, is a retrospective eroticism. And so, like Wolfe, I lock my door and dine in civilization. Mine. The Greeks, of course, also did this. But don’t be fooled by Plato’s “Symposium.” The Athenians always played kratyr games and flute girls after dinner. They didn’t trade potted speeches padded with comic relief and ridiculous lies.
So, you see, the English royalty isn’t just some silly obsolescence for tourists, domestic and foreign. And let’s not forget all the new hospitals and sanitary facilities the Queen has officially opened. As for periwigs in court — do they still use them? — I’m not so sure. Courts have always been a kind of choreographed ritual. Consider O.J., America’s most memorable memorabilia thief. The Dream Team out-waltzed the LA DA while the conductor slept at his podium.
Meanwhile, let me tell you a way in which such holy cows as the Kradashians or whatever they’re called are actually important. In the old days, of course, Ellis Island would have renamed them Conrad or Cunningham, a thing which Teodor Józef Korzeniowski did for himself when he arrived in England.
Economists have a category called natural monopoly. In other words, if you have a uniquely sonorous voice and you become a singer or an actor, you’ll earn excess profits above the optimum market compensations. Your voice is more attractive to the public and they’ll pay more to partake of it. That’s even if the competing talent has longer training or greater skills. Such a commandingly irresistible voice is the equivalent of a poet having the gift of metaphor. That was the only irrational faculty Aristotle rationally allowed poets to possess. For composers the equivalent is melody, and for philosophers, thoughts. Counterproof and proofs can be taught. These gifts cannot be acquired by any expenditure of money on training, or by any diligence of effort in practice. Such gifts are a miracle. Or they’re a mystery. Or they’re a random chance like a heavenly ice cream cone on a blossoming afternoon on which a bird plop drops. Think of Richard Burton’s voice. He was the son of a Welsh coal miner. Or Frank Sinatra’s voice. He was a minion of the mob. Recently I heard Sinatra sing a song at the end of an old movie. Such an atrocious song! What an astonishing voice! I had to listen. And, mind you, my idea of a good man’s voice is a baritone or masculine tenor, not a gelded alto or a male rock soprano. Think of Plácido Domingo. Crooners — Sinatra, Jim Morrison — sound good. And then a Stradivarius starts singing! Didn’t Jim Nabors pair up once — vocally — with Pavarotti in an album of duets? Whoops! It was like a harmonica accompanying a pipe organ.
Professionals who lack great gifts must live lives of trained frustration if they fail to reach an accord with God, fate, or randomness. Or they can just stop contemplating the universe as manifest in themselves. They can deem reality to be gratuitously absurd and thereby to resign themselves to comfortably surviving for the while of a lifetime. I’ve known women whose voices have the gifts of art. As like sirens, I’ve happily crashed full sail into their coves. And then there are those whose voices rub me like #60 sandpaper. Hard a-starboard! Flank speed!
Alright, you might be thinking, so what natural monopoly do the Kardashians have? What do these Kardashian girls do that’s so important? They do one thing. They display for celebration what humans as an archetype in the female form can look like. They’re beautiful women. Or they manifest female beauty. Of course, those aren’t the same thing. The Beautiful in Music versus The Musically Beautiful. Well, we’ll never address that contentious topic here in The Gun. Thank God beautifully! We’ll also disregard the make-up and the hair styling and the designer clothes and the sophisticated lighting and all the other photography arts and crafts that go into these cultural packages, and we’ll allow ourselves here for a moment to believe that the camera is the eye of God on earth.
Now, humanity loves to look at exemplars of beautiful human appearance. And that’s not from sexual lust. That’s what pornography is for: naked magazines for men, and clothes catalogues for women. We humans look upon beautiful appearances as manifestations of what humanity really is or, at its best, could be. And we’re uplifted by it. If that sounds like Plato, that’s because it is. Of course, Plato used this psychology — which he probably discovered — to denigrate individual bodies, and to uplift human consciousness into a trans-orgasmic hyperspace. The transit of Plato’s erotic logic was later adopted by Christians — like Augustine — and teleologically packaged in the culmination of a disembodied deductive love deity. It took many centuries for humanity to get back to earth after that lunar rocket shot. Meanwhile, I think Plato is autobiographically telling us that he couldn’t get what he wanted, so he set out to convince humanity that no one should want it. Then no one would out-succeed him. Hitler said something like that about the German people in 1945 when he issued a fuhrer order for total Götterdämmerung.
So, no, the Kardashians aren’t just bejeweled pigs who are a form of visual pork. And I do love ham.
But did you hear? The alpha sow had $20 million worth of jewelry stolen from her in Paris. Her rooms must have looked like the tombs of the pharaohs! Economists have demonstrated how the ancient grave robbers provided a great service to the Egyptian economy. They returned to the economy gold that had been removed from circulation, thereby converting it into currency or its commodity equivalent. The robbers in fact acted like a central bank: they stimulated the economy. Of course, as Tut’s crummy rush-job rude tomb reminds us, the loss of art from the stripping of the great tombs is inestimable. Or, rather, it’s painfully imaginable. There’s many a late afternoon on my patio with an IPA in hand and dinner awaiting the ignition of the grill that, having fetched a folio volume from my art library, I chose Egyptian over Greek. The Greeks tell us that they enjoyed life. The Egyptians show us. Of course, the Athenians did have those frisky dishes.
The Kardashians also perform another service — or subservice — with the corpus of their public displays. The fashion for women’s bodies in recent decades — in both ballet, which nobody watches, and in female fashion shows, which everyone sees — are of females so food-deprived that efforts are now afoot to unionize models to protect them from cruel and unusual malnourishment. Meanwhile, models are independent contractors and, since America is a free country, they can do whatever they like to themselves in the name of entrepreneurial inventiveness and profitable ambition. Think of all the human pin cushions going about in the name of personal adornment — or erotic mutilation. The additional service the Kardashians provide is an in-the-flesh demonstration that beautiful women need not all look the same: like wasted whippets with cocaine-pinched or world-peeved glares. The Kardashians are ample. And they smile. They remind me of those early 19th century French Romantic paintings — Ingres and such: “Women of the Harem Chilling Out Around the Pool: A Eunuch’s Inside View.”
Of course, far more than cash-purchasable appearance, character is the beauty of happiness. Many a man and woman can’t afford the deluxe package, and they go through all their lives regretting it. And those who can afford it and do take it home and open it are often equally dismayed. And they’re out their money, too.
And now, talking of ample bodies and abundant food, I’m appetitively reminded once again of Nero Wolfe, who’s probably more real than the Kardashians. I make no pretense, despite my love of food, of dining at Wolfe’s prodigiously sophisticated level. After all, I’m my own Fritz. Or Pierre. Nonetheless, as noted in a long-ago post, I can’t but notice the epicurean progress America has made in recent decades. For all his gustatory education, when Wolfe thirsts, he calls for beer. Beer. Apparently Wolfe drinks a fluid called “beer.” Just beer. Beer?! Nor is this a ridiculous affectation of the entertainment arts. Once upon a time I knew German beer was the best in the world, and I decided to uplift myself from America. Therefore I began to educate my taste on a famous German product: Beck’s Beer. That’s what it was. Beer. Beck’s Beer. Beck’s made one product. Beer. Gottshrecklichkeit! Unlike Wolfe, I don’t drink beer in the years of my potation realization! And notice that beer is a food, a daily bread — flussiges Brot — and not a drug delivery system. St. Beverage, deliver me from prigs and prudes, amen. Such is the progress made in America, even Beck’s now has more than one product in its line. It even has a line! Beck’s must have missed my sales.
You’ll have noticed that I’m often a synecdoche for America. It’s in my spiritual blood. I’d blame it on Whitman if I weren’t so fond of the attribution. And what hops progress America has made! I’d be delighted to leap into a wagon loaded with barley and hops, and roll around in it like Ceres on catnip! For I know the results will soon roll on my tongue and sluice down my throat like a cool flume.
As for my estimated numbers of illegal immigrants in America — in my last post — I purposely lowballed the figures so as not to seem excited about the crisis. Enthusiastic reactions produce giddy responses, and both are unfit for the intentionally retardando deliberations of a great republic. Meanwhile, I won’t say I’m delighted that the figure is probably so high, even though it thereby merits a crisis response. Even you seem to agree with that. Such numbers are an affront to America’s national integrity and a threat.
What pleased me even more was your information concerning the Obama administration: that it deported illegal immigrants regularly and in quantity. Your cited source claims 2-3 million. If you learn otherwise, let me know.
In conclusion, I’m personally delighted. I was wrong. I’m now corrected. And now I’m right! An apparatus for the regular, significant, and undisruptive transport of illegal aliens is already in place. Excellent! Obama’s only fault here is that his efforts were probably the equivalent of pumping a flooded basement into the nearest window well. It just runs back in. With the aliens, the same people return, or different people in the same mathematical pressure wave enter. Either way, they flood back in.
Think of the Dutch when they have a dike failure. There was a great failure back in the 1950s or thereabout due to a sea surge. What do those industrious people do? They rebuild the dikes and they start the pumps. The water runs out — and it doesn’t run back in. And Holland is once again a high and dry — or low and dry — country.
If what you say about Obama is correct, then the pumps are already in place. Only some dike repair and upgrade along with the requisite expansion have yet to be done. The American wall is a dike. And the floods it defends against are seas of people.
If your figures are correct, then Obama was removing at least 20,000 illegals a month without any media ruckus — at least that I ever heard. Double the pumping, and pump for eight years. That would be 4 million illegals permanently removed across the border. Increase that rate slightly to 50,000, and the figure is a nice round media-memorable 5 million.
If your sources are reliable and accurate, then you’re right. The illegals could be removed in large numbers without social or political disruption. Of course, there would be an economic disruption. A reduction of cheap and even illegal labor would immediately increase job opportunities for Americans, and minimum pay for working people. The results would be a mutual marketplace increase in the minimum wage and a reduction of unemployment. Smaller government, bigger economy! And using a leaf blower in southern California would no longer be a self-profiling racist act.
Consider now what you said in your last post about the illegals’ threat to America’s national integrity. Given the facts that we’ve tentatively agreed to along with an effective removal method in place, I’m interested to know in what way the combination of Obama and Trump — removal across a barrier —wouldn’t fully satisfy your political sensibilities. It does mine.
And consider this as an example of what foreign observers have long claimed about American politics. In actuality there’s one political party in America with two squabbling and posturing factions — not unlike many marriages. The Republican is the husband, the Democrat is the wife. But each faction can often do what the other couldn’t. Obama was systematically evicting illegals? And in genocidal numbers? Where’s the major media outrage? The indignation? Even the complaints? Meanwhile, Trump is nightly called a Nazi just to suggest it! And San Francisco is arming itself with candy hearts printed with slogans of love and solidarity to nourish the sadly unwanted. Carter quietly cranked up the Cold War Pentagon two years before Reagan took office and continued the trend to howls of outrage and imminent nuclear obliteration. Nixon in the same way could go to Peking for a powwow with Mao, and it was called statesmanship. If a Democrat had done it, it would have been called communist appeasement!
Now let’s consider the emotionality of the legal eviction of illegals from the United States. In your last post, you say “non-criminal illegal immigrants” shouldn’t suffer the “humiliation of deportation.” I deny that they’re immigrants. I deny they ever immigrated. Lincoln denied that the “Rebels” had ever seceded. The Rebels were rebelling in an attempt to secede. Like an attempted jail escape, the attempted secession failed. Lincoln as the national warden of the Union prevented it. The illegals have snuck in illegally in an attempt to become legal citizens. That isn’t immigration. That’s a crime. And they should be prevented from becoming citizens by any means. Criminal citizens? What a great start for patriotic naturalization!
Furthermore, shouldn’t criminals suffer humiliation for their crimes? How about the orange jump suits and the leg and arm chains convicts wear when they go from jail to court for a hearing? Humiliation is a part of the punishment. Shame is an effective deterrent. Of course, we’re living in a time when the socialist mantra is “No Hurt Feelings!” Why? Shamelessness is a socialist tool to erode the diligent pride and the dignified responsibility of the middle class, and thus their justified confidence of their Republic. A subset of this cunning anarchism is “No pain in capital punishment!” Folks, dying doesn’t feel good even when you’re virtuous and in a hospital.
You also state that “compassion is a necessity” in this matter. If there are 11 million illegal aliens in our country, isn’t that the equivalent of a foreign invasion on a massive scale? Doesn’t that constitute demographic warfare? Vicente Fox has repeatedly said as much! Do nations show compassion to the enemy in the front line in a time of war? We’re in a war on terror right now. And the front line is where the drones go. We’re bombing the enemy every day. That’s not compassionate. Perhaps Congress should declare a war on aliens, too. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll obnoxiously implement our national methods. But, after all, that sensible concern is as much for Americans as it is for “humanitarian considerations.” Monster fighters so easily become monstrous fighters. Think of all the spy crap — not craft — that the UK and the USA have imposed on themselves by fighting the USSR on its own creepy police state level. Popular culture is now laced with toxic intimations of nefarious skullduggery. Once proclaimed a quaint naiveté, “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” should be revisited as a modern mantra. Meanwhile, Americans who professedly love privacy so much are storing their innermost intimations in the cloud. “Let’s do another eNRO pass.”
It’s funny that you should mention William F. Buckley along with his famous free speech exchange with Gore Vidal. In my college mail box today I found a journal called “Libertas” from something called Young America’s Foundation. And who should be on the cover but old Bill himself! A glance at the issue shows, amongst other things, a list of liberal liberal arts courses which astonish and offend the Foundation. Included are “Transgender Latina Immigrants” and “Queering God: Feminism and Queer Theology.” These things don’t surprise me. How about “Pre-Feminist Basket Weaving Technology and Oppression in 18th Century Timbuktu”? I was just reading in a scholarly art journal about the aesthetic denigrations of kitsch. “Was heisst Kitsch?” Imagine tables covered with old ephemeral odds and ends at a flea market or antiques barn. And then call it art. That’s kitsch. The author of the paper blamed the conceptual degradation of kitsch on “class-based prejudices” — read “better” classes with “better” taste which, as an independent art scholar — read “inheritance” or “trust fund” — she undoubtedly partakes of on all counts. She then announced the ethical imperative of a “(re)consideration” of kitsch. It was right then that I understood the source of Michelangelo’s sociopathic problems. He wasn’t a sexist. His women are as muscular as his men, whom he loved. And he wasn’t a racist. He practiced Catholicism, the universal and all-inclusive religion. Think of the black magi in the Renaissance paintings. No, he was a bestist. And he was such an unrepentant bestist, he might even have been a geniusist, a word and its idea as ugly as speciesist, and equally immoral. The (re)putation of Michelangelo clearly needs (re)configuration and (re)distribution in a post-modern (re)public.
A few years back I acquired an anthology of Buckley’s writings that covered his entire career. I was philosophically impressed by one point. That point wasn’t made individually by various pieces, but through them collectively. The later ones differed in a dramatic way. The earlier ones were like the Romantic school of 19th century American painting called by scholars “God over the Hudson,” whether fondly or ironically, or both. God being a universal illuminator, he was found to appear over western landmarks even as far away as Monterrey — as in Bierstadt’s famous paintings for the Capitol. In Buckley’s earlier writings, Godshine gilds the righteousness of America. In the later writings — after the ’60s — the heavy golden light of the holy Hudson is missing. In painting, Boudin and Monet removed the varnished illumination of the old landscapes’ constant sun, and showed humanity the joy of unexpected color through an infinity of illuminations. The loss of the Old Master confidence was to be regretted. But the result was a truer vision. The result in Buckley wasn’t a dimming of republican light: of pride, energy, or critique. Rather, Republicans now relied on their own power of reason, passion, and persuasion, all without invoking a god monopoly even if only indirectly. Buckley had put down his catechism and his Missal and picked up an Enlightenment anthology and maybe even The Federalist!. It was an improvement! Meanwhile, the religious “slack” in Buckley was soon taken in by the fundamentalists who politically surged under Bush II. Or was it an insurgency?
Buckley is a personified example of what I wrote in my previous post about big conceptual words in politics. Not only does the content of “Republican” and “conservative” change over time, so does a person’s eponymous views. Buckleyism wasn’t the same homogenous product for fifty years. That’s why I’m concentrating on identifying what the republic structurally is — what the free market civil society republican constellation is — independent of any temporary factional domination. This isn’t because of any objection I have to any faction, or combined factions’ domination. It’s so that I can uncover or even discover what America has been, is and must be in order that factions can dominate but never control, and even then dominate only as interests in temporarily ascendant combinations.
As for his staff colleagues, I’m certain Buckley’s advanced departure provided them with an additional improvement — or relief. Buckley’s love of obscure and obsolete highfalutin words was really irritating. In one piece by him, I found a word — an adjective — which means to be like Socrates’ wife. Socrates’ wife may have driven Socrates to the forum and immortality. But Socrates was a man, so I doubt it. But such language could drive me to hate English! English teachers in America who wore their hair in severe buns and with mean looks to match reputedly did that in the old days. “Today we will review pleonastic plethoras of pomposity. As an exercise we will each craft 50 of them. Begin! You have ten minutes.” But the greatness of language doesn’t consist of an infinity of names in place which then speak completely and uniquely produce silent assent. Language greatness consists of combinations of elements in unexpected juxtapositions that endlessly play and amaze the mind — like the color conjunctions of the impressionists — even as they say the world with significance and satisfaction. In other words, they portray expected things with unexpected excitement.
Going back to your previous post — #18 — I want to consider on some remarks I missed last time, and answer your question, too. In two places you address the lack of neutral rigor in humanities courses today, especially in the more “advanced” collegiate institutions. Well, when healthy progress is afoot, to be at the forefront of history is an excellent thing. That’s why Beethoven left Germany for Vienna, never to return. Vienna was the vanguard of a world music never seen before — or heard. But when progress is degeneration and decay — progress, like profits, can be negative — then to be at the forefront means you’re decaying before others have even heard of the latest trend. Even when I was in high school and I observed history, I could see that the forefront of my generation – the college students of the ’60s — were like geese at the front of the flight. They were taking all the leadership thrills of being there first and all the wear and tear, too. I was pleased to see the lead hippie geese doing the work and taking the novel damage, then I could cruise in their new flight paths without permanent spiritual injury. Of course, geese would never do that. Geese continually change places to share the point-man fatigue. But you can’t change your age-place with those who are younger. I always followed and I closely bird watched. As Bismarck said, ‘I learn from experience — others’!’
You make the substantial observation that professors shouldn’t be vendors of particular ideologies. Instead, you propose that they only provide “the tools that are necessary for a young mind to discover their own world view.” Outside the office of the Education Department’s secretary, there’s a feel-good poster that says the best teachers tell us where to look, but not what to see. This is all very contemporary and pleasant, and amendable and democratic.
But it doesn’t happen because it won’t work. It’s just the democratic myth of a spiritual anarchist picnic.
Any professor who conscientiously restrained herself or himself from any ideological loading to any and every remark and its explication would not only spend all their time caveating their remarks. Worse, the studied blandness of their observations would preclude any world view at all. And even if they could present a viewless world view — it’s impossible: see Reality 101 — it’d be so lifeless, it wouldn’t hold anyone’s attention, or even attract it. You don’t need to read the coyly peevish happiness haters of France to know that humans are perspectival creatures. It’s all in Nietzsche — the gay science — along with the robust grace of dominance, consummacy, and laughter. Besides, consider your own remark. Every student should be allowed to discover their own world view. Is there really that much time in school for such a task? Moreover, do most students have the passion capacity for such an ardent endeavor? And are there really that many world views out there to be plucked from the universe every year like plums from the primal tree?
Does that mean, then, that it’s all just personal opinion and power supremacy? No. See Reality 101 on opinion. Here I’ll amplify that answer from another angle. Consider courts. Courts are supposed to read the law and apply the words to the cases before them. Courts don’t write laws. That’s for legislators to do. But, of course, words suffer from generality, vagueness, and ambiguity — and they enjoy it! Therefore there’ll always be cases that require judicial interpretation. And like plants that push up their leaves to try to reach to the sun, so lower court cases lift their beseeching briefs up to reach the Supreme Court.
What judges do are what professors should do. Judges are political agents. They form the third branch of government. What could be more political than government! Therefore, of course, judges have political, social, and economic views which they favor when they read the law. But the law is written in words. Therefore judges are bound to read the words of laws according to the standards of hermeneutical legal methodology. Within those great scientific linguistic restraints, judges have the latitude — advantage for clarification — to employ their ideological preferences. Not only can they. They should! And this is what professors should do, and currently so often don’t. It’s not the problem that humanities professors are ideologically interested. It’s that so many of them are not constrained by their professional obligations to read rigorously, honestly, forthrightly, credibly, and well. Liberal professors scoff at fundamentalist Christians for not reading nature when it conflicts with their religious agendas. But these same professors refuse to read human nature when it conflicts with their political agendas. Stalin banned genetics because it violates dialectical materialism. We’re justifiably shocked at such ideological silliness in the face of science. But liberal professors ban much of what psychologists scientifically know because human nature violates these professors’ equality mandates.
I was delighted to see Alan Dershowitz civically sustained recently by the Supreme Court. I heard a part of an interview in which he was discussing Trump’s 90-day 6-country travel restriction. At the schwerpunkt of the interview, Dershowitz said with synecdoche to the journalist interviewing him, “You need to get out of the weeds.” I think this was Dershowitz’ polite attempt to pluck liberals’ heads from their dark occlusions and introduce them to the clear light of the Constitution. And recall that Dershowitz himself is a self-admitted liberal, an admission rigorously modified by his vigorous and disciplined civil libertarianism. In other words, the Supreme Court reversed the stay of circuit courts on Trump’s executive ban. And the vote was 9-0. Whether the appeal from the 9th Socialist Court — I mean Circuit Court — will be heard in October is open to procedural qualifications. But I hope it is. There are times when higher courts chide and even rebuke their lower “colleagues” for their inability to read. Here, of course, “inability” would be a euphemism for an unprofessional political disregard of transparent legal English.
This unanimous trans-partisan decision of the Court concerning the need to read with rigor is just what we’ve been discussing with reference to the liberal arts being taught liberally. Judges are like professors: they both run their rooms — court and class — with great professional autonomy. You don’t want the Ministry of Justice “observing” the courts or the Ministry of Knowledge “monitoring” your classrooms. But for the social grant of such autonomous powers, a demonstration of responsibility must be made — every day. The Supreme Court has just preliminarily read the riot act to the 9th Circuit. A formally written rebuke would be so apropos of what it means to read in a republic with the integrity of autonomy!
And now here’s a piece of contemporary political philosophy. One function of every economy is rationing. There’s never enough of anything that’s priced so that everyone can have all they want. If there were, the object would be literally priceless — like air — and everyone could breathe all they want for free. In the pre-ACA era — the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare — rationing was implemented by several means. For example, there were lifetime limits for insurance coverage of any one condition. There were also restrictions on pre-existing conditions. As is well known, these were removed by the ACA. In other words, there was less rationing than before. And these controls weren’t replaced by others in the ACA. Of course, if the ACA were meant to be a political half-way house to a single payer or nationalized healthcare system like Canada or Britain have, respectively, that problem would be addressed in due time. Meanwhile, the present Senate bill, which is meant to disassemble the ACA, retains those two anti-rationing features.What’s the problem? Imagine you had car insurance under which you could get a new car whenever you wanted one with little or no deductible. Everyone would be driving a new car every year regardless of their actual automotive needs! Why not? Medical insurance presently produces the same simultaneously rational and irresponsible behavior in Americans. The least discomfort or symptom results in a visit to a doctor if not the emergency room. My wife and I enjoy excellent health. More than that, we have an absence of physical discomfiture: body transparency! But one day she came home from her courtroom and said, “I have a pain in my arm.” The experience was obviously novel. “Should I go to the emergency room?” I looked at her like Cortez surmising the Pacific. My wife has a JD. But my sister has an MD, and I have a PhD. And my sister has taught me some home-opathy. And I learn —slowly, but well. I said, “Well, umm, ah, why don’t you, like, take an aspirin or two. And see me tomorrow if your discomfort continues.” Just like my sister would say! My wife did this reluctantly. And that was the end of that. The nuclear medical and even opioid options had been avoided. Total cost? For two generic aspirin: 2¢. The medical opinion was pro bono.
To rein in the bloated American medical industry will require the installation of initially shocking triage algorithms. Medical care in the US is approaching one fifth of the GDP. That’s neither sustainable nor rational. It isn’t even salubrious. Rationing can be accomplished through the two thorough methods above. One, a national health care system does it by command. Or two, a completely free market “system” does it by price. Either way, a massive and unexpected re-education of American expectation sensibilities will be required. At present, I don’t see anyone with political and social reach doing that teaching.
For example, America is in a fat epidemic. Anyone can see it everywhere outside of salad-and-treadmill gated communities and whippet women’s yoga classes. The latter are a conventual surrogate for religious devotions. My son will point to people in the distance and contemptuously say, “They’re American. Fat!” In either rationing regime, obesity would be emended. Even now, despite many liberal courts, smoking adds a premium to life insurance policies. Like discriminating taste, it’s a justified discrimination. The same would be true of fat. Those who are willingly overweight would be penalized by a fat premium to cover the voluntary overload they place on themselves and therefore the national health burden, thereby not collectively punishing socially responsible citizens who watch their weight. It’s well to remember that insurance is a collective enterprise. It’s a collective owned by shareholders or policy holders, not a government.
You can hear the protests. “No one can tell me what to do with myself! It’s a free country! My body, my fat!”
Undoubtedly it’s your fat.
Meanwhile, in America, you can always blame it on someone else. “Their ads made me eat their burgers! Now I’m ruined!” But if you’re not responsible for yourself, someone else should be. And soon enough they will be.
Likewise, what if you’re an irresponsible citizen? “Their ads made me vote for the wrong guy. Now America’s ruined!” Should someone else also be responsible for your political discretion?
In the marketplace, a person who sells you fake attitudes — “Buy this product and be sexy and cool!” — is a huckster. At most you’ll lose your purchase price and a little pride.
In the state, a person who sells you fake attitudes — “Vote for me and be great and free!” — is a despot. At most you’ll lose your property, and your liberty, and your life.
Civic Warning: Liberty is never free.
Additional Warning: Philosophy has found all sales on liberty to be fakes.
What is the fair market value of liberty?
The price of the republic.
And what is the use value of liberty?
Yourself, I hope!