You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Three weeks ago today I underwent open heart surgery to replace a leaky artificial valve.

Having gone through this same surgery a little more than 11 years ago, I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Based on my previous experience, I set what I thought were reasonable goals for returning to various activities. At this point, I expected to resume some of my work at OffNow and the Tenth Amendment Center. I had some specific goals about how far I would be walking. I was going to be completely off pain medication.

Virtually nothing has gone according to my plan.

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An Unhappy Summer for Liberty

At the root of the chaos in the Middle East and here at home are governments that respect no limits on their exercise of power. Public officials — who are supposed to be our public servants — routinely behave as if they are our masters. They reject the confines of the Constitution, they don’t believe that our rights are inalienable, and they fail to see the dangerous path down which they are leading us.

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Confession: I Supported Bush’s Wars

I have a confession.no syria

I supported the Bush wars. Actually, his daddy’s wars too. And Clinton’s wars. In fact, I pretty much supported all of the wars.

My worldview has shifted 180 degrees over the last five years.

Since the war drums started pounding out their cadence, driving the march toward Syria, I’ve spoken openly about my opposition to intervention. I even made a photo expressing my anti-war sentiment my Facebook profile pic.

I admit; it feels a little weird. A bit uncomfortable. Kind of like putting on a shoe that doesn’t quite fit. Or maybe putting on a shoe that fits just right after spending most of my life sporting ill-fitting footwear.

Here’s the thing: supporting war isn’t hard. Rage and hate come easily. War is bellicose and powerful. In my warmongering days, I could simply ridicule opponents. Shout them down. Paint them as unpatriotic, unamerican, cowards and trample over them. They were weak. I was strong.

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Montgomery County, PA Endorses Nullification

Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

On Tuesday of this week, the Norristown Patch announced that same sex couples can now marry in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  The Patch went on to elaborate that the Montgomery County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, had “worked closely with the Register of Wills solicitor Michael Clarke and Montgomery County Solicitor Raymond McGarry to study ‘every aspect of the law,'” subsequent to a request for a marriage license from a same sex couple.  That couple evidently bowed out, but Hanes went public with the county’s position – saying, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA as I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional”.

From the Patch,

According to Hanes, he took the oath of office 19 months ago to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, and cited Article 1, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides for the rights of men, among which is “pursuing their own happiness”

So what Hanes was saying was that he believed there was a conflict between the state law and the state Constitution and when the law conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence.  In other words, Hanes was prepared to nullify the state DOMA law because he believed that it conflicted with the state Constitution.

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Must Read: Hayek’s Why the Worst Get on Top

Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

If you can only ever read one thing by Hayek, may I suggest: “Why the Worst Get on Top“, chapter 10 from “The Road To Serfdom“?  I can’t say it better than he did, so I’ll just give you some highlights to whet your appetite.

“…We must here return for a moment to the position which precedes the suppression of democratic processes and the creation of a totalitarian regime.  In this stage it is the general demand for quick and determined central government action that is the dominating element in the situation, dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic processes which make action for action’s sake the goal….

… If the ‘community’ or the state are prior to the individual, if they have ends of their own independent of and superior to those of the individuals, only those individuals who work for the same ends can be regarded as members of the community. …

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