Rights We Have Lost

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Judge Bean

Senior Member
Messages
1,257
Rights We Have Lost

The Right to Law Enforcement

Even granting to the situation the interpretation most favorable to the powers that be, but shouldn?t be, and shying well away from ?conspiracy theories,? it must be granted that most Americans do not believe the official version of modern history. Few imagine that the government had nothing whatever to do with the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Few believe that their deaths were properly investigated, without the slightest appearance of impropriety, or that lone, obsessed marksmen performed their murders.

Two of these great leaders being killed might have amounted to a painful coincidence, even considering that, in the case of President Kennedy?s death, the alleged assassin was himself killed under suspicious circumstances. But all three losses, coming at a time when the country most needed the last two men at least, erases coincidence as a reasonable explanation. It must be asked what would have happened to us if they had lived; and it must be remembered what did happen to us without them.

It must be asked whether President John F. Kennedy would have lied to us about the Tonkin Gulf, and led us into the Vietnamese war. It must be asked whether Senator Robert F. Kennedy at the Chicago Democratic Convention would have seen the city sink into violence, his party not to recover in time for the election, opening the way for Nixon?s regime of crimes and lies. It must be asked whether King would have watched his dream become a reality.

Most Americans believe that the government had something to do with these murders. If it had anything to do with any of the three, it has gone unpunished and the government has gone on as the same government, willing and able to do the same things it has gotten away with doing in the past.

The same agents and executive secretaries and officers who operated during Kennedy?s day continue to this day to devise covert projects, some of them authorized, against the very spirit and body of American democracy. Where they have died or resigned or retired, others have taken up the standard and carried forward. Kissinger continues to give sage advice and receive all of the respect due to an elder statesman, despite his conduct as the highest executive advisor. The departments of State and Defense, and the intelligence ?community,? all have unbroken lines of descent and bequeathed systems of power and influence.

All the world knows of the chicanery of presidents, members of Congress, vice presidents, and their hordes of consumer of public funds. In the end their general policy, overall, is one of graft and corruption, and has been authorized by the judiciary in thousands of written opinions. Its general policy has not changed, and is set the firmer against change with every passing year; its function is virile and interlocking, and easily bypasses any dissent within the system.

Street crime continues to strengthen its grip on our society, made stronger by the time-honored linkage between international cartels and domestic networks of trade and distribution. Many are of the opinion that the eradication of illegal drugs would end most crime; but the market forces and habits of consumers easily overwhelm the token effort of the authorities to oppose them.

We elect a government, supposedly, to do what we cannot do as individuals, and individuals cannot end the international drug trade, and the government always fails or refuses to do so. The Central Intelligence Agency views its mission, on the contrary, to consist of the occasional use of the drug trade for covert operations. Public money is used to help to destroy the American public, to what extent we will never fully know.

The CIA, a massive and secret government agency, with the power to spend almost unlimited public money to finance its 50-year mission to commit crimes worldwide and deliberately manipulate foreign societies, has become a free, predatory monster, silent and dark. The agency is possibly more expensive than any other single governmental project outside of the military, yet virtually without oversight or accountability.

Legislation has required the CIA to submit to confidential review by Congress of only some of its agenda; despite this monitoring, it continues to play an erudite, abstruse chessgame with no other object than to keep playing, keep the game going. It has not hesitated to assassinate, overthrow governments, foment revolt, interfere, and sacrifice others to achieve its arcane goals. It withholds information and keeps secrets from everyone, including itself?and from its boss, the president. In fact it has no boss. It is a bureaucracy on top of a regiment underneath a bureaucracy; layer upon layer of irresponsible, nonresponsive, silent, secret power.

It can raise an army, or can use its own army (which is not a military force subject to the same rule of honor and loyalty as the other, legitimate branches of the armed service, and is not clearly under the Commander in Chief), to overthrow a government anywhere in the world. It is a shadow United States government, with no duty to the people that can be described or compelled. It persists throughout administrations and its own administrative changes.

It keeps its secrets no matter who is in charge, showing that no one is in charge of the CIA, that it is in charge of itself, and determines its own policies and actions independent of the president. It conducts foreign policy of the United States separate and apart from the Executive and Legislative branches, contrary to the law of the Constitution.

Rather than informing the incoming president of its charge, its order or mission, it informs him of a selected portion of what is going on without and despite him. An organization operating outside of the law in this fashion, and bent on its own interests, is nothing but a criminal enterprise. The CIA is organized crime, and has worked closely with the Mafia and foreign criminal enterprises to achieve its aims, as well as with individual criminals and gangs.

It has dealt with and used druglords and assassins without regard to the professed public policy of the ?wars? on crime and drugs. Since the beginning of the agency, it has engineered foreign governments by means of assassination, coup, and undue influence, in, among other places, Greece, Nicaragua, Iraq, Chile, Australia, Japan, Dominican Republic, Panama, Iran, Guatemala, and Cuba.

These crimes are committed on behalf of the American people, and become, by delegation of power and agency, the crimes of the American people themselves. They cannot undo the past; they demand the end of it now, and will attempt to repair the damage done in their name. When they get their government back, they will conduct themselves according to law and custom overseas, and try to leave the affairs of others in their own hands.

We will always stand ready to move in and destroy tyranny, but will not do so selectively. If we had our way, which we have not had since the end of the Second World War, we would go to any extent to thwart dictators and terrorist regimes, wherever they are, and go to war if attacked by them.

That is the extent, though, of our perceived mission. We are fed up with spies and conspiracies, and want the operation of our will to take place in the clear view of the world and history. We have nothing to hide, and nothing to be ashamed of, once we are back in power.

We also want an end to the rule of crime in public life, in the manner of the ?intelligence? community?s covert misconduct as well as in our economic life, which is in the death grip of worldwide contraband and arms trade. At home, when will we see the end of crime if not when those who fight it are back under our rule? How can a society be free of crime when its leaders are free to commit crimes with impunity? It has become for us a way of life.

The FBI, if not for the mortal limits of one man, would still be an independent little sovereignty operating on public money, watching the president of either party come and go, collecting dossiers of information damaging to public figures but of no legal import. Director J. Edgar Hoover?s purpose, essentially, was to perpetuate the FBI; the American people can take the hindmost.

If it were otherwise, how could the mob continue to operate and thrive throughout his regime? The organized outfits of New York and Chicago built an entire city in the desert and ruled the nation of Cuba while he ran the FBI?leading, eventually, to the loss of Cuba to the Communists and endangering the national security. The weakening of the mobs, if not their eradication, would have averted, possibly, the takeover by Castro, and, by extension, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, perhaps, Kennedy?s assassination. The Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis each could have led to a third world war?the final in the series.

You will hear it said that the government is helpless in the general war against crime in the world (which, due to the nature of the modern world, is a function of the national economy, and vice versa), and reasonably cannot be blamed for any collusion with the pirates and gangsters at large in the world economy. The idea apparently is that all of the following proceed without the official involvement of the United States, in a world dominated by its cash and credit?

The massive lucrative drug trade ruining our lives
The bankruptcies and corruption and untaxed profits of gigantic corporations
Thriving dictators and oppressive regimes
Unabated famine, plague, and civil war in the poorer countries
The rapacious global arms trade
The increasing encroachment on the privacy of citizens
The inability of average persons to make a living

And that these are unrelated, or the fault of only some members of government, or the result of occasional wrongdoing or negligence, or none of America?s business.

Worldwide trade going on without the United States, for decades, with epic flow of profit, is only carried on outside the scope of American power and influence in the rosiest dreams of patriots. Global criminal syndicates, the trade in cheap or slave labor, oil, diamonds, guns, drugs?these commodities and services depend on the stability and predictability of the world political and economic structure, which the Untied States and its richest citizens and corporations control. We should not continue as innocents abroad when those who represent us travel for other, more enriching purposes.

Does the average American want his representation abroad expressed in terms of blood, exploitation, war, and profiteering? It was our government that coined the terms ?benign neglect? and ?shock and awe,? as well as ?mutually assured destruction,? and it is such phrases by which America will be known throughout posterity. These are not representative of the ideas or feelings of the people, but the government and military, and used by them to justify by innocuous euphemism the most monstrous policies.

It is America?s government that has over the years amassed stockpiles of ?weapons of mass destruction,? including many times more nuclear weapons than all other nations combined, with which it has terrorized the world and invited the terror of its own people for over 50 years. It is our government that terms civilian casualties ?collateral damage.?

For these dark markets and inventions, America will be remembered, the armor of its promise stained and dented by vicious practices and secrets. The public trust is violated and the strength of our institutions broken by the unrelenting motivation of the wealthiest and most powerful to operate outside the law.

If you can manage to pay workers pennies a day to make your goods, you will not care a moment for the loss of American jobs or the suffering and humiliation of the foreign workers. If you can manage to get a foreign country to pay some of its debts to your biggest banks, you will not care a moment for the drainage of American souls to drugs or the loss of both nations? dignity.

If teenagers in Africa murder one another with machineguns, you will relax comfortably in New England nevertheless, content that it is beyond your control or responsibility to account for all of the loss that goes into your profit. And this is how America will be remembered through the ages if it relinquishes its citizens? rights and liberties now: as the great criminal empire in the Great Age of Crime.
 

Anoah

Member
Messages
201
Rights We Have Lost

Impressive as always Paul. Well done.

Why don't you write professionally? Try to get published please.
 

CaryP

Senior Member
Messages
1,438
Rights We Have Lost

Paul,

Well said bro'. I can't imagine that the PTB will give up the game easily. The economic mess we're in alone scares me to no end. The "OGA" as the CIA is referred to in the military (Other Govt. Agency) has been out of control. I can't fathom a response to your post now, but it was dead on. I hope this doesn't get us both on the Homeland Security "blue list" or we might be sharing a "detention camp" together. Let me mull this all over, so I can post a more thoughtful response. I think there is more to all of this than you suggested. The opium trade out of Afghanistan supported by the CIA is reason enough to warrent caution. OBL, Saddam, Noreiga, etc., etc. were all bought and paid for CIA assets, all of whom have been turned on by "our" intelligence agency. What kind of recrimination should we expect? Not a positive one is my guess. Thanks for the post. Let me clear my head from today's wicked market action so I can post a more intelligent response. Thanks for the courage to make your statement. The duck says "No". Damned stratight. Hell No.

Cary
 

StarLord

Senior Member
Messages
3,187
Rights We Have Lost

As usual Paul, your words stir much inside me and remind me of what has echoed for a long time. Anoah is right, perhaps a book under a nom de plume just might be the thing to start the rock at the top of the snow covered mountain.

As I have grown and pass through life, a legacy from my father came in to play. A memory for odd facts and things out of place that in the beginning had no connection with one another. The more years that passed, the more I saw repeated, fashions, fads, political platforms, promises, lies, deceits and more instances of something being out of place.

After a while, the subconscious starts writing a list and one begins to connect the dots, making paralels and logic leaps that are later confirmed with yet more tid bits of news and summations from the unsaid after peering through the lines. As a teen in the orient, I was astounded by stories of body bags from Nam filled with the bodies of our brave fallen and opium which later would be refined into heroin and sold in the ghettos to finance more such operations.

I wonder if anyone here remembers Air America? They were instrumental in the removal of our fallen soliders back to CONUS, the continental US. They were a front for the CIA. They were also shipping back TONS of opium to the US. This information did not come from the news reports years later, it came from the wounded service men too maimed to fight any more and also hooked on the junk that was so prevalent over there and followed our men back. These men were in hospitals scattered around military bases in the orient, waiting to heal enough so they could go back home with what was left of their dignity and a deadly habit.

There seems to me to have been a concerted war waged upon the youth here in the US that started in the ghetos and has made it's way to all areas of society. They should change the wording from The War On Drugs to The War Of Drugs, which ensures the next upcoming generation slave to mind altering substances and a forced ennui ensuring a non involvement in the state of affairs and thus the affairs of state.

Once President Kennedy was killed and the rumors started to fly as to who was responsible, it was almost like turning on the light at night in the kitchen when you have roaches or rodents. Each one scurrying for safety and the safety, an alibi and the part of a red herring. I was a bit too young when it happened to have the full implication hit me. Years later, when studies pointed to more than one direction of fire, and balistics shouted the obvious, another bit of information fell into place.

When the second ill fated Kennedy began his run, I remember telling friends that there was no way he was ever going to make it to office as his number was already up. They thought I was nuts. He had pissed off to many 'connected' people for one thing, and paradigms pointed to that family ever being crushed by some unseen force that had a vendetta towards Old Joe's children and family if and when they ran for important public offices. All except one. I cannot avoid wondering just what part of his soul was sold to be left alone after the swim in that lake so many years ago. What 'favors' has he given to be able to survive a family line purge, what agenda is he part of or , what information is he harboring to keep him alive?

Yes, the CIA has run amouck for years unchecked but my ponderings see them more a symptom of a deeper disease upon our country. There are higher placed unseen puppeteers running this show that have used the CIA for their own ends and nefarious needs. They are like a pit bull allowed to run as it will but someone does hold a leash if the dog runs to far. The CIA does have a somewhat visible flow of money from congress but the majority of their funds come from what they are able to make on their own behind the sceens.

There are funds from our taxes that are earmarked for Black Projects that do not include the CIA funding wise, and they are impossible to track. My guess is almost 1.5 Billion per year if not more. I used to think of Black Projects like area 51 being the largest drain on those funds. Now I am not so sure. I hope to hell that I am wrong and that the crap that can be found on the net about the NWO and their under ground cities that have been built on a 24 hr basis for the last 30 some years is just some persons paranoid delusion that has been repeated and expounded until it has gotten out of hand in scope and proportions.
 

Judge Bean

Senior Member
Messages
1,257
Rights We Have Lost

The Right to Revolution

The power under the Constitution will always be in the People. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own chusing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their Interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their Servants can, and undoubtedly will be, recalled.
--George Washington


Our birthright of freedom stands in jeopardy. The government has failed to sustain the faith of the people; it has abrogated the profound obligation to preserve the Constitution, believing that to adhere to its form in part is sufficient to justify the repeal de facto of its substance, the substance which is nothing other than the security of the liberty of the people.

Our freedom is rooted in the safety of our lives and property, and now both are at the disposal of the government. Now the people want their government back?they want their Constitution restored and their money refunded. They want the current government vacated and those who hold power replaced by legitimate leaders. This is the revolution authorized by the law of the land, the United States Constitution.

The people demand their government back.

We have been content to allow the government to overtake all aspects of public and private life?from the feeding of the poor to the feeding of grizzly bears, almost nothing is left to us to control, or over which to exercise judgment. The government collects greater and greater benefits from its citizens, and more and more of their money, and gives them in return fewer and fewer services, worse and worse roads, air, and water, and more and more crises of bungled international affairs. We are in greater danger the more money and trust we vouchsafe to Washington.

We have been complacent to permit the authorities to pursue crime by means of weakening Constitutional rights, because we have felt that criminals should enjoy no advantage; but in doing so we have forgotten that there are no criminals without first providing those accused persons the process of justice. This is a law meant to protect the innocent and wrongfully accused, no matter how few of these there are in fact.

The rights to due process of law and equal treatment; to be free of cruel and unusual punishment and double jeopardy, and all such as these, are designed to restrict the government, not to reward criminals. Some live in an imagined world in which the government is always trustworthy?I do not.

Our government tells us that many of us are now criminal suspects, or may be designated such at any time, without notice. That our private records may be ransacked without telling us. That officials are entitled to lists of our friends and associates, activities, reading materials, debts. What will come next, a schedule of our voting habits and political views?

In all of these instances we can see our rights?to life, liberty, and property?being stripped away and squandered out of our reach. Nor are our rights restricted to legal and political ones only: we have a right to use and enjoy the land, and to clean air and water. We have the right to equal health opportunity as well as equality in economic and political life. Our children have as much right to healthcare as they do to education, and as much right to peace as either of these. How can the ?American Dream? be pursued in a hostile world?

We now bequeath to our children a botched, poisoned landscape?endangered portions of which the government a hundred years ago claimed stewardship?populated by a million inmates, another million bankrupts, another million homeless, another million unemployed, another million addicts? no one can tell us this is the City of God on Earth that America was meant to be in the 1600s, or the Nation of Free Independent States of the 1700s, or the God?s Country of the 1800s, or the Leader of the Free World of the 1900s.

Never has the United States been so thoroughly despised overseas, so unquestioningly belligerent in its international affairs, so unabashedly corrupt in its governance, so neglectful of its wards?the poor, the dispossessed, the sick, the weak, the accused, the oppressed.

For what does a government exist, in any event? To enhance its power and protect its investments overseas? To build armies and conquer countries far away? No: it exists to uplift and protect its citizens. It has a duty to its citizens, not vice versa.

It has a duty to feed and house its citizens if they cannot do so themselves, and to get out of the way of those who can. It has a duty to expand the voting franchise and even actively to persuade citizens to vote, knowing that its legitimacy at the outset will be the greater with the greatest number of votes cast.

It has a duty to try to get its citizens employed and educated, trusting in the overriding generalization that the good to the greatest number of people is literally the greatest good of the State. It has a duty to wage peace throughout the world.

The host nation to the United Nations! What a sacred opportunity to complete the charter of that nation?s obligations. Over the course of a terrible century, the people of the United States have determined to take upon itself a duty to the world, which they knows is poorer and more susceptible to tyranny.

The American people have taken on this responsibility as a cultural trait, a part of the national character; and though many of its leaders have yet to learn of it, Americans have insisted on trying to make peace in the world, spread its ideals of equal justice, and find ways to provide food and hope wherever these are in shortest supply.

This is our original modern mission, born out of the rubble of World War Two. Now the people who have locked up our government persist in not only obstructing, but also entirely denying this grave obligation?for the sake of turning a buck.

This, too, is law: that the government must do as its people demand; and Americans demand world peace and justice. We do not know how, but we wonder how our leaders can avoid the clear mandate of the citizens. We have been overtaking the rest of the world with our energetic marketing, entertainment, and goods; we demand peace if for no other reason than to be able to sell everyone, everywhere, whatever they want to buy from us; and we demand peace for its own sake.

Commerce, prosperity, lawful and orderly trade, guarantee of human rights, peace: this is what Americans expect. We are on a mission to save the world?we need leaders who at least understand this, that peace and justice, and care for the poor, spread freedom and democracy to others and secure our own for ourselves.

The government does not credit this as American law, but conducts foreign affairs as though Americans had an entirely contradictory idea of itself in the world. The government acts outside the law.

But we will begin in the law, in hope that that is where we will end up finally. Under its shelter we will see what can be accomplished. We must overthrow the government, somehow, without overthrowing its license?its original charter?and without losing our way of governing ourselves. We find that the Constitution directs revolution when affairs have reached, as they now have, the point where we live under a government by the government instead of by the people.

It is no less a tyranny that oppresses its people by ignoring their calls for security of their rights and property than one which oppresses them by the outright denial of ordinary justice. Now we have had a series of presidents who boast that they have made us better off after every four years: this is like the doctor who would boast that he has had no patients die?this year. At least things are getting a little better; if the past is any indication, my patients should stand a better chance of survival this year than last.

But what the people want is a series of presidents who show that they have sustained the American dream and experiment by advancing its cause in the world and securing the rights of citizens at home. Having restored their estates and savings, and stripped government to its working form, Americans can hear their presidents then boast that America and its citizens are both better off.

We have spent our history to date trying to make our government better, and this gradual improvement has put us at odds with ourselves, because many conceive of the Constitution as a license to practice graft and exploitation. Others believe that we do not need to concur?that we can simply disregard our unity if it is inconvenient. But now has come the time to make another great step forward, and dare to reconcile our differences for the common good.
 

StarLord

Senior Member
Messages
3,187
Rights We Have Lost

The only possible way in my humble opinion, is passive resistance of about 75% of our population to start with to make the present governing joke take notice. I fear that if our plea for eqaulity under the law is mistaken as a revolution of a Coup type then violence may ensue. That we cannot have, nor can we afford to have that happen.

However, If asked, I would gladly give my life to uphold the constitution as I pledged when I went into the service. For both instances would be in the service of my country.
 

Judge Bean

Senior Member
Messages
1,257
Rights We Have Lost

Lawful Removal by Impeachment or Election


The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
James Madison, Jan. 30, 1788

The aim of every political Constitution is or ought to be first to obtain for rulers, men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous, whilst they continue to hold their public trust. James Madison, Feb. 19, 1788



The Constitution was not designed to safeguard against outright tyranny or monarchy only, but against the concentration of power as vested in any one class of persons, who can themselves and within the scope of their own interests choose their own representatives and successors. The power remains vested in the people, flows from and returns to them, through temporary leaders, who depend upon the approval of their masters.

If one elitist or restrictive group or class can capture the privilege of power for itself, and select its own related partners to temporarily carry the power on its behalf, it may be a bureaucracy, it may be a political faction, it may be a shadow caste of career governmentalists, but it may as well be a monarchical aristocracy—its characters come and go, but all of one interest in succession unbroken.

The question arises as to whether they have taken hold in our system by means of a loophole in the law, or by sheer arrogance and greed, or both—but they have counted on too many Americans agreeing to be their lackeys. The Constitution is not an airtight, perfect instrument—only the best one available, and containing allowance for amendment. If it were otherwise, some of us would still be slaves and many more dead before their time.

The Constitution would not have failed to provide a remedy for the abuse of its delegation of power, and the Framers debated how best to limit the terms and exercise of power of the people’s temporary representatives. It provided the remedy of the impeachment of judges and elected officials. On the subject of recall it is silent; it must be a power reserved to the people or to the States, for no granted power gives the federal government the right to prohibit it, and it cuts contrary to sense and the scheme of the law to suggest that a representative of the people could forbid his own unscheduled recall.

Likewise a judge, charged to determine matters of Constitutional law without bias or prejudice, would not by the Framers have been assigned the power to secure his own tenure by mere judicial fiat. It must be true then that the Constitution leaves the decision to recall judges and representatives in the hands of the people, or with the States, as a final recourse if other measures fail.

If the people would get up a vote and demand the removal of those in power, what law could resist the mandate? It is a supreme and preemptive law that renders the people the master of the government; we expect to find it in the Constitution itself. The Constitution by all rights should refer to or recognize the power of the people to recall the government; or if it does not, its imperfection shows and requires amendment.

Nor can we expect the Constitution to insist upon armed revolution only as the sole means of overthrowing the unwanted leaders. We do not want them—but we are hardly required to shoot them. We demand their removal, and in fact retain the power to mount insurrection as a matter of law, if they do not capitulate, by virtue of the Second Amendment. The question is then How, or By what means, are they to be removed?

Patriotic Americans will need more than decades of scandal and embezzlement to take up arms against their own people again; but neither will they suffer to have their demands ignored, or their will thwarted with indefinite process. It is said that we are a nation of laws, not men—and by this is meant in part that we will not be governed by a cabal, a caste, an elite, a faction or conglomerate of interests, any more than by a dictator or king.

Instead we attempt to satisfy the rule of law, and judge and plan according to its understood meaning. The overriding meaning of the Constitution is that power lies permanently and originally in the citizens, who grant temporary and occasional delegation of it to individuals who are trusted to place no other interests above or against those of the people.

Explicit Constitutional authority provides for the punishment of officials by removal for the commission of specified crimes. The accused official is discharged; and it has been enough on some occasions to prompt his resignation to only begin impeachment proceedings against one. It is therefore the intent of the law to punish certain persons in their roles as representatives, as an extrajudicial penalty, in addition to any ordinary legal penalty.

If impeachment were meant to call the offender to justice in any other capacity or role, it would be superfluous to the regular penal law. It is clearly therefore meant as a check to government action, and only in the case of specified high crimes or misdemeanors.

When such offenses cannot by circumstances be charged to any individual, but to the entire branch or department in question, or the entire federal leadership, either due to the quiet succession of offices and inheritance of powers and interests, or the general dispersal of responsibility among many, the Constitutional provision would stand meaningless and futile if its original spirit and intent were not followed rather than its rigid outward form.

The original intent and spirit of the impeachment clause is that misconduct by officials shall result in their discharge from office. When this provision is understood in combination with others providing for periodical elections (as the rules of interpretation require us to understand provisions of law together so as to make the best sense of them) we see, again, that the intent of the law of the land was to provide more than one means of removing unwanted persons from office.

Yet the two great devices together, impeachment and election, cannot encompass either all combinations of persons, or all three branches. Many hold office for life, or might as well; many make a career of inheriting and using political power; many are appointed, anonymous, secret, or entitled to perpetual privileges by custom and usage. Many are beyond the reach of impeachment.

The leadership of one of the three branches is appointed for life; that of another, accustomed to lifelong reelection; that of another, encompassed by overbearing, unidentified advisors and “handlers.” For all of these, impeachment, or loss of office by vote, holds little terror, and many have even demonstrated the ability to withstand undeniable public outcry for their removal.

In the case of impeachment only, as a remedy, the criminal should not be able to delegate his power to others who would survive his own dismissal and approximate his policies and plans; the Constitution does not provide for the transfer of abused power to one who is not named in the indictment, the one charged then to receive the punishment himself and leave the corruption safe in others’ hands.

Furthermore in a system of checks and balances, the wrong is multiplied if committed with impunity. The approving and screening branches perpetuate the wrong by not correcting it, and feel their own authority over such matters atrophy. Congress could do nothing to punish Nixon when once he’d given power to one of their own, who in turn pardoned the president before the prosecution could commence.

When Americans look at the transaction, they should perhaps recognize it for what it apparently is—a trade, a quid pro quo, a fair exchange of favor and privilege—an illegal barter of the public trust, in order to hold the power of the people out of reach above their heads.

Some will say that such instances of abuse are no better as examples than as worthy cases for prosecution due to their unique quality, and the passage of time. But once removed from their hands, the power of citizens is not returned—who would return it? For what reason? Has it been returned to us in fact? It has encouraged, just in the case of Nixon, a notion of the presidency as a kind of regency, or granted sinecure, to be passed from approved hand to approved hand.

It has encouraged the dilution of the impeachment clause such that it will be both invoked more often and used with less effect—as with the charges levied against Clinton. It has encouraged some to loosen the restriction of the high office to permit a third, perhaps a fourth term, or unlimited terms, as was bandied about in Reagan’s day (and would have resulted in George Bush inheriting the office by succession as Reagan grew enfeebled early in his third term). In such ways is the law weakened, and Machiavellian intrigue encouraged.

The Framers wanted regular turnover of officers—it averts monarchy or tyranny, and other forms of nonresponsive rule. It must be assumed that this formed a part of the intent of the law as written which restricts federal officeholders, as it is reflected in the compromised schedule of periodic national elections. The law is such that one cannot hold the office of, say, Senator, unless he agrees to hold himself accountable for return to office or discharge after six years.

Did the Framers intend for this to be the only means of removing the Senator barring the commission of impeachable crimes? If they had been capable of seeing a future in which the turnover of many individuals, or their deaths or retirement from office, constituted at last overall a system in which nonresponsive government ruled, securing its powers and policies perpetually through successive managers and directors, the Senate being a conduit through which the power was sapped directly from its source in the people, what would they have done?

It can be assumed with certainty that the Framers would have outlawed a system of governors and their agencies which will inevitably eventually represent none but their own will and needs. Permanent unelected career government officials, ensconced in bureaucracies, and elected ones who have no other avocation but public office, sap the strength and integrity of the system, and exist contrary to the nation’s fundamental laws.

For the last resort, the Framers presumed revolution, which for them, by bitter recent experience, could only occur by violence. They taught us their law; we study it for a means of doing our duty of revolt without bloodshed, because we have faith that that would be what they meant and what they would have wanted for us.
 

Judge Bean

Senior Member
Messages
1,257
Rights We Have Lost

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
Thomas Paine

A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting a government?.
?governments arise either out of the people, or over the people?.
Thomas Paine



The Constitution provides for the removal of criminal leaders and judges by impeachment, but the people are not burdened with the responsibility to specifically accuse elected or appointed officials, or branches, of the federal government, when the offenses against them are of so long a duration, the culpability for them spread unevenly throughout, and of such enormity.

When individuals might be forced to trial for impeachment, the burden is by law on the accuser. Instead, we give grounds for a general impeachment, not being required by law to specify the particular offense of only some, but all of the government and Congress are called out on having together failed to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The elected officials comprising the Executive and Legislative branches, and the nine Justices of the Supreme Court, carry on in an unbroken line of succession the policies and practices of a century of abuse and exploitation.

It is not for them to claim innocence based on what happened before them; it is for the American people to claim that its government has no rights in this respect, and must obey and withdraw when the people see fit to discharge them. The members of government, as members, have no rights to the powers they hold and pass on to their successors in interest.

Since at least 1964, the government, inasmuch as it is the same and continuously installed government by Constitutional mandate, has failed to correct or mitigate the effects and consequences of the policies, decisions, and acts under their leadership, and are called out in general impeachment to resign their offices.

The elected officials comprising the Executive and Legislative Branch, and the nine Justices of the Supreme Court, having failed to delegate the powers entrusted to them in a manner consistent with the protection and defense of the Constitution, and having failed since at least 1964 to correct or mitigate the effects and consequences of the policies, decisions, and acts under their leadership, are called out in general impeachment to resign their offices.

As successors to those offices, or for their own part, among other numerous acts, they have embarked on military adventures without the consent of the people, costing tens of thousands of lives, and ruining the economy with debt, unproductive spending, and overtaxation.

They have rendered the laws subordinate to the profiteering and private interests of numerous parties while the standards of public health and education have steadily declined, and have even waged war overseas for the benefit of such interested parties, at the cost of citizens? lives.

And they have depleted the power and reputation of the United States by means of its policies and conduct of international policy, compromising the people?s full exercise of diplomatic representation and putting both trade and cultural exchange at risk by exporting fear, threat, arrogance, and ignorance of other peoples in their place.

And they have amassed an arsenal of doomsday weapons of which even a small fraction of the number can never be used without destroying civilization, and comparable to which no nation on Earth has any but the same fraction, in spite of having no nation or alliance opposed to the general policies and continuing existence of the United States able to launch attack or invasion against it; and has held the lives of the citizens and of all people in the world in fear and forfeit to the plausibility of nuclear attack for decades.

And they have amassed stockpiles and arsenals of unknown extent and precise character which contain inhuman weapons of chemical and biological agents, likewise without an enemy, and posing a threat to world health, on the basis that such weapons might possibly be used in the future, thus presenting to the world a national character of willingness to use absolute violence against helpless populations.

And they have undermined and corrupted the Constitution and succeeded in centralizing political and military power in itself contrary to the initial design of the United States government.

And they have embezzled and squandered the public funds and betrayed the public trust in the mishandling and waste of tax and investment revenue, at one time permitting the theft of billions of dollars, never recovered, from the treasury, to underwrite the failed Savings and Loan system.

And they have extended the explicit powers in the Constitution to include by preemption and court opinion the control of all rivers, ports, harbors, interstate highways, lands of indigenous peoples, and lands in the public trust confiscated without remedy, constituting a majority of open land in some States.

And they have instituted general policies of secrecy despite the unmistakable call of the public and of the Constitution for revelation, and in some cases violating clear law requiring disclosure, and in any event cutting against the plain intent of the Constitution and its Framers to conduct an open and accessible government in form and function, thus further undermining the public trust.

And they have mismanaged the country?s natural resources even while intruding jurisdiction over them contrary to the original intent of the Constitution, and by their environmental and economic policies and acts permitted the extensive ruin of the atmosphere, pollution of the air and water, and destruction of wildlife and their natural habitat throughout the world.

And they have undermined the ability of the majority of citizens to obtain inexpensive and competent healthcare, including mental health treatment, in apparent collusion with pharmaceutical and medical interests, and to meet the unconscionable expenses of their military, intelligence, and secret projects and programs.

And they have levied taxes upon the American people in an ever-increasing severity, making the value of one?s labor to the government nearly the equal of its value to himself, in sharp contradiction to the intent of the Framers that each citizen should be protected in his enjoyment of property as an aspect of his liberty.

And they have extended administrative powers of the Executive Branch into law enforcement nationwide, into the summary collection of onerous taxes without review or remedy, and into the control generally of the national economy, education, and law enforcement, among others, violating the Constitutional directives of Separation of Powers and Rights Reserved to the States and People.

And they have by Supreme Court opinion diluted and weakened Constitutional guarantees of rights, instead of expanding the recognized scope of such rights, and aided in the violation of Separation of Powers and Rights Reserved, as above, by honoring the arbitrary and capricious expansion of the Executive War Powers; and have failed to interpose a judicial review system to avert the majority of Constitutional questions having been neglected on writs of certiorari.

And they have encouraged and sponsored partisanship of the judiciary, and subjected candidates for the courts of the United States to the mutable demands of inconsistent politics.

And they have permitted the pervasive influence of corporate interests to direct the affairs of Congress and the presidency, and to participate in the drafting and execution of regulations in all departments, and in the policies and acts of government overall.

* * * * *

If a wrong was once done to the people by its government, at that time democracy was reduced and mocked; if the wrong goes unpunished in the immediately successive administration, at that time democracy struggles forward under a great and unjust burden; if the wrong, as we see has now happened, remains as incorporated into the body politic, democracy no longer walks, and is wheezing on its final bed.

We have endured wrongs which have not only gone pardoned and ignored, but have multiplied, one upon the other an each depending on all, like a vast cancerous web; there is no proper governing from the creature trapped within. The frame or branch anchoring the web itself must be cut and burnt.

This is not the corruption of a few Congressmen only; nor does it condemn good leaders who have surpassed the expectations of their inevitable predators and payors, and finally disappointed the creatures of graft and profit. This is not a revolution meant to start up a foreign kind of rule or overthrow a lawful government?we are to clear the boards, and start anew according to our Constitutional rule of law.

They are not free to use the country for their own benefit. We are taking it back.

One would think it difficult to prove to Americans that their wealth has been squandered by the government (where it has not been stolen outright, as in the Savings & Loan debacle, the biggest theft in human history).

There are many, no doubt, who have not noticed that the government devours a huge portion of individuals? livelihood, leaving corporations untouched (two-thirds of which do not pay taxes); and that, even in light of the magnitude of the sacrifice, willingly made by citizens for the public good, asks for more and wastes and gives away more every year.

The pace proceeds unabated through the generations of bureaucrats and executives and elected officials, and is the one tie that binds the opposing political ?parties.? Why do we continue to give them our money, knowing that they are misusing it, and abusing our trust? It is because we are a great people, and proceed guided by hope and faith; and because the government is, literally, composed of a million Americans, who believe that they can somehow spend it and use it well on everyone?s behalf.

It may be that someday the government will be deserving of this faith, and I have great hope that we will get that government?but we do not have it now. This is not the government we can trust; it has been in power for decades, and the time has come for it to end.
 

CaryP

Senior Member
Messages
1,438
Re: Rights We Have Lost

I wasn't really sure where to post this, but found this excellent thread, which has been disregarded since last August. The article I found fits well within the thread topic of "Rights We Have Lost." The name of the article is "What You Can't Say." It is pertinent in that I believe the current political/social/cultural environment is a breeding ground for an increased pressure of "you're with us or you're against us" Some of the laws passed since 9/11, and ongoing developments (Padilla case), etc. I believe, add to this mind set. Yes, it's a long read, but well worth it. It should make you think.

Cary

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

Have you ever seen an old photo of yourself and been embarrassed at the way you looked? ? Did we actually dress like that? We did. And we had no idea how silly we looked. It\'s the nature of fashion to be invisible, in the same way the movement of the earth is invisible to all of us riding on it.

What scares me is that there are moral fashions too. They\'re just as arbitrary, and just as invisible to most people. But they\'re much more dangerous. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good. Dressing oddly gets you laughed at. Violating moral fashions can get you fired, ostracized, imprisoned, or even killed.

If you could travel back in a time machine, one thing would be true no matter where you went: you\'d have to watch what you said. Opinions we consider harmless could have gotten you in big trouble. I\'ve already said at least one thing that would have gotten me in big trouble in most of Europe in the seventeenth century, and did get Galileo in big trouble when he said it-- that the earth moves. [1]

Nerds are always getting in ?<a href=\'http://news.com.com/2100-1009-5082649.html\' target=\'_blank\'>trouble</a>. They say improper things for the same reason they dress unfashionably and have good ideas: convention has less hold over them.

It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise.

Is our time any different? To anyone who has read any amount of history, the answer is almost certainly no. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right.

It\'s tantalizing to think we believe things that people in the future will find ridiculous. What would someone coming back to visit us in a time machine have to be careful not to say? That\'s what I want to study here. But I want to do more than just shock everyone with the heresy du jour. I want to find general recipes for discovering what you can\'t say, in any era.



The Conformist Test

Let\'s start with a test: ? Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?

If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you\'re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn\'t. Odds are you just think whatever you\'re told.

The other alternative would be that you independently considered every question and came up with the exact same answers that are now considered acceptable. That seems unlikely, because you\'d also have to make the same mistakes. Mapmakers deliberately put slight mistakes in their maps so they can tell when someone copies them. If another map has the same mistake, that\'s very convincing evidence.

Like every other era in history, our moral map almost certainly contains a few mistakes. And anyone who makes the same mistakes probably didn\'t do it by accident. It would be like someone claiming they had independently decided in 1972 that bell-bottom jeans were a good idea.

If you believe everything you\'re supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn\'t also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s-- or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.

Back in the era of terms like \\"well-adjusted,\\" the idea seemed to be that there was something wrong with you if you thought things you didn\'t dare say out loud. This seems backward. Almost certainly, there is something wrong with you if you don\'t think things you don\'t dare say out loud.



Trouble

What can\'t we say? ?One way to find these ideas is simply to look at things people do say, and get in trouble for. ?[2]

Of course, we\'re not just looking for things we can\'t say. We\'re looking for things we can\'t say that are true, or at least have enough chance of being true that the question should remain open. But many of the things people get in trouble for saying probably do make it over this second, lower threshold. No one gets in trouble for saying that 2 + 2 is 5, or that people in Pittsburgh are ten feet tall. Such obviously false statements might be treated as jokes, or at worst as evidence of insanity, but they are not likely to make anyone mad. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true.

If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking.

Certainly, as we look back on the past, this rule of thumb works well. A lot of the statements people got in trouble for seem harmless now. So it\'s likely that visitors from the future would agree with at least some of the statements that get people in trouble today. Do we have no Galileos? Not likely.

To find them, keep track of opinions that get people in trouble, and start asking, could this be true? Ok, it may be heretical (or whatever modern equivalent), but might it also be true?



Heresy

This won\'t get us all the answers, though. What if no one happens to have gotten in trouble for a particular idea yet? What if some idea would be so radioactively controversial that no one would dare express it in public? How can we find these too?

Another approach is to follow that word, heresy. In every period of history, there seem to have been labels that got applied to statements to shoot them down before anyone had a chance to ask if they were true or not. \\"Blasphemy\\", \\"sacrilege\\", and \\"heresy\\" were such labels for a good part of western history, as in more recent times \\"indecent\\", \\"improper\\", and \\"unamerican\\" have been. By now these labels have lost their sting. They always do. By now they\'re mostly used ironically. But in their time, they had real force.

The word \\"defeatist\\", for example, has no particular political connotations now. But in Germany in 1917 it was a weapon, used by Ludendorff in a purge of those who favored a negotiated peace. At the start of World War II it was used extensively by Churchill and his supporters to silence their opponents. In 1940, any argument against Churchill\'s aggressive policy was \\"defeatist\\". Was it right or wrong? Ideally, no one got far enough to ask that.

We have such labels today, of course, quite a lot of them, from the all-purpose \\"inappropriate\\" to the dreaded \\"divisive.\\" In any period, it should be easy to figure out what such labels are, simply by looking at what people call ideas they disagree with besides untrue. When a politician says his opponent is mistaken, that\'s a straightforward criticism, but when he attacks a statement as \\"divisive\\" or \\"racially insensitive\\" instead of arguing that it\'s false, we should start paying attention.

So another way to figure out which of our taboos future generations will laugh at is to start with the labels. Take a label-- \\"sexist\\", for example-- and try to think of some ideas that would be called that. Then for each ask, might this be true?

Just start listing ideas at random? Yes, because they won\'t really be random. The ideas that come to mind first will be the most plausible ones. They\'ll be things you\'ve already noticed but didn\'t let yourself think.

In 1989 some clever researchers tracked the eye movements of radiologists as they scanned chest images for signs of lung cancer. [3] They found that even when the radiologists missed a cancerous lesion, their eyes had usually paused at the site of it. Part of their brain knew there was something there; it just didn\'t percolate all the way up into conscious knowledge. I think many interesting heretical thoughts are already mostly formed in our minds. If we turn off our self-censorship temporarily, those will be the first to emerge.



Time and Space

If we could look into the future it would be obvious which of our taboos they\'d laugh at. We can\'t do that, but we can do something almost as good: we can look into the past. Another way to figure out what we\'re getting wrong is to look at what used to be acceptable and is now unthinkable.

Changes between the past and the present sometimes do represent progress. In a field like physics, if we disagree with past generations it\'s because we\'re right and they\'re wrong. But this becomes rapidly less true as you move away from the certainty of the hard sciences. By the time you get to social questions, many changes are just fashion. The age of consent fluctuates like hemlines.

We may imagine that we are a great deal smarter and more virtuous than past generations, but the more history you read, the less likely this seems. People in past times were much like us. Not heroes, not barbarians. Whatever their ideas were, they were ideas reasonable people could believe.

So here is another source of interesting heresies. Diff present ideas against those of various past cultures, and see what you get. [4] Some will be shocking by present standards. Ok, fine; but which might also be true?

You don\'t have to look into the past to find big differences. In our own time, different societies have wildly varying ideas of what\'s ok and what isn\'t. So you can try diffing other cultures\' ideas against ours as well. (The best way to do that is to visit them.)

You might find contradictory taboos. In one culture it might seem shocking to think x, while in another it was shocking not to. But I think usually the shock is on one side. In one culture x is ok, and in another it\'s considered shocking. My hypothesis is that the side that\'s shocked is most likely to be the mistaken one. [5]

I suspect the only taboos that are more than taboos are the ones that are universal, or nearly so. Murder for example. But any idea that\'s considered harmless in a significant percentage of times and places, and yet is taboo in ours, is a good candidate for something we\'re mistaken about.

For example, at the high water mark of political correctness in the early 1990s, Harvard distributed to its faculty and staff a brochure saying, among other things, that it was inappropriate to compliment a colleague or student\'s clothes. No more \\"nice shirt.\\" I think this principle is rare among the world\'s cultures, past or present. There are probably more where it\'s considered especially polite to compliment someone\'s clothing than where it\'s considered improper. So odds are this is, in a mild form, an example of one of the taboos a visitor from the future would have to be careful to avoid if he happened to set his time machine for Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992.



Prigs

Of course, if they have time machines in the future they\'ll probably have a separate reference manual just for Cambridge. This has always been a fussy place, a town of i dotters and t crossers, where you\'re liable to get both your grammar and your ideas corrected in the same conversation. And that suggests another way to find taboos. Look for prigs, and see what\'s inside their heads.

Kids\' heads are repositories of all our taboos. It seems fitting to us that kids\' ideas should be bright and clean. The picture we give them of the world is not merely simplified, to suit their developing minds, but sanitized as well, to suit our ideas of what kids ought to think. [6]

You can see this on a small scale in the matter of dirty words. A lot of my friends are starting to have children now, and they\'re all trying not to use words like \\"****\\" and \\"****\\" within baby\'s hearing, lest baby start using these words too. But these words are part of the language, and adults use them all the time. So parents are giving their kids an inaccurate idea of the language by not using them. Why do they do this? Because they don\'t think it\'s fitting that kids should use the whole language. We like children to seem innocent. [7]

Most adults, likewise, deliberately give kids a misleading view of the world. One of the most obvious examples is Santa Claus. We think it\'s cute for little kids to believe in Santa Claus. I myself think it\'s cute for little kids to believe in Santa Claus. But one wonders, do we tell them this stuff for their sake, or for ours?

I\'m not arguing for or against this idea here. It is probably inevitable that parents should want to dress up their kids\' minds in cute little baby outfits. I\'ll probably do it myself. The important thing for our purposes is that, as a result, a well brought-up teenage kid\'s brain is a more or less complete collection of all our taboos-- and in mint condition, because they\'re untainted by experience. Whatever we think that will later turn out to be ridiculous, it\'s almost certainly inside that head.

How do we get at these ideas? By the following thought experiment. Imagine a kind of latter-day Conrad character who has worked for a time as a mercenary in Africa, for a time as a doctor in Nepal, for a time as the manager of a nightclub in Miami. The specifics don\'t matter-- just someone who has seen a lot. Now imagine comparing what\'s inside this guy\'s head with what\'s inside the head of a well-behaved sixteen year old girl from the suburbs. What does he think that would shock her? He knows the world; she knows, or at least embodies, present taboos. Subtract one from the other, and the result is what we can\'t say.



Mechanism

I can think of one more way to figure out what we can\'t say: to look at how taboos are created. How do moral fashions arise, and why are they adopted? If we can understand this mechanism, we may be able to see it at work in our own time.

Moral fashions don\'t seem to be created the way ordinary fashions are. Ordinary fashions seem to arise by accident when everyone imitates the whim of some influential person. The fashion for broad-toed shoes in late fifteenth century Europe began because Charles VIII of France had six toes on one foot. The fashion for the name Gary began when the actor Frank Cooper adopted the name of a tough mill town in Indiana. Moral fashions more often seem to be created deliberately. When there\'s something we can\'t say, it\'s often because some group doesn\'t want us to.

The prohibition will be strongest when the group is nervous. The irony of Galileo\'s situation was that he got in trouble for repeating Copernicus\'s ideas. Copernicus himself didn\'t. In fact, Copernicus was a canon of a cathedral, and dedicated his book to the pope. But by Galileo\'s time the church was in the throes of the Counter-Reformation and was much more worried about unorthodox ideas.

To launch a taboo, a group has to be poised halfway between weakness and power. A confident group doesn\'t need taboos to protect it. It\'s not considered improper to make disparaging remarks about Americans, or the English. And yet a group has to be powerful enough to enforce a taboo. Coprophiles, as of this writing, don\'t seem to be numerous or energetic enough to have had their interests promoted to a lifestyle.

I suspect the biggest source of moral taboos will turn out to be power struggles in which one side only barely has the upper hand. That\'s where you\'ll find a group powerful enough to enforce taboos, but weak enough to need them.

Most struggles, whatever they\'re really about, will be cast as struggles between competing ideas. The English Reformation was at bottom a struggle for wealth and power, but it ended up being cast as a struggle to preserve the souls of Englishmen from the corrupting influence of Rome. It\'s easier to get people to fight for an idea. And whichever side wins, their ideas will also be considered to have triumphed, as if God wanted to signal his agreement by selecting that side as the victor.

We often like to think of World War II as a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. We conveniently forget that the Soviet Union was also one of the winners.

I\'m not saying that struggles are never about ideas, just that they will always be made to seem to be about ideas, whether they are or not. And just as there is nothing so unfashionable as the last, discarded fashion, there is nothing so wrong as the principles of the most recently defeated opponent. Representational art is only now recovering from the approval of both Hitler and Stalin. [8]

Although moral fashions tend to arise from different sources than fashions in clothing, the mechanism of their adoption seems much the same. The early adopters will be driven by ambition: self-consciously cool people who want to distinguish themselves from the common herd. As the fashion becomes established they\'ll be joined by a second, much larger group, driven by fear. [9] This second group adopt the fashion not because they want to stand out but because they are afraid of standing out.

So if you want to figure out what we can\'t say, look at the machinery of fashion and try to predict what it would make unsayable. What groups are powerful but nervous, and what ideas would they like to suppress? What ideas were tarnished by association when they ended up on the losing side of a recent struggle? If a self-consciously cool person wanted to differentiate himself from preceding fashions (e.g. from his parents), which of their ideas would he tend to reject? What are conventional-minded people afraid of saying?

This technique won\'t find us all the things we can\'t say. I can think of some that aren\'t the result of any recent struggle. Many of our taboos are rooted deep in the past. But this approach, combined with the preceding four, will turn up a good number of unthinkable ideas.



Why

Some would ask, why would one want to do this? Why deliberately go poking around among nasty, disreputable ideas? Why look under rocks?

I do it, first of all, for the same reason I did look under rocks as a kid: plain curiosity. And I\'m especially curious about anything that\'s forbidden. Let me see and decide for myself.

Second, I do it because I don\'t like the idea of being mistaken. If, like other eras, we believe things that will later seem ridiculous, I want to know what they are so that I, at least, can avoid believing them.

Third, I do it because it\'s good for the brain. To do good work you need a brain that can go anywhere. And you especially need a brain that\'s in the habit of going where it\'s not supposed to.

Great work tends to grow out of ideas that others have overlooked, and no idea is so overlooked as one that\'s unthinkable. Natural selection, for example. It\'s so simple. Why didn\'t anyone think of it before? Well, that is all too obvious. Darwin himself was careful to tiptoe around the implications of his theory. He wanted to spend his time thinking about biology, not arguing with people who accused him of being an atheist.

In the sciences, especially, it\'s a great advantage to be able to question assumptions. The m.o. of scientists, or at least of the good ones, is precisely that: look for places where conventional wisdom is broken, and then try to pry apart the cracks and see what\'s underneath. That\'s where new theories come from.

A good scientist, in other words, does not merely ignore conventional wisdom, but makes a special effort to break it. Scientists go looking for trouble. This should be the m.o. of any scholar, but scientists seem much more willing to look under rocks. [10]

Why? It could be that the scientists are simply smarter; most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics. Or it could be because it\'s clearer in the sciences whether theories are true or false, and this makes scientists bolder. (Or it could be that, because it\'s clearer in the sciences whether theories are true or false, you have to be smart to get jobs as a scientist, rather than just a good politician.)

Whatever the reason, there seems a clear correlation between intelligence and willingness to consider shocking ideas. This isn\'t just because smart people actively work to find holes in conventional thinking. I think conventions also have less hold over them to start with. You can see that in the way they dress.

It\'s not only in the sciences that heresy pays off. In any competitive field, you can <a href=\'http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html\' target=\'_blank\'>win big</a> by seeing things that others daren\'t. And in every field there are probably heresies few dare utter. Within the US car industry there is a lot of hand-wringing now about declining market share. Yet the cause is so obvious that any observant outsider could explain it in a second: they make bad cars. And they have for so long that by now the US car brands are antibrands-- something you\'d buy a car despite, not because of. Cadillac stopped being the Cadillac of cars in about 1970. And yet I suspect no one dares say this. [11] Otherwise these companies would have tried to fix the problem.

Training yourself to think unthinkable thoughts has advantages beyond the thoughts themselves. It\'s like stretching. When you stretch before running, you put your body into positions much more extreme than any it will assume during the run. If you can think things so outside the box that they\'d make people\'s hair stand on end, you\'ll have no trouble with the small trips outside the box that people call innovative.



Pensieri Stretti

When you find something you can\'t say, what do you do with it? My advice is, don\'t say it. ? Or at least, pick your battles.

Suppose in the future there is a movement to ban the color yellow. Proposals to paint anything yellow are denounced as \\"yellowist\\", as is anyone suspected of liking the color. People who like orange are tolerated but viewed with suspicion. Suppose you realize there is nothing wrong with yellow. If you go around saying this, you\'ll be denounced as a yellowist too, and you\'ll find yourself having a lot of arguments with anti-yellowists. If your aim in life is to rehabilitate the color yellow, that may be what you want. But if you\'re mostly interested in other questions, being labelled as a yellowist will just be a distraction. Argue with idiots, and you become an idiot.

The most important thing is to be able to think what you want, not to say what you want. And if you feel you have to say everything you think, it may inhibit you from thinking improper thoughts. I think it\'s better to follow the opposite policy. Draw a sharp line between your thoughts and your speech. Inside your head, anything is allowed. Within my head I make a point of encouraging the most outrageous thoughts I can imagine. But, as in a secret society, nothing that happens within the building should be told to outsiders. The first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club.

When Milton was going to visit Italy in the 1630s, Sir Henry Wootton, who had been ambassador to Venice, told him his motto should be \\"i pensieri stretti & il viso sciolto.\\" Closed thoughts and an open face. Smile at everyone, and don\'t tell them what you\'re thinking. This was wise advice. Milton was an argumentative fellow, and the Inquisition was a bit restive at that time. But I think the difference between Milton\'s situation and ours is only a matter of degree. Every era has its heresies, and if you don\'t get imprisoned for them you will at least get in enough trouble that it becomes a complete distraction.

I admit it seems cowardly to keep quiet. When I read about the harassment to which the Scientologists subject their critics [12], or that pro-Israel groups are \\"compiling dossiers\\" on those who speak out against Israeli human rights abuses [13], or about people being sued for violating the DMCA [14], part of me wants to say, \\"All right, you bastards, bring it on.\\" The problem is, there are so many things you can\'t say. If you said them all you\'d have no time left for your real work. You\'d have to turn into Noam Chomsky. [15]

The trouble with keeping your thoughts secret, though, is that you lose the advantages of discussion. Talking about an idea leads to more ideas. So the optimal plan, if you can manage it, is to have a few trusted friends you can speak openly to. This is not just a way to develop ideas; it\'s also a good rule of thumb for choosing friends. The people you can say heretical things to without getting jumped on are also the most interesting to know.



Viso Sciolto?

I don\'t think we need the viso sciolto so much as the pensieri stretti. Perhaps the best policy is to make it plain that you don\'t agree with whatever zealotry is current in your time, but not to be too specific about what you disagree with. Zealots will try to draw you out, but you don\'t have to answer them. If they try to force you to treat a question on their terms by asking \\"are you with us or against us?\\" you can always just answer \\"neither\\".

Better still, answer \\"I haven\'t decided.\\" That\'s what Larry Summers did when a group tried to put him in this position. Explaining himself later, he said \\"I don\'t do litmus tests.\\" [16] A lot of the questions people get hot about are actually quite complicated. There is no prize for getting the answer quickly.

If the anti-yellowists seem to be getting out of hand and you want to fight back, there are ways to do it without getting yourself accused of being a yellowist. Like skirmishers in an ancient army, you want to avoid directly engaging the main body of the enemy\'s troops. Better to harass them with arrows from a distance.

One way to do this is to ratchet the debate up one level of abstraction. If you argue against censorship in general, you can avoid being accused of whatever heresy is contained in the book or film that someone is trying to censor. You can attack labels with meta-labels: labels that refer to the use of labels to prevent discussion. The spread of the term \\"political correctness\\" meant the beginning of the end of political correctness, because it enabled one to attack the phenomenon as a whole without being accused of any of the specific heresies it sought to suppress.

Another way to counterattack is with metaphor. Arthur Miller undermined the House Un-American Activities Committee by writing a play, \\"The Crucible,\\" about the Salem witch trials. He never referred directly to the committee and so gave them no way to reply. What could HUAC do, defend the Salem witch trials? And yet Miller\'s metaphor stuck so well that to this day the activities of the committee are often described as a \\"witch-hunt.\\"

Best of all, probably, is humor. Zealots, whatever their cause, invariably lack a sense of humor. They can\'t reply in kind to jokes. They\'re as unhappy on the territory of humor as a mounted knight on a skating rink. Victorian prudishness, for example, seems to have been defeated mainly by treating it as a joke. Likewise its reincarnation as political correctness. \\"I am glad that I managed to write \'The Crucible,\'\\" Arthur Miller wrote, \\"but looking back I have often wished I\'d had the temperament to do an absurd comedy, which is what the situation deserved.\\" [17]



ABQ

A Dutch friend says I should use Holland as an example of a tolerant society. It\'s true they have a long tradition of comparative open-mindedness. For centuries the low countries were the place to go to say things you couldn\'t say anywhere else, and this helped to make the region a center of scholarship and industry (which have been closely tied for longer than most people realize). Descartes, though claimed by the French, did much of his thinking in Holland.

And yet, I wonder. The Dutch seem to live their lives up to their necks in rules and regulations. There\'s so much you can\'t do there; is there really nothing you can\'t say?

Certainly the fact that they value open-mindedness is no guarantee. Who thinks they\'re not open-minded? Our hypothetical prim miss from the suburbs thinks she\'s open-minded. Hasn\'t she been taught to be? Ask anyone, and they\'ll say the same thing: they\'re pretty open-minded, though they draw the line at things that are really wrong. (Some tribes may avoid \\"wrong\\" as judgemental, and may instead use a more neutral sounding euphemism like \\"negative\\" or \\"destructive\\".)

When people are bad at math, they know it, because they get the wrong answers on tests. But when people are bad at open-mindedness they don\'t know it. In fact they tend to think the opposite. Remember, it\'s the nature of fashion to be invisible. It wouldn\'t work otherwise. Fashion doesn\'t seem like fashion to someone in the grip of it. It just seems like the right thing to do. It\'s only by looking from a distance that we see oscillations in people\'s idea of the right thing to do, and can identify them as fashions.

Time gives us such distance for free. Indeed, the arrival of new fashions makes old fashions easy to see, because they seem so ridiculous by contrast. From one end of a pendulum\'s swing, the other end seems especially far away.

To see fashion in your own time, though, requires a conscious effort. Without time to give you distance, you have to create distance yourself. Instead of being part of the mob, stand as far away from it as you can and watch what it\'s doing. And pay especially close attention whenever an idea is being suppressed. Web filters for children and employees often ban sites containing pornography, violence, and hate speech. What counts as pornography and violence? And what, exactly, is \\"hate speech?\\" This sounds like a phrase out of 1984.

Labels like that are probably the biggest external clue. If a statement is false, that\'s the worst thing you can say about it. You don\'t need to say that it\'s heretical. And if it isn\'t false, it shouldn\'t be suppressed. So when you see statements being attacked as x-ist or y-ic (substitute your current values of x and y), whether in 1630 or 2030, that\'s a sure sign that something is wrong. When you hear such labels being used, ask why.

Especially if you hear yourself using them. It\'s not just the mob you need to learn to watch from a distance. You need to be able to watch your own thoughts from a distance. That\'s not a radical idea, by the way; it\'s the main difference between children and adults. When a child gets angry because he\'s tired, he doesn\'t know what\'s happening. An adult can distance himself enough from the situation to say \\"never mind, I\'m just tired.\\" I don\'t see why one couldn\'t, by a similar process, learn to recognize and discount the effects of moral fashions.

You have to take that extra step if you want to think clearly. But it\'s harder, because now you\'re working against social customs instead of with them. Everyone encourages you to grow up to the point where you can discount your own bad moods. Few encourage you to continue to the point where you can discount society\'s bad moods.

How can you see the wave, when you\'re the water? Always be questioning. That\'s the only defence. What can\'t you say? And why?
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Judge Bean

Senior Member
Messages
1,257
Re: Rights We Have Lost

This thing is really great. Thanks for posting this; I think it's quite fitting.
 

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