Tag Archives: democracy

Limited Government – Fast Food Style

I’ve eaten at more fast food establishments than I can count. Some are quality and some are not. 

One of my favorites is Chick-Fil-A. Famous for their spelling-impaired cows, Chick-Fil-A has made a name for themselves by selling an amazing number of menu items that feature chicken. You can get it grilled or breaded and fried; patty, strips, or nuggets; on a bun, in a wrap, in a salad, or by itself. They even do chicken for breakfast! Chick-Fil-A basically does one main thing (with a variety of smaller things in the side) and does it well. 

In-N-Out Burger is another favorite of mine. This west coast establishment also has a “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. Where some fast food joints have over twenty combos, In-N-Out has three. (Of course there is also their “not-so-secret secret menu,” but that is just a re-arrangement of existing menu ingredients.) Missing is the bewildering array found at most fast food restaurants – there is a beautiful simplicity to their menu. I’ve watched employees in so many eateries have to look up seldom-ordered menu options. In my own (brief and fruitless) fast food experience, I had to look up things as well. At the well-oiled machine that is In-N-Out, I have never seen an employee bewildered at what something is. Their kitchen is open, so customers can see what is going on inside. A large window in the drive-through ensures that customers there can see in as well. Again, we see an eatery that does one thing, and does it well. 

Both of these culinary delights are quite popular despite not having the bewildering menu array we have come to expect from fast food restaurants. I would assert that the simplicity of their menus is a leading contributor to the quality that customers appreciate in their products. 

Now, contrast that with our government. Over the past century or so, the size and scope of our federal government has grown considerably, as have those of the states. Government is doing for us many things that we ought to be doing for ourselves. As a result, the bureaucratic intrusion in our daily lives has grown crippling to our liberty and the economy. Taxes, permits, fees, regulations, paperwork… the list grows rather than shrinks. 

In an attempt to “straw man” the concerns of conservatives, tea party activists, and others; those on the left have often accused us of wanting no government or even being anti-government. This is not at all what we want. We want what our Constitution mandates: a government limited to a few specific areas. Within those areas, the federal government has tremendous power and authority. Outside those, it has little to none. 

By seeking to do everything and taking authority away from the states, the people, private enterprise, private charity, and private organizations the federal government has bloated itself beyond reason. This is not just an argument against high taxes or high spending. The very fact that the government is trying to do things that is not designed to do, has no constitutional authority to do, and is not effective at doing is causing it to fail at it all. 

I would rather have the “lean machine” government that was both effective and respectful of the Constitution and the people. Eateries such as Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out Burger are able to focus on quality through their relatively simple menus. The government would do well to learn from their “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. 


Hindenblog asserts that President Obama’s attempts to straw man fans of limited government opens the door for us to talk to others about just what limited government is all about.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under politics

What is “historic”?

I’m sick and tired of hearing people blather on and on about how “historic” the health care takeover is. Historic doesn’t mean good.

9/11 was historic.
Pearl Harbor was historic.
Kristallnacht was historic.
the Alamo was historic.

That doesn’t mean they were good.

Passing something this blatantly unconstitutional and tyrannical against incredible public opposition is certainly historic. That doesn’t mean that this is a good thing.

1 Comment

Filed under politics, Uncategorized

Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

Updated 3/30/2010, 4/22/2010, 4/24/2010

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that an amendment to the US Constitution may be proposed by the Congress or by a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Such a convention is called by Congress after two-thirds of the states petition them to call it. A Convention has never been called, as the threat of calling for one is often sufficient to force Congress to propose the desired amendment.

There have been some who have said that we need to call a Constitutional Convention to bring forth term limits, protect some right, or pursue some other worthy cause via Constitutional amendment. Of course, others have wondered if such a convention would choose to disregard our current Constitution and forge a new one, as the first Constitutional Convention did.  One then has to wonder what such a new Constitution would say.  However, all the speculation that I have heard ended there. 

Let us ask a few further questions:

Would the proceedings be open to public viewing or scrutiny?

Would the proceedings be in secret?

If such a new Constitution were produced, what means would be set to ratify it?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution nullify the old one, even if the new one were rejected?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution dissolve the union?

What about a new Constitution that was not ratified:
     How long would the possibility of ratification remain?
     Again, would the old Constitution be nullified or the union dissolved?

What about a new Constitution that was ratified:
     Would a state that refused to ratify be bound by the new Constitution?
     Would they be out of the union?
     Would they be forced to obey a Constitution that they rejected?

Before dismissing any of this as idle speculation or stupid questions, let’s remember that we are in uncharted territory here. Anything could happen at a Constitutional Convention.

These questions and others need to be considered before an action as drastic as a Constitutional Convention is considered.

Personally, I hope it never comes to that.


3/30/2010
I am not opposed to the idea of calling a convention in theory.
However. I am still not completely sold on the necessity of the idea. Also, I am still not sure that the outcome would be beneficial to the cause of limited government.

Satellite radio talker Mike Church is a major proponent of the Article V Convention and has planned a conference to discuss the issue on April 9, 2010. Linked article includes a summary of proposed amendments.


4/22/2010
Mike Church has made available the audio from the town hall conference on April 9, 2010.

Here it is.

I have listened to the audio. They have answered some of the questions that I have asked above.

I am not completely sold yet, but am more in favor of the idea than I was.


4/24/2010
I do believe that we need to amend the Constitution to safeguard our liberties, though. If things keep going the way they are, I should reach 100% support of this idea soon.


Other relevant posts of mine:

Term Limits Amendment


For more info:
Article 5 of the Constitution
Convention to propose amendments
State ratifying conventions
Forbes.com A Bill Of Federalism by Randy E. Barnett – proposed amendments

4 Comments

Filed under constitutional amendment, politics

Some Tidbits from CS Lewis

Here are some tidbits from CS Lewis:

“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.” – Hyoi in Out of the Silent Planet

“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.” – The Problem of Pain

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  God in the Dock

 
Without risk, there is no reward; without the possibility of true failure, there is no possibility of true success. This is the danger of modern liberal and progressive thought. Schools give awards to everyone to preserve self-esteem and by doing so, remove the incentive for the gifted to excel and the average to beat expectations. The nanny state seeks to cushion us from the bumps and bruises, never realizing that they are discouraging excellence and breeding mediocrity. Through it all, they are eroding our liberty.

I am not the first to say it, and I sure won’t be the last.

 

Here are a couple more about evil:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” The Screwtape Letters

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” The Screwtape Letters

Leave a comment

Filed under politics, theology

H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill) Is Unconstitutional Ex Post Facto Law.

 “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.”    – excerpt from H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill)

Correct me if I’m reading this wrong, but doesn’t that back date the law’s effectiveness to January 1, 2009?  Let’s say I took out a policy on February 1, 2009. If this bill becomes law, would it render my policy illegal?

“No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” – U.S. Constitution: Article 1, Section 9.  An ex post facto law is a retroactive law, that is, one that makes something illegal before the law was passed.

Could someone explain to me how this is not an unconstitutional ex post facto law? If my reading of the bill is correct, it would render any policy made on or after January 1, 2009 null and void after the fact.

2 Comments

Filed under politics

Thoughts from my friend Melody

Democracy does not die because some other country comes in and takes over, imposing their resitrictive rule on freedom-loving people. Liberty is surrendered willingly by those who possess it in the name of ensuring a safe and secure society. All to the sounds of applause and adulation directed towards our ‘savior.’
As a nation, we are doing this now, to secure affordable healthcare, prevent foreclosures and ensure that American automobiles are competitively priced, that we help provide choices for disadvantaged mothers in foreign countries and recognize children as having rights protected by the global community.

Leave a comment

Filed under politics