politics

U.S. politics and politics in general

Positive vs. negative authority

In constitutional republics the founding documents provide the positive basis for political authority. In the U.S. the Constitution delineates the authority of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Thus the President could do only what he (so far only he) is authorized by the Constitution to do: act as Commander in Chief of …

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Morality and same-sex civil marriage

Same-sex civil marriage has become legal in various jurisdictions and states. What should those do who do not recognize the moral validity of these marriages? This has become an issue for people personally and in business. Consider the latter first. There have been cases of a photographer and a baker: what should they do if customers …

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Fact, value, and science

The modern distinction between fact and value goes back to David Hume who argued that “is” does not imply “ought” — there is no way to get from facts to values. This contrasts with the Aristotelian philosophy in which everything has a nature so that what something is and what it ought to be is defined by …

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Politics Left and Right

The political Left and Right began with the French National Constituent Assembly of 1789. The Left supported the revolution and democracy, the Right opposed the revolution and supported the aristocracy, and the Democratic Royalists supported a constitutional monarchy. Today there is no aristocratic Right to speak of, at least not in countries such as America. …

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Authorizing legislation

Congress passes a bill to authorize a government program and expenditure of funds before passing an appropriations bill to approve the expenditure of funds. Authorization bills cover multiple years (such as 3 or 6) whereas appropriations are usually annual. Some programs such as so-called entitlements do not follow this process. One advantage of periodic authorizations is that they …

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Word to the wise

This is not intended to be a political blog, but sometimes a warning message needs to be given about where things are going. We don’t like to think our lives will be interrupted by national or international events, but that has happened to many if not most people in the past and there’s no reason …

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Capitalism and socialism

Wikipedia notes: The initial usage of the term capitalism in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc [a socialist] in 1850 and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon [an anarchist] in 1861. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to the capitalistic system (kapitalistisches System) and to the capitalist mode of production (kapitalistische Produktionsform) in Das Kapital (1867). …

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Repealing legislation

The Founders did “better than they knew” when writing the U.S. Constitution. They wisely separated the legislative, executive, and judicial powers. They also wisely made the legislature bicameral with an executive veto to make new laws difficult to enact. However, now that many, many laws have been passed, we can see that the difficulty in …

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Social libertarianism

The term “social libertarian” is an ambiguous term.  Some have used it to mean a political philosophy that is socialist on most issues except certain matters which are considered private (e.g., a candidate for Minnesota Governor, Scott Raskiewicz).  That is a primarily socialist position. Here the term “social libertarian” indicates someone who is primarily libertarian …

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