Long Marches and “Our” Democracy

I’ve often read about the Left’s long marches through institutions such as academia and the courts and how that changed society during the 20th century. This week, we’ve seen some results of how the Right was able to conduct its own long march through the legal system.

The Bruen and Dobbs decisions came about after a sustained effort to train lawyers with an originalist understanding of the law (the text still means what the people who wrote it thought it meant) and to have them appointed as judges. Now, a majority of the judges on the Supreme Court have ruled that two foundational accomplishments of the Left’s long marching had no basis in the Constitution.

One of the principals embodied in the Constitution is that the United States is a federal republic of sovereign states which have yielded some of their sovereignty to the federal government but retained their sovereignty in all other matters. For example, the power to declare war belongs to the United States, and an individual state can’t engage in war unless it is actually invaded. On the other hand, the United States can’t tell the several states how to set speed limits on their highways (although it can condition federal speeding on having a specific speed limit; remember 55 mph?).

The prohibition movements of the early 20th century were some of the earliest “successes” of the progressive left. The Harris Act (drugs) and the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act (alcohol) were all intended to protect society. In the Real World they had unintended consequences that caused more harm than good. The evil caused by alcohol prohibition was so pervasive that that the 18th Amendment was quickly repealed. The 21st Amendment takes the regulation of alcohol away from the federal government and returns it to the states.

When progressive judges on the Supreme Court imposed Roe v. Wade on the nation, they effectively amended the Constitution, creating a “right” with no basis in the text. Dobbs reverses that extra-constitutional act and returns legal questions dealing with abortion to the states. It repeals an unconstitutionally created amendment.

Another principal embodied in the Constitution is that individuals have certain rights which must be protected. Those rights are shielded from being suppressed by the majority. They are outside democratic control. For example, the majority may not like what you have to say, but with few exceptions they cannot use the government to punish you for saying it, and they can’t use the government to force to say something you don’t want to say.

Another progressive “success” of the early 20th-century was legislation such as New York’s Sullivan Law intended to keep guns out oof the “wrong” hands. Setting aside the empirical data that shows that communities with strict gun control tend to be more violent than those which respect the right to selfdefense secured by the Second Amendment, Bruen follows along the trajectory set by the earlier Heller and McDonald decisions. The right of selfdefense is just like the other individual rights protected by the Constitution, and any restrictions a state would impose must pass strict scrutiny.

Dobbs tells the federal government to keep its nose out of the states’ business when it comes to questions related to abortion.The ready availability of abortion surely had an effect on the changes in the sexual mores of America over the last 50 years, and one can reasonably argue that the resulting changes in family structure and how children are raised have not been good for society. The next few decades will undoubtedly see some interesting experiments in the laboratories of democracy. New York’s democracy may come to different conclusions on how to deal with abortion than Tennessee’s democracy.

Bruen tells the states that the Constitution strictly limits their ability to suppress the right to selfdefense.

One decision expands democracy. The other constrains it.

Don’t Know Much About History

The Thirteen Amendment was proclaimed as ratified on 18 December, 1865, emancipating the last groups of slaves still held in the Union states of Kentucky and Delaware. Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey initially rejected the Thirteenth Amendment but subsequently ratified it after it had come into effect.He’s even less of a history guy than a science guy.

How Can I Afford …

First, the average electric car cost more than twice what I paid my VW and just barely has the range to handle reliably my typical commute a work site—assuming I run the air conditioning in the summer or considering the effect of cold temperature on battery capacity in the winter.

But even if I can handle the initial capital outlay, will there be a reliable source of affordable electricity available from my public utility? Or will still have to buy gasoline or diesel fuel to run a generator to charge the EV?

Defects in Red Flag Laws

The obvious objection to most red flag laws is based in the Second Amendment. IANAL, but it seems to me that they also infringe on rights secured by the Fourth Amendment (“The right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated …”) and the Fifth Amendment (“No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …”). Don’t firearms count as “effects” or “property”?

The Idea of Limited Government

Because we are human beings, we have human rights. Those rights exist regardless of the government we live under. Each of those rights has an associated duty. For example, your right to own property creates a duty for me not to steal it, and my right to life creates a duty for you not to kill me. No government can grant rights, but all governments have a tendency to constrain rights. That tendency to erode rights is why the Constitution takes some of our human rights and places them outside of the reach of government.

The idea of a “living” constitution that could given new meanings by experts was an attempt by Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson to find a workaround to the barriers to whatever scheme they wanted to impose on society for our own good. Most of the past century saw a steady erosion of human rights through legislation, executive action, and judicial decisions with no basis in the actual text of the Constitution, but especially since 2000, there has been increasing pushback.

We now have a couple of cases before the Supreme Court that may help restore the wall between the government (even if it represents a majority point of view) and the right to life. We’ve already seen a leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson that suggests the court will put the question of abortion per se back outside of the Constitution where it lay for almost 200 years. This will allow those states that wish to protect the unborn child’s right to life to do so.

We should see a decision in NY Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen soon. The oral argument suggests that the court will continue in the direction of the Heller and McDonald, and rule that the Second Amendment really means what it says. That would remove the barriers some states have placed in the way their residents’ ability to defend their right to life.

I hope I am not disappointed.

That’s About the Size of It

His Frauduency has announced that there is no rational reason to use a “high calibre” 9 mm bullet for self defense. He said—

The .22 caliber bullet will lodge in the lungs and we can get it out. A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body. The idea of a high caliber weapon, there is simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting.

FWIW, the nominal diameter of a 9 mm bullet is 0.356 in, while the nominal diameter of a .38 Special bullet is 0.357 in. Of course, semiautomatic pistols chambered in .38 Special are even more rare than 9 mm revolvers, so I suppose that cartridge isn’t as scary.

Oh, and the 5.56 mm NATO round commonly used in AR15 rifles uses .22 calibre bullets.

Military Base Renaming

The Naming Commission set up by Congress to propose new names for military bases named for Confederate generals has recommended that eight bases be renamed. I served at two of them. If the recommendations are accepted, Fort Gordon will become Fort Eisenhower, and Fort Bragg will become Fort Liberty.

One of the persons whose name was under consideration for a base name was Alvin York. York, who won the Medal of Honor in WW1, did his stateside training at (then) Camp Gordon and served in the 82nd Division in France. The 82nd is one of the principal units at Fort Bragg.

Although the recommendation proposes to rename four bases after Medal of Honor recipients, Sergeant York’s connections to either base apparently didn’t impress the Commission. Or perhaps he was passed over because he was a Southerner.

Truth and Disinformation

The reporting on the Disinformation Governance Board (ДГБ) here at Hogewash! began last February when it was still in the planning stage. The first post, Experts Recommend, was fairly brief.

The New York Times reports that experts recommend the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a “reality czar.”

The Gestapo, Stasi, and KGB were run by experts.

So I was not surprised when the existence of the ДГБ (that’s DGB is the Russian alphabet) leaked last month. My 28 April posts noted It’s A Bad Idea, But Is It Also Illegal? and presented the official portrait of The Central Scrutinizer.It turned out that Congress has authorized the Department of Homeland Security to get involved in the analysis of certain kinds of propaganda attacks, but it’s my opinion the the agency vastly exceeded its authority in creating the ДГБ.

On 29 April, I posted a viral video Nina Jankowicz had created and posted online herself. I did not edit the video. It’s as she originally posted it to TikTok. It’s also cringeworthy, a self-inflicted wound to her credibility.

Also on the 29th and the 30th, I posted a pair of Are You Pondering What I’m Ponderings that took aim at the ДГБ and the reason for its creation.

There was a great deal of blowback concerning the anti-free speech and anti-free press overreach embedded in the very idea of the ДГБ, especially from the right side of the blogosphere. I posted the Quote of the Day for 2 May in support of that theme.

I would never want to see our executive branch have that sort of power.

—Nina Jankowicz

As more information turned up about Ms. Jankowicz’s background, it began to appear she had been more of source of disinformation than an opponent of it. On 5 May, I posted a portion of her resume on LinkedIn which suggested that when she claimed that Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation,” her point of view could have been through The Lens of Experience.

On 12 May, my post When THE Science Follows THE Narrative dealt with how the Biden Administration is itself spreading misinformation. The post quotes the head of the FDA as claiming that misinformation is “the leading cause of death in the US.”

On the 13th, I posted this Dictionary Update

Effective immediately, all agents, employees, and contractors of the Disinformation Governance Board (ДГБ) shall be referred to as checkists.

Indeed, it seems that those who would check our speech have real philosophical and spiritual connection to the original Chekists.

Yesterday’s post, Democracy Dies in Derpness™, was about Taylor Lorenz’s scoop about the “pausing” of the ДГБ and Ms. Jankowicz’s “resignation.” Part of the spin in Lorenz’s WaPo story is the false narrative—the disinformation—that Nina Jankowiicz was unfairly attacked. Now, it may be true that someone somewhere said something unfair about her, but the overwhelming balance of the coverage of her consisted of accurate reporting of her own statements, publications, and music videos, all reported in proper context. As noted above, her wounds were self-inflicted.

For now the ДГБ is “paused,” a victim of the Xiden Administration’s general incompetence. Its functions will have to move to some other part of the Deep State.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

The Daily Mail reports a child sex abuse center at Johns Hopkins University has hired a trans professor, who was forced to resign from Virginia school for defending pedophiles as “minor attracted persons.” Allyn Walker will start work as a postdoctoral fellow for the school later this month at a center aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.

Forget it, Gentle Reader. It’s Baltimore.

The Frustration of Fauxcahontas

Fauxcahontas is ranting about the results of today’s abortion vote in the Senate. The bill went down 49-51. (But of course, wrong votes aren’t supposed to count in “Our Democracy.”}

Umm, that wasn’t the work of a minority. The larger group of votes were nays.

Also, Cocaine Mitch didn’t bother with a filibuster against a losing bill. Indeed, it was in the Republican’s interest to allow most of the Democrats to vote in favor of killing babies.

Overreach. Desperation. Panic. It’s going to be an interesting campaign season.

The Lens of Experience

It appears that when our Disinformation Governance Board’s Executive Director referred to Hunter Biden’s laptop as “Russian disinformation,” she may have had inside knowledge of the situation. This is from her LinkedIn profile—This is the same time period when a loan guarantee had been used to influence the Ukrainian government’s decisions concerning criminal investigations.

In other news … the chocolate ration will be increased from 30 to 20 grams per week.

What’s There and What’s Not

I’ve skimmed the document which Politico alleges to be a draft decision by Justice Alito striking down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It seems to me the gist of his argument is that the Supreme Court exceeded its authority by inventing a right that had no foundation in either the Constitution or American common law or our civil traditions. Therefore, regulation of abortion is a matter for each state.

I’m not surprised by that reasoning. I hope the Court’s final ruling goes that way.

This leads me wonder what the reasoning in the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association case will be. That case deals with a state’s regulation of a right explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights, a right the Court has previously ruled is bound on the states via the Fourteenth Amendment. Will the justices find some new extra-Constitutional doctrine that will allow states to continue to suppress an enumerated right? Or will they tell the states that Second Amendment is fully applicable nationwide?