Monday, October 26, 2009

Examining health care in light of the powers of government

This is a personal opinion paper of The Jacksonian Party.

At Hot Air I ran across the question of the constitutionality of health care mandates as a possible power grant to Congress, and found a set of arguments both for and against that did not, to me, seem to scope out the exact power structure of the federal government.  As is my wont I left commentary, and I will now pass that on to you 'as-is' untarnished by a spell checker, without syntax check and otherwise for the amusement of the reader.

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I think the better Madison quote comes from Federalist No. 41, in which he responds to the problems brought up by a number of Anti-Federalists:

Some who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms "to raise money for the general welfare."

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing had not its origin with the latter.

The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the Articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are "their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare." The terms of article eighth are still more identical: "All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare and allowed by the United States in Congress shall be defrayed out of a common treasury," etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!

The point brought up is that there are those who will ignore the semi-colon or otherwise misconstrue the actual verbiage in light of expedient legislation. The argument is not one of the logic involved, which those same Anti-Federalists actually point out, but one of human nature and the nature of governments over time moving away from restricted rights for government unless there are some very and extremely harsh checks on that power put in place. Hamilton's goal of a 'robust role' for government in commerce would be addressed by the veto of the US National Bank Veto of 1832, which addresses the very concerns about stare decisis, powers and limitations on government:

It is maintained by the advocates of the bank that its constitutionality in all its features ought to be considered as settled by precedent and by the decision of the Supreme Court. To this conclusion I can not assent. Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority, and should not be regarded as deciding questions of constitutional power except where the acquiescence of the people and the States can be considered as well settled. So far from this being the case on this subject, an argument against the bank might be based on precedent. One Congress, in 1791, decided in favor of a bank; another, in 1811, decided against it. One Congress, in 1815, decided against a bank; another, in 1816, decided in its favor. Prior to the present Congress, therefore, the precedents drawn from that source were equal. If we resort to the States, the expressions of legislative, judicial, and executive opinions against the bank have been probably to those in its favor as 4 to 1. There is nothing in precedent, therefore, which, if its authority were admitted, ought to weigh in favor of the act before me.

If the opinion of the Supreme Court covered the whole ground of this act, it ought not to control the coordinate authorities of this Government. The Congress, the Executive, and the Court must each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others. It is as much the duty of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the President to decide upon the constitutionality of any bill or resolution which may be presented to them for passage or approval as it is of the supreme judges when it may be brought before them for judicial decision. The opinion of the judges has no more authority over Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the judges, and on that point the President is independent of both. The authority of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive when acting in their legislative capacities, but to have only such influence as the force of their reasoning may deserve.

But in the case relied upon the Supreme Court have not decided that all the features of this corporation are compatible with the Constitution. It is true that the court have said that the law incorporating the bank is a constitutional exercise of power by Congress; but taking into view the whole opinion of the court and the reasoning by which they have come to that conclusion, I understand them to have decided that inasmuch as a bank is an appropriate means for carrying into effect the enumerated powers of the General Government, therefore the law incorporating it is in accordance with that provision of the Constitution which declares that Congress shall have power " to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying those powers into execution. " Having satisfied themselves that the word "necessary" in the Constitution means needful," "requisite," "essential," "conducive to," and that "a bank" is a convenient, a useful, and essential instrument in the prosecution of the Government's "fiscal operations," they conclude that to "use one must be within the discretion of Congress " and that " the act to incorporate the Bank of the United States is a law made in pursuance of the Constitution;" "but, " say they, "where the law is not prohibited and is really calculated to effect any of the objects intrusted to the Government, to undertake here to inquire into the degree of its necessity would be to pass the line which circumscribes the judicial department and to tread on legislative ground."

The principle here affirmed is that the "degree of its necessity," involving all the details of a banking institution, is a question exclusively for legislative consideration. A bank is constitutional, but it is the province of the Legislature to determine whether this or that particular power, privilege, or exemption is "necessary and proper" to enable the bank to discharge its duties to the Government, and from their decision there is no appeal to the courts of justice. Under the decision of the Supreme Court, therefore, it is the exclusive province of Congress and the President to decide whether the particular features of this act are necessary and proper in order to enable the bank to perform conveniently and efficiently the public duties assigned to it as a fiscal agent, and therefore constitutional, or unnecessary and improper, and therefore unconstitutional.

Without commenting on the general principle affirmed by the Supreme Court, let us examine the details of this act in accordance with the rule of legislative action which they have laid down. It will be found that many of the powers and privileges conferred on it can not be supposed necessary for the purpose for which it is proposed to be created, and are not, therefore, means necessary to attain the end in view, and consequently not justified by the Constitution.

Here, some 43 years on from Federalist 41, we have the outlay of powers and how they work between the States and the federal government and within the federal government itself.

First off is that precedent, both SCOTUS and legislative, is a dangerous source of authority especially when examining the constitutional powers granted to the federal government. You do not ignore previous decisions, but they must not trump reasoning on constitutionality.

Second each arm of the federal government has separate and independent powers, not co-equal powers. This is forgotten and misconstrued in the modern day, but these separate powers were designed as independent checks and balances on federal government so that each branch has its review of constitutionality independent of the other branches. Congress is to create laws that are constitutional, the President has the veto power to reject laws that are unsound, improper, unnecessary or unconstituional. The SCOTUS is given grant to judge on the constitutional basis of laws and strike down those not adhering to the constitution. These are in no way equal powers, but separate and independent powers. So just as it may be within the scope of power of Congress to do something, it must be judged first by the President as necessary and proper exercise of powers, and judged by the SCOTUS on those grounds examining their independent powers in that judgment.

Third and not to be forgotten, is that there needs to be a general assent to legislation from the States and the people, and acknowledging that such legislation is desired from those levels and can be executed via necessary and proper laws that adhere to the constitution. Thus with health care and the powers granted to government we hear rejoinders on:

- Precedent - A dangerous source of authority regarding constitutionality as prior judgments may not have taken the full scope and power of the constitution into consideration as it regards other areas of legislation and law. When judging the constitutionality of a law, the restricted scope of prior decisions may not represent a true reading of those power grants for a particular statute. In health care and similar areas there are few arguments utilizing Amendments IX and X, and if the court has been remiss in the past in considering those, than those grounds can serve as a basis for new suits on legislation to call into question the necessary and proper part of powers granted to the government when enacting laws.

- Necessary and Proper - Even granted that the federal government may have a role in health care, can Congress create a necessary and proper law that adheres to its constitutional restrictions as to being wise and fiscally sound, and having the general support of the States and the people? These are not minor considerations and no election changes the fact that the people and States have been indifferent to passing this question on to the federal level. Thus, without that clamor and, indeed, the overwhelming majority not having expressed a want of federal intervention, there is little that Congress can stand on. Even appealing to precedent in this case must take into consideration all of the Congresses that have brought up this question, all the States that have considered it, and the general view of the electorate separately. Precedent does not lay basis for good law without these legs to stand on via precedent: the SCOTUS is not alone in having a history, and all relevant history must be examined as part of new legislation.

- Powers and Privileges - Those organs that Congress creates are made via the powers it has in the constitution. If the powers granted are not necessary to the purpose involved, then Congress cannot create such an organ of the government as it does not have the power to do so. If created without power to do a purpose, then it is not a constitutional object of government nor a means to achieve the ends of Congress. This is a question that must be established in light of mixed precedent, necessity, propriety and the actual extent of the power grant to the federal government. Just because legislation is expedient and towards good ends, that does not give it necessary and proper standing within the constitution, nor power to Congress to enact it.

An unlimited interpretation of 'general welfare' wipes all question of limited power away and reduces the Nation to a state of tyrannical government. If the form and function of these powers were so sweeping, the constitution would say so, and yet it defines the exact opposite, particularly when examined in Amends. I, II, V, IX and X. The specific things the federal government cannot do are joined by a general rule that what is not given to the federal is retained by the States and the people. Do note that the understanding of power functions is outlined in Law of Nations, specifically mentioned in the constitution and understood by the founders so that when power grants are seen in the document, it is easy to examine the similar sections of Law of Nations and see what the scope and meaning of the powers are (as witness George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation) and then examine how those scopes of powers continue as grants from the people to the federal government. From that additional questions in regards to security functions and their organs (CIA, NGA, NSA, etc.) are to be examined in the Commander of the Armies and the Navies power as they are, at heart, military functions for National Security (there may be too many of them, yes, but that is a different argument). Likewise to uphold the laws of the US, Congress has created the FBI for general laws and other organs for things like Immigration and Naturalization. Something like USGS and NOAA come under the part of mapping and charting necessary for military purposes and for understanding the scope and breadth of the Nation. Something like the Dept. of Agriculture, Education, Energy and so on are less viable on these grounds and less accountable as they have fewer functions directly tied to constitutional grants and could, and probably should, receive review on the necessary and proper functions, as well as if these are sound bodies to have or even wanted by the States and the people.

Healthcare under federal regulation? Is it necessary and proper? Is there an established hue and cry over many years for it from the States AND the people? Can it be done within the power grants? Can it be made fiscally sound? Have established precedents considered all aspects of such a power and the restrictions placed on them by the constitution and amendments? To date I have no good answers that lead to 'yes' on these.


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So ends my commentary at Hot Air on the topic.

Yes, my commentary does tend to run long, as do my pieces, as finding the collection of simple outlooks that underlie a complex problem is not easy nor amenable to simplistic scrutiny.  Finding and defining the parts tell us much about what the whole of something should look like and how it should work, and without finding those necessary and simple parts that make a complex problem, one cannot begin to address the problem, itself.  This is not a simplistic 'root causes', as given by many in an attempt to thwart any real progress on problems, but to thematically find and identify those parts of a problem that are salient to it and discarding emotional baggage attached to them.  Those seeking 'root causes' in the emotional baggage never come to address the actual, and underlying driving forces of a problem and find themselves always resorting to an emotional appeal from the lovely baggage they are rooting through.  I like to know why the baggage fell off the train in the first place, and will only look to the baggage as a cause if there is evidence that the baggage is the cause.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Dangerous Enemy

This is a personal outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.

An interesting question cropped up when I was reading commentary at Hot Air looking at the difference between what President Obama said as a candidate and what he has done since taking office. Part of the outcome is looking at the concept that every promise by President Obama 'has an expiration date': it will have a time when he will come out and say and do the exact opposite of the promise. The Gay community has felt this in his promises on what he would do and his inactivity on those promises, but that is a smaller part of the overall set of promises on Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Terrorism, and the Economy that have all been put forward one way, while campaigning, and then done another way while in office to date. Problems which look 'simple' to the candidate become 'complex' to the office holder, which is a normal part of human affairs, but how one approaches those complexities reveals much about the individual in question. Without exception President Obama has sought for more power and control to be vested in the federal government, the least accountable government in the Nation, and not trusted individuals to find their own use of liberty to sustain the Nation by using that liberty to create prosperity and freedom.

The reprisal of 'helping the poor' puts forward that only the federal government can do this, but the reason to being poor is so various, from a string of absolute bad luck to poor decision making to mental illness, that no one, single, unitary way to approach poverty can be performed. If it were 'just' money, then the hundreds of billions spent on anti-poverty programs would have ridded the Nation of poverty decades ago. Instead it has put individuals into situations where not working, not using your liberty and being rewarded for that has endangered the overall economy to actually sustain productivity so that there is a source of wealth to help the poor. Government does not create wealth, but currency: it is not the maker of things, but puts in place an established exchange unit that is worked with to create wealth. It is this simple understanding, that government is only the backer of society for creation of wealth and not the engine of wealth, that has, apparently, driven much of the policy of the federal government for nearly 80 years. Herbert Hoover was a Progressive Republican and FDR continued on many of the exact, same Progressive policies and then added his own into the mix, and none of them addressed that government taxing money, printing money, and distributing money for make-work jobs was not helping the overall economy but making it worse. By 1937 the actual recovery had been established, but the increased taxes put in from 1934-36, especially Social Security, would take a major bite out of that recovery, create the recession of 1938-39 and then stall out the overall recovery at a lower employment plateau. Double digit unemployment would not end until WWII was utilized as a means to move unemployed young men out of America, give them money they couldn't spend, and put the remaining population to work, thus utilizing the underutilized work of women and those who were too old to find jobs in the previous economy. Unless you were getting SSN, then you had to be offered a federally subsidized stable of 'goodies' in the way of health care that would outlive the war and haunt us to our current times.

One of the prime culprits of making the Great Depression possible was the fiscal policies of the Federal Reserve, the institution put in by President Wilson to centralize banking and finance under federal 'regulation'. And yet that 'regulation' called for fiscally unsound lending practices that led to the Great Depression and made it worse under Hoover and FDR. This is the manifestation of political power into the regulatory system, so as to reflect ideology and not sound fiscal practices, and it has spread to the SEC, FHA, Fannie and Freddie and numerous other 'helpful' government systems. By coupling political influence with garnering such positions in the regulatory system, regulators have become part of the political process, as particularly seen by Freddie and Fannie, both lobbying Congress directly with taxpayer backed funds at their beck and call. The appointment process to those two organizations has been one of politically well connected individuals getting appointment positions and then using those positions to further their political and ideological goals. The overall system described is one that the United States had discarded in another form after closing down the National Bank system that was, itself, not fiscally sound, having political appointees setting policy with little oversight, and allowing for outside influence to sway decisions that helped the well connected but did little for the common man. The elements brought up in the Bank Veto Message of 10 JUL 1832 sound as clear today as they did then and the second paragraph is clear on that score on what the dangers are:

A bank of the United States is in many respects convenient for the Government and useful to the people. Entertaining this opinion, and deeply impressed with the belief that some of the powers and privileges possessed by the existing bank are unauthorized by the Constitution, subversive of the rights of the States, and dangerous to the liberties of the people, I felt it my duty at an early period of my Administration to call the attention of Congress to the practicability of organizing an institution combining all its advantages and obviating these objections. I sincerely regret that in the act before me I can perceive none of those modifications of the bank charter which are necessary, in my opinion, to make it compatible with justice, with sound policy, or with the Constitution of our country.

A National Bank or Federal Reserve system is, indeed, useful to the Government and the people, but the powers, privileges and capabilities given to get that utility are not only unauthorized by the Constitution, but a deep source of corruption, influence peddling and cronyism, far beyond unsound fiscal policy. This Veto Message stands not just on Constitutional grounds, but practical and reasonable grounds as well, that examine the entire economic activity of the Nation, as a Nation, and then looks to how the corruption of the power is toxic to the States and the people, and ultimately to the Union. It is one of the foremost documents on National Fiscal Policy ever delivered by any President of any era, and yet remains largely unknown due to modern political 'sensibilities' not wanting to examine the deep questions of liberty associated with fiscal policy. Progressive era schooling, thusly, does not allow you to forget such works as it will not teach them to you: you are kept ignorant to meet a social agenda.

This problem was not unknown in the Founding era, and the Drafters of the Constitution had numerous and various problems addressing their critics, the so-called 'Anti-Federalists', many of whom were 'Federalists' as they saw it and criticized the Constitution on Federalist grounds. Even those who were not 'Federalists' and who just wanted a stronger Confederacy are not 'Anti-Federalist' in their insights, many of them based on human nature and the outcomes of past, historical systems of government that were well known in the era. Thus there is a question, or truly a series of questions, at the site Truth and Common Sense, revolving around a 'how would you bring down a democratic republic?' To do that requires little more than delving into the 'Anti-Federalist' archives at Teaching American History and reading as the objections, while diverse, continue to haunt us to this present day. Not all are salient, of course, and there are more than a few 'Anti-Federalist' hot heads who expounded conspiracy theories, just like our modern 'Truthers', those seeking the 'real assassin' of JFK, or how we got velcro which normally involves UFO cover-ups. Conspiracy theories go far back in history beyond the Knights Templar and into the plots and counter-plots of Kings, Emperors and Potentates very close to the beginning of actual recorded documents on clay tablets.

The need to explain the mundane, how a disturbed Communist sympathizer can assassinate a US President and then, in turn, be killed by a man who is not playing with a full deck but clearly was a patriot and did not want the President's death and widow to be un-avenged, puts two disturbed men influencing the course of the Nation and to many people there is no balance in that scale and, thusly, needs something 'deeper' to be playing out. Arch-Duke Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian who wanted Serbia to gain some freedom for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and yet we get World War I as the result, thus putting a disturbing balance between those in power, those out of power and the mechanisms of government via a direct juxtaposition. Yet we accept that set of happenings and the millions dead that followed as they are, while not accepting the far lesser assassination of a President as somehow being 'proof' of a conspiracy. The first changed the course of world history, for the worse, and the second was a brutal assassination done by a committed ideologue who sought personal infamy and recognition. Of the two the first had dire consequences for the modern world, the second some ripples in the United States, yet it is the second that gains the conspiracy theory while the first is seen as a tragic happening normal in global affairs.

How normal? Presidents McKinley and Garfield were assassinated, and yet no real conspiracies grew up around their deaths. We remember President Lincoln because of the Civil War and see that assassination as its tragic capstone and the man a martyr to the cause of the Union. That actually did have a set of conspiratorial actors attempting multiple assassinations that night, but we downplay that conspiracy and play up one where there is no evidence of it. Negative proofs, by eliminating all other possibilities and then demonstrating something is or is not present by the lack of those things, are hard sells in mathematics, and the positive proof, the evidentiary proof far easier to piece together, even if it does not create an emotional sense of well-being in doing so. By trying to not accept the actual proof and testimonies of those involve, those pushing conspiracy theories want a negative proof as the standard so that anything that isn't directly recorded, but that can be accounted for, is proof of a 'conspiracy' covering up 'evidence'.

What this all too human need points to is trying to impress upon reality our emotional sensations. When done to a set of ideologies that have few connections to the real world, we get a fantasy ideology forming in which all the 'positive' evidence is retained and the 'negative' evidence discarded. Often we find forgery or fraudulent manipulation of the historical record both to make 'positives' appear and to make 'negatives' disappear. An old photograph of dinosaur tracks in a creek bed show later manipulation by 'creationists' trying to 'prove' that man walked with dinosaurs and the photography shows the differences decades apart: a simple field photo to show a representative sample of tracks against a modern photo of the same tracks shows manipulation of the tracks, themselves. Stalin had people removed or added to historical photos based on their current position in the hierarchy in an attempt to manufacture a 'perfect' history. That goes to the modern United States where you are not taught about the Bank Veto message or, indeed, given the actual words of Presidents beyond a few kept as 'samples' but often taken out of context. Thus something like The American Presidency Project that brings forth the actual documents of the Presidents allows us to see the actual office holders as they said they were and we need no longer resort to a bit here and a bit there chosen by those compiling books for selling to schools.

Much have I heard those on the Left on one such happening, that of the 'Trail of Tears' and they point to President Jackson with accusations of racism, and yet his First Annual Message on the State of the Union deals with the problem as seen then:

Your particular attention is requested to that part of the report of the Secretary of War which relates to the money held in trust for the Seneca tribe of Indians. It will be perceived that without legislative aid the Executive can not obviate the embarrassments occasioned by the diminution of the dividends on that fund, which originally amounted to $100,000, and has recently been invested in United States 3% stock.

The condition and ulterior destiny of the Indian tribes within the limits of some of our States have become objects of much interest and importance. It has long been the policy of Government to introduce among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gradually reclaiming them from a wandering life. This policy has, however, been coupled with another wholly incompatible with its success. Professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have at the same time lost no opportunity to purchase their lands and thrust them farther into the wilderness. By this means they have not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly defeated its own policy, and the Indians in general, receding farther and farther to the west, have retained their savage habits. A portion, however, of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama. These States, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States for protection.

Under these circumstances the question presented was whether the General Government had a right to sustain those people in their pretensions. The Constitution declares that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State" without the consent of its legislature. If the General Government is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate State within the territory of one of the members of this Union against her consent, much less could it allow a foreign and independent government to establish itself there.


There is no constitutional, conventional, or legal provision which allows them less power over the Indians within their borders than is possessed by Maine or New York. Would the people of Maine permit the Penobscot tribe to erect an independent government within their State? And unless they did would it not be the duty of the General Government to support them in resisting such a measure? Would the people of New York permit each remnant of the six Nations within her borders to declare itself an independent people under the protection of the United States? Could the Indians establish a separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio? And if they were so disposed would it be the duty of this Government to protect them in the attempt? If the principle involved in the obvious answer to these questions be abandoned, it will follow that the objects of this Government are reversed, and that it has become a part of its duty to aid in destroying the States which it was established to protect.

Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt to establish an independent government would not be countenanced by the Executive of the United States, and advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to the laws of those States.

Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast over-taking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the States does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of new States, whose limits they could control. That step can not be retraced. A State can not be dismembered by Congress or restricted in the exercise of her constitutional power. But the people of those States and of every State, actuated by feelings of justice and a regard for our national honor, submit to you the interesting question whether something can not be done, consistently with the rights of the States, to preserve this much- injured race.

As a means of effecting this end I suggest for your consideration the propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi, and without the limits of any State or Territory now formed, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes as long as they shall occupy it, each tribe having a distinct control over the portion designated for its use. There they may be secured in the enjoyment of governments of their own choice, subject to no other control from the United States than such as may be necessary to preserve peace on the frontier and between the several tribes. There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of civilization, and, by promoting union and harmony among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to perpetuate the race and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government.

This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry. But it seems to me visionary to suppose that in this state of things claims can be allowed on tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase. Submitting to the laws of the States, and receiving, like other citizens, protection in their persons and property, they will ere long become merged in the mass of our population.

It is plain that he is addressing a complex problem and pointing out the obligations of the United States from the start of this section on Indian Affairs. If he was 'racist' then why would he care that any Indians gaining funds promised to them had a shortfall in such funds? That is an embarrassment to the Union not to meet its obligations to the Sencas, and yet I have never heard this passage mentioned by those pointing at the 'Trail of Tears'. Right after that he points to the injustice of the Government's policy towards the Indian tribal lands and that the policy has driven Indians into a wandering state of affairs that helps no one and makes things more costly to the Union.

Yes, the great one who started the 'Trail of Tears' is railing against the injustice of the policy that will bring that 'Trail of Tears' about! Amazing, no?

And pointing out that it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to demand that the States cede portions of their territory, and that the States are sovereign in determining their territory and that no one else can force them to give up any of the territory, he then does what he can to inform the Indians wanting a carve-out that they are out of luck unless they can convince the States to otherwise recognize and hand over territory to them. He is begging with the States to do just that as the federal government doesn't have that power. He does what he can and offers territory that is, as yet, unsettled and unclaimed by the Union. He asks for a voluntary emigration and setting up of a regular set of governments in that territory. He does not want to see force used, and says so, clearly. He wanted an Indian Commonwealth beyond the Mississippi - a recognized government and Nation to deal with. The injustices had already been done by his time and he could not right those wrongs if the States did not help to do so.

If you have only learned the 'President Jackson was bad' meme, then you are being confronted with something that totally crosses that up. How you react depends on how you view the world.

A person with a fantasy ideology will find excuses, criticisms, and do anything to NOT deal with the historical facts present. These are facts by that President years before the 'Trail of Tears', and he is saying that he doesn't like the course of affairs, that it is unjust, that it is long standing, and that there is damned little he can do about it. Later Congressional actions will drive the course of affairs to a large degree as it is Congress that will have to pass and support the military means necessary to star the ball rolling. That inconvenient fact is also overlooked in the meme. Jackson has basically said he will carry out his Constitutional duties, and continues to do so in all other policy areas during his time in office: from working on Treaties (some with other Indians!) to getting the National Bank removed to ensuring that military veterans of the Revolution get a proper pension and forgiving current soldiers who have been out AWOL and otherwise disorderly, then discharging them. By resorting to a modern view of what 'racism' is, and attempting to put those views on the past, one overlooks that they were not the views then and that the ones given were the actual ones cited not just by President Jackson but by the States and Congress.

A person who finds themselves presented with actual facts that contradict what they have been taught who is willing to re-examine the record and not revert to easy, fantastical and ahistorical reasons for past actions will then re-examine the issue and start to ask some serious questions about what they were taught. Clear and contradictory evidence to what one is taught indicates something lacking in the teacher and the teaching establishment. One cannot say if it is because the instructor was ignorant, or the texts and teaching curriculum slanted and biased, or both, but one can say that it did not properly represent the era, the activities and the reasons given at the time by those involved. One cannot mind read into the actions of the dead and when their own, stated reasons that are then followed through on are brought to light there is a high coincidence of correlation between what is said and what is done. Imputing motives not given is an act of not believing what has been said in support of those actions and can only be done with contradictory evidence. In this case President Jackson is telling everyone that this will not end well along the current course of affairs and that he had limitations on what he could do as President.

Fantasy ideologies that become embedded in individuals are hard things to remove as they offer a comforting, non-reality based way of viewing the world that offers a form of reassurance that actually dealing with the world doesn't afford. Religion, itself, is trying to understand one's world and their place in it, but when it becomes an obsession that puts one out of touch with the world, as the Millerites did in the 19th century, the consequences can be troublesome. With a Jim Jones they become lethal to the believers and to a group like al Qaeda it becomes lethal or potentially so for everyone who does not see the world their way. There is a difference in believing in UFOs and believing a Mothership is trailing a comet and that all one has to do to get to it is kill yourself: one is an observation that there is unknown phenomena that cannot be easily explained and is unidentified, the other is believing that such things are a path to heaven via suicide. To those with a fantasy ideology no amount of actual, real world and demonstrable proof or evidence that goes against the world view of the fantasy will change their minds. Indeed alternative ways to explain such things, that are themselves fanciful and go beyond normal causality to look for a 'deeper truth' is what is sought. Anything that allows the fantasy to exist by twisting actual factual data to indicate something other than they do indicate is the goal of any believer in a fantasy ideology.

Looking at one of my previous works in regards to Socialism, my second critique goes to the actual Scientific Socialist view of Marx's works, and they are individuals who have most tried to apply some scientific principles to Marx, and yet find that when their analysis leads them out of real world human nature, that Marx is to be preferred over accounting for reality. This is part of the Theory and Practice Conundrum:

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.

In practice there is.

Thus, accepting Marx's end-state analysis of how Socialism comes about as the final social order of humanity, one can then examine those end conditions and ask 'what satisfies these conditions?' In doing that one finds a wealth of problems in Socialism that requires not just technological achievement, but deep and profound changes in human nature that have been evidence at no time in human history on any scale. Even better is that Marx, himself, followed up on his beliefs and did things that modern Marxists/Socialists wouldn't understand, like support the North in the US Civil War as it was a power for advancing mankind and industry. The Scientific Socialists kept up with that, however, and the stories given me as I was growing up of Socialists who would resolutely stay at their jobs during the World Wars so as to support the betterment of mankind through the expanse of capitalism, so that capitalism can do its necessary work and then be supplanted, is one that does shock the modern Socialist Left and even the Socialist Right, come to think of it. Schismatic Socialist movements splintered from the main of Socialism, so that everything from Communism to Fascism to the 'feel good' NannyState have become its hallmarks. And yet each and every venue that is Socialist depends on the solid foundations laid out by Marx, and if one examines the foundations, they are less than sturdy and less than stable. And that was done in regards to my first article on Socialism.

That list of premises that must make the foundation of Socialism possible, the actual things that must come about, I will extract from my second document:

Premise 1: All working hours are equal, no matter the time investment into gaining the skills to do them.

Premise 2: One man shall *not* gain over another's work on an hour by hour valuation.

Premise 3: Workers know how best to do their work.

Premise 4: The amount of labor to complete a given task is static over time.

Premise 5: Work is its own reward in keeping society running.

If we recognize Liberty as self-evident in the nature of mankind, then utilizing Liberty means that each person prospers in accordance to their ability to apply their skills and receive recognition for those skills in the way of actual payment above and beyond the normal. A skilled craftsman is recognized as being above and beyond the norm and their works are appreciated as such. While one can argue that a cinematographer like Vertov, say, would not have appeared under Czarist rule, it is more than possible he would have appeared under capitalism with a generally liberal representative democracy in place that gave freedom of the marketplace to value some works more highly than others. Dziga Vertov demonstrates just the opposite of spreading skills under a non-rewards based system: no one in later years would ever accomplish such grand works in film as he did as the system did not reward invention, innovation or even good taste. It was in capitalist countries that his work would be influential, not in the USSR.

At this point many of the Scientific Socialists would point out that the USSR had not met the industrial pre-conditions put forth by Marx as necessary for Socialism and that the USSR was not 'socialist'. That is true, so far as it goes, but the shift from a form of serfdom to a society that did try to get an equalized end-state is ignored and the status of the USSR as a demonstration point on the feasibility, or lack thereof, of getting to that lovely end-state is tossed away in that analysis. The question is: would satisfying the industrial precondition change the result of the outcome of the Soviet experiment? Was it a matter of not having enough capitalism, not enough technology that makes the difference? Or is it in the nature of man, himself, outside of the preconditions that made achievement of such an end-state impossible or even desirable? Each of those premises has backing in a viewpoint of what human nature is and how human nature makes those end-states come about. Yet if the actual human nature is at variance with what is expected, then trying to change human nature, to shift it out of the nature of man as mortal, fallible, and prone to his own weakness, is folly and lethal simultaneously.

Our modern Transnational Progressivist Left and Right, like their antecedents in the various Socialist movements, likewise put forth broad and disturbing generalities of mankind in an attempt to undermine the Nation State system on an international scale. John Fonte has detailed the outlines of the goals of Transnational Progressivism which are little different on the Left or Right of that movement, save for emphasis on societal or industrial means:

Groups are what matter, not people. You are "Black" or "Christian" or "Mexican" or "Afghan" or "Sunni", you are not yourself. You also don't get to choose your group; it's inherent in what you were when you were born. Someone else will categorize you into your group, and you will become a number, a body to count to decide how important that group is. And your group won't change during your lifetime.

The goal of fairness is equality of result, not equality of opportunity. It isn't important to let individuals fulfill their potential and express their dreams, what's important is to make groups have power and representation in all things proportional to their numbers in the population. Fairness is for groups, not for individuals. The ideally fair system is based on quotas, not on merit, because that permits proper precise allocation of results.

Being a victim is politically significant. It's not merely a plea for help or something to be pitied; it's actually a status that grants extra political power. "Victimhood" isn't a cult, it's a valid political evaluation. Groups which are victims should be granted disproportionately more influence and representation, at the expense of the historic "dominant" culture.

Assimilation is evil. Immigrants must remain what they were before they arrived here, and should be treated that way. Our system must adapt to them, rather than expecting them to adapt to us (even if they want to). The migration of people across national borders is a way to ultimately erase the significance of those borders by diluting national identity in the destination country.

An ideal democracy is a coalition where political power is allocated among groups in proportion to their numbers. It has nothing to do with voting or with individual citizens expressing opinions, and in fact it doesn't require elections at all. A "winner take all" system, or one ruled by a majority, is profoundly repugnant because it disenfranchise minority groups of all kinds and deprives them of their proper share of power.

National identity is evil. We should try to think of ourselves as citizens of the world, not as citizens of the nations in which we live, and we should try to minimize the effects of national interests, especially our own if we live in powerful nations.

Fonte's descriptive analysis serves as a handy test to see if a political position put forth is bound by this ideology. There is no handbook of the Transnational Progressivist just as there was no ready handbook of Progressivism: the days of actually having to state what you believe in as a coherent view of society and man's place in creating it are no longer the goal of Progressivism, save to put both society and individuals under the rule of a self-described elite. This system is not just Transnational, but anti-Nation State at its core. Yet the Nation State is the creation of mankind across the globe, and wherever man has created culture of any sort, man has created States and Nation States. While there are technological gulfs between the Incan Empire and the Roman Empire, or between the Iriquois Nations and Swiss Confederation, the actual utilization of Nation State diplomacy, many of its features and ways to address other powers was highly similar. As was examined in the 17th to 19th century, this is due to the similarity of the nature of man and how he derives culture, self-governance, States and then Nations to deal with other States. The Nation State is the creation of mankind to protect cultures that are different, and yet recognize that other cultures are valid and recognizes other Nation States as equals in those terms, if not economic, social or military terms. Indeed it is talked about from ancient times through the 12th century in England all the way up to the 19th century and the forms and formulas of embassies, treaties, Nation to Nation agreements, pomp and circumstance is all guided by those understandings that we now accept as common.

Progressivism wanted to co-opt the power of the State and such social organs as Labor Unions as a means to break up the 'dominant' culture in the United States and elsewhere. Yet there was a major setback in that agenda that still exists to this day, as described by Walter Russell Mead in The Jacksonian Tradition (archive of that article here):

Most progressive, right thinking intellectuals in mid-century America believed that the future of American populism lay in a social democratic movement based on urban immigrants. Social activists like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger consciously sought to use cultural forms like folk songs to ease the transition from the old individualistic folk world to the collective new one that they believed was the wave of the future; they celebrated unions and other strange, European ideas in down home country twangs so that, in the bitter words of Hiram Evans, "There is a steady flood of alien ideas being spread over the country, always carefully disguised as American."

What came next surprised almost everyone. The tables turned, and Evans’ Americans "americanized" the immigrants rather than the other way around. In what is still a largely unheralded triumph of the melting pot, Northern immigrants gradually assimilated the values of Jacksonian individualism. Each generation of new Americans was less "social" and more individualistic than the preceding one. American Catholics, once among the world’s most orthodox, remained Catholic in religious allegiance but were increasingly individualistic in terms of psychology and behavior ("I respect the Pope, but I have to follow my own conscience"). Ties to the countries of emigration steadily weakened, and the tendency to marry outside the group strengthened.

By the late 20th century this force was actively being opposed by the cultural elite who were adhering to a fantasy ideology of there being some societal equivalence at the society level between all societies, and that it was politically correct not to refer to the differences and problems in other societies and, instead, vilify your own society's problems and equalize them with those of other societies. Thus workplace discrimination in America is equated with discrimination in totalitarian regimes, such as China, that have even worse records of humanitarian discrimination and xenophobia behind them. The lack of gays having 'equal rights' in America to government recognition of things like marriage, are directly equated to the lofty elevation of gays in places like Iran who consign them to the grave. 'Enlightened' European Nations have socialized medicine that is costly to their Nations, bankrupting them, and often hard to get or have governments unwilling to even find out the quality of health care received, and that is directly equated to America where there are no dead on the streets and willingness to not purchase 'health insurance' is an exercise of liberty and a personal assessment of risk and benefits. At all points State control and telling the individual what to do is elevated over individual liberty and freedom to decide one's life for oneself.

Yet that is the role of government: to restrict, to punish. It is not a provider of 'good things' save in what it doesn't do, which is to straightjacket society with regulations in an attempt to force people to become 'good' and 'socially aware' by punishing them when they are not. Socialism had, at least, the belief that man saw work as its own reward, regardless of station in life, and that one got according to one's needs. When those needs are dictated to you, then you are no longer a citizen but a subject of the State. That is Transnational Progressivism's ideal: to make all individuals subjects to their States, beholden to their government and to force elitist views on what is and is not good upon all people.

Save the Elites, of course, they are above any rules, any laws, and any accountability.

That is the end of forcing people to 'do good' and punishing them if they do so in ways that are not acceptable to the State. It is a fantasy ideology that we can all think alike and 'be different' at the same time, and that human nature can, indeed, be overturned by government fiat. And yet those that come to power are no less human, no less susceptible to the temptations of mortal life than those they seek to rule, and often their excesses are made the worst because they feel that any 'good end' justifies their activities. That is not a description of freedom but of tyranny.

It is strange that so many want that tyranny because they believe it really will turn out 'all right' and 'better' for all concerned.

Don't mind the governments, States, Nations and Empires that have all ruled this way to the non-benefit of their people.

Only good intentions matter, even as the blood to get those intentions put in place run under the boots of those bringing it about and stain their hands, spatter their faces to put a red tinged haze around those 'good intentions' as that is the end of Elite rule wherever it is tried.