Quick Roundup 276

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Qwertz on Blue Laws

Just before I broke for Thanksgiving, I posted on Blue Laws, quoting some of the Software Nerd's thoughts on the subject. After wondering aloud how "a constructionist like Scalia would rule on something like this", he ended with, "What say, you lawyers out there?"

He's not a lawyer yet, but Qwertz has written a very interesting post on the subject, even considering near the end how Antonin Scalia would rule on the laws:

If I had to guess as to how Scalia would decide this kind of issue, I would say he would uphold Blue Laws because of his (rightful) disdain for "standards" as opposed to "rules," and his (wrongful) view of the power of the states under the Constitution.
Read it all.

The Clintons' Biggest Helpers

Dick Morris takes note of how much help the Clintons have gotten from George W. Bush over the years and can't quite figure out why:
Is President Bush deliberately helping Hillary to win the nomination because he feels she would be the easiest one of the Democrats to beat? If he is, he's making a serious mistake. She is the only Democrat who can bring 10 million new single female voters out of the woodwork to sway the election.
Morris, often a consummate political handicapper, is somewhat out of his league here because, like so many other commentators today, he does not grasp the importance of philosophical ideas in guiding men's actions, including when the men in question are supposedly interested only in political power.

Earlier in the article, Morris comes as close to an important part of the answer as he ever gets when he remembers one of Bush's lifelines to the Clintons:
After they left the White House, both the former president and the new senator had low ratings in the polls. Beset by scandal -- the White House gifts, the pardons-for-sale, the payments to Hillary's brothers for pardons, the Hasidic vote-for-pardon scandal, and Bill's nolo contender [sic] plea to obstructing justice -- Bill and Hillary were sucking wind.

But, Bush swept in for the rescue, picking the former president off the ash heap of history and elevating him to parity with his father in a two-former-president effort to raise funds for the tsunami victims. By giving him a respected place alongside a former president of unquestioned integrity, Bush gave Clinton a tremendous way to climb out of disgrace and into the limelight. [bold added]
Morris should have asked himself the question, "Who was picking up whom, and from which ash heap?"

Recall that the tsunami relief effort was a massive federal giveaway fully sanctioned by conservatives, who normally pose as advocates of limited government and capitalism. But who normally calls for massive government government aid programs? The same people -- the left -- who were going to go after the Republicans no matter what they did. If they did not freely lend such massive aid, Bush and his party would have been blasted as "selfish". And if they did, they'd be attacked for not "doing enough".

Bush's answer was in part to pragmatically sweep all the contradictions between his professed semicapitalistic political stands with his morality under the rug by bringing Clinton on board, in effect saying, "We are all altruists. There is only one response our government can make here, and it is to enforce sacrifice to the needy." His response also reflected his actual morality. He does agree with Bill Clinton, and not just when push comes to shove.

What sacrifice could feel better to such a person than helping the unfortunate? Turning one's cheek and helping one's enemy at the same time. (Come to think of it, much of Bush's conduct in response to the war the Islamic totalitarians have been waging against the West throughout his term follows the same pattern.) Bush helped Clinton politically and, in return, Clinton helped Bush maintain a high estimate of his own virtue. Morris does not appreciate the second part of this exchange.

I am not discounting the idea that Morris rightly entertains that multiple motives are at work here, but I do think he completely misses the importance of Bush's altruism. Here, the sometimes blatant impracticality of Bush's helping the Clintons puzzles Morris. But it makes perfect sense when one remembers that to an altruist, moral concerns trump practical concerns when that morality inevitably conflicts with practicality.

Five Ways to Profit

It's a business-oriented post, but "5 Ways to Profit from Good Ideas" strikes me as much more generally applicable.

-- CAV

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