Picture 2

Picture 2

Oct 23, 2016

Big Data Does Not Make Big Government Work

Big government advocates are always looking for reasons why this time big government will work.  They have to do this because every time big government is tried, it fails.  Big government can’t work as well as a free market because the amount of information a central government can absorb and use to make decisions is far less than the information that markets process to set prices.  The latest excuse for big government is that computerized big data will finally make big government possible.  I think this is another big lie.

When you use any model, you have to check it against reality. No matter how big a model is, it involves simplification at some level because your computational power has limits and you can’t run the model with the behavior of every person in society mapped into the model. The temptation is to manage to the model, rather than manage to reality, because the model has a prettier dashboard display and is more accessible.  You can run lots of different “what if?” scenarios through your model and convince yourself you understand everything.  In fact, all you understand is how the model behaves, not how the real world is going to behave.

The fashion in big government at the moment is to assume that a central government can run everything more efficiently than a collection of disorganized private firms, charities, states, provinces and local governments. This conceit has led to world-wide malaise, economic stagnation and civic frustration. For one thing, it’s insulting. The old John Locke model of government by the consent of the governed implicitly assumes that the governed are smart enough to give informed consent. The current, Big Brother, style of government assumes that the government knows better than individuals what’s good for them. No matter how big your data is, that’s insulting and ridiculous.  You can never know someone better than they know themselves.

You should also take note that large political organizations have a tendency to resist innovation and then to implement innovation poorly. When they implement new technology, they tend to spend a lot of money and buy over designed garbage, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Government is good at sponsoring basic research and even proof of concept. They have no idea how to implement things efficiently. The Obamacare roll out disaster is a typical big government technical project.

If you check the growth rates in the US and UK under Reagan and Thatcher, and compare them to the last 8 years, you will notice a big difference. The lesson is that big government doesn’t work, even with big data.

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Against Clinton, Not For Trump

I'm not voting for Trump because I like Trump. I'm voting for Trump because I believe Hillary Clinton is unfit for any Constitutional office, particularly the presidency. We have survived sleazy presidents, like Bill Clinton or Warren Harding, in the past. I don't think we have ever had a president who was willing to sell out the country for a big enough bribe. Also, consider the completely misplaced loyalty Hillary commands. Hillary ordered her cyber security subordinates to ignore her substandard insecure home email server, and they complied. She ordered them to cover it up, and they complied. Now we have a situation where the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and several dozen independent hackers have copies of her 33,000 deleted emails, but voters don't. Hillary is hanging out a mile wide for blackmail by a foreign power. The Russian Army lost World War I because they did not encrypt their radio messages for the first 6 months of the war. Do we need a president so clueless on cyber security that she leaks like a sieve, setting the American military up for total defeat?

Reversing Citizens United: The End of Free Speech

Block all of the free speech you find irredeemable. Once Hillary packs the Supreme Court and it reverses the Citizens United decision, then this will be standard operating procedure on a national scale. If you want to know how that will work out, just look at the amendment to the Bill of Rights that Democrats proposed in 2013. The Democrats actually proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate free speech. Here’s the most important part of the text: “Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections.” This amendment, S. J. Res. 19, was introduced by Tom Udall on June 18, 2013. It had 43 co-sponsors, all Democrats, in the Senate. Harry Reid enthusiastically supported the proposed amendment. Basically the Democrats have a problem with political spending by any incorporated group. The amendment also says, “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” If passed, this amendment would mean that Congress would enact legislation that would define corporations that agree with them, like the New York Times, as “The Press.” In turn they could legislatively define the communications of other corporations, like for example Citizens United, as “speech.” So Congress could use legislation to muzzle opposition “speech” while allowing friendly opinions to appear in “The Press.” If this was enacted, say goodbye to Freedom of Speech. Even low information voters should be able to understand this. This proposed amendment to the Bill of Rights was the Democrats' reaction to the Citizens United decision. It shows you exactly where Democrats want to go if Citizens United is overturned.
The text of the amendment

Oct 14, 2016

Who's Responsible for Poor Civics Education? Liberals Who Control It!

With the rise of Trump, it’s popular for liberals to complain about the sad state of civics education in the US today.  I think the sad state of civics education is the result of liberals not wanting the populace to have a civics education.  The complaints are ironic to the point of absurdity.
Liberals control education in the United States.  Any failures in education are liberal failures, either by neglect or by design.  I believe the failure of the US education system to teach civics and relevant history is the desired result of the liberals who control it.  It's difficult to reconcile the "consent of the governed" with regulatory overreach, executive orders and rogue court decisions which obviously violate existing laws and the Constitution.  Congress, an elected coequal branch of government, has been cut out of most processes.
Notably left out of the civics classes that are taught are the key writings and historical events that influenced or explained the Constitution.  For example, John Locke wrote “Two Treatises on Government,” published in 1690, to justify the overthrow of King James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.  Locke advanced the idea that government existed by the “consent of the governed,” not by the divine right of kings.  Locke also said that government’s function was to preserve the “life, liberty and property” of the people it governed.  Another example is the “Federalist Papers,” a group of 85 articles and essays arguing in favor of adopting the Constitution written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay under the pseudonym Publius.  While the Federalist Papers are considered to be an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution” according to one historian, the odds are that most civics classes never read even one of them.
Regulatory agencies today have executive, legislative and judicial functions all rolled up into a single agency.  There is no separation of powers.  They make the rules, decide who to prosecute for breaking the rules and then conduct hearings in their own administrative proceedings.  They can decide to declare war on coal or regulate the internet with no legal basis for doing either.  Congress, supposedly the legislative branch of the federal government, can't stop them.  According to the Constitution, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."  Clearly, administrative agencies are legislating.  Anyone who studies the Constitution is going to notice a huge disconnect between the Constitution and current practice.  It's a lot easier not to teach civics.  That way, teachers don't have to explain why we're not following the Constitution.  Since most teachers are liberals, it would be against their political interest to point out that we aren’t following the Constitution.  Voters might get the idea that regulatory agencies should be reined in.

Executive orders have become very popular with the current administration.  The way President Obama behaves is very close to the behavior of Charles I (1600-1649).  Charles I tried to rule without Parliament for 11 years. President Obama used his pen and phone to rule by decree. Charles thought he should be an absolute monarch by divine right. President Obama believes he is "on the right side of history," acting with "the fierce urgency of now."  President Obama believes he can grant exemptions to any law at any time, like refusing to collect Obamacare employer mandate taxes or the ordering the administrative enactment of the Dream Act for illegal aliens brought here as children after it failed to pass Congress. I hope we can solve our problems with the Smartest President Ever without following the historical pattern of Charles I. Charles' insistence on absolute power lead to the English Civil War. Charles I lost the Civil War he initiated by trying to arrest 5 members of Parliament on the floor of the house. Victorious Parliamentary forces executed Charles I in 1649.  Oliver Cromwell, the Parliamentary Army’s commander, became a military dictator in 1653 and held power until his death in 1658.  

Please notice that most readers have never heard of Charles I.  This history, England from 1625 to 1776, is a vital part of the background of the Constitution.  The 2nd Amendment is designed to make military dictatorships, like Cromwell's, impossible to impose on the United States, because an armed populace would be able to resist.  The clause that says the president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed...." is aimed at Charles I and his son, James II, who were in the habit of ignoring laws passed by Parliament.

Rogue court decisions are another area where civics becomes hard to teach.  The Constitution is a contract between the states and the federal government.  Article V. has two methods of how to change the Constitution.  Both methods require 3/4 of state legislatures to ratify changes.  Most people would agree that contracts can't be changed unless both parties to the contract agree to the change.  Unfortunately, liberals believe the Constitution is a "living document."  This means that federal courts can reinterpret the Constitution to mean something different than what was originally agreed to.  This means that the "consent of the governed" is no longer necessary to change the Constitution.

Let's look at a recent example.  The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868.  The Republicans who wrote it meant it to protect recently freed black slaves from abuse from state laws and state courts.  Here's the key sentence: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  In 1868, homosexual acts were illegal in every state.  In 1868, the definition of marriage was considered to be a state issue.  In 1967, the "equal protection of the law" clause of the 14th Amendment was used to strike down state laws prohibiting mixed race marriage in Loving versus Virginia.  I think this is a logical extension of the original meaning of the amendment, which was definitely about race.

In 2016, the 14th Amendment was used to mandate same sex marriage for all states in Obergfell versus Hodges.  This is a "living Constitution" decision in two ways.  Since in 1868 homosexual acts were outlawed, the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment could not have known they were voting for mandatory legalization of gay marriage.  If they had known, the 14th Amendment would not have passed.  Also, since generally marriage is a state, not a federal, issue, the case should have been decided on state grounds.  Under the "full faith and credit" clause, marriages performed in one state must be recognized in all states.    Deciding the case this way would have allowed state legislatures to decide for each state how to define marriage.

Changing the definition of marriage is a very big change.  It seems to me to be something to be resolved by legislative processes after full debate.  Changing the Constitution to mandate same sex marriage for all states, overriding several state constitutions and referendums, is really a violent remedy.  Making a change this big without the consent of the governed is very difficult to explain in rational terms to students.  It's a lot easier to avoid teaching civics.

 Liberals control education completely in the US.  Education failures in the US are the result of liberal design or liberal neglect.  Teaching civics is avoided because current practice deviates substantially from original Constitutional design. Preserving ignorance of the Federalist Papers, John Locke's "Two Treatises on Government" and the history of England from 1625 to 1776 allows liberal changes in government to go unchallenged by a population too ignorant to realize they are being cheated. 

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