Posts tagged ‘Federalist Papers’

What is it About Houston and Surveillance?

I guess I avoided it when I was growing up in Houston, but there sure seems to be something in the water down there as first our Houston-raised president, and now Houston's police chief, seem awfully fond of surveillance.  From Tom Kirkendall:

Anne Linehan and Charles Kuffner are two of Houston's best bloggers on local political matters, and they have been covering an emerging story that amazingly appears to be flying below the radar screen of most Houstonians -- i.e., Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt's
plan announced last week proposing to place surveillance cameras in
apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes to fight crime during a shortage of police officers.

Building permits should require malls and large apartment
complexes to install surveillance cameras, Hurtt said. And if a
homeowner requires repeated police response, it is reasonable to
require camera surveillance of the property, he said.

And the Chief's justification for surveillance cameras in private homes?:

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother,
but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why
should you worry about it?"

H'mm. That is not the kind of reasoning that one would find in, say, The Federalist Papers, now is it?

Where Our Founding Fathers Extremist?

Certainly King George III would have considered our founding fathers extremist.  But apparently, they may be considered extremist even today, at least by the left.

In my earlier post on Janice Rogers Brown, I quoted JRB saying:

"Where government moves in, community
retreats, civil society disintegrates. . . . When government advances . . .
freedom is imperiled, civilization itself [is] jeopardized."

I noted that both the NY Times and the People for the American Way use this quote to say that JRB is "extremist".  I said, in response, "I bet I could find about 20 similar quotes in the Federalist Papers or from other contributors to the US Constitution."  Of course, I was too lazy to go looking for quotes, but Gary Galles of the Mises Blog was not.  He has hunted down many examples, but I will quote his work on the JRB quote above:

Janice Rogers Brown: "Where government advances"”and it advances
relentlessly"”freedom is imperiled...When did government cease to be a necessary
evil and become a goody bag to solve our private problems?"
Thomas
Paine
: "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in
its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable
one."
George Mason: "Every society, all government, and
every kind of civil compact therefore, is or ought to be, calculated for the
general good and safety of the community. Every power, every authority vested in
particular men is, or ought to be, ultimately directed at this sole end; and
whenever any power or authority whatever extends further...than is in its nature
necessary for these purposes, it may be called government, but it is in fact
oppression."
Thomas Jefferson: "˜What more is necessary to
make us a happy and a prosperous people?...a wise and frugal Government, which
shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to
regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from
the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good
government..."

Go read them all.  And remember, he is taking all the JRB quotes right off the People for the American Way site, who have posted the quotes to scare us about what an extremist she is.

What is "Extreme"?

Per the Washington Post:

But Democrats recited a litany of Brown's controversial statements, including
several from a 2000 speech titled "Fifty Ways to Lose Your Freedom." She said
senior citizens "blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a
right to get as much 'free' stuff as the political system will permit them to
extract." Elsewhere, Brown has said: "Where government moves in, community
retreats, civil society disintegrates. . . . When government advances . . .
freedom is imperiled, civilization itself [is] jeopardized."

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) told reporters that Brown is "one of
the most extreme nominees that has ever come before the United States Senate in
the 32 years I've been a senator."

OK, so I am an extremist.  Take in particular the last quote from Brown - I bet I could find about 20 similar quotes in the Federalist Papers or from other contributors to the US Constitution.  That quote should be over the front door of the ACLU.  This is the second time I have read statements about her that were intended to scare me off but in fact endeared me to her. The first example was here.

Update:  People for the American Way have other JRB comments that are supposed to scare me, but don't.  Here is an example of what scares PFTAW:

In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the
classical era of American law reigned...Protection of property was a major
casualty of the Revolution of 1937"¦Rights were reordered and property acquired a
second class status...It thus became government's job not to protect property
but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the
disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has
not altered our fervent commitment to statism.

I am starting to wish she was running for office, so I could vote for her.  Reason has similar thoughts here.

Update #2:  Reason has a profile of her here.  Many more great quotes from her, including this gem:

In a dissent in San Remo Hotel v. City and County of San Francisco
(2002), which upheld the city's sweeping property restrictions, Justice Brown
expanded on that theme. "Theft is still theft even when the government approves
of the thievery," she declared. "The right to express one's individuality and
essential human dignity through the free use of property is just as important as
the right to do so through speech, the press, or the free exercise of religion."

Go Janice, go.