Thoughts – The Religion of State Power and Making Government “Simpler”

Religion

“A statist system—whether of a communist, fascist, Nazi, socialist or “welfare” type—is based on the . . . government’s unlimited power, which means: on the rule of brute force. The differences among statist systems are only a matter of time and degree; the principle is the same. Under statism, the government is not a policeman, but a legalized criminal that holds the power to use physical force in any manner and for any purpose it pleases against legally disarmed, defenseless victims.

Nothing can ever justify so monstrously evil a theory. Nothing can justify the horror, the brutality, the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter of statist dictatorships.”

Ayn RandThe Objectivist Newsletter, August 1962, Issue 35

The objective of this blog is to address the degree to which technology has changed domestic and international politics in the modern Information Age with profound implications upon human civil liberties.

Throughout the arc of history, there is clear and compelling evidence the development and ownership of complex tools and technologies, as a product of human creativity, has changed the course of humanity. There is no shortage of excellent books and blogs written by profound authors on these advancements. There seems, however, to be a gap in the dialog this blog has addressed and will continue to address. Specifically, this research blog intends is to illustrate three compelling questions for the reader to consider from the point of view that humans have a digital persona that mirrors their physical one, but the two personas do not share the same set of constitutional and human rights despite being one in the same.

Part 1 of this research blog argued the U.S. National Surveillance State is authoritarian in nature by using a framework provided by Jack Balkin at Yale Law School. The framework was found within a broader paper by Balkin titled, “The Constitution in the National Surveillance State.” Moreover, in my research endeavors I found this paper was also published as the lead essay in a book titled “The Constitution in 2020” that was co-edited by Jack Balkin. The book was published in 2009. “The Constitution in 2020”, with extensive funding from George Soros, is a movement that openly seeks to create a “Progressive” consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020. Before being published as a book, “The Constitution in 2020” was a series of conferences financially underwritten by George Soros’ Open Society Institute, The American Constitution Society, and The Center for American Progress. Those conferences started in 2005.  Coincidentally, Attorney General Eric Holder was a member of the Board of Directors at the American Constitution Society prior to being appointed AG.  Eric Holder’s outgoing quote at the American Constitution Society in 2008:

“Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘War on Terror’ have diminished our standing in the world community and made us less, rather than more safe,” Holder said in his speech this past June. “For the sake of our safety and security, and because it is the right thing to do, the next president must move immediately to reclaim America’s standing in the world as a nation that cherishes and protects individual freedom and basic human rights.”

– Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General

Part 2 of this research blog argued that Governance, which is based on the rule of law, is a technology in of itself and the nature of current U.S. governance policy is based upon the ideas, methods, and tactics written within “The Constitution in 2020.” The generic name for this movement is: “democratic constitutionalism.” In 2012 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the following quote that I believe is emblematic of “democratic constitutionalism”:

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa … a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights.”

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jan. 30, 2012.

Ms. Ginsburg’s comments may sound absurd, but they reflect an ongoing movement among “progressive” legal activists to render the Constitution, as we know it unrecognizable. Perhaps Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet expressed the best definition of this movement:

“For 30 years, conservatives have hijacked the Constitution, and we’re taking it back.”

Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School

So the big story is that Justice Ginsburg’s enthusiastic embrace of the South African Constitution is a long-range political movement to create a “progressive” constitution to ultimately supplant the founding documents of the United States. The main threat the Constitution was designed to protect the people from was a source of tyrannical and unchecked power that is in direct conflict with the Bill of Rights. The purpose of this progressive movement was described in a May 26, 2009, New York Times Magazine article: “… the organizers set out to gather together a group of scholars to define a progressive constitutional agenda for the coming century. … the democratic constitutionalists see courts and political movements as partners, influencing each other and society as a whole.”

Democratic constitutionalism (Progressivism) is tantamount to practicing a particular religion; in this case it is the religion of state power. Let’s now illustrate how this particular religion works.

Among the initial participants of the 2005 gathering of progressive legal stars were two George Soros operatives destined to be key Obama handlers in his initial presidential campaign, the transition and in the White House: John Podesta and Cass Sunstein.(1) Podesta ran Obama’s transition team. An outsider/insider with unique access to the president, Podesta oversees perhaps the most successful of the organs of the multi-billion dollar Soros policy/influence machine—the Center for American Progress.(2) It has been a front for left-wing ideas the Obama White House has turned into policy.(3) A few examples are Affordable Healthcare, Immigration, Executive Actions, Environmental Policy/Climate Change, etc. Coincidentally, Obama tapped Podesta to be his Sr. Adviser at the White House in January 2014 with his focus broadly being on executive action. In November 2010 Podesta published a paper titled “The Power of the President: Recommendations To Advance Progressive Change”. It is effectively the progressive presidential executive playbook.

“The ability of President Obama to accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated.” (4)

-John Podesta

This brings us to Cass Sunstein, who, predating Ginsburg’s comments, expressed an even giddier endorsement, calling the South African Constitution “the most admirable constitution in the history of the world.”(5) Sunstein, who was tagged as an “informal” Obama campaign adviser, was the White House regulation czar, Director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs—a powerful position in which he served as a gatekeeper for all new federal regulatory changes.(6) Sunstein, was on leave as a Harvard law professor, is an incredibly prolific “progressive” far-left legal scholar espousing a host of ideas any reasonable person would just call “weird.”(7) He would ban all hunting.(8) Sunstein has proposed giving animals—yes, cows, dogs, rats—standing to sue in court.(9) He would afford them a quasi-constitutional personhood.(10) And he has proposed a kind of rationing of the Internet.(11) He has demanded that websites be forced to include opposing views, because of “the growing power of consumers to ‘filter’ what it is that they see.”(12) Given the presidents lack of any change in U.S. National Surveillance Policy post the Snowden NSA Spying revelations and his recent stance on Net Neutrality, Sunstein’s ideas are likely to become reality.

Sunstein fears that Americans are too stupid to create the kind of “diversity” provided by the former gatekeepers of network TV.(13) To Sunstein, individual citizens are incapable of being on their own in a sea of digital information.(14) He fears that, “In the extreme case, people will be fully able to design their own communications universe.(15) They will find it easy to exclude, in advance, topics and points of view that they wish to avoid.”(16) I think Sunstein is being rather introspective when speaking about this topic because the hallmark of progressive thinking is to block out countervailing points of view that do not support progressive ideology.  Sunstein is calling for government censorship to create diversity of thought.(17) Imagine this man writing a new First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

Does the term oxymoron come to mind?(18) But then, everything in the world progressives inhabit is Alice-in-Wonderland—down the rabbit hole.(19) Progressive operators like Sunstein, even with his seemingly wacky views, must never be underestimated.(20)

Although there is no secret about the existence of the “Constitution in 2020” movement, the radicals who would deface the current Constitution plan to do so by stealth.(21) Stealth will be in the details written way below the surface or created by alternative means such as administrative law or international treaties and agreements.(22) Examples like Obamacare and the recent Climate Change agreements are apt.  The real threat will come “under the radar,” as President Barack Obama is wont to say.(23)

A lead-off speaker during the follow-up 2009 Soros-funded “Constitution in 2020” conference reconvened at Yale University Law School, professor Aziz Huq of the University of Chicago Law School laid out the need for a deep political masquerade to accomplish real change.(24)

“We’ll start with the problem of candor,” Huq said. “No constitutional movement ever got very far by admitting that it sought innovation in the founding document. Or by admitting that it was enabled by the particular social/historical or doctrinal circumstances of the change that it urged. Yet to be a credible movement for constitutional change—a credible social movement—that movement has to deny, in a sense, its ultimate goal.”(25) 

These words sound remarkably just like the recently released statements of key Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber, regarding how American voters are stupid and lack of transparency is a powerful political tool and was necessary to gain the votes for the Obamacare legislation.(26)

And the deniable goal of progressivism clearly is to supplant our rights, memorialized for Americans with our unique position as the freest people in the world, with a bizarre set of government-granted privileges masked as “rights” or “positive rights”—a kind of leftist cultural affirmative action creating unprecedented social division: a constitutional caste system between the American people.(27)  It will be a reflection of President Obama’s now ubiquitous cultural war.(28) 

To use the progressive definition of the Constitution as a “living organism,” understand that these people see themselves in the same light as genetic engineers who are altering the DNA of our freedom into something entirely unrecognizable—something most Americans today would consider malignant.(29)  If you were to suspect this is a key part of President Obama’s agenda for “fundamentally changing America,” you would likely be right.(30)  In fact, their “change” is a growth antithetical to the individual liberty protected and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as we know it.(31)  A small preview of how progressives plan to make government simpler; in August 2014 over half of all Inspector Generals in the U.S. wrote a letter to Congress complaining the governmental organizations they are charged with overseeing are delaying or outright denying key information. This is a degradation of the compliance mechanism of our government and a letter like this has never been written before to Congress by the Inspector Generals as a group.  Lack of meaningful oversight makes it simpler for government to do what wants.

In the lexicon of the “progressive” movement to rewrite America’s founding document on a global model, the guarantees of what the founders recognized as pre-existing God-given rights—among them, free speech, freedom to assemble, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the right against self-incrimination, the right to be protected against undue search and seizure—all of those most basic protections are considered “negative rights.”(32) Progressives are not talking about replacing the U.S. Constitution with the South African Constitution out of hand.(33)  What they seek is to include key viral elements of that document, in a bit-by-bit infection that will ultimately transform the whole nature of our country.(34)  So what is it that these people find so attractive in the South African Constitution? In a phrase, the answer is something they call “positive rights.”(35) 

Perhaps the most direct explanation of what they are going for was penned on “The Constitution in 2020” blog by Emily Zackin, now an assistant professor at Hunter College:

“These rights (sometimes called positive rights) obligate government to intervene in social and economic life, promoting equality rather than simply procedural fairness.” (36)

So, fairness—the very basis of real blind justice in America—is to be replaced with social/cultural favoritism decided by a cadre of law school radicals.(37)   Dr. Zackin—who won top honors from Princeton for her Ph.D. dissertation, “Positive Constitutional Rights in the United States,” cited as an example: “… the South African Constitution includes the right to medical care. The text of the U.S. Constitution contains no such explicit guarantees, and the Supreme Court has consistently declined to interpret the Constitution to include them.”(38)  She further defined the notion of “positive rights” as “welfarist policies.”(39) I have argued in Part 2 of this blog that misinterpretations of the Constitution and “Positive Rights” are America’s two largest threats.

These “positive rights,” like the “right to health care” and the “right to housing,” are the key elements that make the South African constitution so attractive to welfare statists who would control every element of American life.(40) These “positive rights” dump fairness in favor of drastically skewing the playing field to the advantage of select groups of citizens, but mostly the government itself.(41) With this stealthy Soros-backed effort, the new, radical Constitution that would emerge in the future will likely include as “positive rights” many government-granted privileges and collective rewards centered around endless memes of “justice”—“social justice,” or “economic justice,” or “green justice.” The list could be endless.(42)

In a spot-on Canada Free Press analysis of the effect of “positive rights” versus “negative rights,” Daniel Greenfield characterized the combined “positive rights” pressed by the so-called progressive establishment as “the right to be taken care of in every way possible.” (43)  These “rights”—touted as the be all, end all in the South African constitution—“serve to eliminate most of what Americans have traditionally considered freedom. … Positive rights offer a privilege that is overseen by the government … universal benefits at the cost of individual liberties.”(44)

Yet privileges—unlike rights—can be withheld at the whim of those who hold the power of government.(45)  In reality, these so-called “positive rights” are not rights at all.(46) They are privileges doled out under a deeply corrupt system of state rationing because the state can never support everyone all of the time.(47) However this approach to governance, in the mind of progressives, makes governance “simpler” because it enables the government to change policy/society based on its interpretation of what it thinks is right. How does this happen?  Let’s illustrate.

Thankfully, elite progressives have massive egos that need to be fed and that ego feeding typically comes in the form of publishing books on exploits. However, it is not always blatantly obvious what the person actually did because remember their goal is surreptitious subterfuge. They can never fully admit what they are aiming for because those who practice the religion of state power are there to expand the power of the state through the lens of ideology. Making shit thinking smell like roses through the power of language is the hallmark of progressive literature. There is very little original thinking because the goal is always to expand state power, however there is incredible creative writing because that is how shit ideas begin to smell rosy.

After leaving the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein wrote a book titled “Simpler: The Future of Government”, which he argues that simpler government came to the U.S. with the election of Barack Obama.(48) He says it helped put money in your pocket.(49) It saved hours of your time.(50) It improved your children’s diet, lengthened your life span, and benefited businesses large and small.(51) It did so according to Sunstein by issuing fewer regulations, by insisting on smarter regulations, and by eliminating or improving old regulations.(52) Sunstein, as administrator of the most powerful White House Office you’ve never heard of, oversaw it and explains how it works, why government will never be the same again, and what must happen in the future.(53)

While this sounds nice, what we have experienced since Barack Obama has been in office is quite the opposite of what Sunstein posits. Sunstein opens his book suggesting that government should work as seamless as an iPad in so far as it should be intuitive at every step.(54) First, Sunstein says that governance, which itselft is a technology, should be more like technology. This is an absurd statement, but more importantly what Sunstein actually did at his time in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was make it more intuitive for the government to be able to flex its power based on ideology.(55) How did he do this? This was done by changing rules and regulations to be more open to ideological interpretation by the organizations charged with enforcing them on people and businesses.(56) Yes, he made things simpler, simpler for the government to exercise its power when politically convenient because Sunstein knows that policy, reputation, and political expediency always trump the rule of the law in the game of governance.(57) How does this fit with Progressivism and “Positive Rights”? Again, progressive egos need to be fed and Sunstein just published another book in September 2014 titled, “Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State”.

In this book Sunstein attempts to make the case for improving cost-benefit analysis in regulatory decision-making, and for taking account of variables that are hard to quantify, such as dignity and personal privacy.(58) He also shows how regulatory decisions about health, and life itself can benefit from taking into account behavioral and psychological research, including new findings about what scares us, and what does not.(59) By Better accounting for peoples fallibility, Sunstein argues, we can create regulation that is simultaneously more human and more likely to achieve the goals of regulation.(60) The goal of this book is to offer a new way of thinking about regulation that incorporates human dignity – and an insistent focus on the consequences of our choices. (61)

Basically, Cass Sunstein is arguing in these two books that he purposefully degenerated the quality of U.S. Rules and Regulations so they could be more open to ideological interpretation and he did this because he loves and cares so deeply about people doing what he and progressives think is best. This type of pernicious thinking and governance can only work if the government has total access to all of our data/information all of the time. That is the underlying theme because today the reality has become the modern political left are the new Fascist right.  At the true heart of big brother, which is the religion of state power, you will find Progressives and their ideas.

This is why I argue in Part 3 of this research blog that people need to know and protect their digital self and protect themselves with end to end encryption and intelligent multi-factor authentication technology. If the U.S. Constitution treated our digital lives exactly the same as our real lives, this would effectively never let the government use our data and information against us in anyway. This in my opinion would truly make government simpler; by making it simpler to understand exactly what our government cannot do to any of us in our real or digital lives, because our real lives and digital lives are one in the same.  It is our collective responsibility to know thy digital self and to thy own digital self be true. Because nobody is quite like you.

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