Constitutional Law

New York Times Editorial Board Concerned That Some People Might View Federal Government as "An Intrusive Parent"

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The New York Times editorial board is not happy with a proposed constitutional amendment giving state legislatures the power to overturn any act of Congress with the approval of two-thirds of state legislatures. That's hardly a surprise. But the most telling passage comes toward the end, when the editorial argues that the primary problem with the proposed amendment is the federalist spirit in which it was offered:  

These flaws make the proposed amendment self-defeating, but they are far less significant than the mistaken vision of federalism on which it rests. Its foundation is that the United States defined in the Constitution are a set of decentralized sovereignties where personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy should reign. In this vision, the federal government is an intrusive parent.

What a truly bizarre notion. I cannot imagine how anyone could think such a thing.

Cato's Roger Pilon has more.

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  1. Not so ironically, I tend to dismiss most of the what the New York Times editorial board writes as being intrusively parental.

    1. For some reason, this NYT piece reminds me of that unintentionally hilarious/tragic Jackie Chan statement to effect of “If the Chinese government doesn’t control the people, they will just do whatever they want.”

  2. They should just man up and change their name to The Statist Times.

    1. The Authoritarian has a nice ring.

    2. manhood=statist? That would make you a girl Epi. Which reminds me I need a tampon; do you have one in your purse?

  3. Wanting to restore the states to their assigned role under the Constitution is racist, because anything empowering the states means “states rights”, and that’s crazy racist shit.

    The left simply must get over this idea that having the states play a role in the federalist system equates totally and completely with the state rights argument used to justify slavery prior to the Civil War. After all that’s happened in the last decade, how can anyone of any political stripe not want more checks on federal power? Are these people just total morons? Or that confident that the totalitarianism that may result will serve their ends and not someone else’s?

    Their position is akin to declaring that all babies are evil, because Hitler was once a baby.

    1. Also, abortion.

    2. i think that they’re worried tarring and feathering might make comeback…

      1. That’s a damned fine idea.

  4. It is building political power by selling the promise of a return to a mythic past.

    Exactly. Like. Hitler. HITLERRRRRR!R!R!R!R!R!R!

    1. Say what you want against Hitler.
      But man, that was a politician who made the US look good.

  5. “It is building political power by selling the promise of a return to a mythic past.”

    Yes! I would much rather build political power by selling the promise of a mythic utopian future.

  6. It’s not a mythic past. Are these guys total ignoramuses?

    1. When it comes to knowing better than you or I, yes.

  7. the mistaken vision of federalism on which it rests. Its foundation is that the United States defined in the Constitution are a set of decentralized sovereignties where personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy should reign.

    Despite the best efforts of the New York Times editorial board and like-minded saviors, some people still believe this.

    Not only that, they cling to a bizarre, distorted notion that the Constitution actually imposes limits on what the government can do.

    1. Seriously, those very things are pretty much core American values. Even today, and certainly for most of our history. Particularly at the beginning.

      By taking that position, they might as well admit that they just want to reset things to the Year Zero, because it’s clear they’re just making shit up to support their totalitarian fantasies. And no, “totalitarian” isn’t hyperbole, because it’s the inevitable end if we keep gutting the concept of individual rights and limited government, and it’s hard to believe people who seem to want to control every aspect of existence for the “collective” “good” don’t want that end to some extent.

      1. “The only path to social justice is Liberty.”

        1. Yeppers.

  8. As a work of satire, that quoted paragraph is brilliant.

    1. Yeah it’s right up there with “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it,” “Yes you can turn the TV off or block the channel but why should you,” and (regarding the health care bill) “We don’t worry whether it’s constitutional or not.”

      1. “it’s in the Good and Plenty Act”

  9. “Its foundation is that the United States defined in the Constitution are a set of decentralized sovereignties where personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy should reign.”

    I don’t write the history books. I just read them. But I think that is a pretty good summation of the basis for the social contract in America.

    Not to go Godwin, but I now understand what it must have been like to have lived in 1930s Germany. I understand now, not because the New York Times wants to murder people. I understand now because like 1930s Germany, I live in a country where all of the educated and allegedly right thinking people believe absolutely stupid, untrue and often insane things. I guess we are lucky that none of those things include sticking people in ovens (yet).

    1. I can’t think of a better illustration of “anti-americanism” than that NYT paragraph. They seem to really want thus country to resemble China or the USSR

      1. Say, who does Tom Friedman write for again?

        1. …just a positive thought, how many years in a row has the circulation for The New Pravda Times gone down?

          1. All of them?

          2. A quick look on CapitalIQ shows that their revenue has dropped about 25% since 2005 and has been on a steady decline for a long time. If that helps.

            1. “See? We need government subsidies!”

    2. Well, the idea that genes are strong determinants of behavior is somewhat out of vogue, so eugenics has given way to nanny statism as a way to solve the problem of human imperfection.

      But eventually, we’ll get back to nature, and then the fun starts. Well, it might not involve ovens, but forcible sterilization for the wrong sort of people is a shoo in.

      1. If I deeply loved them, a pillow will do nicely.

  10. It’s not a mythic past.

    Wait- are you trying to tell me the Constitution was not carved on a plank of flotsam by the Easter Bunny and delivered to Erik the Red by a mermaid riding an octopus (or maybe it was the other way around, I can never remember)?

    1. The Constitution was written by a monk in the 9th century, who was also hired to write the Donation of Constantine. In other words, it’s a forgery. The actual founding document of the United States says the following, in its entirety:

      “I love my people–pull!”

      1. +100 for the donation of Constantine reference. It is a little known fact, but the monk also included a papal grant giving all of the North American Continent south of 54th parallel to the United States. Some day Canada will feel God’s wrath for denying America its God given territory.

        1. Someday? They feel His wrath every day.

            1. The October Surprise in 2012 will be the invasion of Canada.

        2. …the monk also included a papal grant giving all of the North American Continent south of 54th parallel to the United States.

          Yay! 54-40 or FIGHT!!

  11. How did the founders find the time to establish such a benevolent central government between enslaving black people and murdering Indians? I mean that is all anyone in America before 1932 ever did right?

  12. And no, “totalitarian” isn’t hyperbole

    Not in the least; a depressingly large segment of America’s intelligencia (on both teams, btw) are obsessed with concentrating all decision-making and control into/onto as few people as possible.

    Top

    men.

    1. Say what you like about the French, but you have to give them credit for devising the best response to The Enlightened? ever – the guillotine.

      1. Didn’t they even put ol’ Doc Guillotine through his own contraption? Too lazy to snopes that.

  13. And yet the NYT is hardly the only news organization who believes this asinine idea that federalism is some sort of wacky cult.

    There was this clip with Ezra Klein furthering reinforcing the point that the media has lost its collective mind.

    “Lefty pundit: The Constitution’s hard to understand because it’s pretty old”

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/s…..nstitution

    1. Klein said it was over 100 years old. What a stupid fuck.

      1. i think that was the initial dig…
        “Oh THAT old thing, PLEASE!

    2. Is that why they stopped teaching Hamlet in high school?

      1. No. They did that in response to the cartoon crisis.

        1. Because of the Denmark connection, or the unclean meat in the name?

          1. All of the above, just to be sure.

  14. Those willing to allow constitutional powers be determined by the right five justices are pining for what century?

    Time after time, a liberal will tell me that the constitution is out of date – no tvs, airplanes, effective medicine, etc. etc. Well, our adopters were clever enough to set forth several ways to amend it to keep it “up with the times.” If the majority is on your side, then please use the amendment process.

  15. “The Constitution is just a fucking piece of paper!”

  16. Ezra Klein agrees that the constitution is too old to be understood.

    http://www.breitbart.tv/libera…..years-old/

    1. Maybe Ezra and Yglesias can put their room temperature IQs together and figure it out. Klein really is criminally stupid. The fact that him and Yglesias are read by anyone or considered smart and interesting says worse things about America than all of the Michael Bay movies combined.

      1. I know y’all have been on a big Bay Bashing Bonanza lately, but this was a great spot for a NASCAR reference.

        1. Klein: I write a little, then turn left, write a little more and turn left.

          Yglesias: FAST!

          Klein: Damn Straight!

          1. Is Vagisil involved?

            1. Only when one of them gets yeasty. Wait, does vagisil work on vagina-sand too? How about butthurt?

              I’ll have to checkout the proper uses for vagisil, but if all these applications are appropriate, then yes, I would estimate that K & Y go through at least a case a week.

              1. vagina-sand? south of uzbekisan?

                1. dammit, made me laugh out loud at work. Boss might get suspicious of my 4 hours of H&R lurking when I should be working.

      2. Secretary Of Defense: Those aren’t ideas, those are special effects bien pensant platitudes.
        Michael Bay Ezra Klein: I don’t understand the difference.
        Secretary Of Defense: I know you don’t. (to guards) Get him out of here!

        1. My father inlaw, who has unbelievably bad taste in movies, was actually watching Transformers this weekend. I made the mistake of watching it for a few minutes. I never realized you guys weren’t kidding about Bay. His movies really are that bad and in the case of Transformers worse than portrayed.

          1. He’s the Antichrist!

          2. Transformers is one of his better works.

          3. You should watch Transformers 2. It’s worse than most Mystery Science 3K movies.

        2. Secretary Of Defense: Those aren’t ideas, those are special effects bien pensant platitudes.
          Michael Bay Ezra Klein: I don’t understand the difference.
          Secretary Of Defense: I know you don’t. (to guards) Get him out of here!

          Nicely done. Bay’s treatment in that episode is only surpassed by the treatment they give Mel Gibson.

          1. Wasn’t he the only one that actually came up with a usable idea?

    2. On the one hand, the lefty accusation that Constitutional fundies often don’t actually know what the hell they’re talking about, and don’t live by the precepts they use to cast aspersions on others, rings true in a lot of cases.

      On the other hand, they’re probably just afraid that if people really educated themselves on the subject of liberty, tyranny, classical liberalism, and the history of English common law and the western constitutional democratic tradition, a lot of people would suddenly realize that progs were basically doing all the things that wiser men suggested would eventually lead to tyranny, and get shut down hard.

      The constitutional document is essentially an old example of legal engineering, applying the new enlightenment value of rationality and the experience of centuries of failure to create a theory for building safer governments.

      If the founders were like boring civil engineers that wanted to build infrastructure that wouldn’t collapse and kill people, progs are like asshole pomo architects that flunked their civil engineering courses but decided it was because they were too avant garde for the close-minded, banal architects of the past. Unfortunately, poorly designed governments usually destroy far more lives than poorly designed bridges and buildings.

      1. Klein-Yglesias, Building Better Worlds

  17. Its foundation is that the United States defined in the Constitution are a set of decentralized sovereignties where personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy should reign.

    Uh… right. Your point being? They say this as if it’s such a fucked-up, bizarre, way-out notion.

    It certainly wasn’t to the people who wrote the damn thing.

    As if we needed it – further evidence that these people are living proof that Santayana was right.

    Fuck the entire NYT editorial staff with a splintered two-by-four.

    1. It’s as if they’re a troll, posting crap like that. I mean, personal responsibility? Really? You’re in favor of personal responsibility? What kind of freak are you? And private property? How antiquarian! Where have you been? Next you’re going to tell me you think men should wear breeches and waistcoats with their powdered wigs.

      Ha! Personal responsibility and private property! Hehehe… my, my, the silly notions people come up with these days.

      1. If they don’t like personal property, they won’t mind when I take half their shit because I make less than them. Right? I went to a state school, so they fucking owe me! I demand equality!

        1. You drive I’ll pay for gas. We can split the Uhaul rental fee.

          Hear that Statists? Get your shit packed up, we’re bringing a Uhaul.

  18. oh no, justices who have drunk the Kool-Aid are a much quicker fixie!

  19. “All the News that’s Printed to Fit.”

  20. ” Its foundation is that the United States defined in the Constitution are a set of decentralized sovereignties where personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy should reign. In this vision, the federal government is an intrusive parent.”

    Alternatively, it’s a view where power is divided up among multiple institutions, which each have some interesting in checking the power of the others, but none of which is strong enough to ultimately prevail and institute an unopposed tyranny.

    Federalism is just another form of checks and balances. Or is anything short of autocracy too primitive for the New York Technocrat now?

  21. “To find out what the other side is thinking” no longer cuts it as an excuse to link to the NYT. It’s unrealistic Keynesian garbage, and I’m pretty sure it’s making us all dumber one tiny increment at a time.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s making us all dumber one tiny increment at a time.

      I feel like exposing and dissecting stupidity has the opposite effect.

    2. I try to avoid clicking any links because I don’t want to help their pageviews for ad dollars.

      Vote with your wallet, don’t visit the times website.

    3. I’m pretty sure it’s making us all dumber one tiny increment at a time.

      I stopped reading the NYT years ago b/c every time I did it made me feel stupid. I do not know how they did that…

  22. personal responsibility, private property and a laissez-faire economy

    You have to remember, if these were actually taken seriously, then Columbia University, Bruce Ratner and the New York Fucking Times its majestic self would have to actually pay market prices for the property “necessary” for their glorious and grandiose self-memorialization.

  23. Why did we even fucking bother…

    Just pretend we never even *tried* to explain it to you already…

  24. Speaking of shitty movies and the people who make them, I happened to catch the tail end of an abomination which looked like some crappy film-school student’s “thesis” (complete with jumpy handheld camera work) this morning. I became so fascinated (for lack of a better word) I watched it to the end, so I could see the credits. Whose name was on it?

    Uwe Boll.

  25. Jeez, I had to read to rest to see if you were taking the Times quote out of context – but it only got worse!

    It’s funny/sad at this point that there are other “federations” – some explicitly modeled on our own – which seem to be carrying along in that spirit with more conviction than we are.

  26. I feel like exposing and dissecting stupidity has the opposite effect.

    Yes- if I (Cthulu forbid!) were a teacher, I would begin each day by asking my class to dissect a newspaper editorial.

  27. I would never describe the government as an intrusive parent. Its behavior usually bears a closer resemblance to a schoolyard flasher.

  28. Intrusive parent? Starting to seem more like those stern British schoolmasters who get a perverse pleasure in hitting schoolboys on the knuckles with a ruler.

  29. What’s bizarre is how proponents of this idea, out of the other side of their mouths, argue for it by noting that it would be very difficult for 2/3 of states to agree on anything. Yeah we should make a fundamental change to our system of government for the reason that it would be almost impossible to implement. Sounds very honest. Of course should such a scenario come about, it is noteworthy that it would pretty much have to be Red states that do it, since they are more numerous. Though given that Red states are lower in population, this proposal serves to give even more power to rural Republicans than they already have in the senate.

    This along with the proposal to do away with the 17th amendment, and we can really solidify Republican power and keep it away from pesky meddlesome democracy.

    1. Tony doesn’t want the people to have more power because the people don’t agree with him. “pesky meddlesome democracy” is exactly what this plan would implement. If the majority of a country doesn’t like a Federal law, out it goes.

      Your response is basically “RED STATES!!!!!”

      Of course, it’s “meddlesome” in the sense of meddling with Federal encroachment, not meddling in the lives of private citizens.

      1. Tony thinks states should have zero autonomy. Hell, he probably considers the state legislatures to be pesky and meddlesome… better to just have all the decisions made in one centralized location, eh?

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