Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Socialism? Where'd That Come From?

Norman Matton Thomas (November 20, 1884 - December 19, 1968) was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. As a candidate for President of the U. S., Norman Thomas said, in a 1944 epoch speech:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism", they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Archie Bunker Tells It Like It Is

I don't have time to write a post until after finals...Or at least I don't think so. Until then I'll leave you with one of my favorite political philosophers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ginsburg’s Comments Underscore Deeper Disregard for Constitutional Authority

Below is my latest article for the Sewanee Purple. As always my argument is limited by page length.

Recently the New York Times ran an article in which Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the use of foreign law in United States Supreme Court rulings. Consistent with her liberal jurisprudence, Ginsburg noted, “I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law.” What she meant from this outlandish comment was that she believes it is perfectly appropriate for foreign courts, ruling on their own laws, to dictate the outcome of our own domestic courts, ruling on our own laws. Anyone who has ever tried to use an instruction manual for one product to operate or assemble another should have no problem instructing Justice Ginsburg on why there is so much “brouhaha.” Why we do not use foreign courts to determine our own domestic rulings is because we do not have the same Constitution and legal system as foreign nations. Our nation is based on a rule of law that is specifically tailored to the American people. Other nations may have much in common with our governmental system, but at the end of the day, they are not America. Therefore, we cannot allow our rule of law to be replaced with “rule of foreign precedent.” We cannot allow justices who do not derive their power from the people of the United States to hold sway over our own courts. My point is not that foreign courts are inferior, but that American courts are in a different legal context formed by our own laws and constitution. It is the responsibility of the Court to rule according to this context, not to abuse their power and shape America to their own liking.

Justice Ginsburg’s position is completely inconsistent with our constitutional heritage. Her problem—besides an utter disregard for constitutional originalism and a refusal to strive for value-free judgments—goes beyond a reliance on the judgment of foreign courts and other forms of “judicial pragmatism.” Ginsburg and those sharing her views are intelligent enough to understand that one cannot rely on foreign rulings, if one is to rule faithfully according to the US Constitution. However, these liberals’ concern is not to determine the meaning of the Constitution and rule accordingly, but rather to decide what ruling would have the “best effect,” what would allow the Court to right “societal wrongs.” They are less concerned with what the law is and more concerned about what it “should be.” This judicial liberalism is nothing less than despotism; it is a complete rejection of the rule of law and of the Constitution.

Article VI of the Constitution states, “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;…shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.”

It is the US Constitution which should determine the rulings of the Court, not judicial agendas. It is the Constitution that must bind the judges, and it is the Constitution which was created “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” When we veer from our constitutional heritage, we cannot expect to long survive as a nation. We will ultimately be doomed to lose our freedoms. Relying on foreign rulings, in itself, will not lead directly to loss of freedom, but the long line of constitutional disregard of which it is a part will. "To keep in all things within the pale of our constitutional powers... is one of the landmarks by which we are to guide ourselves in all our proceedings." Otherwise, we cannot be partakers of the freedom it guarantees.

If you take anything from my words, take this. Our constitutional rights and liberties must be continually vigilantly guarded; we must adhere to the rule of law. When we allow the government to grow past its constitutional bounds, when we disregard the letter and spirit of the law as “outdated” in pursuit of temporal whims, when we engage in constitutional apostasy, that is when our freedom dies and our nation perishes.

So when we see our leaders violating our founding document, let us echo the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

In Defense of the Constitution,
Daryl Luna

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Words of Wisdom for Tax Day

Taxes may be levied for public necessity, but beyond this “to impose them upon the common folk without cause is tyrannical extortion.”
-John Calvin

"To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
-Thomas Jefferson

"To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.'For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union." -Thomas Jefferson

"What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue."
-Thomas Paine

"If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute."
-Thomas Paine

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stephen Colbert, Bart Ehrman, and the Empty Tomb

Dr. Russell Moore points out:

"I never thought I’d say “Amen” to television satirist Stephen Colbert, but Colbert’s asking Bart Ehrman, “Oh, so you know the early Jews better than the early Jews?” is just classic. It’s a question that should be asked to more people, and more often. Colbert is here for a moment. So is Ehrman. So are we. But Jesus is risen, and he is everything."

Stephen Colbert, Bart Ehrman, and the Empty Tomb

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Those Gay Republicans and Their Dishonest Friends

For some time I have been troubled with the homosexual reaction to Republicans and conservatives. I have often heard homosexuals rail on the Republican Party as being a party of bigotry and intolerance. While I am not denying that these aspects exist within the party, I do contend that these issues are lacking in the thought of true conservatives. What you may find is a number of men and women who do not agree with homosexuality. You will also find those who believe that though homosexuals deserve the same constitutional rights as heterosexuals, they believe marriage is a deeply religious covenant in which the government has no place (People like Ron Paul and myself). These conservatives believe that the government should not be in the business of marrying people—hetero or homosexual. This is the business of the church. Still another aspect of this is the issue of federalism. If a State does decide to define marriage, whether or not one believes it should, it does have authority to do so under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. However, remember though something may be permitted, it may not always be beneficial.

Vermont is a perfect example of federalism in the issue. Its people, through the state legislature, have chosen to allow homosexual marriage. Though I disagree in substance, I respect the right of Vermont’s people to decide for themselves on the issue. I also support the right of the people to voice disapproval by booting out the current supporters of the measure and to overturn the legislation. As for me and my state, we can decide for ourselves. We did through a state constitutional amendment.

What I cannot stand is for homosexuals to act as if they would be more open to the GOP if only they wouldn’t be such “bigots” on the gay marriage issue. This is a flat out lie. Most of the homosexuals I know are not only socially but economic liberal on the issues. If the Republicans had the same position as the Democrats (like was the case in the last presidential election), they would still vote Democrats (like they did) because they are liberals. Stop trying to hold to a false high ground, acting as if not for the marriage issue, you would be some type of conservative or libertarian. No you would not! If you were a conservative, you would realize that the issue of marriage is not an issue of the government. And if it is, is sure doesn’t belong to the federal government.

Now I am not speaking of all homosexuals. There are a number of gay Republicans. What prompted this blog was an article found here, which is about a new group defecting from the famous gay GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans. The new group, GOPROUD, is forming because the LCGOP has been drifting farther and farther to the left. What I most enjoyed about the article was the last comment by a conservative gay man who notes:

"‘If your main issue is hate crimes or [federal anti-discrimination legislation] or marriage, you're probably not a Republican,’ Barron said, saying that while he backs gay groups on those other issues, they shouldn't be federal priorities.”
Here is the point. Most of these gay activists don’t understand federalism, the very tool that is working to get gay marriage approval, because rather than supporting nation GOP candidates who have their true best interests in mind, they allow state level issues to dictate federal action.

*******As a point of clarification, I am not in any way supporting homosexuality. I believe that homosexuality is a sin, and not a worse sin than others. Like all sins it should be repented of not celebrated. I myself am sinful, and without the grace of Jesus Christ, I would be completely lost. Saying that, like all classic evangelicals I believe in freedom of conscience. We cannot merely change the culture through politics. We must change the culture by the preaching of the Word. Only then will the culture change the political world.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Congressional Action on AIG: The Unconstitutional Gift that Keeps on Taking

Below is my latest article for the Sewanee Purple. I know the subject matter is a few weeks dated; spring break messed up the timing. Still the message is a good one--we must obey our Constitution. As always my arguement is limited by page length.


During spring break while a number of Sewanee students were having that fun thing I hear so much about, I was engaging in my usual activity—watching and lamenting as Congress continued to destroy our Constitution.

One of the major events that warrants discussion involves 165 million dollars in bonuses given out by insurance giant AIG to a number of its executives. This was of course seen as appalling by conservative and liberal alike as AIG had just received $85 billion in September as part of the massive unconstitutional government bailout scheme. Liberals (Republican and Democrat alike) held that the company was “too big to fail”—a claim many in the government are now seeing as false—while conservatives held that the action was unconstitutional and should not be carried out in a free society. However, the government had its way, and AIG got its money. What I find surprising is not that AIG misused the funds given to them in the form of bonuses. What I find surprising is that people are surprised.

The problems at AIG came about because of the “sub-prime” mortgage debacle encouraged by our own government who strong-armed banks into lending to risky candidates, who were unlikely to be able to pay back their loans. The banks then decided to take a number of these risky loans, bundle them together as an investment, and sell them to larger institutions—an act know as “the securitization of mortgages.” AIG’s “brilliant” plan was to take advantage of the times and insure these risky “investments.” Of course, when the jig was up, AIG was left in financial shambles and the American taxpayer was left with the bill. Our Constitution was violated in order to give money to those at AIG who brought the problem upon themselves.

Of course, I was opposed to the bailout, not only because it was unconstitutional, but because it would not solve the problem. And I was not surprised when the scandal occurred. I knew AIG was not “too big to fail,” and I knew the government was unauthorized and too incompetent to act. So I saw through the hypocrisy as people who supported the bailout were upset when money was given to executives who were responsible for the company's failures. This sounded a lot like the bailout to me, which was nothing more than misused money (unconstitutional appropriation) being misused by the great misuser (the Federal Government). When the bonuses were exposed and Congress was doing everything it could to appear tough on the problem they created, that is when I became worried. I heard on March 17 that legislation was being proposed that would target the executives receiving the bonuses. Immediately I saw this as a violation of the Constitution’s protection against “bills of attainder.” The next day I learned that these bonuses were contractually protected and approved in the bailout plan itself, though Congress still sought a violation of the Constitution’s “right of contract.” Surely, there was something to be said of this overt constitutional violation by our very Congress. It was not until the 19th that I began to hear the issue getting its proper due—sadly to the diversion of attention away from the FED’s injecting $1 trillion of unbacked, unaccounted for, and unconstitutional money into the monetary system, further weakening the dying dollar. What I heard in the debate was what was truly shocking.

I feel that I must first state that I am in no way defending AIG. They should never have received taxpayer money, and they should not have been giving huge bonuses considering the circumstances, but we cannot resort to unconstitutional measures to solve the problems we created. Two wrongs never make a right.

During the debate, I saw the very elected officials who swear to “protect and defend the Constitution” calling for a bill of attainder to pass and a private, constitutionally-protected contract to be violated by the federal government. The most shocking sight was to see a Democratic congresswoman acknowledge that the action was unconstitutional but claiming it must still be done because the “people” wanted it. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not rule of law; that is anarchy, it is mob rule, and it is not liberal republicanism. I saw outcry by the very ones who allowed the problem to happen, calling for direct constitutional violating with no qualms. I saw mob rule in action, and sadly I could not see my country anywhere in the majority of voices echoing among the tyranny.

So what must be done over this insignificant sum of money ($165 million out of $85 billion) which has caused so much uproar? Well…the solution is what has already been going on with societal outrage, letting AIG see the negative market influence. Because of this much of the money has already been returned without the unconstitutional help of Congress. Public outcry does not have to equal mob rule that triumphs over rule of law. We can act within our system to affect change. There is no need for our elected officials to act as outlaws. More government action is not the answer. That is the very action that has caused and exacerbated the problem. What is needed is for the public to be alert and for our Constitution to be followed and defended.

In Defense of the Constitution,

Daryl Luna

Saturday, April 4, 2009

As We Celebrate Christ's Life, Death, and Resurrection...

As we approach Easter and celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ for the saving of undeserving sinners for His own glory, I have been greatly encourage by blog posts at www.challies.com. Everyday he has posted reflections from The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy on the Gospel Passion account. I would like to encourage all to catchup and continue to follow the posts.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vaclav Havel on Politics and Change

Now that I have finished comprehensive exams, I hope to be able to blog a few times a week. Of course, the next few weeks will be some of the most intense of my college career. Though afterwords, I will have plenty of time to blog. For now I leave you with former Czech President Vaclav Havel, a man who is as interesting as his words are poignant.

Genuine politics — politics worthy of the name, and the only politics I am willing to devote myself to — is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community, and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility, expressed through action, to and for the whole, a responsibility that is what it is — a “higher” responsibility — only because it has a metaphysical grounding: that is, it grows out of a conscious or subconscious certainty that our death ends nothing, because everything is forever being recorded and evaluated somewhere else, somewhere “above us,” in what I have called “the memory of Being” — an integral aspect of the secret order of all the cosmos, of nature, and of life, which believers call God and to whose judgment everything is subject. Genuine conscience and genuine responsibility are always, in the end, explicable only as an expression of the silent assumption that we are observed “from above,’ that everything is visible, nothing is forgotten, and so earthly time has no power to wipe away the sharp disappointments of earthly failure: our spirit knows that it is not the only entity aware of these failures.

How do we get our society to this from the horrible state it is in? Havel answers:

As in everything else, I must start with myself. That is: in all circumstances try to be decent, just, tolerant, and understanding, and at the same time try to resist corruption and deception... In other words, if there is to be any chance at all of success, there is only one way to strive for decency, reason, responsibility, sincerity, civility, and tolerance, and that is decently, reasonably, responsibly, sincerely, civilly, and tolerantly... I see the only way forward in that old, familiar injunction: "live in truth."