Monday, September 17, 2012

Eric W. Dolan — Former Justice Souter: ‘Pervasive civic ignorance’ in U.S. could bring dictatorship


Former Justice Souter: ‘Pervasive civic ignorance’ in U.S. could bring dictatorship (via Raw Story )
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter thinks the decline of civic education is putting the United States in danger. During a question and answer session last week at University of New Hampshire School of Law, Souter described “pervasive civic ignorance” as one of the biggest problems…



31 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

I saw Souter's talk last Friday (from which that video was taken) with a packed house at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH. He's definitely one of the good guys.

Roger Erickson said...

“Beware the [banker] who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”
― Julius Caesar
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/97728.Julius_Caesar

Matthew Franko said...

Augustus himself seems to refute Souter's view of history:

"5. When the dictatorship was offered to me, both in my presence and my absence, by the people and senate, when Marcus Marcellus and Lucius Arruntius were consuls (22 B.C.E.), I did not accept it. I did not evade the curatorship of grain in the height of the food shortage, which I so arranged that within a few days I freed the entire city from the present fear and danger by my own expense and administration. When the annual and perpetual consulate was then again offered to me, I did not accept it. "

Sounds like George Washington after the revolution....

http://classics.mit.edu/Augustus/deeds.html


Dan Kervick said...

Matt, what in the world are you talking about? Are you unaware that Caeser Augustus was an Emperor, who "inherited" the empire from his father, who had overthrown the Roman Republic? Your willingness to swallow Augustus ridiculous self-serving nonsense is disturbing.

Are you willing to hand over the United States to a dictator if he promises to be a 'non-moron' and slap his face on some coins to impress you?

Tom Hickey said...

Sounds like George Washington after the revolution....

Maybe then in 22, but not in 27.

In 27 BC, following his [Octavian] defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, the Roman Senate voted him new titles, officially becoming Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus.
Wikipedia/Augustus

Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus means Emperor Caesar Augustus, Son of the Divine. Augustus signifies august, majestic, venerable.

Dan Kervick said...

They even named a whole month after him.

Ryan Harris said...

A hundred senators and 435 representatives are supposed to devise a system that fully optimizes outcomes in science, law, foreign policy, tax, economics, transportation, trade, finance & Banking, health care, immigration, energy... etc.
There are too few leaders to ever examine the issues in enough detail to create any well designed system -- or to revisit the systems frequently enough to keep them working. It gets worse every year as the population grows along with ever more available information and increasing complexity of problems.

Matthew Franko said...

Dan how does the EVIDENCE here in this record read unlike the constitutional arrangements we have in the US today?

They had a Senate (legislative), they had tribunals (form of judiciary) and a Chief Executive and CINC of the military in Caesar???

The executive is always the object of focus just like US Presidents always have overzealous supporters???

Where is the EVIDENCE of dictatorship???? He plain as day here says he refused such a position...

What is different is that it reads like Caesar held the "purse strings" and the Senate had to obtain NFAs for public purpose from Caesar... which is opposite of what we do today...

Your all's Libertarianism is what at core is destroying our Country right now if anything is... look at Roger's post above, we have both candidiate's competing for the position of who can be seen as the bigger surrenderer of govt authority, high crimes going unprosecuted, undeclared wars, killing of citizens, etc ...... THAT'S disturbing.

rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

See Constitution of the Roman Empire

Theoretically, sovereignty (authority) lay with the Roman people (citizens). In practice, however, rule was through the Senate during the Republic. The senators came from the elite class.

Again theoretically, during the Empire the emperor ruled in conjunction with the senate and subordinate councils, who were ultimately responsible to the people, But in practice, the emperor called all the shots. It was in effect a "constitutional" dictatorship, sort of the
Democratic Republic of North Korea today. From the Democratic Republic of North Korea web site:

The socialist system of the Republic is a people-centred social system in which the masses of the working people are the masters of everything and everything in society serves them. In accordance with the nature of its socialist system, the Government of the Republic defends and protects the interests of workers, peasants and intellectuals and all other working people who have become masters of state and society, free from exploitation and oppression.

The Roman Constitution was unwritten and consisted of custom and tradition.

Matthew Franko said...

Dan here is Paul to the ROMANS:

13:1 Let every soul be subject to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except under God. Now those which are, have been set under God,
2 so that he who is resisting an authority has withstood God's mandate. Now those who have withstood, will be getting judgment for themselves,
3 for magistrates are not a fear to the good act, but to the evil. Now you do not want to be fearing the authority. Do good, and you will be having applause from it.
4 For it is God's servant for your good. Now if you should be doing evil, fear, for not feignedly is it wearing the sword. For it is God's servant, an avenger for indignation to him who is committing evil.
5 Wherefore it is necessary to be subject, not only because of indignation, but also because of conscience.
6 For therefore you are settling taxes also, for they are God's ministers, perpetuated for this self-same thing.
7 Render to all their dues, to whom tax, tax, to whom tribute, tribute, to whom fear, fear, to whom honor, honor.
8 To no one owe anything, except to be loving one another, for he who is loving another has fulfilled law.
9 For this: "You shall not commit adultery," "you shall not murder," "you shall not steal," "you shall not testify falsely," "you shall not covet," and if there is any other precept, it is summed up in this saying, in this: "You shall love your associate as yourself."
10 Love is not working evil to an associate. The complement, then, of law, is love."

That's how AUTHORITY is ideally supposed to work. ...and btw NO MENTION of "liberty" anywhere in here...

dont be too hard on old Augustus, he didnt have access to any of this... he was long dead before this truth was revealed to the nations and only had his conscience to work with, looks like he did as best he could with the nothing that he was given.
rsp

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, apparently the signers of the Declaration of Independence didn't get that message in time to abort their plan to rise up against the Crown. :o

Dan Kervick said...

Matt, after Augustus's father Julius, the self-appointed dictator, was assassinated by member of the Senate, Augustus spent the rest of his life defeating all of his rivals for power and former enemies, and then consolidating supreme power in Rome, achieving personal domination of the armed forces, forming the Praetorian Guard, being named gradually Imperator, tribune for life and Pontifex Maximus. He never left power. This was the beginning of the Roman imperial system.

Augustus was a very shrewd and capable man and reformer. This is precisely the kind of surrender of republican authority to a capable single ruler that Souter is warning about.

Dan Kervick said...

Matt, if you're telling me that the bible commands authoritarian and undemocratic government, then I'll just have to say screw the bible.

Tom Hickey said...

There have been no empires without a top dog. That's what W's "unitary executive" was all about, and Obama bought into it. We are already there but in name, unless SCOTUS scuttles it. We'll probably get to see before long, since the "indefinite detention" and assassination of US citizens without actual due process is likely to make their way up the judicial ladder.

Matt Franko said...

Tom, looks like the Crown didnt get the memo either (metal lovers)...

RSP,

Matt Franko said...

Dan, how can you have civil government without authority? You can't...

That is what these morons in govt are trying to do as we speak IMO... 'we're out of money' is a complete surrender of authority... just as bad as 'metal love'...

Rsp

Dan Kervick said...

Democratic governments exercise authority under a social contract of of shared participation in the obligations of governance and equality under the law. You don't need an Emperor or King or Tribune for Life or "Pontifex Maximus" or any of those things.

And by the way, I refuse henceforward to use the word "moron", as has become popular on this site. Even in jest, it is an arrogant, dogmatic, tribal and anti-intellectual term the use of which undermines the spirit of rational inquiry.

Matt Franko said...

Dan,

What about 'stupid'? Or 'dumb' ?

Those in the debt doomsday crowd have to either be 'stupid/dumb' or if not then they are liars.

I support the POV of the former, almost all others seem to have the POV of the latter.

I do not believe they are lying. At least 99.9999 % of them.

I may label them 'morons'/stupid, but at least I've never accused them of being liars (which I think is WORSE, and more arrogant).

Looks like I am in the extreme minority, but I still believe that I am right....

"Stupid and blind!" Mat 23:17

RSP,

Dan Kervick said...

I've said enough. I'm just not going to participate in that kind of discourse.

Weka said...

Your willingness to swallow Augustus ridiculous self-serving nonsense is disturbing.

then I'll just have to say screw the bible.

....anti-intellectual ......

Internal consistency, the most difficult of challenges :P.

Matt Franko said...

10-4 Dan... rsp

Matthew Franko said...

I'll re-write the headline from Souter then, perhaps should be:

"Former Justice Souter: ‘Pervasive civic incorrect free will choices’ in U.S. could bring dictatorship"

Chewitup said...

I'm not a big fan of "moron" either. Regular readers know it's Matt's go-to descriptor.

Note to anyone new- Matt calls everyone out of paradigm a moron.

Matthew Franko said...

Dan,

(hope you see this)

My points with this attention to Augustus here is not some sort of right wing admiration for dictatorship, far from it.

You hear the story of how people would say about the more recent Italian dictator Mousellini that "at least he got the trains to run on time" or whatever... this is not my point as far as looking at the historic record of ancient Greece and Rome wrt monetary authority and arrangements. Far from it.

My point is to show how these often deranged always brutal Godless pagans could sometimes get more out of just their raw human consciences operating thru their civil law than the nominal Christians and Hebrews that we put in positions of authority of civil govt today here in the west.

Paul here again, Romans 2: "14 For whenever they of the nations that have no law, by nature may be doing that which the law demands, these, having no law, are a law to themselves,
15 who are displaying the action of the law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying together and their reckonings between one another, accusing or defending them,..."

Even these pagans could get it right back then; sometimes. Even given nothing to work with.

What does this say about our leaders today? Who or what are these people? Who are always criticizing or denigrating our civil government and working to usurp the authority of our representative civil government... what else do we have to work with? Gold? Chaos?

This is a diabolical operation imo, these people are being made stupid (morons), ie 'they know not what they do', and are DIS-graced (ie not receiving unmerited favor).

I'm VERY sorry for them but this is not my operation and all I can do is observe this, and then seek to expose this both on spiritual and human cognitive levels. That's it.

They are not making free will choices to purposefully fraudulently lie about our govts fiscal authority imo, there is no evidence of that for 99.999% of them...

rsp,




paul said...

"I'm not a big fan of "moron""

It's succinct. What would you suggest?

Here's some options:

moron noun

fool, idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod; nitwit, halfwit, dope, ninny, nincompoop, chump, dimwit, dingbat, dipstick, goober, coot, goon, dumbo, dummy, ditz, dumdum, fathead, numbskull, numbnuts, dunderhead, thickhead, airhead, flake, lamebrain, zombie, nerd, peabrain, birdbrain, jughead, jerk, donkey, twit, goat, dork, twerp, schmuck, bozo, boob, turkey, schlep, chowderhead, dumbhead, goofball, goof, goofus, galoot, lummox, klutz, putz, schlemiel, sap, meatball, dumb cluck.

Tom Hickey said...

I do not believe they are lying. At least 99.9999 % of them.

I'd say the jury is still out on the ratio of ignorance and mendacity. There is also a middle that shouldn't be excluded, which Tom Paine described as "interested men." People have a tendency to convince themselves of all sorts of nonsense when it is in their interest to do so. The bible says of this, "they hardened their hearts."

Matthew Franko said...

Right Tom I would think that type of thing is involved too, ie 'corruption'....

I've just been looking at this too long to believe that we can just sit down and have a cup of coffee with these people and they will be able to see things our way. It doesnt work that way for me anyway and never has.

I have to agree with Souter here to the extent that there is a very focused ignorance at work that is/has been a HUGE problem for humanity. It's literally of Biblical proportions.

You tell these people things like "the dollar is not going down" and point out the data and they just dont see it and start to continue to spew falsehoods and advocate gold, etc...

It's just an amazing spectacle. this needs to be exposed and studied...

rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

Matt It's just an amazing spectacle. this needs to be exposed and studied...

It has been studied. The finding was that 1) the ill-informed are also so intellectually challenged that they cannot follow fact-based arguments contradicting their beliefs, and 2) well-educated and smart ideologues double down on their position when contradictory facts are presented to them.

Roger Erickson said...

@MattFranko
"how can you have civil government without authority? You can't."

OMG, Matt. You're being way too anthropomorphic. There's no surviving social species on earth that survives via Centralized Planning & Control. The Soviet's pretty much proved that CP can't scale fast enough to supply demanded agility.

Here's an extreme example, just to force you to think outside of your Biblical box. An amoeba is a culture, a bag of social-molecules. If you've ever seen movies of an amoeba under a microscope, you've seen that any tiny fraction of the molecular soup can assume "authority" and dictate subsequent movement of the entire "civic structure." One, minor pseudopod of molecules can cause the entire assembly - millions of molecules - to follow it through the eye of a needle no more than a hundred molecules wide.

That kind of on-demand, JIT/JAN group agility is what all human tribes emulated, with their multiple, temporary "Situation Chiefs," and what our DoD aspires to today.

Survival & success tracks the quality of distributed decision-making, NOT any temporarily accepted myth about central command and control.
http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2012/08/return-on-coordination.html

Anonymous said...

Francois Mitterand (president of France 1981-95 was supposedly a socialist. Yet he locked France into the Maastrict Treaty and the horrific Euro, which has effectively handed control of France to the banks and neutered all attempts at social progress in Europe. After a few months of his presidency Mitterand dropped all pretence of following socialist policies and instead adopted a right-of-centre approach.

It turns out Mitterand was actually a pathological and supremely gifted liar, who had started out as a far-right conservative catholic nationalist.

These people are liars with deep plans. Neo-feudalism is the aim.

Matt Franko said...

Roger,

'Authority' does not mean micro-management.

How is the Job Guarantee enforced for instance? If not via the authority of our laws...

WE make our own civil laws now, looks like via a more representative fashion than ancient Rome.... these laws would STILL be utterly meaningless without their inherent authority.

How could we even have a 'law of gravity' without authority?

RSP,