Jul 28 2010

Justice is blinded by politics

Category: government,illegal alien,justice,legislationharmonicminer @ 4:08 pm

Here is the introduction to Andy McCarthy’s comments on today’s Arizona Immigration Decision

On a quick read, the federal court’s issuance of a temporary injunction against enforcement of the major provisions of the Arizona immigration law appears specious.

In essence, Judge Susan Bolton bought the Justice Department’s preemption argument — i.e., the claim that the federal government has broad and exclusive authority to regulate immigration, and therefore that any state measure that is inconsistent with federal law is invalid. The Arizona law is completely consistent with federal law. The judge, however, twisted <the>  concept of federal law into federal enforcement practices (or, as it happens, lack thereof). In effect, the court is saying that if the feds refuse to enforce the law the states can’t do it either because doing so would transgress the federal policy of non-enforcement … which is nuts.

There is much more at the link above, including references to other federal court precedents that the judge seems to have decided to ignore… presumably because they would not have led to the decision she appears to want. (She is a Clinton appointee, and presumably leans left, as essentially all of his appointees did.)

There are other federal laws, laws the enforcement of which requires local law enforcement to be directly involved, and even take initiative, on matters ranging from kidnapping to terrorism to the Mann Act to drugs, literally thousands of laws.

There is no precedent for the federal government to sue to stop a state from enforcing federal law in a constitutional way.  Imagine if local peace officers were not allowed to notice if someone was selling illegal drugs (mostly federal laws), or to stop a kidnapping, or arrest someone carrying a grenade launcher (not illegal according to some state laws, but banned federally for most civilians).  Imagine if local peace officers were not allowed to notice someone carrying a sign advocating the assassination of Obama, or the bombing of a federal facility?

That is the ridiculous position we’d find ourselves in, if the notion that local peace officers can’t enforce federal law ever became consistently applied, and that’s why the judge’s decision is ridiculous.

This was a PURELY political lawsuit, brought by a president who wants to buy off the Hispanic vote in 2012, even at the cost of the congress in the 2010 midterms, a president who cynically believes that Hispanic voters are in favor of illegal aliens in large numbers.

I hope he is wrong in ascribing such motives to legal Hispanic voters.  If he is right, it will be interesting to see exactly how much other American citizens care about this.  How many who usually don’t vote can be energized to get to the polls to avoid amnesty (official or unofficial) for illegals?

Not enough, I fear.

Jul 28 2010

Experience Trumps Brilliance

Category: capitalism,economy,leftamuzikman @ 8:55 am

In case you have not yet read this or if you have been living in a bunker and do not know the name Dr. Thomas Sowell … here is his latest, and quite brilliant commentary.  It should be required reading.

Many of the wonderful-sounding ideas that have been tried as government policies have failed disastrously. Because so few people bother to study history, often the same ideas and policies have been tried again, either in another country or in the same country at a later time – and with the same disastrous results.

One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and farsighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so that there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course. It sounds so logical and plausible that demanding hard evidence would seem almost like nitpicking.

In one form or another, this idea goes back at least as far as the French Revolution in the 18th century. As J.A. Schumpeter later wrote of that era, “general well-being ought to have been the consequence,” but “instead we find misery, shame and, at the end of it all, a stream of blood.”

The same could be said of the Bolshevik Revolution and other revolutions of the 20th century.

The idea that the wise and knowledgeable few need to take control of the less wise and less knowledgeable many has taken milder forms – and repeatedly with bad results as well.

One of the most easily documented examples has been economic central planning, which was tried in countries around the world at various times during the 20th century, among people of differing races and cultures, and under government ranging from democracies to dictatorships.

The people who ran central planning agencies usually had more advanced education than the population at large, and probably higher IQs as well.

The central planners also had far more statistics and other facts at their disposal than the average person had. Moreover, there were usually specialized experts such as economists and statisticians on the staffs of the central planners, and outside consultants were available when needed. Finally, the central planners had the power of government behind them, to enforce the plans they created.

It is hardly surprising that conservatives, such as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Britain and President Ronald Reagan in the United States, opposed this approach. What is remarkable is that, after a few decades of experience with central planning in some countries, or a few generations in others, even communists and socialists began to repudiate this approach.

As they replaced central planning with more reliance on markets, their countries’ economic growth rate almost invariably increased, often dramatically. In the largest and most recent examples – China and India – people by the millions have risen above these countries’ official poverty rates, after they freed their economies from many of their suffocating government controls.

China, where famines have repeatedly ravaged the country, now has a problem of obesity – not a good thing in itself, but a big improvement over famines.

This has implications far beyond economics. Think about it: How was it even possible that transferring decisions from elites with more education, intellect, data and power to ordinary people could lead consistently to demonstrably better results?

One implication is that no one is smart enough to carry out social engineering, whether in the economy or in other areas where the results may not always be so easily quantifiable. We learn not from our initial brilliance, but from trial-and-error adjustments to events as they unfold.

Science tells us that the human brain reaches its maximum potential in early adulthood. Why, then, are young adults so seldom capable of doing what people with more years of experience can do?

Because experience trumps brilliance.

Elites may have more brilliance, but those who make decisions for society as a whole cannot possibly have as much experience as the millions of people whose decisions they pre-empt. The education and intellects of the elites may lead them to have more sweeping presumptions, but that just makes them more dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole.