— Phlegmaticus (@Phlegmaticus) March 29, 2020
Category Archives: law
As often he does:
A public crisis like the current panic over the virus is where we see how people operate under pressure. More than a few people, who we thought to be steely-eyed cynics, have been revealed to be hysterical ninnies. Nassim Taleb, who really likes to tell everyone he is a man’s man, has gone so far as to post a one page paper explaining how best to throw your dress over your head and run around shrieking like a girl. He brings to mind this classic scene from the movie Airplane!
This graph gets to something else that has been revealed during this crisis. Those inclined to left-wing politics are more easily frightened than those attracted to more sober minded approaches to public policy. It is something to keep in mind when looking at how our guys have reacted to this crisis. For example, many of the old alt-right people now sound like one of the girls from the Huffington Post. It is a good reminder that there is a left-right axis within dissident politics.
Another thing the pressure of the moment has revealed, something I touch on in the show, is that many of our guys are wholly ignorant of economics. Given that the rejection of the neoliberal economic order is one commonality on this side of the great divide, it is a bit surprising that many of our guys do not have the first clue about how the system actually works. More than a few of our guys have taken to sounding like one of the girls from the Democratic Socialist camp.
The current madness may give us a glimpse of how an actual collapse of civilization would unfold. We have both the threat of the super-virus, real or imaginary, and the threat to the cult of consumerism. The reality of the virus in this case is unimportant, because it is assumed to be real. The same is true of the financial markets. We may not be in an historical collapse, but it is assumed to be a real threat. In effect, this is a live action stress test of the system and the people in charge of it.
The first thing we can observe is the great lock-down started when the nation’s circus performers, went into hiding before anyone. The sports leagues and public entertainment operations were the first to respond. One would think that having them continue the show would make sense, in order to keep spirits up during the lock-down, but that was not the case. In fact, the big streaming services downgraded their service quality at the start of the lock down.
Now, you can make of that all sorts of things, depending upon your temperament, but the one important take-away is that the people in charge are not all that concerned about people getting restless in the lock-down. Despite what we are told, they are not terribly concerned with the circus half of Juvenal’s famous line. They could be mistaken about that, especially as this thing drags on, but for now people seem to be getting along just fine with reduced entertainments in the lock-down.
Of course, the lock-down itself is important. The controlling ethos of the ruling class is unfettered movement, yet in a crisis, their first instinct is to halt all movement. The people who just a few weeks ago were singing the glories of the free flow of people and goods are now threatening to weld our doors shut. When the real end times are upon us, the first clue will be a mandatory lock-down of the population with cops in the streets and a 24-hour curfew, except for approved personnel.
Another thing we can observe in the present situation is how the authorities have started to abandon certain duties. For example, cities have started to throw open their prisons, letting the inmates run free. The argument is they could get the virus if locked up in close quarters. That means the people in charge would rather see them raping and murdering in your neighborhood than possible getting the virus and passing it to one of the bureaucrats operating the jails.
We are also seeing the cops abandon their duties. In Cincinnati, the cops are no longer responding in-person to 911 calls. The stated reason is “to reduce unnecessary contact between officers and the public to reduce the spread of COVID-19.” Presumably, if you call while being murdered, they will come out to identify your body, but if you call while it is just at the home invasion stage, too bad for you. If you want to get a glimpse of what the breakdown of society will be like, think about this.
Some people in dissident circles like to mock the paleocons, but the one thing the paleos got right before everyone else is anarcho-tyranny. Not only do we see this in our daily life in normal times, but it is in bold relief in this crisis. The first instinct of the people in charge is to “tyrannically or oppressively regulate citizens’ lives yet is unable to enforce fundamental protective law.” This is a crucial insight into the managerial system, but also how that system meets its demise.
That’s probably the way in which the great longed for collapse transpires. It will not be a great sudden end that results in chaos. It will not be a supernatural end that suddenly flings us into a post-apocalyptic world. Instead, it will be the slow withdraw of authority, along with the growth of a banal sort of tyranny. It is more cops hassling innocent people for no reason and fewer cops chasing actual bad guys. In time, new social systems evolve to fill in those gaps and provide local order.
The model to keep in mind is probably something like post-Rome Spain. Once the Roman authority collapsed, various barbarian rulers tried to fill the void, with varying degrees of failure. Eventually, local authority filled the gaps, providing order and protection for the people. In time, the Roman villa system became what we think of as feudalism throughout Europe. As the American empire fades, a similar sort of process will evolve. The end will be a whimper, rather than a bang.
I don’t know if they do civil weddings before a magistrate in the United Kingdom; I presume so; if so, this is where churches need to step up, marry congregants in church ceremonies, then let the married couples register at a magistrate later on.
Or if such aren’t recognized but foreign-conducted civil marriages are, then churches should marry their people then they can go abroad to register them.
Or something. There’s gotta be a work-around. This is monstrous, and ludicrous.
In a time of national, crisis it is right to put partisanship aside.
What is not right is to set aside 800 years of struggle that took power from the rulers and gave it to the people.
Yet with his emergency legislation to respond to the coronavirus, that is what Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government will ask MPs to do.
As first reported by Global News, the emergency bill being voted on Tuesday isn’t just about spending a specific amount of money to fund the fight against COVID-19, it actually gives the power to spend any amount needed and to change tax rates up or down without asking Parliament for approval.
It gives that power to the finance minister for almost two years, until December 2021, before opposition MPs in a minority Parliament get a chance to vote again on government spending or taxation measures.
Every opposition MP in the House of Commons on Tuesday must say no to this.
This isn’t a call for the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois and NDP to be obstructionist and stop the government from properly funding Health Canada, approving stimulus measures or other government proposals to do what is needed to fight the virus.
Of course, the government must be properly funded at this time but that requires the consent of Parliament which in a representative democracy, means the consent of the people.
The Canadian constitution clearly states that spending and taxation requires the House of Commons to approve it.
“Bills for appropriating any Part of the Public Revenue, or for imposing any Tax or Impost, shall originate in the House of Commons,” Section 53 of the constitution reads.
Giving this much power, as described in this bill, not only rips the constitution to shreds, it rips the Magna Carta and more than 800 years of struggle to ensure the people being taxed had a say in how they were taxed.
In 1215, King John was forced to agree to a new set of rules that included the idea that the people could not be taxed without their consent.
“No scutage nor aid shall be imposed on our kingdom, unless by common counsel of our kingdom,” reads the Magna Carta.
Now Justin Trudeau wants more power than the King of England had in 1215.
It took us many more years, centuries even, to get to the point where the common man had his say, nevermind the common woman. We shouldn’t rip that up in haste for any reason.
The Trudeau Liberals have already been told they need to change this legislation and they must. Let’s hope that they are not foolish enough to ask Parliament to neuter itself and allow Bill Morneau unfettered control of this country until December 2021.
If they are that foolish and the bill, as presented to opposition MPs on Sunday night, is the one tabled in the House on Tuesday, then it must be amended or rejected but it cannot pass.
Simply in order to table the bill and proceed, the Liberals need unanimous support in the House and surely they cannot get that.
I implore all MPs with this simple message: Fund the government to fight the virus but please don’t shred the constitution along the way.
Alas, there is a wrinkle:
Global News has also learned that discussions are underway with the House leaders from each party to reconvene the House with the minimum number of MPs — preferably only those within driving distance of Ottawa.
There is an acknowledgement that each party will try to keep its MPs from flying.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet tweeted Saturday that he will be there.
Under House of Commons procedure rules, there must be a minimum of 20 MPs in the House for business to proceed.
Now, the Liberals have a fairly stable minority government, because they are mostly supported by the NDP and partly by the Bloc.
Most of the Tories are in western Canada, far from driving distance easily of Ottawa.
That means that Trudeau may very well get his unanimous support to pass this wretched bill, easily; alas…