Monday, February 06, 2017

The real problem with the administrative state.

Steven Hayward hits the nail on the head:

The political character of the administrative state is more important than the economic inefficiency or arbitrariness of bureaucracy that is the usual target of conservative ire, because it represents a new answer to the classic political question: Who should rule? The premise of the Constitution is that the people should rule. The premise of the administrative state, explicitly expressed by Woodrow Wilson and other Progressive-era theorists, is that experts should rule, in a new administrative form largely sealed off from political influence, i.e., sealed off from the people. At some point, it amounts to government without the consent of the governed, a simple fact that surprisingly few conservative politicians perceive.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Look at me

Look at me. Can you see me?
The real me.
I trade my honor 
for nothing that means.

I say I'm free
but I enslave me.
See that bird she's free.
I want to be like her. 

See my soul through all the dust?
See how I treat myself?
How can you believe in me.
I'm not even free.

I want to to be free.
I want to be free from me.
For to save my life
I must give it up.

And be free.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Is my love true? 
They're not the same, you know.
Love stands on truth's shoulders
And truth without love is dead.

So do I have something to say?
Something i want to say to you?
Because without truth my love doesn't reach.
And right now this is killing you.

Is your truth love?
One's not the other,  you know.
Without love truth is buried and dead.
And without truth love's a song in your head

So do you have something to say?
Something you want to say to me?
Because without love your truth is dead.
And right now it's killing me.

So if there's anything left of us.
Some small measure of truth,
a tiny trace of love.
Could we try again?

Sunday, January 29, 2017


I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

My heart can stop but once,  my soul can fly away.
But being without You is to die every day.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.

I've clung to cliffs and fled gunfire,  choked till I turned blue.
But I've never hurt so much as when I was without You.

I've slammed bloody onto reefs, feared sharks would eat me through.
But I've never been so frightened  as when I didn't have you.

I've wavered with my handgun, pointing it straight at my face.
Because I've never been so hopeless as when without your grace.

So my Love whatever You do don't leave me here.
Because it's losing You  and being alone I fear.

Cause I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


From time to time I get my breakfast at McDonalds.  I am particularly partial to McGriddles - that classically American concoction with the bun filled with faux maple syrup - I mean who comes up with this stuff? Almost every time I come in a small latina serves me. Her face and arms are horribly disfigured - I have this image of her as a child pulling a large vat of boiling water on top of herself. When I first started coming Marta - for that's her name - wouldn't look me in the eye no matter what I did - she'd look anywhere but at my face.

I first experienced this reluctance to look directly at me among the lepers that hung out around the marketplace in Jakarta when I was a boy: I guess they found that 'whole' people wouldn't look them in the eye or if they did, their 'look' would be filled with shock and horror. So the disfigured go through life avoiding visual connection with other people lest it once again remind them that to the world they are "hideous". Of course to them, they're not. Just as when I look in the mirror I don't think I'm old - but the disfigured have learned that looking 'wholes' in the eye is a painful experience best to be avoided. It must be a strange, lonely world  - so much of what is essential about us is communicated through our gaze. As Shakespeare wrote: "the eyes are the window to your soul"

Despite never looking directly at me, Marta came to recognize me - I suppose by my voice and my typically "just got out of bed" appearance. Early on I tried a number of different stratagems to 'trick' her into looking me in the eye, including introducing myself "hi, I'm Bill, what's  your name?" "Marta" she said, never raising her eyes above my chest. After a while I gave up - Marta had spent her whole life dealing with her appearance - who was I to try to manipulate her just to see if I could catch her eye? This went on for the longest time - we'd talk and joke (for I am terribly perky in the morning, it's quite a burden for others) and do all the other things that familiar strangers do in an open culture like Texas, but no eye contact.

Until one day when I was so preoccupied with my own problems that I didn't even really notice her serving me. When she asked me if I wanted my "re-goo-lar" as she puts it, I didn't even hear her. Then snapping back to the real world I looked over and there they were: her eyes - gazing steadily into mine. Her smiling eyes. I felt like I'd been given a great gift - a view into a soul more closely guarded than a fortress. And it was beautiful. Because she is beautiful - much more beautiful than I'll ever be.

We're friends now - and I'm eating a lot more McDonalds breakfasts than I probably should but I can't resist those eyes. Marta's smiling eyes.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Man on a Horse, Poor Folks and Morale

1.IMHO Richard Rorty made good predictions for the wrong reasons. If I understand the review's synopsis Rorty predicted that the poor and working classes would become alienated from a Republic run by elites for economic reasons - Nafta, the decline of unions, etc. First of all only the white working class became disaffected. Other identity groups stuck with the 'ruling class'. Second of all, while there was economic suffering, the drivers of the 'revolt' were more cultural. New gender norms, environmental purity standards and a general elite denigration of whites as well as the working class persuaded them that they were its victims.

2. Rorty predicts a strong man or "The Man on the Horse" will lead these disaffected to overthrow the constitutional order. But the last time a strong man overthrew the legitimate constitutional order in an Anglo Saxon country (UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) was in 1066 when Duke William of Normandy beat King Harold at Hastings. Our culture doesn't do dictatorships and there's no indication that it's going to happen now. We're just seeing human nature play out. It's a bit like say a man...yeah...a man who when his affections are rejected by a woman walks off muttering darkly "she'll be sorry she blew me off" fantasizing about dread scenarios to make himself feel better.  Eventually the loser, I mean losers will get over themselves.

3. The US Does have a strong history and tradition of successfully defying attempts to impose tyrannical rule by King George (13 original states) and by Santa Ana (Texas and California). Indeed when Santa Ana demanded that the Texas National Guard give back their cannon (preparatory to his invasion to subjugate texas) this was the first revolutionary flag of the Republic of Texas - we've always been gun nuts. And people in places like TX are far better armed today as well has having the loyalties of a significant share of the military's experienced combat arms.

4. Rorty is partially right about poverty. But there are two approaches in the US towards poverty: the California High-Low Materialist approach and the Texas favor the working classes Morale approach. They differ as to what they think the poor's primary problem is. I'd be happy to bore you about it if you like.

Thanks for sending me the piece, it was interesting.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The light in your eyes

You called and we talked the other day,
it seemed we had so much to say.
But the depth of your heart dwarfed my puny thoughts
and I'm not sure I can live up to your ways.

You're as deep as a diamond and as bright as the sun.
As strong as the mountains, as sweet as true love.
When I'm talking to you I forget where I am because
I get lost chasing the light in your eyes.

You love playing music and taught it to me
but my pla-pla-playing marred your beauty.
But the strength of your soul swamped my puny notes
and I'm not sure I can live up to your ways.

You're as deep as a diamond and as bright as the sun.
As strong as the mountains, as sweet as true love.
When I play with you I forget where I am because
I get lost chasing my dream of your eyes.

You're coming to see me and I'm a little scared
in a way that about women I never have cared.
I don't know why I feel so unsettled except
I'm not sure I can't live up to your ways.

You're as deep as a diamond and as bright as the sun.
As strong as the mountains, as sweet as true love.
When you come to see me I don't know what I'll do.
Except get lost in your eyes, your deep, diamond eyes