This is a short post about the Federalist Society (or rather, why I don’t agree with them) that I need to do so I can link to it when my very long post about abortion finally makes it onto the site. It was a part of that abortion post, but it took up too much space for what is really a side issue. As it’s so short, I’ll add a few tweets at the end to keep you entertained a bit longer!
The Federalist Society (full name: The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies) is a powerful legal society in the US made up of conservatives and libertarians. Their aim is to change the legal system in line with their interpretation of the meaning of the US constitution. They say they want to bring the law into line with the original meaning of the constitution. To them, that means getting rid of all laws that don’t directly relate to the constitution.
As far as I can tell, their positions, among other things, take little regard of the fact that society has changed since 1787. As such, there is a lot of cherry-picking. For example, while they oppose marriage equality because they say the Founders never envisaged such a situation, they don’t call for a return to slavery.
My opinions on the society were formed while watching a show on Fox News a few years ago presented by libertarian John Stossel.
John Stossel, Fox News
Stossel outlined how he thought the law should be stripped back to basics, in line with Federalist Society aims. His passion for the topic was obvious. I’d frequently seen Stossel discuss his libertarian views. He has a way of making simplistic arguments, supported by cherry-picked data, sound reasonable. I’m always horrified and worry that a lot of people may not be thinking about the consequences of what he’s saying.
For instance, he thinks there should be no laws around opening a new business. The example he was using when he spoke about the Federalist Society was the number of laws around opening up a food truck. He moaned that the US is becoming anti-capitalist because of all the regulations someone had to meet, just to open such a business. His opinion is that the law of supply and demand should govern whether or not a business survives. If a restaurant is good, people will eat there. If it is bad, people won’t and it will fail.
Why’s Stossel’s Argument is Stupid
I guess the people who get sick or die from food poisoning in the meantime are just collateral damage.
Besides, he’s wrong about how difficult it is to open a business in the US, at least by international standards. There is an international index about most things, and ease of doing business is one of them. The criteria for the international Ease of Doing Business index includes ease of opening a new business. Despite the whines of Stossel, the US is currently 8th in the world on that index. Interestingly, despite Trump’s claims on the subject, the US has been slipping in the rankings since Trump became president. However, it still places well within the “very easy” category, which currently includes 53 countries.
The “collateral damage” argument appears to be how the Federalist Society feels about the Second Amendment too. The looser a state’s gun laws, and therefore the closer its laws are to how the Federalist Society thinks they should be, the more people die in that state each year because of guns.
I can understand why people might lean to the left or right of centre when it comes to politics. Extremists on either side, as in religion, I always disagree with. Despite their animus to each other, they’re actually far closer to each other than they think. Both would try to control peoples’ lives in various ways.
In my opinion though, libertarians are just plain selfish. The lack of depth to their thinking mean they’re unable to understand that they’re actually worse off when the vulnerable in society aren’t given help via the taxes of the majority. The arrogance that they can make better decisions about what to do with the money they earn is wrong. No one has a broad enough understanding of all the issues to make such judgments. It’s one of the primary reasons we need governments.
Libertarians fail to understand that the more equal a society is in every way, the better off everyone is.
It’s exciting for the #kakapo team that Sinbad is a father, via artificial insemination. He’s one of just 3 adults with rare Fiordland genes, and, at 21 years old, had never bred before this year. #kakapo2019 #genetics #conservation #parrots pic.twitter.com/uP5tGgXRCP
— Dr Andrew Digby (@takapodigs) July 17, 2019
How cute is this panda???????? pic.twitter.com/D2DdgOWp3Y
— Nature is Amazing☘️ (@abeautynature) July 15, 2019
Jaguar Eating Underwater ???? pic.twitter.com/fVIHAn9Afu
— Physics & Astronomy Zone (@ZonePhysics) July 18, 2019
Kitten tries big game hunting… pic.twitter.com/OW6sV7jFls
— Awwwww (@AwwwwCats) July 17, 2019
Cardboard box + Roomba = Best cat toy ever pic.twitter.com/V5Oop6JVxV
— Awwwww (@AwwwwCats) July 17, 2019
Move over San Francisco and New Zealand — the steepest street in the world is actually in Wales pic.twitter.com/IhCcLaw847
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 18, 2019
Tweets About ANOTHER Trump Racist Rant
Trump says he doesn’t have, “a racist bone” in his body. I only know what I see. He displays the behaviour of a racist in multiple ways and has for decades. He is racist. End of.
I find this latest episode (the “send her back chant”) from the Trump rally so, so shocking. I saw a group of eight Republican women in Texas being interviewed on CNN yesterday. None of them thought Trump’s tweet was racist. Their opinion was he was trying to unite the country, and by saying his tweet was racist, it was these women that were the problem!
For those that haven’t heard about it, here’s Trump’s original tweet thread first:
….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
“SEND HER BACK, SEND HER BACK,” is ugly. It’s ignorant. It’s dangerous. And it’s un-American.
It’s flat out bigotry. And every Republican should condemn this bigotry immediately. Stop this now.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 18, 2019
Only one of the Members of Congress pictured below was born outside the United States.
It’s me, also the only one who was not the subject of a racist tweet by the President today. All of us — including those like @Ilhan and me born elsewhere — are proud Americans. pic.twitter.com/EOUCCj7Ldx
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 14, 2019
Trump and his based chanting tonight pissed me off
I want to say something but I dont know what
Its sickening to hear
I want to do something but being Canadian I cant
I hate trump
really I fucking hate him
Everyday I wake up hoping hes gone
He angers me
— ???? CANADIAN SNOWFLAKE (@CanResistance) July 18, 2019
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Regardless of the Federalist Society’s position on the subject, the difficulty in starting a business and maintaining it is a very real problem that is not so simply waived away. Sure, we need protection against food poisoning but do we also need hairdressers to have expensive licenses? You may remember that a decade ago it was imagined that online banking might put the monster banks out of business, or at least give them a run for their money. Instead, they’ve been strangled by regulation that is deliberately intended to make it difficult for them to compete. And Tesla is still struggling to sell their cars directly to consumers in some states simply because the car dealership lobby forces their pet lawmakers to erect barriers to anyone selling cars except on a car lot. These regulations often make it difficult for an entrepreneur to start a business. By the same token, they are the mechanism that allows huge corporations to maintain their monopolies. They probably also contribute to income inequality.
I wonder if the difficulty is the cost of those licensees rather than the fact that they exist? I agree that it’s bad that the big banks etc are able maintain monopolies. That’s one of the reasons I oppose the way the US does health insurance – it makes it more difficult for small businesses who are the real engines of the economy.
Trump may not have a racist bone in his body. His racist bone is inside his skull.
Wecome back Heather. And a very nice post to go with it. I suppose these shallow thinkers are melted into the republican party today. There were always just another version of stupid, call it 2.0 crazy. Now that the dummy in the white house is showing those true colors, I am more certain than even before that he will be gone by next election.
I have a steep street to add to the contest. I do not recall if it has a name but it is in Seoul , South Korea. There is an American housing area at the top and lots of embassy housing along the way. It is ridiculous.
They can apply for the title. Maybe they already have and didn’t make the grade-ient? (Yes, I know, very weak attempt at humour!)
I add this connection only to prove this area exist. I was surprised to find it on the internet. Called Hillside and the address would be 726-111 Hannam-dong, Youngsan, Seoul, Korea. It is nothing like I remember from 25/30 years ago. Looks like it has all been rebuild for high end renters. But anyway, it is very steep to climb up this hill.
The Federalist Society is actively trying to change the makeup of US courts. With Trump in power more judges appointed to serve are conservative. This certainly not good for the country.
We focus on SCOTUS, but Trump’s been putting conservative judges everywhere. And there were a lot of gaps to fill as so many of Obama’s picks had been either blocked or he hadn’t made nominations. The Handmaid’s Tale may be closer to reality than we realize before much longer.
Hi Heather! It’s been a while. Thanks for the post and tweets.
A lot of people in the U.S. like libertarians because of their stance on drugs and prostitution and the general “tiny government”. I agree with them on legalizing drugs and prostitution, but just about everything else they stand for is bonkers. What should be obvious to anyone who says they want a Libertarian government, is that there has never been a modern example of one; and there is not a single Libertarian country in the world today. If it was such a great form of government, don’t you think there would be at least 1 nation out of 193 to utilize it? What many don’t understand is Libertarians don’t even want public education, let alone social security or medicare. How stupid is that? It’s all a part of the “I hate government” trope. It’s an infantile world-view and a form of government that is far too simplistic in modern times. My take is many people in America are prone to libertarian thinking because we have romanticized the “Old West”. They think the good ol’ days when your gun was the law and you could do what you please is somehow a great way to live. These people need to read McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.
I loved the Roomba/box w/ cat. Had me giggling.
Good comment. I agree with your analysis about why people think libertarianism would be good. As Paul says, the Obama comment from 2012 uncovered the extent of this thinking by GOP supporters. And like you say, how would any business manage without government teaching their future employees to read and write etc., or providing infrastructure and a legal system.
It’s hard finding nice tweets right now. Everyone is talking about Trump’s racism. Also, Twitter has changed the way it works, and I can’t get my head around it. I’ve been out of the workforce too long to handle tech changes.
Mark R, I agree! Libertarians don’t seem to realize how much of their situation depends on the proper functioning of government. Alternatively, they suffer from hyper-selfishness. They would like to see everything be provided as pay-as-you-go services. Those that need education, for example, should be the only ones that pay for it. As you say, it is also infantile.
This kind of thing also reminds we of the “You didn’t build that” controversy of the 2012 US presidential election (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_didn%27t_build_that). Although this was a false slam against Obama, it uncovered the extent to which Republicans think that business does not depend on the legal and physical infrastructure largely supplied by government. IMHO, both Republicans and Democrats have an unclear vision of how government should relate to business.
I cannot help thinking of the Federalist Society as kind of a fraud. From my limited understanding of American History they sound much more like Anti-Federalist that Federalist. Conservative, limited government, small government, it sounds like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. They were the anti federalist. So how do small government thinkers get to call themselves Federalist? Someone explain this to me. Alexander Hamilton wants to know.
“For example, while they oppose marriage equality because they say the Founders never envisaged such a situation, they don’t call for a return to slavery.”
I disagree with the Federalist Society about almost everything, but I think the distinction they would draw is that the US Constitution was amended (the 13th Amendment, to be precise) after the Civil War expressly to prohibit slavery.
Maybe they don’t call for a return of slavery, but there is a very interesting take on that by “the Contentious Otter”. I’m not 100% sure how correct his analysis is, but everything appears to fit. It definitely gives us food for thought.
The link doesn’t work, I guess because of the i at the end that somehow snuck in. try again:
“The arrogance that [libertarians] can make better decisions about what to do with the money they earn is wrong.”
Interesting definition of arrogance. Libertarians generally want to allow people to make their own decisions. Leftists and conservatives think they know better and should restrict other people’s choices. Which is arrogance?
Also libertarians were leaders in the fight for marriage equality. The Economist published a pro-gay marriage editorial in 1996. In 2007 Ron Paul and John Stossel supported gay marriage on ABC News. “Progressive” Obama and Hillary took another 5 or 6 years.
Selfish libertarian thought people should be able to what they wanted without government interference. The arrogance of them.
I agree that libertarians are good when it comes to personal freedoms such as marriage equality. I have a different view to them regarding drugs. I think they shouldn’t be illegal because addiction should be treated openly as a health issue, and you can’t have something illegal if you’re going to do that. They just think you should be able to do what you want.
There are other things too that I’m on the same side as libertarians, but for different reasons. One is making prostitution legal. My reasons are around the safety of women. That’s not their motivation.
I have no time for Ron Paul. I recall him in the 2012 election campaign discussing the fact he was anti-abortion, even though as a libertarian he should be for it. As part of his answer he started going on about women pretending it was rape so they could get an abortion.
And yes, they are selfish. They want to do all the taking and none of the giving. We are part of a society, and that involves sometimes making sacrifices for the good of the whole. We pay taxes for programmes to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Libertarians tend not to think of what happens to abandoned children, those with a physical or mental disability, those who have no chance of ever looking after themselves through no fault of their own etc. They may not actively want to see those people living on the streets, but they also don’t realize that is exactly what would happen without government help.
First of all before disparaging people, you should try to understand their motivation. Libertarians want the same outcome as liberals – freedom, health and prosperity. We happen to believe that less government and more private money would be more effective. Perhaps, we are wrong but we are as sincere, generous and kind as other people.
Second, spending other people’s money is not being generous. How you voluntarily spend your own money and time determines whether you are selfish or not.
I believe that if people were responsible for choosing their own health care (with government assistance as needed), it would work better than either one payer or the hybrid disaster the US has. I understand why people prefer a centralized system but I do not think the US can get there effectively. I think that progressives are well-intentioned but naive on the difficulties and problems.
Curtis: The problem with everyone being allowed to “choose their own health care” is that it places a huge burden on the individual. The idea of everyone adequately researching drugs, doctors, hospitals, etc. and negotiating good prices is a fantasy. I know that’s not how I want to spend my retirement. I also don’t want insurance companies performing those functions either as they will always choose making a profit over my welfare. I don’t begrudge their profit but, over time, a medical-insurance-pharmaceutical complex develops that adds more and more middlemen, each of which wants a cut. It’s what we have now and its expensive and complicated. Although putting it all in the hands of the government is no panacea, I believe it is the best solution and its success in many countries is evidence.
You also have to remember that most people aren’t capable of making the right choices regarding their health in emergency situations such as an accident, and many can’t in ordinary times either. They shouldn’t have to pay more or receive worse care just because of that. The idea that people are able to choose the best healthcare for themselves is a myth is almost all situations. There’s also things like bulk buying where people can get better prices than they could as individuals. Our government buys all the drugs for the entire population of the country. Our drugs are very, very cheap.