Patterico's Pontifications

3/6/2009

Worth Noting, in Today’s Wall Street Journal

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 11:57 am



[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

From today’s Letters to the Editor:

In an attempt to find some sanity amid the insanity gushing out of the White House and Congress, I reread my autographed copy of “Free To Choose” by Milton and Rose Friedman and came across the well known, but never more apropos, quote by Justice Louis Brandeis taken from Olmstead v. United States in 1928.

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Richard Miller
Sunriver, Ore.

The book Mr. Miller refers to is a masterpiece. You can buy it here, at Amazon.com

–Jack Dunphy

77 Responses to “Worth Noting, in Today’s Wall Street Journal”

  1. Of course, Brandeis was referring to our civil liberties and not the return of the fearsome 2001 tax rate in a mere two years.

    Strangely, had I quoted Brandeis a year ago on these pages to attack Bush administration wire-tapping policies (wire-tapping being the subject of Olmstead) many folks (including, Jack, maybe yourself?) would have called me a shrill crazy.

    However, when its the danger of our corporate masters paying 7 more percent, well, now liberty is crystal clear — it is 35% of a charitable contribution and not 28%!!! To the ramparts!

    timb (92efa0)

  2. Please do not feed the trolls.

    steve miller (c76b20)

  3. No, Timb, I merely would have said you were one of those men to whom Justice Brandeis was referring.

    Jack Dunphy (1bb566)

  4. So, Brandeis is a hero when you take him out of context and use him for taxes, and, yet, when I use him to defend people against the government, like Brandeis was in Olmstead, I’m off-base….

    nice work, Mr. Dunphy. Up is down and black is white and the Sermon on the Mount is a call to war…

    timb (92efa0)

  5. No, Jack. This one is not well-meaning.

    JD (771d22)

  6. Oh, and Steve, just because you don’t understand what Jack and I discussing, doesn’t mean you have to post. I get it; you’re confused. You think “troll” means “person who disagrees” when troll means p”erson who knocks the thread off target.” Since I was discussing the content of the post and you were not, I guess that makes you the troll.

    So, go away troll, unless you can speak of Dr. Friedman or Justice Brandeis or really anything of note

    timb (92efa0)

  7. Again, dj, again? Jesus, you are a tiresome lad.

    Go fellate goldstein and leave me alone

    timb (92efa0)

  8. It is not well-meaning. History has proven that.

    JD (771d22)

  9. LOL

    Oiram (983921)

  10. So, Brandeis is a hero when you take him out of context and use him for taxes

    Please show us in the post where he was using Brandeis while talking about taxes.

    Steverino (69d941)

  11. Oh geez. Is that the best you have?

    Are you stamping your tiny little feet, too?

    steve miller (c76b20)

  12. Great Post. Jefferson also had a few about fearing government. So did many Revolutionary Patriots.

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  13. Mr. Dunphy has more integrity in one eyelash than this small pathetic little thing has in its entire body. This is classic behavior on its part.

    JD (771d22)

  14. Tim, I am disappointed in you as I had resisted labeling you a troll but then you pull this. You may want to raise taxes on productive people, not being one yourself, but the present course goes far beyond that. Does your holier than thou attitude include spending trillions on pork barrel projects ?

    I am also amused by your brothers in confusion among the libertarians.

    We can debate the Iraq war, although honest debate would have preceded the war, not followed setbacks. What Obama is doing will destroy the country we grew up in

    Mike K (8df289)

  15. Mike, first point first: ?

    Second point, I am not a libertarian or a classical liberal.

    Last point, I’m not debating the Iraq war; I’m referring to illegal wire-tapping. As for Obama, you are a much older gentleman than I am, but the America I grew up in (70 and 80’s) is one of stagnating wages for the middle class. Destroying voodoo economics no more destroys the nation than Eisenhower’s 80 highest marginal tax rate.

    timb (8f04c0)

  16. Okay, timb, so you can’t show us where in the post Jack Dunphy was talking about taxes.

    Care to admit that you were wrong?

    Steverino (69d941)

  17. Mike K.
    This here Libertarian is confused because your link is broken. :-)

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (a2d4c6)

  18. That’s the link, Bradley. I was amused by the comments which sound a bit like Tim. For example:

    rah62 | March 6, 2009, 12:07pm | #

    Cut the “principled libertarian” nonsense – he ran for office as a *Republican*. That alone shows his lack of principles.

    That will give the flavor.

    Tim seems confused on what he wants, just like those folks.

    Last point, I’m not debating the Iraq war; I’m referring to illegal wire-tapping

    Of course, Brandeis was referring to our civil liberties and not the return of the fearsome 2001 tax rate in a mere two years.

    Strangely, had I quoted Brandeis a year ago on these pages to attack Bush administration wire-tapping policies (wire-tapping being the subject of Olmstead)

    What was his subject ?

    You can sure spot the law student, or would-be law student.

    My oldest daughter, when she was in law school, made the mistake of sharing a house with a couple of other law students. They were forever threatening to sue each other. If you are a hammer, everything kooks like a nail.

    What is most amusing to me is the constant use of “wire tapping” as though this was what was being done. You can tell that lawyers tend not to be very technical.

    The actual subject of the post was Obama policies.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  19. I find it quite amusing to hear people talk about the economy of the 70’s which gave us “Stagflation”, and then complain about “Voodoo Economics”, as if the two are related.
    Reagan’s (and Volker’s) economic policies that were labeled as “Voodoo” by GHWBush in the ’80 Primary, were a reaction to the 70’s, and resulted in the longest peace-time period of economic growth in this Nation’s history.
    I, personally, found the 80’s to be quite renumerative, much better than the 90’s in fact.

    AD - RtR/OS (756934)

  20. ; I’m referring to illegal wire-tapping.

    Which was not the subject of the post. Stop threadjacking every farkin’ post here.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  21. “not the return of the fearsome 2001 tax rate in a mere two years”

    Its not the threat to raise the marginal tax rate by 4% – 5% – its the spending, which will result in massive tax increases.

    Eventually, it will have to be paid back – and it will cost us more than a 5% marginal increase on the top 2%. A lot more. Sorry you can’t figure that out Timb.

    Lily (9d9b60)

  22. Lily, everything you said was true, but the fact is timb just made up the part about taxes. Jack Dunphy never said anything about taxes, and neithed did the portion of the letter he cited.

    timb is arguing with the voices in his head…and losing, from all appearances.

    Steverino (69d941)

  23. We’re getting a good idea why he was banned at other sites.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  24. Dmac – Actually, it was for some pretty vile behavior, as opposed to its normal mendoucheousness.

    JD (771d22)

  25. What will it take to get it banned here?

    steve miller (c76b20)

  26. steve – Vile behavior. Mere trollishness should not be banned.

    JD (771d22)

  27. Meh. It’s going beyond “mere” and become a full lake.

    steve miller (c76b20)

  28. I shall rephrase. Overt and abject trollishness is not generally ban-able, nor should it be, in my very humble opinion.

    JD (771d22)

  29. But those kinds of decisions are way above my pay grade.

    JD (771d22)

  30. I know. I know.

    It’s not quite banning. It’s more like “would you just grow up?”

    I’d settle for adolescent argument.

    steve miller (c76b20)

  31. steve – given its history, it is only a function of time until it gets itself banned. That is what it does.

    JD (06f82d)

  32. Whatever you do, don’t take from this that you should get into Brandeis.

    imdw (442523)

  33. Steve Squared, you guys are paragons of genius.

    And, Jd, your active fantasy life is always interesting to me.

    In the words of Steve miller, prove it with a link, otherwise, what was it Steve, “you’re just listening to voices in your head.” In fact, the next you thing you prove, jd, will actually be the first. Any post by you with a link would be the first time you ever attempted to anything but argue and call names.

    By the way, did your daddy ever come here to rescue you?

    timb (8f04c0)

  34. your active fantasy life is always interesting to me.

    That’s more than a fairly creepy statement.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  35. did your daddy ever come here to rescue you?

    Now you’re coming across as a complete pervert.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  36. Oh, and

    Okay, timb, so you can’t show us where in the post Jack Dunphy was talking about taxes.
    Care to admit that you were wrong?
    Comment by Steverino — 3/6/2009 @ 1:56 pm

    just because you can’t make a logical inference doesn’t mean I can’t. Freidman’s book is all about how personal freedom is eroded by high government spending, taxation, and regulations. Since the letter writer cited it because of the “insanity of Congress and the White House,” I could make the inference toward taxes and regulations. I’m sorry you cannot.

    What I tend to forget about arguing with people who are a bit concrete and always looking to quibble about every jot and tiddle, is that I cannot use examples. People like Steve are just too aggressive and looking to squabble to notice the forest for the trees. I was speaking to Jack (and later Dr. Mike, who are two educated men). I forgot the back rows of the amen chorus would be parsing it for literal meanings.

    timb (8f04c0)

  37. dmac, try soemthing: try to write anything interesting.

    Hell, just try to write something that requires a level of sarcasm higher than average 4th grader…

    timb (8f04c0)

  38. Timb,

    Middle class never had it so good as in the US.

    Maybe, just a thought, if the “middle class” stopped with the 5 cell phones, 4 cars, 3 flat screens, 2 $50K SUVs and 1 grossly humungous house …. these bumps in the economic road would not cause so much consternation.

    Used to be a nice house with a car and 1 TV was enough when paired with a decent savings account.

    Point of fact, I have not seen so much consumption in my life by any middle class like here in the US.

    We are a nation of whiners.

    Jimminy'cricket (637168)

  39. I could wile away the hours
    Conversing with the flowers
    Talking to the rain………..

    Leonardo DaFinchi (8c0a12)

  40. timb,

    With the thoughts you’d be thinkin’
    You could be another Lincoln
    If you only had a ………..

    Leonardo DaFinchi (8c0a12)

  41. Freidman’s book is all about how personal freedom is eroded by high government spending, taxation, and regulations. Since the letter writer cited it because of the “insanity of Congress and the White House,” I could make the inference toward taxes and regulations. I’m sorry you cannot.

    [emphasis added]

    This is laughable. The insanity is an $800 billion “stimulus” bill that does little more than stimulate the growth of government. The insanity is a $1.75 TRILLION deficit.

    The fact that you automatically assume the letter writer was talking about taxes instead of the outrageous spending says more about your biases than anything.

    People like Steve are just too aggressive and looking to squabble to notice the forest for the trees.

    You can rationalize your idiocy all you want, and launch all manner of personal insult at me, but it won’t change the fact that you were wrong on this point. Badly wrong. And you refused to admit it.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  42. From Dr. Doom: The U.S. Financial System is Effectively Insolvent

    There is, in fact, a rising risk of a global L-shaped depression that would be even worse than the current, painful U-shaped global recession.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  43. Well, at least I got mentioned in the argument. +1 for me.

    Now back to the topic at hand.

    “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial.”

    This is the gist: Bambi is out for our “good,” and he’s going to wreck the Constitution and wreak havoc on capitalism to do it.

    And the uneducated mass of people who use feelings for judgment will go along with it because it will result (they think) in milk and honey.

    I listened to NPR yesterday & they had some guy speaking to a group of (presumably) black college students about how banks are wrong to charge interest & the government should just give out free money – free – for any college education. And the audience cheered. And that the government should cancel college debts. And the audience cheered.

    And that makes sense how? Are college students simply unable to comprehend what happens when money stops being a symbol of value? Do none of them have any idea how the Weimar Republic wiped out a nation of middle class people? Do none of them remember what happened next?

    I’m sorry to bring this up, but I remember someone saying that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. And that wasn’t even Reagan.

    steve miller (c76b20)

  44. Comment by steve miller — 3/7/2009 @ 7:34 am

    I always thought it was AuH20 quoting someone else (Franklin?)?

    AD - RtR/OS (d9d44c)

  45. First we have this:

    Hell, just try to write something that requires a level of sarcasm higher than average 4th grader…

    Then this:

    By the way, did your daddy ever come here to rescue you?

    Hilarious.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  46. Do none of them have any idea how the Weimar Republic wiped out a nation of middle class people? Do none of them remember what happened next?

    No, they do not. For most people under 30, history is what happened in high school. I have three well educated kids who voted for Obama and I wondered why until I started reading my freshman daughter’s assignments at the U of Arizona. Now, I understand better.

    I think this time is more dangerous for our country than World War II.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  47. Comment by Mike K — 3/7/2009 @ 10:04 am

    I think this time is more dangerous for our country than The Shot Heard ‘Round the World, A Day That Will Live in Infamy, America Held Hostage combined.

    Then again, I believe [music]soon and very soon…

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  48. “We are a nation of whiners.”

    And you are a judgmental ass.

    Yes, we do have it ‘good’. And we earned it by working hard. We have warm houses in winter, cool in summer. We can provide decent education for our kids, and generally safe neighborhoods for them to grow up in.

    Yes we want to keep a good portion of the money we worked for. So what?

    What does it say about your morality that you want to use the force of government to take what others earned to fund your own priorities. Priorities that actually work against our interests. And foolishness that very may well end the prosperity that we’ve come to enjoy.

    We are not better off by making everyone poorer – by stealing from one person to feed the (self-interested and power hungry) government.

    Jane (9d9b60)

  49. Actually, we indeed are a nation of whiners. And the whiners voted for Barack Obama.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  50. Yep. And now they’re all whining about getting evicted from homes they had no intention of paying the mortgages on – the moral hazard rule didn’t apply to them, so the rest of us must pay for their extreme narcissism. A big FU to the folks who lived within their means, we’re nothing but suckers to Obama and his minions.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  51. I don’t literally remember who said it; I had to look it up, but I remember the sentiment.

    The sources on the web say it was Gerald Ford in 1974, with some people thinking it was Thomas Jefferson.

    steve miller (c76b20)

  52. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    — C. S. Lewis

    SgtDad (a7489c)

  53. There is also this quote from Olmstead:

    The protection guaranteed by the amendments is much broader in scope. The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect, that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
    (Emphasis added by me)

    SgtDad (a7489c)

  54. Ah, beloved Milton Friedman, who condoned armed groups overthrowing elected governments

    not once in his interview does he says overthrew, coup or violence… it’s so not gentile to refer to the bloodshed.

    blha (51b7e0)

  55. Ah, we see the real Freudian slip here:

    “…it’s not so gentile to…”

    Dmac, you would love this.

    But I’m guessing that blha has gone by other names around here.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  56. I think we could use some tragicomic relief.
    Octo Mom Nadya Suleman is without a publicist — again.

    Victor Munoz tells Usmagazine.com that he quit as Suleman’s rep Friday night.

    “It just got to be too much,” he says. “It’s pretty much a free for all over there right now. They are freaking out right now.”

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  57. Ah, beloved Milton Friedman, who condoned armed groups overthrowing elected governments

    Which would put him squarely in the ranks of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Parliament was elected, right?

    There’s nothing magical about being elected. I’d support an armed group in Cuba overthrowing Castro, as well as an armed group in Venezuela overthrowing Chavez, to name but two.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  58. Plus, an armed group killing brown people anywhere, eh, Stevie?*

    *See what’s it’s like to have words twisted.

    timb (a83d56)

  59. You’re the master of twisting words, you insufferable moron.

    I notice you ran like a scalded cat when I called you on your BS about taxes.

    Timb, I guess you think it’s all right for brown people to live under tyrants.

    Steverino (69d941)

  60. Yeah, sorry I had family over the weekend. I answered you Friday night and, while looked at porn, dreamed of having a friend to go see “The Watchtower,” and ate cheetos, I made dinner for ten and watched kids play.

    You were a concrete literal blockhead then and you have not grown in the last two days

    timb (a83d56)

  61. Nice repetition of an argument by assertion.

    Please prove that the original letter-writer wasn’t talking about the overreach of government inherent in Obama’s bills. THEN you can posit that the letter was about taxes and not about expansion of government and increasing debt.

    Were you wearing a trench coat while you watched children play?

    Still think that brown people ought to live under tyrants?

    Steverino (69d941)

  62. […] “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” – Louis Brandeis […]

    Louis Brandeis | Les Jones (d2723c)

  63. Jimminy’cricket — you should check out “The Progress Paradox” by Greg Easterbrook. He lays out what a middle-class home was like in the 1950’s vs. now, and it’s a real eye-opener.

    carlitos (3f0da9)

  64. What would you or Easterbrook know of the middle class, carl? You both are very proud of not being a part of it.

    At least Easterbrook can twist statistics. All you can do is threaten to eat out less so you won’t pay have to pay higher taxes on “taxable income” over 250,000.*

    *In case it wasn’t obvious, I read it years ago

    timb (a83d56)

  65. timb, since you know nothing about my background, you can kindly go fuck yourself.

    carlitos (3f0da9)

  66. That’s some weapons grade stupidity there, Timmah! Maybe you should be reading the book instead of flashing your ass.

    Pablo (99243e)

  67. You’re hoping for too much there, Pablo. Timmy boy is neither interested in nor capable of honest argument. He’ll just throw out assertions and never bother to back them up, and never EVER address the merits of others’ arguments.

    It’s like trying to discuss phenomenology with a badly implemented version of Eliza.

    Steverino (69d941)

  68. Pablo, I knows you are too smart and all, but perhaps you missed it in your happiness over trying out on of B Moe insults, but I already read the book (years ago).

    Since, reading is clearly not something you do well, I suggest asking some of the unemployed people in your trailer park if they can help.

    As for stevie, the day you make an assertion which I find interesting enough to rebut, then I will rebut it. Most of the time, however, your “arguments” are like rantings of homeless men yelling on street corner about government conspiracies. Much as I ignore the inanities they spout, I also ignore yours.

    Say something, steve, anything of substance and I will try to humor you.

    PS Note Carl attempted to give us cake again (“the middle class should be so happy with the cake I provide”) and I addressed him. Perhaps if you read a book sometime, you’d have something interesting to say? Try it and get back to us

    timb (a83d56)

  69. So yesterday timb was whining and crying about a rude comment made towards it and yet here it is today making rude comments toward others.

    But its not a hypocrite.

    ML (14488c)

  70. Since, reading is clearly not something you do well,

    Apparently not, as this makes no sense whatsoever, no matter how many times I try reading it.

    but perhaps you missed it in your happiness over trying out on of B Moe insults, but I already read the book (years ago).

    Or, perhaps your comprehension is on par with your composition. Yeah, I’ll bet that’s it.

    If you’d read the book, you wouldn’t have asked the question about Easterbrook, as you’d already know the answer. And how much do you think a senior editor at TNR makes anyway?

    Pablo (99243e)

  71. Timb translated: I have no response, so I’ll just call everyone names.

    Really, timmy, you’re getting tiresome. But, I’ll try just one more time to see if you understand.

    The original letter talked about “insanity gushing out of the White House and Congress”. You immediately jumped on that as being about taxes, without any evidence to support your claim. You still haven’t offered any evidence, but you said you made a logical inference (with nothing to base it on).

    These were your words on the subject:

    Freidman’s book is all about how personal freedom is eroded by high government spending, taxation, and regulations. Since the letter writer cited it because of the “insanity of Congress and the White House,” I could make the inference toward taxes and regulations. I’m sorry you cannot.

    I maintain, based on YOUR words that the original letter was in response to the $800 billion stimulus bill which had more to do with Democrat pet programs than actual stimulus of the economy and a $1.75 trillion deficit this year. See, the high spending will have far more of a negative impact than the raising of taxes. Further, you have no idea what tax bracket the letter writer is in, so you can’t make a reasonable assumption that he’s speaking of tax increases instead of an increase in the size of government.

    You haven’t bothered to address that, you’ve just called everyone silly names. If you have something thoughtful to counter my claim, let’s hear it. I’d be happy to debate you on it. But I suspect you don’t have anything thoughtful, and never will. Feel free to prove me wrong.

    Steverino (69d941)

  72. Steve, yawn?

    Over to Pablo: Yeah, easterbrook’s just a Senior Editor at the New Republic and not also a staffer at the Atlantic, a writer for ESPN, and a best-selling author. I think the Easterbrooks, including the execrable Frank Easterbrook are doing quite well.

    timb (29776a)

  73. Okay, tim, it’s nice to know you don’t have an answer. You were just pulling your “logic inference” out of your ass.

    Thanks for proving me right.

    Go get that trench coat dry-cleaned.

    Steverino (69d941)

  74. Because the Easterbrooks are well-off, the premise of the book must be flawed, despite it being fact-based – faulty logic and unproven.

    Because I will go out to dinner less often, I “won’t pay have to pay higher taxes on “taxable income” over 250,000.” – faulty logic and just mind-numbingly stupid. How would eating out less reduce my taxable income? I think you skipped inductive / deductive reasoning back in high school or something.

    carlitos (3f0da9)

  75. Carl, because your repeated rant was incoherent, my summation of it was glib, i.e. make a serious threat and I’ll treat it seriously. Say something foolish and I’ll summarize your words as I see fit.

    By the way, you can rudely go fuck yourself (see how I returned your insult? Now, don’t you feel all better now that you got to write the f-bomb to an adult and he responded? Me, not so much, because your sentence seemed to distill the essence of conservatism’s message to everyone.)

    If that’s not your cup of tea, then you can always go read this article from Slate, which actually describes what happens when marginal tax rates go up

    timb (a83d56)

  76. hopefully card check wont come back thatd be a soft tyranny

    Alfreddie Lams (473c98)


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