Digital Sunrise Open Thread

 The way to see the sun in Tiananmen Square is now on an LED Screen:


... I'm in sunny San Diego and giving thanks for the EPA. Open Thread!

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For Wags -- declining labor force


Here's a breakdown of the stated reasons, which shows increased retirement accounting for about 40% of the total decline:


Economists who think it's a much less important factor argue that many say "retirement" when they've really left because of lack of opportunity.

Bankruptcy in 2014 America


means a city can rip up workers' contracts and companies can destroy property and not pay for it.

Looks Like The NFL Rules Committee Has Work To Do

M Scott Eiland's picture

While it ended up not mattering, it's definitely a f***-up that a call that everyone in the country could see was wrong was "non-reviewable." That's on the rules committee, and it's up to them to make sure that doesn't happen again.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yep, bad call

Bird Dog's picture

Good thing it didn't affect the outcome, thanks to Marshawn's butter fingers.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Guess the average age of ownership

HankP's picture

they're the ones making the rules. It's been a constant struggle to include reviewability into the game for decades.


I blame it all on the Internet

True. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but when a call like that makes them look bad, it's a prime candidate for a quick fix. Even MLB is getting with the program on that, and they've got more to worry about as far as risks posed by slowing down the game.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I've never understood

HankP's picture

why the "purity of the game" doesn't require getting the calls correct.


I blame it all on the Internet

Yeah, That's Always Been A Lame Argument

M Scott Eiland's picture

Particularly if challenges are limited and/or controlled to keep them from being abused (and assuming technology exists to make review practical). Once the technology exists--if it ever exists--to reliably use technology to call balls and strikes correctly without unreasonable cost, they should just take that decision out of the hands of the live umps in MLB--the other stuff can remain with them, subject to review.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Not much of an AFC game so far

HankP's picture

Denver looking pretty dominant in all aspects of the game.


Lots of 49er regalia in Seattle today. We accidentally came upon the 49er team bus getting loaded up yesterday, Seattleites as usual were too polite to scream things at the opposing team.


I blame it all on the Internet

Congratulations, Hank

M Scott Eiland's picture

That Denver win clinches the Forvm Pick'Em for you this year.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


HankP's picture

better to limp to the finish instead of completely collapsing, I guess.


I blame it all on the Internet

dupe, deleted

Jay C's picture

. Bummer! What happened to my <strike>??

use the menu

HankP's picture

not html tags

I blame it all on the Internet

This is true, Hank....

Jay C's picture

Fortunately, our majestic Berkshires estate country place is isolated enough to be (one fervently hopes) free from the rampages of disappointed denizens of Patriots Nation - 'cuz they have PLENTY to be disappointed with over this game! As I type, Denver has just gone ahead with another FG - 23-3: Brady and Co. seem to have just been on the field to fulfill their contracts. It's pretty much a romp at this point: and if I have to point this out (I swear, this is the first NFL game I've watched all year!) . OH well, there are always The Sox......

I've spent a lot of time in New England

HankP's picture

and with New Englanders. They seem like normal, reasonable people ... until the conversation turns to the Patriots or the Red Sox.


I hope you have a storm cellar/bomb shelter to retreat to for a few days.


I blame it all on the Internet

Relatively thin population hereabouts...

Jay C's picture I don't think I have to re-furnish the cellar for habitation just yet. 


But I will remember not to wear my Mets hat if I go out in public.....

The most overturned circuit court shouldn't get overturned on...

Bird Dog's picture

...this one, thank goodness. Actually, it looks like the Sixth is giving the Ninth a run for its money.

Volokh represented the defendant.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Political cleansing in San Francisco

Bird Dog's picture

If you endorse the wrong candidate, then you're not qualified to act at the Brava Theater Center. And you're not a real Latina either. Good riddance for that Conchita lady.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

She's hard right on immigration


and cut commercials for right wing Tea Partiers ... and she also wants to be in politically-themed plays in SF's Mission district. 


Sorry, but politically conscious consumers in SF aren't going to give their money to this woman when there's other qualified entertainers out there.


She shouldve known she could choose one set of activities or the other, but not both.


This is like expecting to cut commercials for Planned Parenthood one day and then appear in an evangelical church's Christmas pageant the next. Just not gonna happen.

Except the politically conscious consumers


Weren't given a chance to make this choice, the theater made it for them.


I don't come down hard on this... I wouldn't even call it immoral, but it is uncivil. Economic boycotts are sometimes necessary, but when directed at individuals, it is a harshening of our civil fabric. A right-wing actor should be able to keep their job today, just like a left-wing screenwriter should be able to keep his job back in the 50s. I know you're going to be tempted to think of some reason why it's a different situation, but really, catchy, it's not.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

A private theater has to risk losing money because ... civility?


I don't see why this theater has to pretend that its solidarity-minded, Mission District Vagina Monolgues patrons won't care that one of its actors is in pro-Tea Party, anti-immigration commercials.


And I have no idea why this actress would expect to make a career appealing to both types of audience.


The situation really is miles away from Hollywood blacklisting as Hank points out. I'll add that this actress isn't being singled out b/c of private, unrelated political beliefs, but for her public acting choices. The Vagina Monologues is a political play about solidarity among a disadvantaged group.  


This is like the Amazing Randi expecting to appear in religious reenactments.

Interesting Argument

M Scott Eiland's picture

And a familiar one--it's the one public service providers (hotel/motel/diners/bars) in the South used when they were making excuses for not serving black people and/or Jews when they didn't want to own up to being bigots. For that matter, most people didn't like Communists much in the 1950's, either--the blacklist endured because a majority of the public approved of it.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Discussing a tactic

HankP's picture

without discussing the underlying cause it's being used in service of isn't really a compelling argument.


I blame it all on the Internet

I wouldn't not to see a play


Because I disagreed with an actor... Would you? Seems rather narrow-minded.


Of course, the end state this attitude comes to is that nobody is willing to express their political beliefs because of the possible consequences. Not Maria conchita Alonso, and not Matt Damon or Alec Baldwin either. And perhaps not even University Professors one day.


Damn, it's just an opinion. Does hearing it hurt that much?

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

You're so worried about "harshening our civil fabric"


Whereas I'm sympathetic to the view that our civil fabric is fraying much more because immigrant families and communities are ripped apart, millions fear capricious treatment by America's justice system, and so on. How's that vacation to Arizona sound?


What makes this a "no big deal" case and blocks your slippery slope worry is that this actress didn't merely express a belief, she acted on TV to promote a political viewpoint, and any loss of customers would've been for a political play that's somewhat related thematically to that political viewpoint.


Of course I don't boycott actors just for being Republican -- I'll watch Jon Voigt, James Woods, James Caan, Dennis Hopper, Clint Eastwood, etc any day of the week. I'll watch Belafonte too, tho he's sometimes too left wing for my taste.


But also there's a limit, here. If these guys start doing a ton of commercials for very right wing candidates and very hot button issues, they're gonna alienate me (well, Hopper's dead, so that's not such a worry). It doesn't "hurt" it's just that there's a lot of competition for entertainment, and most entertainers seem to know that practically speaking it's not always worth the effort to separate out different parts of people's lives that they themselves are helping blur together.


Maybe this actress lady shoulda thought of that before acting in commercials on issues like deporting people and then expecting to waltz into a political play in the Latino neighborhood of America's most liberal city.

And I'm not concerned about that?


Catchy, I'm pretty confident that I'm the only person on this board that's been an illegal alien. The immigration situation is one of the biggest humanitarian crises in our country today, I have no doubt about that.


I just don't see that intimidating people that disagree with me by threatening their livelihood is going to do the slightest bit to win the argument, and it might actually hurt.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

You were making a principled argument before


about the desirability of certain kind of tolerance. I still don't find it particularly compelling.


As for the practical efficacy, I think liberals lying down and being oh so reasonable has been tested and found wanting. If the left can understand why pro-life issues are volatile for the right, the right can understand why deportations etc. is a hot-button issue for the left.

You're not even making an argument


for the efficacy of the tactic. You're just saying "they do it, so we should too."


Remember that professor who got fired for making a tweet on his personal account? (And, of course, at the time the now-advocate-for-tolerance MSE cheered.)


Did that cause you to reconsider the merits of the pro-gun position? Of course not. I'm sure it just infuriated you. Probably hardened your opinion.


But... did it intimidate you into not expressing your opinion? Probably not, but I'm pretty sure that some in academia were intimidated. I probably would be if I taught and had a twitter account.


So is this the world you want? More intimidation, more fury, less true debate?



"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I was an illegal alien too, for 2 hours.

mmghosh's picture

Travelled on an expired visa to the UK.  Was held and interrogated for 2 hours, and nearly deported on the next flight home.  It was definitely not a pleasant experience.  


I can't imagine the fear of someone having to live under those circumstances, but things have to be pretty rough at home before so much fear can be overcome.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Of course it's different

HankP's picture

there's no House "Immigration Right-thinking Activities Committee" holding hearings, issuing subpoenas or threatening witnesses with jail time. These are private actors expressing their free speech rights.


I blame it all on the Internet

That wasn't what packed the punch, Hank


Nobody got put in jail for being a communist.


Nobody even got put in jail for not answering questions, since they could claim the fifth.


The punch was the economic boycott, which is what we're discussing now.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

The Hollywood Ten certainly did go to jail nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

They were brave enough


to refuse to take the fifth. Bravo for them!


However, that doesn't change the facts... the HUAC wasn't what ruined lives. It was the economic boycott that took away people's livelihoods... not just the Hollywood 10, but many others too.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Come on, Wags

HankP's picture

first you say no one went to jail, I point out that they did. Then you say HUAC didn't ruin lives. I'm pretty sure the threat of subpoena and the atmosphere of intimidation came from somewhere. It wasn't only HUAC, but to say they had nothing to do with it is really stretching it.


I blame it all on the Internet

If they were blacklisting filmmakers


for having leftist views (sans HUAC) would that be okay then? Or is this just tribal wagon-circling?

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

You're acting like the blacklist came out of nowhere,

HankP's picture

just arose all by itself. It didn't.


I blame it all on the Internet

No answer? Nt




"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs


Bird Dog's picture

Because they're all about diversity. Except for diversity of thought.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

tolerate my intolerance!


these are people whose families and communities have been torn apart by US immigration policy and Draconian intolerance towards undocumented immigrants. 


I'm unsurprised they're immune to hypocritical right wing whining about tolerance and diversity


Bird Dog's picture

If you have the "wrong" political views on immigration and other issues, time to pull out the blacklist and pull Conchita's Hispanic card. I guess tolerance works just fine, just so long as you don't disagree with the powers that be, and there's only one view for a good Hispanic to have. Any others will not be tolerated. 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

tolerate our intolerance!


We love intolerant, Draconian laws toward undocumented Latinos! 


You have to tolerate our intolerance, even though the right wing doesn't value tolerance!


That's the definition of a hypocritcal, right wing whine.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Amusing how the "enlightened" left has so thoroughly embraced the Klan's favorite contemporary calling card--calling those who don't embrace their political philosophy traitors to their race.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


HankP's picture

“That anybody would lose employment over what their political leanings are is absurd.”


I'm sure you feel the same way about the Hollywood blacklist.


I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture

So you believe, without a shred of evidence, that I sided with McCarthy. Quite the revealing comment.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Badly played


The proper response is:


"If you think an economic boycott of people for their political beliefs is justified, then it's you that's on McCarthy's side. Because that's all the blacklist was."


You're welcome! I'm here to help.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

JFCOAPS, baseball bats aren't supposed to be used that way

brutusettu's picture

So, from recommendations from HankP, so far I've watched:

The Man From Nowhere

The Chaser

No Sympathy for Mr Vengeance







Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance ​are set to go next, and since both are part of the trilogy for that last No Sympathy for Mr Vengeance



As Hank noted elsewhere:



Highly recommended, but definitely not for the squeamish. Let me repeat that, if you don't like graphic bloodshed, DIY electro-torture, kidnapping, rape, murder of young children, inside-the-coffin views of cremation, dentistry performed with a hammer, etc. you may want to pass. If you have Netflix, there are a ton of free Korean movies available for streaming. Virtually every one I've seen is very good, but very graphic.


That's an understatement. 




Roger Ebert's review of Oldboy:



I am not an expert on the Korean cinema, which is considered in critical circles as one of the most creative in the world ("Oldboy" won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2004). I can say that of the Korean films I've seen, only one ("The YMCA Baseball Club") did not contain extraordinary sadomasochism. "Oldboy" contains a tooth-pulling scene that makes Laurence Olivier's Nazi dentist in "Marathon Man" look like a healer. And there is a scene during which an octopus is definitely harmed during the making of the movie.




So ...

HankP's picture

did you like them or just endure them?


BTW the first Korean movie I saw was The Host, followed by Oldboy. Sort of a baptism by fire. The Host was good, but Oldboy was astonishing.


When you're done with Korean cinema (or at least the ones that are easily obtained here in the US) there are a lot of good movies from Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand to check out. They're not all chop-socky epics.


I blame it all on the Internet

Out of the 1st 3.

brutusettu's picture

I liked The Man From Nowhere a lot, if I was watching 100 movies a year it would still probably be near the top 10.  The next 2 are lukewarm.


As for Oldboy, Oldboy is good, astonishing is a better word of it.




*spoiler for Oldboy*

Me:  What's in the box?

Oh: opens the box, 1st picture shown

me:  Oh man

La Jolla


Dear Catchy:


If you are in San Diego, you really should get up to La Jolla....I was there last weekend and tested out the new(ish) 18~135mmSM video lens for Canon DSLR' is obviously a good lens...slow, but with good contrast will take fine pictures.


The question really remains do I really want to shoot video with a DSLR as opposed to a HD Camcorder? The sensor is so big in DSLR I think that every shot may have to be taken from a Tripod....ahhh, decisions!



Here's the video, not particularly good, but it was a test and should give you and possibly others a sense of La Jolla Cove.

I get chatty after the 2 minute

Best Wishes, Traveller

Great photos!


Don't worry, I make it up to La Jolla regularly. I've got an ex-aunt and cousins who live up there and I've been sitting in on some stuff at UCSD.


But my awesome vacation is on-going: I've been on vacation for a month and still have 6 weeks left. I kinda love my Korean University, it's essentially allowed me to go on phased retirement.

Great article by Mr David Brooks.

mmghosh's picture

I understand US politics now so much better after reading it.

Democrats often see low wages as both a human capital problem and a problem caused by unequal economic power. Republicans are more likely to see them just as a human capital problem. If we’re going to pass bipartisan legislation, we’re going to have to start with the human capital piece, where there is some agreement, not the class conflict piece, where there is none.


America has always done better, liberals have always done better, when we are all focused on opportunity and mobility, not inequality, on individual and family aspiration, not class-consciousness.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

It's skillful spin


To say this is a problem of poor vs. rich. That feeds into middle class guilt, but actually the middle class have suffered (compared to their baseline) almost as much as the poor.


No, it's a problem of rich vs. everyone else. Middle class incomes have stagnated while the incomes of the rich have close to tripled. The resources of the nation are flowing into a very small number of pockets. That's the problem.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

If you're going to read David Brooks,


you would do well to keep an antidote near at hand. Something that can help you see his phony split-the-baby, pox-on-both-houses pose for what it really is: a highly lucrative gig comforting the idle rich by providing flimsy rationalizations for four decades of the systematic fleecing of the middle class. He's an apologist for people who can't face the reality of what they are.  

"If you have a primitive [the origin of the name-calling in the headline] zero-sum mentality then you assume growing affluence for the rich must somehow be causing the immobility of the poor, but, in reality, the two sets of problems are different, and it does no good to lump them together and call them 'inequality.'"


Fans of arithmetic everywhere know that if the rich get more, and the economy is not growing faster, then everyone else gets less. (It might be primitive, but it's true.) And the economy has been growing very slowly for the last thirteen years and actually pretty slowly for the whole period in which inequality has been increasing.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I think you should take Manish at his word

HankP's picture

Brooks does indeed give an insight into American politics. I don't think Manish is naive enough to take him at face value.


I blame it all on the Internet

I knew what he was getting


I knew what he was getting at.  Laughing at Brooks' idiotic hand wringing -- the first step to understanding and fixing our widening class divide/opportunities is to ignore them.



manish's humor is death valley dry.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Indeed. My comment is apropos of a previous

mmghosh's picture

comment by Jordan in another thread - about a growing development of a caste system within a society, supposedly committed to liberty and egalitarianism.


The gradual development of the USA into a hierarchical society, in full view of, and in spite of, an informed and educated public and a historically strong working class, supposedly conscious of their rights is a very important development that needs to be studied by all of us.  We have repeatedly been told by our betters that "education" and "empowerment" is a "solution" to inequality and hierarchy.  It seems that this is not, in fact, the case, and we need to look elsewhere, and for other solutions.


One of the NYT picked comments states that "inequality is God-given".  What an interesting change from the times of the framers of the US Constitution!

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

A couple of things, Manish

HankP's picture

first of all, you can't be cynical enough in examining and analyzing the US.


Secondly, there's the myth of America, and the reality, and they're not the same. For example, the voting franchise was originally restricted to propertied white males. I'm pretty sure that doesn't equate to "equality" in any but the most ridiculous interpretation. We had a society divided by class, not as extreme as the Indian caste system, but still a stratified society. Equality never included blacks and American indians, and in fact didn't include immigrant groups until they had been here for several generations. There is a general belief in upward mobility, or the ability of people born poor to succeed by education and hard work, but the data shows that social mobility is worse in the US than in almost every other developed country.


The US has been a little better that other countries in the past in allowing upward mobility and equality to all. The current situation is just a reversion to mean. That doesn't mean there isn't hope, as time goes by many of the wrong (and self-serving) beliefs of the past are retired and superseded by new knowledge. But it's a constant struggle, as most people prefer beliefs that justify their selfish actions rather than a dispassionate analysis of the facts. And the wealthy will do anything to increase their holdings.


I blame it all on the Internet

My apologies, I thought you were taking Mr. Brooks


at his word. As for the framers of the Constitution, the thing to keep in mind is that they were the ones who crafted a compromise four counting slaves as three-fifths of a person for electoral purposes, a devil's deal that ensured the continuance of the South's "peculiar institution" for decades, and which eventually led to civil war. In other words, there have always been Americans who believed that "inequality is God-given," and who saw no particular conflict between the ideals of the government and the realities of race-based chattel slavery.  


When we are taught American history in school, we cover the revolutionary period by looking to Locke, Rousseau, the optimism and rationalism of the Enlightenment. It was only when I became interested in Cromwell and the British Civil Wars of the 1640s that I realized that that moment saw the real birth of American revolutionary spirit. For some reason we rarely study English history at that period, and certainly not with any interest in its relevance to US history. But all of the elements of American culture are there plain as day: revolutionary indignation against the tyrant, a pragmatic social reorganization that created the formidable New Model Army of highly organized, highly motivated patriots with the nationalist fervor necessary to confront and beat the forces of the king, followed almost immediately by an excess of Puritanical zeal, xenophobia, and an attempt to force a specific brand of religious/ideological orthodoxy down the throats of everyone in the country. To a degree this is a common pattern in many revolutions, but the particular combination of pragmatism, fear and fervor seems uniquely American. There was no reign of terror, just a wild proliferation of sects and political extremists followed by a steady, implacable counter-revolutionary movement that made the Protectorate indistinguishable from the monarchy in all but name and a few points of style. Indeed the Parliamentarians went further in using the state church as an ideological cudgel than Charles I ever dreamed of doing. 


I'm probably not summing up very well all the common elements that struck me, so I'll just say it's a period worth examining as one of the primary sources for American culture & politics.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Well, what would have been preferable to 3/5?


If you say a slave is a full person for electoral purposes, then you just bolster the south's voting power.


If you say a slave is a non-person, then you're hardly blazing the way for emancipation. You're just bolstering the rationale for the institution, in your founding document.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs


M Scott Eiland's picture

Above and beyond the obvious "slavery is inherently evil, and the fact that the original Constitution institutionalized it was a tragic failure on the part of the Founders that led to the Civil War and countless other problems," harping specifically and repeatedly on the three-fifths clause is a sign of sophistry--particularly given that, as you point out, if the slaves had been counted as whole persons it would have ended up *rewarding* the South for keeping slaves, and disadvantaging the North for *not* doing so.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Not counting slaves at all would have doomed the South.


The natural thing to do for non-legal persons would have been to deny them a count at all, and it has the added advantage that doing so wouldn't have "institutionalized" slavery any more than it would have institutionalized the exclusion of any other non-citizen. When it comes to injustice, omitting is generally better than codifying. 


The South obviously wanted full personhood for purposes of representation, and zero personhood when it came to apportioning taxes. Non-slave states vice versa. If slaves were counted as neither, the South would have been seriously weakened politically but strengthened economically. Counted as both, the South would have been even more over-represented in Congress but forced to pay full taxes for its slave population... by far the better choice for them all things considered:

In 1793 Southern slave states had 47 members but would have had 33 had seats been assigned based on free populations. In 1812, slave states had 76 instead of the 59 they would have had; in 1833, 98 instead of 73. As a result, Southern states had disproportionate influence on the Presidency, the Speakership of the House, and the Supreme Court in the period prior to the Civil War. 


Historian Garry Wills has postulated that without the additional slave state votes, Jefferson would have lost the presidential election of 1800. Also, "...slavery would have been excluded from Missouri...Jackson's Indian removal policy would have failed...the Wilmot Proviso would have banned slavery in territories won from Mexico....the Kansas-Nebraska bill would have failed...." 

Who can say what would have happened: the fact is, Southern states were never going to ratify a document they knew would spell the end of slavery... so instead they ratified one that they didn't know spelled the end of slavery.


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Ho Chi Minh was very respectful of the American revolutionaries

mmghosh's picture

as indeed we are all (our Constitution is pretty much a copy of yours).  It is both inspirational and liberating to see propertied American gentlemen of the day bringing together such a remarkable legal document, both in the context of its time, and its near universal relevance.


To see hierarchy being promoted by its successors is quite revealing in thinking how we want our society to develop. 

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I agree that it's an amazing, almost subversive document.


It's an enduring puzzle to me why the Convention allowed language to remain which wound up undermining the propertied Anglocracy most of the framers were so keen to preserve. In other words: some of the Constitution's language commits to a level of fairly radical social equality that was a direct threat to life as it was in the newly independent States. I should probably read more about the Convention. I bet the politics were fascinating. One explanation could be that long political experience: beginning with the English Civil War and Protectorate period, and the Restoration with its outward charm and sense of relief concealing its quiet extermination of revolutionary organizations and regicides, that all of that informed both the Articles of Confederation and the more successful Constitution. In other words: a century and a half of hard-won political experience.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Radical social equality?


Are we thinking of the same document? I would call it a radical governing document for its time... and even in those terms, it chooses indirect forms of electing the President and Senators, tamping down on direct democracy.


But I don't think it says much at all about social equality. The airy idealistic stuff they got out of their system in the declaration of independence.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

It was unequivocal about equality before the law, and


the exceptions were either weakly positioned or unstated. I think if you look at the country's legal history, there has been no force for progressive change more pervasive or effective than the Constitution itself. It was deeply flawed as ratified, but its contradictions were all but written so as to resolve themselves on the side of equality. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



equality before the law is something very different than social equality.


As for whether the constitution favors progressive change, I'd say the constitution is a Rorschach test. Recently, four SC judges were within a hairbreadth of convincing a fifth to overrule the biggest progressive advance we've had in our adult lives, the ACA. If the interpretation of the constitution has tilted progressive, it's only because our history (in the long run) tilts progressive. Things eventually change.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I compare our gentlemen farmers and large landowners in the 18c

mmghosh's picture

the inalienable rights of all men (meaning humans) were a completely unthinkable concept o them.  Sure, we too have a history of the occasional democratic state in our history, but nothing like this.  


Which is why I don't agree with HankP when he dismisses the framers as landowning elites with slaves, as though this somehow makes their ideas and opinions illegitimate - all states in those days were like that.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

exporting Grandma to Thailand.

mmghosh's picture

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Nicely Found Image, Nicely Expressed Sentiment...


....this is how Los Angeles, (and London, BTW) was when I grew up...that people deny the wonderful role the government plays in safekeeping the environment, in drug safety, ect is just beyond is beyond understanding.


The failures of our government are in in the delivery of justice, a just & fair society....


Let me note here that I do not expect a fully Just Society, but I would like, as there has been in the past, at least some open lip service towards this real goal.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Now I noticed it on the F-P of HuffPo


Just so everybody's clear, I got there first.