Thursday, July 30, 2009

Laws derived from the nature of government

From The Spirit Of Laws, Book 2

...indeed it is important to regulate in a republic, in what manner, by whom, to whom, and concerning what suffrages are to be given...
(a quote from Declam, 17 and18) Libanius says that at "Athens a stranger who intermeddled in the assemblies of the people was punished with death."
The constitutions of Rome and Athens were excellent- the decress of the senate had the force of laws for the space of a year, but did not become perpetual till they were ratified by the consent of the people.
...but in a republic, where a private citizen has obtained an exorbitant power, the abuse of this power is much greater, because the laws foresaw it not, and consequently made no provision against it.
But the most imperfect of all (types of aristocracies) is that in which the part of the people that obeys is in a state of civil servitude to those who command, as the artistocracy of Poland, where the peasants are slaves to the nobility.
The notion of interfering with domestic politics being a capital offense is rather novel. Surely with China and Arab nations, practical enemies to our way of life, owning so much of our national debt, we are at great risk to rule ourselves. We ought to at least cast off foreign debt!
I especially am fond of the idea that all laws ought to have a short expiration date, unless they are approved by the people. This brings them under constant review and keeps the policians busy digging holes and filling them up again. The actual idea behind this was to allow for a 'proving time' for laws, which is something we lack. They are hardly ever repealed, and then only with great effort. Gridlock is good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bike Repainting

My youngest daughter, codenamed 'Boo' for inet anonymity, received a hand-me-down bike last year. In order to coax her into ditching the training wheels, I promised her that if she learned to ride without those that we could repaint her bike. There are several other repainting projects that I'd like to do someday as well and I definitely would like to learn how to apply a glassy finish to objects, so this is a great way to get into all that.

Also, my last post probably had too many words and was conceptually challenging for some of my audience, so this post will be much much easier to understand (I'm thinkin' of you, Unabashed! ;-)

Mmmkay, here's the "before" shot:

A pretty, pink Disney princess bike. Boo says she doesn't care for all the princess crap and, while she likes pink, it's not her fav. She has selected a lovely purple sort of color called French Lilac (#796878 in 'man-speak').

The first step is to strip off the old point. We are using wire disks and cups in a high speed drill. It's taking off the stickers and paint in one fell swoop:
How cute- A father couldn't be more proud! She did quite a bit of the stripping, too. I figured she'd get bored with it but really I'd have to take the darn thing from her to use it myself. We got most of it stripped off tonight but not all. I need to get a chain tool to pop that off as well and will likely need some dremel attachments to get some of the hard to reach spots.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gleanings from Montesquieu

The copy of Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man in which I had made my notes has been misplaced, so my intentions to post some highlights from that book will have to wait until it turns up. In the meanwhile, I have undertaken to read The spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. This writing was very influential for our founding fathers and is most often credited for instructing them on the separation of powers, which is critical to the structure of our government. The book itself is a comparative study between the nature and laws of the three (as he identified them) types of government: republics, monarchies and despotisms.

All of these are from the first book, which deals with the origin and nature of laws.

...even most of them (brutes, animals) are more attentive than we to self-preservation, and do not make so bad a use of their passions.
Such a being (man) might every instant forget his Creator; God has therefore reminded him of his duty by the laws of religion. Such a being is liable every moment to forget himself; philosophy has provided against this by the laws of morality. Formed to live in society, he might forget his fellow-creatures; legislators have, therefore, by political and civil laws, confined him to his duty.
As soon as man enters into a state of society he loses the sense of his weakness; equality ceases, and then commences the state of war.
The strength of individuals cannot be united without a conjunction of all their wills.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blog is dead

Well, not quite dead. But my blog sure hasn't had much to say lately, either! I've been very busy and very tired. That tends to un-inspire me and I don't write if I don't have anything inspiring to write about.

There were a couple of posts that I almost wrote, but I got bogged down by the shear weight of it all. First was some excerpts from Thomas Paine's writing on The Rights Of Man. There's a lot of good thoughts in that book and the first really good explanation I've read on the topic of natural rights. It's very enlightening. I have numerous lines highlighted that I intend to post.

Next I was going to post on some Bible teaching related to the creation of the universe and it's forecasted end- God's ultimate plan for the universe and how we fit into it. I actually started writing this. I even busted out my college Physics and Thermodynamics textbooks and Shepherd's School materials.

In both cases, I realized that a single post would be totally overwhelming and not get read. Especially not by the Unabashed word-avoider. So I've decided to do a running series of short, focused posts for both of these topics. Well, someday. Maybe after I post pics of my finished bathroom.