an obession with first principles

Literalism Fails the Question of Intent

Posted: Sunday Feb 13th | Author: JohnO | Filed under: In the News, Philosophising, Power | View Comments

But nowhere in the original Constitution does it say that the federal courts have the power of judicial review. Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers suggests that the federal court has this power, but it wasn’t until 1803 that the Supreme Court actually ruled that this power existed. Hence, a contradiction: Hamilton, a constitutional framer and author of the beloved Federalist Papers, asserts that a power that is not explicitly written in the Constitution exists and a court rules in his favor — and then, all these years later, Tea Party constitutionalists use that power to invalidate a federal healthcare law on the basis that it violates the Constitution!

Literalism, in any form religious or political, adopts the text as it stands for the purposes and intents of its interpreters. It forgoes any original intent of the author(s). If it did just this without asserting that the literalist interpretation is The One and Only True Interpretation – I would be fine with it. But the blatant disregard for the original setting and other writings than the one in question, combined with their rhetoric just sicken me.

On top of that, if the ideal the Tea Party espouses ever was realized, it would just mean the states would have more authority to suppress rights.

Reflecting Again

Posted: Sunday Feb 6th | Author: JohnO | Filed under: Dialogue, In the News, Philosophising | View Comments

t. The challenge of the democratic, developed world is a quieter rebellion: against a bankruptcy not just of the pocketbook, but of meaning. It’s not to take a stand against a dictator, but to take a stand against an unenlightened, nihilistic, hyperconsumerist, soul-suckingly unfulfilling, lethally short-termist ethos that inflicts real and relentless damage on people, society, the natural world, and future generations…

Some say it’s impossible. Me? I believe that in a world of bogus prosperity, what’s impossible is for the status quo to stand. Stop Dumb Growth

I have to say I agree. Value (what makes true wealth, not just dollar signs) is no longer disseminated to the people. The people must now create their own value and wealth. And I can say those in my generation are beginning to do that. Many are returning to the roots of physical creation by building and fashioning. Often, very high end items. Many are taking to their own kitchens rather than eating in restaurants – again. making specialty food. Fewer, but some, are going so far back as to grow their own food. And even more people of my generation are becoming entrepreneurs eschewing any large institution as their employer or chief guardian of value and wealth.

The large question on my mind is what will happen in the bridge of our generation and the one before us. Will half attempt to hold up current institutions and be crushed? Will everyone move out of the way and let them fall? What will rise to replace them? “May you live in exciting times” indeed.