What’s the Constitutional Standing of a City?

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Many of the people who support eliminating state oversight of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners are not conservatives.  Decidedly not.

There are some good conservatives who disagree over the Board of Police Commissioners for the City of St. Louis. I’ve heard some of these conservative make some strong arguments for abolishing the board or relinquishing it to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Some of the arguments in favor of so-called “home rule” are flat out false.  The biggest fallacy is the claim that local control is a Constitutional principle.

States are the only political sub-division mentioned in the Constitution.  Some claim that people are a second, but that doesn’t make sense.  People are not political subdivisions, but the earthly source of all political power. People, alone, may create political institutions.  Where the Constitution mentions “the People,” it is simply asserting powers that are reserved explicitly by the people.

So the Constitution divides the country as such: the United States and the respective States. 

Technically, the states have no Constitutional requirement to further subdivide.  A state could be nothing but a state.  It could authorize no cities, no counties.  Each state must create United States House of Representative districts, but those boundaries are irrespective of cities and counties. 

The principle of home rule has no Constitutional basis.  Supporters of abolishing state oversight of police boards practice deception when they hint otherwise.

I am confident that we will soon learn who is really behind the current home rule initiative.  When that information comes out, those supporting the initiative will have little choice but to switch sides. 

More to follow.  In the meantime, don’t be deceived.

What We Learned from Milton Friedman

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I am a big fan of Milton Friedman.  I’m also becoming a big fan of Creating Shared Value.  Some believe the two values are inconsistent, but I disagree.

milton-friedman-300x202In 2005, Reason Magazine posted an online debate between Friedman and Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey.  The debate coincided with the 35th anniversary of Friedmans’ famous The New York Times Magazine article entitled: : "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits." 

Now, 2005 was before Mr. Mackey became the darling of the tea party because of his defense of privatized medicine in 2009.  At the time, I’m sure, free marketers took sides with Friedman. 

But in that debate, Mackey makes a compelling case for businesses understanding the long-term effects of their operations and decisions—and for learning how to articulate the benefits of capitalism to society:

Both capitalism and corporations are misunderstood, mistrusted, and disliked around the world because of statements like Friedman’s on social responsibility. His comment is used by the enemies of capitalism to argue that capitalism is greedy, selfish, and uncaring. It is right up there with William Vanderbilt’s "the public be damned" and former G.M. Chairman Charlie Wilson’s declaration that "what’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa." If we are truly interested in spreading capitalism throughout the world (I certainly am), we need to do a better job marketing it. I believe if economists and business people consistently communicated and acted on my message that "the enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies," we would see most of the resistance to capitalism disappear.

Today, I have to admit, I agree with Mackey.  Milton Friedman’s 1970 article that the only social responsibility of the corporation is to maximize profits was not wrong.  It was poorly expressed. As Mackey points out, Friedman’s words have been (ab)used by leftists ever since—usually by leftists who’ve never read the article. 

Earlier in the debate, Mackey pointed out that Adam Smith’s less famous work focused, not on maximizing profits, but on maximizing value:

[E]conomists would be well served to read Smith’s other great book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. There he explains that human nature isn’t just about self-interest. It also includes sympathy, empathy, friendship, love, and the desire for social approval. As motives for human behavior, these are at least as important as self-interest. [hyperlink added]

We’ve learned many great ideas from Friedman, including the ridiculous cost of government hidden in a 32 cent pencil.  Free to Choose was the most important book on economics I read in high school.  I’m sure it was for many others, too. 

We also learned the importance of messaging from Dr. Friedman  by way of John Mackey.  We owe both men a debt of gratitude.  And we owe the great free market system our vigilance in promoting the political system that advanced humanity more than any.  By creating shared value, corporations keep the engine of liberty alive. 

On Friday, I’ll write more on the idea of Creating Shared Value. 

SOTUday Night Fever on KSDK 5

Reading Time: 1 minutes

I’ll participate on KSDK Channel 5’s post-SOTU discussion panel Tuesday following the State of the Union speech. (I being Bill Hennessy, in case you’re reading this from a news feed.)

I don’t know who my fellow panelists will be, but I think it’s pretty cool that a local network invited a tea partier to help break down the President’s State of the Union speech.

The speech starts at 8:00 p.m. CT Tuesday, January 25 on  KSDK 5. The analysis follows. 

Please tune in and tell your friends.  (Tweet, Facebook, email a link to this post, using the buttons below.) 

Other ideas to make the evening more meaningful:

* Start an office pool on what I wear

* Do a shot every time Barry says “perfectly clear”

* Draw a picture of Nancy Pelosi when John Boehner announces the President

* Have your kids interrupt with applause every time you say something really, really witty at the TV

* In the comments below, post the snarky answers I should have given instead of the lame, unintelligible responses I actually give

* Add your own ideas below

How to Carry on the Pilgrims’ Mission

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere.

Pilgrims1

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats. 

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities. 

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  –William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world. 

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.  

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive. 

How to Carry-On the Pilgrims’ Mission

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Conservatism and the Tea Party movement are good for America and good for the world.  Moreover, our beliefs, our theory of government, and our principles are good for people.  All people. Everywhere.

Pilgrim's Progress Map
Pilgrim’s Progress Map

That said, our marketing to date has been spotty at best and atrocious at worst. We don’t sell ourselves well.

By “marketing,” I don’t mean phoniness or deception. Rather, we must advance those ideas that will do the greatest good or avert the gravest harm. And we must advance them in terms and contexts that have meaning and value, not to us, but to the many who are less politically active than we are.

Put another way, we need to do less griping and complaining and more promoting of positive change.

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of being faster to complain than to compliment, explain, or promote.  It’s human nature.  Our negative emotion system is at least 3 times more sensitive than our positive one, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson.  That make sense, because our negative emotions allow us to flee or fight threats.

But our positive emotions are what make us human.  It’s through our positive emotions that we’re inspired to explore, learn, bond with others, and form communities.

We’ve all learned that the pilgrims left England fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps. But they weren’t fleeing anything when they left Holland 12 years later.  They were moving toward something greater.

When the pilgrims set sail across the Atlantic, they were seeking to explore an exciting new world.  Here are their words written as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World:

…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.  –William Bradford [source: Mansfield Group]

Bradford talks about moving toward something great, not away from something grave.  The pilgrims travelled with hope despite their understanding that hardship lay ahead.  In fact, if mere animal survival were involved, they would have stayed in England and formed.  That was the safest path. Only human positive emotions could lead people on such a perilous journey. That, and a strong faith in God.

Here’s what I will do to promote positive marketing for our cause.

For the coming year, I will write at least three positive posts for every one negative.  That’s quite a challenge for me.  Like William F. Buckley once said in response to a question about getting ideas for his weekly column, “That’s easy: the world irritates me three times a week.”

I’ll need your help.  Please post a comment or send me an email  (bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com) if you believe I’m failing to live up to my commitment of three positive posts for every negative post.  I need the help.  I’ll forget.

To make it easier on myself, beginning with this post, I plan to write a positive story every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If I write a negative one, it will be unscheduled, in response to events in the real world.

I ask you to do the same.  Please use the comments on this blog, Facebook, or Twitter, to post ideas that you think will inspire others to work for freedom, to overcome their fears and doubts.

Just as William Bradford’s words of hope inspire the pilgrims, and Ronald Reagan’s vision of a shining City on a Hill inspired us three decades ago, our movement can inspire generations to keep liberty alive.

Left Doubles Down on Threats

Reading Time: 1 minutes

What would you do? 

Suppose you did something stupid.  You blamed the wrong person, for instance, for a capital crime.  Then supposed one of your comrades compounded your . . . error . . . by threatening to kill someone on national television?

BillMaherAngryIf you’re an American leftist, you might double down by issuing even more death threats to even more people.

That’s what’ happening right now in America.  Death threats are pouring into Trent Humphries, Tucson Tea Party organizer, Dana Loesch, Sarah Palin (who vows not to be silenced), Glenn Beck, and more.  The self-proclaimed conscience of America—collectivist lefists—have essentially declared war on the right. 

Gateway Pundit and the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition issued a press release on January 17 denouncing the left’s continued threat of violence as means of advancing its anti-liberty agenda.

To counter the left’s increasing vitriol and violence, please publicly thank three people today.

I’ll start:

Thank you, Jim Hoft, for bringing to our attention the mounting threats Trent Humphries is receiving.

Thank you, Jen Ennenbach for crafting a great press release on the issues.

Thank you, Dana Loesch, for continuing to keep our voices in the national ear.

And a bonus:  thank you for honoring by reading my little web missives. 

*UPDATE* J. Eric Fuller issues apology to Trent Humphries.