Thursday, February 3, 2022

Thirty Is Not Thirty-One

 Commentary on this point ought to be unnecessary, so before I bother to try to explain this further, I'll just leave this here and see how it goes.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

After Thirty Days Had Passed

  1. April 30, 2021.
  2. May 31, 2021.
  3. August 30, 2021.
  4. September 30, 2021.
  5. October 31, 2021.
  6. December 1, 2021.
  7. January 1, 2022.

This is a list of the dates (so far) when the thirty days of the then-latest renewal term of Indiana's State of Disaster Emergency had been exhausted but the pending renewal had yet to take effect.  I have no idea what would lead the Governor's office to schedule these renewals so as to allow the COVID-19 State of Disaster Emergency repeatedly expire.  When I first noticed that dates were being skipped, I felt certain that it was being done inadvertently.  However, it has now happened seven times (so far) since April 2021, including the last four in a row.  The longer this continues, the more difficult it becomes to believe that it is an accident, but it would make no sense to do this on purpose.  By the terms of IC 10-14-3-12(a)(2), a State of Disaster Emergency expires and terminates after thirty days unless a renewal keeps it going for another thirty days.  The renewal must, of course, begin the new thirty day period where the one preceding it ends; if the State of Disaster Emergency is permitted to expire, then there will no longer be anything left to renew.  Unless Governor Holcomb wants the State of Disaster Emergency to end (which he can bring about at will whenever he might choose to do so), it is unwise to repeatedly schedule renewals to take effect a full day after the latest thirty-day term has been exhausted.  If Indiana law were being followed, here, the State of Disaster Emergency should have ended on April 30th, 2021, or, failing that, on any one of the other six of the seven dates above.

I cannot explain why this is being done; I can only call attention to the fact that it is.

(I can also add: If you know anyone who has been dead on seven separate occasions, each time for a full twenty-four hours, then that person has something in common with Indiana's COVID-19 State of Disaster Emergency.)

Thursday, December 30, 2021


“VIII. There remain, however, various important questions yet to be answered, and many other titles to property yet to be examined.  Why, it has been asked, should man be allowed to appropriate more than is necessary for his support?  We ask, what support is meant?  The momentary satisfying of his hunger, by shooting a deer, plucking a fruit?  Is he allowed to shoot several deer and dry the meat for the winter?  Is he not allowed to cultivate a tree, which shall give him fruit for certainty, so that he may not be exposed again to hunger, the pain of which he knows already?  May he not cultivate a patch of land to have corn for his children?  If he has slain a buck to satisfy his hunger, is he allowed to appropriate the skin to himself and call it his own?  If the industrious fisherman sails to the bank of Newfoundland to appropriate to himself the unappropriated codfish, has he no right to catch as many as he thinks he and his children shall want for the whole year?  But they cannot live upon codfish alone; may he not take so many codfish as to exchange part of them for other food, for clothing?  Does supporting his family not include the sending of his children to school?  May he not catch some more to save the money he may obtain for it, that, should he perish at sea, his wife and children may not suffer from want or become a burthen to others?  Where does the meaning of support stop?  Why should it apply to the satisfying of physical wants only?  There are wants far higher than these—the wants of civilisation.  We want accumulated property; without it, no ease; without ease, no leisure; without leisure, no earnest and persevering pursuit of knowledge, no high degree of national civilisation.  Aristotle already lays it down as the basis of high civilisation, to be free and have leisure.  Still the question would remain, why have private property?  It is the very ease which we are promised by those who recommend to us a system of common property.

 “IX. Each man is a being of himself, an individual his individuality is all-important.  He has a natural aversion to being absorbed in an undefined generality.  From early childhood man feels an anxiety to be a distinct individual, to express it, and consequently to individualise everything around him.  Man must ever represent in the outward world, that which moves his inmost soul, the inmost agents of his mind.  Property is nothing else than the application of man’s individuality to external things, or the realisation and manifestation of man’s individuality in the material world.  Man cannot be, never was, without property, without mine and thine.  If he could he would not be man.  In all stages of civilisation, at all ages of his life, we find him anxious to individualise things, to rescue them as it were from undefined generality—to appropriate.  It is a desire most deeply implanted in man . . . And why should this anxiety have been so deeply implanted in the human breast?  Because, as will be shown, private property is the most powerful agent in the promotion of civilisation; an agent which has this striking peculiarity, that while it originates with man’s individuality, it is at the same time the surest and firmest bond of society.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Reason and Purpose

“XXXIX.  As to the second question: Are politics susceptible of being treated in an ethic point of view? the answer is simply this: Either the state, and all the institutions and laws which have emanated from it, exist for the satisfaction of an ambitious and interested or privileged few, or the state is an institution for a distinct moral end, or politics are the effect of mere chance.  One of the three must necessarily be the case.  The first is so repugnant to every man’s feeling as well as to common sense, that none have ever dared publicly to acknowledge it, however they may have been inclined to act on some such view.  If man is a rational being, the state must have a rational end, i. e. it must be founded in reason, which would not be the case, were it a mere contrivance for the benefit, or rather the satisfaction of the desires and appetites of a few.  For science would then have to single out the few, and establish scientifically their claims.  None can possibly be above reason.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

To Make Freedom Work

“The freer a country, that is, the more action is guaranteed to every individual, the more necessary becomes a well-founded and general knowledge of political duty.  Without it, that free action will serve but for evil ends.

“No doubt can be entertained, but that there are at all times, among millions, some individuals endowed with great gifts, with talents equal to those of the eminent and successful men of happier periods, but they cannot make and construct a state, and breathe into it the inspiration of life, nor can they guide it by the noblest principles, if the people do not correspond to their exertions, or if the times do not call upon them.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Even the best laws could not relieve us of our responsibilities....

“Many subjects, however, though useful or necessary to some, are not so to every one.  Political ethics may form a very proper branch for a leading statesman, or the citizen who makes a profession of politics, yet ought they to be well understood by every body?  Is it, in particular, necessary to instruct the young in them?  I believe they are most emphatically so.  It is every man’s business to know his duty, and his duties as citizen are among the most sacred and important, especially so in countries which enjoy civil liberty, and have what is commonly, though inaptly called a free government.  The success of the whole, depends upon the whole; and there is no subject connected with the state, which does not vitally affect the interests of every one.  Laws and institutions are nothing more than dead forms of words, unless they operate.  Constitutions do not create liberty; political welfare cannot be decreed or effected by an edict or statute.  Liberty must grow and live, live in the heart of every one, not only as an ardent desire, or an indefinite though exciting notion, but as a knowledge of our political obligations and a profound reverence for political morality.”


“The wisest statesman is in this respect but like the poet.  He cannot delight, elevate or inspire, unless the elements to act upon are in the hearts of the hearers.  He cannot make new truths, and if he could, how could he gain entrance for them into the hearts of the people, who were wanting in the very sense to perceive them?  But he can boldly and strikingly pronounce what until then was but dimly felt in the soul of the hearer, or latent though unperceived in his heart.  So can the statesman clearly pronounce and boldly act out or gradually cultivate what was but vaguely felt by the masses, he can concentrate what was scattered, awaken what was dormant, impel, regulate, restrain, but he cannot create his elements.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

Friday, September 17, 2021

In the Application of Natural Law

 “The confusion of natural law and politics proper has produced evil, and not unfrequently disastrous consequences.  On the one hand, men have seen that, without establishing firm and absolute principles, all would be confusion and insecurity.  On the other hand, they have been so far misled by principles drawn from natural law, as to judge every political question by theory alone, disavowing experience, expedience, and a due regard to the elements which were given wherewith to work....”

“Again, men felt that the abstract principles of natural law were insufficient to guide them in many practical cases, and they fell into the error of rejecting it altogether, relying only on power as the foundation of all right, on mere expediency as the sole guide of political action.

“Analogous to the term abstract law for natural law, we might call this branch applied law, which would include both political, civil and penal law, in as far as it remains general.  The existing law is called positive.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Natural Law

 “It appears to me, that the only axiom necessary to establish the science of natural law is this: ‘I exist as a human being, therefore I have a right to exist as a human being.’  This once acknowledged, the rights of men in their various relations as individuals, husbands, or wives, fathers or mothers, as citizens individually and collectively in the state to other independent states and to the collective citizens within the state, may consistently and justly be established.  Though some ancient and modern writers have maintained that no right exists antecedent to the magistracy deriving the right of this from some extra-political, and in some cases even from some extra-human source, it is nevertheless true, that if we do not deny our own existence and the existence of truth, the reality and truth of natural law can be scientifically and irresistibly established with as much certainty as that of other sciences....”

“Natural Law then inquires into the rights of man to be derived from his nature, both physical and moral, for the latter is closely connected with the former; it inquires into quid sit justum aut injustum, not into quid sit juris, (what is law or lawful).  The word nature is a term used in so many various significations, that it has led to great confusion of ideas in several branches; and it is not an uncommon mistake to believe that natural law is that law which existed in the erroneously supposed state of nature, on which, as has been indicated already, I shall have to dwell in the next book.  The law of nature, or natural law, on the contrary is the law, the body of rights, which we deduce from the essential nature of man....”

“Nor are natural law and moral law or ethics the same.  The difference is material.  Ethics treat, among other subjects, of the duties of man, and secondarily of his rights derivable from his duties; natural law, on the other hand, treats, as the fundamental and primary subject, of man’s rights, and secondarily of his obligations flowing from the fact of each man’s being possessed of the same rights.  This distinction, though essential, has been, and to this day is frequently overlooked.  An equally good name with that of natural law, might be abstract law or pure law, as we have pure mathematics.”

-Francis Lieber, Manual of Political Ethics