Government by bureaucracy

Congress passes a handful of laws each year.  But government agencies pass several thousands of regulations each year, which have the force of law.  Democracies elect their lawmakers and law enforcers, but no one elects the bureaucrats, who are now increasingly performing the functions of government and are running the country.

This is a global phenomenon and is one of the major reasons Great Britain voted to exit the all-bureaucratic European Union.

A practical problem of this arrangement is that agencies are issuing so many dictates that the public doesn’t even know what they are–until they suddenly find themselves in legal trouble for breaking them.

In fact, no one even knows how many federal agencies there are!  A congressional hearing disclosed that one official tally lists 60 and another lists 115, noting that there “is no authoritative list of government agencies.” [Read more…]

No exemptions for church services “open to the public”?

The Iowa Civl Rights Act forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Churches have an exemption for “a bona fide religious purpose.”  But the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has ruled that if a church service “is open to the public,” it is a “public accommodation” that may not discriminate.

This would mean a congregation must allow only members to attend worship services, excluding visitors and non-members.

UPDATE:  The commission is now clarifying that it didn’t have in mind “worship services,” just services offered by the church, in the sense of child care, food pantries, etc.

[Read more…]

Hillary Clinton let off the hook

The FBI director scolded Hillary Clinton for her illegal e-mail set-up and her careless handling of classified information.  But then he said that no charges would be filed against her.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” he said,  “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges.”  Of course they do.  And one factor for administration prosecutors is that the violator of the statutes is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. [Read more…]

Celebrating our liberties, including those at risk

On this Independence Day, we celebrate our freedoms as Americans. It’s a good exercise to read The Declaration of Independence, and it’s also a good exercise to read the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to our Constitution, spelling out what those freedoms are.

Read the list of our civil liberties after the jump.  As you do, consider which of these are currently under attack–by our own government, by government-connected organizations such as public universities, and by other entities. [Read more…]

Christian pharmacists must stock abortifacients

A Christian-owned pharmacy chain refuses to stock “emergency contraception” drugs on the grounds that they cause abortion.  The state of Washington wants to compel the chain to carry the drugs, even though that would violate the owner’s religious beliefs.  The case would seem to be similar to that of Hobby Lobby, which won a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing it to opt out of Obamacare requirements.  But this time the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  The pharmacies will have to sell the products.

In addition to the pro-life and religious liberty issues, I would think there would be business liberty issues.  Should the government really be able to mandate what products a retailer has to stock? [Read more…]

The Weimar problem

From George Will:

“Every republic,” writes Charles Kesler, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, “eventually faces what might be called the Weimar problem.” It arrives when a nation’s civic culture has become so debased that the nation no longer has “the virtues necessary to sustain republican government.”

Read my comments and questions after the jump.

[Read more…]


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