Category Archives: Government Power

“The Immense and Tutelary Power”

I think I quoted this passage from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, last year, but have enlarged the context.  Is this a description of the centralized command and control bureaucratic government that we [sic] have been creating over the past 100 years or so?  And is Tocqueville on to something?  Feel free to comment. “So I think that the type of oppression by which democratic peoples are threatened will resemble nothing of what preceded it in the world; our… Continue Reading ››

How Big Should Government Be? The Politicians’ Answer

At the Democratic candidate debate last week, Bernie Sanders was asked how big government should be.  His response was illuminating, as was Hillary Clinton’s response to Sanders’ answer.  Here is part of what he said: WOODRUFF: “And, welcome back to this PBS Newshour debate, Democratic debate, here in Milwaukee. Let’s get right to the questions.  Senator Sanders, to you first. Coming off the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are many voters who are taking a closer look at you,… Continue Reading ››

To Scrutinize or Not to Scrutinize

OK, today I am going to get into a “wonky” mode and address an issue that always has bothered me when my mind is jogged.  Today the issue is strict scrutiny.  What, you may ask, is that?  Strict Scrutiny (SS) is a principle applied by Federal courts that first distinguishes between the importance attached to different rights and then evaluates government action that affects those rights that it considers most important with a more critical eye.  Courts will require a… Continue Reading ››

A Tale of Two Kinds of Institutions

I must first apologize for the length of this post.  It is a bit involved, but because the subject is not so simple as we sometimes would like to believe.  As I consider the current state of government and of colleges and universities, and their dysfunction, I can’t help but do so in terms of a classification of types.  This is not a sacrosanct way to think about the way institutions operate, nor would I say that there a many… Continue Reading ››

President Obama and Executive Power

In 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover for the presidency of the United States.  In his campaign, he had promised American voters a “New Deal.”  Little known to most Americans today, Hoover had prepared the way for Roosevelt’s New Deal with several initiatives like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and public works like the Boulder Dam.  Roosevelt, however, would take these precedents and expand them to the extreme.  During his first 100 days in office, Congress passed everything he wanted… Continue Reading ››