Reductio ad Wickard

A federal judge has ruled that ObamaCare's individual mandate is Constitutional and thus brings to fruition the inevitable, ridiculous result of Wickard v. Filburn.

In 1942, the recently packed FDR Court ruled in Wickard v. Filburn that a farmer who grew wheat for his own consumption could be penalized by the United States federal government under its Commerce Clause authority. The Court reasoned that growing his own wheat with no intention of ever allowing it to leave his farm, much less cross state lines in commerce, meant he wouldn’t need to buy as much wheat. Therefore, his actions affected interstate commerce, bringing them into the sphere of federal government control.

This one decision, more than any other, forms the foundation of the modern regulatory state. With Wickard, the pretense that the federal government was one of limited, enumerated powers was effectively tossed aside.

And now a federal judge has ruled that ObamaCare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. Judge George Steeh has now removed even the minimal requirement of acting from the analysis and thus brings to fruition the inevitable, ridiculous result of Wickard:

The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket is plainly economic…. Far from ‘inactivity,’ by choosing to forgo i

FILED UNDER: Health Care, Law and the Courts,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Steve Plunk says:

    We can dream of Wickard being a thing of the past but I don’t have confidence it will ever be. I suppose if I think about taking a vacation to California but change my mind I have influenced interstate commerce and therefore my thoughts can now be regulated.

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    “In 1942, the recently packed FDR Court ”

    FDR’s court packing failed in 1936…..you really need to improve your history knowledge. I can’t wait to see the consequences if Scalia and Thomas throw out the interstate commerce clause.

  3. Bill Jempty says:

    Brummagem Joe writes-

    “In 1942, the recently packed FDR Court ”

    FDR’s court packing failed in 1936…..you really need to improve your history knowledge.

    No, Dodd is correct. The USSC in 1942 consisted of 8 FDR appointees and Owen Roberts. It is you who needs to improve your history knowledge.

  4. Davebo says:

    “No, Dodd is correct. The USSC in 1942 consisted of 8 FDR appointees and Owen Roberts. It is you who needs to improve your history knowledge.”

    Yes, but not through any court packing scheme but by serving in office for more than 12 years.

  5. Tano says:

    ““No, Dodd is correct. The USSC in 1942 consisted of 8 FDR appointees and Owen Roberts. ”

    No, Dodd is most certainly wrong, and so are you.
    In ’42 there were seven FDR appointees plus Roberts and Harlan Stone as Chief – promoted to that position by FDR, but first appointed as an Associate by Coolidge.

    And none of the FDR appointments were through “packing” the Court, but rather came about in the normal manner.

    You could have figured that out from the fact that there were 9 justices at the time, and the whole point of the packing scheme (which never was implemented) was to increase the number of justices beyond the nine.

  6. Tano says:

    “…a farmer who grew wheat for his own consumption could be penalized by the United States federal government under its Commerce Clause authority.”:

    And, for the record, to claim that the farmer in this case was growing the wheat “for his own consumption” is highly misleading. It is not the case that he was growing it so he could bake his own bread. He was growing it as feed for his chickens – and he raised chickens as a business. So yes, this wheat was some small part of the larger chicken-raising industry.

  7. Alan Kellogg says:

    What happened to the Supreme Court of the US amounts to packing, since it wound up with a majority of Roosevelt appointees. That’s what matters, not how long it took.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    Bill Jempty says:
    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 18:46
    “No, Dodd is correct. The USSC in 1942 consisted of 8 FDR appointees and Owen Roberts. It is you who needs to improve your history knowledge.”

    This is NOT court packing. This is appointing justices in the normal way. Court packing was when FDR attempted to increase the size of the court in 1936/37. Using your definition Bush was packing the court when he appointed Roberts and Alito.

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    Alan Kellogg says:
    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 23:58
    “What happened to the Supreme Court of the US amounts to packing,”

    I never fail to be surprised at the creativity of extreme conservative partisans in rewriting definitions. Democratic presidents appointing justices is “court packing.” Highways are not infrastructure. Liberal judges are all “activists’ while conservative judges overturning 100 years of precedent are not. The war on terror is as big as WW 2. Obama is Hitler (that’s when he’s not being Stalin). These people prostitute and demean the language in exactly the way Orwell predicted.

  10. Dodd says:

    What happened to the Supreme Court of the US amounts to packing, since it wound up with a majority of Roosevelt appointees. That’s what matters, not how long it took..

    This is, of course, what I meant. My apologies to anyone who mistook my small rhetorical flourish as signifying more than it did.

  11. Wickard is the poison fruit that turned the Commerce Clause into something that allows the Congress to do whatever it wants regardless of the boundaries of the Constitution, and it represents perhaps the greatest example of judicial malfeasance in our history (Korematsu being the other example)

    Unless and until it’s overturned, the damage the Congress does on a daily basis in the name of “commerce” will continue unabated.

    Sadly, as I mentioned in my own post on the Michigan decision, the odds of their being more than a single vote in favor of returning sanity to Commerce Clause jurisprudence on the Supreme Court are fairly high.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    “My apologies to anyone who mistook my small rhetorical flourish as signifying more than it did”

    Except this is not court packing as AK suggests. Bush changed the complexion of the court with Alito and Roberts and that no more “amounts” to court packing than FDR’s regular appointments did. I don’t dispute FDR changed the complexion of the court simply because he was president for so long. But any talk of “packing” is a purely rhetorical flourish.

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    “and it represents perhaps the greatest example of judicial malfeasance in our history ”

    I think we’ll consign this to the “Obama is Hitler” hyperbole bin Doug. I don’t dispute it accelerated the centralizing tendencies that had been growing since the turn of the century but there have been plenty of other laws that expanded federal power. I’m not a lawyer Doug so I’m definitely not going to take you on over this one but according to one of my sons who is a fairly conservative lawyer (Federalist society etc) overturning this would drive a tank through the entire structure of the US legal system and therefore to do so would be a massive act of judicial destruction.

  14. overturning this would drive a tank through the entire structure of the US legal system

    Sometimes, things are so corrupt to the core that that is the only option you have.

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Sometimes, things are so corrupt to the core that that is the only option you have.

    Another for the hyperbole bin I tnink. It’s this sort of comment than makes me believe that Libertarianism is essentialy nihilistic.

  16. Call it the hyperbole bin if you want, Joe, but if it weren’t for judges being willing to overturn long-standing and yet horribly, horribly wrong precedent cases like Dred Scott and Plessy would still be good law.

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    “horribly, horribly wrong precedent cases like Dred Scott and Plessy would still be good law.”

    Funnily enough these were the two cases that leapt to mind when you said somewhat hyperbolically that Wickard

    ” represents perhaps the greatest example of judicial malfeasance in our history ”

    Thinking that Wickard is as remotely pernicious in its effects on society as Scott suggests a somewhat distorted view of our polity imho.

  18. Davebo says:

    “Sometimes, things are so corrupt to the core that that is the only option you have.”

    Not really Doug.

    You could always use the second amendment as so many other more prominent Republicans have suggested of late.

    “Elections matter, so long as we win them!”

  19. Rick DeMent says:

    Doug,

    You either have no idea what you are talking about with regard to how commerce is practiced in the modern world or you simply lack the ability to ponder anything beyond the scope fo you own navel. The fact if the matter is that there is almost nothing that isn’t “interstate” commerce anymore and precious little that isn’t intra-global. You can hardly cut your own toenails without involving intra-global trade let alone interstate.

    Face it, the world is a much smaller place then it was in 1787 and no temper tantrum on the part of libertarians will change that. as long as hospitals are required to treat sick people at their door we not only have socialized medicine, we have had it since long before your dad was born. Moreover, it has an impact on all of use in our intractability interstate economy. More and more the decisions that states make have an effect on us all form what our kids get to read in textbooks to where you have to go to sue someone. The was a time when a corporation could not hold any assets outside of the state they in which they were incorporated. So until I see you advocating that ruling overturned your whining about the monolithic nature of the commerce clause is kind of silly.

  20. Rick,

    Your gratuitous insults notwithstanding, it’s fairly clear that you are one of those people for whom the Constitution is whatever you want it to be.

    That’s a fine political philosophy, but as a method of judging it has no intellectual merit whatsoever.

  21. Dodd says:

    The problem with Wickard’s expansive view of the Commerce Clause (beyond the way it strains common sense to pull even patently intrastate activity into the C’s sphere) is that “regulate” as used in the Constitution means “make regular” not “control.” The purpose of the Commerce Clause is to ensure regularity amongst the States in matters of trade, not give the federal government authority to stick its nose into every economic transaction.

  22. floyd says:

    Rick;
    You’re displaying a lack of common sense which allows you and your ilk to be lead down a primrose path to a world where you find yourself KNOWING something is wrong, but supporting it anyway, because of convoluted reasoning resulting in bad precedent, and bad interpretation of precedent, all done intentionally to reach a desired conclusion…
    Constitution be damned!
    You are right, the world is a much smaller place than it used to be, It is now a place where Lady Liberty might well be stoned to death in the public square,a place where decent people have no place to turn, a place where her defense is more crucial than at any other time in history.
    There is no longer a frontier where she can retreat and recupperate, if we don’t stand in the public square and defend her, she will die,at the hands of the ignorant, and with her the hopes of all mankind.

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    floyd says:
    Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 17:17
    Rick;
    “You’re displaying a lack of common sense”

    Actually Rick is the one displaying the common sense which is why (as Doug concedes) the law will almost certainly not be overturned. You on the other hand are dispensing naive and histrionic bromides.

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    Rick DeMent says:
    Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 16:16

    You describe reality well. The whole Libertarian denial of reality is bizarre unless you think the US can be turned back into the sort of eastern seaboard primarily agrarian economy that existed in 1815. Nihilism is pervasive in the texts they venerate.

  25. Joe,

    That I accept the fact that SCOTUS is likely to uphold the Constitutionality of the mandates does not mean that their decision will be correct. In fact, much like the Court’s decisions in Dred Scott, Plessy, the Slaugherhouse Cases, Schenck v. US, Korematsu, Wickard, and Kelo, it will go down as yet another Constitutional travesity from the cowards in the black robes.

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 08:50
    Joe,

    ‘That I accept the fact that SCOTUS is likely to uphold the Constitutionality of the mandates”

    And why are likely to uphold them Doug?

  27. Because of 70+ years of bad Commerce Clause precedent that started with the insanely wrong Wickard decision

  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Because of 70+ years of bad Commerce Clause precedent that started with the insanely wrong Wickard decision”

    They had no problem over turning 70 year precedents relating to election spending so why is this precedent SO different? So unique?

  29. Joe,

    Name the 70 year old cases that were “overturned” by Citizens United

    You won’t find any.

    I suggest you actually read the case rather than falling for the Maddow-Obama talking points about it.

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Name the 70 year old cases that were “overturned” by Citizens United”

    I don’t know about Maddow because I’ve literally never seen her show but four justices led by Stevens seemed to think some longstanding precedents going back to the TR era were over turned.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-overturns-campaign-finance-limits-corporations/story?id=9269776

    So instead of dodging my question why don’t you explain why the court is so unlikely to overturn Wickard?

  31. floyd says:

    Joe;
    Maybe you were right in calling me naive in crediting him, and people like you, with knowing right from wrong?
    …. but , if so, how would you know?[lol]

  32. Joe,

    The cases mentioned in that article were from 1990 and 2003 respectively, so where is the 70 year old precedent that Citizens United supposedly overturned ?

    And I didn’t dodge your question, I responded to it. The Supreme Court is likely to uphold the mandates because it is easier for them to follow 70 years of bad precedent than have the intellectual courage to admit that their predecessors were wrong.

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 10:20
    Joe,

    “The cases mentioned in that article were from 1990 and 2003 respectively, so where is the 70 year old precedent that Citizens United supposedly overturned ?”

    So what was this then(from the article I linked to)?

    “In a 5-4 decision, the court called into question the constitutionality of all federal and state regulation of independent corporate political advocacy, including a federal law dating back to 1947 and the laws of dozens of states.”

    “And I didn’t dodge your question, I responded to it. The Supreme Court is likely to uphold the mandates because it is easier for them to follow 70 years of bad precedent than have the intellectual courage to admit that their predecessors were wrong.”

    So now Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy are all moral cowards? (I take it as a given you think Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg and Breyer are)

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug as I was the first to say I’m not equipped to argue finer legal points but there’s no question a lot of precedent was overturned by the decision on election spending Viz:

    “The court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people,” Stevens wrote, “who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.”

    I’m not short of lawyers in my family (two ivy schools and one that thinks it’s better than an ivy) and all three of them (one conservative and two libs) think any talk of overturning the commerce clause is legal insanity not because it’s easy. So tell us why they aren’t going to do it instead of bs’ing.

  35. Again Joe, there were no “70 year old precedents” overruled in Citizens United, nor is the “radical” departure from First Amendment law that the President and other critics claim it to be.

    As I said, read the opinion rather than what the media tells you about it.

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 10:47
    “Again Joe, there were no “70 year old precedents” overruled in Citizens United, nor is the “radical” departure from First Amendment law that the President and other critics claim it to be. ”

    Apparently four of the justices didn’t agree and neither did the president (President Harvard Law Review and Chicago LS Constitutional law teacher) which is why he publicly rebuked the justices.

    But I’m still waiting for you tell us the real reason why a conservative dominated court is not likely to over turn Wickard.

  37. john says:

    Wow. I actually agree with pretty much everything Doug had said here. Write this date down 🙂

    And Tano, by your logic, even using the wheat to make his own bread would affect commerce since he’d be disrupting bakeries. So you apparently think that EVERY activity could “constitutionally” be regulated.

    Heck, your commenting here is affecting the ad revenue (commerce) of actual legal- specializing websites because you don’t visit those sites. I’m going to push for a regulation banning you from posting here.

  38. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug is obviously not going to give us a straight answer on why a conservative dominated court is very unlikely to over turn Wickard. Probably because he knows it would expose the total inanity of his position.

  39. Joe,

    I’ll ignore the gratuitous insult and state yet again that I already answered your question.

    And as for my “insanity,” was it insane for people to think in 1952 that Plessy should be overturned. After all it was a 50 year old precedent and we have to “respect” precedent don’t we ?

  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 11:38
    Joe,

    “I’ll ignore the gratuitous insult and state yet again that I already answered your question.”

    Oh yeah, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy are moral cowards who would rather take the easy road of following bad precedents. I’d forgotten that was your answer. Maybe you can get away with that in your legal venues in VA but it wouldn’t pass muster around our Thanksgiving lunch table I can tell you.

  41. Tano says:

    “And Tano, by your logic, even using the wheat to make his own bread would affect commerce..”

    Actually, John, you manage to refute your own argument with those well-chosen words that you use. The issue is not whether something “affects” commerce, it is whether something IS commerce.

    There is a very clear distinction between activity that involves interaction with the rest of society – the exchange of goods and services – i.e. business – and activity that does not, which is private.

    The man had a chicken-raising business – those activities were “commerce”. The manner in which he procured the materials (in this case, chicken feed) were inherently part of his commercial activity. Yes, his growing wheat affected the larger market for animal feed, but the key point was that this activity was itself part of a commercial enterprise.

    Growing wheat for your own personal consumption might indirectly affect the wheat markets, in that you remove yourself from them as a consumer, but this activity is not, in itself, commercial. It is not part of an enterprise of exchanging goods and services with others in society.

    The Constitution clearly empowers the government to regulate ALL commercial activity, if the people, through their elected officials, choose to do so. The only limitation is for commercial activity that does not involve activity in more than one state – a situation which, for better or worse, is increasingly rare. Health care, and indeed, health insurance, is dominated by interstate players and activity.

  42. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 11:38
    Joe,

    I’ll ignore the gratuitous insult and state yet again that I already answered your question…
    And as for my “insanity,”

    Doug, inane doesn’t mean insane as you apparently think it does. It means lacking in substance or imagination. And since you’re clearly not going to give the real reasons why Wickard is not likely to be reversed it is because it impacts a vast body of settled civil and criminal law and changing it would introduce an element of uncertainty and stasis that would affect every private and public institution in the country. I’ve heard it likened to letting loose a major computer virus. It would paralyse large areas of the law and you don’t know where it’s going to go. Your proposal to overturn it meets the inane standard.

  43. Joe,

    I don’t think that the consequences would be quite as dire as you do, and if a little temporary chaos is the price to be paid to put the Federal Government back within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, then that is quite honestly a price I’m willing to pay.

    Now, go ahead, because I know you’re going to call me insane, or a wingnut, or whatever.

  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 13:52

    “I don’t think that the consequences would be quite as dire as you do,”

    It’s not me were talking about is it? The conservative justices who would love to kill this on principle but aren’t likely to because it could become a train wreck. Roberts is a contract lawyer so he has some inkling. You know this as well as I do so why not be honest about it instead of hiding behind casuistry.

    “Now, go ahead, because I know you’re going to call me insane, or a wingnut, or whatever.”

    Doug, I repeat, inane doesn’t mean insane as you apparently think it does. It means lacking in substance or imagination. And yes on this issue your position is inane( and I avoid name calling like the plague btw)

  45. Joe,

    In this case it’s rather clear that “inane” merely means I disagree with you.

  46. anjin-san says:

    What happened to the Supreme Court of the US amounts to packing,

    No, it amounts to FDR having a very long tenure as President, and doing his job while he was in office. This is not court packing, and to say it is either shows that you need to take some remedial US history courses or that you don’t mind making things up to support a weak argument.

  47. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 13:52
    “and if a little temporary chaos is the price to be paid to put the Federal Government back within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, then that is quite honestly a price I’m willing to pay.”

    A nihilistic statement that would have done credit to Lenin and is entirely consistent with the Libertarian philosophy (as I’ve observed several times).

  48. Oh good lord, Joe that’s just the most ridiculous piece of nonsense I’ve read in a long, long time.

    I’m done with this argument.

    Cheers

  49. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 14:23
    “In this case it’s rather clear that “inane” merely means I disagree with you”

    Well since you yourself seem to think that the Justices will agree with me…perhaps not.

  50. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 14:32
    “Oh good lord, Joe that’s just the most ridiculous piece of nonsense I’ve read in a long, long time.”

    No hint of nihilism in this ? :

    “and if a little temporary chaos is the price to be paid to put the Federal Government back within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, then that is quite honestly a price I’m willing to pay.”

    Looks like inane isn’t the only word you don’t know the meaning of (what do they teach at GM?)

    Definition of NIHILISM
    2a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility

  51. Dodd says:

    Heh. Obviously this

    and if a little temporary chaos is the price to be paid to put the Federal Government back within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, then that is quite honestly a price I’m willing to pay

    is the opposite of this

    a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility

    and yet you keep pounding on that word as if you’re actually making an argument. I confess, I’ve never seen someone self-annihilate an argument about nihilism before. That’s a delightfully recursive form of epic fail.

    And while we’re at it, it’s almost as obvious you don’t understand the meaning of the word “precedent” or the essential point of either the post you’re arguing about or the ruling that gave rise to it. Contrary to your assertion, the issue is absolutely, and quite explicitly, whether or not something “affects” commerce — and whether or not that opens it up to control by the federal government.

  52. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:41

    “and yet you keep pounding on that word as if you’re actually making an argument. I confess, I’ve never seen someone self-annihilate an argument about nihilism before. ….Heh. Obviously this…is the opposite of this”

    I beg to differ because it very obviously isn’t… I think you have some literacy or comprehension problems Mr Dodd. The “social organisation” in this particular case is the commerce clause. This is more or less what revolutionary nihilists have been saying ever since 1789 as Edmund Burke would explain to you were he around.

    “and if a little temporary chaos is the price to be paid to (fill in this space) then that is quite honestly a price I’m willing to pay”

    And that’s about all the effort I’m willing to lavish on someone who has difficulty understanding rather simple philosophical concepts.

  53. clarenancy says:

    A clause != a social organization

  54. Dodd says:

    I beg to differ because it very obviously isn’t… I think you have some literacy or comprehension problems Mr Dodd. The “social organisation” in this particular case is the commerce clause.

    And the self-annihilation continues. Throughout this thread you’ve persistently responded to Doug’s comments by accusing all libertarians of the absurd charge of being nihilists. The only cognizable “social organization” to which to apply the definition you yourself supplied is the United States as a whole, not one clause of its founding document the relatively recent (historically speaking) interpretation of which (and its effect on said whole) is the subject of the debate. With the definition you yourself supplied thus rationally applied, it’s quite obvious that to respond to his express (and even quoted by you) goal of restoring the Constitutional order by saying he wants to destroy the entire social organization without regard to any constructive purpose is beyond illogical; it’s insane.

    It is laughable to suggest that it’s “nihilist” to disagree with a mid-20th century fundamental change in the understanding of a single late-18th century turn of phrase. The clause isn’t a social organization; it’s a mere handful of the 4,400 words in the Constitution that sets forth the ground rules of a segment (the government) of the actual social organization: American society. That handful of words has been knowingly misconstrued for two generations to blow it completely out of proportion in the service of the expansion of central government, but even so it still doesn’t define the social organization or stand proxy for it.

    I thought the semantic chaff hurling over my lede was silly, but your argument is utterly nonsensical. Which, I suppose, explains why you have to resort so often to insults to shore it up.

  55. Andy says:

    @Dodd,

    You claim that this decision represents a significant extension of Wickard because it allows regulation of non-action as well as action. I’m wondering if you’re approaching that from a logical or a legal perspective.

    If legal, IANAL, so I won’t comment. But from a logical perspective, I think we should be able to agree that either outcome of a decision about whether to participate is equally an action. If you see a fire and decline to call the fire department, that’s a choice you’re responsible for. Same thing with refusal to participate in an insurance pool.

  56. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 00:58

    Mr Dodd, I’m not here to remedy the deficiencies of the US educational system by deconstructing dictionary definitions of nihilism but in the interests of broadening a rather narrow mind I’ll try. Nihilism is a philosophical concept that can apply to virtually any type of human behavior or construct. It can be but doesn’t have to be about polities.You clearly don’t have the remotest idea of what it really means and it probably won’t do much good but here’s a full description. You should read it since you’re the radical sceptic they’re talking about.

    NIHILISM
    Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness–have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the existentialists helped popularize tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential. By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.

  57. Dodd says:

    Mr Dodd, I’m not here to remedy the deficiencies of the US educational system by deconstructing dictionary definitions of nihilism but in the interests of broadening a rather narrow mind I’ll try. Nihilism is a philosophical concept that can apply to virtually any type of human behavior or construct. It can be but doesn’t have to be about polities.You clearly don’t have the remotest idea of what it really means and it probably won’t do much good but here’s a full description. You should read it since you’re the radical sceptic they’re talking about.

    I believe that (unless you’re simply trolling) you genuinely think you’re advancing your (alleged) argument. But it’s quite plain to anyone with a basic grasp of elementary school English that you’re just digging the hole deeper. When you support your own position by offering a definition of a word and then assert that things that are plainly incompatible with said definition are in accord with it, insulting your detractor’s education doesn’t help you. Doubling down on the insults when confronted with said logical error merely makes you look callow and puerile.

    The simple fact is that believing that the federal government has metastasized beyond its Constitutional limits and that restoring said limits would be a positive good even if it means a period of relative disorder while the return to Constitutional order is adjusted to is almost the exact opposite of nihilism. Your newly provided longer description (which I didn’t require, thank you, but implore you to attempt to actually grasp) serves only to make that even more clear than your previously submitted definition. It’s obvious that you’re deeply committed to your pet notion that libertarianism is inherently nihilist, but your obvious emotional attachment to that idea doesn’t make it so. It just makes you illogical.

  58. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:40

    “even if it means a period of relative disorder while the return to Constitutional order is adjusted ”

    Yes I believe Lenin said something similar. As I said you clearly have no idea of what nihilism means and equally clearly have no interest in learning.

  59. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:40

    “But it’s quite plain to anyone with a basic grasp of elementary school English ”

    I can see you’re credit to the reasoning skills taught by the US educational system.

  60. Dodd says:

    I’m done with you, dude. I simply can’t explain your fail in simpler terms and all you seem to be able to respond with is insults.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

  61. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 11:32
    “I’m done with you, dude. I simply can’t explain your fail in simpler terms and all you seem to be able to respond with is insults.”

    Simple would be it Mr Dodd. Faced with obuseness on your scale(which you don’t even begin to comprehend) the only reactions can be bemusement and mild ridicule. I can do no more. If you’re still in education go and ask your professor or teacher what nihilism means.

  62. Brummagem Joe says:

    “I can do no more. If you’re still in education go and ask your professor or teacher what nihilism means.”

    You can also ask him to explain the relevance of the concept to the destruction of huge areas of settled US law(as proposed by Doug and yourself) without regard to the consequence, or even indeed full understanding of the extent and duration of such consequences.

  63. Dodd says:

    Alternatively, perhaps you can try a third time to toss out a meaning for your beloved word that doesn’t refute your own argument. Again, overturning bad law to return to fidelity to Constitutional principles doesn’t fit either of the meanings you’ve offered so far. Even if the purpose behind such a desire wasn’t so clearly benign, you’d have trouble fitting them into your preferred framework using the definitions you yourself have provided. Yet you keep saying I don’t get what the word means.

    That the desire is in fact motivated by a firm, philosophically grounded belief in improving the overall ‘social organization’ merely underscores how patently inane your “argument” is.

    BTW, “bemusement” means ‘a state of bewilderment; confusion’ not, as you appear from context to believe, a state of mildly condescending amusement. Clearly this is an apt description of your circumstances, but I don’t think you intended to admit that. Once again, I’ll have to assume the self-pwnage was accidental — and no less hilarious than the previous examples. Perhaps you should forget about the mote of educational attainment in my eye and attend to the beam in your own.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

  64. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Brummagem Joe, if you were nearly as smart as you think you are, you would have left this discussion long ago. Doug is not often right about things, in my opinion but this one he has handled very well. Regulated, as it applied to militia meant being able to load and fire three aimed shots per minute, hence regularity. The document in question says what is says. Not what the SCOTUS says it says. The court was designed to see if passed laws fit within the framework of the document, not adjust the document to allow laws to necessarily fit the framework. Fact is, it is carved in stone. Brummagem, no matter what you do and who you are in life, you are an idiot.

  65. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 14:53

    “BTW, “bemusement” means ‘a state of bewilderment; confusion’ not, as you appear from context to believe, a state of mildly condescending amusement. ”

    Er…not exactly as you’ll see from the Merriam Webster def below . But thanks for confirming yet again the limits of your literacy. Your monumental obtuseness is both puzzling and the source of some mild amusement. Cute bear.

    Definition of BEMUSE
    1: to make confused : puzzle, bewilder
    2: to occupy the attention of : distract, absorb
    3: to cause to have feelings of wry or tolerant amusement

  66. Dodd says:

    Goodness but you’re a persistent troll. Congratulations on finding a different dictionary definition than the one I linked to to allow you to dance around yet another argument you can’t win.

    Having my literacy attacked by someone as obstinately illogical is like being savaged by a dead sheep.

    When you come up with some 70 year-old precedents CU overturned or an definition of nihilism that actually has the effect of supporting your inanity rather than refuting it, let me know.

  67. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 16:27
    “Congratulations on finding a different dictionary definition than the one I linked to to allow you to dance around yet another argument you can’t win.”

    Webster was THE dictionary I thought. And I didn’t need to win you just talked yourself into losing. The jackass ultimately always exposes himself and you did in spades I must say. Byee.

    The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
    Sun Tzu

  68. […] the borders of a state where that substance is legal? This strikes me as a perfect example of both the perversion of the Commerce Clause that Dodd  wrote about last week, and the need for the reinvigoration of the Tenth Amendment.  Drug laws should be, for the most […]

  69. […] the borders of a state where that substance is legal? This strikes me as a perfect example of both the perversion of the Commerce Clause that Dodd wrote about last week, and the need for the reinvigoration of the Tenth Amendment. Drug laws should be, for the most part, […]

  70. […] the borders of a state where that substance is legal? This strikes me as a perfect example of both the perversion of the Commerce Clause that Dodd  wrote about last week, and the need for the reinvigoration of the Tenth Amendment.  Drug laws should be, for the most […]