Friday, July 26, 2013

    1. Policing for Profit continues
    2. Rite versus “paper exercise”
    3. The Spirit of Capitalism
    4. Whose ox?

1

NSA snooping is a big deal, but it’s not the only totalitarian-leaning trend in our United States.

A federal judge has ruled that Nebraska cops must return over $1 million confiscated at a traffic stop from a woman who saved the money $1 at a time during her 15 year career as an exotic dancer.

The money belongs to Tara Mishra, 33, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who began putting aside her earnings when she started dancing at age 18, according to an opinion U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon wrote last week. The money was meant to start her business and get out of the stripping business, the judge wrote.

State troopers confiscated the money in March 2012 … after suspecting it was drug money …. But police did not find any evidence of drug activity in the car and a K-9 analysis found only trace elements of illegal drugs on the cash, according to Bataillon ….

“The government failed to show a substantial connection between drugs and the money,” Bataillon wrote in his opinion. “The dog sniff is inconsequential…The court finds the Mishras’ story is credible… Ms. Mishra did have control over the money and directed the Dheris to deliver the money to New Jersey for the purchase of the business.”

I said “trend.” This isn’t unprecedented. One jurisdiction was particularly calculating about forfeiture as a revenue-raising tool. (H/T Volokh conspiracy here, here and here.)

2

Before I allow someone to sit in judgment of me or my Church, I’d like some assurance that they’re not space aliens from some planet the reverse (transvalued) mirror image of our own.

So, apparently would Sikhs, and they’re not taking a chance on the European Court of Human Rights recognizing rather than overruling safeguards in Great Britain’s new same-sex marriage law against compelling anyone with religious objections to perform or take part in same-sex ceremonies.

The same-sex marriage Act, which received Royal Assent this week, contains provisions to prevent individuals and groups from being compelled to carry out such unions, under a so-called “quadruple lock” of legal protections.

But Sikhs In England has told supporters that such assurances could be swept away by a challenge in Strasbourg. Harmander Singh, principal adviser to Sikhs In England, said: “We are concerned that the quadruple lock isn’t going to be worth the paper it is written on.

“In the longer term, as soon as there is an issue and it goes to the European Court of Human Rights, no one can be sure, because the quadruple lock means nothing under subsidiarity.”

In common with many churches, mosques and synagogues, gurdwaras are registered with councils as venues to conduct weddings.

It enables them to combine the civil formalities of the marriage with a religious ceremony.

“We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures,” said Mr Singh. “We are bound by our religious teachings and we have been put in a difficult situation.”

He added: “Civil marriage is, with respect, a paper exercise.”

(The Telegraph; H/T Religion Clause) I don’t think it’s likely to come to “compelling anyone with religious objections to perform or take part in same-sex ceremonies” in the U.S. any time soon (though the bakers and florists who declined and were hammered by human relations commissions are troubling), but in states that “recognize same-sex marriage,” why don’t Churches cease dignifying the state’s worthless counterfeit by notarizing the state’s tissue paper concurrently with solemnizing a real marriage?

3

For a long time I have thought that the definition of capitalism enunciated by Pope Pius XI in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (§100), is the most accurate of the definitions that I have seen. In fact, it expresses the specific note that distinguishes capitalism from all other ways of organizing our economic activity. In that encyclical Pius calls capitalism “that economic system in which were provided by different people the capital and labor jointly needed for production.” In other words, in a capitalist economy most economic activity is characterized by the separation of ownership and work, by a split between those who own the means of production and those who are employed to do the actual work. This is in contrast to a Distributist economy in which, to the extent feasible, owners and workers are the same people, or to some forms of socialism in which the government is the owner of most productive property and administrators hire others to do the work.

Although I am a Distributist, I admit, as Pius XI went on to say, that the capitalist organization of an economy is not essentially unjust. It is not unjust to own property and hire someone else to work with that property—provided of course that a just wage is paid. But although such an arrangement is not in itself unjust, it is not necessarily wise when it becomes the characteristic means of organizing an entire economy.

(The Spirit of Capitalism, Thomas Storck)

4

There’s a rather interesting twist in Congressional abortion dabbling. Empty suit Marco Rubio wants to Champion anti-abortion legislation, but having come out earlier in favor of the constitution, he’s on hold until he can answer “Where in the Constitution do the feds get the power to regulate abortion?

Liberal Democrats rejoice. Conservative Republicans gnash their teeth. And I smile that having said “to hell with all of them” a few years back feels more and more like the right call.

It’s probably not fair to call it “turning the tables,” because the Liberals don’t take the structural pieces of the Constitution seriously enough to challenge the Conservatives. Instead, the Conservatives are trying simultaneously to pander to their base while respecting their commitment to identify where they get the power so to pander.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.