Saturday, August 22, 2015

On noses and faces

According to legend, back in the 9th century a group of nuns were concerned because Viking had landed in Scotland and were raping and pillaging their way towards the nun's convent. Desperate to preserve their virtue, the nuns disfigured themselves by slicing off their noses and upper lips, hoping that the Vikings would be so repelled by their appearance that they would refrain from raping them. Their strategy worked. The Vikings were repelled by the nun's appearance and they did not rape the women. Instead they locked them in their convent and burned it to the ground. This is where the phrase "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face" entered the English lexicon, the implication being that an action taken to avoid one outcome resulted in a much worse outcome.
Jumping from the 9th century to 2015, we find ourselves faced with people who frequently comment in political threads where Ted Cruz is mentioned that Ted isn't eligible to be president because he's Canadian. Their argument is as follows: The Constitution requires that the president and vice president be "natural born citizens" the United States. The intent of this requirement was to prevent someone with foreign loyalties from becoming the leader of the US, a common sense concern for a group of people that were shifting their own loyalties to a new nation. Although the term is never defined in the Constitution, it was generally understood at the time to mean someone born in America to parents who were American citizens. The Federalist Papers (Hamilton in Federalist 68 IIRC, I don't have my annotated copy handy) back this interpretation up. It may surprise them to know that I am 100% in agreement with their interpretation of the phrase.
It also doesn't matter a bit.
The fact is that however much I may believe that that is the correct definition, it is not the definition that is generally applied today. There are a lot of reasons for that. The SCOTUS has never weighed in on the actual meaning of the term. The naturalization act of 1790 muddied the waters. There are those who say the language of the 14th Amendment is relevant ("subject to the jurisdiction thereof"). Congress has weighed in WRT certain previous candidate's eligibility. Even though the founding fathers did put in a grandfathering clause for people alive at the time the Constitution was adopted, no president met this standard until John Tyler succeeded W.H. Harrison in 1841. If you buy that Chester A. Author was born in Canada (my take: it's a 50-50 pick em), that means that this rigorous standard hasn't been met by fully a quarter of the Presidents we've had. And so on.
Look. I think that that's the correct interpretation of "natural born citizen", but that's not how the term is used today. I also think that the commerce clause CLEARLY doesn't apply to a farmer growing grain for his own livestock. SCOTUS disagreed. The 14th OBVIOUSLY doesn't give the children of illegal aliens citizenship. Brennan changed that with Plyler v Doe in 1982. Again, and so on.
The fact is that we frequently don't get to live in the world we want, but we're stuck with the world we have; and as such, we should be careful not to unnecessarily cripple ourselves against the opposition.
An analogous situation can be found in baseball. A lot of purists will tell you that the designated hitter rule is an abomination
They may argue stridently against the DH, bemoan how it sullies the purity of the game and dumbs down the importance of smart coaching.
No matter how fervently they may believe any of that, and even if every bit of it is correct, if they field a team in the American League, their lineup is going to contain a DH. They can't win otherwise.
It's the same with natural born citizen. That ship has SAILED. Standing obnoxiously firm on an archaic definition does nothing but cripple your ability to compete.
Ted Cruz doesn't meet that requirement. Neither does Marco Rubio or Bobby Jindal (maybe-his parents were here legally but not yet citizens when he was born. I think. It's another layer of complication). In an orgy of purity, we eliminate those three candidates.
You think the left cares? Barack Obama certainly doesn't meet that requirement, they went and elected him for 8 years of hell. Suppose Jindal or Cruz or Rubio is the only candidate that can beat the Biden/Warren juggernaut? Should we deny ourselves the ability to compete over something that the other side completely ignores? The world may admire your commitment to the pure game of baseball as you run your pitcher out to bat down 3 with the bases loaded and 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, but the left has no qualms about sending Nelson Cruz to the plate in the same situation. I know where I'm going to lay down my money if I have to bet on that game.
None of this is to say that Cruz or Jindal or Rubio should be the nominee. They still have to make their case to the Republican voters and win elections. However, to exclude them over a technicality (however correct in theory that technicality may be), eliminating good men from consideration who certainly meet the intent of the clause (or are we now going to argue that Cruz, Rubio or Jindal, if elected, will suborn the interests of the US in favor of those of Canada, Cuba or India?), while the other side is ignoring the rules would be foolish.
Do I wish that we lived in a world where the definition of natural born citizen was rigorously applied as the founders intended?
Do we live in that world?
Get over it.


  1. Dave - So we can't talk about natural-born citizens. We can't criticize Rick Wilson. We can't discuss 9/11 theories. We can't discuss black rioters, and God forbid we mention black IQs and HBD.

    Criticize the blog at one's peril, and criticize Ace for a quick taste of the banhammer.

    What happened over there?!? I love your posts, but without Vic and now a tightly-circumscribed Dave, we might as well be fellating Rove over at NRO.

    It's ironically becoming the last blog on the 'Net that should have a pirate "slitting throats" chanty as its masthead.

    Every hundredth comment can still be clever, but I'm afraid with your latest purge AoS' Kate58 will be looking for substantive content elsewhere. < sigh >

    1. Please don't laugh at me, I am new here.Who is Ace and what is AoS' . Love this page, want to get some sea-legs. As an aside: I believe that only a benighted soul would buy that the Drafters would rely on legal references from the British Common Law any more than absolutely necessary (for lack of appealing alternatives). They fought against "subjugation:. Why borrow a term that referred to subjects? No, not when Ben Franklin was fanning himself with his open copy of Vattel, in French, no less. The language of l'amour...NBC is Vattel's NBC and a Republic if you can keep it meant "don't be idiots and allow burgeoning hoards to run the show." We are so STUPID!!! (thanks, DJT). It's water over the dam that scholarship failed subsequently, and the terms of the art of law, needing no elaboration to the Founders, became mere fodder for judicial haggles. However, now, for our careless acquiescence, we must, for a season, pay the devil his due. At least two of our not-NBC's are truly otherwise-qualified and brilliant, and audacious, and with great reason highly motivated to be as loyal to America's original brand as circumstances of birth permit them to be. We didn't quibble over Kościuszko, Lafayette, von Steuben. Not drawing a false equivalence, just focusing on the practical. NBC formal jousting has been confined mainly to Obiter dictum, Bingham's 1862 recitation ad nauseum. Amazingly, the McCain NBC flap would have been addressed to his favor by applying Vattel, had it not been for the sloppy and biased job,(with lousy scholarship) that Bingham served up in the 14th Amendment. But again, we are where we are, and for me, at least one of the three most palatable candidates happens not to meet Vattel's standard...the founder's standard. This NBC thing is possibly a battle for another time, perhaps at least 10 years hence. Let's just take that White House. Period.


      Not for the prudish, however.. they sometimes talk dirty.. lol

    3. Do we know what happened to Vic? Or are we still just assuming something bad healthwise happened to him or Wifey?

    4. I don't know Barb. What's more, I'm not sure how to find out. DO you know anyone who was close to Vic IRL?

    5. Unfortunately, no, I don't. I saw someone asking about Vic in the comments the other day, but there was nothing but conjecture.

  2. Great Post! I read it at AoS before it got pulled.
    Check this video're the only with enough balls to do/say anything about it.
    It's worth a look.

    The Peggy Hubbard video.

  3. The way content at AoS gets disappeared with no explanation has me shopping for another blog to call home too.

  4. I don't agree with your argument, btw, I am more a "let justice be done though the heavens fall" kind of person.
    However, the disappearing posts thing is definitely unjust.

  5. The WeirdDave posts get yanked more often than Hector's pud.

  6. Since DrewM put the open thread up at the same time this post got pulled at AoS, I'd suggest he's the one who pulled it.

  7. Gotta agree, Dave. Move on and fight the fights you can.

    If we can keep out the people wanting to come in to birth babies in the first place, the point would be moot.

    Let's concentrate on enforcing our existing laws and securing our borders - including the border people fly legally over each and every day simply to never go home again.

  8. I still don't see what is so horrible about this post that Ace and Co had to remove it.

  9. All I can figure is Ace is trying to go more "respectable" with the nods he's gotten from Rush, and this sounded like birtherism to him or a high-ranking CoB.

    It's Ace's house and he gets to set the rules, but when those rules aren't really known, it's sort of difficult to follow them.

    Thanks to Weirddave for these posts. Maybe one day, this and the new Cut Jib blog will hoist their own Jolly Rogers.

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  11. Everything I can figure is Ace is attempting to go more "respectable" with the gestures he's gotten from Rush, and this seemed like birtherism to him or a high-positioning CoB. Write my Coursework for me

  12. In the event that we can keep out the general population needing to come into birth babies in any case, the point would be debatable. How about we focus on authorizing our current laws and securing our fringes - including the outskirt individuals fly legitimately over every single day basically to never go home again. Dissertation Help UK

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