Defining “National Security”: A Trip Down the Linguistic Rabbit Hole

Given the centrality of national security to the rationale advanced by the Trump administration in justifying the recently levied tariffs against steel and aluminum, you might think this term might be defined somewhere, either in the relevant legislation or sections of the U.S. Code from which the president is drawing his authority to act. And you would be wrong. The same administration officials—namely Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross, both of whom are trade-nativists, labeling concerns…

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Is National Security Replacing the Commerce Clause as the Basis for Sweeping Federal Power?

The falling away of federalistic principles from government is often linked to the increasingly nationalistic scope of politics. Under the auspices of the commerce clause and the “necessary and proper” clause, federal government officials have been able to rationalize their claim to final regulatory authority over an increasingly wide swathe of issues. The commerce clause gives Congress power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States”. The necessary and proper clause is…

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Why the Freedom Caucus’ Negotiations Are Not a Victory for the Right

To suggest that the Freedom Caucus’ endorsement of the Affordable Health Care Act, with the addition of the MacArthur Amendment, is a victory rather than a capitulation is ludicrous. The move was a pivot away from principles, not just the hard-line right-wing ideology the caucus has been charged with advancing, but the basic principle of integrity. The Freedom Caucus’ move is dishonest in two parts: it breaks the covenant they made with voters, to whom…

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The new moral majority

Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election to the presidency was aided by the efforts of a political action group organized by evangelist Jerry Falwell. Known as the Moral Majority, the PAC advocated fundamentalist Christian views as a basis for political policy. The moral majority, however, soon took on a life of its own and became a kind of right-wing populist codicil. To cite the moral majority, as Ronald Reagan and other folk heroes of the religious right…

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