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October 24, 2011

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Thomas Collins

Snaps for JMH!

JMH, I couldn't find your entry. I don't know whether it is becasue it is private on the Ricochet site or my access skills are wanting. Are you going to post your entry on Quasiblog?

narciso

It's in the second link on her post.

Clarice

I found it, TC. It was not at the first hyperlink by jmh, but I think on the 2d one.

Ignatz

--But, to put pressure where needed, any such bankruptcy should include the educational institution returning a large portion of the cash to the lending institution.--

How would a third party that was not part of the loan contract (I'm assuming that is how these loans are structure) be liable for debt incurred by the debtor?
Talk about a slippery slope.
What would prevent merchants who received credit card proceeds from being named in BKs?
If you want to see a true credit freeze start down that road.

jimmyk

Iggy, you seem to suggest that the rule of law is still a factor in bankruptcy. I hope you are right.

But going forward it might be a good idea. Of course if the schools absolutely refuse to sign on, then we're back to square one.

Clarice

Wow..Watch this old video of Cain taking fast talking Bill Clinton to the cleaners:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptrTa8C_Pl4&feature=player_embedded

Thomas Collins

OK, I found it, thank you, Clarice and narciso. JMH, as is always the case when I disagree with you, it is a pleasure to read your views.

I view equality as an esoteric concept. My viewing equality as an esoteric concept is an extension of my view that the Founders were esoterics who worked (to quite an amazing degree of success, in my view) to apply the ideal forms of nature to the less ideal state of daily living. Equality in my opinion simply refers to humans being on the same level of nature and is not inconsistent with all of us having different skills when we look at each other. Although humans can sense this equality, because we can't escape our level of nature (notwithstanding hysterical attempts to do so, such as those attempts by the historicist school), we have trouble seeing this equality.

In any event, life, liberty and the pursuit of happieness, once again, is an ideal of nature that appears at our level not to work so well. It is the duty of governments to provide a framework in which each human can pursue this ideal. The notion of a framework of rules in which each human can pursue the ideal is antithetical, in my view, both to the central planning state and the so-called pure democratic state. So, I would agree with JMH that the notion of equality in our Declaration does not, when applied to government, lead to what is considered pure democracy.

Thomas Collins

It is also my view (i) that the idea of equality as all humans being on the same level of nature is embodied not only in our Declaration, but also, through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, explicitly incorporated in our Constitution, and (ii) one of the key elements of the progressive movement has been to undercut this notion of equality in favor of a top down equal outcomes approach.

Ignatz

--Of course if the schools absolutely refuse to sign on, then we're back to square one.--

jimmy,
It could prove very difficult for a person to comply with their fiduciary duty by essentially collateralizing the university they are entrusted to protect to a loan to a student.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vnjagvet

Great essay and insights, JMH. Particularly impressive when validated by such a superlative scholar as VDH.

MayBee

I'm not sure I entirely agree that universities don't have the information students need to make a wise financial decision about their majors. I know my son has used campus resources to help understand the kinds of careers various majors generally lead to.

There are simply students out there who believe that going to work for a corporation would be horrible, and going into a helpy field is for the good of society. They'll choose to be a Social Justice major knowing full well it doesn't lead to a life of financial success. They think that is what they want.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vnjagvet

There are simply students out there who believe that going to work for a corporation would be horrible, and going into a helpy field is for the good of society.

I hate to admit it MayBee, but I remember having some of those same thoughts @ 50 years ago. Fortunately I got over it in short order. I think my four years on active duty in the Army cured me forever.

MayBee

Oh, I don't think there's anything wrong with those thoughts. I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing a helpy field.

It's just that I think it makes blaming the schools difficult. And I don't think we should dismiss these adults who made an active decision. If they realize later that their choice to not make money has left them with a financial burden, I feel for them but I can't call that a crisis.

MayBee

I hate corporations. Down with corporations. But hey, all you people with "corporate" jobs, can you pay off my loans for me?

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vnjagvet

On reflection, I ended up in law, considered by some (no really) to be among the helping professions. And for a good part of the career, represented downtrodden homeowners against unscrupulous builder-developers of condos and planned communities:>)

BTW, the downtrodden homeowners were usually incorporated associations. So I was helpy and corporate at the same time.

I'm so confused.

Thomas Collins

Jim, I have helped debtors making car payments on cars auto finance companies had repossessed, sold to themselves under commercial unreasonable circumstances, and continued to collect money from the debtor on the repossessed cars. I have also represented big bucks folks making tons of money in corporate reorganizations. I have represented, in the public finance area of my practice, big state and local governmental entities and small ones, and small charities and small manufacturing companies, medium size ones and big ones. I have gone into Cleveland neighborhoods (populated by pimps, drug dealers, hookers and vice squad members) searching for folks who had disappeared and who had money coming to them from Ohio's crime victims compensation fund, and relaxed at nice closing dinners paid for by those evil underwriters. I never thought I was contributing more or less to society in any of these activities. I have done my best in what I think overall is a fine advocacy system in this country. I realize that much of the general public and many of my friends here at JOM don't agree with that. I just hope those (and they are all across the ideological spectrum) who are attempting to de-professionalize the practice of law, if they succeed, step up to the consequences (which will include a continuing breakdown of the rule of law).

By the way, ironically, the folks whom I found to be most skeptical of the social therapy types were not conservatives, but the lawyers at West Side Cleveland Legal Aid. Let us say that these folks were not exactly conservatives. Those of us who fight to keep the therapy state from continuing its march through law, as it has through the other professions, should seek allies in turning back this tide in whatever ideological stripe we find them.

JM Hanes

Thomas Collins:

"My viewing equality as an esoteric concept is an extension of my view that the Founders were esoterics who worked (to quite an amazing degree of success, in my view) to apply the ideal forms of nature to the less ideal state of daily living.
[.....]
The notion of a framework of rules in which each human can pursue the ideal is antithetical, in my view, both to the central planning state and the so-called pure democratic state."

I don't think there is any such thing as an "ideal form of nature." We can only conceive of an ideal. It is ever aspirational, because, as your own hat tip to daily living suggests, the putative ideal is not, in fact, a naturally occurring state at all. There is no end state. Nature, itself, is a balance being continuously reweighted and reshaped, in fractal fashion from micro to macro scale.

If anything is self-evidently inherent in human endeavors, it is the tension between the individual and the collective. We can contemplate an "ideal" balance, but men have always, emblematically, disagreed on what that might look like. Your formulation of rules & individual pursuits is not, IMO, antithetical to central planning and pure democracy; it is the very context in which the attempt to balance those two competing forces takes place. In the American case, one could argue that the collective and the individual are represented by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Evidence of the tension between two amongst the Founders, themselves, is certainly well documented in the historical record.

The challenge they faced was not esoteric. It was designing a governing, contractual, system of checks and balances (!) that could survive in the broadest of circumstances and the maze of competing interests, both known (contemporary) and unknown (future), which required both continuity and flexibility. The minimalist approach they settled upon is distinctive and resilient, but our ongoing disputes over just how flexible the framework they provided "should" be (living vs. originalist?), seems evidence enough that the clarity of vision with which they are popularly imbued is not so clear in the documents they produced. It seems to me that (Conservative) objections to one-size-fits-all problem solving are, themselves, ironically antithetical to the very notion of an ideal state, but rather an affirmation of pluralistic individual ideals.


The balancing principle has long seemed a telling lens, to me, through which to view a great deal of our politics, as a subset of a wider array of human activity. Take the urban vs. ex-urban divide which is manifestly clear when you zero in on red/blue election maps. We talk endlessly about red/blue politics, but almost no one confronts the problematic proposition that structural differences logically require structurally different balancing and governance.

City dwellers lean logically toward the "socialist" end of the spectrum, because cities simply can't function without collective decision making and central planning. Even on a daily, personal, level, apartment dwellers depend on shared elevators, and the impact of individual decisions on others is far more direct (garlic in the dinner next door!) than it is in independent single family dwellings. It will be interesting to see if the suburban vote eventually detaches itself from city centers.

I have far fewer shared conveniences living in the country, but I don't even see my neighbors, let alone affect them on a daily basis. Yet they are simultaneously less anonymous than tenants living a floor below; they'll show up with a chainsaw voluntarily to help clear fallen trees in my driveway. There's no city service to depend or be dependent on. I'm going to be left to my own devices for awhile if I call the police, but the chances of collateral damage if I defend myself with a gun out here are virtually nil.

City vs country is not the only field on which collective vs. individual imperatives play out, and add more intersecting dimensions to our politics, but I'll save the socialist females' interaction with male survivalists for another day.

If the American experiment endures, it will not be because the Founders based our defining documents on an ideal of perfection derived from nature, it will be because they built a fulcrum for the collective/individual seesaw with the idea of an imperfectible human nature in mind.

JM Hanes

I really, really, really resent having to put down a single dime toward Obama's re-election tours. Apparently, one measly "non-political" drop-in is enough to get Obama off the hook for half of what his unending trips are costing. If you were to total up the tax payers' share of all these "intercontinental" visitations, he's probably already hit the fabled billion mark in campaign expenditures.

JM Hanes

Oops, wrong thread.

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