Brian Schoeneman has published a brilliantly written piece over at Bearing Drift entitled, The Iran Deal is not a Treaty, wherein he endeavors to demonstrate that this whole Iran Nuclear Deal really is what the President says it is, an Executive Agreement. He begins his piece by offering up the arguments which he seeks to dispel, not to lay waste to or even criticize these perspectives, but merely to state them, honestly, in the unedited words of those who expressed them. I mention this, I suppose, out of respect for the proper form of argument, which I rarely see anymore these days, but which was executed perfectly in Brian’s piece.
Mr. Schoeneman goes on to detail the legal history and relevant rulings of the courts with regard to Executive Agreements; which is to say, that he explains to us exactly how bizarre and corrupt our government has become, even though, I suspect, that was not his intention. I have a few disagreements with a couple of his premises, but those counter arguments have been made at Bearing Drift by others, and if debating this article interests you, it ought to be debated where it was written.
I suggest that you read the article, because I will not quote it here. Instead, I intend to address a larger problem with the Republican Party which the Schoeneman piece perfectly depicts. This is not a problem that originates with the Republican Party, nor is the GOP Leadership the only group of people guilty of it. The problem is something I refer to as Practicalism. It’s a term I coined in my notes while studying philosophy at Virginia Tech. A term I used to describe something for which I didn’t have a word.
Practicalism is not a philosophy, but rather a way of thinking. I say that it is not a philosophy, because it has no adherence to any set of principles, nor does it necessarily consider principles. Instead, Practicalism is a word I use for people who think in terms, primarily, if not exclusively, of what is “practical”. Practicalism accepts whatever is commonly accepted. It adopts the language, ideas, and “reality” most prevalent within a system, a culture, or within the larger set of ideas, being that which is common. Anything which contradicts that which is commonly accepted is impractical and therefore unreasonable, or so the Practicalists believe.
Another excellent example of what I refer to as Practicalism is the 14th Amendments’ infiltration into every aspect of American Life. The 14th Amendment, written to protect the rights of slaves, freed slaves, and the children of slaves, states in Section 1:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Now, the words, “equal protection of the laws” has come to refer to everyone and in almost every circumstance or situation. The Amendment was clearly written to protect African-American slaves and their decedents from mistreatment under the Democrat Rule in The South, or wherever Democrats had amassed power. It was not intended to address the rights of women, homosexuals, diplomats, or illegal aliens. Yet, through the perversions of our Courts, the 14th Amendment has grown in scope and this new scope is now commonly accepted as the only correct interpretation of the amendment. Anything contradicting this popular and modern view of the 14th Amendment is considered to be wrong, by virtue of its’ being impractical.
Republicans don’t want to deport illegal aliens, because it is impractical. It is hard, expensive, and it will hurt business (especially business as usual). Republicans don’t really want to overturn Roe v. Wade, because women have accepted that access to infanticide is a right, and it would be impractical to take away a right to which women have become accustomed. Republicans don’t want to talk about gay marriage, because the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA and “everyone” accepts that gays have the right to marry, and it would be impractical to oppose it. Republicans don’t want to stop Iran from getting the bomb, because most of the world despises Israel anyway and figures that world peace would be greatly increased if there were no Jews in the world; for, as we know, Jews are offensive to Muslims and offending Muslims causes war and war is impractical. Republicans aren’t going to cut back on spending or reduce the debt, because Maryland and Virginia now have economies entirely predicated upon federal government spending, and millions of people would be put out of work, and Maryland’s and Virginia’s economies would be upended, and it would just be all together impractical.
If “everyone” accepts that the President has the right to call a Treaty an Executive Agreement, then it is impractical to oppose it. That is the nature behind the thought of Brian Schoeneman’s piece. Do you really think Brian, or anyone over at Bearing Drift actually likes the Iran Deal? They don’t! Even the idea that because the super wealthy Wall Street and K Street crowds stand to make a fortune off the Iran Treaty, doesn’t mean that men like Brian Schoeneman or Shaun Kenney stand to make a penny off it. In fact, I suspect that neither of them like the Iran Deal. I suspect that most of their principles would lead them to be in utter opposition to the Iran Deal. But principles don’t matter when you are a Practicalist, when you practice Practicalism.
I listened to about 3 minutes of Rush Limbaugh on my way home from work. I listened to Mark Levin’s Friday evening show on my way to work. Even Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh don’t understand the mindset they are up against. Everyone is looking for a sinister reason, a maleficent motive, an evil at the heart of the Republican Party which has caused it to disappoint so many of us who call ourselves Republicans, or who place our hope in Republican opposition.
It’s not that they are evil.
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner do not believe that it is practical to fight Obama while he is in the White House. It’s hard, difficult, troubling, and impractical. It’s not practical to pass a bill that the President could veto, so they don’t do it. It’s not practical to oppose Welfare or Federal Spending or bureaucratic overreach if most of the American People don’t even know that these things are a problem. It’s impractical. Why fight losing battles? Why take unpopular positions? It’s impractical.
This is why the Republican Party you gave control over the United States Congress is working more closely with President Obama than they are with the citizens that put them into power in the first place. Obama has the real power, not you. Therefore, listening to you is impractical. Working with Obama is practical.
You must understand the way these people think in order to understand why we are where we are. McConnell and Boehner aren’t really evil, even though they enable evil. They accept the world, the system, the rules, the common lexicon, and the common understanding as intrinsically valuable because they are common, because they are accepted. Principles and philosophies are impractical, to them.
So, when it comes right down to it, if Judges, Presidents, and Congressmen all agree that something is what they say it is, then to them, it is just crazy for anyone to challenge it. The majority accept it – deal with it. That is the America you live in. That is just how shallow and thin our thinkers and politicians have become.
Frankly, on some level, I think this is why Trump is so popular. He’s the most impractical man in the game. He just says whatever the majority of people wish was the case, and is riding a wave of unprecedented support. But that’s a topic for another day. This article is already too long and if most people refuse to read an article this long, then you can rest assured that such an article was impractical in the first place!
UPDATE: Shaun Kenney weighs in with the same thinking. Virginia Politics is a whore up for sale. Jeb Bush is willing to purchase us. Bush To Fundraise For Virginia Senate Republicans. Jeb Bush accepts the way our politics works and is working it. Jeb Bush is practical.
Article written by: Steven Brodie Tucker