Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Meaning of "Is"
Written by: Goemagog

What is the meaning of "is"? Can you prove it? Can it's usage in a different language or colloquially constitute a valid definition in the English Language? If they can, how many definitions can "is" have before there are too many to ever know what the person saying it meant?

It's usually pretty easy to identify someone who's just been introduced to philosophy (a subject I've thankfully never studied) because of it's dependence on finding root truths. If you drop all assumptions, you stop seeing lies and are left with the truth. The smart ones will usually assume that there's something fishy about not knowing for sure if the person they're talking to is really there or not. The dumb ones think they've made some great intellectual leap.

The problem is that if you start with no assumptions, you can not find any truths. You can't even be sure that you exist. If you make the assumption that you exist, you can not count on the reliability of your perceptions, so you don't know if anything else exists. At some point, you have to start taking for granted that you exist, that at least a substantial portion of what you perceive is real, or you can't participate in your own life.

There's been a rather heated discussion here about the 14th Amendment, which I've asserted means the Bill of Rights applies to the states, and Answerman has asserted does not.

What more could have been added to that instrument to secure the enforcement of these provisions in the bill of rights in every State, other than the additional grant of power which we ask this day? Nothing at all.

Gentlemen who oppose this amendment oppose the grant of power to enforce the bill of rights. Gentlemen who oppose this amendment simple declare to these rebel states, go on with your confiscation statutes, your statutes of banishment, your statutes of unjust imprisonment, your statutes of murder and death against men because of their loyalty to the Constitution and Government of the United States.

Mr. Bingham, primary author of the first clause.

To these privileges and immunities, whatever they may be - for they are not and cannot be fully defined in their entire extent and precise nature - to these should be added the personal rights guarantied and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution; such as the freedom of speech and of the press; the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, a right pertaining to each and all of the people; the right to keep and to bear arms; the right to be exempted from the quartering of soldiers in a house without the consent of the owner; the right to be exempt from unreasonable searches and seizures, and from any search or seizure except by virtue of a warrant issued upon a formal oath or affidavit; the right of an accused person to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him, and his right to be tried by an impartial jury of the vicinage; and also the right to be secure against excessive bail and against cruel and unusual punishments.
Now, sir, here is a mass of privileges, immunities, and rights, some of them secured by the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution, which I have recited, some by the first eight amendments of the Constitution; and it is a fact well worthy of attention that the course of decision of our courts and the present settled doctrine is, that all these immunities, privileges, rights, thus guaranteed by the Constitution or recognized by it, are secured to the citizen solely as a citizen of the United States and as a party in their courts. They do not operate in the slightest degree as a restraint or prohibition upon State legislation. States are not affected by them, and it has been repeatedly held that the restriction containted in the Constitution against the taking of private property for public use without just compensation is not a restriction upon State legislation, but applies only to the legislation of Congress.
Now, sir, there is no power given in the Constitution to enforce and to carry out any of these guarantees. They are not powers granted by the Constitution to Congress, and of course do not come within the sweeping clause of the Constitution authorizing Congress to pass all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the foregoing or granted powers, but they stand simply as a bill of rights in the Constitution, without power on the part of Congress to give them full effect; while at the same time the States are not restrained from violating the principles embraced in them except by their own local constitutions, which may be altered from year to year. The great object of the first section of this amendment is, therefore, to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect those great fundamental guarantees.

pgs. 2765-2766, Sen. Howard introducing what became the 14th Amendment into the senate.

Unlike certain other persons who've been arguing against this, I like to cite sources. Citing is important because it lets you read the text for yourself so that you a) know I'm not bullshitting you, b) can read the surrounding text for greater context if you want. All of this is from the 39th Congress, 1st session, available here, courtesy of the Library of Congress. While the person who disagrees with me claims to have cited a textbooks, they've claimed that it's supposed by 'all' the experts, and hasn't even bothered to say which book.

At some point the original author should be given some credence for knowing what the amendment means. The person who disagrees with me on what the amendment means also disagrees with me on this and feels that the original author misunderstood their own meaning and intent in writing the first section of that amendment.

If someone uses 'is' in a way that isn't clear, you have the option to ask them what they mean. If you disregard their explanation, they're not the one at fault for any misunderstandings.

That a man (Mr. Bingham) who spent months working with a small group (of which Sen. Howard was one) crafting a proposed amendment did not know it's purpose and intent is an argument that is just absurd, yet considered persuasive by some, apparently the sort of thing one should expect from someone "whose career revolves around knowing legal minutia backwards and forwards". That quote is from an email I got from Beck, after Answerman offered him $200 to kick me off of Incite!. Beck wanted me to stop saying that I hate lawyers and to hide any serious disagreements I had with the other Incite! writers so that the lefties who followed Beck from ISOU wouldn't be "laughing themselves into stomach cramps", or to leave.

Goe, leaving.

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John Beck

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