Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Limited, Local, Lawful Government

 

I have been an active poster and commenter on Ricochet since the beginning; way back when Peter came down the mountain with the Code of Conduct and Rob was still scribbling graffiti on the side of NRO cruise ships.

The concept and the membership really haven’t changed much. Contributors come and go. Ever more podcasts elbow each other for a place in the spotlight. We have more options on the site now, like groups and private messages. We have more meetups. Ne’er-do-wells are still sacrificed to the PIT.

But the heart of it all is the comments. Whether on the Main Feed where outsiders are thrown a few crumbs or in the Member Feed where anything goes, Ricochet is about conversation. The post that kicks it off is only the beginning.

Free expression isn’t just a legal allowance. It’s a culture of daring interests, the stubborn pursuit of truth, and a community of endless surprises. Not every conversation must be a challenge. But we learn so much by generous exposure to the ideas and experiences of others.

Ricochet is a site for civil conservative conversation. So we are committed to free expression. But what about that bit of being a “center-right” community?

We have had many discussions over the years about conservatism, classical liberalism, libertarians, Republicans, and all that jazz. Our community involves a very broad and often contentious variety of values and priorities. Members come from all walks of life and even many countries. It’s an alliance, not a dogmatic order.

But there are, I believe, general commitments that unite us. They can be summarized as follows: limited, local, lawful government.

Limited: We embrace the US Constitution’s faith in natural rights that precede any political arrangement. The freedoms to share one’s beliefs and to defend oneself from aggressors, for example, are universally due and not fundamentally subject to any authority.

Furthermore, governments are always imperfect vehicles, as human nature itself will always be imperfect. Human beings are vulnerable to corruption, so governments are prone to misuse as well. Consequently, we reject all-encompassing authorities and remain ever wary of political overreach.

Local: We all subscribe, to some extent, to the principle of subsidiarity: concerns are best addressed at the most local level possible. Broader authorities might be welcomed only when more immediate groups and individuals are unable to provide similar necessary functions.

Individual liberty is crucial to the flourishing of the human soul. Families and local communities can provide many necessary supports which modern governments have assumed. Historically, they have proved more capable and more mindful of liberty than government. We have great faith in the potential of voluntary service and voluntary organization.

City, county, state, and nation all have roles to play in public life. But they should do so in ascending order, ever mindful of the individual citizen’s free will.

Lawful: Sadly, it now seems necessary to add this priority to the pillars of conservatism. The United States of America are/is a republic. A just government cannot proceed by fleeting whims and uncontested edicts. Changes must occur by careful deliberation, free debate, consent, and continuity. Laws should be clear and knowable.

We believe that the instruments of justice must treat all citizens as equals. Any law, established by due process, remains in effect until it is formally rescinded. Laws can be contested by the prescripted means only. Authorities have limits.

That is undoubtedly an imperfect and incomplete summation of (American) rightwing philosophy. But it is, I believe, a recognition of bonds that have united so many wondrously different Ricochet members throughout the past decade. I hope those values will continue to unite us as political and cultural alliances are shaken, altered, and renewed.

Not every member of the Ricochet community looks to the same Providence that our nation’s forefathers entrusted with its future, but I pray that we will remain optimistic and amicable in defense of the greatest nation on earth.

Published in General
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  1. GFHandle Member

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    • #1
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:01 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpringJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller: City, county, state, and nation all have roles to play in public life. But they should do so in ascending order, ever mindful of the individual citizen’s free will. 

    If I understand this, I am not sure I agree. It seems that the further away from me a governmental entity exists, the less impact it should have on my personal life. In other words, I think the roles should be in descending order.

    • #2
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:15 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. James Lileks Contributor

    Short, sarcastic reply that ignores all the thought you put into it, and pushes the conversation in another direction

    There! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, that’s a good post and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. The Local part will be particularly important to emphasize, since a lot of middle-of-the-road people wave off Federal mandates because they think they’ll do something Good for Those Other People, Over There Somewhere. 

    • #3
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:27 PM PST
    • 17 likes
  4. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller: City, county, state, and nation all have roles to play in public life. But they should do so in ascending order, ever mindful of the individual citizen’s free will.

    If I understand this, I am not sure I agree. It seems that the further away from me a governmental entity exists, the less impact it should have on my personal life. In other words, I think the roles should be in descending order.

    Hmm. That’s what I meant. I said ascending to mean that authority should be focused at the local level and be extended from there. But you might be right.

    • #4
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:31 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    The PIT moves from time to time. The current PIT can be found here

    It’s a mix of silly and serious comments that abandons any attempt at organization in preference for a single never-ending tumble of thoughts and mischief. 

    I’m a late-comer in that regard. This is only my first or second PIT, so I can still claim some shred of innocence. Those others are irredeemable. 

    • #5
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:40 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  6. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    The second one.

    • #6
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:54 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Short, sarcastic reply that ignores all the thought you put into it, and pushes the conversation in another direction

    There! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, that’s a good post and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. The Local part will be particularly important to emphasize, since a lot of middle-of-the-road people wave off Federal mandates because they think they’ll do something Good for Those Other People, Over There Somewhere.

    From distant ill-informed do-gooders, dear Lord defend us.

    • #7
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:55 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    https://ricochet.com/803468/pit-20b-the-apocalypse-now-what-about-now-now/

     

    • #8
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    The PIT moves from time to time. The current PIT can be found here.

    It’s a mix of silly and serious comments that abandons any attempt at organization in preference for a single never-ending tumble of thoughts and mischief.

    I’m a late-comer in that regard. This is only my first or second PIT, so I can still claim some shred of innocence. Those others are irredeemable.

    Hey! 

    • #9
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    Psst …

    https://ricochet.com/803468/pit-20b-the-apocalypse-now-what-about-now-now/

    • #10
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:58 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Short, sarcastic reply that ignores all the thought you put into it, and pushes the conversation in another direction

    There! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, that’s a good post and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. The Local part will be particularly important to emphasize, since a lot of middle-of-the-road people wave off Federal mandates because they think they’ll do something Good for Those Other People, Over There Somewhere.

    I too

    • #11
    • January 13, 2021, at 12:59 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    THERE ARE 42489 COMMENTS.

    … but only four lights.

    • #12
    • January 13, 2021, at 1:00 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  13. PHCheese Member

    Lawful to me is by the consent of the people. Consent is only given at the ballot box. The lawfulness of our elections are severely in doubt. Experts rank our elections below Mexico. Costa Rica is well above us. They grow bananas in both places. Our very Constitution is in jeopardy. The First and Second Amendments are nearly under water. We can be amicable to one another but not to people stealing our freedoms and liberty. There is a new paradigm. This country is under attack. Wake up every body.

    • #13
    • January 13, 2021, at 1:04 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  14. Vince Guerra Member

    Aaron Miller:

    That is undoubtedly an imperfect and incomplete summation of (American) rightwing philosophy. But it is, I believe, a recognition of bonds that have united so many wondrously different Ricochet members throughout the past decade. I hope those values will continue to unite us as political and cultural alliances are shaken, altered, and renewed.

    Not every member of the Ricochet community looks to the same Providence that our nation’s forefathers entrusted with its future. But I pray that we will remain optimistic and amicable in defense of the greatest nation on earth.

    My optimism is rooted in one thing and one thing only: the miraculous power of Almighty God to put right what men destroy. Men have failed us and have failed us in grand fashion. But I’ve got some moxie left, and some of us are itching for a fight to restore us to a nation that believes (as you say) A just government cannot proceed by fleeting whims and uncontested edicts and is willing to demand it be true. But our political leaders don’t hold this value, nor do many of the intellectuals in positions of influence, here and elsewhere. So that fervor within me that is always willing to storm the castle walls in defense of liberty is a little disheartened these days.

    How do we fight for natural laws, liberty, and restoration when most of our leaders are willing to sit back and let the things we’ve just witnessed slide? They’ve ceded the ballot box to fraud and apathy, that is no longer weapon in our arsenal. The courts have shown that they too are impotent, incompetent or both. It looks bleak. I don’t see a path out of this national nightmare aside from God, which is perhaps right were he wants us to be.

    • #14
    • January 13, 2021, at 2:47 PM PST
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Sisyphus Member
    SisyphusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Short, sarcastic reply that ignores all the thought you put into it, and pushes the conversation in another direction

    Hey! Hey! That’s my job!

    • #15
    • January 13, 2021, at 3:14 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Randy Webster Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    Pretty much the latter. Talk about a chronophage.

    • #16
    • January 13, 2021, at 3:22 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller:

    That is undoubtedly an imperfect and incomplete summation of (American) rightwing philosophy. But it is, I believe, a recognition of bonds that have united so many wondrously different Ricochet members throughout the past decade. I hope those values will continue to unite us as political and cultural alliances are shaken, altered, and renewed.

    Not every member of the Ricochet community looks to the same Providence that our nation’s forefathers entrusted with its future. But I pray that we will remain optimistic and amicable in defense of the greatest nation on earth.

    My optimism is rooted in one thing and one thing only: the miraculous power of Almighty God to put right what men destroy. Men have failed us and have failed us in grand fashion. But I’ve got some moxie left, and some of us are itching for a fight to restore us to a nation that believes (as you say) A just government cannot proceed by fleeting whims and uncontested edicts and is willing to demand it be true. But our political leaders don’t hold this value, nor do many of the intellectuals in positions of influence, here and elsewhere. So that fervor within me that is always willing to storm the castle walls in defense of liberty is a little disheartened these days.

    How do we fight for natural laws, liberty, and restoration when most of our leaders are willing to sit back and let the things we’ve just witnessed slide? They’ve ceded the ballot box to fraud and apathy, that is no longer weapon in our arsenal. The courts have shown that they too are impotent, incompetent or both. It looks bleak. I don’t see a path out of this national nightmare aside from God, which is perhaps right were he wants us to be.

    God let Israel fall when they turned from Him. 

    • #17
    • January 13, 2021, at 3:58 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Vince Guerra Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    God let Israel fall when they turned from Him. 

    Most of us haven’t. 

    • #18
    • January 13, 2021, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Ontheleftcoast Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Lawful to me is by the consent of the people. Consent is only given at the ballot box. The lawfulness of our elections are severely in doubt. Experts rank our elections below Mexico. Costa Rica is well above us. They grow bananas in both places. Our very Constitution is in jeopardy. The First and Second Amendments are nearly under water. We can be amicable to one another but not to people stealing our freedoms and liberty. There is a new paradigm. This country is under attack. Wake up every body.

    • The ^ ballot box^ is the non-violent means by which the governed can meaningfully express their lack of consent.

    • When a “three felonies a day” government doesn’t provide lawful elections, what inference do you draw?

    ^ soap box, the

    ^ , and jury nullification are

    • #19
    • January 14, 2021, at 7:23 AM PST
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. David March Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Short, sarcastic reply that ignores all the thought you put into it, and pushes the conversation in another direction

    There! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, that’s a good post and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. The Local part will be particularly important to emphasize, since a lot of middle-of-the-road people wave off Federal mandates because they think they’ll do something Good for Those Other People, Over There Somewhere.

    –His newsletter eh? I am sure we can find you a home in the PiT somewhere :). Actually you should take a chance and watch our Land of Confusion interview with Aaron.

    • #20
    • January 14, 2021, at 7:27 AM PST
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Dave of Barsham Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    But what is this mythical PIT and why can’t I find anything about it? Or should I be glad that I am excluded from its delights?

    The PIT is a place for people like myself on Ricochet. I rarely have anything important or thoughtful to say, but I need a place to say it with sarcasm.

    • #21
    • January 14, 2021, at 8:13 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. garyinabq Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller:

    That is undoubtedly an imperfect and incomplete summation of (American) rightwing philosophy. But it is, I believe, a recognition of bonds that have united so many wondrously different Ricochet members throughout the past decade. I hope those values will continue to unite us as political and cultural alliances are shaken, altered, and renewed.

    Not every member of the Ricochet community looks to the same Providence that our nation’s forefathers entrusted with its future. But I pray that we will remain optimistic and amicable in defense of the greatest nation on earth.

    My optimism is rooted in one thing and one thing only: the miraculous power of Almighty God to put right what men destroy. Men have failed us and have failed us in grand fashion. But I’ve got some moxie left, and some of us are itching for a fight to restore us to a nation that believes (as you say) A just government cannot proceed by fleeting whims and uncontested edicts and is willing to demand it be true. But our political leaders don’t hold this value, nor do many of the intellectuals in positions of influence, here and elsewhere. So that fervor within me that is always willing to storm the castle walls in defense of liberty is a little disheartened these days.

    How do we fight for natural laws, liberty, and restoration when most of our leaders are willing to sit back and let the things we’ve just witnessed slide? They’ve ceded the ballot box to fraud and apathy, that is no longer weapon in our arsenal. The courts have shown that they too are impotent, incompetent or both. It looks bleak. I don’t see a path out of this national nightmare aside from God, which is perhaps right were he wants us to be.

    God let Israel fall when they turned from Him.

    And God may let us fall for the same reason. My hope is not that he won’t let us fall, but that I believe in resurrection. When all seems lost, He can help us rise to live again.

    • #22
    • January 14, 2021, at 9:36 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  23. GFHandle Member

    Thanks. The mystery was driving me nuts and I was feeling excluded. Now I feel relieved.

    • #23
    • January 14, 2021, at 5:41 PM PST
    • Like