Recently, I have been spending far more time reading thought-provoking books, than paying much attention to real-time politics. A couple of very good reads have been “The Libertarian Mind” by David Boaz, and “The Conservatarian Manifesto” by Charles C.W. Cooke. Then, I read “The Great Divide – Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever, Agree” by William D. Gairdner. While I highly recommend all three, they left me even more pessimistic regarding the possibility that America could ever return to the constitutional republic of Liberty-loving citizens that it once was. We certainly can never vote our way to freedom.
Thus, I decided it was time for my annual re-reading of my all-time favorite book, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne, which I have read at least once a year since 1979 to keep me grounded. Just as I gratefully finished doing so, a new book I had pre-ordered from Amazon popped into my Kindle, which I have only just started reading. “By The People – Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” by Charles Murray again suggests that the grand experiment in Liberty of our Founding Fathers is effectively dead. Yet, it promises to offer a way we might rebuild it in a new incarnation, by civil disobedience rather than with ineffective traditional political processes.
Then this morning I stumbled across:
Interviewed by Jonah Goldberg, another favorite of mine, it is an excellent presentation with a 20 min. audience Q&A session afterward. I know asking anyone to spend an hour watching a video is a lot; but I would suggest that one might get more out of it than any TV program, even on FOX News. Be prepared, however, to be inclined to buy and read his book. Of course, then we might have a useful subject for discussion hereabouts, that doesn’t require that we choose the lessor or two evil politicians. ◄Dave►
Not that it matters much anymore…
… but, that these two guys were reciprocal best men at their weddings was news to me. That is a lot tighter than just having an obscure genuine “Black Muslim” half-brother on another continent. I suspect that Joel’s evidence that Frank Marshal Davis was most likely Barack’s real father may have come as a surprise and shock to both of them. The way Malik and the rest of his supposed Kenya family was simply discarded when no longer potentially useful, and probably more of an embarrassment, rather reminds me of what happened to Rev. Wright. ◄Dave►
How is it any different in America? Don’t vote… it just encourages the lying bastards. ◄Dave►
As usual, Bill Whittle nails it:
…he is right that she really shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it… but; I suspect she will. ◄Dave►
Worth watching and pondering:
If you don’t know Trevor Loudon, you should:
We tend to be myopically focused on Islam these days; but I reckon it is a mistake to ignore this message. When one thinks about it, whether the Obamessiah is or is not a Muslim, the evidence from reading his own autobiographies overwhelmingly suggests he is a committed Marxist. As Loudon points out, he could not get a security clearance to clean the toilets on an American military base! Joe McCarthy must be spinning in his grave… ◄Dave►
I can’t think of anything that needs to be added to this indictment:
…but I sure wish college students could be required to watch and absorb it. ◄Dave►
…he might look a bit like 12-year-old C. J. Pearson:
…but, then, looks can sometimes be deceiving.
Thanks, C. J., for giving an old man a glimmer of hope for the future of America. ◄Dave►
It seems like half of the PC arguments these days are over what we should or should not say in regards to uncivilized violence by angry young men screaming “Allahu Akbar.” Whether the Jihadi interpretation of the holy writs of their Islamic religion is correct or not, seems rather immaterial to me. They proudly claim they are acting as righteous martyrs on behalf of their god, as directed by their revered prophet Mohammed. Having done a bit of study of the Qur’an and Hadith, I am inclined to accept that they fervently believe that.
I have encountered countless Christians who believe their Holy Bible is the unerring literal word of their God. That modern enlightened Christians can accept that Earth is exceedingly more than ~6,000-years-old, and that “Creation” didn’t quite go down precisely as written, doesn’t change the fact that untold millions still think the fable is unassailable history. Which of the two camps would have the better claim of authority to proclaim the other is ‘misinterpreting’ Genesis? Now, ask the same of the Muslim Jihadis vs. the so-called ‘Islam is the Religion of Peace’ moderates.
CAIR has just condemned as “Hate Rhetoric” an American politician referring to ISIS as “Islamic Savages” on Twitter, and is demanding an apology. What exactly are we supposed to call barbarians shouting “Allahu Akbar” while decapitating a bound non-combatant prisoner, or immolating alive a helplessly caged POW? How about these rather militant Muslims, who prefer shooting their bound civilian captives:
…are they just misinformed about their glorious religion of peace? How unfortunate for the Infidels they encounter. Savage is too kind a word for these barbarous Islamic marauders. It is often preceded by ‘noble,’ as in ‘noble savage,’ and however they delude themselves, or are cheered on by their coreligionists, there is nothing in the slightest noble about these despicable miscreants.
The term ‘Hate Speech’ has always been curious to me. I think of ‘hate’ as more or less the opposite of ‘love,’ yet intertwined by a close connection of some sort. Generally, one can only conjure the emotion of hate for someone one first loved, or at least knew and cared for in some way. If someone says, “I hate you!” it can only hurt if one somehow values their opinion, and wished otherwise. One can easily be prejudiced against a group or individual, with or without just cause, without hating them. It is perfectly reasonable and rational, to ‘profile’ others and decide one is entirely indifferent to what they may think, and conclude that one has no interest in interacting with them in any way, for whatever reason.
Those considering this view bigoted, are precisely those PC busybodies who rant against ‘Hate Speech.’ I am as indifferent to their condemnation as I am to the outspoken defenders of Islam. Why should I care what they think, when they are so incompetent at it? I could care less what Muslims do to each other in their Middle East sandbox, and frankly I am weary of expending American blood and treasure trying to ‘save’ them from their irrational sectarian squabbles. We should ship them all the guns and ammunition they want, and get out of their way so they can efficiently kill each other, while we are busy turning shale into oil, fracking, building pipelines, and drilling in ANWAR.
I have no reason to hate them; but I damn sure despise Jihadists and their primitive religion. As a Natural Born American, it is my unalienable right to say so, PC be damned. Meanwhile, those Muslims wishing to immigrate here need to understand that we have our own culture, which we like just fine, and a constitutional secular government that is, and forever will be, alien to Sharia law. We don’t intend to change either to accommodate your religious preferences. Assimilate or go find a better country. This one is taken. ◄Dave►
Although I have proudly owned a couple of them, I am no longer a Corvette man, since I am still pissed at GM for becoming “Government Motors” for a bailout. Now, even though I haven’t driven a Mustang since I bought a brand new one in 1969, I could go for the latest model:
…but I would want to drive it myself. ◄Dave►
Pat Condell finds no reason to show respect for the ‘faith’ of others, and explains why rather succinctly:
Then, Stephen Fry explains even more succinctly why if the faithful are correct about the existence and nature of their god, it is a monster that in and of itself deserves no respect:
While I completely agree with both of these fellows, I am particularly taken with the elegance with which Fry made his case. The nonverbal reaction of the interviewer to some of his statements was priceless! Too bad the Freedom Torch website appears to be defunct. I would have loved to post these there and observe the reaction of the Piously Correct (PC) crowd that once haunted that forum. A clever poll asking which one made the better case for rational thought, could have been most interesting. ◄Dave►
Today is Ayn Rand’s 110th birthday. The man that introduced me to her writings 40 years ago, Robert Ringer, has penned a fitting tribute with some insightful discussion of individualism:
“…her contributions to the cause of liberty were enormous…a pure genius who was 100 percent right in her belief that the individual is a sovereign entity.
Ayn Rand’s name is, in fact, virtually synonymous with individualism, the term used to convey the belief that every person is an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life. (Her overarching philosophy is objectivism, which is similar to individualism but more complex. It is the belief that people are sovereign due to their rationality — their ability to choose what knowledge they will gain and how they will lead their lives.)
Individualism holds that a civilized society can be achieved only through recognition of individual rights, and that a group has no rights other than the individual rights of its members. It rejects the notion of a collective good and emphasizes the sovereignty and worth of the individual. In other words, the individual is supreme when it comes to his own life.
To the individualist, the individual is the end and society the means. Statists, on the other hand, believe that society is the end and the individual the means. The latter is the foundation for the nefarious concept of the state.”
Do read the whole thing; it is well worth the time. ◄Dave►
Troy has suggested we engage in a discussion of Islam. To set the tone, I suggest we take the lead from our old friend Pat Condell:
It doesn’t get much straighter, fearless, & frank than that… ◄Dave►
E-cigarettes have been much in the news lately, both pro and con. While they are clearly a healthier way of consuming nicotine than inhaling tobacco smoke, there is concern that they legitimize smoking, and kids are drinking the refills. The Progressive PC control freaks are starting to ban their use in many circumstances and locales. What if an electronic substitute for smoking were available, which never needs refilling and would be considered PC to the most radical fanatic?
I have been smoke free for almost 5 months now. Nicotine itself no longer has a hold on me; but there are psychological triggers that still cause me to miss lighting up occasionally. Stress and/or anger is a big one. In the past, I have managed to quit for several months, only to blow it over a quarrel with a woman! Fortunately, no woman has such power in my life anymore, so that won’t be a problem this time.
Other triggers are circumstances which habitually induced me to light up in the past. Something as simple as being interrupted by phone call, can cause me to recall that I used to light up at such times. A classic example has surfaced since I recently reacquired my dog. Because I never smoked in my vehicles, every time I stopped to allow her to run around, sniffing and eliminating, I naturally lit a cigarette. The length of her potty break was the time it took for my smoke break.
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In political discussions, I generally identify myself as a small (el) libertarian, since it is too time consuming to explain what I mean, when I say I am an objectivist. There are, however, profound differences between some of the various schools of libertarianism, and the specific philosophy of Ayn Rand, which she named objectivism. This will serve as a succinct introduction to the subject, to which I can link in future discussions here and elsewhere.
The Ayn Rand Institute has some superb interactive online courses. They just added a short 15 minute introductory course on objectivism, narrated by Ayn Rand herself. It is very well done, and I highly recommend it. However, although it is free of charge, one must enroll in their online university to watch it. While safe and painless, few would probably bother to do so. Thus, the following is the transcript of Ayn Rand’s voice-over, without the visuals:
At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did, as follows:
1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality
2. Epistemology: Reason
3. Ethics: Self-interest
4. Politics: Capitalism
If you want this translated into simple language, it would read:
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I am well aware that we are rapidly approaching the demise of America. If the last five years have not inspired the ruling class to do something to prevent the coming total crash of our economy and bankruptcy of the Federal government, nothing will. It is only a matter of (a short) time before we devolve into civil war/revolution (same thing) and the chances of holding it together until the mid-term election in ’14, much less the chance for a reset in ’16, are almost nil. Thus, wasting any time on anything other than preparing for the inevitable martial law looming on the horizon, is precisely that – a waste of time.
However, I am as prepared as I need to be at my age, so permit me to waste some time (as if we had a viable future), on a rather insignificant issue. On the other hand, if pondering it causes others, who may not be as psychologically prepared for what is coming as I am, to grasp the implications of Obama’s promised ‘civilian security force,’ then perhaps it is not such a waste of time, or so insignificant. I would like to suggest that we start a movement to totally defund and eliminate the National Park Service (NPS).
I am by no means the only one who has been outraged at these wanabe petty tyrants. The obvious relish with which they have been executing their egregious orders, to ‘make it hurt’ the taxpaying citizens, during the quasi-shutdown of the Federal government for the past couple of weeks, is truly disgusting. Somehow, they have lost sight of the fact that our national parks belong to the people, who are only paying them as caretakers and janitors to keep them tidy.
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After some fruitful discussion on my “Natural Rights Explained” essay, posted here and elsewhere, my blogging partner, Troy, posted his “Natural Rights Refuted” post, neatly dismissing the whole concept. This is my rebuttal to that.
We may be twisting ourselves into semantic knots here, Troy. Suggesting there is no “such thing,” comports with the understanding we had already developed, which suggested that natural rights are ideas, akin to opportunities, rather than things. Yet, as Chris pointed out, ideas are ‘things’ too.
I had been working on the notion that it was sovereignty itself, which was the primary, and the concept of natural rights were mere corollaries of that proposition. Then, the Enlightenment era treatise by Quesnay, suggested that it was the right to pursue one’s own pleasure, which was fundamental and gave rise to the notion of sovereignty, and the other so-called natural rights.
In any case, I entirely agree with your assessment of the intention of Jefferson, et al. That was precisely the point I was making in my original “Sovereign Rights” essay back in ’07, when I interpreted and restated his most famous line about self-evident truths, in the Declaration of Independence, thusly:
“We freeborn Americans are sovereign individuals, each on par with King George III himself, with the inalienable right to live our lives as freemen, pursuing our own happiness, subservient to no one.”
Do natural rights exist? As ideas, they most certainly do. The meaning, validity, and/or effect of those ideas can certainly be fairly challenged; but their existence cannot, and more importantly, probably should not. I think we need to back up and look at the big picture, to assess the whole point of this discussion.
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A typical comment directed at me elsewhere, inspired some cogitation resulting in the following explanation of ‘natural rights':
“What is the point of the constitutional phrase right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you can murder babies in the womb? We only have a right to life if we are already born? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
That phrase is found in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, and it was part of the sentence declaring the equality and natural rights of all ‘men,’ not babies, or children, and certainly not fetuses. In our Founder’s time, it probably did not even include women, and for an embarrassingly significant percentage of them, it excluded the entire negro race. Allow me to offer another way to look at this business of natural rights, which may help you make some sense of them.
When Enlightenment thinkers developed the philosophical concept of natural rights, it was in the context of individual sovereignty. The extant paradigm for Western civilization at that time, was that one was necessarily born into servitude, to the sovereign potentate claiming dominion over the territory in which one was born. There were different classes in society, enjoying differing levels of privileges; but all were born subjects of their king, whether serf or gentry. Supported by the clergy, the king had the divine right to rule over his subjects. He could order a subject’s head detached on a whim, and a serf was not permitted to relocate or change occupations without permission.
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I am involved in an interesting discussion on a conservative site frequented by Christian fundamentalists. This morning, a fellow named Rich made a comment suggesting that the Left is waging a “war against Christians,” and that political activism by the religious Right, is “most always” to counter that. It inspired me to share a unique perspective I have, as a non-combatant in the culture war raging across our land, who has communicated extensively with participants in both camps. I think it is worth sharing with a wider audience, so it follows:
The tragedy, Rich, is that most of those on the Left think they too, are playing defense. I spent a couple of years back in ’07 and ’08, frequenting freethinker forums, which were mostly populated with insufferable ACLU type atheist activists. There, I essentially played the opposite role that I have here. I referred to myself as a godless redneck heathen, and defended the traditional American culture extant in flyover country. I was as much an enigma there as I am here.
Here, my patriotism and more or less conservative political views, generally resonate; but my lack of faith, and unabashed willingness to challenge Christian dogma, is confusing and consternating to most. There, I passed their godless test; but my unabashed willingness to defend Judeo-Christian culture, and challenge their equally dogmatic Politically Correct ideology, drove them nuts. Thus, I can report with some authority, that they are irrationally afraid of the Piously Correct agenda.
While flawed in their support of government coercion, for the purposes of redistributing wealth for ‘social justice,’ they are fulsome in their support for civil rights for all mankind, and adamant in their insistence that government stay the hell out of their personal lives. In this, I was in full agreement, although I took pains to point out their inconsistencies, and insist that I wanted government to also stay out of my personal pocketbook.
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I may be missing something by never watching TV for entertainment. A truly profound observation:
“Anarchism . . . stands for liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from shackles and restraint of government. It stands for social order based on the free grouping of individuals.” The father’s voice returns: “The concept was pure, simple, true. It inspired me, lit a rebellious fire. But ultimately I learned the lesson that Goldman, Proudhon, and the others learned: that true freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. In truth, they yearn for the bondage of social order, rigid laws, materialism. The only freedom man really wants is the freedom to become comfortable.”