Archive for the ‘Debate’ Category
Would you believe there have actually been serious proposals to dismantle the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC? Possibly other memorials as well.
Why? Because the person(s) being memorialized owned slaves.
I am inclined to believe that this idea must have started as a joke but, these days, nothing is too loony for the ultra left so the idea is taken seriously. (Indeed, it may have been serious from the beginning but even yours cynically truly has trouble believing that.)
So, Mr. Jefferson was the arch supporter of slavery was he? Let us turn to the man himself for our first clue:
But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.
– Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes, (discussing slavery and the Missouri question), Monticello, 22 April 1820.
Sorry folks but this sounds more to me like a person who was caught up in something he knew to be morally wrong but did not know how an easy way out of. I have read or heard of similar sentiments on the part of other political leaders of the period.
This is not to excuse slavery. It was wrong and I highly suspect that, well before it ended, most everybody in the nation knew that it was wrong and should long since have been ended. They just did not want to suffer the pain that would come with any form of emancipation (remember the economic implications).
It is also interesting to note that, long before emancipation, slavery had ceased to be economically advantageous in most businesses – this is the primary reason it ended in the industrial north long before in the agricultural south. But, even in the south, it had lost much of its economic advantage.
From our modern perspective, we tend to assume that slave labor was free labor. This was simply not the truth. To begin with, a healthy slave was worth a relatively large amount of money. Then the slaves had to be housed, fed, clothed and provided with sufficient medical care to protect the underlying investment in their persons. There was nothing “free” about any of this.
Back to Mr. Jefferson and the supposed need to destroy his fame and his memorials because of the slave issue:
Was it not Thomas Jefferson who documented the notion that ALL men (humans) are created equal? Had he meant otherwise, he surely could have written: “all WHITE men” or “all FREE men”, or “all ANGLO-SAXON men” or any of dozens of other qualifiers that would have made clear that he did not literally mean “ALL men”. Yet, that seems to be exactly what he did mean. And, although his words were not effectively true at the moment he wrote them, the document he wrote surely gave a primary impetus to the movement that eventually made his words effectively as well as morally true. How could we not honor such a thinker (even if the thoughts in question were not totally original)?
Then there is the issue of Mr. Jefferson’s supposed intimate relations with a slave named Sally Hemings. In the first place, I have no doubt whatever that such a relationship did exist. The real question is whether this was just another example (and there must have been many) where a slaveholder used his power to force himself on his female slaves – or might it have been something less horrible? Might it perhaps have been a caring relationship between two consenting adults? Let us delve further…
First, I find nothing in the historical record to indicate Mr. Jefferson was a “womanizer”. He was married once and, by all accounts, was devoted to his wife Martha Wayles. Martha died relatively young and Mr. Jefferson never married again.
Allow me a bit of a digression here to explain that, in early America, having one’s spouse die young was quite common. Also common was the fact that the surviving spouse often married a sibling of the dead spouse. What, you may ask, does this have to do with the Jefferson / Hemings affair? Simply everything. It was hardly a secret that Sally Hemings was Martha Wayles half sister, her father being John Wayles (also Martha’s father) and Betty Hemings, a mulatto (half white) slave who had a relationship with Mr. Wayles somewhat similar to that between Jefferson and Hemings. Ergo, Sally Hemings was three quarters white, the half sister of Mr. Jefferson’s late wife, and, by contemporary accounts, looked very much like her half sister Martha.
This made a union between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson fairly normal for the times – excepting the sad fact that, a single drop of Negro blood made Sally a Negro in the eyes of existing law, no matter who and what she may have looked like.
There is little evidence that Mr. Jefferson did much to hide the liaison – he simply could not consider marrying her because it was forbidden by law as well as by local custom.
Interestingly, to some extent this worked in their favor. Mr. Jefferson was one of several diplomats who spent long periods abroad, working to gain support for the rebellious colonies and later representing the new nation to foreign governments. Normally, a diplomat could not bring his wife along on these extended absences from home. However, Sally, nominally a servant, could (and did) accompany Mr. Jefferson on many of his travels. Ergo, they got to spend more time together that would have been the case if they were married.
There is one more issue we must deal with: Namely, why did Mr. Jefferson not free Sally and the children she bore him (and, indeed, all of his slaves) when he died? The answer is both sad and simple. When Mr. Jefferson died, he owned NOTHING whatever. He was long since bankrupt, having failed to manage his plantation while spending on credit to purchase the books and scientific gadgets that were the first love of his life. His creditors generously allowed him to live out his life at Monticello, as if he were still master of the place, because of their gratitude for his service to the emerging United States.
Yet today, some of us seriously consider destroying the memorials that properly acknowledge Mr. Jefferson’s contributions to humanity simply because he was, to some extent, what his times trained and expected him to be? This strikes me as more of that ignorant nonsense that seems about to take over our once proud Republic. One can picture ISIS thugs bulldozing monuments in the Middle East. Is that what we now aspire to?
Are we, as a people, incapable of understanding the difference between actions and ideas? Some of Mr. Jefferson’s actions, such as participating in the, at the time, generally accepted practice of slave ownership were limited to a single place and time. The ideas he helped instill in a new nation have transcended place and time and helped to build the freest, most prosperous nation in history. And, yes, this include Blacks as well as people of all ethnicity who have prospered under our system. Never forget that we are the only nation on earth who feel the need to build a fence around our borders to keep people OUT. If the nation our founders created is so bad, why are so many millions (including Blacks) willing to risk their very lives to come here and share our prosperity?
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
Once again, despite my best efforts, I cannot remain silent. Today’s diatribe was triggered by recent crap concerning white supremacy, the Confederate Flag, and associated nonsense.
Before I begin, the following disclaimer/clarification: American slavery was a fact and it was wrong. What happened to most Black Americans in the years immediately following emancipation was equally wrong. Nothing said here is an attempt to justify or defend either.
Now, on to the diatribe…
A few days ago, several innocent Black Americans were slaughtered by an irrational person for no obvious reason other than the color of their skin. The perpetrator, who is white, associated himself with various forms of racism and intolerance including use of the image of an historical flag.
Let us digress a bit and discuss this flag. First, while it is one of the more recognizable emblems of the failed Confederacy of the middle 1800’s, it was not the official flag of that entity. Indeed, very few Americans, including those most proud of their southern ancestry, can accurately describe or recognize the actual “Confederate Flag”. The banner in question, the one that excites so much emotion, is actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. To southerners, this flag has long been the symbol of the valor and dedication of the thousands who suffered and perished while attempting to defend a principle they held dear.
Many of you will naturally assume that principle was the employment of slave labor. Is this true? Consider a few facts, largely ignored in today’s irrational arguments: At the time of the Civil War, less than 10% of the people in the Confederacy owned or employed slaves. Obviously, this means that over 90% did not. Let us assume that the makeup of the Confederate armies reflected this approximate 10%-90% makeup. The obvious next question is: if 90% of those willing to fight and die for the Confederate cause did not own slaves, what were they so willing to fight and die for? One might assume that the ignorant rednecks were totally willing to fight and die for a privileged minority whom many of them probably resented for obvious reasons. However, this strikes me as not only silly but totally illogical.
Indeed, the history of America is one of common people willing to fight and die to be free of the rule of an aristocracy or other form of “ruling class”. In a word, the common American wanted, above all else, to be left alone to make his/her own decisions and to live their lives as they chose. This was the principle than animated the Revolution and, I contend, it was this same principle that animated the Confederate cause in the Civil War. In a word, many people were willing to fight and die rather than be subject to an over-powerful central government, led by a “ruling class” (whether hereditary or wealth based). I further contend that this sentiment was far more prevalent in rural areas (like the South). Ergo, I contend that most of that 90% were willing to fight against big government in a cause popularly called “States Rights”.
There is no doubt that the issue of slavery was the catalyst that turned an internal quarrel into outright civil war. Aside from the fact that the slaves were human was the additional fact that they were a form of capital wealth. And, taken altogether, they represented a majority of the capital wealth of most Confederate States. So, what was seen by many as a moral issue – the freeing of enslaved human beings, was seen by the southerners as an economic issue – the collapse of the primary source of capital in their economy.
As a further digression, I often reflect on the fact that, if one understands the slavery issue from the economic angle, the real national tragedy is that the federal government could have bought the slaves then freed them for far less actual money cost than the cost of fighting the Civil War – and without the human and property losses war always involves. Of course, this would have had little long-term effect on what I contend was the real issue, leaving that wound to, no doubt, fester and erupt at another time.
So, I end these digressions and sum up to the present situation: Grandpa lost the great war but we have this flag to show that he fought and died bravely and we cling to whatever pride that leaves us with. Except, we are not even supposed to be allowed this going forward. Seems quite silly when summed up this does it not?
This brings us to the real issue. Does banning official display of any historical relic, does attempting to rewrite the narrative of a critical time in our history, actually improve the situation of millions of Black Americans? All rational people know the answer to that without further elaboration on my part. Indeed, given the hundreds of new laws and regulations and the trillions spent on programs intended to re-mediate the effects of slavery, how can there possibly still be a racial problem in America?
The sad but simple answer to that question is that racism still operates simply because so many people want it to. A few of these people, of all skin tones, are actually committed racists and probably always will be. But their numbers are so small they can be mostly ignored, albeit punished severely when their irrational ideas take physical form as they did recently in Charleston.
The bigger problem are those many who derive power and profit from the continuation of racial strife. Again, they exist on all sides of the color line. These include professional racists (Sharpton, Jackson, etc.), institutional racist organizations (the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus, etc.), and worst of all, politicians in general.
And, these last are by far the worst. They have repeatedly proven themselves willing to cast millions into a state of ignorance, poverty, economic slavery and government dependence simply to create a reliable voting group to help themselves continue in power.
And this is the real problem. Not some banner that most people ignore anyway. And, as long as we-the-sheeple allow this to continue, it can only get worse. Baltimore is only a preview of what we have coming. And, while we all abhor the violence and the irrational behavior inherent in rioting and looting, who can help but sympathize to some extent with the victims/perpetrators? Their frustration must be overpowering at times.
And in the end, so little has really changed:
→ A large group of people are systematically exploited for the benefit of others. Does it really matter whether they are picking cotton or forced into hopeless dependence on politicians?
→ The members of this exploited group are held in bondage partly by denying them the education necessary for self improvement. Does it really matter whether there are laws against teaching slaves to read and write or that schools are intentionally structured for political indoctrination rather than useful education? Or that politicians intentionally promote a dysfunctional culture that, among other things, discourages education, self-improvement and the formation of nurturing family units?
Many Black Americans are realizing their rightful share of the “American Dream” and they are doing so primarily by adhering to the mainstream culture that made America what it is. A culture that honors and rewards education, hard work, honesty, responsibility, civil involvement and the like. Meanwhile, a growing segment of our society which, for reasons beyond my comprehension, loathes America, is trying, with alarming success, to destroy that very culture that made us what we are and still could be.
As I end this screed, I ask you to remember this: It matters little what we have been because the past can never be changed. It does not even matter that much what we are SO LONG AS WE ARE CONTINUALLY GETTING BETTER. And, America always has been continually getting better – for all its citizens and will continue to do so if we will only let it.
Yet, there are many who would destroy us – mostly out of envy. The question is whether we will let them. Lately, I am very troubled by the answer.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
PS: Perhaps I can write another rant on the ISIS-like mentality of destroying the Jefferson Memorial but that can wait until the pressure builds up again.
Those conservatives who are inclined to dismiss Rand Paul as naive or insane regarding foreign policy, really ought to read and honestly ponder the 1963 essay, “War, Peace, and the State” by Murray N. Rothbard. I found it profound and most thought-provoking. As an example, one passage that really threw a monkey wrench in my patriotic thinking gears was:
“It has always been a source of wonder, incidentally, to this writer how the same conservatives who denounce as lunatic any proposal for eliminating a monopoly of violence over a given territory and thus leaving private individuals without an overlord, should be equally insistent upon leaving States without an overlord to settle disputes between them. The former is always denounced as “crackpot anarchism”; the latter is hailed as preserving independence and “national sovereignty” from “world government.” -Murray N. Rothbard
If you read it, let me know how it struck you… ◄Dave►
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►
If we are lucky enough for the Obamanation to actually leave office at the end of his current term, the Lame-Stream-Media are determined to replace him with fellow pathological liar Hillary Clinton.
I listened to part of her lie fest yesterday and the reasons she gave for her illegal actions regarding her official email would have been comical if coming from someone less likely to become “leader” of the somewhat free world.
For instance, she used a single email account for both personal and official communications because she did not want to deal with multiple devices. As if a given computing device is tied to one, and only one, email account. Not even a clever lie.
She admits to deleting over 30,000 emails from her account. These included some unknown number concerning yoga routines. Is she insane enough to think anyone believes that this old hag with a butt the size of Texas does yoga? An even less clever lie.
She claims to have complied with the rules by turning over some 55,000 printed pages of emails. How transparent. Not only are all the routing signatures not available on printed copies, these emails cannot be processed by electronic means without re-digitizing them – something that will take weeks or months to accomplish with some unknown introduction of translation errors. This was indeed, clever. If your have something to hide.
Then there is the apparent gap in the emails around the time of the Benghazi fiasco. How convenient.
In a no doubt associated matter, there are those huge monetary contributions to the Clinton Foundation from foreign people and governments which have no business “buying” influence with a cabinet officer who may well become POTUS. But, what should we expect from the wife of an ex president who sold US military secrets to the Chinese. Have you seen photos of their stealth aircraft? Clearly built directly from US plans and specifications.
It is obvious that the Clintons are part of a ruling class in this nation who are above the law. Witness the crimes committed by Bill which, besides the treason with the Chinese, included confessed-to perjury, and probable multiple rapes.
Any nation whose people not only put up with such behavior but encourage it by electing and re-electing the perpetrators deserve the inevitable outcome.
Citizens of an honest nation would be taking to the streets to demand justice. Instead, we allow the criminals and traitors to become rich and treat them like celebrities.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
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►
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►
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►
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►
Try as I might, I just cannot permanently stay quiet. Its like a pressure builds up in me such that I have to give it vent by speaking (or, in this case, writing) out. Sorry about that.
There is currently much yapping going on the media regarding the Obamanation’s refusal to use such terms as “radical Islam” in conjunction with the ongoing terrorist activities that are spreading like wildfire. The administration would evidently have us believe that a relatively few really bad guys commit these atrocities while falsely claiming to be Muslim, when, in fact, they have nothing whatever to do with the “religion of peace”. A lie so blatant as to be funny, were the consequences not so grave.
Yet, this is not the misnaming I wish to highlight. Instead, I feel that someone MUST bring the obvious into the cold light of truth.
Allow me to begin by offering two definitions, both taken from Yahoo Dictionary:
1. One who betrays one’s country, a cause, especially one who commits treason. (emphasis added by me.)
1. The betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts. (emphasis added by me.)
2. The betrayal of someones trust or confidence.
You may rightly be wondering by now, what can this fool be leading up to? Simply this. Our president is, by the above definitions, a traitor and guilty of treason. Among other treasonous acts, he has:
1. Released high-ranking enemy commanders, knowing they will likely return to the fight against us. The most spectacular of these acts was the release of 5 top Taliban commanders from the prison at Guantanamo in exchange for a soldier who almost certainly deserted his unit during wartime operations – another obvious act of treason.
2. Withdrawn our victorious military from Iraq at a time, and in such a fashion, as to guarantee the collapse of the government there.
3. Promised to do the same in Afghanistan.
4. Done everything in his power to avoid meaningful attacks on ISIS/ISIL, despite their obvious barbarity and their promise to make direct war on the United States.
5. Done everything in his power to ensure Iran successfully develops and deploys nuclear weapons.
6. Essentially ignored the growing threat to world peace posed by the Russian dictator.
7. Trampled the Constitution he swore to protect and defend.
In the above list, item 1 alone constitutes treason because there is no way to explain how such an act fails to give aid and comfort to the enemy. In a word, it is sufficient for Congress to demand severe punishment. Please remember that treason is the only crime defined in our Constitution.
Why then is there no outcry from the media (including Fox)? Why then is there no outcry from the Congress? Why then is there no outcry from any power base? Simple again. The whole useless lot of them either share the Obamanation’s guilt -or- they are so afraid of him that they are hardly more use than a bowl of quivering Jello. Mostly because any attempt to spotlight his crimes, whether treasonous or Constitutional violations, will open them to the deadly charge of racism. Better that the world’s greatest Republic be absolutely destroyed than that one of these precious idiots be labeled racist!
And, do not expect anything to change because the Republicans are back in control of the entire Congress. The only thing we can really look forward to from that quarter is that social legislation, particularly as affects anti-abortion and “family values” will get a new shot of energy.
The high point of my life is that I was privileged to live in these United States during our finest days. The low point is that I may well live long enough to see it all destroyed.
Where are the patriots that once made this Republic great? Why don’t they step forward and offer themselves for election? A believable patriot that could inspire our people could win the coming presidential election in history’s greatest landslide. If only.
Instead, we can look forward to a battle between liars and losers with it making very little difference which one prevails.
Worse yet, when the final collapse begins, most of us will wail that we had no idea such things were happening.
This nation was designed to be self-governing. That is to say, a nation governed by the combined will of its citizens. If we, the “self-governors” refuse to educate ourselves, refuse inform ourselves, refuse to be meaningfully involved in the governance of our nation, the current mess we are in seems an inevitable outcome.
For the moment, most of us seem to be (literally) fat, dumb and happy. However, not much further down the current road will find us starving, dumb and enslaved. Notice that “dumb” is the constant in this equation.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
As our media constantly assure us, political partisanship in our nation becomes ever more extreme and, often, more viscous with each election campaign. One has only to watch a few political advertisements to realize that this is very true.
The question is why?
That same media supposedly has studied the issue and, although it can make some suggestions, usually somewhat misplaced, they seem not to understand the why of it. Despite all the half-baked guesses coming from the media, the issue of political partisanship seems to me to have a much simpler and more obvious answer than any other issue I have mused over in this space.
It is to me an obvious fact that the more valuable the “prize” in any contest, the harder the contestants will try to win that “prize”. There can be no question that the “prize” in any political contest is power. Certainly, at the elementary level, the “prize” would seem to be the capture of a particular office or position. However, it is the power inherent in that office or position that establishes its value.
So, what has this to do with the extremity and viciousness of political partisanship? Simply this… the greater the size and scope of any level of government, the greater the power (value) of each of its offices and positions. As the power of a government grows, the power of its elements grow in kind, ergo, the value of these elements grows apace – or even exponentially.
This is easily seen in history in conjunction with absolute monarchies or dictatorships where murder and war are regular events involved in capturing one of these offices.
Simple conclusion: if we want less political partisanship and all the undesirable things that entails, we must significantly decrease the size and scope of the various levels of our government. If government were forced back into the bounds established by our Constitution, the primary attraction of public office would be public service rather than personal power and self aggrandizement.
Indeed, it is amazing just how many of our current woes could be reduced, if not eliminated, by that simple expedient. Yet we move in the opposite direction.
Why? Because too many of us are simply ignorant fools. An that ignorance is by our own choice.
Oh – as to why the media seem unable to grasp the simple truth that ever bigger government is ever worse government? Simple. They like big government (ignorant fools again).
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
Like most Americans, I get a daily dose of updates from the front lines in Ferguson, MO. Being me, I can’t help but offer a few comments of my own…
To begin with, let me clearly say that I have no idea what actually transpired between the dead youth and the police officer – and, I suspect we will never know for sure because most of the “witnesses” seem to have viewed the incident through lens distorted by their own personal prejudices, these slanting in all directions.
Next, I highly suspect that officer Wilson will see his reputation, if not his freedom, sacrificed in the name of Political Correctness and “community relations”, just as happened several years ago in the Rodney King case. I cite the King case based on my personal opinion that the opinion of the public (and the original jury that refused to convict the police) was very different based on whether they viewed the entire video tape of the incident or the carefully edited version shown by the major media. The point being that “evidence” can be manipulated to cause differing responses from those considering said evidence.
My next point concerns the notion that an “unarmed youth” was shot multiple times by an armed police officer. I contend that a 300+ pound 18 year-old human body, used in anger, can be a quite formidable weapon, particularly when launched against an older human of about ½ the body mass of the perpetrator.
Then there is the major paradox in the case: This involves the claim, probably often true, that many police are very prone to be especially suspicious of the criminal tenancies of young black males. Now, one can reasonably respond that crime statistics support this apparent attitude on the part of the police. One can also reasonably counter that, if police apprehend young black males in excess, that in itself will tend to generate those very statistics. But that is not the paradox. Instead it is this – in far too many cases like Ferguson, too many members of the black community “protest” their alleged over-criminalization by committing repeated criminal acts – looting, rioting, attacking police and innocent civilians – usually in public and often on camera. Can they not realize that such open and obvious behavior is seen by many fair-minded people as justifying the attitudes and actions of the police?
A second paradox is the climate of fear, caused by black outrage, encouraged by “professional racists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, discourage the open and honest exchange of thoughts and feelings necessary to sort through and, hopefully, resolve this continuing national tragedy. This is (to me at least) especially distressing at a time when a number of the most powerful political offices, most distinguished scholastic positions, and most lucrative entertainment positions are held by members of the black community.
As I have opined multiple times in this space, the genetic differences between the ethnic groups in this nation are superficial to the degree of being meaningless, consisting almost entirely of environmental adaptations that will one day disappear. The meaningful differences are all cultural. While it may well be slowly changing (for the worse), the most successful cultural model in this nation is derived from that of Western Europe. That culture embodies such notions as education, ambition, perseverance, supportive/protective family units, honesty, integrity. Historically, members of all ethnic groups who embrace this culture succeed, to the extent that they usually achieve whatever they desire in their lives. Sadly, far too many members of the black community, especially in our inner cities, embrace an artificial, dysfunctional culture that knowingly rejects those cultural attributes that reliably lead to success. Sadder still, this phenomenon is encouraged by various political groups who profit from a downtrodden, dependent black community. Saddest of all, the worst offenders in this viscous process are themselves members of the black community. The power to change this lies totally in the hands of the blacks themselves – if they would only realize it.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
I am having blog-withdrawal problems and must contribute something – however, continuing to point out the myriad wrongdoings of the Obamanation and his administration is boring and repetitive. Add to that the fact that I have lost nearly all passion for things political and I am left with the nearly overwhelming need to say something despite having nothing very inteeresting to say.
Then, voila, last evening I found a subject – although nothing really earth shaking. Congressman Paul Ryan was commenting that after several decades and trillions of dollars spent, US government programs to help those in poverty had not worked. (Imagine that!)
Finally, something to dispute, and from a conservative mouth to boot!
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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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