Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category
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►
In my 72 years on this earth, I have never before seen such a demonstration of total incompetence and utter stupidity as what has transpired in Baltimore these last few days.
Evidently, the latest outbreak of brainlessness in Baltimore was triggered by the arrest of a young black man for the obviously egregious crime of making eye contact with police officers then attempting to ride away on his bike. These brave officers responded by shackling the young man, tossing him into a police van without seat belt or harness to keep him in place then, apparently, taking him on what is called a “rough ride”. Said ride must have earned its name because the young man emerged with a broken spine and sufficient spinal cord damage that he died of his injuries.
The geniuses that administer Baltimore reacted by suspending several police officers – with pay – then offering nothing by way of explanation, excuse or what have you. Exactly what did they think the reaction of the black community would be? Especially in light of several other well publicized incidents between police and young black men.
Even though there had already been some troublesome demonstrations in Baltimore with threats of more to come, the funeral of the victim, an obvious time for unleashing resentment, is held with there having been almost no preparation by city authorities for handling what was surely about to happen.
Then, at the end of the funeral, when the trouble is starting for real, local city transportation (subway and buses) are made unavailable to thousands of young blacks trying to get home from school, leaving them little else to do than join the demonstrations.
Next, the head genius (the mayor) tells her police force, in effect, to let them loot and riot, presumably to depressurize the situation. Of course, this has the opposite effect and the riots get even worse. Yet, the head genius waits until nearly dark, when the rioting is bound to go ballistic, to ask the governor to deploy the national guard.
It is now the next day and portions of Baltimore are still burning. Who’d a thunk it?
One might easily assume that Baltimore is run by a bunch of redneck whites who intentionally let all this happen – right? Not exactly. The mayor, chief of police and several other high administrators of the city are all black. We do not yet know the racial makeup of the police officers who started all this with an apparent illegal arrest and mistreatment of the victim but racism does not seem to suffice as an explanation for all that has happened.
How then is it to be explained?
With no other evidence to go on, I will offer my explanation: The same deadly mix of incompetence and corruption that is ruining government at every level in our once proud republic.
BTW, doesn’t a governor outrank a mayor? Why then did the governor of MD not take it upon himself to deploy the national guard early enough to have gotten the situation under control well before dark?
Why did the mayor not immediately invoke a curfew in an attempt to clear the streets instead of appearing to give the rioters freedom to riot and loot?
In a word, why do we have so many “leaders” who are quick to point fingers and place blame rather than step up to the responsibility they pledged to take when assuming power?
Again, I presume to answer my own question: We tolerate irresponsibility in our leaders because we-the sheeple are ourselves generally irresponsible.
My friends, we are letting, even helping, all this to happen over and over. It is not ISIS/ISIL, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians or whoever else we like to blame for our woes. To again quote the great philosopher Pogo the Possum, “we have met the enemy and he is US”.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
I notice that there has been no discussion here of the recent Putin conquests and provocations.
May I have the satisfaction of knowing this is because, like me, the rest of you suspect this is nothing more or less than a sideshow meant to deflect international attention away from more significant activities – such as the treasonous activities of supposed “democratic” governments all over the world as well as the cowardice they display in regard to the Muslim threat?
For sure, innocent people are being slaughtered in this “sideshow” but, when did the lives of innocent people ever matter to those who truly wield power in this world? Truth is that we are simply utility objects to them. Sometimes our best use comes from helping increase their wealth or power through our work. Sometimes it comes from shedding our blood in whatever way seems to suit their current purposes.
On a side note, it makes me incredibly sad to realize that I once worked for what I am convinced with the best corporation in the world (IBM). During my tenure there, I saw it degenerate into just another corporation. I was born in what was undoubtedly the best nation in history. During my tenure here, I have seen America degenerate into just another country.
Consenting to become “ordinary” when you have been outstanding is such an insult to any enterprise.
Troy L Robinson
Saint J9 and I went to see this movie yesterday and really were impressed with the great job done by Clint Eastwood and the actors, especially Bradley Cooper.
For those who don’t know (or care), Chris Kyle lived, and was murdered, 40-50 miles from where we currently live, just as the trial of his killer is just starting up in the same area. Ergo, the interest in the movie is extraordinary in this area.
Indeed, we would have helped populate one of the nearby I35 overpasses to honor the funeral procession as it made its way from Arlington to Austin — except were prevented by a mandatory appointment that took us elsewhere, much to our regret. They say that every one of the overpasses was lined with people and they show some actual footage of the procession at the end of the film. I don’t know how many overpasses there are but the trip is over 150 miles. Once the procession approached the city of Austin, the sides of the highway were also lined by a continuous wall of people and this continued all the way to the Texas State Cemetery where Kyle in interred along with many other Texas heroes.
Makes one proud to be a Texan and an American to be reminded that we still produce such people.
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►
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
Things sure have been slow around here. I know that I have not been holding up my end of things, mostly because there really is not much new to say RE our national condition. I just sit back and watch too many of the things I predicted come to pass with the honest hope that it stops short of my worst prediction (a full-fledged dictatorship).
It is still too early to guess whether the Obamanation will peacefully leave office at the end of his elected term. I suppose that much depends on the prospects for his successor. If the Obamanation’s masters can confidently predict that Hillary will be the next president, then they will no doubt let that happen, knowing that their power will continue undiminished. Should the GOP get its head out of — uh, wherever it usually keeps its head, then who knows what our true masters might then decide. However, such seems very unlikely. Just look at the speed with which assumed GOP front-runner, Krispy-Creame Chistie was reduced to almost-ran status.
Meanwhile, we are off this coming weekend for the next Reason Foundation cruise. Perhaps I will find sufficient inspiration there to write something new. I have been reading and thinking a lot about the effect of fundamentalist religion on our nation and on many of the bizarre happenings therein but have not seen fit to write about it because previous articles on this subject were not well received. While I don’t mind causing minor upset if it makes my readers think, I am not looking to get on any more enemies lists.
Dave, where are you? Have you abandoned this blog for greener pastures? (Or at least, for blogs with more activity?)
I admit to being a fan of Duck Dynasty although I would be hard pressed to give a rational reason why. I guess it is the fact that I grew up in similar country (swamps) and enjoyed hunting (especially ducks although I was never especially successful at it – one needed $$ to hunt where there were lots of ducks and $$ I did not have).
So, GQ (of all magazines) interviews the Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, a retired fundamentalist preacher as well as a duck call inventor. And they, along with the A&E cable network pretend to be surprised that he answered most of the questions exactly as one would expect from a fundamentalist preacher. Imagine that.
I don’t happen to agree with Phil about anything concerning religion or tolerance of my fellow man – but – that is not the point of their TV program. Sure, they work a prayer into every episode, usually at the dining table, but I somehow manage to ignore that just like I ignore the myriad times I am subjected to public prayer in my everyday life (part of the price of living in the rural South).
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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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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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I have a confession to make – one inspired by friend Dave’s recent articles regarding natural rights. The fact is, I do not believe there is any such thing as a natural right.
Yes, I truly support Mr. Jefferson’s sentiments, expressed in the Declaration Of Independence, that “all men are created equal”. However, I interpret that statement differently than most of my fellow citizens. I believe that what Mr. Jefferson meant, taken in the context of the document in which he said it, is that there is no “divine right of kings”. That there are no special humans, designated and recognized by some deity as having a special, deity-granted right to rule (or tyrannize) other people. One obvious reason this must be true is that there is no evidence of any deity with the authority or the power to grant such a right (actually, this would more correctly be defined as a privilege).
I also support Mr. Jefferson’s contention that all humans have an equal “right” to their lives, to the extent that they can defend their lives; to their liberty, to the extent that they can effectively demand and maintain their liberty; and, to whatever property they can morally and ethically accumulate, defend and maintain.
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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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As I have opined in other articles, I take a dim view of altruism – the notion that one should do for others with no thought toward one’s own needs, and with no thought of a reward for one’s altruistic actions. In a word, none of us is truly our brother’s keeper.
However, this does not mean that it is wise for one person to live their life without any regard for their fellows, for often, concern for others is actually very much in our own self interest. In a word, each of us is truly our brother’s brother and we would do well to remember that.
To this end, I submit two quotes from the recent past that should help illustrate this point…
First, a quote that, to some degree, helps us understand how the Nazis were able to dominate an otherwise enlightened culture…
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
And this from Ayn Rand, reminding us of the supremacy of the individual (versus any form of collective)…
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
Why am I bringing this up? Because history seems to be repeating itself (again).
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While I realize there is no end of opinion being offered regarding the Martin – Zimmerman fiasco, I cannot help but offer my own two dollars worth…
Despite there having been no real evidence of a racial angle to this tragedy, still there seems to be an outcry to make this a racial issue. My question is why?
I expect as much from the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton because they (and others like them) are professional racists. That is to say, their prosperity, fame and influence are all based on the continuation of racial divisiveness.
But, how does one explain the media’s obvious wish to stir up unnecessary racial discord over this? Or that of the “Hollywood airheads”? Worse yet, why is the president of our nation doing the same thing? Do they not understand that the “low information” segment of our society reacts to such misinformation emotionally rather than rationally, and that, to most of them, perception is reality, regardless of the pertinent facts (or lack of same).
I confess to have no idea what was going through the minds of George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin during that unfortunate encounter. However, my impression, from what evidence we have been offered, is that this was the tragic result of a chance collision between two people, both lacking in good judgment.
Goodness knows that there is enough legitimate racial misconduct among all races without attempting to find a racial problem where none seemed to exist.
Precisely what do the race-baiters wish to come of this? Other than the professional racists named above, why would any sane person want to foment unrest that will intimately harm us all?
There is another angle to this that puzzles me. Assume that the professional racists, the media, the Hollywood airheads and even the president are all totally sincere in their concern that a young black male may have been intentionally stalked and killed by a part Hispanic, part black man with a Jewish name? If the killing of young black males is so high on their collective horror list, where is the like concern for the thousands of young black males that are routinely slaughtered by other black males in our inner cities? Are the lives of those young black males of no account? Is the killing of a young black male only wrong when perpetuated by a killer who is less than totally black?
As I have opined before in this blog, I originally hoped that the election of the first self-identified “black” president would be, if not the end of racism in America, at least the beginning of the end. Instead, we have elected the most racist administration in the history of the Republic.
Perhaps those currently in power see this as some manner of “getting even”? I simply cannot imagine any other explanation for intentionally causing division and discord in the nation they were chosen to lead. But this I do know – whatever their motivation, what they are doing can only turn out very badly for all of us, no matter our individual blend of ancestral ethnicity.
The future of our Republic is in sufficient doubt without this.
Taking this latest fiasco together with all else that has happened in recent years, one would be justified in concluding that those privileged to lead this nation are determined to destroy it. I simply cannot come up with any other rational explanation.
It is our choice whether we allow them to succeed.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
This being the holiday when we (should) celebrate our national independence, it seems a reasonable time to reflect on the notion of Patriotism and of the Patriot. To some extent, this article is in response to the blog post at: http://www.thoughtsaloud.com/2013/06/11/does-the-truth-realy-make-us-free/ and to the many comments it prompted (and for which I thank all of you).
To start things off, I offer definitions of the two words, taken from Dictionary.com:
devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
While I do not argue with these definitions, I nevertheless find them lacking. For instance, “patriotism” is defined as being about one’s country and national loyalty. Fine, but exactly what does this mean? Is the “country” the physical land? Is it the citizenry? Is it the nation – and, by extension, the government? Common sense suggests to me that it is a combination of these. Again, fine, so far as it goes.
Next, when we consider the definition of “patriot”, we get another “spin” on things. Again is repeated the devotion to country, but, added is the notion that a “patriot” also defends the rights of the individual citizen against governmental interference. And, herein lies the rub.
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The United States of America has reached that sad (and terminal) condition where we are in a constant state of War.
As a people, we have been conditioned to accept War as a necessary thing. After all, was our very freedom as a nation not born in War?
The error in all this is that War, as a term of language, has become so general as to mean almost anything, good, bad or indifferent. We-the-sheeple seem to accept that all Wars are in our interest without stopping to examine each so-called “War” on its own merits (or lack of same). As a result, a condition (War) that we generally accept as always in our interest is increasingly used against us. Yet another example where ignorance is the true enemy – an enemy against which we are not waging any form of “War”. Let us examine a few of the attributes of this thing we call “War”.
Basically, War is a method by which something is intended to be “defeated’. Simple enough on the surface but, are we always sure we know exactly what is intended to be defeated and why? I submit that the answer is a definite “NO”.
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(It seems I have something to say after all…)
According to the Christian bible, if one knows the truth, that truth will make one free. Will it really? Better still, do most of us even want to know the truth?
In this diatribe, I refer to the various documents provided to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning followed by the more recent disclosures of government spying on its citizens by Edward Snowden.
It is true that, in both cases, the “leakers”, aka “whistle blowers” violated numerous security laws and rules by making their disclosures. This prompts me to ask whether laws and rules that have the effect of covering up (or hiding) wrongdoing on the part of government can, indeed, ever be accepted as valid laws and rules?
I see this as akin to the principle regarding a soldier’s obligation to follow orders – excepting in those cases where such orders would result in illegal or improper actions (for instance, an order to kill innocent civilians).
Such notions are, in fact, almost impossible to “cleanly” implement because they depend on the interpretation of the situation by the individuals involved as well as the fact that the “rules” of the game are often totally inconsistent.
Referring back to my previous example – most of us can agree that an order for an infantry squad to invade a peaceful village and kill innocent non-combatants is morally wrong. Then, what do we say about the order to drop bombs or fire missiles into areas that contain equally innocent non-combatants whose only “crime” was to be too near some area thought to have legitimate military value? It seems to me the only way out of this morass is to judge the actions of those who violate the rules by the evident morality of their intentions. That is, were the violations in question obviously intended for personal gain or were they done at obvious personal risk to the violator and driven by moral considerations?
Back to the original notion – that of “leakers” who violate security laws and rules to disclose information that they honestly and morally believe should be known by the citizenry at large…
My own opinion, for whatever it is worth, is that what we know to be morally correct always trumps laws and rules established by government. If that is not true, then government automatically becomes all powerful because its ability to manipulate and deceive will be unlimited.
Given this opinion, three thoughts emerge: First, that both Manning and Snowden deserve the same consideration and protection extended to whistle blowers whose revelations did not involve “national security”. Second, that what we allow to be called “national security” is more often a smoke screen intentionally devised to hide the crimes of those who govern us. Third, that any and all members of government who demand that the likes of Manning and Snowden be severely punished, even executed, are themselves highly suspect and most probably have wrongdoing to hide.
The plain truth is that our government, especially the current regime, is corrupt to the point where all our rights and liberties are at severe risk. If we sit by and allow those who would expose this corruption to be silenced and punished, then we are nothing more than accessories to that corruption.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
Some time ago, in this blog, I opined that one way to tell that tyrants are becoming secure in their position is that they cease trying to cover up their lies and their misdeeds.
It that not exactly the situation in these United States today?
Today, we are seeing evidence of activities on the part of out-of-control government that, in past days, would have caused people to take to the streets in anger and disgust. Yet, various members of the regime, whether before legislative committees, before what passes for “the press” and in other public venues, give responses to legitimate questions that range from blatant lies to wise-guy responses that are the verbal equivalent of raising the middle finger in the questioner’s face. And there is virtually no meaningful response. Especially from we-the-sheeple.
Consider the testimony of then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman when asked why he had been cleared to visit the White House 157 times. His response, to a committee of Congress, was that he was taking his kids to the Easter Egg Roll. (Translation – up yours!)
Then we have IRS official Lois Lerner who comes before this same committee, makes a speech proclaiming her innocence of any and all wrongdoing, then invokes her 5th amendment right against self incrimination rather than answer any questions from the committee. (Translation – up yours!)
And, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, angrily responding what difference does it make when asked about the persistent lie that the Benghazi attack, which killed 4 Americans including our Ambassador to Libya, was incited by a YouTube video rather than having been a well planned terrorist attack. (Translation – up yours!)
Meanwhile, the both the Obamanation and his Attorney general lie with impunity to virtually every question then are asked – and are pretty much allowed to get by with it. (Translation – up yours!)
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Scandals related to the Obama regime are popping up almost faster than Fox can cover them (the other parts of the MSM evidently not caring). The evidence that we are being constantly and systematically lied to – thus being manipulated — is overwhelming. Yet, the Obamanation enjoys a positive job approval rating over 50%. Sane people wonder how could this possibly be?
I think I now partly understand and, that partial understanding leads to a conclusion I simply have no idea how to cope with.
We were driving to Ft Worth yesterday to keep an appointment – a drive of 1 ½ hours or so, depending on conditions. So, as is my usual habit, I had the radio tuned to a local talk show. The topic under discussion is quite beside the point. The gist of the story is that a woman called in to make a comment on the topic of the moment. The host reacted to the comment she had made by citing several known, openly available facts showing that what she was claiming was totally incorrect. Her reaction was, in my interpretation, that she did not care what the facts were, she had decided what she wanted to believe and she would continue to believe it no matter what. In other words, her position was based on what she wanted to be true, not on reality.
I admit that I have no idea how such attitudes can be dealt with. And, if as I suspect, this is a widespread thing, the situation seems quite hopeless.
Since my retirement, much of the focus of my life has been on attempts to inform, to educate and to challenge others to think, mostly by trying to restate complex notions in the simplest and most logical way possible in an attempt to make them more understandable. My thinking being that many of our citizens, for any number of reasons, simply do not fully understand what is happening around them. The notion that large numbers of them knowingly and intentionally reject reality is so alien to my world view as to leave me feeling totally helpless and unable to cope.
In my world, the essence of our humanity is our ability to reason. When we intentionally reject that, haven’t we become something less than human?
What disturbs me most of all (about myself and my reaction to this realization) is that suddenly the actions of the likes of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc., actually start to make a sort of perverted sense. Yet, the rational being inside me knows that this cannot be the answer because, if it is, then what point is there to anything?
I seek better understanding should any of you have the insight I obviously lack. Truly, if ignorance is bliss then tis folly to seek wisdom. In the meantime I find that there is much joy in simply sitting in my Japanese garden in the evenings, enjoying the plants, the birds, and the critters (especially my friend Mr. Squirrel who is quite the entertainer), partaking of a good cigar and a glass of fine Scots whisky and letting the world do as it will. If this seems overly selfish – weel, I dinna give a hoot!
Troy L Robinson
I will begin this by repeating one of my favorite notions… I am only one religion removed from the most fanatic believer. I say this because, inevitably, the truly fanatic are certain that every religious dogma, except their own, is fatally flawed. In a word, they are all wrong. All I do is take this idea one religion further and accept the obvious – that ALL religions are fatally flawed, ergo the one religion difference.
There are several very simple principles that convince me I am correct. The simplest of all is this: the root of all religions is nothing more or less than an attempt to explain the relationship between humanity and the unknowable. Unknowable. Think about this a moment. If something is truly unknowable, are not any and all attempts to find an explanation automatically flawed? None can be any better than wild guesses. Possibly, one or more of these wild guesses may be near some form of truth but we cannot know that with any certainty because that is the very nature of unknowable.
It follows (to my mind) that, given the absolute uncertainty of any dogma based on wild guesses, any attempt to use such dogma as justification for interfering in the free exercise of their natural rights by others can only be wrong. Very wrong. As wrong as wrong can get.
How could anything be simpler to comprehend? Yet, by the billions, we humans cling to belief systems that were not even convincing back in the dark ages when they were conceived. Belief systems that would be both silly and comical were it not for the damage they have done and continue to do.
Which brings us to marathon day in Boston. Once again, we are forced to see the result of a belief system that, by its own tenents, cannot, and will not peacefully coexist with any other system of belief or governance. Yet, we refuse to see that the problem is not a few over zealous practitioners of Islam. Instead, the problem is obviously in the core beliefs upon which the religion is based.
Why such a refusal? Simple. Once we, via our institutions, openly admit that the very tenents of a religion can be dangerous to humanity, we open the door to the next obvious question: “can this conclusion apply to all religions?”
At some level of our being, I think all of us know the answer to that question. That is why we do not dare allow it to be asked in any meaningful forum.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson