Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

PostHeaderIcon The Ferguson Paradox

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

PostHeaderIcon Slow Times At The Old Blog Game

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?)

Troy

PostHeaderIcon He Said What?

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).
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Introducing Objectivism

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:
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Rebutted

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Refuted

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Explained

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Is History Repeating Itself (Again)?

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).
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Why Promote Racism?

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

PostHeaderIcon Considering Patriotism

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:

patriotism:
devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.

patriot:
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.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Deconstructing The Nature Of WAR

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”.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Does The Truth REALLY Make Us Free?

(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

PostHeaderIcon What More Can Be Said?

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!)
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Unable To Cope

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

PostHeaderIcon The Essential Danger Of Religion

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

PostHeaderIcon How Low Can They Go?

Watching the repeated attempts by progressives to exploit each and every tragedy, particularly those involving the slaughter of children – purely for whatever political advantage they might milk from them – has been nothing short of disgusting. But, the performance put on by Senator Harry Reid, on the floor of the U. S. Senate, was truly sickening.

Senator Reid, while ostensibly honoring several U. S. Marines who were killed in what was clearly an accident, made clear and repeated attempts to link this tragedy to the sequester.

It is a pity that the limbo has gone out of style because Senator Reid (and all his kind) could slither under a limbo stick as it lay flat on the floor. One simply cannot sink lower than that!
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon The Reality Of Choice

I have long been a frequent and vocal critic of what passes for an education system in our nation. Sometimes, when stewing over the human tragedy resulting from the substitution of indoctrination for true education, I ask myself – were I empowered to determine one thing to stress in our attempts to educate, what would that be?

Certainly we must try to instill and build the basic skills – the traditional “3 R’s”. But, this alone is not enough. Then I think that teaching the discipline of “critical thinking” (the skill of taking in unfiltered information then using it to make rational decisions) would be an obvious benefit. While it surely would, this too is not enough (nor is it about to happen in the foreseeable future). So, I once again consult with myself, asking what other thing, preferably a simple thing, do our people need to help them better navigate the endless stream of choices that constitute human life?

Amazingly, myself somehow suggested an answer; It occurred to myself that, in general, our people do not know or understand what I call “The Reality Of Choice”.

What do I mean by this? Several different but intertwined things:
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon The True “Miracle” That Made America

I have long been convinced that the founding of America was a sort of miracle. Not in the sense of magic or some manner of mystical intervention, but in the sense of what had to happen to allow and cause that founding.

Now that the Republic that was founded is likely coming to an end, it seems only proper to reflect on the why and the how of both the beginning and of the end.

For sure, the establishment of our Constitution seems a sort of miracle in itself and I revere the document and all it stands for. Yet, that Constitution is actually a result of the true miracle and not the miracle itself.

So, what then is this “true” miracle that I refer to? It is simply that fact that a particular group of people occurred at the same place, at the same time, and with a common goal that they were willing to risk everything for. I refer, of course, to the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Adams, George Washington and a host of supporting players. Truly, what are the odds that such a group would coalesce just when and were they were needed? How seldom has such a thing happened in the known history of mankind (if ever)? And, please note that we-the-people did not chose our Founders. They simply occurred, hence the “miracle”.

We Americans are prone to say that we are “a nation of laws, not of men”. While I admire the sentiment intended by this, it is not now and was never actually true. The “laws” in question were the work of men (men meaning humans). They are obeyed (or not), are enforced (or not) by men. And, they have been slowly but surely destroyed by men – through a process of neglect combined with intent.
Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Who Owns a Child?

I am very comfortable with my libertarian philosophy, which propounds individual sovereignty and Liberty for freemen and women, with the natural right to live their lives as they choose to live them, as long as they do not forcefully interfere with or violate the natural rights of others. I have carefully worked out in my head, how such free individuals can live at peace with their neighbors, meeting in the commons for commerce and fraternity, as free traders giving no more than they take, in entirely voluntary value for value exchanges, which enrich each other's lives.

Thus, I regard one's home as his castle, and his real estate as his sovereign domain, where he gets to make the rules, which visitors are bound to abide. When he steps off his private property, however, he must abide by the standards, social customs, and rules of the community. If there were no social compact and universally accepted basic rules, to insure that any vehicle coming around the next bend would be on the other side of the road, it would be chaos. I am fine with that, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Where my philosophy falls completely apart, however, is when it comes to the welfare of children. Having discussed this issue with folks of all political persuasions, I can assure all that empathy for an innocent child is a sincerely held universal human trait, The question becomes, what are parental rights and responsibilities vs. any sort of societal rights and responsibilities vs. children's rights.

Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon Ayn Rand on Johnny Carson

As an Objectivist and fan of both Ayn Rand and Johnny Carson, I was delighted to find that someone has uncovered an interview he conducted of her on his show back in '66, when her latest book, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” had just been published. Objectivists, libertarians, and fans of her books, will easily ignore the black & white, grainy, and flickering video for the pleasure of watching her explain her philosophy, and opine on such matters as the Vietnam War, the draft, and her prognosis for America.

Part One of Two

 

 

Younger readers, accustomed to modern TV entertainment, may be surprised at the respectful seriousness with which Johnny, the original and consumate late night comedian, conducted the half-hour long interview. Notice the cogent questions he asked, and the polite opportunity he gave her to answer them, uninterrupted. She was the focus of everyone's attention, not the host. Those were the days… how would Stewart, Colbert, or Maher have handled the interview?

Part Two of Two

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Political Spectrum
Political Circle

Think Up/Down not Left/Right

Archives
Internal Links
Other Sandboxes
T-Speak

Please also join us here. ◄Dave►