Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Random Comments On The Election Process

It is no secret that my participation in the very active discussions here RE the current election have been minimal. This is for the simple reason that I do not think the current sham process is worthy of much serious consideration. Having said that, I do have several comments to share, some of them repeats from previous blogs:

→ While I seriously question whether Donald Trump would make an effective president, I do thank him for making the “establishment” begin to show its true intentions. And those intentions are NOT pro-democracy, pro-republic or pro anything other than the absolute control of the nation by a small elite cabal of the wealthy, mostly in the financial sector, and not nearly all American. (The are the same people who pretty much “own” the FED.).

→ Speaking of the “establishment”, I have heard several pundits opine that the “GOP establishment” would prefer a president Hillary to a president Donald. To refer to a “GOP establishment” or a “Democrat establishment” is simply incorrect. While they both seem to exist, the fact is that there is so much overlap that it is more accurate to refer instead to “THE establishment”.

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PostHeaderIcon Do Not Fail…

…to grasp this logic:

Whatever one thinks of Trump, the revolution has already started, and the election will not end it. Pick a side… ◄Dave►

 

PostHeaderIcon Happy Anniversary

…to me. I always celebrate March 9th, because on this date in 1973, was the last time I ever wore a silly necktie. 🙂

Forty-three years ago today, I abandoned my reasonably successful high-tech corporate career in Silicon Valley, to become an entrepreneur. During my farewell speech at my going-away luncheon,  I removed my necktie and gave it to a colleague, promising to never again put such a ridiculous thing around my neck. I have faithfully kept that vow to this day, even though I have occasionally been turned away at fancy restaurants and night clubs. To me, one’s principles are inviolable.  😀  ◄Dave►

PostHeaderIcon Perhaps We Should Do Less Winning?

I spent this past weekend watching 2 grandsons compete in baseball tournaments. As is normal in present America, all the emphasis was on winning. Indeed, apparently winning is all that counts these days.

In the case of total war, I cannot help but agree. In most other cases, I am increasingly skeptical.

As my grandsons “won” some games and “lost” others, I could not help but study the obvious effects these two outcomes had on the young people playing and, to a lesser extent, on the parents watching… almost insanely euphoric in the first case and a hang-dog, give up attitude in the second.

This is the problem with a win/lose dichotomy. While it produces some winners, it always produces an equal or greater number of losers. And this in a game where NOTHING is actually won or lost except one’s very temporary pride, esteem and self confidence. Might it be better to put the emphasis on performing the best one can? Then, all who put forth a good effort can finish the day feeling good about themselves – while those who did not try would know who they are without some artificial win/lose structure.

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PostHeaderIcon Enough of Beck

As I have mentioned before, I was appalled by the ridiculous statement by Jerry Falwell explaining 9/11 to Pat Robertson. He stated that obviously God had removed his divine protection from our country, because of our increasing tolerance of homosexuals and the gay lifestyle. I was so disgusted that I swore I would never listen to another thing he ever said. From then on, every time I saw his pudgy face on TV, I immediately either turned it off or changed the channel, and kept my vow for the rest of his miserable life.

As long-time readers know, I was once was an avid Glenn Beck fan and supporter. I was an ‘Insider’ member of his radio program long before he ever got the gig on Fox News. I loved his TV program, which I must admit had a major impact on my thinking regarding Islam and Middle East politics. I bought and read all of his books. I was an early adopter of his ‘Blaze’ news site. I even subscribed to his new internet TV program, for the first couple of years after he left Fox.

I was as tolerant as I could be, of the increasing religious nature of his endeavors, until such insufferably became the primary focus of his existence. Now I only bother to visit the Blaze when following a link to a news item there, which has nothing to do with Beck himself. Several months ago, I even unsubscribed to his free newsletter, which I had received daily for many years.

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PostHeaderIcon Laissez Faire America

The French term ‘laissez faire’ doesn’t just apply to economics. Literally, it translates to ‘let the people do as they wish,’ or a refusal to interfere in other people’s affairs. E.g. I take a laissez faire attitude toward other’s religious proclivities. As long as they don’t pester me about them, or try to get government to impose their dogma on others, what they believe and how they worship is their business, and none of mine.

It also makes a great synonym for the basic original meaning of anarchy – the absence of control by rulers of any sort, would be a laissez faire society. Since the term ‘anarchy’ has been corrupted in the minds of most, to now be synonymous with ‘chaos,’ perhaps I could find readers more willing to consider a government-free society, if I employed the French term, which is considered a positive attribute, by most who are at all familiar with it.

I have found there to be ample valid arguments, to counter all the trepidation usually expressed, by those arguing that at least a minimal government is required to maintain a civil society. Yet, unfortunately, as soon as the word anarchy comes up, most minds snap shut, as they envision ruthless brutes and gangs taking over their communities. The degree to which most sheeple are willing to forego Liberty, for the promise of a little security, is downright shameful.

If I thought that there was the slightest hope that the Federal government could ever again be downsized, and constrained by the intent of the original Constitution, I could live with that hope and work toward those ends. Alas, any rational person would have to agree that will never be. Thus, hereafter, when I use the term laissez faire, it will be my ‘dog whistle’ for expressing my blatant desire to completely abolish the Federal government in America, and replace it with nothing… i.e. anarchy. 🙂 ◄Dave►

PostHeaderIcon Why Socioeconomic Systems Fail

Today, I venture to opine on a subject this has been over opined about by people far more qualified to offer opinions than yours truly.

Still, I will offer my own opinions with the hope that my use of simplification and common language might be more palatable than that typically used by the over educated.

In theory, a Free Market, operated in an environment of laissez-faire, is the best, most reliable and most equitable economic model available. So, how could such a system possibly fail? IMHO, partly due to its own accumulated success.

What could I possibly mean by such a silly statement? How can accumulated success lead to systematic failure? Simple, it does so when the economic model (the Free Market) attempts to operate in a vacuum. Said differently, when the economic model operates as if it alone is responsible for long term societal prosperity.

Secondly, this socioeconomic model fails when it is overburdened from without.

Thirdly, a state of “general prosperity” is anathema to those among us who, seemingly unable to control themselves, seek to control everyone else instead.

Still sounds a bit silly, does it not? Not to me.

In the case of the United States of America, a mostly free market economy (what I see as a “free enough” market economy) took a fledgling nation from a condition of national non-entity to super-power status so quickly that it gave us all a mild form of collective whiplash. It also gave us a level of general prosperity never before seen in the world and, by many, thought to be impossible to attain.

Then, almost suddenly, it all seems to be unraveling at the seams.

I have suggested 3 basic reasons for this:

→ Accumulated success
→ Overburdening from without
→ The desire to control acerbated by unbounded greed

Let us now discuss these individually, in simple terms and using common sense language:

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PostHeaderIcon A Really Stupid Answer

As previously stated, I am essentially dropping out of political commentary because the political situation is beyond the ken of rational discussion. Yet, I still have the urge to amuse myself via diarrhea of the keyboard, hence a journey into new fields of discussion.

Today’s rant was inspired by a billboard I saw the other day while riding down the highway. Now, I had seen this and similar billboards for years but, for some reason, this particular sighting rather slapped me upside the face when the idiocy of its message actually got through. The message:

LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION

Now anyone with ¼ of a brain knows that life, as we currently understand it, actually began several billions of years ago.

I am a longtime fan of the writings of the late Dr. Carl Sagan. Among other insights he offered us was that while the universe seems likely to spontaneously produce new life on a grand scale, by processes we do not yet fully understand, there remains the possibility that the universe got the process right ONLY A SINGLE TIME. And, in Dr. Sagan’s opinion, on the mere possibility that spontaneous life was a singular occurrence, we should treat it as a miracle beyond mere reverence. I find myself in total agreement with Dr. Sagan’s viewpoint.

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PostHeaderIcon PC is Propaganda

There is a very good article on the Misis Institute site, by Jeff Deist entitled, “PC is About Control, Not Etiquette,” which ties in with some of the thoughts expressed here lately, and is well worth reading:

To begin, we need to understand that political correctness is not about being nice. It’s not simply a social issue, or a subset of the culture wars.

It’s not about politeness, or inclusiveness, or good manners. It’s not about being respectful toward your fellow humans, and it’s not about being sensitive or caring or avoiding hurt feelings and unpleasant slurs.

But you’ve heard this argument, I’m sure. PC is about simple respect and inclusiveness, they tell us. As though we need progressives, the cultural enforcers, to help us understand that we shouldn’t call someone retarded, or use the “N” word, make hurtful comments about someone’s appearance, or tolerate bullies.

If PC truly was about kindness and respect, it wouldn’t need to be imposed on us. After all, we already have a mechanism for the social cohesion PC is said to represent: it’s called manners. And we already have specific individuals charged with insuring that good manners are instilled and upheld: they’re called parents.

Political Correctness Defined

But what exactly is PC? Let me take a stab at defining it: Political correctness is the conscious, designed manipulation of language intended to change the way people speak, write, think, feel, and act, in furtherance of an agenda. [emphasis mine]

PC is best understood as propaganda, which is how I suggest we approach it. But unlike propaganda, which historically has been used by governments to win favor for a particular campaign or effort, PC is all-encompassing. It seeks nothing less than to mold us into modern versions of Marx’s un-alienated society man, freed of all his bourgeois pretensions and humdrum social conventions.

Like all propaganda, PC fundamentally is a lie. It is about refusing to deal with the underlying nature of reality, in fact attempting to alter that reality by legislative and social fiat. A is no longer A.

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PostHeaderIcon Liberty or the State

Liberty or the State

Choose one. Only one. They are mutually exclusive.

It is interesting how both sides of our Incumbrepublocrat duopoly have very different visions of the purpose and utility of the State. Yet, both staunchly defend the existence of the Federal Government, as absolutely necessary to protect our rights and freedom. Of course they do, their cushy jobs are on the line; yet, a good many actually believe they are doing good works, in their life-long struggle to save their own vision of America, from their opponents’ strident agenda and goofy ideology. It seemingly never occurs to any of them, that if they simply shut it down and went home, most of their ‘worthy’ causes would evaporate for lack of opposition, and they would never be missed by the vast majority of a much relieved population.

What would happen if we stopped legitimizing their oligarchy? What if nobody bothered to attend the carefully choreographed kabuki theater performances they call ‘elections?’ Without our dutifully voting for the least objectionable candidates offered, they could not claim a ‘mandate’ for their ‘vision,’ and claim the mantle of ‘leader’ for their ‘constituents.’ The most important statistic worth noting in post-election polling, is how many eligible voters chose ‘none of the above,’ by the simple expedient of boycotting the sham election.

For most of a long interesting life, I have generally been an upstanding American Patriot. I wore the US Army uniform for three years back in the mid ’60s, and then a peace officer’s badge in three different small towns for several years after that. Each of these ‘government jobs,’ required that I swear an oath to defend our country and its Constitution “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It never occurred to me back then, to question the legitimacy of the Federal government, or its moral authority to make laws governing our conduct. Neither did I question the basis of my sworn duty to enforce them. Everyone must obey… “it’s the Law!”

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PostHeaderIcon A New Religion

Imagine, if you will, that some new prophet suddenly appears with instructions direct from the deity for constructing a new religious sect (no, not me – I am a strictly non-prophet operation).

Let us assume the new sect is benevolent in every respect, that it respects other sects and non-believers, that it follows the Judeo-Christian tradition in every respect, including the ancient Jewish practice of human sacrifice.

After all, if the deity created all life, it seems only reasonable that it demand that some meager amount of said life be offered back as a sign of respect and acknowledgment. Let us say that a child of less than 5 years must be sacrificed on the eve of each new moon. Not all that extravagant is it? And maybe, for good measure, the sacrifice of a female virgin on each winter solstice to thank the deity for the return of the Sun. Again, not at all extravagant. Indeed, given current population growth rates, such modest sacrificial demands would hardly make a statistical difference in the population.

And, keep in mind that these sacrificial demands would not be optional. They would be mandatory for each congregation of practitioners. Period, no exceptions allowed.

Indeed, there is really nothing really new in the proposed sect and much to be admired. For sure, no jihad, no mass murder.

So, my question to all of you is this: Would any national government accept or allow the open and public practice of this “new” religion? For sake of argument, let us narrow the question to address only the United States. The first amendment to our Constitution says, in part:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…

Seems pretty clear to me. Government is not allowed to “prohibit the free exercise…”, so that is that. Light the fires and bring in the virgins. Or is it really that clear?

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PostHeaderIcon Ending Jihad

Most Americans were rather naïve regarding Jihad when we were blindsided by 9/11. Sure, we knew that Muslim Arabs hated Jewish Arabs to the point of irrational suicide bombers attacking Israel’s pizza parlors and such, but we had been taught to believe that conflict was essentially an ancient dispute over territory, which had essentially been going on since Moses led the first invasion of Palestine.

Yes, we would occasionally experience a terrorist attack in the region ourselves, and just assumed it was because we were allies and supporters of Israel. 9/11 changed everything in my mind. Not only was it a dastardly sneak attack on our homeland, I just couldn’t get my head around what could possibly motivate a score of well-educated Saudi Arabians (ostensibly our second-best ally in the region) to deliberately commit suicide, while flying four hijacked planes into our iconic buildings killing thousands of ‘innocent’ civilians. I remember immediately buying and reading Thomas Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” followed by “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” to try to acquire a better understanding of Middle East politics and religion, and what their real grievance might be with us.

Like most red-blooded Jacksonian Americans, I was ready for some serious retribution against whoever was responsible, regardless of their motive. Our resident swaggering Texas cowboy in the White House, was more than willing to step up to the challenge, and initially won a lot of respect when he did. Yet, since it appeared that we were not attacked by another country; but by a shadowy international NGO of fundamentalist religious fanatics, who and where were they? Our smart bombs needed coordinates.

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PostHeaderIcon Global Cooling

…must win in the end, and there is nothing whatever man could do to prevent it.

This rather obvious truth occurred to me while reading an incredibly fascinating, informative, and must-read article entitled: “Climate and Human Civilization over the last 18,000 years” by Andy May. It includes a PDF of an 18,000 year timeline of what is known of earth’s climate and human efforts at civilization. Do download the poster and view it at about 100% zoom in your PDF viewer, so you can read the text. This means you will have to scroll left and right as well as up and down; but it is worth the effort.

The subject was skepticism of AGW, of course, and the historical timeline is juxtaposed with the best estimates we have on global temperatures, which purport to show the historical effects of natural temperature variations on human activity, particularly migration. What struck me most, however, as I contemplated all the time covered by various civilizations I had never even heard of, much less studied, was how insignificant to the whole scheme of human history is a single human lifespan. Consider how exceedingly few people’s lives and deeds are remembered even one hundred years after their death by their own descendants, much less leave an indelible mark in history. Read the rest of this entry »

PostHeaderIcon A Plea For Sanity

If you have not encountered the Canadian philosopher Stefan Molyneux, it is time to get acquainted. This resonates with my current worldview on so many levels:

…let me know how his timely message strikes you. ◄Dave►

PostHeaderIcon How Many Tempests Can A Teapot Hold?

The tempest of the day/week seems to be the Planned Parenthood situation.

Before getting into that, a bit of a disclaimer – as I have written elsewhere in this forum, I am a bit conflicted on the abortion issue. For starters, I do not think it is a simple thing. That is to say, there is no way a blanket rule can effectively address all the possible wrinkles in any given abortion decision. For this reason, I consider the decision to be one that belongs to the individuals directly involved, hopefully with professional input to help them come to the best decision circumstances will allow.

That said, there are several aspects of the abortion issue that I am flatly against. First, I do not think abortion should be used as a sort of after-the-fact birth control method for the convenience of the irresponsible. There are simply too many effective ways to prevent pregnancy, many of them freely available to any and all who want or need them. Second, I object to the killing of any fetus that is developed to the point where it might well be able to exist outside the womb. Third, I think that the so-called “partial birth abortion” is simply a socially acceptable term for what is actually infanticide.

Now, the Planned Parenthood (PP) fiasco… Is there any thinking person in this country that does not understand that PP is primarily a collection of abortion clinics? And further, do any of us fail to understand that their operations have been considered legal by both the states and the federal government? Sorry, no mystery there and no news either.

This leaves us with only 3 valid points of contention in this matter:

First, should taxpayer funds be used to help support the operation of PP, and,

Second, should the byproducts of the abortion process be used to harvest potentially usable cellular material, and,

Third, should PP be allowed to sell said cellular material to help fund their operation?

IMHO, the first point is the simplest to consider. A large number of the women who want and/or need abortions are from the lowest income brackets in our nation. Callous though this may sound, it is much more cost effective for the taxpayer to fund such abortions than it is to fund the many expenses associated with unwanted babies born into poverty. Given the crime that almost always results as these unwanted, uneducated, un-cared-for babies mature, it is also, again IMHO, more moral in that it very likely results in less pain and harm to fewer people – over the long run.

The second point – the harvesting of potentially usable material from the aborted fetal remains – is, to me, the most interesting of the issues we are confronted with. Given that the fetus has already been rendered dead by the process, it seems to me that primary thing to which many might object to on moral grounds has already been done (the extinguishing of life). I fail to see how wasting material that potentially has great potential to help the living makes any moral sense. However could burning or even burying the remains add any moral value for anyone? It seems obvious, to me, that finding some potential value in an otherwise unfortunate situation is more moral than rendering the entire transaction a total waste.

The third point – the selling of the material in question – strikes me as an odd thing over which to find a point of contention at all, especially for those who wish to withhold taxpayer funds from PP. If the material can be sold, why not do so, thereby reducing the funding needed from taxpayers? After all, huge industries are based on the sale of dead animal parts for human consumption. Doesn’t the sale of dead animal parts for scientific/medical purposes seem more moral than wholesale slaughter simply for our dining enjoyment?

Of course, my answers to these questions are based on what I hope is a rational thought process whereas the tempest in this matter seems to be nothing more or less than conclusions reached through an emotional process devoid of rational thought. Sadly, this seems to be the way almost all of the issues of the day are addressed. But, what else might we expect from a population that has been intentionally “dumbed down”?

I still remember a conversation held some years ago where a quite sincere lady sitting across a dinner table from me tried to explain how it was an absolute sin to kill innocent creatures. This between bites of medium-rare cow flesh.

Just for the change, why not try thinking about these things instead of feeling about them? Otherwise, you subject yourselves to emotional herding.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Removing The Last Vestiges Of Slavery

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

PostHeaderIcon If We Rewrite History, Do The Facts Really Change?

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.

PostHeaderIcon War, Peace, and the State

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►

 

PostHeaderIcon Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission

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►

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Brainless In Baltimore

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

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