Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category
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:
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.
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.
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!”
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?
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.
…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 »
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►
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
Would you believe there have actually been serious proposals to dismantle the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC? Possibly other memorials as well.
Why? Because the person(s) being memorialized owned slaves.
I am inclined to believe that this idea must have started as a joke but, these days, nothing is too loony for the ultra left so the idea is taken seriously. (Indeed, it may have been serious from the beginning but even yours cynically truly has trouble believing that.)
So, Mr. Jefferson was the arch supporter of slavery was he? Let us turn to the man himself for our first clue:
But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.
– Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes, (discussing slavery and the Missouri question), Monticello, 22 April 1820.
Sorry folks but this sounds more to me like a person who was caught up in something he knew to be morally wrong but did not know how an easy way out of. I have read or heard of similar sentiments on the part of other political leaders of the period.
This is not to excuse slavery. It was wrong and I highly suspect that, well before it ended, most everybody in the nation knew that it was wrong and should long since have been ended. They just did not want to suffer the pain that would come with any form of emancipation (remember the economic implications).
It is also interesting to note that, long before emancipation, slavery had ceased to be economically advantageous in most businesses – this is the primary reason it ended in the industrial north long before in the agricultural south. But, even in the south, it had lost much of its economic advantage.
From our modern perspective, we tend to assume that slave labor was free labor. This was simply not the truth. To begin with, a healthy slave was worth a relatively large amount of money. Then the slaves had to be housed, fed, clothed and provided with sufficient medical care to protect the underlying investment in their persons. There was nothing “free” about any of this.
Back to Mr. Jefferson and the supposed need to destroy his fame and his memorials because of the slave issue:
Was it not Thomas Jefferson who documented the notion that ALL men (humans) are created equal? Had he meant otherwise, he surely could have written: “all WHITE men” or “all FREE men”, or “all ANGLO-SAXON men” or any of dozens of other qualifiers that would have made clear that he did not literally mean “ALL men”. Yet, that seems to be exactly what he did mean. And, although his words were not effectively true at the moment he wrote them, the document he wrote surely gave a primary impetus to the movement that eventually made his words effectively as well as morally true. How could we not honor such a thinker (even if the thoughts in question were not totally original)?
Then there is the issue of Mr. Jefferson’s supposed intimate relations with a slave named Sally Hemings. In the first place, I have no doubt whatever that such a relationship did exist. The real question is whether this was just another example (and there must have been many) where a slaveholder used his power to force himself on his female slaves – or might it have been something less horrible? Might it perhaps have been a caring relationship between two consenting adults? Let us delve further…
First, I find nothing in the historical record to indicate Mr. Jefferson was a “womanizer”. He was married once and, by all accounts, was devoted to his wife Martha Wayles. Martha died relatively young and Mr. Jefferson never married again.
Allow me a bit of a digression here to explain that, in early America, having one’s spouse die young was quite common. Also common was the fact that the surviving spouse often married a sibling of the dead spouse. What, you may ask, does this have to do with the Jefferson / Hemings affair? Simply everything. It was hardly a secret that Sally Hemings was Martha Wayles half sister, her father being John Wayles (also Martha’s father) and Betty Hemings, a mulatto (half white) slave who had a relationship with Mr. Wayles somewhat similar to that between Jefferson and Hemings. Ergo, Sally Hemings was three quarters white, the half sister of Mr. Jefferson’s late wife, and, by contemporary accounts, looked very much like her half sister Martha.
This made a union between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson fairly normal for the times – excepting the sad fact that, a single drop of Negro blood made Sally a Negro in the eyes of existing law, no matter who and what she may have looked like.
There is little evidence that Mr. Jefferson did much to hide the liaison – he simply could not consider marrying her because it was forbidden by law as well as by local custom.
Interestingly, to some extent this worked in their favor. Mr. Jefferson was one of several diplomats who spent long periods abroad, working to gain support for the rebellious colonies and later representing the new nation to foreign governments. Normally, a diplomat could not bring his wife along on these extended absences from home. However, Sally, nominally a servant, could (and did) accompany Mr. Jefferson on many of his travels. Ergo, they got to spend more time together that would have been the case if they were married.
There is one more issue we must deal with: Namely, why did Mr. Jefferson not free Sally and the children she bore him (and, indeed, all of his slaves) when he died? The answer is both sad and simple. When Mr. Jefferson died, he owned NOTHING whatever. He was long since bankrupt, having failed to manage his plantation while spending on credit to purchase the books and scientific gadgets that were the first love of his life. His creditors generously allowed him to live out his life at Monticello, as if he were still master of the place, because of their gratitude for his service to the emerging United States.
Yet today, some of us seriously consider destroying the memorials that properly acknowledge Mr. Jefferson’s contributions to humanity simply because he was, to some extent, what his times trained and expected him to be? This strikes me as more of that ignorant nonsense that seems about to take over our once proud Republic. One can picture ISIS thugs bulldozing monuments in the Middle East. Is that what we now aspire to?
Are we, as a people, incapable of understanding the difference between actions and ideas? Some of Mr. Jefferson’s actions, such as participating in the, at the time, generally accepted practice of slave ownership were limited to a single place and time. The ideas he helped instill in a new nation have transcended place and time and helped to build the freest, most prosperous nation in history. And, yes, this include Blacks as well as people of all ethnicity who have prospered under our system. Never forget that we are the only nation on earth who feel the need to build a fence around our borders to keep people OUT. If the nation our founders created is so bad, why are so many millions (including Blacks) willing to risk their very lives to come here and share our prosperity?
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
Once again, despite my best efforts, I cannot remain silent. Today’s diatribe was triggered by recent crap concerning white supremacy, the Confederate Flag, and associated nonsense.
Before I begin, the following disclaimer/clarification: American slavery was a fact and it was wrong. What happened to most Black Americans in the years immediately following emancipation was equally wrong. Nothing said here is an attempt to justify or defend either.
Now, on to the diatribe…
A few days ago, several innocent Black Americans were slaughtered by an irrational person for no obvious reason other than the color of their skin. The perpetrator, who is white, associated himself with various forms of racism and intolerance including use of the image of an historical flag.
Let us digress a bit and discuss this flag. First, while it is one of the more recognizable emblems of the failed Confederacy of the middle 1800’s, it was not the official flag of that entity. Indeed, very few Americans, including those most proud of their southern ancestry, can accurately describe or recognize the actual “Confederate Flag”. The banner in question, the one that excites so much emotion, is actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. To southerners, this flag has long been the symbol of the valor and dedication of the thousands who suffered and perished while attempting to defend a principle they held dear.
Many of you will naturally assume that principle was the employment of slave labor. Is this true? Consider a few facts, largely ignored in today’s irrational arguments: At the time of the Civil War, less than 10% of the people in the Confederacy owned or employed slaves. Obviously, this means that over 90% did not. Let us assume that the makeup of the Confederate armies reflected this approximate 10%-90% makeup. The obvious next question is: if 90% of those willing to fight and die for the Confederate cause did not own slaves, what were they so willing to fight and die for? One might assume that the ignorant rednecks were totally willing to fight and die for a privileged minority whom many of them probably resented for obvious reasons. However, this strikes me as not only silly but totally illogical.
Indeed, the history of America is one of common people willing to fight and die to be free of the rule of an aristocracy or other form of “ruling class”. In a word, the common American wanted, above all else, to be left alone to make his/her own decisions and to live their lives as they chose. This was the principle than animated the Revolution and, I contend, it was this same principle that animated the Confederate cause in the Civil War. In a word, many people were willing to fight and die rather than be subject to an over-powerful central government, led by a “ruling class” (whether hereditary or wealth based). I further contend that this sentiment was far more prevalent in rural areas (like the South). Ergo, I contend that most of that 90% were willing to fight against big government in a cause popularly called “States Rights”.
There is no doubt that the issue of slavery was the catalyst that turned an internal quarrel into outright civil war. Aside from the fact that the slaves were human was the additional fact that they were a form of capital wealth. And, taken altogether, they represented a majority of the capital wealth of most Confederate States. So, what was seen by many as a moral issue – the freeing of enslaved human beings, was seen by the southerners as an economic issue – the collapse of the primary source of capital in their economy.
As a further digression, I often reflect on the fact that, if one understands the slavery issue from the economic angle, the real national tragedy is that the federal government could have bought the slaves then freed them for far less actual money cost than the cost of fighting the Civil War – and without the human and property losses war always involves. Of course, this would have had little long-term effect on what I contend was the real issue, leaving that wound to, no doubt, fester and erupt at another time.
So, I end these digressions and sum up to the present situation: Grandpa lost the great war but we have this flag to show that he fought and died bravely and we cling to whatever pride that leaves us with. Except, we are not even supposed to be allowed this going forward. Seems quite silly when summed up this does it not?
This brings us to the real issue. Does banning official display of any historical relic, does attempting to rewrite the narrative of a critical time in our history, actually improve the situation of millions of Black Americans? All rational people know the answer to that without further elaboration on my part. Indeed, given the hundreds of new laws and regulations and the trillions spent on programs intended to re-mediate the effects of slavery, how can there possibly still be a racial problem in America?
The sad but simple answer to that question is that racism still operates simply because so many people want it to. A few of these people, of all skin tones, are actually committed racists and probably always will be. But their numbers are so small they can be mostly ignored, albeit punished severely when their irrational ideas take physical form as they did recently in Charleston.
The bigger problem are those many who derive power and profit from the continuation of racial strife. Again, they exist on all sides of the color line. These include professional racists (Sharpton, Jackson, etc.), institutional racist organizations (the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus, etc.), and worst of all, politicians in general.
And, these last are by far the worst. They have repeatedly proven themselves willing to cast millions into a state of ignorance, poverty, economic slavery and government dependence simply to create a reliable voting group to help themselves continue in power.
And this is the real problem. Not some banner that most people ignore anyway. And, as long as we-the-sheeple allow this to continue, it can only get worse. Baltimore is only a preview of what we have coming. And, while we all abhor the violence and the irrational behavior inherent in rioting and looting, who can help but sympathize to some extent with the victims/perpetrators? Their frustration must be overpowering at times.
And in the end, so little has really changed:
→ A large group of people are systematically exploited for the benefit of others. Does it really matter whether they are picking cotton or forced into hopeless dependence on politicians?
→ The members of this exploited group are held in bondage partly by denying them the education necessary for self improvement. Does it really matter whether there are laws against teaching slaves to read and write or that schools are intentionally structured for political indoctrination rather than useful education? Or that politicians intentionally promote a dysfunctional culture that, among other things, discourages education, self-improvement and the formation of nurturing family units?
Many Black Americans are realizing their rightful share of the “American Dream” and they are doing so primarily by adhering to the mainstream culture that made America what it is. A culture that honors and rewards education, hard work, honesty, responsibility, civil involvement and the like. Meanwhile, a growing segment of our society which, for reasons beyond my comprehension, loathes America, is trying, with alarming success, to destroy that very culture that made us what we are and still could be.
As I end this screed, I ask you to remember this: It matters little what we have been because the past can never be changed. It does not even matter that much what we are SO LONG AS WE ARE CONTINUALLY GETTING BETTER. And, America always has been continually getting better – for all its citizens and will continue to do so if we will only let it.
Yet, there are many who would destroy us – mostly out of envy. The question is whether we will let them. Lately, I am very troubled by the answer.
Think about it.
Troy L Robinson
PS: Perhaps I can write another rant on the ISIS-like mentality of destroying the Jefferson Memorial but that can wait until the pressure builds up again.
Those conservatives who are inclined to dismiss Rand Paul as naive or insane regarding foreign policy, really ought to read and honestly ponder the 1963 essay, “War, Peace, and the State” by Murray N. Rothbard. I found it profound and most thought-provoking. As an example, one passage that really threw a monkey wrench in my patriotic thinking gears was:
“It has always been a source of wonder, incidentally, to this writer how the same conservatives who denounce as lunatic any proposal for eliminating a monopoly of violence over a given territory and thus leaving private individuals without an overlord, should be equally insistent upon leaving States without an overlord to settle disputes between them. The former is always denounced as “crackpot anarchism”; the latter is hailed as preserving independence and “national sovereignty” from “world government.” -Murray N. Rothbard
If you read it, let me know how it struck you… ◄Dave►
Recently, I have been spending far more time reading thought-provoking books, than paying much attention to real-time politics. A couple of very good reads have been “The Libertarian Mind” by David Boaz, and “The Conservatarian Manifesto” by Charles C.W. Cooke. Then, I read “The Great Divide – Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever, Agree” by William D. Gairdner. While I highly recommend all three, they left me even more pessimistic regarding the possibility that America could ever return to the constitutional republic of Liberty-loving citizens that it once was. We certainly can never vote our way to freedom.
Thus, I decided it was time for my annual re-reading of my all-time favorite book, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne, which I have read at least once a year since 1979 to keep me grounded. Just as I gratefully finished doing so, a new book I had pre-ordered from Amazon popped into my Kindle, which I have only just started reading. “By The People – Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” by Charles Murray again suggests that the grand experiment in Liberty of our Founding Fathers is effectively dead. Yet, it promises to offer a way we might rebuild it in a new incarnation, by civil disobedience rather than with ineffective traditional political processes.
Then this morning I stumbled across:
Interviewed by Jonah Goldberg, another favorite of mine, it is an excellent presentation with a 20 min. audience Q&A session afterward. I know asking anyone to spend an hour watching a video is a lot; but I would suggest that one might get more out of it than any TV program, even on FOX News. Be prepared, however, to be inclined to buy and read his book. Of course, then we might have a useful subject for discussion hereabouts, that doesn’t require that we choose the lessor or two evil politicians. ◄Dave►
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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