The Voice of Reason. A look at contemporary philosophy and politics from outside the Left vs. Right continuum. RSS FEED

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Millennials don't understand free speech

A response to this article by a (presumably) Millennial telling "other generations" how we've got it all wrong. I guess, how we all need to be nice and considerate and stuff..

Well-done. You've managed to publicly pat yourself on the back for your great moral wisdom - stuff the rest of human race has been aware of and done for hundreds if not thousands of years.

This article exhibits typical Millennial fallacies:
a) complete ignorance of history and human nature
b) feeling superior for believing the right things - things you read on the internet - and which you believe you invented.
c) condescending arrogance

PC is NOT as you described. PC is in fact about restricting free speech. The whole point of free speech, the reason it is protected? If people only ever said unoffensive things, well, there would be no need to protect that, would there? Nobody would object to unoffensive speech.

It is precisely those words and ideas that cause discomfort - often to entrenched power - that require protection from those who would suppress such speech because they don't want to feel offense, they don't want to feel uncomfortable. These are people in power, people who support the power, people in government, and others in authority.

You act like the only ideas that could possibly cause offense must be bad ideas. Well, buddy, I guarantee you a lot of whites were offended by the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. but guess what - that temporary emotional displacement is what got people to change.

So you are absolutely, totally wrong. Free speech is *precisely* the freedom to say things that make other people uncomfortable.

Original article:

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Bill of Rights

There are three types of operative clauses in the Bill of Rights.

1) Individual right – an unambiguous, unqualified right of the people
2) Individual civil right – a specification of process intended to protect individuals from government abuse of power
3) individual administrative right -
Here are the first ten Amendments (sans 2nd Amendment) and identification of each type of right next to the operative clause.

Amendment I (1791)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (individual right), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (individual right); or abridging the freedom of speech (individual right), or of the press (individual right); or the right of the people peaceably to assemble (individual right), and to petition the government for a redress of grievances (individual right).

(Amendment II, see below)

Amendment III (1791)

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner (individual right), nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV (1791)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated (individual right), and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized (individual civil right).

Amendment V (1791)

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury (individual Civil right), except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb (individual civil right); nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law (individual Civil right); nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI (1791)

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial (individual civil right), by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed (individual civil right), which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation (individual civil right); to be confronted with the witnesses against him (individual civil right); to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (individual civil right), and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense (individual civil right).

Amendment VII (1791)

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. (individual administrative right)

Amendment VIII (1791)

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted (individual civil right).

Amendment IX (1791)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X (1791)

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


In all the other Amendments, there is not one single phrase that limits freedom of the people, or that grants new power to government. All these Amendments refer to unambiguous, unlimited individual rights, or rights of process (civil rights) intended to protect individuals.

Yet liberals would have us believe that this:

Amendment II (1791)

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Really means this:

Amendment II (1791)

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the government to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Republicans must not give moral sanction to ObamaCare

This whole ObamaCare episode is incredibly evocative of the final chapters of Atlas Shrugged.

In the novel, as the country is falling apart, there is chaos and confusion on the part of the pro-totalitarian-government forces and their acolytes.

Some admit the whole purpose of the exercise was to gain power for themselves, and they don't really care if the nation falls apart to get it. Some are terrified and confused.

And some (the "Leader" Thompson in the book) don't know what to do - and that's why they arrest John Galt and try to make him an Economic Dictator - under the premise that he can force all the terrible laws they've been passing to somehow achieve good result.

John Galt refused to go along with this charade, knowing that the whole root of the collapse was people using force to replace the choices of others with their own:

Galt: "If you order me to issue a directive, I will issue the directive you order me to issue."
Thompson: "Oh, but I don't know what directives to issue!"
Galt: "I don't, either."
There was a long pause.
"Well", said Galt? "What are your orders?"
"I want you to save the economy of the country!"
"I don't know how to save it."
"I want you to find a way!"
"I don't know how to find it."
"I want you to think!"
"How will your gun make me do that, Mr. Thompson?"

A very scared Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana backed by a number of other Democrat Senators, including Dianne Feinstein of California, has written a bill commanding insurance companies to allow individuals to keep their old insurance plans. Landrieu does not know what directives to issue, but she thinks all she has to do is order insurance companies - as Mr. Thompson does above - to "find a way!".

Some Republicans and a majority of the country have already told these progressive leaders how to fix this problem - to "get out of the way". But repeal of ObamaCare and the rest of the crushing regulatory burden on doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies is anathema to the "progressives":

Thompson: "We want you to tell us what to do!"
Galt: "I told you what to do."
"Get out of my way."
"That's impossible! That's fantastic! That's out of the question!"
Galt: "I said it can't be done."
Thompson: "YOU could do it."
"Somehow." He heard Galt's chuckle, and added, "Why not? Just tell me why not?"
"Okay, I'll tell you. You want me to be the Economic Dictator?"
"And you'll obey any order I give?"
"Then start by abolishing all income taxes."
"Oh, no!" screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet. "We couldn't do that!"

Progressives have been screaming the past week now that Republicans have to take ownership! Republicans have to step in and help try to "fix" ObamaCare!

As Galt did in the novel Atlas Shrugged, the Republicans but more importantly we the people must be prepared to let the destructive progressive policies of the past 70 years come to their logical conclusion - in utter, abject failure and destruction - before we can begin to rebuild an intellectual foundation of individual liberty and free markets.

Republicans, please, let the Democrats and their progressive friends flail and fail. The only "help" they want from us is our moral sanction - and that is the one thing we absolutely should not give.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Liberty and Society Can Exist Together - via Property Rights

Liberty is our birthright - our nature - our requirement for survival.

In the dawn of time Man was born into Liberty. In the State of Nature, man is free. He must seek, then create, the means of his survival - his food, his shelter. It is not given to him, it is not automatic. In the State of Nature, a man alone keeps what he makes through the use of his own reason.

Then man invented Society and Government - and every government from the beginning of time until the founding of the United States was based not on Liberty, but on Force and Coercion.

Every Government from the beginning of time has ended after injustice, torture, enslavement and death of its own people, followed by conquest, murder and enslavement from outside.

This is because we chose Government of expediency - government of tradition - government of the jungle - government of force. We chose a Government in contradiction with our need for Individual Liberty.

But at the founding of the United States, for perhaps the first time in all history on any scale, man had Liberty AND Society. Or came very, very close to it. We were able to accomplish this through recognizing Man's need for Liberty, and defining Rights to ensure that man had Liberty even in Society. Property rights being the primary concept governing our interactions with our fellow man, to ensure everyone's Liberty.

This solved the supposed contradiction between Individual Freedom and Society.

The natural extension of that achievement was corporate business enterprises starting in the mid 1800's.

Inviolate property rights is how each man can in effect have a world to himself, a recreation of the State of Nature - even while living in Society. Inviolate property rights are how each man can share himself and his capital (and the world) with others in a business, to achieve greater ends than one man can alone.

In the 230 years since, however, we have lost our way. We have assaulted the rights of Property every Congress until today, we have a Congress that once again treats us as chattel, actually forcing us to buy products we don't even want. We allowed those who love the real force of the gun, to convince us that our working together voluntarily in corporation was the same as force. In a dramatic moral inversion, the force of the gun became "good" and people working together voluntarily became "force" and evil.

We have but to retrace our steps to 1776, review the errors we made, and return walking forward - with a determination to respect inviolate property and economic rights of our fellow man - including those who work together in corporation. We must ban the initiation of force in private relationships - including by the Government. We must rigorously define Property rights in accordance with the requirements of Man's nature.

We must be free.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Donna Brazile - time to take your head out of the sand.

Donna Brazile tweets that she cannot understand why her health insurance premiums just went up.

Only someone guilty of gross mental and moral evasion could ask this.

Donna Brazile, conservatives and libertarians have spent the last two years explaining to morons like you why the price of health insurance was going to skyrocket under Obamacare.

It's not that you're too stupid to understand. It's that you *evaded* the truth, you willfully put blinders on.

It's time for people like you to get out of the way. Your "rule by feelings" is sending this nation over the cliff.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Today's Degenerate Politics

Law may properly intervene only where one's actions harm another person, without their voluntary consent.

Government is not about any particular morality. It should be about banning force in human relationships so that all individuals may operate under whatever moral choices they think best. Almost all choices are moral because almost all choices affect our long-term lives, happiness and survival in some way. 

By guaranteeing each person the freedom to pursue their own goals in any way they want (absent force) we will evolve as a society much more quickly than if a thug or gang forces everyone to live according to their particular choices - because we will see more quickly what works and what doesn't. And more fundamentally, we will live as *men* with our minds - instead of as animals do, by brute force.

Our experiment in freedom has devolved into two rival gangs constantly vying to control government's power in order to restrict the freedom of choice of others.

Those of us in the Liberty movement must explicitly and loudly identify this fact, and explain to everyone who will listen how it's up to them whether they want to have a civilized society of persuasion, or a barbaric society of force.
about a minute ago · Like

Everyone is entitled their opinion. But you are not entitled to force that opinion upon others, through law, coercion, threats, or force.

So conservatives, this means you. Stop trying to control what adults can do in their own homes. Stop trying to insert your religion into government. Stop trying to punish people for behavior that is none of your business.

And liberals - this means you, too. Stop telling me how to run my business. Stop telling me what products I can make, how much I can sell them for, how I structure them, or who I sell them to. Stop it.

Stop arguing over who gets to hold the gun. Stop arguing over who gets to control the lives of others. NEITHER of you have any right to control the lives of others. Period.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Science is a process.

Science is a process, not a result. It is in particular a process of epistemology - it's a means of obtaining and verifying knowledge.

Anyone who is wed to a theory as opposed to the facts is not a scientist.

I've been watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and there is a great episode about Johannes Kepler.

You see, Kepler's original theory was that the planets travel around the sun in perfect circles nested in perfect solids nested in other perfect circles and so on.

Kepler spent many long, frustrating years trying to match his theory to the data, but he couldn't make it work.

At one point, he decided the data he had on hand was flawed, so he sought out Tycho Brahe who had the best data on the motions of the planets.

Even with Brahe's excellent data, Kepler couldn't make his theory work.

So at long last, he gave up his theory. And in doing so, he was able to make a great scientific achievement - the first laws of planetary motion. You see, the planets travel around the sun in ellipses and only by a strict adherence to the *facts* (i.e., Brahe's data) was Kepler able to discard his error and develop the correct theory.

Now, of course it remained later for Newton to develop a theory of gravity, and for Einstein to refine it. Does this mean Kepler's ultimate theory was wrong? No. We would say it was correct in the context of his knowledge but incomplete. Kepler's laws of planetary motion are still largely correct - inside a certain error range.

Correct knowledge is *never* proven wrong later - because if you're right, your idea corresponds to reality. Reality is what it is. Your idea may be refined, enhanced, but at core it reflects something fundamental about the universe.

And that's how we have had five hundred years of continuous scientific progress, building in this way on prior discoveries.

It pains me to hear of modern "scientists" doctoring data to fit their theories, as appears to happen regularly in the "global warming" research community. These people aren't scientists - they're priests, erasing uncomfortable facts that contradict their precious religious dogma.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Murder in the US

In 2011, I calculate the overall US murder rate as 4.6 per 100,000 population.

But if you recalculate this, and assumed that black men murdered at the same rate as everyone else, the overall rate would drop to 1.9 out of 100,000 population. That would give the United States the 147th highest murder rate in the world - or, the 60th best.

The insane disproportionate murder rate among US blacks is why the overall US murder rate seems so high.

I don't understand why liberals refuse to talk about this. I don't understand why blacks refuse to talk about this. Blacks are just as often the victim as the offender - almost SIXTY PERCENT of murder victims in the US are black. Shouldn't they care about this? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to talk about this? Yet they are silent.

And it's not like this is any secret. This culture of violence, abuse of women, and plain thuggery is paraded around daily in pop music. It's glorified on TV shows like "The Wire". It's in our faces every day. And yet we evade it.

And most of this goes on in cities where guns are already illegal.

The bottom line here is that ownership of guns by the vast majority of the American public leads to absolutely no discernible difference in murder rate between the US and the other Western countries. The *entire* difference in total murder rate between the US and Europe is explained by a single, small sub-culture that glorifies violence and lives and dies by the gun.

I know, most liberals reading this have already covered their ears and are screaming "racist! racist!" to avoid having to face these facts. But this isn't about race. Most blacks in the US don't live this way.  If you went back to the 1920s and 1930s and did this same math, the gang violence would be by and against Europeans. The gangster culture did not start with inner-city blacks, but that is certainly where it thrives today.

This isn't about some random whack job being able to kill kids in a school. That's 100 deaths a year max. Tragic, yes, but absolutely nothing compared to the everyday, out of control slaughter in the "gangsta" culture. (And taking eveyone's guns away only gives us no defense against these random acts - or against garden variety thugs.)

Unless we are willing to face these facts, unless we are prepared to stand up to this anti-life culture, no bleeding-heart gun ban is going to do one single thing about the US murder rate.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Krugman: We can just print money to solve our problems

Seriously. I shit you not.

The bill above is from a period of Yugoslavian hyperinflation in 1993-1994.

But Paul Krugman is arguing Obama can "sidestep" the debt ceiling negotiation by simply printing a trillion dollars.

It's nice that Krugman hasn't given up his childhood belief in magic. But in the real world of grown-ups, such thinking is dangerous.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Solution to Federal Spending - Tax the Rich!

Federal Spending has increased by $1 Trillion a year since Obama took office.

These are big, absurd numbers that bear no relation to most people's daily lives. So let's put it into perspective.

$1 Trillion, is a million millions.

There are 300 million people in the US. Only about half of those, 155 million, are employed.

One trillion divided by 155 million (i.e., each working person's share of the increased government spending) is $6,451. Per year, per working person.

So if you are a typical family with two wage earners, your family's share of just the *increase* in Federal spending since Obama took office is $12,903. Per year.

But the total Federal budget is actually $3.7 Trillion. Your family's share of the total Federal Budget is $47,741. Per year.

Now let's take a look at soaking the rich. (You know you want to.)

In 2011, about 6 million Americans made more than $200,000 in income that year. (1)

Let's make them pay for everything!

How much would they have to pay just to make up the $1 Trillion per year increase we've had under Obama? $166,000 per year.

How much would they have to pay to pay for all Federal Spending? $616,000.

So there you have it - problem solved! All we have to do to get free big government for all of America's "poor" is to make people earning $200,000 a year pay $616,000 a year in income taxes!
While I say this jokingly, the whole left-wing sales pitch is to trick people into thinking they can get whatever they want paid for by "the rich".The fact is, the poor and middle class bear the burden of the enormous government we have, because "the rich" don't remotely have the money to pay for a government that will take 45% of everything Americans produce this year.You go, "But I see my paycheck! My income taxes aren't that high!"

No indeed, they're not. Because the rest of the taxes that you pay are baked into prices. The price of bread. The price of gasoline. The price of medical care. Taxes on business and on the investments of "the rich" are simply passed through to the consumer, just like other business expenses like rent and electricity.OK, forget income taxes. Raising taxes on capital, surely THAT soaks the rich? Nope. Taxes on capital simply raise the cost of capital to business. Which is passed on to consumers just like every other expense.OK, forget business at all! Just directly tax the wealth of the rich! America's richest man, Warren Buffet, is worth about $50 Billion. That will pay for approximately five days of Federal government. And after you've eaten Warren Buffet, I guess you're pretty much screwed.

The Big Lie that you leftwingers have been tricked into believing, is that "the rich" can pay for all the freebies you want government to shower on you.The reality is that this simply is not possible. So what happens is that YOU pay for all this government - which impoverishes you - and then government gives some of it back to you, making government seem like God to you - to ensure that you continue to vote for the Big Government politicians.They are bribing you with your own money, and tricking you into thinking the money is coming from others, when in fact it's coming from you. And since a huge part of this spending is with borrowed money, you and your children are actually actively being sold into economic slavery by the leftwing politicians you love.Why do you think middle class real income is down even though productivity continues to improve every year? Where is all that new wealth going?To the government you love so much.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Death rates: Britain's Health System more dangerous than America's Guns

So, the socialists love British socialized health care and the British ban on guns.

So let's see what that means in reality eh?

In 2010:
UK: 157275 cancer deaths
UK cancer death rate: .2489%

US: 569490 cancer deaths
US cancer death rate: .1844%

The US has a dramatically lower death rate from cancer, because the US (somewhat) private health care system does a better job of treating, managing, and curing cancer than does the British system.

If the UK had America's superior cancer death rate, that is 40,734 more Britons who would have survived 2010. That's a 0.06% rate of death by socialized medicine.

Compare to the roughly 16,000 Americans who were murdered by a firearm - a 0.005% chance.

So, the British are 10 times more likely to die of socialized medicine, than an American is of a gunshot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The one thing that could help.

Megan, you overlooked one obvious thing that could help. 

More regular, sane, well-adjusted people who are well trained in the use of firearms should be allowed to carry them concealed, in public.

The reason the shooters pick malls, schools, restaurants and the like is that they know noone in any of these places will offer them any resistance. Because we have in our "wisdom" banned guns from these places - even by non-crazies. So when crazy shows up to a school there is *no way to stop it*.

The meme is "Noone has ever committed a mass murder at a gun show." But it's truth. These shooters are, fundamentally, cowards. They want easy victims, and as you say, a sense of power. So they're going to go to places where we have banned guns and know they will get to exercise that power without resistance. Places that might resist won't give them the sense of power.

The obvious solution you overlook, is to encourage, educate, and allow more people to defend themselves in public with firearms. This actually occurs every day in this country, regular people stop crimes and cut short possible shooting sprees with concealed carry weapons - but we don't allow this in schools. One or two teachers with a weapon at Newtown could have cut short the Newtown spree before so many were killed.

You are quick to blame the gun, but then ignore the fact that is your own fear of guns and your own policies that have turned schools into killing zones with no defenses.

If you acknowledge evil, but then prohibit people from defending themselves from it, you're part of the problem.

Just for once, I'd like a liberal to admit one of their policy ideas was stupid and to change their mind. But I suppose I'll grow old and die before that happens.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Liberal Nicholas D Kristof starts to get it - a little: Welfare Destroys.

Whoa. Occasionally we get through to people, even if only partially:

"This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire."

@Nicholas D Kristof, this is because you leftists have had poverty wrong all along. Poverty is the state of nature. In our nation, poverty is not victimhood. Poverty is not a state you are kept in by a feudal lord. Poverty is, merely, the lack of wealth-producing and wealth-building activity. To create and build wealth, certain values are required: industriousness, foresight, independence, integrity, honesty, the ability to consider the values of other so that you can deal with them by trade, and above all: rationality, the ability to solve problems, because solving problems is what creates value.

All humans are born into poverty. We are all born with no ideas, with no wealth, without even the ability to walk. We have to learn everything we need to survive and thrive. It's all about having the right *ideas*. Poverty is not others failing you - systemic poverty is YOU failing you. Most people in America learn the values needed to escape poverty. We benefit from the experience of our parents, learn from their mistakes. Even those born to parents who don't know what they're doing, they have the capacity to learn the ideas necessary to escape their plight - as many do.

But what you liberals try to teach them is it's not your fault, ideas don't matter, all ideas and all culture are the same, you suffer because some evil rich guy is putting the screws to you, that this is what keeps you down, that there is nothing you can do to help yourself, so here, have some of this other guy's money. This is what passes for "compassion" from liberals, this attack on the very souls of the poor, undercutting their humanity, their reason, by teaching them that their reason is impotent and that they are helpless victims.

If you liberals truly care about the plight of the poor and not merely your own power or your own self-righteousness, you will help figure out how to teach "the poor" the values that matter, the ideas, principles and morality that will lead them out of poverty on their own two feet.

To do that will require that YOU put aside your erroneous beliefs in moral relativism, in victimhood, and in using government force to mold people and to take other's money for your cause. Because these three ideas which are the core of your philosophy are WRONG and are what creates the sickening dependency and rot you talk about in your article.

Government force fixes nothing, it merely redistributes the pain and suffering from your bad ideas to others. Preaching victimhood causes you to believe all your problems are from an external source and to never question your own values, to never consider that your own ideas may be the cause of your misery. And moral relativism - not all ideas are equal. Ideas are true or false, are moral, by comparison to reality, to the facts of human existence, to the truths of human nature.

Of course, the admission of error by Kristof here is undercut by his smear at "profit". What the parents in this article are doing is not profiting, it is looting. But I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What "Illegal Immigration" is really all about.

A Colorado Republican argued against open immigration by saying "America is a nation of immigrants AND a nation of laws. We are a sovereign nation with a right to control our borders."

My response:

"We are a nation of laws AND a nation of street-crossers! Of course we like and appreciate street-crossers, we're all where we are because our forebears crossed a street!"

"But we need some regulation of this street-crossing or all would be chaos!"

"So, here, fill out these 25 forms. You don't understand them? Don't worry, if you make a mistake we'll let you know but you will have to go back to the end of the line. Oh, yes, you can hire a few attorneys to help you. And, we don't want chaos, so we only allow 10,000 people a year to cross the street. We expect your wait to only be five to ten years. But after that, we will be happy to allow you to cross the street! You say your house burned down and you're trying to cross the street in order to move into a new apartment? Well, we all have problems, but remember, we are a nation of laws! Are you some kind of criminal rabble, you don't respect our laws and our process? Wait your turn!!"

"And once you get your permission to cross the street, would you be so kind as to cross the street down there at that entry point 20 miles down the road? Thanks!"

With laws like that - and these are not really exaggerations - any rational person would expect the average joe to jaywalk, all day, every day.

And that is "illegal immigration" in a nutshell.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Risk-Free Existence

The moral decay of our once great nation is not about parties. It arises from the fantasy that we can eliminate all risk from life.

While eliminating risk is what everyone wants to do, and what everyone works to do, it has its limits. We can save, and invest - but the bank could fold, the business could bankrupt, the jar of gold coins could be stolen. These failures can be because of bad luck, or bad choices.

We can go to school to try to learn the right things, we can buy insurance, we can be careful about what we hedge and what we risk. But all life is risk - every single day you might trip, have a heart attack, be hit by a bus, get robbed at gunpoint and shot dead. You cannot plan all risk out of life, and trying to do so causes us to commit grave injustices against others and to make everyone profoundly unhappy.

The only truly risk-free life would be, disembodied brains, encased in layers of steel and concrete, somehow fed by a source similarly protected from the outside - protected from every conceivable threat. But what kind of life is that?

A life without risk, is a life without the joy of success. It is a life without the possibility of happiness - for happiness is not sitting plugged into a machine, encased in concrete, protected from everything. Happiness is achievement of your goals. The very idea of a goal, presumes risk - risk that you may fail.

To some, making life's decisions is scary. It is risky. They seek to eliminate this risk by having others make their choices for them. They delegate making their choices to their parents, to their teachers, to their spouse, to their Union Boss, to their political leaders, to their religion. They don't want to have to choose; if they have to choose they might fail.

Why is failure so hard for people? Nobody wants to be a loser. But so what, big deal! Put it in perspective. If you're not dead, count your blessings - you are already a hundred times better off than almost every one of your ancestors. But perspective is precisely what we lack.

This fear of failure is so great, this desire to eliminate risk so powerful, that our nation has now instituted laws so that everyone can be a winner. No business need bankrupt, we'll bail you out! Noone need do menial work, everyone can go to college and be an intellectual! No homeowner need default on a loan, the government will make the bank eat it!

Our savings are not enough security, so we make the government guarantee them. That guarantee is not enough so we buy insurance, but that is not enough so we make the government guarantee THAT and make it so that we can never lose it. But that is not enough - and if someone could make a machine to actually suck the life force out of others and put it in to you, we would demand that the government use it to redistribute life itself.

But all this does is make other people bear the consequences for your failure. It doesn't eliminate it. It just makes you think you didn't fail. It protects you from the reality of your bad decisions. It protects you from having to feel bad - at the cost of making others suffer for your mistakes, or for your bad luck. What gives you the right to punish others to protect you from your own choices, from your own feelings?

And so what? What's the big deal anyway? Grownups have feelings - grownups deal with them. Grownups make mistakes - grownups learn from them. Humans alone among animals have the unique capacity for reason which lets us truly choose, and truly learn.

It is only children and the mentally damaged who cannot deal with their emotions, and who can not learn from their mistakes. Who refuse to learn from their mistakes, who instead insist on living in a fantasy that is not the real world, a fantasy universe created and sustained on the toiling backs of others. Parenting is supposed to prepare children for the real world, to provide an environment they can survive in long enough to reach maturity, to make their own life choices. But something happened over the past 50 years, perverting that safe harbor into something that they now expect to last their entire lives. Everyone is now their parents, millions of them - we now need never grow up, because the law makes these others take care of us.

We have become a nation of children, trying to each live in a risk-free concrete bubble, trying desperately to avoid having to correct the mistakes we make, or even to feel anything bad at all. For these, freedom is freedom from having to make the choices of life.

Whatever the hell that is, it's not human. A life chosen by others, protected by others, guaranteed by others, is not your life.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Michael Bloomberg

I don't normally do photos on here. But I had to.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Corporations - To Do Big Things, you need Big Money

To do big things, you need big money and a lot of people. There are fundamentally only two ways to accumulate big money and a lot of people: voluntarily, or involuntarily.

In the voluntary column, you have say Apple. It has accumulated some $80 Billion now through the efforts of its tens of thousands of employees, investors, and executives. It uses that money to invest in great new technology. Big innovations often require big money. Apple spends tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, and the efforts of thousands of people to bring new products to market. It has earned all the money to do that, through voluntary, mutually beneficial relationships.

In the involuntary column, when the pharoahs built the pyramids, it was done by slaves, under the whip, worked to death with no choice in the matter.

Both "big" projects (the iPad, and the Pyramid) required lots of money and lots of people. But one was voluntary, the other involuntary. One was created through a nexus of the free choice of every participant; the other built from slave labor and coercion.
So, human beings want to do big things. It's part of our nature. Which type of society do you then want? Voluntary - or involuntary. Free, or slave? There really is no middle ground.

A corporation that unwisely invests its money, loses it. Through expenses - such as payroll, utilities, rent. While the people who receive these payments may benefit, they do so only for a limited time. It is not a self-sustaining social organization, it costs more to do this work (such as the debacle at Solyndra) than it generates, and it eats and consumes the human lives engaged in it. Continued against sanity, it would end in starvation.

A corporation that wisely invests its money generates ongoing returns. Those same beneficiaries will benefit for the long term. And the corporation generates profit, which can be used to invest in new ventures, generating even more economic growth, more employment, more value for everyone.

This is the difference between the government's recent "stimulus" efforts - which unthinkingly threw money at unsustainable businesses - and the work of (for example) Apple, which not only continues to grow, continues to employ more people, continues to produce more products, continues to produce more profits - not a dime of which was given to it coercively through taxation.

Since government handouts are often assigned on the basis of political favor and not true long-term economic benefit, ask yourself again: what kind of society do you want? Voluntary, or involuntary?

Government cronyism and wasted billions is the result of involuntary big things.
Corporations in a free market will produce voluntary big things.
Before you protest and attack corporations, be sure that you know what it is a corporation is, and how it works.

What is a Corporation, Anyway?

With all of the little neo-hippies on Wall Street (and the President) bashing "greedy corporations", holding signs that say "A corporation is not a person", perhaps we should take a little detour from our political path to discuss what, precisely, is a corporation?

Indeed, a corporation is not "a person". That is obvious to even dullards such as the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

A corporation is a nexus of a number of people organized around a common goal. It is a type of social organization that provides incredible benefits to civilization.

Corporations align the interests of:




Of course, the purpose of a corporation is to produce a profit for its owners. There, I said it. PROFIT. Profit is not evil, profit is not "exploitation". Profit is a goal of all rational, productive activity. Without profit, you are toiling in order to live hand to mouth, on a day to day basis. To profit is to produce more than your immediate needs - in a durable way that can be used in the future (this is one of the functions of money). Profitless civilizations are those that live in squalor, constantly on the edge of starvation. Every single person who works, does so to profit. You earn more than you spend, in order to save, so that you can buy a car, buy a house, send your children to school, to be able to continue to eat should you become injured; or just to retire. Profit is how we provide for uncertainties in the future. Profit is not evil; profit is one of the highest and noblest goods, it is one of the great achievements of our civilization. To accumulate wealth is to make your life easier, safer, more pleasurable.

But while that is the goal of the owners of the corporation, in order to profit, they must take reality into account. That reality is that in order to do big things, they need help. In addition to capital and vision, you need artisans, engineers, line workers, drivers, accountants, and marketing.

The beauty of capitalism - true capitalism, unfettered by government cronies, special favors or special restrictions - is that it is entirely voluntary. Noone forces you to buy an iPad - Steve Jobs isn't standing behind you with a gun. You voluntarily give Apple your cash because the iPad is worth more to you than the cash. You profit in every voluntary trade you make in such a society. In these trades, your profit is not measured in cash - it might be measured in productivity, in being able to do things you couldn't do before - but it is real nonetheless.

Similarly, the help the owners need - the corporation's employees - work through their voluntary agreement, which they decide on a daily basis. There are no slaves in corporate America, the socialist claptrap about "wage slaves" notwithstanding.

All these parties come together through this nexus, the corporation, trading cash, capital, labor and production, in order to achieve the things all these various parties want. It is a win-win-win scenario. There are no "exploited". Everyone who trades voluntarily through the nexus of a corporation profits, or by definition they wouldn't. Anyone who doesn't think they are getting a fair deal may trade with someone else. Think the iPad is too expensive? Buy any of dozens of Android tablets. Boss is a jerk? Get a different job - or start your own company. Or go whine on Wall Street if you think that will get you anywhere (it won't).

It's important to identify this essential nature of a corporation - as a voluntary assemblage of people. A corporation is not a person. It is, however, *people*. A group of people.

Just because some people choose to work together for a common goal, doesn't mean they magically lose their freedoms - their right to property, their right to speak their mind. Some would have it that corporations cannot put a political ad on TV discussing a topic that is important to them. But remember: a corporation is just a group of people. If you ban a corporation from political speech, you are saying that *this particular group of people is not entitled to its political speech*. That is no different than saying "We don't think blacks should be able to put political ads on TV".

It also doesn't mean that this group of people we call a corporation has special rights that individuals don't. They should not (though they sometimes do) get special tax breaks, special legislation, special treatment under the law. But in true capitalism, such would not occur. A corporation would have no more -- and no less -- rights than any individual. It would have exactly the same rights as its members - to speak, to trade, to profit, because a corporation is merely some people doing these things together.

In short - if I have a right to speak, I have a right to speak in partnership with someone else. The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We have the right to do these things together.

Now of course, corporations do not vote. Voting is not a fundamental human right in the same way that my life, liberty and property are. It is ok to deny this "civil right" (which is to say, a privilege in the construction of a particular government) to the paper entities which are corporations. And I don't think anyone has suggested otherwise.

But allowing people to form corporations *specifically* for the purpose of raising money to spread their political ideas - this levels the playing field in the marketplace of ideas. Imagine a company formed to solicit $20 donations from millions of people, just in order to put ads on TV to support their political ideas. You might call such a corporation.. MoveOn.Org. Or the AFLCIO. Except that and the AFLCIO oppose your right to do the same thing they're doing. They don't like the competition, and hope to use the government's power to *force you to be silent*. They are huge outfits that spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Before the Citizens United court ruling, you had no chance to go up against them. Or even to go up against any bogeyman "big corporation" you don't like. But now, you can.

So, in a very narrow sense the Occupy Wall Street hippies are right. A corporation is not "a person". But it is people, who have the same rights together that they do apart. It is precisely collective exercise of individual rights that gave power to Ghandi, the US civil rights movement in the south, the anti-slavery movements in the 1800s. Keep that in mind the next time you think it's ok to muzzle "corporations".

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Moral Inversions of Barack Obama

The purpose of government is to protect our rights, our individual liberty. Yet Barack Obama has turned our government into a tool to destroy the very concepts of individuals, rights, and morality.

Wall Street Bailout - companies that recklessly gambled with financial instruments they didn't understand, were rewarded with hundreds of billions of dollars of bailouts. Banks that were responsible and did not have problems, were forced to take government money and be subjected to government control anyway, and paid a price for bailout money that they didn't need.

States bailout - left-wing states such as California and Illinois which boast large welfare apparatus and progressive taxation, are the hardest-hit by the recession because their tax structures are set up to punish the wealthy, and in a recession the wealthiest are the ones who get hit the hardest. In California, the powerful public employees unions have engineered outrageous pensions and salary increases, while around them the economy crumbles. A large part of the Federal bailouts went to states like California, in effect, rewarding these unions and state legislatures for their economic irrationality. And of course the ones being forced to pay for the irrational state bailouts, are those states that have carefully managed their budgets.

GM - rewarded the UAW and GM management whose greed and poor product and marketing decisions led the company to bankruptcy. Punished Americans through higher taxes, who purchased cars from responsible companies. $50B taxpayer dollars later, they have produced all of 10,000 'Volt's, a $41,000 electric car that can go all of 40 miles. But they sure succeeded in buying the votes of a lot of UAW cronies for the Democrats.

Homeowner bailouts - The government planned on spending $75 Billion to reward people who irresponsibly bought homes they couldn't afford, and punished through taxation, those who lived within their means. Those who have scrupulously managed their personal budgets, and not squandered their money, in order to be sure they could always make their mortgage payments -- these people's children will now pick up the tab for all the people who did not act responsibly.

Gulf oil spill - The government's response to the BP Gulf oil spill, was to institute a moratorium on new drilling - to punish everyone who DIDN'T make a mistake, who DIDN'T spill a drop of oil, costing tens of thousands in the Gulf region their jobs.

Cap-and-Trade: companies which produce oil - which runs our cars and trucks, heats homes, is the source of plastics, clothing, life-saving pharmaseuticals - are evil. They are to be prevented from creating this incredible value (considered evil by Obama) by forcing them to buy the right to exist from Al Gore's "cap and trade exchange". This would net Al Gore and his cronies billions of dollars for doing nothing, while costing Americans a massive cost of living increase.

Health care bill - the key element of the health care bill is the new regulation that requires insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. In other words, a person can fail to take care of their own health, wait until they are sick to get insurance, in effect forcing other people to pay for their lack of attention to their own body. Those who mind their health and take responsibility for their weight and nutrition, pay extra to cover emergency treatment for those who are fat, don't eat right, and smoke.

The whole shebang - all told, Obama is saddling future generations with many, many trillions of dollars in debt. This is the greatest moral inversion of all, saddling the unborn, oppressing future generations with the yoke of OUR irresponsibility and OUR immorality. They are the ones who will pay the price, in a seriously weakened economy, in a degenerate country which will make Greece look like a day in the park. Our children will work their whole lives to repay what Barack Obama is doing in these few short years, they will profit not from their own lives, and they will suffer from a significantly diminished standard of living.

The pattern of behavior exhibited by Obama's government is one of consistently rewarding the unjust, and punishing the just. Giving money to those proven to squander it, while taking it from those who have earned and saved it. From those according to their ability, to those according to their immorality.

Yes, I'm going to use the word again: immoral. A person who expects others to pay for his mistakes, is immoral. A person who expects others to fulfill her irrational wishes to live beyond her means, is immoral. There is no other word for it. And Barack Obama, the 21st century's biggest cheerleader for Socialism, is enabling this kind of twisted, topsy-turvy immoral thinking on a vast scale never before seen in America, when even the European Socialist states are beginning to fail and back away from the idea of the State as God and Provider of All Things.

But this is precisely the defining characteristic of Socialism. It is by design, and it is intended to utterly destroy the very concept of individuality. For what can be more individual than a human being acting according to standards of good or evil and to be judged accordingly? But people with a moral center are not people that are easily turned into cogs in the Socialist state's machinery. To create the mentally impotent robots that Socialism requires, morality must be redefined to be state-centered instead of based on the individual. The moral inversions of Barack Obama are precisely intended to destroy morality, to destroy an individual's incentive to rise or fall on their own effort, to turn everyone into a dependent of the state, to make everyone a slave of everyone else. That is the "equality" of Socialism.

To save ourselves and our children and grandchildren, to save our very souls, we must end this!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Liberals who proclaim the goodness of taxes continue to dodge them

The illustrious John Kerry, loser in the 2004 Presidential election, is one of the leftists who constantly proclaim bromides such as "the rich are getting richer", "the rich should pay their fair share", etc. Kerry is among the most liberal of Senators, and any time a question of tax cuts versus tax increases comes up, Kerry has always voted for tax increases.

Yet, he is harboring his new $7M yacht (guardian of the proletariat that he is) in Rhode Island - in order to dodge massive taxes on such property in Taxachusetts, er, Massachusetts.

Kerry's dodge will save him nearly $500,000 plus $70,000 a year in taxes on the yacht.

Kerry's comment: "I have nothing more to say."

It's a good thing that Kerry is fighting for the common man - by raising taxes on the most evil segment of our society, diabetics and disabled people, against whom he voted to sock an excise tax on medical devices. The disabled, diabetics, and people who need pacemakers will see the costs of these devices increase by over ***$4 Billion a year***.

Yet Kerry, who is married to a woman worth hundreds of millions of dollars, thinks it's ok for himself to dodge a $500,000 tax bill on his luxury item.

In the dictionary, the word hypocrite ought to have a picture of this guy next to it. Along with tax cheat Tim Geithner, tax cheat Charles Rangel, and tax cheat Tom Daschle (all the most liberal of liberals, unsurprisingly).

1. Massive Excise tax on wheelchairs, pacemakers, insulin pumps part of ObamaCare:

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Real meaning of the JournoList Scandal

If you have been following the JournoList scandal, you know that emails leaked from the list show that leftist journalists such as Ezra Klein of the Washington Post among others, collaborated among other things on how to tackle certain issues in articles and best attack their Republican opponents.

The response of these leftist wonks to these revelations have been more revelatory, perhaps, than the actual emails.

They are saying "Well what's more natural than a bunch of us 'progressives' hanging out on an internet forum?"

And from my side, of COURSE these people are all hardcore leftists. That's what we've been saying for 30 years, that the press is almost completely leftist.

The point is that journalism schools, and these people, have been defending themselves for decades by claiming that they are following all these standards for objective reporting.

And now we learn that in fact, they are working together to damage real debate by throwing around unfounded claims of racism against people they don't like - among other more subtle approaches.

Come on guys, it can only be one or the other. Either a journalist's job is - as you have been claiming for many years - to present the objective truth to the best of your ability; or it is to push a partisan viewpoint, have a healthy marketplace of ideas, and let the news consumer (i.e., you and me) sort out the truth.

Jay Cost of Real Clear Politics says this is just another step back to a partisan press. I agree to an extent - but I think it needs to be made clear that the press has never actually been non-partisan. They have merely *pretended* to be "objective", hiding behind "journalistic integrity", all the while pushing their leftist viewpoints.

Now that the man behind the curtain has been revealed, we will finally stop seeing attacks on Fox News as "biased", since they have now admitted that they are committed leftists and have been biased too, all along.

Well, maybe not. But can't I dream for a slight lessening of leftist hypocrisy?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fraudulent KOS Polling Shows Leftist Head-in-Sand Syndrome

Since Socialist ideology is in direct contradiction to many laws of reality, such as laws of human behavior, of economics, and of just plain common sense, you would expect that leftists must on a daily basis evade and actively disbelieve plain facts that are placed in front of them. This is why they will simply call you a racist or a liar if you challenge them on the facts - their beliefs are already arbitrary and not based on a chain of induction or deduction from observation. Everything they believe is based on a floating abstraction.

So when, occasionally, these types see a fact that seems to support their view of reality, they go positively hog wild over it.

Note then the responses in the blogosphere to the Daily Kos / Research 2000 polling over the past two years. The fact that the Kos polling consistently showed 10 to 15 points higher support for Democrats than all other polls caused no concern to these people - it only "proved" that polling firms such as Rasmussen were "lying Republican shills". (Never mind that Rasmussen has the highest prediction accuracy of any of the polling firms).

So for two years Kosheads have been going on and on about how Kos had the only valid polling. Anyone else who reviewed the poll results could clearly see that something was dramatically amiss with the Kos polling, even without the fancy mathematics that ultimately undid them.

While Markos Moulitsas did the right thing and fired Research 2000 and in fact sued them for fraud, what wasn't undone by this action was the innumerable stories repeated in the Drive-by media (sorry, mainstream media) based on these fraudulent polls, and all the conclusions drawn by people as a result of this fraudulent polling. Kos posters have actively ignored the fact that for years they allowed themselves to be misled because the lie was in line with their beliefs. Not one of them said "Oh, oops, maybe Rasmussen has been right". In fact they found creative new ways to call Rasmussen liars while placing a crown of righteousness on their own heads.

This of course ties in with many other socialist lies, such as
  • Doctors routinely perform unneeded amputations just to pad their bills (often repeated by Obama)
  • The poor got poorer under Reagan (proven false by IRS data)
  • Muslims only hate us because we've been mean to them
These and countless other socialist canards, which are easily proven to be false, are readily believed by these willing victims of untruth.

Now I'm not saying that socialists are the only people who make logical errors or are divorced from reality. But socialists do have a unique, near-universal ability to ignore any fact that contradicts their beliefs.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Comedy Central bows to Islamic Totalitarianism and Censors Themselves

In an act of appeasement worthy of Chamberlain, Comedy Central has recently and repeatedly bowed to Islamic totalitarianism, by censoring themselves.
Comedy Central bleeped out all references to the Prophet Muhammad in Wednesday night's episode of the animated show "South Park."
In addition to bleeping the words "Prophet Muhammad," the show also covered the character with a large block labeled "Censored."
In response to this, Comedy Central keystone Jon Stewart, had this to say:
"The censorship was a decision Comedy Central made I think as a way to protect their employees from what they believe was any possible harmful repercussions to them," Stewart stated, adding, comically, that "after forcing many of these same employees to work on [Comedy Central shows] "Mind of Mencia" and "Crod Mandoon" … damage done. But again they sign the checks."

Read more:
Jon, what an uncompromising defense of your right to free speech, to communicate ideas about things that matter. Jon, on a daily basis you belittle anyone you like, often in a hateful manner. But, the second your employer censors a real attempt to discuss Islamic totalitarianism, you roll over like a lap dog, "... they sign the checks."

We should all be glad that Jefferson, Washington, Madison and Adams had the balls of steel to stand behind their convictions. Apparently your balls are made of cash, and the approval of your bosses.

Some 'liberal' you are. 'Liberal' you may note, comes from a word that means 'freedom', but you have turned it into a word that means "Please don't beat me, master."

And to Comedy Central: now that you've opened the door, your content is now subject to the whims of any random Muslim whackjob that posts on the Internet. Way to go.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blatant Hypocrisy in Obama's Health Care Circus

At a campaign rally, I mean a health-care stump speech, in Ohio today, Obama trod out a poor victim of evil insurance companies.

"Obama planned to visit Strongsville, Ohio, home of cancer patient Natoma Canfield, who wrote the president she gave up her health insurance after it rose to $8,500 a year. Obama repeatedly has cited that letter from a self-employed cleaning worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb to illustrate the urgency of the massive overhaul."

And what would happen to this woman under Obamacare? $8,500 is where the 40% excise tax on "cadillac insurance plans" kicks in.

So Democrats in Congress are demonizing this woman for spending "too much". While the excise tax supposedly is to be levied against insurance companies, given their slim profits the only way insurance companies could afford the tax is to pass it on to their customers.

So this poor woman's insurance would not have been $8,500, but instead $11,900. That would sure help her out.

Note that none of the multi-millionaires to billionaires on the Democrat side of the aisle offered to write her a check. You'd think, since they are all about "compassion" that's what they'd do. But no.

Democrat Jared Polis (worth $160M) did not offer to help her.
Democrat John Kerry (worth $267M) did not offer to help her.
Democrat Hillary Clinton (worth $30M) did not offer to help her.
Democrat Jane Harman (worth $409M) did not offer to help her.
Democrat Barack Obama (worth $1.3M) did not offer to help her.

You see, it's more valuable to be able to use this woman for their political gains.

Instead, what all these people want to do is penalize her by slapping a 40% excise tax on her "cadillac" health plan. I'm sure Obama's poor stooge thinks of herself as a wealthy beneficiary of a "too generous" plan.

Obamacare has nothing to do with helping people get and keep medical care. It has everything to do with the Federal Government taking over 16% of the economy, and putting health decisions in the control of bureaucrats - more government union members who will vote Democrat. More American citizens beholden to the government and government power for their very lives.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blaming Bush is all Obama has Left

Over the past several months, the same independent voters who swept Barack Obama into office have been increasingly turning away from him. The tide of opposition has risen to the point that Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown to fill a seat held by liberal Kennedy's for over 50 years -- based on Brown's platform of stopping the Obama agenda.

Obama was elected because he told voters that he was a new kind of politician; that he would reach across the aisle and work with both Democrats and Republicans; that he would negotiate a health care bill in public on CSPAN; that he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class "by one dime"; that lobbyists for special interests would be exposed and have no say in his administration. And, that he wasn't George Bush.

But Obama is exactly the same kind of politician; he has helped lock Republicans out of every step of the process in every one of his major initiatives, his lip service about a "health care summit" notwithstanding; the payoffs to labor unions and bribery to Ben Nelson of Nebraska were done behind closed doors far away from CSPAN cameras; his cap and trade and excise tax on health benefits plans will dramatically raise taxes on the middle class even though he thinks we won't notice so long as they don't have a big sticker on them labelled "taxes"; and his administration is staffed with lobbyists and insiders of the very Wall Street banking industry he is busy demonizing.

Obama has not simply broken campaign promises. He has actively worked against them with his left-wing allies Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The only thing he said during the campaign that is still true, is that he is not George Bush.

Even though that alone is simply not enough for independent voters, it's all Obama has left. And that's why all we're hearing from the White House, and from "progressive" apologists for Obama, is more lame blame at Bush.