Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obama’s Wisdom on Burning of Koran

Regarding the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero, President Obama has said that he will “not comment on the wisdom” of such a project. A large majority of Americans regard it as outrageous that a place of worship for an ideology in whose name thousands of Americans were slaughtered is proposed to be built in the very area where the slaughter took place. Nonetheless, Mr. Obama can’t bring himself to denounce the proposed mosque. However, he is willing to say that Muslims have “…the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property….”

By contrast, in the case of the burning of the Koran, which is a matter of constitutionally protected free speech on behalf of Americans who are opposed to the Koran’s message of Jihad and Sharia Law, his approach is the exact opposite: Not only will he not affirm individuals’ right to burn a book on their property, but also he does offer his opinion on the wisdom of taking such an action. And his verdict? In essence: Don’t offend the Muslims.

In the conflict between Americans who oppose Jihad and Shariah law and people who openly or silently support these ideas, he sides with whom?

The word jackass comes to mind, of course, but think of the deeper implications of the situation: This is our Commander-in-Chief. This the stance that the leader of the supposedly Free World and of its military forces takes in the face of calls for global Jihad against the United States? Perhaps when his term is up, he can run for President of Iran.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama's Logical Fallacy on Muslims' Religious Rights: Neglected Aspect

In regard to the recent controversy over Muslims building a mosque near ground zero, President Obama has said that Muslims, “Have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in the country.”

Given the context that a significant element within the Muslim faith subscribes to or advocates Jihad or Holy War against non-Muslim peoples, with America being at or near the top of such a list, it is either intellectually negligent or intellectually dishonest for Obama to make such a statement.

That such a mosque should not be built is a separate issue. (Though judging by the polls, Americans seem to have gotten it right this time.) However, on the issue of Muslims practicing their faith, the elected leader and Commander-in-Chief of the United States has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution—the purpose of which is to protect the individual rights of its citizens. The only proper statement that is consistent with such an Office and with America’s values and principles would be something as follows: Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country so long as their practice of it does not include advocating Holy War or acts of Terrorism against the United States or any of its citizens.

To fail to take this aspect into account is intellectually negligent; to omit it knowingly is intellectually dishonest. Either way, such an omission is damning—damning either cognitively or morally with respect to Mr. Obama and damning practically, physically, existentially with respect to us, the citizens of a country whose Constitution was designed to protect our individual rights—including our lives.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fourth of July: Its Relevance to Today

The Fourth of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Amongst a sophisticated and admirable set of political ideas held by the signers of the Declaration was a disdain for despotic or tyrannical government--in modern terms: an over-reaching or overly powerful government. Today, on an almost daily basis, one cannot escape seeing a news story in which the federal government isn't trying to pass some new law to regulate some industry, or to issue some new threat against some business or businessman, or to bestow some new benefit on some new group of people--a benefit forced, by law, from others who must either produce it or pay for it.

“Of what relevance is this today?—in 21st century American? to my life?” one might ask. Although the Founding Fathers did not go out of their way to formulate treatises on the relationship between freedom (i.e., the protection of individual rights) and economic prosperity, one need only read some of their writings to see that they were, however, well aware of the relationship. Specifically, they took for granted that political freedom included and necessitated economic freedom, and they knew that the result of such conditions was economic prosperity. Come back to today: ever more stringent laws on individuals and their private enterprises; ever more regulations and “oversight” on “big business,” on banking, and on industries in general; ever more financial giveaways (bailouts to businesses and benefits and programs to individuals and categories of people); in short, ever more government—ever more government interference into the economy and into our lives, ever more government regulation and “public welfare.”

The result? Is our economy getting better or worse? Reliance on the opinions of economic experts and forecasters is not needed at this point. Ask yourself: Is your financial situation getting better or worse? Is the value of your house going up or down? Are your salary and benefits going up or are they getting cut? Are your prospects for jobs growing or diminishing? Is your earning potential going up, or do you feel lucky if it merely stays the same? Are things getting less expensive or more so? Do you find your savings going up or down? Are you finding that you have more money left over at the end of the tax year or less? Is it getting easier to make ends meet or more difficult? Is your debt getting paid down, or are you struggling while your debt just sits there unchanging or worse yet is mounting? Are your hopes for your economic future getting brighter or dimmer? Financially, is your life getting easier or harder? better or worse?

I would make a case in answer to these questions, but I don’t think I need to.

Are our elected officials—our President and our Congress—in recent decades (and even moreso today) on the right track? It depends on the standard. If the standard is government as a regulatory and welfare state, then, yes, they are indeed performing, as they continue to increase the size and scope of the government in this role. As Ayn Rand said, however: “Check your premises.” Check the basic ideas or assumptions underlying our ideas. Is this the proper standard? Should the role of government be that of a regulatory and welfare state—or should it be that of protector of individual rights, with the political and economic freedom that this entails and the economic prosperity that ensues? The full answer is not one that can be bestowed upon or ascertained by a person in a blog, or in any short article for that matter. It is in fact one that requires a thoughtful study and consideration over time. As an indication, however, one should consider the relationship between our current political leanings and our economic condition. One should not divorce the fact that as government increases in size and scope, our economy seems to be grinding to a standstill and our personal economic conditions worsen. (If this indication gives you pause to think and a desire to begin investigating further, I would recommend, as a place to start, a book called Atlas Shrugged.)

For me, the Fourth of July has always (as an adult) been about the revolutionary ideas of the Founding Fathers and how such ideas changed the world in terms of freedom and the resulting economic prosperity that such freedom created. I always assumed (or perhaps more likely hoped) that it meant the same thing for many others as well. Given the state of politics today and the political ideas and candidates that people are willing to support, however, I realize that this is not the case. Given our country’s current state, the Fourth of July is not and cannot be about recognizing this event’s political and historical significance; but I do hope that it can become about rediscovering it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Second American Crisis

The United States of America has traditionally been the freest county in the history of man. It was founded on the principle of individual rights--specifically, that the function of government is to protect individual rights--fundamentally the right to one's own life, liberty, property and his pursuit of happiness. From these fundamental ideas, a Constitution was created in which the individual was left free to work hard, to produce, to achieve, to keep the fruits of his labor, and to prosper. The principle, not explicitly articulated in the Constitution itself, but articulated quite clearly by those who wrote it, was that in order to affect these ends, the power of government had to be restrained. They protection of individual rights was their fundamental goal, and the restraint upon government power (via the Constitution) was their method of achieving it. (Had they been fully consistent, they would have established a firm wall of separation between state and economics. Unfortunately, they did not foresee everything.)

The twentieth century saw a gradual erosion of these principles. The United States of the twentieth century was not a capitalist country, nor a socialist country, bur rather a mixture of the two elements: the mixed economy of an ever growing welfare state. Today, we have dispensed with the gradual erosion of our original principles; instead, we are racing toward their antithesis: government controlled, run, and owned everything.

To many people unfortunately, this phenomenon has not become clear yet. We are, however, on the brink. As uncomfortable as it is to acknowledge, if current trends are not reversed, we are headed for statism (a system of government in which the individual is subordinate to the state). Evade the fact however you like by disguising it as "Democratic Socialism" or by refusing to name it at all, but evading it does not make it no so.

Over the course of two hundred years, the United States has gone from a republic, to a democracy, to a welfare state.

We are at a point at which Americans will have to decide what type of country we are to be: a country of individuals whose rights are protected by government--or one in which the individual is ruled by government. The choice is ours. But time is running out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Attorney General Protecting Whom from Whom?

Recently, United States Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to protect Arab-Americans against hate crimes. Is it just me, or does it seem that as a nation the focus of our concern has become completely backward? In today's climate of flying passenger jets into skyscrapers, of Islamic calls to global jihad against the infidels, of an Islamic theocratic dictatorship obtaining nuclear weapons, of radical Muslims beheading journalists, of death threats against the creators of cartoons and television shows depicting Mohammed, it would seem to make more sense for the U. S. Attorney General to vow to protect Americans from domestic-grown terrorists. Am I the only person who thinks that the thinking of the civilized world has turned upside down?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oil Spill: Yeah, Let's Blame Big Business Again

Regarding the recent oil spill, we knew from day one that the government was going to use this event to say, "You see! The evil big businesses can't be trusted. In pursuit of profits, they are destroying the earth." In other words, blame big business.

My view on the matter is quite the opposite: Tie the hands of the oil industry for decades and then expect them to fucntion well?

If we value industrial civiliztion and the enormous life sustaining and life enhancing benefits that big businesses like the oil companies provide to mankind, get the government the hell out of the way, and let the companies produce. Our way of life--our progress, our standard of living, and, therefore, our happiness and well being--depend on it. Do you want to see more disasters of this sort? Then, let the government keep meddling with big business and the economy in general. They've already made a debacle of the housing market, and subsequently the entire financial market--and now offshore drilling.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Law: Now the Left is Concerned About Rights?

In response to Arizona's law which seeks to counter illegal immigration from our southern border, the Left opposes it by the assertion that it will involve "racial profiling." Whether or not to use racial profiling, to what degree to use it, and under what circumstances to use it is a subject in its own right--a subject entirely worthy of discussion--but not the subject of this commentary. I wish to bring to light a different matter in this issue.

To give a clear articulation to the Left's position on Arizona's recent law (which they really haven't done), it would be this: American citizens of Hispanic ethnicity in Arizona are here legally--that is, they are in the U.S. by right. To subject their being here to legal scrutiny beyond that of all other U.S. citizens is a violation of their rights as U.S. citizens.

This much I agree with.

What I find preposterous is that the Left is now all of a sudden concerned about individual rights. If the Left is now such a big advocate of rights, where were they on the government's takeover of healthcare? Doesn't the government's takeover of healthcare violate individual rights on a massive scale? What about the right of healthcare providers, patients, and insurance providers to operate freely in the healthcare market?--each such individual engaging in purchasing or providing healthcare services to mutual advantage by mutual consent? What about the individual whose money is taken from him (via taxation) to pay for someone else's healthcare? Is not that a violation of such individuals' rights? The individual has a right to pursue a good or a service via voluntary trade. A good or a service as such, however, cannot be granted as a right to any individual or group of individuals (e.g., "those who can't afford it"). As Ayn Rand identified, when a good or a service is granted to any group as a "right," it necessarily violates the rights of those who are forced to provide it.

The subject of rights is indeed important (it is in fact the central issue pertaining to the nature and the role of government), but the Left is certainly not the place where a rational discussion of rights should be sought.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Our Dismal Economy A Result Of Our Politicians

Under our current statist political system, the individual is doubly injured economically. First, he is taxed in such a way and to such an extent that he can keep only very little of any surplus income he might have left over after meeting his financial obligations. Secondly, the economy has been so badly crippled via statist policies that the individual has a difficult time generating any substantial amount of income in the first place.

These phenomena are intentional. I do not mean that they are the result of some type of conspiracy—i.e., the plan of some hidden or behind-the-scenes group. The only sense in which one could ascribe the attribute of secrecy is that those who advocate these destructive ends could never openly admit to it. The actual collection of individuals who do this, however, is not some hidden or behind-the-scenes group. Rather, it is in fact the actual people who occupy our public offices.

The phenomenon of shackling of the individual via these destructive statist policies is explained by the fundamental ideas of the holders of public office who enact them. They do not want the individual to “get ahead.” In their view, the individual belongs to the collective—the group—and each individual is bound and chained to every other. If some must be sacrificed to others, so be it. If the result is a lower standard of living for everyone, so be it. Whatever wreckage or decreased prospects for human happiness and prosperity may or must result from such ideas, our current politicians are at root okay with it, because they believe that their ideas and their ends are correct—i.e., are moral. (Observe the fact that they are willing to shove these ideas and policies down our throat, as recently witnessed with the “passage” of the healthcare bill.) They do not believe in individual rights. They believe that the individual belongs to the group and therefore anything may be imposed upon him if in their view it serves the group. Furthermore, they believe that they are the group’s master.

These phenomena are intentional, but they are not part of a conspiracy. One need look no further than the actual occupants of government and the ideas implicit in their policies. Nothing less explains the phenomena and nothing more is needed. And so long as these basic ideas go unrecognized and unchallenged—and so long as incorrect causes and explanations are sought—we will continue to slide further and further into statism.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Obama's Nuclear Policy Fantasy

In recent days, Obama and the Russians signed an agreement which seeks to limit the use of nuclear weapons by the United States and Russia. In one news report of the story, this move by the Obama administration was hailed as a step toward making the world safer against the "nuclear threat." How exactly does this make the world safer from the "nuclear threat?" I didn't realize that America threatened the world with nuclear weapons. I was under the mistaken belief that it was Iran that was the "nuclear threat." A semi-free, moral country renouncing the use of nuclear weapons somehow prevents a backward, theocratic dictatorship from using such weapons?

Absurdities such as this leave most people scratching there heads, wondering how it is that well educated people can arrive at such stupidity. The answer lies in the basic philosophical ideas which our "educated" receive in the universities. They are taught that reality is not an absolute, to which thinking must conform, but rather the other way around: whatever chain of (sloppy) thinking they can concoct, reality must conform to it. Therefore, if one wants to decrease or eliminate the potential of nuclear attack from a theocratic dictatorship by renouncing the use of his own weapons, why let reality stand in the way? If it is our wish that this should somehow work, why shouldn't it work?

As ridiculous as this sounds, this is at root the mindset operant behind our elite's most bewildering schemes today. They substitute fantasy for thinking; they evade facts lest they conflict with their wishes.

We don't merely need to replace the particular holders of public office with new ones. We need more fundamentally to replace an almost century long philosophical corruption with a philosophy of reason.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Obituary of The United States of America

The United States of America, died Sunday, March 21, 2010, at the age of 233, after an almost century-long bout with welfare statism, stretching at least as far back as the 1930’s. America was found dead in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday from a vote for a government takeover of its healthcare system—despite repeated warnings from other countries which have suffered similar fates. The details behind the murder are still unclear, but it seems that a handful of ideologically driven political leaders, hell-bent on statism, through a series of arm-twisting, backroom deals, buying of votes, payoffs, and bribes, corrupted the political process to thwart the will of the American people and forced passage of the lethal bill. Although no suspects have officially been named, American people are focusing their investigation around a Mr. Barry Hussein Obama, a certain Mrs. Pelosi, and someone by the name of Reid.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1776, to the Founding Fathers, the United States of America became the greatest country in the history of man. In 1776, it declared that the purpose of government is to protect individual rights. In 1788, via the Constitution, it created a constitutionally limited republic which secured these rights. Peace and prosperity in this new country flourished, and its ideas captivated and inspired the nations of Europe. As a result of this influence, the Industrial Revolution took off not only in America but across Europe as well. The ensuing century, therefore, saw mankind’s progress take off in the Western world in general and skyrocket in America in particular. Because of the tremendous practical consequences of freedom (not to mention the moral necessity of it for man’s life and happiness), the United States continued to smash through barrier after barrier scientifically and technologically throughout the 20th century, elevating human life to a level undreamed of in previous eras.

America is survived by it’s intellectual heirs—Ayn Rand, John Galt, and the Objectivists; by those amongst the Tea Party movement who have a healthy respect for reason, rational self-interest, freedom, and individual rights; by millions of Americans who still retain the original American sense of life; and by those who are just plain pissed off at the way in which a relatively small group of power lusting politicians are cannibalizing the productive and the able on the behalf of those who are not productive or able.

Memorial services will be held for the United States of America throughout the country on April 15th, on July 4th, on November 2, 2010, and again in November, 2012.

Per the wishes of freedom loving Americans, the United States of America will be cryogenically frozen in the hopes that one day reason, individualism, and freedom will be rediscovered, that rational self-interest will become understood and embraced, and that the United States of America can therefore be brought back to life.

In the meanwhile, Americans are looking for any leads in bringing to justice those involved in the slaying. Freedom loving Americans are calling on anyone who can be of assistance in this matter: the American electorate, state attorneys general, state legislatures, future U.S. Congresses, the Supreme Court of the United States, and, if need be, members of the armed services and law enforcement who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.