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:: The Rule of Reason ::

:: Thursday, July 30, 2009 ::

Objectivist Blog Round-Up #110 

:: Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 12:01 AM

Welcome to the August 20th, 2009 edition of the Objectivist Round-Up. This week presents insight and analyses written by authors who are animated by Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. According to Ayn Rand:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

"About the Author," Atlas Shrugged, Appendix.

So without any further delay (and in no particular order), here's this week's round-up:

Joseph Kellard presents Guggenheim's Wright Exhibit Inspires posted at The American Individualist.

Jennifer Snow presents On Parasitism posted at Literatrix, saying, "Some commentary on unscrupulous practices in the games industry and how this applies to capitalism in general."

Andy Clarkson presents Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again? posted at The Charlotte Capitalist, saying, "I guest blogged at EGO this week. Asked the question, "Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again?""

Roderick Fitts presents Rand on Concepts, Relation to Induction (Part 1) posted at Inductive Quest, saying, "Part 1 of a comparison between Rand's theory of concepts and the elements of induction I regard as true."

Stella presents At least this guy's honest posted at ReasonPharm, saying, "A power-lusting Democrat who's at least honest about his power lust comments on HR 3200."

Rational Jenn presents A Conversation about Integrity posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "Explaining the virtue of Integrity to children can be difficult. I helped my son begin to grasp this idea by pointing out an example of when he displayed that virtue himself."

Trey Givens presents Faith Leads Youths to Believe They Can Make Things Up Themselves posted at Trey Givens, saying, "I can't say that I am a huge fan of sex education as such, but children should certainly be educated in the science and biology of sexual reproduction and associated infections and diseases. But look what happens when educators attempt to break the link between science and real life with faith and foolishness."

Roberto Sarrionandia presents Letter to 3 Mobile posted at Tito's Blog, saying, "A letter of complaint to my phone company, for encouraging government regulation"

Paul Hsieh presents The Federal Health Care Muggers posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, "PajamasMedia published another of my health care OpEds."

JStotts presents Objectivism and Sexuality: YouTube posted at Erosophia, saying, "The video version of my speech "Objectivism and Sexuality" delivered to the Ohio Objectivist Society."

Ari Armstrong presents Pro-Liberty Health Rally Draws Hundreds posted at FreeColorado.com, saying, "Hundreds of people gathered in Denver July 28 to protest Obamacare and stand for liberty in medicine."

The Editors present Is Health Care a Right? Answer the question, Congressmen! posted at The Undercurrent, saying, "Of the many specials on health care that have been taking place these past few weeks, this recent PJTV forum should be singularly commended for daring to ask of our political leaders the one question upon which the whole concept of government health care rests: Is health care a right?"

Stephen Bourque presents The Absolutism of Principles posted at One Reality, saying, "Like a crack in a dike, a single breach of a principle is enough to collapse it; the tiniest compromise eventually becomes a gaping hole through which all the values that the principle once supported pour out."

Ryan Krause presents Green Jobs posted at The Money Speech, saying, "A few things I've noticed in researching this abysmal topic."

John Drake presents AT&T's monopoly posted at Try Reason!, saying, "In my class, I present facts that show how AT&T's monopoly on long distance was government mandated and greatly influenced the evolution of telephone services for over 60 years. This is part of my quest to demonstrate principles through the exploration of facts."

Doug Reich presents The Modern Intellectual's Virtue of Complexity, Part I posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, "Why is simplicity regarded as a virtue in the physical sciences, but regarded as the hallmark of naivete in the social sciences? When we analyze human problems, should we think more like a human or a dog?"

Doug Reich presents Wishing for Non-A, The Sequel posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, "Many on the right seem bewildered that Obama supports a plan that will only exacerbate the problems caused by government intervention in the first place. What they fail to realize is that Obama's wish is not better health care, but egalitarianism, and the more general wish that reality be not what it is."

Michael Labeit presents On Jurists and Mortgage Loans posted at Coroner's Bureau, saying, "Wise jurists in government are badly needed in order to maintain a free society."

C. August presents Target's Free Market Health Care Innovation posted at Titanic Deck Chairs, saying, "A quick post that gives a hint to what a true free market in health care could be like."

That concludes this edition of the round-up. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Objectivist round-up using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

:: Permalink | 2 Comments ::

 

:: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 ::

Profiling the President 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:58 PM

Tea Party commitments have consumed my time and energy over the last three weeks and allowed little of either for close analyses of ObamaCare, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, the Cap and Trade bill, and other pressing issues, all of them emanating from a government bent on conquering reality by fooling it. So permit me to issue a simple, blanket opposition to all of them, stuff them all into a burlap bag, and drop it into the raging river of current events. The issues are certain to return.

A minor but diverting controversy occurred when Prof. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. of Harvard University was arrested on July 16 while trying to break into his rented home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At least, that is how it was originally reported. He was actually arrested for disorderly conduct. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at the university, is a kind of intellectual Rev. Jeremiah Wright of “God damn America” notoriety. I have read several different conflicting accounts of what happened (Gates verbally accosted Sergeant James Crowley from inside his house, on the porch of the house, Crowley was about to walk away from Gates’ loud, confrontational behavior so he could call in resolution of the investigation of a break-in until he could take it no longer, and so on), but I have concluded that if blame for the incident is to be assigned to anyone, Gates earned the full portion. He behaved like hooligan, employing street language against a man who had badge, gun, handcuffs, and authority. A rather foolish action regardless of the race of either party.

And the race of either man is immaterial. Suppose the race roles were reversed? Imagine the confrontation if a black police sergeant had to deal with a white supremacist professor in the same circumstances (this person being director of the David Ernest Duke Institute for Aryan Race and Culture Studies at Harvard). Or with a white liberal professor (chair of any department at Harvard, it won‘t matter which). The supremacist’s remarks would be unrepeatable here. The white liberal would have ranted something like, “After all I’ve done for you people, this is the thanks I get?? How dare you harass me??” You take it from there. Would you blame the sergeant for cuffing either man? Hardly.

In the first hypothetical instance, the news media would have lavished the cop with praise and excoriated the white supremacist. The second instance would have left the Fourth Estate scratching its collective head. What to do? Whom do we blame? There’s no room for bias here!

Gates did not behave like a respected university professor. Not that he should be respected. What rational person could respect a person who has made a career of exacerbating -- and even inventing -- racial conflict, and an academic career, at that? The incident could have ended if Gates had kept his mouth shut and let it go, regardless of his “feelings” of victimization. But he chose to act like a thug. He let his emotions get the best of him. He was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was shortly thereafter dropped at the apparent behest of Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, and Denise Simmons, mayor of Cambridge City, both blacks.

What makes this incident interesting are two things: President Barack Obama feeling a compulsion to say something about it, and saying something that cast aspersions on Sgt. Crowley without having the facts on hand (in tune with his advocating socialized medicine, for example, but then facts are irrelevant to him); and the news media’s treatment of the incident. Almost without exception, journalists and columnists are siding with Gates, and the siding crosses racial and gender lines. And almost without exception, while they let Gates off with a list of irrelevant or circumstantial excuses for his behavior (he’d just returned from a trip to China, he’d misplaced his keys and was upset, etc.), Crowley is subjected to psychoanalytical examination and no excuses are made for him.

Obama initially accused Crowley and the Cambridge police department of “acting stupidly” (and later back-pedaled without any gears meshing to remove himself from the imbroglio). What exactly did he mean by “acting stupidly”? It is certain that he did not mean that Crowley acted illogically or irrationally. Knowing Obama’s rhetorical sleights-of-hand, he had to have meant that it was not politically and socially pragmatic of Crowley to arrest a black man, especially not one of Gates‘ alleged importance. After all, it virtually guaranteed a bad press, regardless of the legitimacy of the arrest, and he, Obama, would need to take the side of his friend, Gates. Just how practical was that, Sergeant? You could have acted, well, uh, smartly.

(For evidence of how Obama cannot think on his feet, and cannot speak extemporaneously and make any sense without the aid of a teleprompter or excruciatingly prepared texts, see the Patriot Post here for excerpts from his remarks about Crowley and Gates.)

Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post devotes nearly a whole article, “Redemption on Tap,” to dissecting Crowley’s possible motives for arresting Gates. Late in the article, she states, “We weren’t there. We’re not mind readers.” But mind-reading was the theme of her article, and Crowley was her principal subject. Gates is exonerated with a narrative of rationalizations for his conduct.

Christopher Hitchens, writing for Slate, overlooks the whole character of the incident in “A Man’s Home is His Constitutional Castle,” and suggests that Gates should have barraged Crowley with a recitation of the Bill of Rights. This, to a man who derogates the Bill of Rights and any individual rights, and encourages racial collectivism? The Bill of Rights, after all, does not protect asinine behavior, such as verbally assaulting an officer of the law who is leaving you alone after ensuring that your property rights had not been violated by a genuine burglar.

Professor Gates: Just how dumb can you get?

It would be interesting to take this a step further and contrast the approaches of two black columnists, Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Eugene Robinson, of The Washington Post, and a Pulitzer Prize winner (for his coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign).

In his column, “Pique and the Professor” of July 28, Robinson sides with Gates, and forgives Obama for his impolitic choice of words about Crowley and the Cambridge police department. Robinson also stoops to citing irrelevancies about Gates’ behavior.

“Gates is 58, stands maybe 5-feet-7 and weighs about 150 pounds. He has a disability and walks with a cane….Crowley could see that the professor posed no threat to him.”


That was probably true, that Crowley saw no threat in Gates. But it was Gates who posed a potential threat to Crowley with his unprovoked, vitriolic outburst - which Robinson dismisses as a “fit of pique.” But then, with more assuredness than Kathleen Parker, Robinson proceeds to psychoanalyze Crowley, not Gates.

“Apparently, there was something about the power relationship involved -- uppity, jet-setting black professor vs. regular-guy, working-class white cop -- that Crowley couldn’t abide.”


This is unsupportable, and unforgivable speculation about Crowley and his motives. One supposes that the Cambridge police department maintains psychological profiles on all its personnel, but, to paraphrase Robinson, one could put money on the likelihood that Robinson had no access to it and probably would not have liked what he read in Crowley’s profile anyway. So he indulged in creative journalism. Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize ought to be recalled. But, if this is the caliber of journalism that earned Robinson the recognition, it is no wonder journalism is in the pathetic state it is in.

Thomas Sowell will never win a Pulitzer Prize. He is too objective, intellectually honest, and deep. In his nationally syndicated column of July 27, “A Post-Racial President?” he gets right to the heart of the matter, one raised by Gates himself, racial profiling. But he turns the tables on the issue and broaches the matter of what one could call “reverse racial profiling,” that is, he scores Obama, and indirectly Gates, for his past affiliations with groups that exploited race to acquire political power and influence. For Sowell, the important issue is not Gates, but the impropriety of a president uttering some stupid words about an event of whose circumstances he was ignorant.

But Sowell describes just how logical it was for Obama to intrude on the matter.

“As a state senator, Obama pushed the ’racial profiling’ issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report from a neighbor that someone [race indeterminate] seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.”


Obama, writes Sowell, has made a career of being a “community organizer,” from his days in Chicago through the Illinois senate right up to the Oval Office. He is our Community-Organizer-in-Chief.

“What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.”


Was this not the theme of Obama’s presidential campaign? Is this not the leitmotif of his administration in every particular, from his cabinet appointments to TARP, executive pay, bank and industry takeovers, to his co-opting of a friendly news media, and socialized health care? He ought to be thanked for so obviously showing his hand -- if the preceding were not enough evidence of his malice and method-- in siding with Professor Gates, who also has made a career of organizing resentments and paranoia.

:: Permalink | 3 Comments ::

 

:: Monday, July 20, 2009 ::

The Original Tea Party and Ours: Where the Parallels Stop 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 3:32 PM

This is an expanded version of my original New Tea Parties post of July 13, and is the text of an address I will give at the Richmond, Virginia, Liberty 101 Tea Party on July 25.

Ladies, gentlemen, Americans: I am here today to shed some light on parallels between the original Tea Party and ours -- and where the parallels stop.

First, some background. On December 16, 1773, Bostonians and other locals roughly dressed as Mohawk Indians, boarded three American merchant vessels in the harbor, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver recently arrived from Britain with 342 chests of tea, and tossed the chests into the harbor. The tea nominally belonged to colonial American consignees, by appointment by the British East India Company (two of them sons of the royal governor, Thomas Hutchinson). The Tea Act of 1773 replaced the repealed Townshend Act duties on other commodities, and gave the East India Company a legal monopoly to hire other merchantmen to take the tea to North America.

The three-pence per pound tax remained on the tea. This tea would have been cheaper than the Dutch tea being smuggled into the colonies, even with the tax, which the colonial American consignees were obliged to pay. Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty put pressure on the consignees to not pay the tax and order the tea back to Britain. Governor Hutchinson, however, persuaded the consignees to stand firm. (His salary was derived from import duties and other taxes.) The customs officer refused to allow the vessels to leave the harbor without paying the duty.

The impasse had to be resolved, one way or another. The Crown or the patriots would need to give in. The Crown’s position was the status quo, and inaction. So the Americans took action, the only action open to them if they were to remain loyal to their convictions: they destroyed the tea as a demonstration that they would not pay the tax or submit to arbitrary Crown authority.

Lord North, prime minister, after receiving news of the Boston Tea Party and the actions of Americans in New York and Philadelphia, was faced with a dilemma linked to that authority: Use it, or lose it. He chose to use it, against the advice of some of his subministers, but in timid concordance with the outrage expressed in Parliament. He endorsed the Coercive Acts; that is, he agreed that reason must be answered with force. Of what use was power, if it were not exercised?

Why did the Americans decide to trespass on the three vessels and destroy their tea cargos when not only would they not have to pay the tax, but have cheaper tea, even when its retail price would have reflected a small percentage of the tax? Was it a matter, as some historians claim, of the legal, taxed tea underselling the illegal, smuggled tea? Did the patriots act on emotion, or on principle? Did they know, as apparently Lord North did not, that such an action would set in motion a course of events that would lead to war and independence?

Because the consignees were American, and because none of the colonies was represented in Parliament, it was a matter of taxation without representation. However, it was more than a matter of political principle. It was the application of a moral principle. If the colonists sanctioned the tea tax by paying it, it would be an acknowledgement that the Crown had a right to tax them on any commodity or service. The tea was merely a symbol. It could just as well have been any other commodity formerly covered by the repealed Townshend duties: glass, nails, or paint. The colonists did not grant that sanction over their lives. If they recognized the Crown’s authority to tax them, as the wisest among the colonists pointed out, that authority could just as well in time be extended over every particular of their lives.

Here the parallels end.

The original Tea Party was a revolt against the power of government to regulate one’s life and dictate how it would be conducted and at what price. It was an affirmation by the colonists that they owned their own lives, and retained the right to delegate necessary political power to their elected representatives. It was an affirmation of the moral principle that no government had a right to dispose of or expropriate one’s property, and, by implication, one’s life. All political principles -- good or bad, pro-freedom, or socialist, or fascist -- are grounded on specific moral principles.

Too many Americans today have forgotten that, or never learned it. They want a government that regulates their lives and ensures their well-being by enslaving others. They believe you have a duty to allow yourself to be enslaved for their sakes. They believe the government has a right or a duty to enslave you and everyone else for their sakes.

Another difference between the original Tea Party and the Tea Parties of 2009 is that while the Americans who took part in the original Tea Party disguised themselves as Indians to prevent identification by the authorities, we, the new Sons of Liberty, do not disguise ourselves to protect our identities. We dare any authority to take action against us for exercising our First Amendment right to free speech, which includes criticizing our government and accusing it of behaving like George III and Parliament.

There are Americans, in and out of political office, who would rather we shut up, or they will silence us. Democrats are reaching into their magic bag of dirty tricks to shut up or sideline our Tea Parties. They do this with the cooperation of most of the mainstream news media. Well, as one national Tea Party organizer noted: The Internet is the new mainstream news media.

The Crown’s response to the Boston Tea Party was to legislate the Coercive or Intolerable Acts as punishment. Today, the current administration, in partnership with Congress, has passed, and continues to pass, a Medusa’s head of acts vastly more extortionate and repressive than the original Coercive Acts. The Tea Parties have been a proper response to them. But remember that this orgy of legislation is only being piled on top of coercive acts passed by Congress over the last one hundred years.

It is time for Americans to understand that it is not merely a political fight they have on their hands, but a moral one. They must reject the moral code, altruism, that asks them to live for the sake of other men -- what else could TARP, or the takeover of General Motors, or of the tobacco industry, or of the energy industry, of the insurance industry, or of the health care business mean, but for you to sacrifice your right to your life and your money and property for the sake of others. Americans must proudly, loudly proclaim the selfish virtue of individual rights, which has been the source of all the wealth and prosperity that we enjoy but which Obama and Congress seek to destroy through socialist redistribution.

Americans must understand that what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence applies no less today than it did in July of 1776. To paraphrase his eternal words: When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object -- which today is complete control of the economy and our lives -- evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is our right to throw off such government -- or to vote its agents out of office, or to raise such a magnitude of protest that they dare not act lest they set in motion a similar train of events.

To further paraphrase Jefferson’s words: A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the president of a free people. Our princely president has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit for the office. And he is only the most recent in a long line of presidents who have demonstrated that unfitness.

There is another reason why the parallels divide between the original Tea Party and our own. The Founders did not pretend to have all the answers. They performed an astounding feat of political thought and action based on the received wisdom of the time. They left for future generations the task of correcting their admitted errors and doubts.

We, however, know what those errors and doubts were, and the solution to them. As every statist or totalitarian regime that ever existed was based on Plato’s view that men were just atoms in a collectivist state and who owed their existence to others, a fully consistent philosophy of reason exists that sanctions individual rights and man‘s existence for his own sake. That philosophy is Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. The Founders did not have the benefit of her advice. We have.

Let us not treat this day, or any future Tea Party or any other kind of protest, as just another tea party. Let us solemnly regard it as a chance and a first step to finish the American Revolution, to protest the omnivorous and indiscriminate appetite of federal power to consume everything in its path, to assert the right to our lives and property and futures, to work on a course of action that will ultimately correct the errors present in the Constitution and repeal its freedom-destroying amendments. Americans must think and act to finish the American Revolution -- before Obama and Congress finish this country, as they are determined to do.

Thank you.

:: Permalink | 4 Comments ::

 

:: Monday, July 13, 2009 ::

The New Tea Parties: An Overture to Reclaiming Our Lost Freedom 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 7:19 AM

This is an adaptation of an address I will make at the Richmond, Virginia Tea Party on July 25, 2009:

First, some background. On December 16, 1773, Bostonians and other locals roughly dressed as Mohawk Indians, boarded three American merchant vessels in the harbor, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver recently arrived from Britain with 342 chests of tea, and tossed the chests into the harbor. The tea nominally belonged to colonial American consignees, by appointment by the British East India Company (two of them sons of the royal governor, Thomas Hutchinson). The Tea Act of 1773 replaced the repealed Townshend Act duties on other commodities, and gave the East India Company a legal monopoly to hire other merchantmen to take the tea to North America.

The three-pence per pound tax remained on the tea. This tea would have been cheaper than the Dutch tea being smuggled into the colonies, even with the tax, which the colonial American consignees were obliged to pay. Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty put pressure on the consignees to not pay the tax and order the tea back to Britain. Hutchinson, however, persuaded the consignees to stand firm. (His salary was derived from import duties and other taxes.) The customs officer refused to allow the vessels to leave the harbor without paying the duty.

The impasse had to be resolved, one way or another. The Crown or the patriots would need to give in. The Crown’s position was the status quo, and inaction. So the Americans took action, the only action open to them if they were to remain loyal to their convictions: they destroyed the tea as a demonstration that they would not pay the tax or submit to arbitrary Crown authority.

Lord North, prime minister, after receiving news of the Boston Tea Party and the actions of Americans in New York and Philadelphia, was faced with a dilemma linked to that authority: Use it, or lose it. He chose to use it, against the advice of some of his subministers, but in timid concordance with the outrage expressed in Parliament. He endorsed the Coercive Acts; that is, he agreed that reason must be answered with force. Of what use was power, if it were not exercised?

Why did the Americans decide to trespass on the three vessels and destroy their tea cargoes when not only would they not have to pay the tax, but have cheaper tea, even when its retail price would have reflected a small percentage of the tax? Was it a matter, as some historians claim, of the legal, taxed tea underselling the illegal, smuggled tea? Did the patriots act on emotion, or on principle? Did they know, as apparently Lord North did not, that such an action would set in motion a course of events that would lead to war and independence?

Because the consignees were American, and because none of the colonies was represented in Parliament, it was a matter of taxation without representation. However, it was more than a matter of political principle. It was the application of a moral principle. If the colonists sanctioned the tea tax by paying it, it would be an acknowledgement that the Crown had a right to tax them on any commodity or service. The tea was merely a symbol. It could just as well have been any other commodity formerly covered by the repealed Townshend duties: glass, nails, or paint. The colonists did not grant that sanction over their lives. If they recognized the Crown’s authority to tax them, the wisest among the colonists pointed out, that authority could just as well in time be extended over every particular of their lives.

The original Tea Party was a revolt against the power of government to regulate one’s life and dictate how it would be conducted and at what price. It was an affirmation by the colonists that they owned their own lives, and retained the right to delegate necessary political power to their elected representatives. It was an affirmation of the moral principle that no government had a right to dispose of or expropriate one’s property, and, by implication, one’s life. All political principles -- good or bad, pro-freedom, or socialist, or fascist -- are grounded on specific moral principles.

One ostensive difference between the original Tea Party and the Tea Parties of 2009 is that while the Americans who took part in the original Tea Party disguised themselves as Indians to prevent identification by the authorities, we, the new Sons of Liberty, do not disguise ourselves to protect our identities. We dare any authority to take action against us for exercising our First Amendment right to free speech, which includes criticizing our government and accusing it of behaving like George III and Parliament.

The Crown’s response to the Boston Tea Party was to legislate the Coercive or Intolerable Acts as punishment. Today, the current administration, in partnership with Congress, has passed, and continues to pass, a Medusa’s head of acts vastly more extortionate and repressive than the original Coercive Acts, and the Tea Parties have been a response to them.

It is time for Americans to understand that it is not merely a political fight they have on their hands, but a moral one. They must reject the moral code that asks them to live for the sake of other men -- what else could TARP, or the takeover of General Motors, or of the tobacco industry, or of the energy industry, of the insurance industry, or of the health care business mean, but for you to sacrifice your right to your life and your money and property for the sake of others -- and proudly, loudly proclaim the selfish virtue of individual rights, which has been the source of all the wealth and prosperity that we enjoy but which Obama and Congress seek to destroy through socialist redistribution.

Americans must understand that what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence applies no less today than it did in July of 1776. To paraphrase his eternal words: When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object -- which is complete control of the economy and our lives -- evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is our right to throw off such government -- or to vote its agents out of office, or to raise such a protest that they dare not act lest they set in motion a similar train of events.

To further paraphrase Jefferson’s words: A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the president of a free people. Our princely president has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit for the office.

Let us not treat this day, or any future Tea Party or any other kind of protest, as just another tea party. Let us solemnly regard it as a chance and a first step to finish the American Revolution, to protest the omnivorous and indiscriminate appetite of federal power to consume everything in its path, to assert the right to our lives and property and futures, to work on a course of action that will ultimately correct the errors present in the Constitution and repeal its freedom-destroying amendments. Americans must act to finish the American Revolution -- before Obama and Congress finish this country.

:: Permalink | 10 Comments ::

 

:: Sunday, July 05, 2009 ::

Parsing Obama 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 11:33 PM

To grasp the magnitude of the national debt Obama (and his Republican predecessor) has been ringing up, a comparison should help illustrate the task. Bernard Madoff’s robbery and defrauding investors of some $50 billion can be represented by the diameter of the solar system. The federal government, using the same scamming tactics, is amassing a debt about the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy. Madoff’s scheme can be measured in millions of miles. The federal government's, in almost limitless parsecs. That measurement ought to suffice to dramatize the scale of the hole he is deliberately digging for the country in his role as Community-Organizer-in-Chief.

Since it is only productive work -- whether in a factory making widgets, or in a research lab creating new medicines or computer software -- that gives the dollar bill its value, Obama’s galactic debt will be expected to be funded from taxes paid from the productive, private sector. I make that distinction because the government is non-productive; it produces nothing, not even the paper its one hundred thousand commandments are printed on, not even the pens with which presidents sign legislation into law. That growing, astronomical debt, however, will serve to shrink the productive sector and make it less productive in exponential leaps and bounds -- off a cliff. It must inexorably reach a point that the productive sector can no longer sustain the debt it is expected to pay. Then we will have reached the economic status of, say, Zimbabwe.

The sentencing of Madoff to 150 years in prison for his crime elicited an outpouring of sanctimonious news coverage, complete with quotations from angry victims of his scheme and a sated passion for justice. Of course, Madoff deserved his sentence. Given his age, 71, perhaps he will serve just ten of it before dying in prison.

What clashes with the news media coverage of Madoff’s trial, conviction and sentencing for his crime is the studied obtuseness of the news media for the same crime being committed by the government. Madoff, you see, was “greedy” or “avaricious,” and that, according to the morality of altruism and selflessness, is immoral and antisocial. The government, however, is committing the same crime, but that is in order to “do good.” So its orgy of debt-creation, its extortionate policies of roping all Americans into a “dog-eat-dog” welfare state, and its targeting the most productive and the wealthiest in society for special punishment, are all acceptable and laudable.

Even though the news media has knowledge of this multi-trillion dollar scam, that knowledge elicits not an iota of outrage among the photogenic news anchors and highly paid print pundits. No respectable TV or print journalist even thinks of the scam in terms of a continuing and expanding bilking of Americans from their wealth, investments and taxes. (Except, perhaps, John Stossel of ABC, whose “20/20” report on the cost and dishonesty of the proposed socialist health care program was conveniently cancelled and replaced with a special on the life and death of Michael Jackson -- as though we weren‘t already gagging on the nonstop adulatory and scandal sheet coverage of this very disturbed person.)

“There is no plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said at the hearing, meaning Madoff must plead guilty to 11 counts that he now faces in a criminal information filed today. Madoff is charged with securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and theft from an employee benefit plan, Litt said.


No one is calling for the indictments of Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Christopher Dodd, Henry Waxman, and all the usual suspects in Congress and the White House, even though they are all parties to the same crime. Examine the definitions of each of the counts with which Madoff was charged and convicted of, and ask how the actions of the co-conspirators differ any from what Madoff was found guilty of. One fundamental difference between Madoff’s crime and the federal government’s is that Madoff did not employ direct, legalized force to take his victims’ money. Another is that it was not in Madoff’s agenda to make his victims dependent on his benefice. In court, when he faced his victims, he (rather belatedly) apologized to them, and did not say, “But I did it for your sakes.”

“The U.S. government gets funds in three ways. It can look for increased revenues (through higher taxes). It can look to cut expenses (through lower spending). Or it can borrow by issuing new Treasury bonds. Replacing old bonds with new bonds is called “rolling over the debt,” and is done every day by households, businesses, and governments.”


Which of these ways will the Obama administration adopt to raise revenue? Count out number two. The productive sector of the economy will be expected to fund numbers one and three -- for as long as it survives.

On July 4th, President Barack Obama sent a holiday greeting to his supporters, via the Democratic National Committee. Obama’s presumptuousness, of course, knows no bounds or limits. His July 4th greeting was all about the importance of Independence Day. This commentary will examine the fallacies and fabrications contained in his greeting. At first glance, the message appears vacuous and commonplace. But beneath its blandness is poison.

This weekend, our family will join millions in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let’s also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.


The story that led to the 4th of July is not merely “remarkable,” it is epochal. It is the story of men who decided that the idea that they owned their own lives, and not a tyrant, must be taken seriously enough to sever all political ties with that tyrant. What is Obama doing today? Taking actions to guarantee that our lives are tied to his whims and wishes, just as they were with Old World tyrants. If he had any valid recollection of that “remarkable story,” he would see that he is the villain.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us are created equal.


No. They pledged themselves to the proposition that men (not politically correct “all of us”) should exist in a state of freedom and not in one of subservience. Here is an instance of how disconnected Obama and his allies in Congress are from not only history, but from reality -- and how indifferent or hostile they are to that history and to reality. It is precisely the lives, fortunes and sacred honor of Americans that they are so busy expropriating, redistributing or destroying. The certain rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and property are to them not unalienable, but disposable and eminently open to violation in the name of the “public good.” It is their operating premise that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends of government, that is, to securing individual rights and deriving its limited powers from the consent of the governed, the people have no right to alter or abolish that government, or even to criticize it.

Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty -- a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.


No, the United States did not begin as a “unique experiment in liberty.” It began as an assertion of that liberty. No, a “more perfect union” was not the end of the Founders, but the establishment of a government that could best guarantee life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. A “more perfect union“ to Obama is all Americans marching in lockstep to an ideal collectivist state. “Quests” do not “evolve,” not unless one is not certain of one’s end. And ever since the Civil War, generations of politicians and political thinkers have been moving away from the end that our Founders sought to achieve. It takes no courage to advocate slavery and servitude to a confused and ignorant citizenry.

Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation’s course. America’s greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom -- and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.


It is that “hard-fought birthright” which Obama the constitutional “scholar” is busily cheating us out of with the skill of a shyster lawyer. Ideas set a nation’s course and determine its future or its fate. Freedom and duty are literal antipodes. No one has a duty to sanction his own servitude or slavery, which is what Obama is advocating as the “price” of the freedom he is hurriedly destroying and which he hopes we do not embrace so selfishly that we will not relinquish it to satisfy the democratic mob and to perpetuate the comfort and peace of mind of a corrupt, prostituted Congress.

As a free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect union our founders dreamed, that triumph -- that pride -- belongs to all of us.


Obama’s challenges and opportunities to expand federal power are not those of Americans who value their freedom. Americans must always “struggle” to achieve their personal happiness, and can be content with having achieved it without being asked to live for the sake of others. That happiness cannot be achieved if men are chained to each other’s needs.

So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm’s way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire to all we can still become.

With very best wishes, President Barack Obama July 4th, 2009


Yes, many Americans are reflecting upon their independence, not only on that of this country, but on their independence from each other as individuals who own their own lives and pursue their own happiness -- which is not what Obama is asking of either our troops or any Americans. Sacrifice for unselfish, altruist ends is what he promotes -- not the defense of this country, not its prosperity, not its freedom. That reflection by many thoughtful, concerned Americans has been deemed “right wing extremism” by the Department of Homeland Security deserving of surveillance, scrutiny, and police action.

In summary, one must agree in spirit with conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer that it is not Obama’s words that one must pay attention to, but what he does. But one must disagree with Krauthammer because collectivism is what he and the Democrats have been quite obviously preaching for the last two years. One merely needs to read between the lines and the lies.

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