:: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 ::
Republics vs. Democracies
Posted by Edward Cline at 11:59 PM
As the last post for 2009, I reprise a perennial aggravation.
Reading a volume of Albert J. Nock’s essays, The Disadvantages of Being Educated, I came upon a footnote in one article, “A Study in Manners” (1925), in which Nock echoed my own impatient frustration with the promiscuous -- indeed, slatternly -- usage of the term democracy.
I wish to complain against the common and culpable use of the term democracy as a synonym for republicanism. Time and again one hears persons who should know better, talk about democracy in this country, for example, as if something like it really existed here. They discuss “democracy on trial,” “democracy’s weakness,” and so on, when it is perfectly clear that they refer only to the political system known properly as republicanism. The fact is that republicanism, which is a system theoretically based on the right of individual self-expression in politics, has as yet done but little for democracy, and that democracy is less developed in some republican countries, as France and the United States, than in some others, like Denmark, whose political system is nominally non-republican.*
Later, in a 1926 essay, Nock makes the piquant observation:
Those who speak of the United States as a democracy…are misusing language most ludicrously, for it is no such thing, never was, and was never intended to be. The Fathers of the Republic were well aware of the difference between a republic and a democracy, and it is no credit to the intelligence of their descendents that the two are now almost invariably confused.**
In that same volume, Nock expanded on the fundamental differences between democracy and republicanism in “Life, Liberty, and…” (1935), and offered an explanation for why Thomas Jefferson purportedly omitted a key term, property, from the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. It was, Nock avers, because Jefferson and the drafting committee assumed that “pursuit of happiness” included the omitted term:
“The pursuit of happiness” is of course an inclusive term. It covers property rights, because obviously if a person’s property is molested, his pursuit of happiness is interfered with. But there are many interferences which are not aimed at specific property rights; and in so wording the Declaration as to cover all these interferences, Mr. Jefferson immensely broadened the scope of political theory -- he broadened the idea of what government is for.***
Most of the Founders agreed on that point, that “pursuit of happiness” necessarily included the right to property. Such private property, Joseph Warren noted in 1775, is natural and necessary to an individual‘s freedom:
That personal freedom is the natural right of every man, and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose of what he has honestly acquired by his own labor, necessarily arises therefrom, are truths which common sense has placed beyond the reach of contradiction.
(Omission of the term property from the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” can be linked to the omission of an entire paragraph from Jefferson’s original draft, which castigates George III for condoning and encouraging the slave trade. The paragraph, and possibly even the term property from the phrase, were dropped from the final version to oblige the sensibilities of the southern delegates to the Continental Congress, many of whom were slave owners and who regarded slaves as real property. Northern delegates could not countenance the inclusion of slaves as property. Jefferson, though a slave owner, was an advocate of the abolition of slavery. But, this is entirely another issue.)
It is apparent that Jefferson’s phrasing is not broad enough for modern politicians and political commentators to admit. Or perhaps it is so broad it is beyond their cognitive abilities to grasp, just as the perception of a mountain is impossible to the epistemology of an ant. It is unfortunate that the term was omitted, because its retention might have saved the nation much grief, turmoil and bloodshed. The force and sanctity of its presence in the Declaration might have carried over into the Constitution itself, and served as a check on the ambitions and usurpations of several generations of elected altruists, humanitarians, and other property thieves.
But, recall all the cretinous explanations by Senators and Congressmen of the power of Congress to establish socialized medicine. I have often remarked in this column that a republic, as the Founders intended it, denotes a form of government created to defend, uphold and advance individual rights. It is a system of the rule of law, of law enacted to protect individual rights. It is what the Constitution, as originally written and sans its statist (or interfering) amendments, is all about.
But the term republic is as foreign to our representatives as the term wendigo. In fact, Congress can be said to be currently populated by wendigos, and the White House occupied by an exalted vampire. They all creep stealthily and carefully by night, garbed in the protective hood and cloak of democracy, intent on drawing blood and feasting on the substance of their victims. Should the light of reason catch them off guard, they have nothing to say that means anything or that is meant to mean anything.
Democracy, whether pure or directly participatory (as in ancient Greece or New England), or via national plebiscite, is simply mob rule. Politely defined: majority rule. We have what could be said to be a representative government, but what is the chief function of our representatives, as opposed to their perceived function? Their actual, intended function was to serve as guardians of individual rights. Their perceived function, at least for the last century or so, is to patronize the real or imagined wants of the majority and to deliver them through coercive and confiscatory legislation.
With an Augean assist from public education, modern politicians and their allies in academia and the press have, over the course of a few generations, put over the fallacy that the term republic is synonymous with democracy, and so republic, to the ignorant and the ignorance-mongers, means majority rule, too. However, they prefer to emphasize the term democracy, because the other term has too many unsettling connotations, and the last thing our night-stalkers wish to do is cause uneasiness and curiosity among the ruled and the beguiled.
As Congress has ably demonstrated over the last two months, it is not representative in the first sense. It is dedicated to delivering imagined wants or “needs” to an electorate it claims demands them but has, at the same time, ignored that electorate. Democracy, Congress has demonstrated, begets tyranny.
John Adams, as have many others, warned against the temptation of democracy:
[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.****
This is an apt description of the current state of affairs. Americans are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been the object of the capricious will of a president and Congress, and are expected to pay without protest, as a matter of duty, for the cruelties, frauds, vanities, and wanton pleasures of a powerful few. Political anarchy has been inaugurated, with politicians and their beneficiaries, heedless of or indifferent to the rumblings among the electorate, are scrambling to loot or defraud Americans of the last of their rights and wealth. Numerous fine essays have been written by contemporaries such as Walter Williams on the differences between republicanism and democracy, and what those differences can mean to productive Americans.
Perhaps, in 2010, we shall see the concrete differences described by Williams, Adams, Jefferson and so many others. The Tea Parties of 2009, hopefully, were but a prelude to a determined campaign to recover the republic created by the Founders.
*Albert J. Nock, “A Study in Manners,” in The Disadvantages of Being Educated and Other Essays (Tampa: Hallberg Publishing Corp., 1996), p. 50.
**Ibid.,” Towards a New Quality-Product,” pp. 67-68.
***Ibid., “Life, Liberty, and…” p. 29
****John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, editor (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. I, p. 83, from "An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, with the Author's Comment in 1807," written on August 29, 1763. First published by John Adams in 1807.
8 Comments ::
:: Friday, December 25, 2009 ::
Facts are Stubborn Things
Posted by Edward Cline at 10:58 PM
No better justice to President Barack Hussein Obama’s boast in the Washington Post of his political achievements can be done than to adapt portions of the Declaration of Independence to the subject of his accomplishments. Not all of the charges against George III in 1776 listed in Jefferson’s masterpiece are applicable. This charge sheet can also be leveled at Congress. I include only those offences which can be annotated. Call it not a parody, but a serious, appropriate, and well-deserved iteration.
The history of the present President of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
With artful disingenuousness, he promised Marxist tyranny during his campaign. Few believed him. Others were dumb-founded. Many applauded him, and voted for him. And the collectivists in Congress encouraged him, at the same time counseling him to soften his rhetoric so that it would seduce the impressionable and confuse but not frighten Americans. And, with the cooperation of his allies in Congress, he is delivering Tyranny. No one should be confused now. His politics are exclusively and demonstrably Marxist in theory and practice. Marx advocated dictatorship.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Notwithstanding his professed concern for the “public good,” Obama has not advanced it by refusing to recommend the repeal of all fiat regulatory law. Instead, he has acted to expand the scope of such law over virtually every private and public action of American citizens, injuring the “public good” while benefiting those who have a vested interest in such expansion.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
What else to call his many czars? How many committees will be created by the health care bill recently passed by the Senate, after it is merged with the House version next month? Their purpose is to harass Americans and eat out not only their wealth, but their rights, to make Americans deferential and dependent on their wishes and commands. Defenders and advocates of the health care bills assert that they have been created from the best of intentions. But any intention that relies on force, compulsion, extortion, fraud, lies, and the confiscation of wealth and property necessarily results in evil.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
What are those “standing armies” today? The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury. The Federal Reserve system. The DEA, the SEC, the ATF, the TSA, the FCC, Homeland Security, and the rest of the alphabet soup of federal power wielders. Not one of which was created with the consent of the governed or of any state legislature. Are they not indemnified against responsibility for their destructive intrusions, powers, and actions? Are they not independent of and superior to what remains of legitimate civil power?
Is not the health care legislation “pretended,” that is, beyond the clearly worded constraints on government power in the Constitution? In point of fact, is not all welfare and regulatory legislation -- whether acts of Congress or recent amendments to the Constitution -- merely “pretended” legislation, assented to by Obama and all his statist predecessors in office?
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Has Obama not recently signed a law exempting Interpol from American law, thus subjecting Americans to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution? Was not one of the ends of the Copenhagen climate change conference this month to nullify American sovereignty in favor “global” law and to make Americans subject to alien and especially European jurisdiction? Was not Obama willing to surrender American sovereignty in the name of “global governance”?
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
This goes without saying. A “governed” people has no power or right of consent.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
Obama has become the Government, and, as with any ambitious dictator or tyrant, any and every person who opposes his powers and policies would necessarily be outside of his protection, because he has implicitly or actively waged war against such Americans. The Constitution was created to protect individuals from arbitrary power, wielded by either the president or Congress. Obama is acting in an extra-legal and extra-constitutional capacity.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Obama has excited class warfare amongst Americans -- the poor against the rich, the claimers of entitlements against those in the productive sector who must pay for them, the retired elderly against the working young, the incompetent and lazy against the able and the ambitious -- and has endeavored to perpetuate this warfare by stealthily conscripting members of ACORN, the Service Employees International Union, and affiliated organizations such as MoveOn, in addition to his swarm of czars, as the enforcers to harass and intimidate the middle class and the rich.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
On the “high seas” of the Internet, Obama encouraged Americans to report to him “fishy” information or rumors about health care reform expressed or repeated by other Americans, and asked them inform on their friends, brethren, and fellow citizens.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
Through the summer and fall of 2009, hundreds of thousands of concerned and outraged Americans participated in dozens of massive “tea parties”; packed the “town halls” to express their displeasure with and opposition to health care legislation and other government invasions of their rights; caused dozens to Congressmen to sputter incoherently in reply to frank questions, or even to flee the confrontation; signed countless petitions to Obama and members of Congress to stop spending, legislating, and destroying their lives, livelihoods, and children’s futures; sent hundreds of thousands of faxes and made hundreds of thousands of phone calls to their senators and representatives, and even to the White House, to express their opposition -- but their efforts were answered with indifference, insouciance and repeated injury, by Obama and by members of Congress.
Obama himself has not dared to face Americans or the press without “papering the hall” with friendly cliques, courtiers, and shills, in rigged and contrived “town hall meetings” and press conferences, and allowed no questions to be asked of him that would require honest, forthright, and revealing answers. His vaunted policy of “transparency,” given the facts of his means and ends, has necessarily been one of habitual obfuscation and brazen dissemblance.
A President, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Need any more be said about the character and agenda of Barack Hussein Obama? A free people does not need, nor does it seek, a ruler. Which are Americans to be in the coming years? A free people confident that their president is acting in their interests as free men? Or a people that needs a ruler?
6 Comments ::
:: Monday, December 21, 2009 ::
A Copenhagen Postmortem
Posted by Edward Cline at 8:13 AM
If one ever wondered what it might have been like to be a well-read, rational, outspoken, and angry Roman before the barbarian hordes rode in to sack the city, perhaps living in the present would come closest to the trepidation.
Few of your countrymen assemble with you in the Temple of Minerva, goddess of wisdom, to discuss how best to throw back the approaching barbarians and to persuade an oblivious and indifferent Senate to stop its costly, spendthrift and foolish policy of bread and circuses for the populace. The Senate is deaf to wisdom, divided as it is into two camps: those who conduct pray-ins and make offerings to Jupiter, king of the gods, and who claim that Rome is in peril because the people have abandoned him and lost faith in him; and those who worship at the Temple of Ceres, goddess of the earth, whom they claim has told them that bountiful harvests can be had year-round by seeding the soil with confiscated salt. They assure themselves and an anxious populace that this way everyone can be fed and the barbarians bought off with endless cartloads of consumables.
America -- and by implication, Western civilization -- is the object of assault by three of its chief enemies, two of them alien to its shores, and one domestic: the Islamic jihad, European and international malice, and an administration and Congress determined to eradicate freedom. All three are bent on the conquest of this country. America is not to be hunted, caught and dismembered by anything as fierce as a lion or tiger -- or even by a barbarian. Rather, all three of its enemies resemble snarling jackals and hyenas vying for possession of the cadaver.
If an animal fable does not succeed in conjuring up an image of the scenario, imagine it in terms of Vlad the Impaler’s blood-drenched contest with the butchering Ottomans over who would rule the peasants.
In Copenhagen, the apparent enmity between prospective looters was such that they could not agree on how to “fairly” divide the carcass, even though the carcass’s representatives were there to surrender it. Instead of a binding “communiqué,” the conference produced a “note” or an “accord.” A Daily Telegraph article describes the degrading contest between the looters and the to-be-looted over drafts of the document:
There was one called "Outline." Then there was a version called "Copenhagen Accord" with major changes. Then another, with a note saying "Take 2" on it, then another with the same title. Some were handwritten.
Key demands of the environmentalists were off the table. Then they were back on again. And then finally, as the day, for some delegates, entered its 35th hour, there was what President Barack Obama's spokesman called a "meaningful deal".
The deal contained almost nothing that environmentalists had hoped for and did not even meet the modest goals that world leaders set themselves at the beginning of the fortnight. Before the summit started, they had already abandoned their original hope of a legally-binding treaty at Copenhagen.
In the end, the only substantial thing the looters got for their pains was a $100 billion commitment from the U.S. to help “developing” (read perpetually, never-to be-"developed" poor) nations control their greenhouse gas emissions, first announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and then by Obama, who had to leave the conference early because the winter in Copenhagen was so severe. Appropriately, he flew straight into a blizzard that ground Washington D.C. to a halt. Blame it on “global-warming” and the two-degree Celsius rise in temperatures. That is also the non-binding limit pledged by “developed” nations.
Liberal columnist Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph “sort of “ gets Lord Christopher Monckton’s point about a Copenhagen climate treaty serving as the establishment of a world government (read United Nations) that trumps national sovereignty. She agrees that such a treaty requires the surrender of national sovereignty. But she won’t let go of the necessity to “do something” about “climate change,” so she wanders around in a fog of imponderables exuded by unexamined fallacies and premises, and wonders what’s next. She writes:
Except in the United States, where it became a very contentious talking point, the US still holding firmly to the 18th-century idea that power should lie with the will of the people.
The mere utterance of it was assumed to sweep away any consideration of what was once assumed to be the most basic principle of modern democracy: that elected national governments are responsible to their own people – that the right to govern derives from the consent of the electorate.
Of course. But consent is not in his lexicon. President Barack Obama doesn’t believe in the “will of the people,” but in the triumph of his own “will.” He will concede the “will of the people” only if it reflects a tolerance by the people for being indentured servants of the state to serve collectivist ends. Then it would be in concurrence with his own “will.”
This is also the policy adhered to by the Democrats in Congress. Never mind the will of the people, so massively demonstrated this year in Washington and in all the major cities: the people shall have government-mandated health insurance, whether or not they want it. Besides, constitutional scholars, such as Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, say that Congress can act to preserve and promote the “health” and “well-being” of Americans, because she and other delusional Congressional interpreters of the Constitution can read the invisible ink in the document. She is of the “elect,” and has that special sight not shared by the peasants.
Another major contributing problem is the idea of “democracy.” Some of the brightest critics of the American political system employ this term haphazardly and loosely. Democracy means: mob or majority rule. It is not synonymous with republic, which is what the Founders created to promote liberty and restrain government power. They recognized the principle of individual rights to life and property, to freedom of speech, and the right to defend those rights against violators foreign and domestic, with arms, if necessary.
The only principle recognized in mob rule is that there are no principles to uphold, defend or preserve. If the majority develops a dislike for “excessive incomes,” or smoking, or obesity or “global warming,” or whatever other bugbear some rabble-rousing fraudster or demagogue manages to work the people into a lather about, then the name of democracy is invoked and legislative action can be taken. Too often, however, the “majority” is fictive and represented by noisy, hired mobs or by big-budget lobbies on a campaign to punish the objects of their hatred in the name of humanitarianism.
Central and South American and African delegates to the Copenhagen conference, speaking as poor losers for their slave-driving dictator bosses, dismissed the whole affair and its non-binding "accord” as “undemocratic.”
On the anti-climatic climate conference, Daley notes that:
Nor was much consideration given to the logical conclusion of all this grandiose talk of global consensus as unquestionably desirable: if there was no popular choice about approving supranational "legally binding agreements", what would happen to dissenters who did not accept their premises (on climate change, for example) when there was no possibility of fleeing to another country in protest? Was this to be regarded as the emergence of world government? And would it have powers of policing and enforcement that would supersede the authority of elected national governments? In effect, this was the infamous "democratic deficit" of the European Union elevated on to a planetary scale. And if the EU model is anything to go by, then the agencies of global authority will involve vast tracts of power being handed to unelected officials. Forget the relatively petty irritations of Euro-bureaucracy: welcome to the era of Earth-bureaucracy, when there will be literally nowhere to run.
Nowhere to run -- except into the custody of the Green Gestapo.
The option of simply “going Galt” is looking more and more attractive as a means of withdrawing one’s consent. Either that, or a genuine revolt or revolution -- not just against a vulpine Congress and carnivorous international looters, but against the whole notion of “democracy” in the name of reason and individual rights.
It would be ironic, in contrast to the Southern states seceding from the Union in the name of a state’s right to countenance slavery, if America seceded from the United Nations and a world government in the name of freedom and in the cause of abolishing it. And saw removed from office every conniving, corrupt, oath-violating politician, and replaced them all with individuals who valued freedom and acted to defend and uphold life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.
In 2010, no matter what Congress and Obama do or fail to do to subject this nation to their “will,” Americans will be thronging again inside and outside the Temple of Minerva, as they did in 2009. They will be exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and to freedom of speech.
Nothing can stop them except the totalitarians in our midst and beyond our borders. Nothing can stop them except the initiation of force by our government, and the collectivists in the current administration are just itching to act. If armed goons and thugs break up these new “town halls” and arrest or punish their organizers, we can only hope that perhaps Americans will get the point better than did Janet Daley. Or Obama, or Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi.
8 Comments ::
:: Sunday, December 13, 2009 ::
Obama’s War on America
Posted by Edward Cline at 11:01 PM
Search through any of President Barack Obama‘s speeches, and buried under the glittering, worthless excelsior of opaque platitudes, silicic bromides and anemic banalities, one will find a pair or more of statements that mean something. They will mean something if one parses the statements armed with a knowledge of the man and of the power of words.
Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10th in Oslo, Norway was an easy rummage. Of course, any one of his speeches on America’s role and place in history and in the world has been a combination of an arrogant but rehearsed apologetic humility and a verbal flagellation of his own country for simply existing. It is these little nuggets of opalescence that win him the most applause from his friends in the audience, the ones who love to see America defeated, humbled, and knocked down to their own size -- the better to feed off of it through foreign aid and taxation.
Following the formulaic speechmaking of, say, the High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Royal Order of Raccoons Lodge, Obama, addressing the Nobel committee, softened up his audience with a self-deprecatory reference to “the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. (Laughter.) In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.” Which was intended as a joke about his not having done anything in international affairs to have earned him the Prize. It was awarded him because the committee was smitten by his campaign rhetoric of “hope and change” -- hoping that they were right about Obama that he was serious about dismantling the United States as a free country and changing it to one of their liking.
They read him correctly. That is precisely what he is doing, although resistance and opposition to the realization of that hope and change in the American population must have the distinguished members of the committee biting their nails or wringing their hands.
Here is one of Obama’s nuggets:
The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty and self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.
“Billions” have been lifted from poverty? How? Only in free or semi-free countries. But, “billions” have also been kept in dependent penury through foreign aid from the West. A wall? Which wall? The Berlin Wall, which, when it fell, released millions from the kind of existence imposed on them by the kind of totalitarian, communist regime he wishes to implement here in the U.S. Note that he avoided the term “communist.“ There are several communists in his administration, along with creatures who are not communists but who have their own authoritarian agendas.
As for liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law, these are ideals which, in reality, Obama is haltingly obstructing or nullifying. The fortitude and foresight of presumably the Founders? To Obama, these are legacies to be frittered away or abandoned wholesale in the name of “social justice.”
Elan Journo of the Ayn Rand Institute focuses on Obama’s remarks about war and the use of force. Obama endorses, as did George W. Bush, the policy of “just wars”:
And over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a "just war" emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.
And if the civilians sanction the invasion of another country? Are they not culpable? Do they not produce the weapons and materiel that enables their armies to act? Do they not abet the violence visited on another nation? If they work in an aggressor nation’s war industries, they are just as legitimate targets as the tanks, planes, ships and munitions they help to produce. Without them, the tanks, planes and ships come to a stop and their guns cease firing. Journo, however, discusses the absolutely perilous and wasteful futility of fighting a “just war” in Iraq and Afghanistan, a policy which has hamstrung American military might and caused thousands of American deaths.
I endorse the concept of “proportionate” force. If Somali pirates hijack a Western ship or yacht and hold its passengers and crew at gunpoint for ransom, then every Somali base should be reduced to rubble and every mother ship and speedboat turned into floating debris. “Collateral” casualties should not be a concern. If “home-grown” or foreign terrorists commit another murderous atrocity here or abroad that kills Americans, then Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia -- the fundraisers and enablers of terrorism -- should be reduced to rubble swiftly, without mercy, and without concern for “collateral“ casualties. Those are “proportionalities” that would ensure the security of this country, as well as Israel‘s. These countries have, after all, declared war on the United States. Retribution is long overdue.
Another nugget, allied to Obama’s remarks on war and force, bears examination. Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. on the occasion of his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize:
"Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones." As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naïve -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.
King was wrong. War has resulted in a permanent peace between the U.S. and many nations that were the aggressors (e.g., Britain finally early in the 19th century, Mexico, Germany, Japan). Passive non-violence, however, in the face of the initiation of force by aggressors -- and especially when non-violence is adopted as a policy in hopes that capitulation and compromise will pacify an enemy -- is not moral. It is the abandonment of the morality and of the certainty that one has a right to exist and a right to oppose the initiation of force with retaliatory force.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and I will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
When Obama stated that “as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their [King’s and Gandhi’s] examples alone,” his reluctance and regret were palpable. He is not preserving, protecting, or defending the Constitution, and by implication, this nation. He is deliberately violating the Constitution as much as any foreign aggressor. He is violating the oath of office he took on the steps of the Capitol building; he had every intention of violating it before taking that oath. It explains his every action since assuming office, and the nearly three dozen “czars” (and counting) he has empowered to rule the country as Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and George W. Bush could never have imagined.
The violence Obama does not dwell on is the violence of government force, which is behind every act of his administration to date. He is not a “living testimony to the moral force of non-violence.” He is living testimony to the immorality of force directed against other Americans. Virtually every president since at least Woodrow Wilson’s time has proposed or endorsed employing force against his fellow Americans. Obama, however, if he is to stay the course of his intention of “transforming” America of a kinder, gentler, “socially just” America, must surpass FDR’s incursions into the economy and lives of its citizens.
So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly. Concretely, we must direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy called for long ago. "Let us focus," he said, "on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions." A gradual evolution of human institutions.
A “gradual evolution of human institutions” to ensure a “more practical, more attainable peace”? Such as the corrupt United Nations? Its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.’s front man and walking delegate for world governance? Obama has also asserted that a declaration of war by a government on its own citizens -- as he has declared since assuming office -- is necessary to reach the “attainable peace” of across the board statism in all matters.
Obama’s socialist (or communist) premises are more explicitly stated in this passage:
It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine and shelter they need to survive. It does not exist where children can't aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within.
Food, water, medicine, shelter, and education provided how? By whom? By indentured servants working side by side in chain gangs for the good of all? Food prices have risen because farms once devoted to growing crops are now growing bio-fuels for the “green revolution.” Medicine Obama proposes to nationalize completely. Shelter has been subsidized by government programs since the end of WWII. Education has become the near monopoly of collectivist propagandists from kindergarten through college. That is the rot that has eaten away at the American ideals of individual rights and the separation of liberty from government force.
And that's why helping farmers feed their own people -- or nations educate their children and care for the sick -- is not mere charity. It's also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement -- all of which will fuel more conflict for decades.
That is why, to Obama, pouring billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money into primitive sinkholes is not “mere charity.” It is a moral imperative, not to be questioned or doubted by Americans. Otherwise, there will be “conflicts,“ in addition to droughts, famine, and mass displacement. Those who question or doubt it are less than human. And Obama has telegraphed his intentions when he attends the Copenhagen climate change conference. There is “little scientific dispute” that the global warming “science” is sound? That is a direct reference to Climategate, because believing in the discredited science -- never mind the fraudulent data and the conspiracy of scientists to suppress or destroy data which contradict the “science” -- will give Americans a chance to prostrate themselves in further selfless service to the world, as penance for existing and as a duty to those whom America has purportedly “harmed.”
Of course, Obama cannot concede that it is governments that are responsible for droughts, famines and mass displacement. He rejects the idea that only those nations which are free enough do not cause these events within their own borders. Stalin believed in the soundness of the total collectivization of agriculture. He believed in it so much that he was willing to murder or starve to death millions of Russian peasants who did not believe in it.
Everything else Obama has ever said about “defending my nation” is just so much dissembling rhetoric. It is glittering, worthless excelsior. Actions speak louder than words, and Obama’s actions belie every fog-bound, patriotic-sounding assertion he has ever uttered.
In 1925, H.L. Mencken wrote in defense of liberty:
I believe that any invasion of it is immensely dangerous to the commonweal -- especially when that invasion is alleged to have a moral purpose. No conceivable moral purpose is higher than the right of the citizen to think whatever he pleases to think, and to carry on his private life without interference by others. If that right is taken away, then no moral system remains; all we have is a prison system. This begins to prevail in the United States.*
Obama has made it clear that he intends to take away that right, and to institute a prison system. He is merely the heir presumptive of the political trends in this country dating back at least a century and a quarter. It is time for Americans to oppose his intentions with massive civil disobedience if, for example, the health-care and cap-and-trade bills are sent from Congress to his desk for his signature -- before they are obliged to become rioting inmates.
*From “Autobiographical Notes, 1925,” in Notes on Democracy, by H.L. Mencken (1926). New York: Dissident Books, 2009, p. 10.
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:: Saturday, December 05, 2009 ::
The Climate “Creationists”
Posted by Edward Cline at 9:45 PM
Global warming is a religion, not a science. The prospect of governing every action of every individual on the planet in the name of staving off “catastrophic climate change,” and charging especially the U.S. a fee for impoverishing it, makes belief in global warming as tenacious and anti-reason as the literal interpretation of the Bible is to a fundamentalist or evangelical holly-roller. The fraudsters and reivers have come too close to their goal of “world governance” to concede not only error, but the lies that sustained that error, as well. They want to rule, or at least see men ruled by others.
Global warming advocates are “creationists” because, in their view, man is the exclusive “creator” of the potential -- nay, they say the inevitability -- of catastrophic climate change.
It would not be irrelevant, then, to preface comments on Climategate by relating another instance of a furor instigated by religious creationists over a scientific finding, in this instance, the unnecessary carping over the discovery of the Java Man. The following discussion is from the blog site Creationist Arguments: Java Man.
Many creationists have claimed that Java Man, discovered by Eugene Dubois in 1893, was "bad science". Gish (1985) says that Dubois found two human skulls at nearby Wadjak at about the same level and had kept them secret; that Dubois later decided Java Man was a giant gibbon; and that the bones do not come from the same individual. Most people would find Gish's meaning of "nearby" surprising: the Wadjak skulls were found 65 miles (104 km) of mountainous countryside away from Java Man.
Similarly for "at approximately the same level": the Wadjak skulls were found in cave deposits in the mountains, while Java Man was found in river deposits in a flood plain (Fezer 1993). Nor is it true, as is often claimed, that Dubois kept the existence of the Wadjak skulls secret because knowledge of them would have discredited Java Man. Dubois briefly reported the Wadjak skulls in three separate publications in 1890 and 1892. Despite being corrected on this in a debate in 1982 and in print (Brace, 1986), Gish has continued to make this claim, even stating, despite not having apparently read Dubois' reports, that they did not mention the Wadjak skulls (Fezer 1993).
Lubenow does acknowledge the existence of Dubois' papers, but argues that since they were bureaucratic reports not intended for the public or the scientific community, Dubois was still guilty of concealing the existence of the Wadjak skulls. This is also incorrect; the journals in which Dubois published, although obscure, were distributed in Europe and America, and are part of the scientific literature. They are available in major libraries and have often been referred to by later researchers..
Based on his own theories about how brains had evolved and wishful thinking, Dubois did claim that Java Man was “a gigantic genus allied to the gibbons,” but this was not, as creationists imply, a retraction of his earlier claims that it was an intermediate between apes and humans. Dubois also pointed out that it was bipedal and that its brain size was "very much too large for an anthropoid ape", and he never stopped believing that he had found an ancestor of modern man (Theunissen 1989; Gould 1993; Lubenow 1992). (The creationist organization Answers in Genesis has now abandoned the claim that Dubois dismissed Java Man as a gibbon, and now lists it in their “Arguments we think creationists should NOT use” web page.)
Briefly, Eugene Dubois was as confused about his finding as the religionists were determined that it either was fabricated or that it could be explained away to conform to a literal interpretation of the Bible. And the excerpt above is as tedious a read as pouring over the CRU emails. But, it is worth the effort. One might ask oneself: Why is the author of that excerpt going to the trouble of answering the claims of anti-evidence, anti-reason creationists? Why would any scientist feel compelled to attempt to rebut the absurd claims of mystics? Briefly, because religion is still the default moral code of our time.
Incidentally, the “Arguments we think creationists should NOT use” web page bears reading, if not for laughs, then for a glimpse into the art of prevarication that has been employed by Bible thumpers and climate creationists alike.
Religion rears its ugly head here in today’s San Francisco Gate article in its defense of “bad science“ exposed. The article is slanted in favor of the believers of anthropogenic global warming.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said "the documents show systematic suppression of dissenting opinion."
True enough. But:
Joseph Romm, a physicist and senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, said the evidence of warming is getting clearer while opponents are "redoubling their disinformation campaign."
Read the email exchanges. Are or are not Phil Jones and his colleagues working to suppress data that don’t fit their a priori conclusion that the climate is warming? Does that or does not that constitute a systematic suppression of dissenting opinion, a suppression that included mocking dissenters, denigrating their findings, and even dumping all the raw data? Was it or was not the omission and/or distortion of data an instance of “cherry-picking,” something the new deniers are accusing the skeptics of in regards to the emails themselves? In the face of incontrovertible evidence of doctoring the data to fit a political agenda, are or are not Romm and his allies launching their own disinformation campaign?
The scientists from two major research centers, a national think tank and NASA, claimed during a telephone news conference that the e-mail exchanges were taken out of context in an attempt to influence pending greenhouse gas emissions policies….It is, they said, a cynical, blatantly dishonest effort to cloud the fact that the world is now confronting a huge, potentially disastrous climactic shift…."There is so much information that tells us the planet has been warming," said Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "No independent study is going to come up with anything other than what we've already concluded."
Let’s see: Phil Jones recommending that A should be made to look like B, and if anyone questions the validity of that “trick,” tell him to go fly a kite -- this is a statement “taken out of context” by his critics to prove that he is committing fraud and so it shouldn’t be held against him? Aren’t such “tricks” calculated to “influence pending greenhouse gas emission policies”? Charging Jones with manipulating data to suit his bias for “global warming” is not an instance of “cynical, blatant” dishonesty? Instead of examining the surviving, adulterated data or even the statements in the emails, the “climate creationist” establishment resorts to casting aspersions on the motives of anyone who questions that establishment.
Then there is this gem:
The scientists dismissed the criticisms Friday as intellectually dishonest distortions by those who seek to discredit global warming for political or business reasons. When scientists talk about "tricks," pointed out several academics, they are often using colloquial jargon that means a method of dealing with a problem.
And these “2,500” scientists are not working to advance their own political agenda? They are not intellectually dishonest? They stand to have perpetuated their lucrative research grants, paid for by tax revenues, and that‘s all right? And, the term trick means what it means: a sleight of hand, a work of magic, a cunning action; the meanings are many, but they are all founded on the root concept of deception. Who has been caught distorting the data? Who has been caught deceiving others? Phil Jones and his friends in the CRU. As well as NASA and GISS. And there’s the EPA standing by to enforce the dictates of the Copenhagen Communiqué.
We believe in global warming. Ergo, it must be true. Now that’s religion!
If it were not for the projected astronomical costs of “combating” global warming, now “climate change” -- neither of which could be “combated” anyway, has anyone ever successfully “combated” a tsunami or a volcanic eruption? -- and the prospect of a massive government expropriation of the economy, this kind of unmitigated dishonesty on the part of politically correct “scientists” would not merit front page news.
The “climate creationists” protest too much. They would do themselves a service by taking the Fifth, as their crime boss predecessors did during the Senate organized crime hearings. They should be smart enough to know that anything they say from now on can incriminate them and be used against them.
8 Comments ::
:: Thursday, December 03, 2009 ::
Objectivist Blog Round-Up #125
Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 10:59 AM
Welcome to the December 3rd, 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.So without any further delay (and in no particular order), here's this week's round-up:
"About the Author," Atlas Shrugged, Appendix.
Burgess Laughlin presents BkRev: Edwin Locke's Study Methods & Motivation posted at Making Progress, saying, "The theme of this review of Dr. Edwin Locke's book, Study Methods & Motivation, is that everyone -- not only students in formal schools -- who learns through reading or through listening to lectures can improve their results by acquiring more objective methods and stronger motivation in all phases of the learning process."
Sylvia Bokor presents A Comment on Rational Egoism posted at Sylvia Bokor Comments.
Avi Aharon presents Avi Aharon » Education in the objectivist state of Israel posted at Avi Aharon.
Beth Haynes presents Mammograms: The Road to Rationing? posted at Wealth is not the Problem, saying, "With the recent uproar over one government commission's new recommendations on breast cancer screening, I decided to go to the source. Unsurprisingly, their own report offers no hard evidence which would lead to their conclusions. It all commons down to "Cui bono?""
John McVey presents Concretes and integration in industry posted at John J McVey.
Wayne Marrs presents Is Income Equality Moral? posted at Life on Marrs, saying, "thoughts on how to talk to non-objectivists about income equality..."
Daniel Casper presents Whatever Happened to Suzette Kelo? posted at The Undercurrent, saying, "In a country based on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” what happened to Ms. Kelo’s liberty?"
Ottens presents Republican Party lost direction posted at Atlantic Sentinel, saying, "The U.S. Republican Party has lost direction because it no longer values its traditional individualist and free market positions."
Gus Van Horn presents "No State" Tuition for All posted at Gus Van Horn, saying, "The question I wish Jeff Jacoby had asked is, 'How is Massachusetts improved by forcing anyone to pay for anything that anybody else needs?'"
Diana Hsieh presents How to Find a Good Therapist posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I draw on Dr. Kenner's advice for finding a good therapist."
Stephen Bourque presents Dennis Prager: If There Is No God, Part 13 posted at One Reality, saying, "To place the source of rights outside of nature is to deny rights. It is an admission by the religious that they believe individual rights do not exist in the real world."
Edward Cline presents The IPCC’s Square Pegs and Round Holes posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "The mushrooming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-University of East Anglia-Climate Research Unit email scandal, dubbed “ClimateGate,” invites satire first, then serious examination."
Joseph Kellard presents Barbie in a Burka posted at The American Individualist, saying, "Despite feminist critics who attack her as a cause of anorexia among young women, the Barbie doll has come to symbolize the independent, attractive, fashionable career woman. But now, on her 50th birthday, she has had a burka thrown over her -- by Westerners!"* * *
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.
UPDATE: Added missing submissions.
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