October 02, 2007


Story time!

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful kingdom of smart, freedom-loving people. They decided that they needed to form a more perfect union, so they held some truths to be self-evident and set about passing some laws to ensure domestic tranquility and some other really good things.

Slowly, over time, the smart, freedom-loving people of this beautiful place in which puppies and ice-cream were plentiful, the people grew complacent and lost sight of the rational foundations for their liberty. Some people shouted quite vociferously that the our wonderful land of freedom had come about by some mystic provenance. Others blamed global warming.

One thing is true: everyone agreed quite early on that murder should be illegal and so they passed a law that said that murder is illegal and that murderers should be punished harshly indeed. Murderers across the land were all very sad, but had to admit that they didn't want to live among murderers either.

At first, people said that murder should be illegal because it violates an individual's right to his own life, not to mention his person, property, and general freedom from having other people's ill-temper being upside their heads.

As time passed, however, some folks looked to their holy books and found a quaintly stated form of the same law. The law books said, "Murder is illegal" and the holy books said, "thou shalt not killeth thy neighbor, neighbor's wife, nor neighbor's ass."

It wasn't long until several high magistrates of the land who were going around saying that murder is wrong because the Ghost of the Small, White Bird said so. Quite in spite of irrefutable arguments that there is no such thing as the Ghost of the Small, White Bird.

The magistrates were intractable and obtuse about everything about which they felt the Ghost of the Small, White Bird had spoken and the Ghost of the Small, White Bird was quite a talker. Not only was it wrong, according to the bird, to murder, it was also wrong to allow women to teach, it was wrong to eat shellfish, and it was wrong to suffer a witch to live. In addition to being very chatty, the Ghost of the Small, White Bird was apparently jealous of other made-up things like witches, mermaids, and garden gnomes.

Fortunately, for the people of this fair land, women were widely recognized as satisfactory, nay, competent even at teaching, shellfish was regarded by most as delicious and completely edible, and witches had long agreed that turning someone into a newt is rude even if they do eventually get better.

But the magistrates who believed in this imaginary Ghost of the Small, White Bird were clear that they didn't think women should teach, shellfish should not be eaten, and witches should not be allowed to live. They also recognized that they couldn't do anything to stop the women, shellfish, or witches, though, and endured their continued presence in their land. Although they never came right out and said that they thought that all the laws in the land should be based on those given them by the Ghost of the Small, White Bird, the magistrates did continually try to pass laws accordingly. They weren't always successful thanks to people who, for reasons of their own, weren't so into listening to what the Ghost of the Small, White Bird was alleged to have said, but the magistrates did try.

The magistrates who believed in the Ghost of the Small, White Bird were quite popular among the commonfolk and it seemed that with every passing day they grew more popular. They grew popular not just because they claim to commune with the Ghost of the Small, White Bird, but that was undeniably a part of their campaign strategies.

Some people, seeing how influential the GSWB Magistrates were getting, complained about the lamentable rise of religion and how it influenced the law in the decaying land of these pretty much freedom-loving people. They said that these magistrates who were citing religion as their reason for making laws were being theocrats. They said, "To make murder illegal because you think the Ghost of the Small, White Bird told you is theocratic!"

Other people of whom we charitably assume are well-intentioned people even though what I'm about to tell you might make you think they shouldn't be issued drivers licenses or be allowed to tie their own shoes without supervision said that the even though they agreed that the Ghost of the Small, White Bird is obviously foolish, the description of those magistrates as "theocratic" was an exaggeration. "Their popularity is distressing, yes, but there are other, more pressing issues to worry about in our fair land."

It wasn't long before a dopey sort of bloke with a funny accent claimed that the Ghost of the Small, White Bird called him on his mobular phone to tell him he would be president. And while people were busy fretting over whether or not a theocrat could hold the office of president, senator, representative, or chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, that dopey bloke laughed his way to the oval office in the big white castle of the president of that fair land. And while the debate continued to rage over whether or not one could actually see a forest when there are so many trees in the way, more magistrates who thought they could hear the Ghost of the Small, White Bird chirping in their ears were elected to office to help pass laws against teachers, shellfish, and witches.

The End

This story brought to you by commenters on Diana's site whose foolishness astonishes me.

General Pace is a theocrat, by the way. Mitt Romney is one, too. George Bush thinks he hears the Ghost of the Small, White Bird.

Mine isn't a very good story. Hopefully it didn't put you to sleep because it's time for people to wake up and call a spade a spade and a theocrat a theocrat.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

October 01, 2007

China is Evil

I don't like China. That probably could have gone without saying.

Businesspeople love China because they're a billion person market that for a long time has been closed to outside investment but in the past decade has been opening its doors to more and more outside interests. A billion people. Even if they are all poor, a small fraction of that market is a huge amount of money to be made. (Oh, and apparently China is basically propping up the American dollar. I don't know how that works exactly, but that's what I keep hearing.)

But China is still evil. They're communist and unashamed of it. They're also unashamed about the hypocrisy involved with allowing private companies in, but that's another issue.

Anyway, the Beijing Olympics for 2008 irritates my mounting disillusionment with the Olympic Games.

That said, I have to applaud this audacious criticism in the form of a cartoon.

That's exactly what I'm talking about.

Update: I am often astonished by some people's ability to completely miss the point. I was reading through the comments on that blog and some people apparently think that it is a criticism of China's death penalty which, apparently, involves a firing squad. One person in the comments even thought it had something to do with Japan.

Granted, there really isn't much in the cartoon that would tip you off to China's well-published human rights violations, but one has to wonder why these people need it pointed out to them.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2007

Actividades Bancarias de la Inversión y Trabajos en la Física Nuclear

I've been thinking more about the "discussion" that is going on around immigration.

In my last post on this topic, I said, "People are fussing and fussing about what to do with the illegal immigrants, those people who sneak into our country and get subversive jobs like picking fruit, flipping hamburgers, cleaning houses, investment banking, nuclear physics, or whatever else it is that doesn't pay enough money to lure unsuspecting Americans into sustaining the near constant verbal abuse and assault from Naomi Campbell's or Russell Crowe's flying phones."

I was being silly and hyperbolic, of course, but I was in the shower thinking about this and I realized that I have heard people use part of that as an argument supporting looser immigration policies.

They say things like, "Why should we stop people who want to come into this company and do jobs that Americans don't want to do?" The implication here is that it's OK so long as they're doing jobs Americans want to do, but if they suddenly started getting cushy jobs like web developer, QA analyst, client engineer, governor of California, or whatever, then it would NOT be OK.

The problem with the immigration policy isn't that it's keeping people from picking oranges or splitting atoms for us. The problem is that it is keeping people from exercising and experiencing freedom. There are lots of things like that around here.

It's my business if I want to hire someone to work for me. And if they want to accept low wages for it, that is their business. If they don't want to accept what I want to pay them, they don't have to accept the pay or do the work. That's how business works. And it doesn't matter what the job is -- assuming it's a non-criminal activity, of course. It's my right as an American to do that.

Naturally, our government is not here to protect the rights of Byelorussians, Danes, or South Africans. But neither should it be acting to violate the rights of those people or any other. The American government is here to protect the individual rights of Americans, but in setting up these tortuous immigration policies, it is preventing me from exercising my rights. Further, it is taking active steps to violate the rights of other individuals.

Who sits around thinking up these obnoxious plans for our government? I bet it's Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 26, 2007

Immigration Madness

The news is full of talk about immigration... again/still. People are fussing and fussing about what to do with the illegal immigrants, those people who sneak into our country and get subversive jobs like picking fruit, flipping hamburgers, cleaning houses, investment banking, nuclear physics, or whatever else it is that doesn't pay enough money to lure unsuspecting Americans into sustaining the near constant verbal abuse and assault from Naomi Campbell's or Russell Crowe's flying phones.

Republicans seem to be flipping out over the word "amnesty." I don't understand, but I can't control other people's blood pressure. They're also complaining that these people would have gotten away with breaking the law.

I dare say that we all break the law from time to time and it doesn't matter if you're Republican or a particularly nimble maid. The reason is because the law sucks. I need a new paragraph for emphasis here.

If you can't mind your own damn and not break the law, then the law is wrong.

These Canadians who come scooting in here trying to rhyme 'house' and 'coast' and 'about' and 'boot,' they're largely harmless. If you don't like their poems or dirty limericks, this is America. You can stage a burning of all your Canadian poetry books if you want. In your own yard. With a permit.

And these other people with rich, tan skin and dark, wavy hair and rippling muscles that glisten in the sun...


Yeah! So there!

I want to talk about the horrible, horrible mess we put our LEGAL immigrants through. It's no wonder some people prefer to do like Dig-Dug to get here rather than suffer all the paper cuts from the bureaucracy that is INS. I want to tell you a story about someone I work with.

M is a super nice lady. She's pleasant, very smart, meticulous, super productive, and overall a joy to work with. She's a developer and when she works on my projects, they rock the house from coast to coast.

Well, she and her husband are foreigners hailing from a certain country with an excess of monkeys and cobras. And they're both working here under his visa. Apparently, he HAD a visa that would allow him and his spouse to work here. Some time ago, they found out that his corporate sponsor was changing the sponsorship to be just an H1 visa which only allows one person to work under it.

So, they both had to apply for H1 visas. And apparently there was some kind of lottery or something, I don't know, but he got one and she didn't.

This means that Friday is M's last day with our company.

She is trying to be a law-abiding, contributing member of society, but due to our ridiculous immigration policies and processes, she is mandated BY LAW to sit at home all day. Oh, she can still make use of the various public services that we provide to people here in this country, but she's not allowed to contribute to supporting those services.

This is utterly and completely absurd. She is a skilled worker and an above-average performer. Her efforts generate lots and lots of wealth for our company. But she is, starting Friday, forbidden to work in this country under penalty of law.

We've been brainstorming all sorts of hair-brained ideas about how to circumvent the law, but she doesn't want to do that. If she does break the law, it could put her husband's visa at risk and her future chances for visas and/or citizenship. She also dislikes the idea of being dishonest.

It's confounding and frustrating.

Update: I mentioned INS above, but it turns out that it's not INS. It's the Department of Homeland Security. Hmph!

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

September 18, 2007

How to Talk Without Saying Anything

JohnDavid sent me a link to Hilary Clinton's website today. Specifically, he linked me to the page that contains her plan for revolutionizing the American Healthcare system.

I'd like the point out that there are a lot of words on this page. There is a fair amount of copy dedicated to her "American Health Choices Plan" and there are lots of words sort of describing it and they definitely tell us that it's a good thing, and yet I don't see any details about what this plan is, exactly.

Hillary's American Health Choices Plan covers all Americans and improves health care by lowering costs and improving quality. It speaks to American values, American families, and American jobs.

It puts the consumer in the driver's seat by offering more choices and lowering costs. If you're one of the tens of million Americans without coverage or if you don't like the coverage you have, you will have a choice of plans to pick from and that coverage will be affordable. Of course, if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.

* Affordable: Unlike the current health system where insurance premiums send people into bankruptcy, the plan provides tax credits for working families to help them cover their costs. The tax credits will ensure that working families never have to pay more than a limited percentage of their income for health care.

* Available: No discrimination. The insurance companies can't deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.

* Reliable: It's portable. If you change or lose your job, you keep your health care.

How does it do all of this? Blank-out.

Who pays for all of this care? Blank-out.

If the direct consumer does not pay for the costs incurred, how can this plan possibly reduce the costs of medical care? Blank-out.

In the spirit of... well, masochism, I downloaded the PDF description of her plan to see if I could glean any details from there.

I can't see anything in it that would reduce medical costs. I do see lots of things that will send our health care system spiraling into the abyss of socialistic degradation and decay.

Here's a short list of things that immediately pissed me off. It's by no means comprehensive, but it is illustrative of the economic ignorance inherent in her proposal:
Without creating new bureaucracy, the Menu will be part of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP)...
I'm so happy that Americans won't have to shoulder the burden of another bureaucracy. That was obviously my first concern when I realized that my income was about to start dropping to support free-loaders and the nearly-dearly departed.

Eliminating Insurance Discrimination
"Discrimination" in this proposal means restricting insurance companies from mitigating crippling costs brought on by high-risk individuals. Apparently, Clinton believes that insurance companies have been capriciously raising their premiums above market value (such as the market is) to support their runaway profit margins and wild marketing campaigns. When was the last time you saw a really awesome commercial for insurance?

Limiting Premium Payments to a Percentage of Income
This is code for price controls. Please review the history of price controls before I throttle my keyboard.

Promoting Shared Responsibility for Large Employers
Let's seeeee... the price of offering medical insurance to employees is going to rise. What could possibly go wrong with that? I'm glad you asked.

Companies offer you medical insurance not because they like you but because it's presently cheaper to pay for medical insurance for their employees than it is for those employees to pay for it themselves.

Let's say that it costs me $5 to pay for my insurance by myself. That means I will ask my company to raise my salary by $5 to cover medical care. But if my company goes to my insurance company and says, "We have 100 people who want care." The insurance company will extend a group discount where it only costs my company $3 to pay for the same insurance for me. In effect, by offering me insurance, my company is paying me only $3 more but I get $5 value out of it.

If companies are obliged to pay more for insurance, then the value of providing medical insurance to employees becomes less attractive. If this plan were adopted, I would expect many companies to drop coverage and opt to pay employees a margin more in their salaries to take up the government coverage plan. I wonder if that has ever happened anywhere before?

If this plan is adopted in part or in whole it will be a disaster for patients, tax payers, businesses, doctors, and insurance companies alike. It took a staggering level of stupidity to write that proposal. The sad part is that from a marketing perspective it's written so well that it will be difficult for most people to see how idiotic it is -- even if they can figure out what the proposal actually says.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:50 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

September 12, 2007


I don't know why cops sometimes have such bad attitudes. I've been pulled over before and had cops yell at me for simply asking, "What seems to be the problem, officer?" It's very not cool. This guy takes the cake.

I saw this last night after I followed a link on Billy Beck's blog.

The story was on CNN Headline News this morning with Robin Mead (Good morning, Sunshine!) and they reported that there is an investigation into this and the officer in the video has been suspended without pay.

What's crazy to me is that this isn't the first time that kid has had police officers in the course of performing their duty as police officer violate his rights and treat him with utter disrespect. And he had cameras set up in his car. It makes me wonder if he's doing something to make them act like that.

But judging from the videos, he doesn't seem to be doing anything wrong. He's just finding a bunch of bad cops.

It's kind of interesting, the idea of citizens setting up stings for police who are being criminals.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 2007

This One is for the Inspector

Reuters: Town ditches traffic lights to cut accidents

BERLIN (Reuters) - A town council in Germany has decided the best way of improving road safety is to remove all traffic lights and stop signs downtown.

From September 12, all traffic controls will disappear from the center of the western town of Bohmte to try to reduce accidents and make life easier for pedestrians.

In an area used by 13,500 cars every day, drivers and pedestrians will enjoy equal right of way, Klaus Goedejohann, the town's mayor, told Reuters.

"Traffic will no longer be dominant," he said.

The article goes on to discuss the work of Hans Monderman of whom I read in Wired Magazine a while back.

Monderman advocates the creation of "shared spaces" in which cars and pedestrians all share the same space.

Monderman's ideas have already been implemented in the town of Drachten in the north of the Netherlands, where all stop lights, traffic signs, pavements, and street markings have gone.

"It's been very successful there," Goedejohann said, adding that accidents in Drachten had been reduced significantly.

I love the argument made by the opposition as cited in the article:

"Just because it worked in the Netherlands doesn't mean it will work here," said Werner Koeppe, a road specialist at Berlin's Technical Traffic Institute.

In the article I read about Hans Monderman, he had "designed" this round-about where there wasn't even a curb to delineate the road and sidewalk. Here's an excerpt from the Wired article:

Riding in his green Saab, we glide into Drachten, a 17th-century village that has grown into a bustling town of more than 40,000. We pass by the performing arts center, and suddenly, there it is: the Intersection. It's the confluence of two busy two-lane roads that handle 20,000 cars a day, plus thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians. Several years ago, Monderman ripped out all the traditional instruments used by traffic engineers to influence driver behavior - traffic lights, road markings, and some pedestrian crossings - and in their place created a roundabout, or traffic circle. The circle is remarkable for what it doesn't contain: signs or signals telling drivers how fast to go, who has the right-of-way, or how to behave. There are no lane markers or curbs separating street and sidewalk, so it's unclear exactly where the car zone ends and the pedestrian zone begins. To an approaching driver, the intersection is utterly ambiguous - and that's the point.

Another money quote:

"I think the future of transportation in our cities is slowing down the roads," says Ian Lockwood, the transportation manager for West Palm Beach during the project and now a transportation and design consultant. "When you try to speed things up, the system tends to fail, and then you're stuck with a design that moves traffic inefficiently and is hostile to pedestrians and human exchange."

Oo! Oo! Here's a quote also from the Wired article for the Inspector here:

"What we really need is a complete paradigm shift in traffic engineering and city planning to break away from the conventional ideas that have got us in this mess. There's still this notion that we should build big roads everywhere because the car represents personal freedom. Well, that's bullshit. The truth is that most people are prisoners of their cars."

Emphasis added for effect.

If you know me and have observed me closely, you'll know that I often advocate "following the rules" for the simple goal of getting things to run quickly, easily, and efficiently. I like people to pay attention to the road and drive in such a way that reduces congestion and increases traffic flow, both for cars and pedestrians.

Things that irritate me to the extreme are litterbugs, people who walk slowly up the middle of the stairs (instead of off to the side), people who don't move to the middle of the subway car, people who drive slowing in the fast lane, people who leave their trash in the movie theater, cars that block the crosswalk out of sheer indecision, pedestrians who block car traffic, people who stop and talk in doorways or main footpaths... the list goes on and on.

I just like things to work well.

So, I don't actually oppose this whole "no signs" jazz in principle, but it sounds really stupid at first blush.

The point of roads IS so that cars can move safely and easily from one place to another and the point of cars is so that people can move quickly from place to place. It seems like if the roads make the cars go more slowly, then the roads aren't really serving their purpose.

I'm not an expert on these things, so I really don't know whether or not these street designs are actually more efficient.

Efficiency is defined as the ratio of output to input. In an intersection, it seems like you'd define efficiency in terms of incoming and outgoing traffic over time. All the people in these discussions seem to focus on collisions. Collisions don't seem to be a measure of efficiency, though.

And at no point do they tell us what they mean by efficiency.

They seem to be focused on pedestrians having a delightful walk through traffic. Is that really the point? Really? I mean, do you design streets so that people can just wander into traffic without getting hit? I hope not, but I guess there are some situations where you might want that to be the case.

I wish I knew more about traffic and street design to speak more about this. I'm just posting it because we've been discussing the economic leverage that well-designed streets add to suburban and urban development. According to that guy in West Palm Beach, the slow traffic has resulted in more businesses developing along streets and pedestrians showing up. I don't know if that is a good thing -- given that the government is involved, I'm inclined to think it's a bad thing.

Anyway, just adding some fuel to the fire here.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:59 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

September 10, 2007

Religion and Communism: Minions of Darkness

Diana linked over to my review of Song of Russia! Woohoo! It's a Noodlefood-a-lanche!!! Welcome Noodlefood readers!

But in her post, she remarks:

For the record, I disagree with [Flibbert's] comments about the equal threat of religion versus communism. The fact that both yield statism in politics doesn't show that one ideology isn't more dangerous -- i.e. more durable, totalistic, and inspirational of fervent belief -- than the other. That more dangerous threat is religion. Then again, I might not be understanding [Flibbert] correctly, as his comments were a tad rambling.

Diana is a hero of mine, so I take her remarks seriously. Since I respect her comments and I also know that my post IS very rambling and I did state some things incorrectly, I think I owe my readers a little clarity if not brevity.

The argument I intended to make is not as Diana describes.

First, to be upfront about it: I agree that religion is a greater threat than communism at present.

I was trying to say that they share the same origin, but that religion is the en vogue form of the overarching evil in both.

But I wrote this:

I was just thinking about the (ongoing) debate about whether religion or communism poses the greater threat to freedom and I remembered: there is a single threat to freedom. In the realm of politics, the threat is that of statism.

That sounds so bland, but there isn't a name for that ideology at the political level.

The threat is the ideology that makes people think in politics that they (or a committee of them) know better than you about your life. But it's deeper than that. The threat is the ideology that makes people think -- in their private lives -- that they owe you something and they resent you for not thinking that you owe them more.

This debate about whether or not religion or communism is the bigger threat misses the point. It's the same threat. The question is only about which form is metastasizing at the moment.

What I was trying to point out is that if we confine our view to the branch of philosophy dealing with politics, we can only see that both religion and communism present the same sort of evil: statism. That isn't particularly illuminating and I said it was bland in my earlier post.

I was avoiding delving into the deeper topic in the more fundamental branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. I was trying to suggest, without getting into a lengthy discussion about what 'altruism' means, that altruism is the evil, underlying philosophy shared by religion and communism.

This isn't right either, is it?

It seems like while communism certainly does stem from flawed ethics, namely altruism, Religion suffers from flawed metaphysics and epistemology, namely mysticism and faith.

Could a person have proper metaphysical philosophy and still end up a communist? What of epistemology? It seems like to be a communist, you'd have to have an error in metaphysics and/or epistemology in order to maintain the flawed ethics of altruism, but I'm not completely sure.

In Any Rand's book, We the Living, the tragic hero, Andre, is a communist who is rational and reality-based. He seems to have simply made a mistake in his ethics somewhere. I should probably go back and read more about his character since it has been a while.

I wrote to Diana asking for some clarification around Leonard Peikoff's remarks on the whole thing and she indicated that the above (communism and religion are fundamentally different and do not necessarily share the same origins) is moving in the right direction.

Since they don't share the same origins, we're still left with the question about which is worse: Communism or Religion?

Tough call. They're both hideously stupid.

Religion has some advantages over Communism, though. Religion not only tells people that they can expect huge rewards for obedience, it isn't under any pressure to produce those rewards since you only get them when you're dead. Communism does rely on people being extremely gullible, but most people catch on after a while of standing in a bread line; religion goes a step further and tells people not to think ("Have faith!"), thereby convincing people to just ignore the misery.

Not all religions are altruistic, but they do all pervert rational metaphysics and epistemology in some way. And that's how they've been able to persist for so long and why religion is worse that communism/socialism.

I have some ideas about why other efforts to thwart religion in politics and society have failed, but I am going to save them until I've read Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 07, 2007

Poor Li'l Bushy

I'm not one to spend a lot of time ranting about how idiotic George Bush is. I don't know, it just seems A) too easy and B) inessential to the larger issue of the inherent destructive nature of conservative ideology, but I just can't help this one.

Daily mail: Bush confuses Austria and Australia in latest gaffe

For George Bush, it was a gaffe waiting to happening.

The similarities in sounding between Australia and Austria led Bush into an embarrassing blunder down under.

The US president thanked Australian premier John Howard for visiting 'Austrian troops' in Iraq.

There are no Austrian troops there, although Australia has 1,500 military personnel in the region.

He continued his blunders by then confusing the organisations of APEC and OPEC.

Talking at a business forum on the eve of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney, Mr Bush also told Mr Howard: "Mr Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit."

As the audience laughed, the US president corrected himself and joked: "He invited me to the OPEC summit next year."

Australia has never been a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

I remember in fifth grade, getting into an argument with Jeremy J-- about this. I had remarks that I think Australia would be a cool place to live and he said he didn't like Australia because that's where Hitler was from. Astonished, I pointed out his error and followed up with the fact that Austria had since also products Arnold schwarzenegger. (Arnie was a badass to us fifth graders at the time.)

Anyway, he insisted I was wrong and I insisted that I was right. I think I punched him in the head at some point and then mocked him pretty mercilessly until we retired to his house to play Contra or whatever.

Ah, childhood.

It just occurred to me: Jeff Foxworthy should test Dubya to see if he's smarter than a fifth grader.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 06, 2007

Comments Are Effed

My comments are effed right now. I went to post a response to Inspector's recent remarks and things went boom. I was going to write this to him:

I only say "country" because the hierarchies of government here already metastasized to such an extent that I doubt you could establish a city or town of any size that would create the proper political environment and sustain itself.

This is the first time I have ever heard that large cities arise due to or are sustained by statism. What facts are you basing this claim upon?

I'm not disagreeing that there are lots of statist policies that do sustain our large cities -- anyone familiar with New York state politics know that upstate resents the fact that so much state funding (read: tax dollars) goes to support NYC programs -- but I do not see that as being necessarily the case.

In urban development, my understanding is that it's generally been statism that prevents advanced development -- rent controls, zoning, even height limits on buildings, for example -- which ironically promote sprawl as seen in places like Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Given an ideal political environment, why would people suddenly shun urban life?

Or is your argument merely that given the present conditions, a sudden shift in political ideology toward one of freedom would result in a great population shift away from deep urban environments? Even still, I don't see that as being necessarily the case. I am sure a lot of people would leave, at first. But I am also sure that a lot of people would stay and others would probably move in. There are huge economic advantages to living in such close quarters.

But now I'm reading through his posts and although I'm only a page or two in, I think I see where he's going. I'll have to read more and I will likely comment on it here.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 29, 2007

Gay Sex in the Bathroom

By now you had to have heard about Senator Craig's alleged attempt to solicit sex from a police officer in an airport restroom.

If his voting record is any indication, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) is a contemptible person.

Abortions? Against them.
Farm Subsidies? Yes, please.
Spending lots of money? Oh hells yeah.
NEA funding? Isn't that the same as spending money?
Freedom of speech? No way!
Freedom of person and property? Can't have that!
Gay marriage? They'll just marry ducks! No! No! No!

Anyway, I didn't start this post to rant about one legislator's despicable, freedom-hating tendencies. I want to talk about "allegedly."

We're assuming that the officer's reporting of the events is entirely factual.

What conclusion should we draw?

This is one of those cases where I think many people could be convinced (and that seems to be what Senator Craig is counting on) that although his behavior in the restroom was strange (A wide stance in the toilet? What the hell? Whatever, dude.) it doesn't necessarily mean that he was soliciting sex because he never actually said, "Hey, dude. Let's have sex in this here airport restroom."

There's a saying. "If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it's a duck."

Basically, Senator Craig's behavior was consistent with that of a person soliciting sex in the restroom. There was absolutely no question in the mind of the police office who a) is kinda cute and b) has been solicited for sex many times, that Senator Craig was coming to him for sex.

"Nice work if you can get it. If you can get it, won't you tell me how?"

Senator Craig's current position seems to be that the police officer is a big, fat liar. Nice move.

My conflict here is the burden of proof for criminal cases. This pushes our discussion into the rather specific realm of legal philosophy.

I believe that Senator Craig was trying to solicit sex from that policeman. All of the facts I have support that conclusion, but what I am not sure if that is sufficient to warrant criminal prosecution.

I am very wary of the government and its power to use force against criminals. I want to be absolutely sure that someone is a criminal before they get sent to jail.

In this case, I inclined against thinking that foot-to-foot contact and some hand gestures are really sufficient reason to charge the man with disorderly conduct.

A typical statutory definition of disorderly conduct, in this case Indiana's, defines the offense in this way:

A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:

(1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
(2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
(3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

I guess touching someone's foot with gentle caressing with your own foot is kind of disruptive. I suppose it's technically assault on another person. But really.

The real story in all of this isn't whether or not what Senator Craig did is criminal but in light of his history of denying rights to gay people whether or not he enjoys same sex sodomy. Ordinarily, I wouldn't care, but given his political tendencies, his sexual ones become a little more interesting.

I wonder if the court will make him demonstrate this wide stance he uses in the toilet.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 22, 2007

I'm Not a Republican

I just wanted to state that for the record.

It seems like people on the left and the population in general often assume that if you want to nuke bad guys and kick the government out of everything except courts, police, and army then you must be a Republican wingnut.

I suppose in some regards my political views may be described as "right wing" particularly if you're one of our Yerpeen friends. I am a capitalist.

But in many respects, with a similar level of insight (or lack thereof), I may be described as a left wing moonbat.

I support abortion, gay marriage, and an immigration policy that some asperse with terms like "amnesty."

I've been accused of being a Republican before, but no one has come right out and called me a Democrat. I suppose that has a lot to do with the company I keep. My circles lack both hippies and fascists.

So, anyway, I just wanted to say: I'm not a Republican. Or a Democrat. I pretty much hate them both.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 09:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2007

'Splain Me

So, Karl Rove has announced his resignation. Liberals and their blogs are rejoicing.

I just don't understand why.

I mean, I understand why, but I don't understand the scale.

It's like this deep hatred of Dick Cheney they have. I mean, who cares about the vice president? It's a position of relatively little power or authority. Influence, sure, maybe. But Dick Cheney just doesn't seem to be a real power broker to me.

I'm biased, though. I kind of dig how insensitive he seems to be. Also, I love how he shot a man in the face and that man turned around and apologized.

Of course, I also kind of sided with Darth Vader in that most recent Star Wars movie.

I have a track record of eeevil to maintain.

But what's the beef with Karl Rove? I get that he's Bush's chief political adviser and strategist, but I have a hard time thinking that he is the mastermind behind all of the malignant foolishness of the Republican Party. I guess maybe they think he's the guy at the head of the table when those fat, old, rich, white men get together to smoke cigars and plan Armageddon.

I dunno. I guess it's possible that I have a naive lack of interest in Karl Rove.

Any thoughts on this, kind readers? Why should I hate Karl Rove so much?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:31 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

August 11, 2007

Beam Him Back!

Joe of Joe.My.God. liked Kucinich from the Logo HRC presidential forum. Bizarre.

I get that Kucinich supports gay people in every way that gay people want to be supported, but "Amazing. Strong. Smart. Super-likeable?" No way.

First of all, let's talk about his entrance. He walked very slowly and placed his feet on the floor with slow deliberation. He almost seemed to be in a drug-induced haze.

Then, he grinned like a serial killer through the whole thing.

And all the talk of love? That made me want to puke.

I have to agree with Wonkette's remarks about him being an alien. He was just weird and possibly a little senile.

Strong. No.
Amazing. NO.
Smart. No.
Super-likable? Hell no.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 07:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

What We Can Expect

In the shower this morning -- where I do a lot of thinking -- I was thinking over my recent post on the religious right and I want to make something clear: I do think that the influence of religion and mysticism in general is on the rise in America.

Although I have a lot of confidence in the American public, it would be foolish for me to claim that we are not in the midst of a slide away from religion and freedom, a slide that is not possible without popular support.

It is due to this slide that the Republican Party has become the party of the Religious Right and Christian Fundamentalism. Again, I refer you to the book With God on Our Side as good source documenting the string of events that lead to this being the current state of things.

So, given this, what can we expect to see in our political machine going forward. Assuming that this trend remains unabated, here are some of my predictions:

- I fully expect the Democrats to win the presidency in 2008.

- After two years of passing laws supporting their various socialist programs, they'll lose a few seats to Republicans who are still claiming that they support free markets and limited government.

- Democrats will increasingly espouse their own reliance on faith and win over some votes from religious-minded social liberals.

From there, I expect continued swinging back and forth between the two major parties much like we've seen over the past decade or so. Slowly the Democrats will talk more about religion and the Republicans will talk more about social wellfare. Some socially liberal things will not be avoidable like gay unions of some sort, but abortion may be more greatly restricted. Increased government interference in our health care system seems to me to be an inevitability although I will continue to rant about how stupid it is. The economy will become less stable and although I am skeptical about there being a major recession, I would not be surprised to see lots of micro-recessions across various industries.

The bottom line is that I don't have a lot of hope for things to come. It is possible for us to turn things around, but it seems unlikely that things will get better before they get a lot worse.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2007

The Power of the Christian Right

As Mister Bookworm and I were watching the Presidential Forum last night, I remarked that I think the power of the Religious Right is overestimated.

Not long ago, I read the book With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America. It's a fascinating and surprisingly well-balanced account of the history, organization, and rise of the Religious Right in American politics. It gives clear account of the issues that incited their involvement at a grass roots level and the events that brought them to the national scene. From there there is significant discussion on their pivotal role in today's Republican party that is disappointing in that the book ends in Clinton's term.

I don't dispute that the religious right is and has been a huge player in national politics. I also firmly believe that they have the Republican Party by the short hairs. Let me amend that: in many significant ways, they ARE the Republican Party. Bush, Buchanan, Gingrich, Santorum, Reed...

Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I find it incredibly difficult that the Religious Right represents a majority of America. I am inclined to believe that Bush's two victories in presidential elections were decided primarily because he took the strongest stance against terrorism in the same way that he plays lip service to fiscal conservativism. An strong international policy governed by American interest and a domestic policy of economic freedom are, I think, still the most attractive issues to the American public.

Allow me to temper the above statements by saying that I do also believe the American public is in the middle of a long slide away from this view. Things like national healthcare and other welfare programs have a shocking amount of popular support. Environmentalism, multiculturalism, weird immigration policies, and other leftist ideas have both the support of many in the populace and of a large portion of people on the political right.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because an idea is something out of Marx's playbook that it isn't supported by a large number of people in the Republican party. The religious bunch are not exempt either.

But I do think that the majority of people in America can be objectively considered to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative and I submit the midterm elections as evidence of this and the decidedly grudging support of Bush in his presidential elections.

What were the Republican Party's weaknesses in the midterm elections? Iraq is a fiasco; the death toll among Americans alone makes me reconsider my choice of words there. "Fiasco" sounds too kind. Government spending is out of control. Never have we seen a deficit like this. And I know Republicans want to praise the economic bounce-back from the Clinton-era recession, but I am shaking a finger at that. The dollar is weak on international markets. Housing markets are set for a huge upset. I worry about the fluctuations we see in stock indices. Are gold prices on the rise due to a lack of faith in other, less objective, markets? Also, dare we mention the various scandals and charges of corruption?

The American public is extremely diverse and it's difficult to make overarching statements about prevalent attitudes and beliefs, but I do think most people are pro-freedom in the proper sense of the word.

We know that America isn't sold on either the Democrats or the Republicans. Rebels on each side of the aisle enjoy a certain amount of popularity and support. Ron Paul is actually a Libertarian running as a Republican and he's been in office a really long time. Joe Liberman broke with his party over his support for Bush in Iraq. (I think he won out again because of the strong words not actions against terrorism.) Giuliani probably thinks that he has a chance because of his popularity coming out of 9/11, but a not insignificant portion of it has to be due to his more socially liberal views. I was reading in an old issue of GQ this morning about a Republican senator -- his name escapes me -- who has been working to block the runaway spending his party has been driving. John McCain is constantly rankling folks on the right. Senator Lindsey Graham has been known to break rank from time to time and he's from South Carolina of all places. And though some only dissent on occasion, their dissent from the anti-freedom policies of their respective policies, each time it seems to bring them more popularity and support.

If the Republicans wanted to shake off their reputation for hearing voices and thinking the Earth is just 6,000 years old, they would have to be willing to work for votes and actually think. They would have to adopt an ideology based on actually following popular opinion and not one dictated to them by the estate of Jimmy Falwell.

I'd like to say that they would have to adopt an ideology based on reason, but I'm an optimist, not a crazy person; I know that would be setting the bar too high for any politician in office today.

Mister Bookworm remarked last night that the Democrats seem more willing to skew centrist than the Republicans. Based on what I saw last night, this seems true. Although he disagrees (he thinks the race will still be very close), I think that because of this a Democratic president in 2008 is almost a foregone conclusion.

Maybe I'm overly optimistic and over-confident in the Democrats' ability to hold onto their current level of popularity. They've snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before.

Note to my readers: When I say I'm an optimist, I don't do so to downplay my mistrust and disgust with either party.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

I Hate to Say It

But watching Hilary Clinton at the Logo HRC Presidential Forum last night... my blood did not immediate freeze in my veins.

She came off as the most personable, normal, and -- if you can believe this -- non-politically motivated of the bunch. I didn't catch whiff of what I usually see as her cold political maneuvering. (much.)

The Presidential Forum was a joke though.

I liked the format of the candidates coming out one by one to field questions, but having a forum hosted by a bunch of homos lends itself to a single issue discussion.

Yes, they did talk about things other than gay marriage, but not much.

And if one more candidate says that we need more love in America, I want someone to slap them in the face.

I found the softball questions they lobbed to the candidates to be extremely frustrating.

"Senator Edwards, if one of your staff were transgendered, would you fire them?" Seriously? Is any human being who is even remotely considering a campaign for pubic office going to go on national television in front of the LGBT community and say yes?

Well, Bill "Maricon" Richardson did take the unpopular position that homosexuality is a choice. The room was already uncomfortable before that and it visibly chilled at that response and to his squirming to get away from it.

When is someone going to nail Edwards to the wall over his position on gay marriage? Or any of those people who don't support marriage but support civil unions?

Clinton managed to position her support of civil unions as a next step in the movement, leaving support for gay marriage open as an option for the future. She aptly demonstrated her interest in progress by explaining the environment in which "Don't Ask Don't Tell" came about and why she supported it for the first five years of the policy's existence and then in 1999 turned against it. I did find her excuse of not changing it for lack of opportunity to be a bit weak even if plausible. All in all, she really rocked out.

Gravel and Kucinich are the only two candidates who support full-on same-sex marriage.

The other candidates apart from Clinton didn't really say much about same-sex marriage itself or why they do not support it for favor of civil unions.

I'm getting back to Edwards. He did have the balls to say plainly that he doesn't support gay marriage. But no one had the balls to nail him to the wall and ask why. He says it's a personal issue. So? What are his reasons for his personal view? He says it's his religion. So? Does he feel that his personal view is rational and proper? If so, how does he think his support for inequality in marriage any more or less offensive than that of his Republican counterparts? *crickets*

Why doesn't anyone ask these people what purpose they think it serves to call same-sex marriage something different from different-sex marriage? Is it to pander to a bigoted and irrational voter base? Is it like Edwards who panders to his own bigoted, religion-fueled emotionalism? Or is it the infinitely more impressive point that they want to make ALL unions civil unions?

Back to Clinton: Marriage is a states rights issue? Odd given the Federal Government's explicit endorsement of those unions. Face it, lady: marriage is an issue at the federal level.

So, anyway, more on this later. I'm late for a meeting.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 08, 2007

"The most unfunny thing is a person without an opinion."

Flibbert: You saw the Obama Girl videos, right?
Flibbert: The ones I sent to you and then you sent me the Joy Behar thing.

Johndavid: Yeah

Flibbert: Did you take the Obama Girl as an actual supporter of Barak Obama or did you assume that the video didn't actually reflect an earnestly held political opinion?

Johndavid: Exactly. I thought it was just funny, because he is not sexy at all. He's uncomfortable and neutered.

Flibbert: ha ha!
Flibbert: I take it as a video actually supporting Barak Obama, although it is funny.

Johndavid: I think my final verdict on the matter was that since people are political, and since it didn't poke direct fun at him, she was most likely a supporter.
Johndavid: But all I knew for sure was that she was being a comic.

Flibbert: Yes, definitely.
Flibbert: My point to my readers on my blog is that humor isn't without ideology
Flibbert: And because her jokes don't do anything to poke fun at Obama's campaign, they call humorous attention to it.

Johndavid: Humor necesitates ideology, I think.

Flibbert: Oh, absolutely.
Flibbert: But people think that just because they're laughing, then it's unimportant.

Johndavid: The most unfunny thing is a person without an opinion.

Flibbert: Ha ha! True.

Johndavid: You can quote me on that.

Flibbert: I will.
Flibbert: I gonna post this bit of this chat, actually.

Johndavid: I'm going to be so famous.

Flibbert: Yes, you will.
Flibbert: Want me to link to your website?
Flibbert: The fans will come swarming in.

Johndavid: Not yet.
Johndavid: I haven't locked it.

Flibbert: Oh ok.

Johndavid: When it's finished, I'm going to do a release.

Flibbert: You're missing out on free publicity here.

Johndavid: It's going to be so formal you'll love it.

Flibbert: ha ha!
Flibbert: Awesome.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

August 07, 2007

Universal Health Care Reform Gets Me Warm

Chip Gibbons directed me to this video on the internets which cracked me up:

And then I came across this one:

Now, let me be clear: I don't know of a politician who doesn't disgust me.

Barak Obama irritates me because he's too touchy-feely. Well, that's one of the reasons anyway.

So, the Obama Girl videos are hilarious. Be sure to check out the dance off / sing off with Giuliani Girl. (Giuliani. Now, there's a freak. He doesn't stand a chance.)

So, Joy Behar remarks that Obama Girl looks trampy and she does. That's kind of the point. She does look like a stripper. And what's her name again? Amber Lee or something? Seriously, that's a stripper name.

Joy also remarks that when it is revealed that Obama Girl doesn't know if she'll support Obama, that it's real "hookerville."

See, it's like this: Obama Girl makes a video of her singing about her lurve for Barak Obama. In it, she appears in a bikini and other sexy outfits. She's dancing sexy for the camera. And why does she do it? For attention, of course. Attention for both herself and for Obama.

But then she doesn't know if she'll vote for Obama. So, really, she's willing to put her name -- stripperish, though it may be -- her face, and her body out there in support of someone for no other reason than money. No, it's not prostitution in the sense that she accepts money for sexual favors, but ideologically, it's the very meaning of the word.

I'm glad that Amber Lee has made up her mind and decided to support Barak Obama, but you can't honestly claim that prior to making up her mind, her support for Obama was "hookerville."

That's what pisses me off about the second video.

No one can honestly say that they think Joy meant that simply because Amber Lee hadn't made up her mind to support Obama that she was a ideological whore. Yet that's what the second video conflates her position to be.

That kind of thing pisses me off. It's blatantly dishonest and it's the kind of thing that is all too typical in political campaigns.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 04:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

July 26, 2007

We're All Anti-Libertarians Now

When people ask me what my politics are, I get a little cagey. It's a personal topic and some people and prone to the screaming, snarking sort of debate they learned from Bill O'Reilly's School of Oratory. I tend to say things like, "my politics are radical" and "Most people would best compare my views to those of the Libertarians, but I am not a Libertarian. I disagree with them, too."

If pressed to provide an explanation, I usually attempt to give a definition of the term freedom (Free from the threat and actuality of force or fraud.) and explain that although the Libertarians claim to be pro-freedom, they fail to agree on what that means exactly.

Freedom to the Libertarian Party (LP) is a "floating abstraction." It's a concept that isn't linked to reality and the actual existence of human beings. They just say it's "a good thing."

As a result, even the shallowest scan of LP membership reveals a host of potheads, anarchists, whore-mongers (literally), free-love moonbats, pacifists, and the like. Obviously, in politics, the anarchists and pacifists are the most immediate concerns, but I present that short list to illustrate the extremely wide philosophical gulf between me and many, if not most, Libertarians.

I've said all of the above before, but I'm saying it again because I want to introduce a very short round-up of posts and articles in which others describe their issue with the Libertarian Party and Libertarianism. (Note the big L as it refers to the party and not the very, very broad term 'libertarian.')

Francisco Gutierrez: Why I no longer identify myself as a Libertarian

My misgivings come from the anti-conceptual nature of the libertarian movement. It is true that my values are the same as those espoused by libertarians, but do we really mean the same thing when we say that we want freedom? That sounds like a silly question, but complicated abstractions like freedom are very much dependent on the conceptual framework used to build up the concept. If you are a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a christian, or an islamist, your concept of freedom will be very different to that of a capitalist. No social movement believes itself to be against freedom, as evidenced by the fact that all armed rebels call themselves freedom fighters whether they happen to be fighting for communism, fascism, islamism, democracy, or capitalism.

Gus van Horn has lots of posts, so here's a line from one of his oldest. Go read the rest of his blog and enjoy.

Newdow is making the same fundamental error as the Libertarians. He thinks that massive political change can be achieved in a republic without a massive change in the dominant philosophy of the people who make up that republic.

Contrary to the Libertarians' wishes, renaming what the people already believe as "liberty" will not magically result in them supporting a proper form of government. Contrary to those of Newdow and his ilk, a few men in black robes will not be able to make them govern themselves properly. Both approaches attempt to substitute a wish for the will of the people. It is this will that must be changed.

Ari Armstrong: Why Principles Matter: A Reply to Norm Olsen

I have made the decision to renounce my membership in the LPCO. I will notify the state board of my intent, and I will register as an unaffiliated voter. The reasons for my decision are described above. I felt it necessary to offer a detailed explanation as to why I am parting with an organization I've been involved with for over four years. I did not make my decision lightly, and it involves issues I've been struggling with for around two years. The LPCO is an ineffective organization headed by moral subjectivists. Several LPCO candidates in 2000, 2002, and 2004 have held positions at odds with the principles of individual rights, and several prominent LPCO members have apologized for those candidates and reacted angrily to principled critics. Ironically, it is precisely because I'm a libertarian (in the morally objective sense) that I must leave the Libertarian Party of Colorado, which has been compromised by subjectivists.

And props to Diana for inspiring this post.

If you have a similar post, let me know and I'd be happy to highlight it with the corresponding link-love.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 24, 2007

YouTube Debates

The CNN - YouTube Democratic debate ran last night. I didn't watch it for several reasons.

1) I forgot it was on.
2) I was reading Harry Potter.
3) The Democrats make me angry
4) I don't have a lot of patience for politicians preening and saying idiotic things.

Even still, it got a lot of press and I can't help but watch a few of the clips. Watching them squirm around the gay marriage issue was amusing for about five seconds.

Are they planning on doing the same thing for Republicans, I wonder?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2007

Immigration Worries

Who's worried? Not me! Immigrants just don't bother me. I'm not entirely clear as to why they should bother me, though.

You know what surprises me about the whole immigration debate, though? How come it's not the Democrats who are arguing to seal the borders and keep everyone out? They're the party most vociferous about government programs and welfare systems. Many of them barely stop short of calling for out-and-out communism.

Social welfare systems rely on a large number -- an extreme majority, really -- of productive citizens who will create the wealth that they will steal and redistribute. Said systems always break down because it doesn't take long for the demand to exceed the supply because such systems inherently lack a control on demand.

That said, an influx of poor and relatively unskilled people into the economic system presents a considerable risk -- threat, even -- to the stability of welfare systems because said people are already in a position to make a claim on the program.

So, why would you argue for welfare and for immigration knowing that the latter will undermine the success of the former?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 08:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2007

More Talk on Ron Paul

Just scooting around the web a little looking for more stuff on Ron Paul.

Capitalist Forum folks are talking about him.

Apparently, he's also pro-life, but feels that abortion law is under the purview of state legislation.

Wonkette regards him as a moron and calls libertarian views "overly simplistic," while simultaneously oversimplifying his views on things.

The more I read, the more convinced I am about his Libertarian credentials.

What wrong with Libertarians, you ask.

Well, I'll tell you. Libertarians regard freedom and liberty as these crazy, floating abstractions. Objectivists regard freedom and liberty as proper, moral political conditions for human beings derived not from mythologies about ghosts and old man creator beings, but from the nature of human beings as rational animals.

Mr. Ron Paul says that God made us free. If there's no such thing as God, does that mean there's no such thing as freedom?

Anyway, I'm still pretty impressed with him considering what he has achieved in mainstream office.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

He's a What?

In discussing the 2008 presidential race people generally mention Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Romney, McCain, and Guliani. I don't really hear much about anyone else.

Well, this morning one of my coworkers came in RAVING about this guy Ron Paul about whom I've honestly heard nothing at all.


Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a 10th-term Congressman, physician (M.D.), and a 2008 presidential candidate from the U.S. state of Texas, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party. Paul's presidential campaign has received considerable attention after his participation in the televised Republican presidential debates.

As a Republican, he has represented Texas's 14th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997, and represented Texas's 22nd district in 1976 and from 1979 to 1985.

Paul advocates a strictly limited role for the federal government, low taxes, free markets, a non-interventionist foreign policy, and a return to monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He has earned the nickname "Dr. No" because he is a medical doctor who votes against any bill he believes violates the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill. He has never voted to raise taxes or congressional pay, and refuses to participate in the congressional pension system or take government-paid junkets. He has consistently voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the Iraq War.

Emphasis added.

I need to say again: this is a Republican.

He wants to abolish the IRS and the income tax. He also wants to return us to the gold standard.

He's personally opposed to gay marriage, but doesn't support government involvement in marriage beyond enforcing contracts.

On race, he remarked:

"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist."

Sound familiar?

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

One of his sons' name is Rand. Coincidence?

And one of his supporters in one of his videos is wearing a shirt that says, "Who is Ron Paul?" alluding to the famous line in Atlas Shrugged, "Who is John Galt?"

I'm not saying this man is an Objectivist. He's Protestant Christian. He's Republican.

But I have never heard of a major party politician like this on the national circuit. His voting record has been consistent for 10 years and he seems to practice what he preaches.

He has lots of videos up on YouTube.

He was on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Obviously, he gets support from Libertarians. But he also gets support from Democrats and Republicans.

After digging through his views on several issues, it looks like he's just a repackaged Libertarian, so there's some inconsistency in principle on some of his positions. I would specifically cite his endorsement of the Just War Theory and his views on immigration (which mostly just seems unclear to me) as examples.

But, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised to hear someone relatively mainstream preaching some of these principles.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)