November 21, 2004
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others."
-- Thomas Jefferson
"We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
-- Thomas Jefferson
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."
-- Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814
"To unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord, adverse." --Thomas Jefferson to Hugh White, 1801. ME 10:258
"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
-- John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
-- Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1758
"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."
-- Treaty of Tripoli, 1796
Challengers to my position always respond to this suggestion by saying that our government would not survive if we left it to the dilligence of the citizenry. I really think they're being overly-cynical, if for no other reason than such an arrangment would require each person to be actively involved in the defense of the rights of all. But a quick trip to Wal-mart reminds me that many of our fellow citizens are not fit enough to survive urban living. (Clarification: they aren't surviving it. Many, if not most, are quickly dying as a result of excesses made possible by modern conveniences.)
But my question to those challengers is: So what?
If my system were set into motion and then it failed, what difference would it make? The topic of discussion would be the failure of a state that its own citizens REFUSED to support.
I passed a beggar, not a homeless person, but a beggar, on my way to pick up dinner. It is a stretch for me to think of anything I see on a regular basis that compares to the disgrace of begging for money on the street. Here we have people who make their living that way. Others merely supplement their income with the proceeds of their panhandling.
So, consider the person who will not work to support himself. What do you think of them? Do you think they deserve pity? Compassion? Does your heart go out to the person who, for no reason other than true laziness, does not support himself?
I feel disgust and revulsion at those people and that’s the same thing that I feel for those people who would (and do) refuse to take an active role in defending their individual rights.
The same would be my feeling toward the citizens who had a state governed by a system of completely rational political philosophy and let it fail. They would be people who enjoyed perfect freedom and the general welfare that freedom provides, but forsook it for reasons inexplicable.
But the failure of such a state does not defile the virtues or refute the arguments that would have brought it into existence in the first place. No more than the existence of beggars illustrates the futility of those who work for a living.
"The evaluation of an action as 'practical', Dr. Ferris, depends on what it is that one wishes to practice."
Given that freedom is what I want to practice, I can only conclude that those who say that taxation is the only 'practical' solution to government funding wish to practice slavery. I am sure they hope they're the masters in the arrangement, but which is worse, morally speaking, the parasite or the willing host? The killer or the voluntary victim? The slaver or the slave who demands heavier shackles?
The options open to us aren't between slaver and slave, though. We can all be free. Why try to choose the lesser of evils when you can choose good?
November 17, 2004
The opening, which has generated complaints to ABC and the FCC, featured actress Nicollette Sheridan in the locker room, supposedly dressed only in a white towel. She drops the towel and jumps into the arms of Philadelphia Eagles star Terrell Owens. Sheridan was shown only from behind and above the waist after dropping the towel.
Apparently, some people complained about this.
They complained about seeing less creamy, female skin than they've seen on Rose McGowan and even John Kerry's eldest daughter. They complained, because they saw her back.
There are two things that really irritate me about this whole deal: 1) the FCC's charter to regulate broadcasts to ensure that they do not cross the bounds of decency. (Where are those things anyway?) and 2) that ABC apologized.
On the first item, I really shouldn't have to go on at any length at all about how it is not a legitimate function of government to safeguard our decency. The government is not here to make sure we're all 'good' people. The government is here to make sure that you're only bad on me when I give you permission to do so and at no other time.
This quotation from Powell is very telling, however:
"It would seem to me that while we get a lot of broadcasting companies complaining about indecency enforcement, they seem to be continuing to be willing to keep the issue at the forefront, keep it hot and steamy in order to get financial gains and the free advertising it provides," Powell said during an interview on CNBC.
In essence, he is saying, "If you cooperate with us, you will have no reason to complain about us." Isn't that a classic line from the Handbook of Thuggery? It's in the chapter about extortion.
The second item is really what galls me, though.
ABC quickly apologized for the locker room intro. And the NFL called it "inappropriate and unsuitable for our 'Monday Night Football' audience."
There is no reason to apologize for that.
Also, though I am not part of the Monday Night Football audience, I think I speak for a majority of them when I say that it was not inappropriate or unsuitable for them.
Not that it should matter to the government whether or not it was inappropriate or unsuitable for any of them at all.
And though obscenity is not a concern for the government, there is certainly a moral question here: Is it moral or immoral to apologize when one did nothing wrong?
The FCC and the tiny, little tyrants and bullies all over this country rely on apologies like this. As Ayn Rand would put it, they rely on the sanction of their victims and ABC is giving them just what they want.
ABC has something to be sorry for now: that apology.
I am reminded of Hank Rearden's trial in Atlas Shrugged.
One of the judges, acting as prosecutor, had read the charges. "You may now offer whatever plea you wish to make in your own defense," he announced.
Facing the platform, his voice inflectionless and peculiarly clear, Hank Rearden answered:
"I have no defense."
""Do you-" The judge stumbled; he had not expected it to be that easy. "Do you throw yourself upon the mercy of this court?"
"I do not recognize this court's right to try me"."
"I do not recognize this court's right to try me."
"But, Mr. Rearden, this is the legally appointed court to try this particular category of crime."
"I do not recognize my action as a crime."
"But you have admitted that you have broken our regulations controlling the sale of your Metal."
"I do not recognize your right to control the sale of my Metal."
"Is it necessary for me to point out that your recognition was not required?"
"No, I am fully aware of it and I am acting accordingly."
He noted the stillness of the room. By the rules of the complicated pretense which all those people played for one another's benefit, they should have considered his stand as incomprehensible folly; there should have been rustles of astonishment and derision; there were none; they sat still; they understood.
Do you mean that you are refusing to obey the law?" asked the judge.
"No. I am complying with the law - to the letter. Your law holds that my life, my work and my property may be disposed of without my consent. Very well, you may now dispose of me without my participation in the matter. I will not play the part of defending myself, where no defense is possible, and I will not simulate the illusion of dealing with a tribunal of justice."
November 15, 2004
While we're at it, could be please stop referring to ourselves as "the land of the free?" Maybe we could call ourselves "the land of the most free slaves in the modern world."
The Constitution was written to establish limits on, here comes the shocker, THE GOVERNMENT. The Constitution was written to establish the universal supremacy of the individual and protect his rights from the whims, machinations, and righteous indignation of the mob.
This is not a democracy! This is a constitutional republic and that is way better.
I'm not sure when our representatives felt it their perogative to do less than protect the rights of citizens, but all this talk of amendments makes it very clear that they are shirking their jobs for something more lucrative: robbery and slave trading. (As if the other signs weren't plain as day.)
This amendment question is bigger than just that of who should be allowed to visit whom in the hospital. Mark my words: gay or straight, the very idea of an amendment establishing a definition for the word marriage is a threat to your freedom.
Naturally, I oppose them both -- I'm nothing if not obstinate about my rights -- but I'm interested in seeing what folks have to say.
Here's a link to a National Sales Tax plan.
And here's a link to a flat tax write-up.
November 11, 2004
November 08, 2004
Case in point: I just heard Georgia's soon-to-be, new, Republican Speaker of the House, Glenn Richardson, obviously emboldened by the 78% popular endorsement of Georgia's state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, say that "marriage by any name is between a man and a woman" and that civil unions are "out of the question."
Who the f!bomb are these people to say what I will and will not do with my stuff?
Straight folks! Wake up! This applies to you, too!
The government is not concerned with your romantic affiliations.
The government is not concerned about whether or not you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
The government is not concerned with who yanks your crank.
What the government IS concerned with is your property and who is allowed to do what with it.
Marriage, from the government's perspective, is NOTHING more than short-hand for a very complex contractual relationship between you and someone else and its impact on your respective property.
That's right! As unromantic and callous as it sounds, marriage is just a contract. Gay men can marry gay women at any moment and the government of the state of Georgia will honor and defend your respective rights in that contractual relationship. But if parties of that agreement are of the same sex, the state will not.
How is that fair to ANYONE?
Try this one on for size, my hetero-readers: As a gay man, I might marry a lesbian. Together, the state will afford us benefits and all kinds of niceties. My lesbian wife can then have an affair with ladies and I can go romp with the men-folk.
Under ordinary circumstances infidelity is grounds for divorce. Given that we are both professed homosexuals, however, does it not stand to reason that infidelity is even expected given that we are not inclined to consummate our marriage physically and that is well known by all upon formation of the union?
Does that or does it not fundamentally alter the 'institution' of marriage?
Only if you think it's more than a contractual relationship about property.
But Republicans prefer to delude themselves into thinking that marriage is "a fundamental building block of our society" and that gay marriage will "undermine the very foundation of western civilization."
Pardon me, ladies and gentlemen, but that is complete bullsh!t. Marriage is not a fundamental biulding block of our society. Gay marriage will not invalidate heterosexual marriage nor will it desanctify those so-called holy unions.
There is no rational argument against allowing gay people to enter into the same sorts of contractual arrangements as heterosexual people.
The only argument that could be made in opposition to state-recognized gay marriage is that the state should not recognize marriage as a contract different from any other regardless of what kinds or amounts of people form those contracts. I even think that there are terms of the marriage contract, particularly those regarding mutual ownership of property, that are not rationally defensible.
But so long as the state is in the business of recognizing marriages, there is no reason gays should not be allowed to join the fun.
LONDON, England -- Police investigating a train crash in southern England in which seven people died are focusing on a theory that a driver parked a car on the rails in an attempt to commit suicide.
I think it needs to be said: Suicide is not a good answer for pretty much anything that you might encounter in your life.
Is it worthwhile to blow yourself up to kill a few Jews? No.
Is it worthwhile to shoot yourself to protest the presidential election? No.
Is it worthwhile to drink poison because this ice-cream is so good that you can't live when life is never going to be this good again? Unlikely.
The problem with this scene is that the man parked his car on the train tracks to commit suicide. It would have been easier, less costly, and other people probably would not have died, if he had just gotten out of the car. He still would have died but it would have been less of a disaster for the rest of us.
He ruined a train. He ruined several other people. He ruined the car. He ruined himself.
There are better ways to commit suicide, people! What happened to the days when folks would just stick their heads in the oven or leave their car running in the garage?
Nooo... people have to get all dramatic about it.
Mark my words: This is the influence of cable television.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A 25-year-old from Georgia who was distraught over President Bush's re-election apparently killed himself at ground zero.
Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits area of the former World Trade Center site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.
So, this guy hates George W. Bush so much that he drove some 14 hours or so to the site of America's most devastating terrorist attack and killed himself in an effort to say to the world, "I hate George Bush so much right now!!"
First of all, driving to New York to protest? I don't think so. If I'm going to protest something I really don't think I'm going to leave my yard, let alone the state. Maybe that's just me, a blogger with an armchair.
Second of all, how is the World Trade Center a good place to protest Dubby? I mean, isn't that more like a statement of sorrow over our loss after the terrorist attack? Like he can't bear to live after such a loss for which justice has yet to be completely served?
Third, and maybe most importantly, suicide? You don't kill yourself to protest something, yo. You kill OTHER people to protest what they're doing. The whole point of protest is to stop or slow people from doing what you don't like. If you kill yourself, you're really just getting out of the way. Not effective protest.
So, to the world: If you are upset about Dubby being president again, don't kill yourself in protest. You can kill yourself if you want, I don't care, but just know that it is not an effective protest because when it's all over, Dubby will still be president and you will be dead. There is no way that adds up to something good for you.
November 07, 2004
GRANTSBURG, Wisconsin (AP) -- School officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed.
Members of Grantsburg's school board believed that a state law governing the teaching of evolution was too restrictive. The science curriculum "should not be totally inclusive of just one scientific theory," said Joni Burgin, superintendent of the district of 1,000 students in northwest Wisconsin.
There have been scattered efforts around the nation for other school boards to adopt similar measures. Last month the Dover Area School Board in Pennsylvania voted to require the teaching of alternative theories to evolution, including "intelligent design" -- the idea that life is too complex to have developed without a creator.
First of all, let me comment on the phrase "totally inclusive of just one scientific theory." So, are they saying that the curriculum should contain only parts of any given theory?
I doubt that teachers are teaching just one scientific theory in their classes. What about relativity? What about electormagnetism? In my highschool, we even discussed a little bit of quantum theory.
The real key to this is the word "scientific." Religion is not scientific. Faith is not scientific. Creationism is not scientific.
There should be no objection to teachers teaching all manner of scientific material to students, but that does not subsume ideas derived from mythology, emotion, or conjecture.
Science is rigorous in its standards and clearly defines what may and may not be called a theory. Creationism is not a theory; it's a fairy tale.
It is incredible to me that we are still having this debate here in the year 2004 and to the extent that we are seriously debating this matter is the extent to which our children will be ill-equipped to confront the facts of reality as they grow up believing the wanting is sufficient foundation for truth and is even stronger than the facts themselves for providing insight into life in reality.
November 03, 2004
Have you ever noticed how the really good and really bad things in life polarize folks? Lost in Translation is a good example. Lots of people hate it. Lots of people love it. Clearly, it's either really good or really bad. Given that it sucked, we should all agree that it was really bad.
America is that way. America is really, really good. It's not George Bush people hate, they just hate how he has brought up the fact that America is so good. Before, the Anti-Americans were content to grumble about it and work on their subversive plots to bring it down. But Dubby put the spotlight on them and now they're upset.
People around the world were already Pro- or Anti-American, they just weren't saying so.
I think it's good that this has come up and people are so divided. Now if only we could get all the Anti-Americans to move to North Korea so we can bomb them all at once.
I'm actually kind of pissed that people aren't MORE divided on this matter. I think George Bush is slacking a bit and the lack of polarity is telling on the matter.
I have to put things that way lest someone mistake me for a supporter of the Republican Party and all that it has in store for the American people. It is sufficient at the moment to say that I do not.
My friend pointed out that George Bush hates me. In his words, our president hates me because I am the member of a minority, that sinful lower 10% (ish) of the population that is homosexual. It cannot be denied.
Another friend of mine said that she does not think Bush hates me as a homosexual. I smiled grimly to that and said, "I have no doubt that he is one of those hypocritical Christians without the strength of his convictions; his claim is that he hates the sin not the sinner." I make no such distinction as the sin does not exist without the sinner. George Bush does hate me because I'm gay whether he admits it or not.
But my being gay is not something George Bush or any soft-headed, right-wing mystic can take from me. If Bush were a white supremacist, he could not take the color from racial minorities. If he were someone who hates fat people, wheel chairs, or ben gay, he could not make people thin, walk, or young again.
Something that can be taken from me is my money, my property, my freedom to move and speak my mind.
In the end, George Bush will likely take some of each of those things from me, indeed he already has with things like medicare legislation, campaign finance reform, and even the Patriot Act.
I did not vote for John Kerry though. When it comes to hating me, John Kerry hates me and many others for another reason. In the most essential ways, John Kerry hates me for the same reason George Bush hates me, but on the surface there is some nuance to grasp. John Kerry hates me for my success.
When my friend told me that George Bush hates me as a minority, I told him that John Kerry hates a minority, too. He hates the rich. He hates the independent. He hates me, too.
I am a person not destined for success. I am a person who has chosen success. I am a person who has chosen happiness. I am a person who has chosen freedom. And John Kerry explicitly hates me for that.
How do I know this? Because John Kerry is a Liberal, whether he will admit it or not. But he has stated explicitly how much he thinks the "rich" should be punished for being rich and how they owe something to those who can't or won't do for themselves. Kerry has stated that he doesn't think that the defense of our freedom is worthwhile unless other countries agree to it.
John Kerry is of the political breed that venerates minorities for the fact that they are so woefully downtrodden. I'm gay, so John Kerry wants to love me because I have to put up with people yelling silly things from their cars when they see me holding hands with a date. John Kerry thinks it's an outrageous thing that three of every four of my fellow Georgians think I am unworthy of a union recognized by the state. (Sometimes Kerry agrees, but let's not digress.)
But John Kerry hates me because for reasons that are unclear to him and those who support him; I am successful. "The man" can't hold me down.
There are others like me. Some of them are some kind of minority or another. The kind that are most loathed by Kerry are the rich. In that we are all singular individuals we are each our own minority.
Nevermind that without the "rich" there is no poor. Nevermind that apart from people who get paid by the government for failure, laziness, and general worthlessness, we all have to earn what we own. Nevermind the fact that what we earn is ours and not, as Liberals often believe, everyone else's.
To add insult to injury, I'm not the sort of person who can be anything else but successful. My accomplishments are as certain to me as Newton's apple falling to the ground because they come from my mind and my hands as a result of who I am. My very identity as an individual and the success it brings is, for my intents and purposes, axiomatic.
John Kerry hates me for what I am and if we look back, George Bush is the same. There is so little difference between the two that it is hardly worth the effort to make a distinction. Unfortunately, a distinction is to be made and I voted for George Bush.
Just don't tell me George Bush hates me. I know all about it.
One of the questions put before the nation now is what is to become of the Democratic party? After such a resounding defeat, what can the party learn in order to become a dominant force in American politics again.
I have a few ideas.
It's been done. We all know it doesn't work even in small measures. The Republican Party beats Democrats here because of the lip service they pay to Capitalism.
Don't let's be fooled by the Republicans. Let's actually have some real Capitalists in politics! If the Democrats made that move, many of the off-chart voters such as myself would have been hard-pressed to find a reason to vote for Dubby.
Do Not Question the Virtue of America, the Land of the Free
Democrats know all about some social freedoms. The Democratic party is full of pot-heads, orgy-goers, abortionists, and devil-wirshippers. We all know it. Now, how can you make that a virtue in the eyes of the far right? Well, you can't. But what about the near right? Get loud about it.
It is as much my RIGHT to engage in "wang tag" as it is to ride the baloney pony to tuna town. And if you don't back up out of my business I'm about to get real up in your grill.
That's the attitude the Democratic party needs. Do not apologize for being right. Do not apologize for being the best. AND DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!
But it doesn't stop there; it's not just other Americans trying to tame the natural heathenry of Americans.
Terrorists hate our freaky ways and for that they should be bombed.
The Democratic party has a terrible mix of ideas right now. That's why they lose. They need to pick the things they have that are better than the Republicans and throw away the rest.
In practice, this will result in a major schism in the Republican party between the near and far right. The "near right" is more predisposed to the classical liberal ideas of individual freedom minus the religious moralizing of the far right, but it comes at a price -- an understanding of basic microeconomics.
Surely the Democrats can afford to take a lesson from Adam Smith, von Mises, and Hayek. Maybe Madam T.H. Kerry can foot the bill.
Basically, the oldest party in the nation needs to get back to its roots and join the rest of us here in the real world.
ATLANTA (AP) Flooding the polls in what looked to be record numbers, Georgia voters picked President Bush, sent Republican Johnny Isakson to the Senate to replace maverick Democrat Zell Miller, and endorsed a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Now, the exact wording of the amendment I voted against read, "Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?"
I would swear to you that when I voted it actually said, "one man and one woman" but my protestation is the same on behalf of gays and polygamists alike.
When I express my disappointment over the state's approval of Amendment 1, at least one has remarked, "You can't lose what you never had."
Point of fact, however, it wasn't banned before. Polygamy and gay marriage were both things that were not expressly forbidden by and constitutionally defensible law. Technically, speaking they were permitted.
Now, however, our state constitution will forbid gay marriage.
Here what your ballot says: Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?
But that is just Section (a) of the amendment. What you don’t see is Section (b), which does a lot more than just define marriage.
Section (b) No union between persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage. This state shall not give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state or jurisdiction respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other state or jurisdiction. The courts of this state shall have no jurisdiction to grant a divorce or separate maintenance with respect to any such relationship or otherwise to consider or rule on any of the partiesÂ´ respective rights arising as a result of or in connection with such relationship.
Basically Section (b) says any same sex unions created in other states and the rights that come with them will not be recognized in Georgia. It goes further to restrict Georgia courts from considering or ruling on disputes that come up in those same sex relationships.
It is very sad to me that Americans seem to have forgotten that freedom is the default here. It is the fundamental principle that our government was set forth to protect and ensure for ourselves as citizens. Nevertheless, here we go, voting ourselves into slavery; ELECTING to thwart freedom.
Gays getting married has nothing to do with heterosexuals. Nothing at all.
The word "marriage" does not include a description of what two entities are united. Animal husbandry is an appropriate term because it means what it says. In terms of government, marriage is an agreement, a contract, between individuals regarding their property.
But there are Americans who seem to think that it is important that some people are not allowed to mix their property in this way. Wise or no, what business is it of theirs if they have no intention of exercising that freedom?
November 2, 2004 is a grim day in history. What with Ohio outstanding, I can only hope it doesn't get worse, but with people voting the way they do, I can't say America deserves any better.
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