Monday, December 31, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it’s hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn’t feel the same anymore. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and those who don’t celebrate it overwhelmingly accept and respect our nation’s Christmas traditions, a certain shared public sentiment slowly has disappeared. The Christmas spirit, marked by a wonderful feeling of goodwill among men, is in danger of being lost in the ongoing war against religion.
Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.
This growing bias explains why many of our wonderful Christmas traditions have been lost. Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel’s Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” Even wholly non-religious decorations featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, and the like have been called into question as Christmas symbols that might cause discomfort. Earlier this month, firemen near Chicago reluctantly removed Christmas decorations from their firehouse after a complaint by some embittered busybody. Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.
The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.
The War on Religion
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
December 30, 2003
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Faith and Thought has a great piece on the politics of non-interventionism vs. isolationism. Here's an excerpt:
One of the most common criticisms I hear about Ron Paul is that he is an “isolationist.” Of course, labels can mean just about anything. Paul has repeatedly said that he does not favor isolationism; that he desires trade and diplomatic relations with all nations; that his foreign policy is best described as “non-interventionism.” Further, he has made the argument that his views are in line with the vision of our foreign policy laid out by the Founding Fathers, and as recently as 50 years ago were the settled position of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. On these historical observations he is undeniably correct, though his critics would no doubt dismiss Washington, Jefferson, and Robert Taft as fellow “isolationists.”
But what about the argument in favor of “non-interventionism”? Typically, the folks I have heard criticize Ron Paul are conservatives who support President Bush’s foreign policy, particularly the war in Iraq. And to those critics I would say that it is simply not that case that the only options are Bush’s policies or isolationism. There is a better course. America should pursue a foreign policy of prudence, one that serves as the shield of our republic.
True conservatives, by definition, are prudent. And as such, conservatives are deeply suspicious of ideologies, whether promoted from the left or the right. This is especially the case of various efforts to perfect mankind, whether through domestic programs such as the “war on poverty,” or through military efforts to “make the world safe for democracy.”
Though Bush campaigned as a conservative (“a humble foreign policy”), in reality he has completely committed to an ideology just as misguided as Lyndon Johnson’s domestic policies or Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policies. Indeed, it is the latter parallel that is especially troubling. Wilson was convinced that American military intervention could “bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free” (quoting his speech before Congress asking for a war declaration on Germany). Similarly, Bush declared in his second inaugural: “So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
American foreign policy has always been a balancing act between idealism and realism.
But objectives such as bringing peace and safety to all nations, or ending tyranny in our world, transcend idealism completely. Such hubristic aims could only emerge from the belief that American military might can do for nations what social programs can do for individuals. But just as conservatives opposed the efforts of liberals to end poverty through social engineering, we must also oppose efforts to end tyranny (or insert your favorite boogeyman: islamofacism, terror, etc) through international engineering. And, just as social programs often made the problems they were designed to solve much worse, so has it often been the case with such foreign policies. It is a bit ironic that many of the same people who attack Ron Paul as an isolationist have supported the policies of this administration which have isolated us more than ever.
Read the entire piece here.
Friday, December 14, 2007
An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense - perhaps more clearly and subtly than many consistent defenders of laissez-faire - that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument of laissez-faire and that each implies and requires the other.
In order to understand the source of their antagonism, it is necessary first to understand the specific role of gold in a free society.
Money is the common denominator of all economic transactions. It is that commodity which serves as a medium of exchange, is universally acceptable to all participants in an exchange economy as payment for their goods or services, and can, therefore, be used as a standard of market value and as a store of value, i.e., as a means of saving.
The existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy. If men did not have some commodity of objective value which was generally acceptable as money, they would have to resort to primitive barter or be forced to live on self-sufficient farms and forgo the inestimable advantages of specialization. If men had no means to store value, i.e., to save, neither long-range planning nor exchange would be possible.
What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily. First, the medium of exchange should be durable. In a primitive society of meager wealth, wheat might be sufficiently durable to serve as a medium, since all exchanges would occur only during and immediately after the harvest, leaving no value-surplus to store. But where store-of-value considerations are important, as they are in richer, more civilized societies, the medium of exchange must be a durable commodity, usually a metal. A metal is generally chosen because it is homogeneous and divisible: every unit is the same as every other and it can be blended or formed in any quantity. Precious jewels, for example, are neither homogeneous nor divisible. More important, the commodity chosen as a medium must be a luxury. Human desires for luxuries are unlimited and, therefore, luxury goods are always in demand and will always be acceptable. Wheat is a luxury in underfed civilizations, but not in a prosperous society. Cigarettes ordinarily would not serve as money, but they did in post-World War II Europe where they were considered a luxury. The term "luxury good" implies scarcity and high unit value. Having a high unit value, such a good is easily portable; for instance, an ounce of gold is worth a half-ton of pig iron.
In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value, will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale.
Whether the single medium is gold, silver, seashells, cattle, or tobacco is optional, depending on the context and development of a given economy. In fact, all have been employed, at various times, as media of exchange. Even in the present century, two major commodities, gold and silver, have been used as international media of exchange, with gold becoming the predominant one. Gold, having both artistic and functional uses and being relatively scarce, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange. Since the beginning of World War I, it has been virtually the sole international standard of exchange. If all goods and services were to be paid for in gold, large payments would be difficult to execute and this would tend to limit the extent of a society's divisions of labor and specialization. Thus a logical extension of the creation of a medium of exchange is the development of a banking system and credit instruments (bank notes and deposits) which act as a substitute for, but are convertible into, gold.
A free banking system based on gold is able to extend credit and thus to create bank notes (currency) and deposits, according to the production requirements of the economy. Individual owners of gold are induced, by payments of interest, to deposit their gold in a bank (against which they can draw checks). But since it is rarely the case that all depositors want to withdraw all their gold at the same time, the banker need keep only a fraction of his total deposits in gold as reserves. This enables the banker to loan out more than the amount of his gold deposits (which means that he holds claims to gold rather than gold as security of his deposits). But the amount of loans which he can afford to make is not arbitrary: he has to gauge it in relation to his reserves and to the status of his investments.
When banks loan money to finance productive and profitable endeavors, the loans are paid off rapidly and bank credit continues to be generally available. But when the business ventures financed by bank credit are less profitable and slow to pay off, bankers soon find that their loans outstanding are excessive relative to their gold reserves, and they begin to curtail new lending, usually by charging higher interest rates. This tends to restrict the financing of new ventures and requires the existing borrowers to improve their profitability before they can obtain credit for further expansion. Thus, under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth. When gold is accepted as the medium of exchange by most or all nations, an unhampered free international gold standard serves to foster a world-wide division of labor and the broadest international trade. Even though the units of exchange (the dollar, the pound, the franc, etc.) differ from country to country, when all are defined in terms of gold the economies of the different countries act as one-so long as there are no restraints on trade or on the movement of capital. Credit, interest rates, and prices tend to follow similar patterns in all countries. For example, if banks in one country extend credit too liberally, interest rates in that country will tend to fall, inducing depositors to shift their gold to higher-interest paying banks in other countries. This will immediately cause a shortage of bank reserves in the "easy money" country, inducing tighter credit standards and a return to competitively higher interest rates again.
A fully free banking system and fully consistent gold standard have not as yet been achieved. But prior to World War I, the banking system in the United States (and in most of the world) was based on gold and even though governments intervened occasionally, banking was more free than controlled. Periodically, as a result of overly rapid credit expansion, banks became loaned up to the limit of their gold reserves, interest rates rose sharply, new credit was cut off, and the economy went into a sharp, but short-lived recession. (Compared with the depressions of 1920 and 1932, the pre-World War I business declines were mild indeed.) It was limited gold reserves that stopped the unbalanced expansions of business activity, before they could develop into the post-World Was I type of disaster. The readjustment periods were short and the economies quickly reestablished a sound basis to resume expansion.
But the process of cure was misdiagnosed as the disease: if shortage of bank reserves was causing a business decline-argued economic interventionists-why not find a way of supplying increased reserves to the banks so they never need be short! If banks can continue to loan money indefinitely-it was claimed-there need never be any slumps in business. And so the Federal Reserve System was organized in 1913. It consisted of twelve regional Federal Reserve banks nominally owned by private bankers, but in fact government sponsored, controlled, and supported. Credit extended by these banks is in practice (though not legally) backed by the taxing power of the federal government. Technically, we remained on the gold standard; individuals were still free to own gold, and gold continued to be used as bank reserves. But now, in addition to gold, credit extended by the Federal Reserve banks ("paper reserves") could serve as legal tender to pay depositors.
When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve's attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain's gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The "Fed" succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market-triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930's.
With a logic reminiscent of a generation earlier, statists argued that the gold standard was largely to blame for the credit debacle which led to the Great Depression. If the gold standard had not existed, they argued, Britain's abandonment of gold payments in 1931 would not have caused the failure of banks all over the world. (The irony was that since 1913, we had been, not on a gold standard, but on what may be termed "a mixed gold standard"; yet it is gold that took the blame.) But the opposition to the gold standard in any form-from a growing number of welfare-state advocates-was prompted by a much subtler insight: the realization that the gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending (the hallmark of the welfare state). Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.
Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy's tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government's promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates. Thus, government deficit spending under a gold standard is severely limited. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which-through a complex series of steps-the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold. The holder of a government bond or of a bank deposit created by paper reserves believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets. The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion.
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.
This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.
Alan Greenspan originally wrote this piece for The Objectivist, published in 1966. It was reprinted in Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. The original can be found here. Amazing how his actions differed so greatly from his words.
Monday, December 10, 2007
"It would appear that on the level of individual nations and of international relations the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs."
-Pope John Paul II
May 1, 1991
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
There is a sharp difference between nationalism and patriotism. Patriotism is "the wholesome love of one’s land and people." Nationalism, on the other hand, is an "unhealthy love of one’s government, accompanied by the aggressive desire to put down others – which becomes in deracinated modern men a substitute for religious faith." Patriotism is necessary for people who wish to preserve their freedom; nationalism is not. In fact, it is always a great enemy of freedom.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is one of the best articles I've read articulating Ron Paul's positions concerning matters that directly pertain to the Catholic faith. The author, Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a prominent U.S. and Catholic historian. You can view the original article here.
In the tradition of Walter Block’s Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul and Laurence Vance’s Open Letter to the Protestant Community in Behalf of Ron Paul, I’d like to say a few words to my fellow Catholics.
Never in my life have I felt as strongly about a presidential candidate – or about any politician, for that matter – as I do about Dr. Ron Paul, Republican congressman from Texas. I’ve gone from being someone so disgusted with politics that I can’t bear to read about it to being a political junkie, avidly following the activities and successes of this great man.
As an American historian, I am not aware of any congressman in American history whose voting record is so stellar, and so consistently in accord with the Constitution.
Beyond that, Ron Paul is not a panderer. He’ll speak to an interest group and tell them to their faces that he has opposed and will continue to oppose funding their pet projects. Lobbyists know they’re wasting their money if they try to wine and dine him. He recently spoke before the national convention of an organization aimed at protecting the interests of a particular ethnic group, and began by saying: "Somebody asked me whether I had a special speech for your group, and I said, no, it’s the same speech I give everywhere."
Already by 1981, Ron Paul had earned the highest rating ever given by the National Taxpayers Union, received the highest rating from the Council for a Competitive Economy, and won the Liberty Award from the American Economic Council for being "America’s outstanding defender of economic and personal freedom."
Dr. Paul, who entered Congress in 1976 and returned to his medical practice in 1984, picked up where he left off when he returned to Congress in the 1996 election. I do not expect to see his like again.
He is also a good and decent man, who really is what he appears to be when you hear him speak. As a physician at an inner-city hospital, Ron Paul provided medical care to anyone who needed it, regardless of ability to pay. He never accepted money from Medicare or Medicaid, preferring to provide free care instead. That’s what people in a free society are supposed to do: be responsible for themselves, and then lend their assistance to those who are vulnerable and alone.
Ron Paul is a candidate who doesn’t insult his listeners’ intelligence, who answers the questions he is asked, and who doesn’t simply say whatever his audience wants to hear. And unlike other major names in the race, Ron Paul doesn’t have to run away from his record, which reveals an unswerving commitment to peace, freedom, and prosperity that is second to none in all of American history.
Although I would have supported Ron Paul back before I converted to Catholicism, I think Catholics will like what they see when they examine his record. Over at Defend Life, Ron Paul comes out decisively on top in a study of the candidates’ positions on the issues according to the guidelines recently established by the United States bishops. (If anything, I think this study understates Paul’s compatibility with Catholic teaching.)
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.
In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
On home schooling, Ron Paul has proposed legislation giving tax credits worth thousands of dollars to reimburse the educational expenses of home-schooling parents, as well as those of parents who send their children to other kinds of schools. What presidential candidate speaks like this?
Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family. By moving to restore the primacy of parents to education, the Family Education Freedom Act will not only improve America’s education, it will restore a parent’s right to choose how best to educate one’s own child, a fundamental freedom that has been eroded by the increase in federal education expenditures and the corresponding decrease in the ability of parents to provide for their children’s education out of their own pockets.
When it comes to abortion, Ron Paul – an obstetrician/gynecologist who has delivered over 4,000 babies – has been a consistent opponent of Roe v. Wade, which he rightly considers unconstitutional. But he has no interest in the failed strategy of the past 35 years whereby we sit and wait for a remedy in the form of good Supreme Court justices. His HR 300 would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion, as per Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. That would overturn Roe by a simple congressional majority.
Then we could see who is sincere on the issue, and who is just exploiting it for votes. Few in either party really want to see the abortion status quo overturned, since it means they can’t scare their supporters into sending them as much money anymore.
Upon the Pope’s death in 2005, Ron Paul paid tribute to John Paul’s consistent defense of life. On another occasion, he offered an additional tribute, of the sort few politicians would utter:
To the secularists, this was John Paul II’s unforgivable sin – he placed service to God above service to the state. Most politicians view the state, not God, as the supreme ruler on earth. They simply cannot abide a theology that does not comport with their vision of unlimited state power. This is precisely why both conservatives and liberals savaged John Paul II when his theological pronouncements did not fit their goals. But perhaps their goals simply were not godly.
Speaking of John Paul II, it is important to remember that that pope was a strong opponent of the U.S. government’s attack on Iraq, sending his personal representative, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to Washington shortly before the commencement of hostilities in order to insist to the president that such a war would be unjust. The Pope’s first comments after the war broke out were these: "When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society."
Before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked if a U.S. government attack on Iraq would be just. "Certainly not," came the reply. He predicted that "the damage would be greater than the values one wishes to save."
After the war ended, Ratzinger said: "It was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction…. It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world." "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq," he elsewhere observed. "To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war.’"
Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in this obviously avoidable war, a war that was based on falsehoods that we would have laughed at if they’d been uttered by Leonid Brezhnev. But since they came from the White House we cheer as for a football team, and duck the appalling material and moral consequences. A country that (by regional standards) once had an excellent health care system, opportunities for women, liberal gun and alcohol laws, and – yes – lots of immigrants, was turned into a disease-ridden basket case, filled with dead, wounded, and malnourished children, for no good reason.
That’s just wrong, and it isn’t "liberal" to say so.
Likewise, Ratzinger/Benedict is not a "liberal" for opposing the war. He is a moral conservative, but a man whose conservatism is more mature than the sloganeering jingoism of so much of what passes for conservatism in today’s America. Ron Paul is an equally sober and serious statesman, and for that reason was one of very few Republicans with the courage and the foresight to oppose this economic and moral fiasco from the very start.
It is especially satisfying to learn that in the second quarter of 2007, Ron Paul received more donations from active duty and retired military personnel than any other Republican candidate. By the third quarter, he was receiving more than any other presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican. Want to support the troops? Then support Ron Paul.
My main argument to you, though, is not a specifically Catholic one. It’s one that should resonate with anybody who values honesty, integrity, and decency. Ron Paul is a good man who believes in justice and the Constitution, and who cannot be bought. His ten terms in Congress have proven that again and again.
And that is why the media fears him. Unlike the rest of them, Ron Paul is unowned.
Now every establishment hack out there wants you to vote for one of the business-as-usual candidates. Are you really so happy with the establishment that its endorsement or cajoling means anything to you? If anything, it should make us all the more interested in Ron Paul – the one candidate the establishment fears, since they know their game is up if he should win.
Far from being in the unhappy position of a candidate whose children won’t even speak to him, Ron Paul is fortunate to have family members all over the campaign trail on his behalf. He has been married to the same woman for 50 years, and has been blessed with five children and eighteen grandchildren. There are some family values.
Just think: for once, you don’t have to choose the lesser among evils. You can finally vote for someone. You can not only be happy, but actually honored, to cast your vote for Ron Paul.
But don’t just vote for him. Find out about him, and get out there and spread the word.
Friday, November 16, 2007
"It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority,
keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
-Samuel Adams - Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
In the name of clamping down on "terrorist uprisings" in Pakistan, General Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. The true motivations behind this action however, are astonishingly transparent, as the reports come in that mainly lawyers and opposition party members are being arrested and harassed. Supreme Court justices are held in house arrest after indicating some reluctance to certify the legitimacy of Musharraf's recent re-election.
Meanwhile, terrorist threats on US interests may be more likely to originate from Pakistan, a country to which we have sent $10 billion.
Now we are placed in the difficult position of either continuing to support a military dictator who has taken some blatantly un-Democratic courses of action, or withdrawing support and angering this nuclear-capable country. The administration is carefully negotiating this tight-rope by "reviewing Pakistan's foreign aid package" and asking Musharraf to relinquish his military title and schedule elections.
By the time he complies with the requests of the White House sufficiently to continue to receive his "allowance," courtesy of the American taxpayer, his mission will be accomplished. A more friendly Supreme Court will be installed and enough of the opposition party will be jailed or detained to assure an outcome of the elections that will meet with his approval. All the while, our administration lauds Musharraf as a trusted friend and ally.
So much for a War on Terror. So much for making the world safe for democracy.
Free trade means no sanctions against Iran, or Cuba or anyone else for that matter. Entangling alliances with no one means no foreign aid to Pakistan, or Egypt, or Israel, or anyone else for that matter. If an American citizen determines a foreign country or cause is worthy of their money, let them send it, and encourage their neighbors to send money too, but our government has no authority to use hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to mire us in these nightmarishly complicated, no-win entangling alliances.
When we look at global situations today, the words of our founding fathers are becoming more relevant daily. We need to understand that a simple, humble foreign policy makes us less vulnerable and less targeted on the world stage. Pakistan should not be getting an "allowance" from us and we should not be propping up military dictators that oppress people. We should mind our own business and stop the oppressive taxation of Americans that makes this meddling possible.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Word of God teaches that the Christian is a free man and should “stand in the freedom which Christ has made him free.” What is meant by Christian freedom? What is freedom in general? We answer: it is not the right and the ability to do as one pleases, but the ability to move without constraint in the sphere for which God made us. Freedom therefore is not inconsistent with limitation and law. The bird is free only when it can move in the air unhindered. A worm is free when it is not prevented from moving in the ground--in a sphere which would mean bondage and death for many other creatures. A locomotive is not free unless its motion is confined to the two rails on which it was made to run. Man was made in the image of God to be like Him and to reflect his holiness. Consequently he is free only when he moves without constraint in the sphere of holiness and obedience to God’s law.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Significant portions of this article are excerpted from Michael Z. Williamson's excellent and witty piece, "It's amazing what one has to believe to believe in gun control"
1. Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, & Chicago cops need guns.
2. Washington DC's low murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Indianapolis' high murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3. Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are "just statistics."
4. The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994 are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5. We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
6. The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
7. An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
9. When confronted by violent criminals, you should "put up no defense -- give them what they want, or run" (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die - People Do, 1981, p.125).
10. The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns & Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
11. One should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for internal medicine, a computer programmer for hard drive problems, and Sarah Brady for firearms expertise.
12. The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, refers to the National Guard, which was created 130 years later, in 1917.
13. The National Guard, federally funded, with bases on federal land, using federally-owned weapons, vehicles, buildings and uniforms, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a "state" militia.
14. These phrases: "right of the people peaceably to assemble," "right of the people to be secure in their homes," "enumerations herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people," and "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people" all refer to individuals, but "the right of the people to keep and bear arm" refers to the state.
15. "The Constitution is strong and will never change." But we should ban and seize all guns thereby violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments to that Constitution.
16. Rifles and handguns aren't necessary to national defense! Of course, the army has hundreds of thousands of them.
17. Private citizens shouldn't have handguns, because they aren't "military weapons", but private citizens shouldn't have "assault rifles", because they are military weapons.
18. In spite of waiting periods, background checks, finger printing, government forms, etc., guns today are too readily available, which is responsible for recent school shootings. In the 1940's, 1950's and1960's, anyone could buy guns at hardware stores, army surplus stores, gas stations, variety stores, Sears mail order, no waiting, no background check, no fingerprints, no government forms and there were no school shootings.
19. The NRA's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids handling guns is propaganda, but the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.
20. Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
21. A handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has 20.
22. Women are just as intelligent and capable as men but a woman with a gun is "an accident waiting to happen" and gun makers' advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."
23. Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
24. Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.
25. A majority of the population supports gun control, just like a majority of the population supported owning slaves.
26. Any self-loading small arm can legitimately be considered to be a "weapon of mass destruction" or an "assault weapon."
27. Most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.
28. The right of Internet pornographers to exist cannot be questioned because it is constitutionally protected by the Bill of Rights, but the use of handguns for self defense is not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
29. Free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters, computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.
30. The ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts of the Constitution.
31. Charlton Heston, a movie actor as president of the NRA is a cheap lunatic who should be ignored, but Michael Douglas, a movie actor as a representative of Handgun Control, Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN arms control summit.
32. Police operate with backup within groups, which is why they need larger capacity pistol magazines than do "civilians" who must face criminals alone and therefore need less ammunition.
33. We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
34. Police officers have some special Jedi-like mastery over hand guns that private citizens can never hope to obtain.
35. Private citizens don't need a gun for self-protection because the police are there to protect them even though the Supreme Court says the police are not responsible for their protection.
36. Citizens don't need to carry a gun for personal protection but police chiefs, who are desk-bound administrators who work in a building filled with cops, need a gun.
37. "Assault weapons" have no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people. The police need assault weapons. You do not.
38. When Microsoft pressures its distributors to give Microsoft preferential promotion, that's bad; but when the Federal government pressures cities to buy guns only from Smith & Wesson, that's good.
39. Trigger locks do not interfere with the ability to use a gun for defensive purposes, which is why you see police officers with one on their duty weapon.
40. Handgun Control, Inc. says they want to "keep guns out of the wrong hands." Guess what? You have the wrong hands.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Would you rather be a Neoconservative or a Progressive? That is a trick question. The trick is in the fact that, although there may be differences between the rhetoric and short-term agendas of these groups, their long-term goals actually are the same. They may differ over how to fight a war in the Middle East but not over the right of the President to wage such a war empowered by the UN instead of Congress. They may differ over what kind of speech should be forbidden ("subversive" speech vs. "hate" speech, for example) but not over the right of the government to forbid it. They may differ over how fast to bankrupt the nation to provide benefits for its citizens but not over the assumption that providing benefits is what governments are supposed to do. They disagree over tactics, timing, and style, but not objectives. They fight for dominance within the New World Order, but they work together to build it. That is because both groups have embraced the underlying ideology of global collectivism.
The illusion of opposites has been a dominant part of the world's political landscape for over a century and it has been the primary reason for the advance of collectivism during that time. In the epic struggles of World War II, millions of patriotic citizens within the combatant nations passionately supported their leaders, believing they were defending against an evil empire. Russians fought for Communism; Germans fought for Nazism; Italians fought for Fascism. Yet, these were merely variants of the underlying ideology, called collectivism, that was common to them all.
Americans, of course, were horrified by such political doctrines and fought, instead, for Democracy. They did not realize that, while that word filled their heads with visions of freedom and justice for all, their leaders had another definition as they quietly converted the United States into a collectivist regime incredibly similar to the ones against which they fought. The contest was never about ideology. It was always about who would be the victor and who would be the vanquished; who would emerge from the war with world power; who would control the natural resources; who would create the new boundaries; who would judge and who would hang.
In our present era, there are few champions for Communism and practically none for Nazism or Fascism, but everyone claims to be a champion of Democracy. Neoconservatives and Progressives, alike, sprinkle their rhetoric with this word like salt on a fresh baked potato. This is a clue that it has no meaningful definition. It is used as a political mantra to hypnotize the masses into a receptive state of mind. After all, anyone who speaks in defense of Democracy has got to be a good guy, right?
In today's debate, the illusion of opposites has become a myth of gigantic proportions. On one side - supposedly the Left side - we have Leftists, Communists, Socialists, Marxists, Neo Marxists, Leninists, Maoists, Liberals, Progressives, and (in The U.S.) Democrats. On the other side - supposedly the Right side - we have Rightists, Nazis, Neo Nazis, Fascists, Conservatives, Neoconservatives, Reactionaries, and (in the U.S.) Republicans.
Almost all modern political debate is framed by these words; yet, there is no one who can define what they mean except to their own satisfaction. There is no universally accepted understanding that will be accepted by advocates and critics alike. The possible exceptions are those that bear the names of authors, such as Marx, Lenin, and Mao, because it could be argued that they represent the views expressed in their writings. However, we are still left with the formidable task of accurately summarizing those views to everyone's satisfaction.
Social mores and religious beliefs sometimes divide along the Left-Right political axis. Those on the Left are more likely to embrace life styles that those on the Right would consider improper or even sinful. Those on the Right are more likely to be church-going members of an organized religion. But these are not definitive values, because there is a great deal of diversity on both sides. Republicans smoke pot. Democrats go to church. Social or religious values cannot be included in any meaningful definition of these groups.
Be that as it may, the degree to which there truly are definable qualities to these labels is the same degree to which we can understand that they are similar. For example, if there is any doubt of the similarity between the collectivism of Marx and the collectivism of Hitler, all one has to do is read Das Kapital, The Communist Manifesto, and Mein Kampf. The point is that, when the labels are peeled off and the underlying ideologies are examined, we come inexorably to the conclusion that every one of them is built upon the foundation of collectivism. We are expected to choose sides when, in reality, there is no substantial difference between them. No matter which side we choose, we are on the side of collectivism. That is the trick.
What are the elements of collectivism that are common to all of these seemingly opposite forces? Collectivists on the so-called Left and Right agree that:
1. Rights are derived from the state;
2. The group is more important than the individual;
3. Coercion is the preferred method to bring about reform;
4. Laws should be applied differently to different classes;
5. Providing benefits (redistributing wealth) is the proper role of government.
These are the core principles held by collectivists in their quest to remold mankind to their hearts desire. The main disagreement among them is over how those principles should be applied. They do not realize that it's not the application of those principles, but the principles themselves that cause injustice, scarcity, and freedom's demise. History has already shown this truth in the form of despotism under Nazism (the so-called Right) and Communism (the so-called Left). It is sad that intelligent people with knowledge of this history still cling to the myth that they are opposites when it is so clear they are merely different manifestations of the same ideology.
MEET GEORGE LAKOFF
In 2006, the illusion of opposites was brilliantly performed in a book entitled Whose Freedom, by George Lakoff, an illusionist for the Democrat Party. Lakoff is a professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. His motivation for writing is revealed by his previous works. One was a political strategy entitled, Don’t Think of an Elephant! self-labeled as “the Essential Guide for Progressives”, which featured a foreword by former Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean. The other was a video presentation entitled How Democrats and Progressives Can Win.
As we would expect, Lakoff says that the choice in America today is between Neoconservatives and Progressives. He, of course, is a self-styled Progressive, but nowhere does he define what that word means. Instead, he devotes the entire book to a spirited monologue describing how evil and ignorant neoconservatives are and how humanitarian and enlightened (and intelligent, too) progressives are. That's all we need to know. By the way, the Left-leaning collectivists also enjoy describing themselves as intellectuals, implying that anyone who does not accept their world view is stupid or anti-intellectual. That's just more of the psychological word games that Lakoff, as a linguist, knows so well.
Lakoff skillfully places the issue of freedom into the cracked mold of left/liberal/progressive vs. right/conservative/reactionary. As I have argued previously, these words are not definable and, worse, tend to hide the fact that advocates of both groups are united behind the political philosophy of collectivism. Lakoff, himself, advocates many features of collectivism in his books.
Both “Left and Right” are ready to sacrifice freedom for the furtherance of their agendas. Both camps are willing to grant freedom to those who accept their political and social mores but do not hesitate to withhold it from those who oppose them. Both camps are skilled at creating laws that convert dissidents into criminals. If today’s so-called progressives were to gain control of the government, they would be no different. They would justify oppression, not in the name of national security as the neoconservatives do, but in the name defending democracy and peace, as Communist regimes do.
Perhaps I am too quick to judge Lakoff as an illusionist, for that implies he is a willing agent of the enemies of freedom. It is entirely possible that he has not yet considered all the ramifications of this issue. It is possible that he has never heard individualism advocated and defended. Without that, he likely would consider it to be the creed of selfishness and ignorance. With that view, collectivism would be the only reasonable option, and he would have to choose between the Left and Right manifestations of it.
And so, to George Lakoff and all others who identify with any of the terms on the Left or Right, I invite you to climb to the next plateau of understanding. I am grateful that you care about the future. Error is better than apathy. Error can be corrected in time to change the outcome. Apathy is seldom corrected until it is too late.
To read more on this interesting topic, check out The Future is Calling, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
VA Joe has a great presidential candidate calculator. You simply fill in your views on select political issues and their importance level, and it automatically calculates the '08 presidential candidate who most closely matches your views. Brilliant! Check it out here. You might be surprised by who shares your values and opinions.
Evolution has produced an element that has become clearly identifiable in the past decade or two.
Recent hurricanes and gasoline issues are proof of the existence of a new chemical element. Research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's Mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
A botched abortion in which a healthy twin foetus was terminated instead of its sibling with Down syndrome has reignited the abortion debate in Italy and raised allegations of eugenics.
"The time has come to re-examine the abortion law" that dates back to 1978, wrote leftist Senator Paola Binetti, who is close to the Vatican, in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"What happened in this hospital was not a medical abortion but an abortion done for the purposes of eugenics," she said, referring to the belief that the human species can be improved through selective reproduction.
The abortion was performed on a 38-year-old woman in Milan in June, but news of its outcome has only recently become public. Doctors blamed the mistake on movement of the foetuses between the examination and the abortion.
'They wanted to kill the sick foetus and save the healthy one'
"They wanted to kill the sick foetus and save the healthy one and what didn't work properly in this business was the selection," Binetti wrote.
Pro-life campaigners also seized on the case as an example of what can go wrong under the abortion law, according to the Ansa news agency.
Health Minister Livia Turco, however, defended the existing abortion law as "very wise" and said it would not be changed. The Roman Catholic Church and the conservative right have long called for its repeal.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Watch your thoughts, for they become words; choose your words, for they become actions; understand your actions, for they become habits; study your habits, for they will become your destiny. ~German proverb
BEND, Ore. — Last weekend, Kent Couch settled down in his lawn chair with some snacks — and a parachute. Attached to his lawn chair were 105 large helium balloons.
Read the rest of the story here.
I think this is every kid's dream growing up, to be able to fly. I might actually have to give this a try some day. Check out the guy's website.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A great article about how our country's top decisions are actually being made by the Federal Reserve behind closed doors. Check it out here. For a good read about our monetary system and the history of the Fed, google the Creature from Jekyll Island.
Monday, August 27, 2007
My freedom ends where your nose begins, and your freedom ends where my nose begins.
This is an old column but well worth the read. It's taken from The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Excuse me for asking an indelicate question in the midst of war, but where does President Bush derive the power to send the United States into war against another nation? The question becomes increasingly important given that the president has indicated that once the Afghan War has been brought to a conclusion, he intends to use U.S. military forces to attack other sovereign nations.
It is important to keep in mind that our system of government was designed to be unlike any other in history. First, the federal government was brought into existence by the people through our Constitution. Second, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land that controls the actions of our public officials in all three branches of the federal government. Third, the powers of the federal government and its officials are not general but instead are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution.
Fourth, the government is divided into three branches, each with its own enumerated powers, and one branch cannot exercise the powers of another branch. Fifth, the Constitution expressly constrains democratic, majority rule. Sixth, public officials are not legally permitted to ignore any constitutional constraint on their power but must instead seek a constitutional amendment from the people to eliminate the constraint.
Why did the Founders implement such a weak, divided government? One big reason: they clearly understood that historically the greatest threat to the freedom and well-being of a people comes not from foreign enemies but instead from their own government officials, even democratically elected ones. And they understood that that threat to the citizenry was always greatest during war.
Consider the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution: “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”
What does our Constitution say about war? Our Founders divided war into two separate powers: Congress was given the power to declare war and the president was given the power to wage war. What that means is that under our system of government, the president cannot legally wage war against another nation in the absence of a declaration of war against that nation from Congress.
Again, reflect on the words of Madison: “The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war [and] the power of raising armies. A delegation of such powers [to the president] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments. The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.”
Therefore, under our system of government although the president is personally convinced that war against a certain nation is just and morally right, he is nevertheless prohibited by our supreme law of the land from waging it unless he first secures a declaration of war from Congress. That was precisely why presidents Wilson and Roosevelt, who both believed that U.S. intervention in World Wars I and II was right and just, nevertheless had to wait for a congressional declaration of war before entering the conflict. And the fact that later presidents have violated the declaration-of-war requirement does not operate as a grant of power for other presidents to do the same.
What about the congressional resolution that granted President Bush the power to wage war against unnamed nations and organizations that the president determines were linked to the September 11 attacks? Doesn’t that constitute a congressional declaration of war? No, it is instead a congressional grant to the president of Caesar-like powers to wage war, a grant that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to make.
Therefore, when a U.S. president wages what might otherwise be considered a just war, if he has failed to secure a congressional declaration of war, he is waging an illegal war — illegal from the standpoint of our own legal and governmental system. And when the American people support any such war, no matter how just and right they believe it is, they are standing not only against their own principles and heritage, not only against their own system of government and laws, but also against the only barrier standing between them and the tyranny of their own government — the Constitution.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society."
-Pope John Paul II
by Brooke Levitske
Despite – or precisely because of – soaring tuition costs and record-high post-graduation debt levels, 2008 Presidential campaign rhetoric is rife with promises of more federal aid for college students. Expressing widespread liberal sentiment, Barack Obama's stance is that the government should "guarantee every American an affordable, world-class, life-long, top-notch education, from early childhood to high school – from college to on-the-job training." Obama has also floated the idea of giving all students who maintain a B average a guaranteed, taxpayer-funded college education.
But would a new injection of federal dollars inflame the problems that already exist in the world of higher education? Steadily increasing federal grants and loans to college students are one major cause of the exponential rise in tuition, student debt, and institutionalized dependency on government aid. Some schools are determined to avoid this trap. Hillsdale College, for example, recently announced its decision to protect its independence by refusing all federal and state money, choosing to rely entirely on privately-funded scholarships for its students.
America has a 60-plus year history of providing federal aid for higher education, beginning in a major way with the passage of the GI Bill of Rights near the close of WWII. Controversial in its day, the GI Bill transformed American campuses as millions of returning veterans enrolled in colleges and training schools. Without question, the state has an obvious interest in encouraging its citizens to pursue higher education – especially as the economy demands ever-broader global and technological competency. Founding Fathers like John Adams and George Washington saw great value in making laws and spending taxpayer money to edify the public mind. Both thought it impossible to preserve a free society without maintaining a generally "enlightened" populace.
But the first principle of analyzing an act of the government is not to ask, "Is it a good idea?" but rather, "Is it the government's place?" Interestingly, good ideas rarely require the government's help to succeed, and are often damaged by the attempt. Practically, federal funding causes the cost of tuition to go up – at a rate much faster than the rate of inflation – so it generates the exact opposite of its stated intent. (According to the American Institute for Economic Research, the average tuition increased by 150 percent between 1993 and 2003, making higher education second only to the tobacco industry in price increases.) Theoretically, federal funding of anything opens the door to greater federal control over that thing; so if education is the formation of minds and characters, increased federal aid opens the door to more governmental control over the minds and characters of those being educated.
Practically speaking, one effect of helping students pay for tuition is that the government creates a greater demand for space in colleges and universities. And when more people want a thing, the seller can raise its cost. As a Cato Institute study has pointed out, this is especially true when federal aid increases the demand for space but the amount of space available at a given school remains static. Because all institutions are managed differently, and experience varying levels of supply and demand, they will attract different types of students. This means that actual benefits are passed to some schools and students but not to others, even if all receive federal money. Also, colleges and universities often decrease their own financial aid to students in response to government aid, while keeping tuition the same (if not raising it). Nothing about federal grants or loans "levels the playing field" in any observable way.
The Revolutionary War-era slogan, "Take the king's coin, become the king's man" describes the theoretical danger of allowing the government to subsidize higher education, as Hillsdale recognizes. But if the government provides the money, the government can call the shots. J. Gresham Machen, Princeton theologian and founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination, summed it up well in his 1933 address, "The Necessity of the Christian School":
Every lover of human freedom ought to oppose with all his might the giving of federal aid to the schools of this country; for federal aid in the long run inevitably means federal control, and federal control means control by a centralized and irresponsible bureaucracy, and control by such a bureaucracy means the death of everything that might make this country great.
Students, politicians, and universities need to have an honest discussion about where this cycle of superfluous taxation, excessive spending, and increased personal comfort with debt is taking us, morally as well as pragmatically. If tuition continues to increase at nearly twice the rate of inflation, students will feel even greater pressure to apply for government help – which will raise tuition again, placing them in graver financial vulnerability.
A college education is still a good investment on which the market offers significant returns. But if tuition reaches an artificially high level such that the market cannot guarantee financial stability for students in the wake of post-graduation debt, intellectual independence may not be the only problem students will face.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
As markets went on a rollercoaster ride last week, our economy is coming close to a day of reckoning for loose credit policies being followed by the Federal Reserve Bank. Simply, foreign banks we have been relying on to buy our debt are waking up to the reality of much higher default rates than predicted, and many mortgage backed securities have been reduced to “junk” ratings. Wall Street fears the possibility of tightening credit and the tightening of America’s belts. Why, they say, “if Americans spend only what they can afford, think of the ripple effects throughout the economy!” This is the cry, as the call comes for the fed to cut rates and bail out companies in trouble.
More inflation is, however, never the answer to inflation.
The truth is that business involves risk, and businesses that miscalculate risk should be liquidated, so their assets can be reallocated to businesses that correctly judge risk and make profits. Instead, the Fed has injected $64 billion into the jittery markets, effectively amounting to a bailout that keeps these malinvestments afloat, but eventually they will become the undoing of our economy.
In addition to the negative reactions in financial markets, many Americans have taken on too much personal debt owing to exotic mortgage products and artificially low interest rates. Unfortunately, these families are now in the position of losing their homes in unprecedented numbers as the teaser rates expire and the real bills are coming due.
The real answers are, and always have been, found in the principles of the free market. Let the market set the interest rates. If we had been functioning under a true and transparent free market system, we would not be in the mess we are in today. Government, like the American household, needs to live within its means to get back on stable fiscal ground.
We’ve been headed in the wrong direction since 1971. This week marks the 36th anniversary of Nixon’s decision to close the gold window, which convinced me to seek public office to call attention to the runaway money train that would come in the aftermath of that decision. The temptation to print and spend money with impunity, like the temptation to max out lines of credit, is too strong to for government to resist. While Nixon brokered exclusivity deals with OPEC to prop up demand for the tidal wave of green pieces of paper the Fed pumped into the markets, the world is tiring of marching to the beat of our drum in order to secure their energy needs. The house of cards Nixon built is now on the verge of collapsing on our heads, and on our children’s heads.
As the dollar weakens, it becomes ever clearer that we need a return to sound, commodity-based money for a secure future. Money based on real value, not empty promises and secretive backroom machinations, is the way to get out of the current calamity without causing even bigger problems.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
From the Population Research Institute
Filling our bodies with powerful, steroid-based hormones has never been a good idea. Spreading such hormones in nature may be an even worse one. Read about another downside of abortifacient birth control.
The environmental story of the year has come out, but the “inconvenient truth”—to borrow a phrase from Al Gore--seems to be more than most environmentalists can handle.
In 2005 biologists John Woodling and David Norris carried out a study of fish in Colorado’s Boulder Creek. What they found was highly disturbing. As reported in the pages of the Denver Post, out of 123 randomly captured fish, primarily trout, the normal 1:1 male-female balance was seriously disrupted. 101 of the fish found were female, 12 were male, and 10 were a strange, unnatural hybrid of male and female, so much so that the researchers couldn’t decide which sex to assign to them.
The cause? Woodling and Norris traced the unnatural feminization of the fish to estrogen—the female hormone—that they found in samples from Boulder Creek. The concentrations of estrogen were not large. Indeed, they were barely measurable. Yet they had a catastrophic impact on the fish population there.
Professor David Norris' study found the ratio of female to male fish downstream of the Colorado sewage plant, which is suspected to be the source of the estrogen contamination, was 8:1. The ordinary ratio is 1:1.
Where is this estrogen coming from? After further study, Woodling and Norris concluded that it is coming from human sources, primarily birth-control pills, Norplant, Depo-Provera and birth control patches that contain estrogen. These drugs and devices work by secreting massive doses—up to four hundred times the natural levels--of female hormones into a woman’s bloodstream to suppress her natural reproductive rhythm.
These hormones are not metabolized, however. Rather, they are simply excreted in her urine, which is then sent down the sewer to the local water-treatment plant. Such plants are not equipped to deal with hormones, so the “purified” water released into surrounding rivers and streams is laced with estrogen.
“It’s the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” Woodling told the Denver Post in 2005. "It's one thing to kill a river. It's another thing to kill nature. If you're messing with the hormonal balance in your aquatic community, you're going deep down. You're twiddling with how life proceeds
Given a choice between protecting the enviroment and continuing to push population control on the world, it seems that many extreme enviromentalists will choose the latter.
One would expect that environmentalists, quick to attack perceived threats to nature, would be up in arms. Yet there have been no calls to ban these hormonal pollutants, or even to install safeguards to protect the water supply. Instead, the entire environmental movement has seemingly been gripped with paralysis of the larynx.
Those few who have spoken up have blamed “estrogen mimickers,” that is, chemicals in some soaps and detergents that can fool the body into reacting as if they were estrogen. While Woodling and Norris are aware that these mimickers may be partly responsible for the freak fish they found, they are adamant that the primary cause is the profuse use of hormonal birth control methods in the Denver and Boulder area. Other studies, conducted in places as far away as Switzerland, have confirmed that the problem is widespread, and may be growing worse.
Given a choice between protecting the enviroment and continuing to push population control on the world, it seems that many extreme enviromentalists will choose the latter.
Who would be surprised at the silence from the environmentalist camp. Most radical environmentalists are pro-abortion and espouse population control. The last thing they would criticize are the contraceptive drugs that help them achieve both goals.
Yet the downside of these drugs has never been more apparent. Laissez-faire contraceptive use has given us increased promiscuity, higher rates of abortion, and dramatic health risks. Now it is becoming clear that it is slowly poisoning the environment around us as well.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The Internal Revenue Service has lost a lawyer's challenge in front of a jury to prove a constitutional foundation for the nation's income tax, and the victorious attorney now is setting his sights higher. WND has the whole story.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Check out the "What Breed of Conservative Are You?" quiz. According to the site I'm an anti-government gunslinger also known as a libertarian conservative. Pretty cool.
A Constitutionalist’s View of the GOP Presidential Hopefuls
There’s reluctance among conservatives to see the ideological flaws of the current crop of president-wannabes but unless we’re willing to line up each one of the 11 Republican contenders and strip off his 3 piece posturing to look deep into his political past, we’ll simply be fooling ourselves (again) when it comes to supporting a candidate for president.
Much like a woman who wants to get married so badly she ignores those ‘deal-breaking’ flaws, when it comes to the Republicans vying for the nomination, we just don’t want to face the truth, because well, it would hurt too much to say, once again, "He’s not for me", and move on, when there might not be anyone else to move on to. That kind of thinking always leads to desperation and ultimately disappointment.
For those who’ve been saying "he’s good enough, you can’t have everything" I offer the following perspective of the Republicans in the ’08 lineup.
Mitt Romney: Nice hair, easy on the eyes, good suits, and lousy standard-bearer for the pro-life, pro-family, pro-limited government constitutionalist crowd.
First off, Romney’s lightning bolt conversion to a pro-life candidate isn’t fooling many. His RomneyCare health plan, which he signed into law just over a year ago, forces the taxpayers of Massachusetts to pay for the gruesome slaughter of thousands of pre-born children in the state each year.
Romney campaigned for Governor of Massachusetts as a pro-choice candidate, and was endorsed by a pro-abortion political group. Regarding his position on abortion he said: "… When asked, will I preserve and protect a women’s right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer: Yes".
If, after hearing Romney wax conservative in the recent GOP debates you’re confused about Romney’s stand on abortion, marriage, gun control, gay rights or immigration, don’t feel too badly. Up until recently he was a hard core liberal on all of those issues.
Now Mitt’s hoping people will pay attention to what he says these days, not to what he did while governor of Massachusetts. While in office, Romney:
- supported and promoted legalizing homosexual civil unions
- opposed the Boy Scouts’ ban on homosexual scoutmasters
- refused to endorse original Massachusetts’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman
In 2002 Romney had this to say about some of the most draconian gun laws in the nation: "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them," Mitt said. "I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety."
Fred Thompson: Sorry folks, the kindly actor you’ve come to know through the TV series "Law and Order" is not who you’d like him to be. Despite the polls (AP/ IPSOS 6/9/07) which tout Thompson as a darling among conservatives, most are apparently ignorant of his political pedigree. Like his friend, McCain and other GOP leaders, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a main group behind the North American Union.
Thompson’s "Pro-Life" position in his own words: "Abortions should be legal in all circumstances as long as the procedure is completed within the first trimester of the pregnancy."
After 8 years as a US Senator from Tennessee, Thompson racked up some votes that should be cause for concern. He voted YES:
1. in support of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act- the law to silence grassroots conservative groups.
2. to expand NAFTA. Modeled after the European Common Market, NAFTA was a first step toward open borders in North America and the North American Union.
3. on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work. (Jul 1998)
4. on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)
5. for permanent normal trade relations with China. (Sep 2000)
6. for funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. (Aug 1999)
7. to fund the GOP Medicare prescription drug benefit debacle.
Thompson also seems to believe in a robust military presence worldwide and apparently advocates continued US military involvement in Iraq."(Freemarket news.com) Prior to his run for U.S. Senate, he was a Washington lobbyist for 20 years.
Newt Gingrich: Not even close… In 1995 the 104th Congress’ House of Representatives, led by Speaker Gingrich was made up of 73 spanking new representatives who had their sights set on reducing the size, scope and cost of the federal government. They weren’t allowed to. Gingrich saw to that.
Remember Newt’s "Contract with America"? While it was portrayed as a way to fix our country’s problems it did nothing of the sort. The policies therein were unconstitutional, NATO was expanded, the feds got more control of law enforcement, laws affecting children and more. Within a year Gingrich’s approval rating had tanked. CFR member Gingrich tried to portray himself as a true ‘conservative’ twelve years ago, now he’s doing it again as a possible candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.
Gingrich’s globalist pedigree was evident back in 1994’s lame-duck session of Congress. His cheerleading for GATT and the WTO made sure the votes on those two sovereignty-bludgeoning tools got a pass. The vote on GATT should have been held off for a month when a more conservative Congress convened in January of 1995. GATT, that 120 member trade alliance that now dictates our trade policies has become part of the underpinning for the implementation of the North American Union. Thanks, Newt. (Seeing a pattern here?)
Gingrich, in 1978, supported the creation of the Department of Education. Our kids have been paying for the expansion of federal control over schools ever since. Can you say: "way down the list of industrialized nations in math, science and literacy scores?" Sure you can!
After that, Newt went on to support giving taxpayer money to the evil power that is Communist China, then voted to approve most-favored-nation trading status for the regime so fond of murdering political dissidents and harvesting the organs of those they’ve deemed "criminals". This, from the man labeled one of America’s foremost "conservatives".
Sam Brownback: Kansas Senator, elected in 1996 to the seat held by Bob Dole. On marriage Brownback said: "The right to marry is not the right to redefine marriage. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman."
Brownback is staunchly pro-life saying: "Abortion ends a human life". His votes have resulted in a 0% rating by NARAL. However, Senator Brownback softens his otherwise pro-life stance by saying he could support a pro-abortion nominee for president.
A voting record indicative of the senator’s decidedly unconstitutional political positions include:
1. YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.
2. YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe. (NATO does nothing to protect the United States and again, brings us into foreign alliances our Founders warned against)
3. YES on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (If you liked what NAFTA did for the US economy you’ll love CAFTA!)
4. YES on permanent normal trade relations with China.
5. YES on funding GOP Medicare prescription drug debacle.
6. YES on reauthorizing the un-patriotic PATRIOT Act.
7. NO on getting troops out of Iraq by July 2007.
Disappointingly, Senator Brownback voted to send American troops to fight in Iraq. He’d do well to read the Constitution; not just because he sits on a House subcommittee regarding that august document, but, like his colleagues, he swore an oath to uphold and defend the principles therein; chief among them, no unauthorized wars. Brownback said that he never read the National Intelligence Estimate (the justification for the war) in advance. This lack of preparation is inexcusable.
Mike Huckabee: Governor of Arkansas for over 10 years, a Southern Baptist preacher, he’s pro-life, unapologetically Christian and is vocal in his rejection of the theory of evolution.
* has been criticized for raising taxes but says he cut taxes 94 times while in office.
* says he would have made the decision to go to war in Iraq if he were president.
* supports a guest worker program and has commented that "racism" could be responsible for those who oppose it.
* signed one of the highest minimum wage laws in the region.
His "nanny-state" tendencies are evident in his consideration of a law to ban pregnant women from smoking and his support for laws that require school children be weighed for obesity.
These state-level policy decisions are an indication Governor Huckabee takes a ‘more-is-better’ approach to the federal government’s role. Those who subscribe to a constitutionally-sound political ideology could not support Huckabee for president.
"How’s that working for you" is a phrase TV psychologist and author Dr. Phil is fond of asking those he counsels. After listening to those troubled by chaos and failed relationships, Dr. Phil asks the simple question to make a simple point: Continuing certain behaviors that have repeatedly failed to produce a desired outcome is just plain nuts. Yet that is what American voters are considering when they register approval for candidates like John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
John McCain: Anger issues aside, John McCain sponsored a major piece of legislation so destructive to the republic it’s mind-boggling that the man could still be considered a "conservative". These two words should send chills down the spines of every liberty-loving American: McCain-Feingold.
The result of this and most ‘campaign finance reform’ was to make sure that only the richest people would even consider running for office. By making it so that a wealthy person couldn’t give more than a couple of thousand dollars to anyone running for office except himself, now only rich people will go for it.
The New York Daily News came up with this estimate of the candidates’ finances: Mitt Romney $250 million, Rudy Giuliani $70 million, John Edwards $62 million, John McCain $25 million, Sen. Hillary Clinton $15 million, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson $10 million.
What makes the McCain-Feingold bill even worse, much worse, is it effectively restricts the content of political speech through advocacy groups.
The Senator from Arizona, one of the states most affected by the flood of illegals, has totally ignored the folks back home and the severe impact illegal immigration is having on their daily lives by leading the effort for the Bush amnesty plan.
Other inexplicable behavior which should give those contemplating supporting a McCain candidacy in ’08 pause includes McCain’s opposition to tax cuts in 2001. McCain sounded like a true Marxist when explaining why he opposed the cuts saying: "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief."
Rudy Giuliani: "I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008". Those were the words Christian psychologist and commentator Dr. James Dobson. Dobson echoed the sentiments of many Republicans who are horrified that Rudy Giuliani would actually be their party’s choice in ’08. The former NY mayor’s positions on abortion, gay rights, gun control and illegal immigration, among other issues have conservatives seeking a lifeboat should Rudy get the nod.
The former mayor stated, "I understand the Second Amendment" and, regarding owning guns for hunting or collections, Giuliani believes "there is a right to do that." So that’s what the second amendment is all about, hunting and collecting antiques!
On immigration Giuliani has said he believes illegals should be able to "acquire" citizenship. I believe that’s called "amnesty", Mayor. Finessing liberal stances to make them more palatable is sure to fool some of the people, some of the time, to be sure, but those who’re paying attention aren’t buying it. Many suggest (Rasmussen poll 5/9/07) that they’d consider voting for third party candidate before they’d vote for Giuliani.
In addition to the ultra liberal Giuliani’s positions on the issues there are other considerations that do not bode well for the republic should this man become president. According to journalist Cliff Kincaid, Giuliani’s law firm is acting as legal counsel for the Spanish company (Cintra) that has been given the go-ahead to operate a toll-road in the Trans Texas Corridor project. This NAFTA Superhighway conduit would be the first time a foreign interest was awarded a building contract for a massive highway system. (Note that the silence about this project, not to mention Rudy’s unholy alliance with it, is deafening. Neither Congress nor the mainstream media has touched either subject).
As our review of this first group of candidates points out, they cannot be counted on to wage the much needed battles for constitutional government, therefore they have been dubbed, "The Seven Dwarfs." Moving in a more positive direction we turn our attention to several contenders who, thankfully, have taken solid positions on issues important to conservatives. We’ve dubbed those candidates: "The Three Musketeers."
Tom Tancredo: The Colorado Congressman’s principled stance on illegal immigration has cause him to take some hits for his unwavering insistence that we close our borders and reject amnesty in any form. There are areas in which Tancredo disappoints, though. Tancredo says it’s ok to attack Iran if they develop nuclear weapons. If that’s the case then why haven’t we attacked Russia, North Korea and China?
On the LIFE issue Tancredo is solid. He received a 0% approval rating from NARAL. Considering the source, that translates into a 100% pro-life voting record. He said: "The greatest day in history will be when Roe v Wade is abolished."
Tancredo’s less-than-acceptable record includes voting:
- NO on bringing the troops home within 90 days
- YES on authorizing the war in Iraq
- YES on warrant-less wiretaps
- YES on federalizing drivers’ licenses (REAL ID, the de-facto National ID card)
However, Tom Tancredo has some rock-solid positions and they include supporting the repeal of the 16th Amendment and abolishing the IRS. Tancredo received an approval rating of 84% by the National Taxpayers Union. Tancredo voted well when he voted NO on implementing CAFTA and YES on withdrawing from the WTO.
Duncan Hunter: The southern California Congressman is a strong supporter of secure borders. His efforts have resulted in over 59 miles of fencing in San Diego County. Hunter wrote the Secure Fence Act, extending the San Diego fence 854 miles across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Hunter holds a strong position on trade issues: ". . . China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to build ships, planes and missiles at an alarming rate while, at the same time, taking millions of American jobs." Hunter’s positions on NAFTA, GATT and the WTO appeal to those concerned about the vanishing industrial base and loss of American jobs.
Hunter is solidly pro-life. He has said he would aggressively promote a Right to Life Amendment to the Constitution, defining "personhood" from the moment of conception.
About the Second Amendment Hunter said: "It seems every election year, some liberal politician dons an NRA cap and grabs a shotgun for a hunting photo-op, as if that means they support our right as Americans to keep and bear arms. But the second amendment is not about hunting. It is about the right of you and me to be secure in our homes."
On education, Hunter said: "I believe we can educate students more effectively by returning school curriculum prerogatives to the states, local communities and, most importantly, to the family. State agencies charged with conducting education policies do not need expensive and inefficient mandates from a federal agency."
A big disappointment however is Congressman Hunter’s position on the war in Iraq. Citing his experience on the House Armed Services Committee for 26 years he says he supports the mission wholeheartedly. Hunter’s son has served two tours of duty there.
Jim Gilmore: Former Governor of Virginia, Gilmore set laudable goals during his campaign for governor and actually accomplished them. He signed an executive order reducing all state spending, except for education, and kept the state’s budget balanced even during a severe economic downturn. Imagine if we had a president do that at the federal level!
Instead of education debacles like ‘No Child left Behind’, Gilmore implemented school reforms in Virginia’s public schools that actually showed results. Scores on state and national standardized tests increased in math, English and social studies.
Gilmore served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee for one year (2000-2001) but was considered a dismal failure in that role. He resigned under pressure after the party lost key races and overall lost ground heading into a congressional election year.
Like Sen. Fred Thompson, Gilmore talks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to abortion. Gilmore defends past pro-life positions noting that as Governor, he signed a law establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, as well as a ban against partial birth abortion and human cloning and increased funding for adoption services. Those measures do deserve praise, however Gilmore has been unequivocal throughout his political tenure in saying a woman has a "right" to end the life of her unborn baby in the first trimester. We would ask Governor Gilmore this: If an unborn baby is worth saving, does it really matter how big the baby is?
Somewhere in the lineup there just has to be a keeper. There is, it’s just that the Republican jihad against the man is drowning out his message. The mainstream press, too, has ignored, then vilified, then ignored him once again. However, the groundswell of support for the man is nothing short of astounding.
Ron Paul: The Congressman from Texas is quite simply, ‘the best they’ve got’. The physician is the only candidate who has a 100% constitutionally-correct voting record. Because he votes against unconstitutional bills every time, he earned the label "Doctor No."
He alone in the entire GOP lineup is the only one who voted against the war in Iraq. On every single issue he is a pure, unadulterated, founders-woulda-loved him conservative.
Paul never voted to raise taxes. Not once.
Paul never voted for an unbalanced budget.
Paul never voted for any infringement on gun rights.
Paul never voted to raise his pay.
Paul voted against the blatantly-unconstitutional power grab that is the Patriot Act.
Paul does not participate in the congressional pension program and he returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year – a rare Congressman who practices what he preaches!
The attempts to ignore Congressman Paul have been calculated and sinister.
Though MSNBC reported that Ron Paul scored the highest positive votes in both Republican presidential debates and the polls showed he beat Romney, McCain and Giuliani, the media took no notice. Next, a text message poll after the Fox News GOP debate showed Ron Paul winning handily; still no notice from the media lapdogs.
Sean Hannity was less than fair and oh-so–off-balance the night of the Fox News debate when he "refused" to believe Paul won the debate. In fact, Hannity was downright apoplectic. Within short order, the poll numbers quickly showed a lagging Giuliani had overtaken Paul. Kind of makes you want to say "hmmm."
In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill. So many men, so few true Constitutionalists.
There you have it. The round up on all the GOP candidates according to the Constitution Party's review.