View more here.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
A great new documentary about the state of our educational system has just come out. Check out the website and watch the trailer.
By Jonathan Garthwaite
This week San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags from city supermarkets and drug stores. San Francisco generates an estimated 180 million plastic bags each year, and the city counsel wants them gone. Grocery shoppers will have to find an alternative within six months.
Reducing the number of non-biodegradable plastic bags tangled in neighborhood streets and piling up in landfills for hundreds of years is a noble undertaking, but San Francisco's government imposed bag ban is one more in a series of nanny state edicts from government upon the governed.
What's a "nanny state"? If you want a dictionary definition, "A government perceived as having excessive interest in or control over the welfare of its citizens, especially in the enforcement of extensive public health and safety regulations."
A shorter version might be: Government acting like your mommy -- like a nanny.
It happens all over the country.
San Francisco has an ordinance detailing how pet "guardians" are required to care for their dogs. Animal cruelty laws are a given but San Francisco goes a step further. Dogs in San Francisco must have clean water served in a non spill bowl in the shade. Their food must be wholesome, palatable and sufficiently nutritious. Seems like common sense, but do we need laws to dictate the size and shape of our pets' food bowls? What's the penalty for being a lackluster dog owner? One thousand and/or up to one year in jail for a third offense.
New York City decided its citizens were too lazy to read food labels or to eat well and enacted a ban on trans fats from restaurants and vendors. Scientific research may back up assertions that trans fats are unhealthy, but so is half of everything in New York City. Are cheese fries OK to eat now? Of course not.
Cities like Washington, D.C., ban hand-held cell phones while driving when no data exists that using a cell phone while driving is more dangerous than using a hands-free unit. It's only a matter of time before the city council decides to mandate our hands be placed at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel for the sake of public safety.
City governments go from banning smoking in city buildings one day to banning smoking on the sidewalks the next. Several states are working on bans that prohibit driving while smoking if anyone under 18 is in the car. There's no question that secondhand smoke is harmful, but where is the appropriate limit for governmental intrusion into an individual's privacy? Is it really our intention to turn our already stretched-thin police departments into junior high hall monitors checking under restroom stalls for smokers?
And while you're not smoking on the sidewalks, you might also want to make sure you're not listening to an iPod when crossing the street in New York City, where some legislators are considering the need to ban earbuds. Their reason? Because three recent deaths were caused by distracted pedestrians. New York State Sen. Carl Kruger who spearheaded the effort claimed that "some type of electronic device was to blame." The iPod made me do it is the excuse of the moment, I guess.
A California assemblywoman proposed banning parents from spanking their children. The Texas governor proposed requiring all sixth-grade girls get a vaccine for the sexually transmitted HPV virus. And the list doesn't end there.
Nanny state laws and regulations are popping up all over the place. Government officials -- perhaps with too much free time -- can't stop themselves from brainstorming new and improved ways to protect us and coddle us through life.
They serve only to make government officials feel good that they are doing something about a problem and taking good care of their citizens -- like children. Shouldn't we expect more of ourselves and better from our elected officials?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Those crazy guys at Jib Jab have done it again, they've released another hilarious politically satirical video, this time poking fun at the quagmire known as the news media.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Over the weekend I happened to eat lunch with 15 close friends and family members at the Kenwood Pavalion Panera Bread in Cincinnati. Normally Panera Bread is one of my favorite lunch time restaurants, great food and service. Not this time however. Since there were 15 of us and we were on a retreat/conference budget there was going to be one check and it would be paid in cash. Our check of close to $86.00 was presented by a young gentleman named Casey, and we promptly gave him a $100 bill. His response to this was "we don't accept $100 bills because we've had several counterfeits recently."
Now excuse me for a moment but the last time I checked we are still in the U.S. and American greenbacks are still legal tender. I explained to him that we were on a cash account and had no other way to pay except for the $100 bill. He said there was nothing he could do so I asked to speak with the manager. The manager, a mid-to-late-30's aged woman named Kelly Moss explained to me that their regional manager would not allow them to accept $100 dollar bills because over the past several months they had accepted several counterfeit bills. My response to her was that she had to accept our money as it explicitly states on the bill "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" and therefore they are required by law to accept it. Her response was that she could do nothing without the consent of her regional manager.
The problem with this whole scenario is that even though legally Panera Bread has to accept my U.S. Dollars because it is legal tender, who is going to enforce it? The police? Hardly. My only option would be to take the matter to court, but obviously it's not worth it over such a small amount. A member of our party ended up footing the bill via personal credit card, but this created more of a hassle for us in trying to figure out the account details. How hard would it be for Panera Bread to get one of those little highlighters that proves if a bill is fake or not? That's what every other place of business I've been to does.
My point of the story is this. When businesses will no longer accept the currency of the land by forcing an individual to use a paper-less unit of exchange such as a credit card or other debt instrument we have a serious problem on our hands. A loss of privacy ensues, infringement upon constitutional rights becomes the order of the day. Laws are supposed to be in place to protect individuals and they should be enforced, so long as they are moral and constitutional.
Here's the contact info for the Panera Bread if anyone is in the area and would like to check up on them.
8115 Montgomery RoadI wonder if they accept Pesos?
Cincinnati, Oh 45236
Phone (513) 891-5401
Fax (513) 891-3338
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The REAL American dream!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Check out this neat little 2008 presidential quiz to determine who your ideal candidate would be. Some of the names are obviously not running or have a shot, but it's pretty interesting to see where you stack up on the issues in comparison with them. Make sure to read the definition of each question so that you answer them correctly. Would you believe that my choice was Tom Tancredo? All this fun stuff courtesy of Speak Out.
From John Mallon.
"It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world." – George Washington
I have written before about the critical need for Congress to reassert its authority over foreign policy, and for the American people to recognize that the Constitution makes no distinction between domestic and foreign matters. Policy is policy, and it must be made by the legislature and not the executive.
But what policy is best? How should we deal with the rest of the world in a way that best advances proper national interests, while not threatening our freedoms at home?
I believe our founding fathers had it right when they argued for peace and commerce between nations, and against entangling political and military alliances. In other words, noninterventionism.
Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.
Thomas Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none." Washington similarly urged that we must, "Act for ourselves and not for others," by forming an "American character wholly free of foreign attachments."
Yet how many times have we all heard these wise words without taking them to heart? How many claim to admire Jefferson and Washington, but conveniently ignore both when it comes to American foreign policy? Since so many apparently now believe Washington and Jefferson were wrong on the critical matter of foreign policy, they should at least have the intellectual honesty to admit it.
Of course we frequently hear the offensive cliché that, "times have changed," and thus we cannot follow quaint admonitions from the 1700s. The obvious question, then, is what other principles from our founding era should we discard for convenience? Should we give up the First amendment because times have changed and free speech causes too much offense in our modern society? Should we give up the Second amendment, and trust that today's government is benign and not to be feared by its citizens? How about the rest of the Bill of Rights?
It's hypocritical and childish to dismiss certain founding principles simply because a convenient rationale is needed to justify interventionist policies today. The principles enshrined in the Constitution do not change. If anything, today's more complex world cries out for the moral clarity provided by a noninterventionist foreign policy.
It is time for Americans to rethink the interventionist foreign policy that is accepted without question in Washington. It is time to understand the obvious harm that results from our being dragged time and time again into intractable and endless Middle East conflicts, whether in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, or Palestine. It is definitely time to ask ourselves whether further American lives and tax dollars should be lost trying to remake the Middle East in our image.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer has a new column out with all the latest on the Sean Hannity debacle. Heart, Mind & Strength has an excellent post about recent correspondence with Fr. Jonathan Morris and some of his responses. There has been an outpouring of support for Fr. Euteneuer from faithful Catholics everywhere. A few of their letters are listed on the HLI website.
I received an email last night from a fellow blogger that Fr. Euteneuer will be on EWTN Open Line with Barbara McGuigan today, Tuesday, March 20, at 2:00 PM CDT. It should be an interesting discussion. I really think this whole issue is either going to bring people into the fullness of the Faith or they will decide to go their merry ways.
Monday, March 19, 2007
"Never let school get in the way of your education."
All about the criminalization of politics.
Today we're constantly told that democracy is the best form of government. Our founding fathers would not necessarily have agreed with this. Benjamin Franklin reportedly once said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch." The fact is that America was not designed to be a democracy but a Democratic Republic. In a democracy the majority rules. In a democratic republic the leaders may change but the underlying principles will always stay the same.
There is an interesting article I ran across this morning about democracies and it's drawbacks. The proposed solutions I would generally disagree with as they generally favor only those with money and neglect everyone else. However, it makes some very good points and opens up some interesting lines of thought and discussion. Another interesting article that's not specifically about democracy but covers the state of governments in Europe and the influx of Mohammedans that is changing their political landscape can be found at the Brussels Journal.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Al Gore eat your heart out!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
I wish I had this kind of talent!
Here's a great way to find new music based upon your personal musical tastes, it's called Pandora and uses your current musical preferences to search for music of similar taste and caliber.
Take this Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Rudy Giuliani et. al.
Pope Benedict XVI issued a new document Tuesday saying that Catholic politicians have a "non-negotiable" duty to oppose practices like abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff also reaffirmed the Catholic Church's position that political leaders who endorse these anti-life practices should voluntarily refuse communion.
The 140-page booklet that was the result of meetings that took place in the Vatican in 2005 on important church doctrine.
In the "Apostolic Exhortation" the Pope said all Catholics have a duty to uphold the church's pro-life teachings but that the responsibility was "especially incumbent" on those in positions of power.
He said elected officials should foster a "respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death."
"Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce laws inspired by values grounded in human nature," he said.
"These values are not negotiable," he said in the new document.
The pope also said that local bishops in the United States have a responsibility to encourage local politicians to uphold pro-life values.
"Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them," he wrote in the document.
The bishops are also charged with the task of monitoring whether elected officials in their local churches shouldn't be receiving communion because of a violation of the church's pro-life teachings.
"There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist. Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them," the pope said.
According to an AP news report, reporters asked Venice Cardinal Angelo Scola if the new document instructed bishops to not give communion to pro-abortion politicians. The cardinal didn't answer and said the document "doesn't say what it doesn't want to say."
The legal drinking age is a topic that has been debated for years. The question I ask is if the intended purpose of the 21 age limit is to curb the consumption of alcohol for those people deemed too young or irresponsible why then do we have more cases of underage consumption and binge drinking on high school and college campuses now that at any time in history?
My opinion is that it's strictly a matter of human nature--we love to do that which we are told we shouldn't or cannot. History is full of these instances, just look at the creation story, Adam ate the apple from the tree after he was told not to; Beethoven was told he had no musical ability; Einstein was considered so dumb at math & science that he was called learning disabled; Napoleon tried to overtake Russia against the advice of many. History is chock full of both success and failures by those who attempted to do or accomplish something after they were told not to.
So if it is intrinsic to our human nature to attempt something after we are told not to, how does the government think that passing a law against under 21 alcohol consumption will work? Obviously during prohibition the law did not work, people still drank, they just had to go outside the law to get their beverage of choice.
Why does the government think it is their duty to pass judgment upon all those under 21 years of age as being too immature to handle a few drinks? Should it not be up to the parents to decide what is the correct age? What business is it of Washington's to determine an arbitrary age whereby everyone who has passed this age is then eligible to drink legally? That would be an assumption that everyone is equal in maturity and responsibility based solely upon their age. Of course we all know that this is preposterous. We are all individuals with differences in background and maturity that is based not upon our age but on our own individual lives and backgrounds. The government needs to back out of our personal lives and worry about Constitutional issues, the only think they are elected for in the first place.
An good article about the drinking age limit can be found here.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
As many of you know I am a Roman Catholic. When I say Roman Catholic I mean that I try and follow ALL of the Church's laws and precepts in their entirety, I don't pick and choose to follow only those teachings that are convenient for me. However, many people who claim to be "Catholic" do not take this route, instead they choose to abide only those teachings which are to their liking. This type of person is commonly referred to as a "smorgasbord catholic", or, on a broader level, a moral relativist. Sean Hannity is this kind of Catholic.
Hannity claims to be a "good Catholic," however, his pro-birth control stance speaks otherwise. Recently Hannity condemned a priest on his television show for daring to repudiate his claim that birth control is morally acceptable. Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the President of Human Life International wrote an article on his website about Hannity's Catholic hypocrisy on this issue and was immediately invited to appear on the Hannity & Colmes TV show. The video of their encounter follows.
Fr. Euteneuer had previously written to Hannity about his public stance on the matter back in 2004, of which he received no response. After the "debate" Fr. Euteneuer expounded on the issue in his Spirit & Life column.
It doesn't end there however. Fr. Jonathan Morris L.C., a frequent Fox News contributor, and the brother of a former classmate of mine, wrote a letter to Hannity rebuking Fr. Euteneuer's public condemnation of Hannity's heretical views. Of course Fr. Euteneuer responded back that Fr. Morris should be the one bringing up this subject, and not himself.
I personally have lost a tremendous amount of respect for both Sean Hannity and Fr. Jonathan Morris. If Hannity is going to claim to be a devout Catholic in a public setting then he sure as hell better back up that claim in both his words and actions. To do otherwise is to cause scandal for all those who are influenced by his message, and when you're on the radio & television every day like Hannity, that is a substantial number.
Fr. Morris as an ordained Catholic priest has the obligation and the duty to speak the absolute truth of the Roman Catholic faith, even when it's unpopular or inconvenient. To do less than this on such an important issue is the equivalent of denying Christ as St. Peter did.
Jill Stanek has a great take on this subject on her blog. Also, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer has a blog that has all the latest about this controversy.
Left-wing billionaire George Soros has recently invested $62 million in the purchase of more than 2 million shares of Halliburton stock. Considering that he has been one of their most voracious critics, this is quite a startling revelation. Read more here.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, recently said he condones the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In a wide-ranging interview with the Chicago Tribune Pace commented,
"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.It's about time somebody in a position of authority stepped up to the plate and called homosexuality what it is. Too many people continue to pander to the pro-homo groups and let them set the agenda of the day. Mark my word, there will most likely be a huge backlash from the homosexual crowd against Pace for his outspoken statement. More power to him for standing up and saying it. Check out the entire article here.
"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior."
Monday, March 12, 2007
Great commentary on Ron Paul's website about the gun ban legislation in DC. A no-nonsense look at the strictest gun laws in the country. By the way, WND reports that he is officially running in '08. Of course there has been no press about the announcement at all!
The DC Gun Ban
March 12, 2007
Last Friday a federal appeals court in Washington DC issued a ruling that hopefully will result in the restoration of 2nd Amendment rights in the nation's capital. It appears the Court rejected the District of Columbia 's nonsensical argument that the 2nd Amendment confers only a "collective right," something gun control advocates have asserted for years.
Of course we should not have too much faith in our federal courts to protect gun rights, considering they routinely rubber stamp egregious violations of the 1 st, 4th, and 5th Amendments, and allow Congress to legislate wildly outside the bounds of its enumerated powers. Furthermore, the DC case will be appealed to the Supreme Court with no guarantees. But it is very important nonetheless for a federal court only one step below the highest court in the land to recognize that gun rights adhere to the American people, not to government-sanctioned groups. Rights, by definition, are individual. "Group rights" is an oxymoron.
Can anyone seriously contend that the Founders, who had just expelled their British rulers mostly by use of light arms, did not want the individual farmer, blacksmith, or merchant to be armed? Those individuals would have been killed or imprisoned by the King's soldiers if they had relied on a federal armed force to protect them.
In the 1700s, militias were local groups made up of ordinary citizens. They were not under federal control! As a practical matter, many of them were barely under the control of colonial or state authorities. When the 2nd Amendment speaks of a "well-regulated militia," it means local groups of individuals operating to protect their own families, homes, and communities. They regulated themselves because it was necessary and in their own interest to do so.
The Founders themselves wrote in the Federalist papers about the need for individuals to be armed. In fact, James Madison argued in Federalist paper 46 that common citizens should be armed to guard against the threat posed by the newly proposed standing federal army.
Today, gun control makes people demonstrably less safe-- as any honest examination of criminal statistics reveals. In his book "More Guns, Less Crime," scholar John Lott demolishes the myth that gun control reduces crime. On the contrary, Lott shows that cities with strict gun control--like Washington DC--experience higher rates of murder and violent crime. It is no coincidence that violent crime flourishes in the nation's capital, where the individual's right to defend himself has been most severely curtailed.
Understand that residents of DC can be convicted of a felony and put in prison simply for having a gun in their home, even if they live in a very dangerous neighborhood. The DC gun ban is no joke, and the legal challenges to the ban are not simply academic exercises. People's lives and safety are at stake.
Gun control historically serves as a gateway to tyranny. Tyrants from Hitler to Mao to Stalin have sought to disarm their own citizens, for the simple reason that unarmed people are easier to control. Our Founders, having just expelled the British army, knew that the right to bear arms serves as the guardian of every other right. This is the principle so often ignored by both sides in the gun control debate. Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
***UPDATE:*** The American Spectator has a great article Giuliani and the abortion issue here.
Listening to Sean Hannity talk with Rudy Giuliani about abortion would lead one to believe he is basically pro-life. However, this video of a speech Giuliani gave several years ago paints a very different picture.
And how about this interview with Larry King, how many sides of his mouth can he talk out of?
From a leadership standpoint Rudy Giuliani is excellent, however, from a moral and social perspective he just doesn't cut the mustard. And of course we can't forget his position on gun control, completely undermining the Second Amendment.
Friday, March 9, 2007
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know.
So I got tired, I got fed up,
and there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
when one must fight, and one must climb.
When one must rise and take a stand,
or leave their butt prints in the sand."
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Great article about the dichotomy between sexual activity, abortion, and child marriages on Townhall. It seems there is quite a quandary for those pushing for more sexual education and freedom for younger and younger adolescents, including access to abortion on demand. However, when it comes to the subject of marriage for these same adolescents, they are adamantly opposed to it.
Ironically, the issue of child marriage, like abortion, is a dilemma for the left. The left is opposed to sex-selection abortions but works toward universal abortion-on-demand. Likewise, the left is against child marriage but is committed to “defend the rights of all young people to enjoy their sexual lives free from ill health, unwanted pregnancy, violence and discrimination.”Janice Shaw Crouse does a great job of laying out the whole issue and exposing the REAL agenda behind the sexualization of our youth. Read it all here.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) defines child marriage as “any marriage carried out below the age of 18.” Why do they oppose marriage before age 18? Because the girl is “physically, physiologically, and psychologically not ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and childbearing.” These are the same people who say teens are going to have sex anyway so it is better to provide them with condoms and encourage “safe sex.”
So, to be perfectly clear: for the left, child marriage is the problem, not the fact that the girls are engaging in sexual activity at too young an age.
Monday, March 5, 2007
When was the last time you heard a presidential candidate talk like this, on either side of the political spectrum? For that matter, when was the last time you heard ANY politician speak this plainly? Usually it's all about what the government will do for you once the individual candidate is elected into office.
Ron Paul is definitely someone to keep an eye on over the next few months as the 2008 presidential field continues to drum each other into the ground over a plethora of issues. As I mentioned in a previous post, the one issue that is always neglected in the real world of politics is the only issue that really matters, as it gives us the freedom to even have and debate other issues. The Constitution. What our country was founded on, and what many would like to do away with for their own political gain.
Ron Paul Exploratory
What is with the terrible souther accent? Listen and cringe!
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."-Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Sunday, March 4, 2007
The irony of this picture and what it says is incredible, but very true. Unalienable Rights has info on the upcoming legislation that supports this picture.
A Gun History From The Right Scale
Whether you agree or not, it's an interesting lesson in history.
Something to think about...
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5
million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in:
Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note, that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!)
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort, and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.
You won't see this data on the American evening news or hear our president, governors or other politicians disseminating this information. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Take note my fellow Americans.....before it's too late! The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.
With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
The government is constantly trying to take away our 2nd Amendment rights and many Americans simply don't care.
In Commonplace Book, Thomas Jefferson quotes Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." Again, no less true today than it has been throughout history.Mark Alexander has a great article about the latest attempt to usurp our Constitutional right to bear arms.
Clearly, our Founding Fathers had it right. "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them," warned George Mason. "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty," implored Patrick Henry. "Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."
Friday, March 2, 2007
The Growth of a 21st Century Fascism
By David Strom
A new fascist movement is on the rise, and proponents of individual liberty are losing ground.
Left-wingers often accuse conservatives of being fascists, but the reality is that fascism is simply another form of collectivism, like socialism and communism. The differences, such as they exist, are marginal between these collectivist ideologies when viewed from the perspective of Liberalism. Fascism idolizes the state, socialists idolize “society” and communists idolize “humanity” as a whole.
What holds these ideologies together is much stronger than what divides them: they are all dedicated to the proposition that the rights and desires of individuals are properly subsumed by the needs of the whole. Individualism is selfishness, rights are collective, and the “good” of the whole is the true measure of society.
Collectivism has been like a chronic disease in the body politic ever since the birth of Liberal Individualism in the 18th Century. For Locke, there was Rousseau. The American Revolution contrasted with the French Revolution and its guillotine. America had George Washington and Europe had Napoleon. Lincoln saved the Union as Marx was promoting Communism in Europe. . For the last 300 years we in the Western world have been living in the midst of a struggle between the forces of Liberal individualism and the forces of collectivism.
Communism and fascism dominated much of 20th Century history as the alternative to Liberal individualism and free markets. Democratic socialism is still eating away at European societies, which grow poorer and more sclerotic every year as they continue to declare the superiority of their model to American individualism.
Even here in America, the home of Liberal individualism, there is a constant assault on individual liberty. The steady growth of economic regulations, income redistribution, speech codes (New York just banned the use of a racial slur in public!), the ever growing tax code, and ridiculous limits to what we can eat, drink, or smoke.
Still, compared to most of the developed world, American is remarkably free for the moment. And that’s a nagging problem for the believers in collectivism.
So today we are witnessing the rise of a new version of the same old collectivist ideal; instead of the State or Humanity being elevated above individualism, it’s an idealized version of the environment or the “Earth.” Call it Nature, call it Gaia, or even call it Climate, the ideologists of collectivism are just trying to sell us a new reason to subsume our individual liberty to a collectivist whole.
The “crisis” of global climate change is a ridiculous on its face. The very concept is bizarre and illogical, if for no other reason than simply because there is not a default “standard” climate to compare any particular momentary climate state to. Compared to what, exactly?
Today’s climate is quite different from that of even a few hundred years ago, and once you go back a few thousand years—a blink of the eye in the lifespan of the earth—much of the earth that is farmland and cities was buried under thousands of feet of ice. If you could run the history of earth’s climate as a movie, it would be a constantly changing before your eyes. No one minute looking much like the next. Different climate, different species, even different arrangements of continents and oceans would dominate at any given moment.
Simply put, there is no permanent “state of Nature.” Nature, Climate, the Earth, or “climate”—whatever you want to call it—is not some permanent unchanging ideal. It’s so dynamic that even in the span of a few years or decades changes can render a landscape unrecognizable, fundamentally altered.
“Climate change” is not something induced by human beings or a “crisis” to be avoided; it is simply the reality of living on earth. To the extent that human activities may contribute to climate variability, the same can be said of termites, trees, and even the slow action of plate tectonics. It’s true, but what’s your point? Literally everything changes the state of the earth, all the time. Fighting change is like fighting gravity; good luck! Call me when you succeed.
The steady drumbeat of fear mongering has nothing to do with a “crisis” of climate change, because climate change is not a crisis. It was reality before human beings existed, and will be long after we are all buried.
However, it has everything to do with promoting the solution to the crisis of climate change: the demotion of individualism and liberty and the promotion of collective solutions and collectivism in general.
The “solution” to the climate change “crisis” is exactly the same “solution” that was proposed to solve the “population bomb” crisis in the 70’s. It’s the same solution that was proposed to solve the “crisis” of capitalist “exploitation.” It’s always the same collectivist solution, whatever the “crisis:” the relinquishing of individual rights in order to promote the greater good.
We are told that combating the “crisis” of global climate change will require a wholesale revision of how we live. We will need to live “sustainable” lifestyles, as if there could be such a thing in a constantly changing world. (Imagine trying to sustain any lifestyle for more than a few decades; we call such sustainability “stagnation.”)
In reality “sustainable” is just another word for “controlled.” And controlled by whom? Not by you. In a “sustainable” economy everything would be controlled by the same elite who pushed collectivism on you in the first place. The people who warned you about the crisis are the very people who you need to follow in order to solve it.
In today’s rebirth of fascism the leaders of tomorrow are the academic-media-political elite who run the major Universities, the government bureaucracies, and of course the all important media.
The elite is those who know better than you what is good for you.
It may sound alarmist to decry a new birth of fascism. After all, we are hardly talking about an impending coup or anything like that.
But actually I am worried that it is already too late to start fighting back.
The ranks of academia are already being scrubbed of global warming “skeptics,” who are derided as “deniers.” The American Meteorological Society is already being encouraged to decertify meteorologists who don’t believe in global warming. Nuremberg-style trials for global warming “deniers” have already been proposed. And US Senators from both the Republican and Democratic Party have actively campaigned—successfully I might add—to prevent some private enterprises from contributing to organizations which oppose global warming alarmism.
The campaign to suppress debate on the global climate “crisis” is well on its way to succeeding. The “consensus” that a crisis exists is being built right now.
And once there is “consensus” that a crisis is upon us, how can we effectively defend individual liberty? Individual liberty is being portrayed as simply a right to destroy the environment. Can anybody have a “right” to destroy the environment? Goodbye liberty.
No, it’s not too early to worry about the creeping 21st Century fascism; instead, I worry it is already too late to beat it back.
Check out the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom. The US is ranked 4th overall.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Check out the story of Olive Riley, possibly the oldest blogger in the world. She is 107 years old!
Democracy or Liberty
By Walter E. Williams
Does democracy really deserve the praise it receives? According to Webster's Dictionary, democracy is defined as "government by the people; especially: rule of the majority." What's so great about majority rule? Let's look at majority rule, as a decision-making tool, and ask how many of our choices we would like settled by what a majority likes.
Would you want the kind of car that you own to be decided through a democratic process, or would you prefer purchasing any car you please? Ask that same question about decisions such as where you live, what clothes you purchase, what food you eat, what entertainment you enjoy and what wines you drink. I'm sure that if anyone suggested that these choices be subject to a democratic process, you'd deem it tyranny.
I'm not alone in seeing democracy as a variant of tyranny. James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said that in a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, "...that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy." John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Chief Justice John Marshall observed, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."
Our founders intended for us to have a limited republican form of government where rights precede government and there is rule of law. Citizens, as well as government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government intervenes in civil society only to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange. By contrast, in a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. The law is whatever the government deems it to be. Rights may be granted or taken away.
Clearly, we need government, and that means there must be collective decision-making. Alert to the dangers of majority rule, the Constitution's framers inserted several anti-majority rules. In order to amend the Constitution, it requires a two-thirds vote of both Houses, or two-thirds of state legislatures, to propose an amendment, and requires three-fourths of state legislatures for ratification. Election of the president is not done by a majority popular vote but by the Electoral College.
Part of the reason for having two houses of Congress is that it places an obstacle to majority rule. Fifty-one senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The Constitution gives the president a veto to thwart the power of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override the president's veto.
In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wrote, "Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority." That's another way of saying that one of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous and could actually be opposites.
“In the battle of life, it is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”~Theodore Roosevelt