Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day

(Reality, Reason, Rational Self–Interest)

Victory in Iraq Day banner

Today, The Four Rs joins Zombie and many other bloggers to declare and to celebrate the achievement of our troops in the Iraq war:

It's VI Day!

After disposing of Saddam Hussein's supposedly strong army in about a month, the men and women of the U.S. military pitted themselves against entrenched warlords and waves of terrorists (commonly, and incorrectly, called insurgents in the news). Despite rules of engagement that seemed deliberately designed to sacrifice them to the scum they fought, a majority of the media openly hostile to them, politicians and peaceniks at home doing their best to denigrate and declaw them, and top–level leadership clueless about the purpose of and justification for war, our troops performed magnificently. It took far longer and cost far more lives than it would have without those unnecessary and often outright treasonous obstacles, but Iraq was subdued and is now no more violent a country than many considered to be at peace.

That's victory, whether or not the enemy or even our own government and fellow Americans will admit it.

Whatever follows in a country that is in many ways poised to fall into religious dictatorship, the U.S. and coalition forces have accomplished their military goal. To our troops, congratulations on a job well done, and never forget that there are those of us who support you and who are grateful that you fight for your freedom, and therefore ours.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Victory in Iraq

(Reality, Reason, Rational Self–Interest)

Victory in Iraq Day banner

By every measurable standard, the war in Iraq is over. We won.

Because this fact will never be admitted by either the outgoing Bush administration, the incoming Obama administration, or the mainstream media, well–known blogger and Little Green Footballs contributor Zombie has taken it upon himself to declare victory. He has designated 2008.11.22 as Victory in Iraq Day, or VI–Day. His declaration and explanation is available at his web page, Victory in Iraq Day, November 22, 2008.

On November 22, The Four Rs will join many other blogs in celebrating and congratulating our troops for prevailing over enemies both foreign and domestic, and overcoming often incompetent leadership and crippling restrictions, to achieve this victory.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Transition Time

[Reality, Reason, Rational Self–Interest]

Immediate post-election reporting is usually poor, in my opinion, because it is immediate. In the rush to say something, much of what is published lacks reflection and depth. Fortunately, it seems that we’re getting past that now.

In Great Britain, The Telegraph offers an example of more coolheaded commentary with Barack Obama Is Only Human, You Know, by Simon Heffer. Heffer traveled to the U.S. to observe the election and its aftermath, and files a fairly level-headed report. It suffers from the mixed premises shared by all media these days, but not so much from the dominant, blatantly left-wing bias of the great majority.

Here are some excerpts. On perspective:

[Y]ou can imagine the state of additional ecstasy—above and beyond that caused by St. Barack’s election—of Americans at TV pictures of rejoicing people all around the globe when the glad news was confirmed.

One was almost grateful for the cold bath of malice from the sinister President Medvedev of Russia, his strings pulled by the tyrant Putin, arguing improbably that America had caused the war between his country and Georgia and, somewhat more probably, that the U.S. had been the cause of the recent world financial meltdown and the coming recession.

You can always rely on the Russians to rain on any available parade: and perhaps in this instance it was no bad thing.

There are some nasty people on the planet—Mr Medvedev is but one of them—St. Barack will find that the minute he squares up to them (if he squares up to them) a lot of other nasty people will come out of the woodwork to oppose him.

At that stage, a world apparently united in its love of the charismatic new leader, full of hope, change and hope for change, becomes one once more factionalised by the power of America.

On hype:

It is one thing to run a fabulous campaign, to buy an election victory by massively outspending your rivals, and to have an Oscar–winning style of speaking.

But in the end, reality is what counts: and there may be a little too much of that around for the Obama magic to deal with.

Calm down, dears. He’s only a human being.

On what’s left of the opposition:

I hope the Republicans don’t fall into the trap the Tories plunged into in 1997, of thinking they lost because they were nasty or Right-wing.

They lost because their party was utterly incompetent, and the Democrats had piles of money.

America remains conservative. The Republicans, who have to be in shape to win back Congress at the 2010 mid–terms, will get nowhere by trying to out-Obama Obama.

And my favorite, on Obamania:

I was struck by the numbers—from Oprah downwards—crying on Tuesday night. Having always thought the Obama experiment would end in tears, I felt this premature: give him a chance.

Heffer closes by wondering what will become of British comedy now that Bush will be out of office. I’ve always been a fan of British comedy, or was back in the glory days of Monty Python, so it might be worth keeping an eye on that development.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Five Reasons the Public Bitch-Slapped the Republicans

[Reason, Rational Self–Interest]

OK, I said I wasn’t going to comment on the election, but it came up elsewhere and I wrote a reply. So here’s an analysis of this year’s EPIC FAIL by the Republicans:

It’s been said that the Republicans lost this election cycle because they did not distinguish themselves from the Democrats, that they appear to be a me–too party or leftism lite, therefore people rejected them because they don’t want yet more of what the Democrats offer. It’s also been said that voters rejected the Republicans on religious grounds, that they voted against theocracy.

I disagree on both counts. The Democrats won the White House and larger majorities in Congress, so the electorate clearly doesn’t reject their platform. Also, other than what became a sideshow over what Sarah Palin’s beliefs might be, religion was at most peeping out from the shadows in this campaign.

I think the Republicans’ problem is that the vast majority of the public erroneously thinks there’s an enormous difference between Republicans and Democrats. Here’s what I've observed as the perceived difference on five key issues:

  1. Economics:
    Republicans equal Capitalists, and they help the greedy rich and big business against the little guy, which means that capitalism is Evil. Democrats have no economic label (good job by them avoiding being called socialists), but they’re Not Capitalists and they defend the little guy against the greedy rich and big business, which means that Democrats are Good, like Robin Hood. Plus the Dems will give all the little guys a piece of those greedy rich folks’ money, which they believe lies around in piles in big vaults in rich peoples’ homes, like The Prevailing View of Rich PeopleScrooge McDuck. Goods have intrinsic, correct prices, which ought to be identified and fixed by law, but the greedy rich and big business always force them to pay more than that. When they think about it at all, they think that economic systems are arbitrarily chosen by the government, like picking a color for painting a room, as if the Founding Fathers said, OK then, the president will serve four years, not five. Now, how are we gonna do economics?, and picked capitalism, which can just be replaced by some other system just as the way we elect vice presidents was changed. They are unaware of any connection between economics and morality, let alone recognizing the link to the nature of man and reality.
  2. Environmentalism:
    Republicans equal Capitalists, and they slash and burn trees and Save me from the Republicans!cute little bunnies just for fun, which means that Republicans are Evil and will destroy the earth. Democrats protect trees and cute little bunnies against the evil Republicans just like they protect the little guy against the evil rich and big business, so Democrats are Good and will save the earth. They make no connection between saving the earth and their own lives, thinking it means nothing more than cleaning up the rivers, reducing smog, and having more pretty trees around. When the EPA reaches into their homes with their new dictatorial CO2 controls and turns off the furnace, and into the stores and removes all the incandescent lights, they won’t even know it happened, and will have no idea why they’re freezing in the winter and can’t afford light bulbs. Most likely they’ll blame it on the oil companies.
  3. Property Rights:
    Not even on the radar, unless someone literally approaches them individually and tries to take something like their wallet or car. Mine goes no further than that for them (money, in particular, is not even considered property in the way, say, clothes or cars are—it holds some indefinable status between immediate, in–hand, tangible goods, and air). If they consider eminent domain at all, they think of it as nothing more than making way for roads and the likeYou can sleep in the dumpster behind the new mall (and that anyone but the government can—let alone should—provide roads or other such public services is inconceivable to them). When they encounter cases like Kelo (which to them seem very rare and inconsequential thanks to under–reporting by the media), they seem so remote and so unlikely to happen to them that they don’t bother to think about it. They have no conception that the government gun even exists, they think that because people can vote they’re implicitly consenting to whatever the majority decrees, that taking part (or even just being a citizen) equals agreeing to whatever results (vs. complying with something one is given no choice about). So they don’t think of taking from some and giving to others as any kind of violation. In fact, they think it’s moral and right if the one taken from has more than the one given to—they call it being fair.
  4. Most can't imagine this
    Energy:
    Combine Economics and Environmentalism above with the tumble of gas prices in recent weeks, and they either don’t care any more (consider the low position energy held as an election issue in all the polls) or they want to protect cute little bunnies and docile, gentle polar bears from the evil Republican Capitalists, which the Democrats will do for them.
  5. The War:
    Republicans/Capitalists are militaristic war–mongers who automatically attack others, especially brown people,1 out of hate, empire building, or capitalistic imperialism (grabbing loot and expanding markets).Look! That Republican wants to kill everybody! Democrats are caring and loving, and will bring permanent peace via flowers, hugs, and unilateral disarmament, or at least by simply not engaging in war. Like prayer, peace and love are active forces that can be exerted to effect desirable ends, so if we just care enough and refrain from warring all those people in the rest of the world who hate us because Republicans/Capitalists make us evil will magically love us instead, and there will be brotherhood forever. Except that white males need to be exterminated. And we ought to call it sisterhood, because brotherhood is sexist.

These are all things I have heard stated in various ways, either reported in the media or by people I know. I would estimate that 80 to 90 percent hold these kinds of views on at least half these issues. At no time is the public aware of any concepts or principles that would allow them to identify the themes and thinking common to both Republicans and Democrats.

Could they identify the similarities? Sure, they have the capacity to understand. But they’ll have to overcome everything they have been or are currently being taught. Not gonna happen any time soon.

1I have heard that phrase used in this context many times, especially by those who refer to themselves as brown people. The general belief is that only whites, especially white males, can be racist, and that racism practiced by any other group is not really racism, especially when it’s against white males. In the schools where I teach, race utterly, completely, and absolutely dominates every tiny little aspect of the thinking of non–white kids (I don’t know about the white kids, because they’re too busy keeping their heads down to have said much of anything about it).

They even invent races. For example, each separate Spanish–speaking country is a different race in their minds. I had a 7th grade kid ask me, Are there different kinds of blood? Thinking she was referring to blood types, I replied, Sure. Different people have different blood types, like A–positive or O–negative. Mine’s A–negative. Completely missing the second part of my reply, she eagerly jumped in with, So there’s Puerto Rican blood, and Dominican blood, and black blood, and... I cut her off and tried to explain, but it was lost on her. As far as she was concerned, I had just confirmed that her racism was scientific fact.

Objectivist Roundup #69

[Reason, Rational Self–Interest]

Titanic Deck Chairs presents this week’s edition of the Objectivist Roundup. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I’ve Seen God! So Can You!

[Reality, Reason]

From the Constitution Party’s platform:

The pre-born child, whose life begins at fertilization, is a human being created in God’s image. [emphasis added]

Here, then, are some pictures of God:

God, according to the Constitution Party
God, according to the Constitution Party
God, according to the Constitution Party

I don’t know about you, but I’m less than impressed.

Election Post–Mortem

[Rational Self–Interest]

Everyone and their mothers are going to analyze the election to death, so I’ll just say this about it: Things are going to get worse in America, therefore in the rest of the world, and faster than anyone anticipates.

P.S. Had McCain won, not a word of that would have been different.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hut! Hut! Wait, I Mean May We Begin Now, Comrades?

Rational Self–Interest

Here’s the latest from the wide world of sports:

NFL NEWS: All Games End In Ties Again This Week

Playoffs, Super Bowl Canceled as New Spread the Points Around Rule Teaches Teams How to Play Fair

NEW YORK (Four Rs Wire Services)—For the fifth week in a row, every game in the NFL ended in a tie, a result of this year’s new Fairness Rule. The point–sharing measure was adopted at an emergency meeting of the league’s Rules Committee in response to the near collapse of some teams early in the first few games, and took effect in the season’s fourth week. Bernadine Dohrn, appointed to the post of NFL Commissioner by President–To–Be Obama to deal with the emergency, calls the measure a triumph.

In harmony with Our Magnificent Leader’s1 new vision for America, said Grand Commissioner Dohrn, we have succeeded in making NFL football a fair game, where even the weakest teams now compete successfully with the strongest. Without punishing anyone’s success, the NFL has improved the records of every team that had been behind the others.

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, whose team contributed 14.5 points to the Cincinnati Bengals in what would have been a humiliating 35 to 6 win, said he was simply giddy to be part of a system where teams sacrifice the fruits of their success to the greater good.

However, some teams still fail to see the truth of the new rule. We have an extremely talented team, said Jeff Fisher, coach of the Tennessee Titans, after his team’s 20 point tie with the Indianapolis Colts. Under the old rules we would be undefeated at this point in the season. We would never have given our points to the Colts if we weren’t forced to by the league. We earned those points, they belong to us, and we should be able to keep them.

Yesterday, High Commissioner Dohrn, acting on a tip from patriotic Colts tight end Dallas Clark, launched an investigation into possible pedophilia and cannibalism by an unnamed NFL coach.

The number of scoreless ties rose again, the Cowboys–Buccaneers game bringing the latest total to 7. While vile skeptics allege that having every game end in a tie causes players to lose the desire to perform, Fearless Commissioner Dohrn says she’s proud of the growing sense of righteous egalitarianism among players.

The offensive line of the Ravens permitted Joe Flacco to be sacked a league record 19 times because they wanted the Raiders’ defense to feel good about their performance, Glorious Commissioner Dohrn noted. The unsubstantiated rumor that they don’t care any more is nothing but a vicious, anti–social lie. The whole league has been ordered to stand firmly behind the new rules.

The 30 point score tax, levied on the former Redskins because their team name was offensive to oppressed Indigenous Americans, was lifted last week when they changed their name to the Rainbows, a move praised by their famous fans, previously known as the Hogs but now called the Light–Bearers. The removal of the tax enabled the team to contribute four points to the Lions in their 21 point tie. Prior to admitting their evil, the Rainbows had continuously scored negative points, draining the common point pool just to bring them to a score of zero. Following the enlightened lead of the Rainbows, the Jets are expected to announce their new team name, rumored to be the Hybrids, at a press conference on Friday, which should result in a lowering of their 50 point tax. There’s been no word yet on name changes for the Buccaneers, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Patriots, Raiders, or Steelers.

With every game now ending in a tie, the playoffs and the Super Bowl have been deemed no longer necessary, since they are elitist and damaging to the self–esteem of teams who don’t qualify or who lose playoff games. League attendance averaging less than 100 fans per game and the complete loss of television revenue are not factors in the decision. In fact, a statement by Commissar Dohrn has made both of those things untrue.

In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Berman, the ghost of Vince Lombardi was quoted as saying, What the fuck?

Here are this week’s scores:

Colts and Titans: 20
Seahawks and 49ers: 23.5
Giants and Steelers: 0
Bengals and Texans: 20.5
Browns and Jaguars: 0
Falcons and Eagles: 0
Chiefs and Jets: 26
Chargers and Saints: 0
Rams and Patriots: 0
Bills and Dolphins: 20.5
Rainbows and Lions: 21
Buccaneers and Cowboys: 0
Cardinals and Panthers: 25
Raiders and Ravens: 0
Vikings, Broncos, Bears, and Packers (byes): 11.2

(Teams with a bye this week were each awarded 11.2 points, the average score of all teams that played, so they wouldn’t be left behind or feel bad about the league not scheduling them to play this week.)

1Capitalization in conformance with Executive Pre–Order 10–290, Requirements for Voluntary Exaltation of the President–To–Be.

Update, 2008.10.30 6.05 PM:
A fellow blogger wrote a similarly–themed post back before the Olympics. Check out Deus Ex Machina’s Athletes Shrugged—it’s great!

Update, 2008.10.29 8.31 PM:
A whopping 137 points to anyone who can guess why I chose Dallas Clark as the Colt snitch—there’s an actual reason, but it’s awfully obscure. Your points will be awarded out of next week’s NFL Common Point Pool. True, you will have earned them, which goes against the spirit of the Spread the Points Around rule, but...I’ve now carried a joke too far, so I’ll stop.

By the way, I have no beef with Mr. Clark. In fact, I’ve always thought him an excellent player, and true to the Colt tradition of wearing weird numbers for certain positions (Clark is a tight end wearing #44, cf. part–time quarterback Tom Matte, #41, and linebacker Mike Curtis, #32). I’m sure he would only ever accuse anyone of pedophilia or cannibalism if he knew for sure they were guilty, and never as part of a political smear job. Cheers!

Update, 2008.10.29 4.19 PM:
Wow, this post comes with an instant update. The government has always stuck its nose into sports: mucking around with the sanctity of contracts in dealing with steriod use, granting the NFL an exception to the anti–trust laws that shouldn’t even exist, stepping on voluntary human interactions by regulating sports betting, etc. ESPN has the latest, a demand by senators for the NFL to make more games available on free broadcasts. Read the article, notice the nitpicking, the focus on tiny little details. WHY IS THE SENATE SPENDING TIME ON THIS? Is the government ever going to refrain from butting in on private affairs?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong

Reason, Rational Self–Interest

Even though I've tried to make it clear that I don't support John McCain, that I'm only voting for him and not Barack Obama for the same reason I'd rather have cancer than AIDS, I here's one bit of evidence from the mountain I could produce that proves he's utterly incompetent to hold any office, let alone the highest in the land. In an interview on 2008.10.22 with Wolf Blitzer of CNN Shout Out: Paul Saunders, via email, he said the following:

The first role of government is to help people who are in crisis or need.

Compare this bit of mental midgetry with someone else's statement of the purpose of government:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men

I first became aware of politics at about age 7, during the Nixon/Humphrey election of 1968. Other than them, leading up to this year, the presidential candidates that count whom I've seen are Wallace, McGovern, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Anderson, Mondale, Bush I, Dukakis, Clinton, Perot, Dole, Bush II, Gore, Kerry, and, of course, Pat Paulsen. This year represents the nadir of quality for the choice for president. (Speaking of nadirs, Nader is far below that.)

Obama will be a swift, unmitigated disaster for this country, but I'm nonetheless disgusted that McCain is what stands as the lesser of these ridiculously great evils.

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The Hypnotized Never Lie (Do Ya?)

Reason, Rational Self–Interest

Obama supporters, especially those who think that Republicans are really any different than your messiah (which would be effectively all of you), take note. Pete Townshend anticipated the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and all the fanaticism and lunacy that's come with it, way back in 1971:

Be prepared to meet the new boss, much worse than the old boss.

Update, 2008.10.25 4.39 PM:
By the way, McCain won't be much better, if at all. It's just that you Obama supporters are so laughably moonstruck over the guy. What are you going to do when you can no longer evade the fact of what an absolute bastard he is?

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Evil Profit

Reality, Reason, Rational Self-Interest

Funny how no one is screaming about oil company profits now that the price of gasoline has tumbled. Remember how vile everyone thought those companies were when the price was going up? How their profits were called obscene? How the idiotic politician–thug Maxine Waters wanted to nationalize them because they were so evil?

When was the last time you heard anyone refer to profit, no matter how much or little, as anything but evil?

Next time someone talks about how evil it is that corporations earn profits, i.e. earn anything more than the cost of keeping them doing what they do, the cost of creating the goods and services they sell, ask if he earns more than what it costs to keep him doing what he does, the cost of remaining alive. Note that the only thing a human being truly needs to remain alive is a little food. Then point out that everything he has beyond his food requirement—house, car, refrigerator, TV, computer, cell phone, books, DVDs, underwear, toothpaste, aspirin, cooked food, even any food he doesn't need immediately—was paid for by his profit.

Ask what justifies his being paid so much more than his bare survival requires. If he tries to claim that he only has a problem with too much profit, ask how he decides what's too much. Then, because it will be true no matter what he says, point out that by his own standards his profit is too much compared to someone remaining alive on 27 cents a day in Burundi.1

Ask if he's willing to live without his own profits. Then ask why not, and how he can stand being so evil. You might have a chance at that point to teach him that profits are good.

1Global World Income Per Capita. Finfacts Ireland. Published 2008.02. Accessed 2008.10.23.

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Inevitably, Venezuela Gets Worse

Reality, Reason

In Venezuelan Inevitability, I talked about how oil production in that country has dropped sharply under Hugo Chávez, and that it's not going to get any better. Well, now El Presidente has another problem to solve with his socialist1 super-duper-ness: keeping the lights on.

In a scene all but directly lifted from Atlas Shrugged,

Pastora Medina, a legislator representing San Felix and nearby cities suffering chronic power problems, this month tried to bring the issue up in the national Congress in Caracas, but the legislature's leadership refused to let her speak.

Several hours later, as the legislature discussed a South American integration plan created by Chavez, Congress itself lost power...

Stay tuned to find out what fails next in Venezuela.

1Hey, since I called Chávez a socialist did I just make him black?

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Objectivist Roundup #67

Reason, Rational Self-Interest

The Rule of Reason hosts this week's Objectivist Roundup. Lots of great articles listed there—be sure to check it out!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Has Anybody Seen My Socks?

Rational Self-Interest

Seriously, if you borrowed ’em, I need ’em back.

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Socialism in Miniature

Reason, Rational Self-Interest

Pay careful attention to the words of Mrs. Holt, the mother in Girl, 13, Who Smokes Drinks and Has Sex Rewarded by Mother with Cigarettes at The Telegraph. She could be any socialist in the U.S. or Europe speaking about how to provide for the people. Like Michael Moore, who said to John Stossel when he questioned Moore's documentary advocating socialized medicine for the U.S., Sicko, I gotta believe that, even though I know you're very much for the individual determining his own destiny, you also have a heart. Or Barack Obama, who, as everyone knows by now, wants to spread the wealth around to help out everybody behind Joe the Plumber.

Reading that article, I couldn't help but think of this, from a comment by Judy Aron on a post at her Consent of the Governed:

I left my parent's home when I got married—I don't need the government to be my mommy and give me an allowance and tell me what to do.

Silly rabbit. Socialism is for kids, not for independent adults.

Shout Out: Rational Jenn

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Finally, Some Self-Examination in the Media

Reason, Rational Self-Interest

Orson Scott Card, a Democrat and a reporter, takes Democrats and the media to task for their long-standing political double standard in Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn on the Lights? An excerpt:

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie—that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad—even bad weather—on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth—even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

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Some Who Shouldn't, Do Anyway

Reason, Romanticism

Jason Hackenwerth illustrates perfectly what I discussed in Those Who Can’t Do, Appreciate. Building on the precedent set by the great S. G. Martin, Hackenwerth creates works whose merit cannot be disputed. He takes the medium to places never before seen. Note the technique and scope of his work. Consider him in terms of past masters of sculpture like Michelangelo and Rodin, as well as their present-day descendents such as Bobbie Carlyle. There can be no question about Hackenwerth’s rightful place in the artistic pantheon.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fun with Formatting

Reality, Reason

I spent a lot of time over the past week or so working out some nifty formatting stuff for the site: drop caps and a small-caps first line for each post, print-style indented paragraphs, better handling of included pictures and videos, and behind-the-scenes stuff that makes it a lot easier for me to format posts consistently—things like that. It meant that I had to repost everything, which may make the RSS feed and email subscriptions see posts as if they're new again; I apologize for that if it happens to you. On the other hand, I have things set up now so that such reposts should never have to happen again.

Anyway, I think the new stuff looks great. Hope you do, too.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Am Joe

Rational Self-Interest

I Am Joe

Update, 2008.10.19 17.30:
In addition to Iowahawk's post, linked above, which started the whole I Am Joe movement, there's an excellent post at the dungeon-games.com blog, complete with videos showing what's going on. Obama and his Blueshirt machine should be ashamed, though I doubt they have any idea what shame is. Here's the definition if any of them happen by here and are curious.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Those Who Can't Do, Appreciate

Reason, Romanticism

At Not PC, Peter Cresswell posts about this painting by Jacob Collins:

I love a still life by an artist who practice realism. Linda Mann is one of my favorite present-day artists, and the Quent Cordair gallery offers some fine works in that category. Collins's Drawing is a magnificent instance of the form.

All my life, I've been able to grasp any activity I see, in almost every field. I'm not just talking about understanding, but executing as well. There has always been a direct connection between my comprehension of something and the performance of it. Sometimes it takes some practice, and I'm certainly never a virtuoso, but I've always been able to immediately connect the understanding in my mind with the actions of my body. For me, in nearly every case, to observe something is to understand it, and to understand it is to be able to do it. Not with the knowledge and skill of a master right away, to be sure, but without requiring much, if any, instruction. I can watch a sport I've never played, or listen to a song I've never heard before, or watch a mechanic fix something on a car I've never fixed before, and in the space of a few minutes be playing that sport, singing that song, or fixing that car, and doing so quite well. It's like that for me with just about any activity.

But art confounds me.

Beyond the approximate level of stick figures, I cannot make the connection between what I see and how I would go about creating something similar. Looking at Collins's Drawing, beyond perceiving the benevolent world his sense of life and choice of subject display, I see his profound technical expertise. But I cannot translate that into action: it would be impossible for me to create even a crude imitation of that work, or any other.1 This inability extends into other realms that use artistic methods as well—I could hack together something vaguely resembling a table, but even to save my life I couldn't craft anything remotely like this:

It's not a matter of understanding. I know something of the techniques used to create various kinds of artwork, and I know how and why artists use them. But I cannot do what they do. When it comes to art, I cannot make my hands do what my mind knows. For a long time this prevented me from appreciating art, and I spent little time with it. Eventually I realized how much I had been missing, and I learned how to value art without being able to create it myself.

I'm not one of those who stands in awe of anything beyond their capacity simply because it's beyond their capacity. Even more so, I am most definitely not like those who despise both what they cannot do and those who can. It would be nice if I could do what artists do, but there are things in my life more important to me than that, and those are the things on which I expend life. I am very glad, however, that there are people for whom creating art is what's important, because they make my life the brighter. Thank you, Mr. Collins.

1I have no doubt I could splatter paint on a canvas or carve a rock into a bizarre shape or smother a banana in feces but, despite the claims of so many who do that sort of thing, that is not art.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Venezuelan Inevitability

Reality, Reason

According to an article in The Telegraph, Venezuela's oil production has dropped by 25% since El Presidente Hugo Chávez seized absolute power. The government oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S. A. (PDVSA), produced 3.2 million barrels per day B. C. (Before Chávez), and is currently producing only 2.4 million A.D. (After Dictatorship).

The article mentions three factors associated with the drop:

  1. A production bottleneck: Venezuela produces low-grade crude which has to be processed before shipping, and the three existing facilities for doing that cannot keep up.
  2. The "Petrocaribe" club: Chávez has made deals with his "friends" to allow them to pay only 30% up front for their Venezuelan oil imports, with the rest spread over payments spanning decades. (The United States is the only one of Venezuela's customers paying full price.)
  3. Loss of focus: PDVSA is no longer just an oil company, it has also been charged with performing completely unrelated activities like growing food and making furniture and appliances.

The processing problem is the most straightforward matter—capacity must be increased. Of course, socialism is not known for its industrial production, the marquee example being the communist Soviet Union having to import food despite controlling the Ukraine, a region fertile enough to feed the entire world. Chávez's fellow Petrocaribe socialists compound that problem by ensuring that many of the funds necessary to pay for new facilities will only be arriving in dribs and drabs, if at all, and the recent crude price plummet makes each barrel of Venezuelan oil bring in less revenue. So it's not likely Venezuela will see that increased processing capacity any time soon. In addition, the Chávez regime making PDVSA central to the social battle for the advance of [the] country by subjecting it to his whims can only bring about further reductions in the country's oil output. Of course, there are undoubtedly other factors not mentioned in the article.

All this is simply the result of socialism and dictatorship. As in all such governments, Chávez has substituted central control (in this case, his bizarre personal judgment) for the thinking of millions of individuals whose freedom, still limited B.C. but by comparison infinitely greater than A.D., made Venezuela one of the top oil producing countries on earth. With Chávez in charge, the country will inevitably lose that status.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Annoying Political Pollsters

Reason, Rational Self-Interest

I had two different pairs of wandering pollsters appear at my door today, both sporting Obama stickers on their shirts. (Whatever happened to campaign buttons? I haven't seen one yet this year.) Usually I tell them to get lost, but today I felt magnanimous so I took the time to answer their questions. The first asked who I'm voting for, for president and congressman. I answered McCain and my local incumbent,1 and that was the end of the interview.

The second asked if I knew who I was going to vote for, for president. I answered Yep. After the uncomfortable pause I knew would follow (I imagine that, and wonder why, most people are quite eager to blurt out their choice) one of the pair asked, Would you mind telling us who it is? (Me inside at that point: ) I replied, Not your guy, that's for sure. Also end of interview.

So, since I expect more to follow, I made a handout to save time. It's based on my earlier post, and it looks like this:

McCain Sucks.
Obama's Worse.

(Not that there's much difference, but one of these assholes will be running the country whether you vote or not. Might as well make it the not-worse one.)
http://fourrs.blogspot.com/

I'm also going to put one in my car window. I'd put one on my front door, but I think it'll be more fun to hand it to them in person.

1Republican Charlie Dent, who is average at best but enormously better than his power-lusting, conniving, lying, back-stabbing Democratic opponent, Siobhan Sam Bennett, whom I happen to know, and loathe, personally. Knowing what I know about her, I wouldn't doubt that she gave herself that nickname because she thought her real first name would be too odd-sounding for most voters. That's a mild example of how she thinks.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Welcome the Blueshirts

Reason

Here are two truly (and equally) frightening videos, both showing children being indoctrinated to be unthinking Obama drones. From now on I'm going to call all these people "Blueshirts," because that's what they always seem to be wearing.

First, the touchy-feely one:

Shout Out: Little Green Footballs

Next, the militant one:

Shout Out: MagsRags

The Blueshirts in the second video were brainwashed at a Kansas City area government (i.e. "public") school. The teacher responsible has since been suspended, according to Kansas City's Fox affiliate, after he posted the video online. I have to wonder: would he have been suspended if he hadn't posted the video?

All of this looks awfully familiar:

Finally, it's been said by others, but bears repeating: What kind of deafening outcry would there be if this sort of thing was done on behalf of McCain?

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Out of the Fingers of Babes...

Romanticism

In the previous post, I took advantage of a so-called musical form (well, someone's brilliant parody of it, anyway) to skewer politics. Real music, however, is too good for such purposes. Here we have then six-year-old Emily Bear (she's now seven), a piano prodigy who plays better than most dream about, and composes her own music besides. This is the kind of thing that rekindles hope in my jaded soul.

Shout Out: Thales, member of THE FORUM

Please take the time to visit Emily's web site.

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Enlightened Debate

Reason

Forget the presidential and vice-presidential snoozefests, I want more debates like this!

Shout Out: BenAndRyan.com

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

And I Wear My Pants up to My Chest, Too

Reality, Reason, Rational Self-Interest

Here's something I just posted on THE FORUM. I like it enough that I want to put it here, too:

I've had a few foot soldiers come to my door this election season, some merely shilling for their man, others asking me to participate in polls. They all get the same answer: Your candidate sucks. Go away. I usually manage to get it in before they even say enough to identify who they're working for. The looks on their faces are priceless. As for phone polls, I just hang up the instant I know what the call is about.

There was one time when I couldn't hold back, though. As I was leaving my house, in fact as I was opening my car door to get in (I'd seen them coming down the block and I'd hoped to get away before having to deal with them), a pair of what looked like Jehovah's Witnesses came up to me and opened with, Hi! (Why are they always so effing cheerful?) We'd like to ask you a few questions about global warming! The rest went pretty much like this:

No, thanks, gotta go.

So, not concerned then?

Pregnant pause...

Yes, I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that global warming (I actually used air quotes) is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind. I'm concerned that people holding a government gun are demanding that my life and the lives of my children be sacrificed to insects and mud. I've reviewed the science on this subject. Really reviewed the actual science, not just read a summary of a summary in Time magazine or blindly accepted what some ignorant pastor or political hack wants me to believe, and it proves beyond doubt that the earth is not warming right now, that the planet has gone through perfectly natural cycles of warming and cooling for millions if not billions of years, and that humans have no effect whatsoever on climate. But what I'm most concerned about is that right now I have to go pick my son up at work and engage in some rampant consumerism that's probably a violent rape of Mother Nature. I'm really looking forward to that, and she probably is, too—the whore—and you are wasting my time with your stupidity.

Then I got in the car and drove away. I guess I've become a bitter, angry old man—and I'm not even 50 yet. I'm just not going to put up with any crap any more, and if someone is offended along the way, too bad.

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Growing Pains

Reality, Reason

A logistical note: RSS and email subscribers may have noticed some previously posted entries being refreshed and redisplayed as if they were new. This happens when a post is edited and reposted. There has been a lot of that since I started this blog, nearly always because I've been fiddling with formatting (a lot—I'm completely anal about things like that). Other than that, edits are for correcting spelling and grammatical errors, making minor wording or phrasing changes for clarity, fixing things I forgot such as post labels, or correcting errors generated by bugs in Blogger's software.1

It is my policy never to make major changes, particularly changes in meaning, opinion, or point of view, to posted material. Significant changes or addenda will always be posted as updates or corrections, like at the end of this post. In that case, it happens that I made a rather glaring error. It's especially the case that I will never attempt to cover up errors by editing posts. Unlike politicians, lawyers, and movie reviewers, I have always admitted when I'm wrong, and I always will.

In order to minimize reposts in the future, I have created a Double-Secret Probation staging blog, so I can edit posts to death2 prior to publishing them. That should prevent the most egregious errors from making it to public view.

Update:
See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I want to clarify that when I say I won't change a posted meaning, opinion, or point of view, it means that I won't edit a post to make it seem like I said something other than I did. Naturally my views are subject to change in light of new information or realization of error. When that happens, I'll point it out and refer to any relevant previous material. (Anal Retention Alert: this is about version 11 of just this update.)

1There's a particularly annoying bug that sporadically inserts full URLs in the <a name> links I use for footnotes, thereby breaking them. Every single time I go back to the post editor I have to check for and delete the inserted stuff. I'm not complaining about Blogger, mind you—it's a fantastic system that's constantly improving. All sufficiently large software systems have bugs.

2It's a rare post, here, in email, or on the various discussion forums in which I participate, that does not go through at least ten versions before I let it see the light of day. This is approximately version 17 of this post.

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Over the Cliff

Rational Self-Interest

I don't know exactly when it happened, but the United States has passed the point of no return. It is now, and will remain until its final collapse, a socialist nation. The arrogant, asinine, brazen, criminal, crushing, demeaning, demoralizing, destructive, dictatorial, disgusting, extortionate, horrifying, immoral, indefensible, infuriating, insane, insolent, insulting, rapacious, ridiculous, sickening, terrifying, and thuggish bailout law, enacted yesterday by the Politburo1, is only the latest in an unending program to erase the rights of the American people to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

There is no political road remaining that leads back to the principles upon which the U.S. was founded. No party—Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, or Green2—seems even to know about, let alone acknowledge or support, proper limits on government. According to their stated principles, they are each one dedicated to eradicating individual liberty.3 This has been proven time and time again by their words and deeds. There can be no more doubt about it: every active American political movement in existence endorses statism of some variety. Communism, socialism, fascism, nationalism, environmentalism, theism: all these evils, in their various combinations as openly and proudly professed by every extant political organization, are now inescapable.

So effective for so long as the very means of abolishing that which it lies about defending, a pretense of liberty will remain, perhaps for a few generations—it takes a long time for a huge ship to sink. But without another revolution, by those with the knowledge, courage, and resolve of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, an American descent into barbarism is inevitable. All that's left to the rest is to cling to what happiness they can while they still live.

1It has long since ceased to be anything similar to the body chartered to enshrine the rights of the people into law that the Constitution names "Congress."

2No other party is worth considering. Actually, none of those listed is worth considering either, but they're big enough to mention.

3In the phrase "individual liberty," the first term should be superfluous; unfortunately it is necessary.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

HOOGA-CHAKA!

Rational Self-Interest

Friday is karaoke night! Tonight I will be performing:1

  1. "Mr. Bojangles" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  2. "Hooked on a Feeling" by B. J. Thomas (though I'll be doing the Blue Swede version)
  3. "I'm Down" by The Beatles
  4. "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" by Brownsville Station
  5. "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" by Spin Doctors
  6. "Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon

That is, of course, if I get that many turns. Usually I only get to do two or three songs. You'd think being a friend of the DJ would give me an unfair advantage...

1Performance of a song by Piz does not necessarily mean he agrees with the philosohpical or political views of the song's composer(s) and/or the artist(s) known for recording it. And yes, though I do mean that, my tongue is firmly in my cheek for this footnote. HOOGA-CHAKA!

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knocking on Congress's Door: Nobody's Home

Rational Self-Interest

I am trying to contact my congressman via his web site, to tell him not to vote for the revised (and far worse) bailout bill tomorrow. Not a single government web site I've been trying is responding. Why am I not surprised?

Update:
Now I can get to his web site, but the email form isn't working.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

OH MY GOD! IT'S A CRISIS! WE NEED TO PASS THE BAILOUT RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW!

Rational Self-Interest

Except that it's not such a big crisis that we can't take a break from fear-mongering to take a two day holiday that we would take anyway, whether or not there's a CRISIS THAT WILL COLLAPSE THE ENTIRE ECONOMY UNLESS WE ACT IMMEDIATELY!

Happy Rosh Hashanah, Congress. Do us all a favor and don't come back.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Election 2008

Rational Self-Interest

My sole criterion for deciding how to vote is this: Which candidate will improve my life the most by getting government further out of the way of living like a human being? On that score, if the extent to which I expect candidates to improve my life is represented on a number line, both John McCain and Barack Obama score negative numbers. Neither will actually improve my life, both will make it worse. They are both statists, they both advocate increased government control over me. In different ways to be sure - McCain says he wants to sacrifice me to country, and Obama says he wants to sacrifice me to others. What they both mean is that they are going to use the power of government, which in the end is nothing more than pointing a gun at my head, to exert more and ever more control over me.

So the best I can hope for is an answer to the question: Which will do the least advancing in the negative direction? That is, which will make my life less worse? In the long run, both their methods (it would be too charitable to call them philosophies) will turn the United States into a socialist nightmare. However, I'll be dead in the long run, so odds are I won't live to see that happen (though those odds seem to get shorter every day). So which will increase statism the slowest while I'm still alive and need to be free so I can live as a human being?

McCain.

Everything about Obama except what he says in public as a presidential candidate screams that if he could he would seize dictatorial power on inauguration day. I am convinced that in his heart he actually believes that he's The Chosen One. Obama will do the wrong thing, the statist thing, every single time.

McCain doesn't want to be a dictator and doesn't believe he's a messiah. He actually thinks he stands on the side of freedom. That means that the slide ending in the complete loss of liberty will take longer with McCain, even though he will only occasionally do the right thing, the individualistic thing, and then only by accident.

So, if I were going to put a campaign banner in my front yard, it would read:

McCain Sucks.
Obama's Worse.

Vote McCain.

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How the Media Sees the Banking Crisis

Reason, Rational Self-Interest

On Thursday, The Financial Times published an editorial about the banking crisis. It's representative of the views of the vast majority of news organizations:

In praise of free markets

In praise of free markets? If by praise you mean, faint, damning, insincere praise, then yes. Let's go on a journey of philosophical detection...

The financial system has reached the point of maximum peril.

This is debatable, but I'll accept it.

After years of profligacy, banks have all but stopped lending to each other as the US Congress decides whether to extend support. If the unravelling of the banking system continues, the economic consequences will be dire. Yet there is an even greater risk: that the politicians now contemplating Wall Street’s follies draw the wrong conclusions and take the wrong decisions, losing their confidence in markets altogether. It would not be the first time. After the Wall Street Crash, markets were deemed to have failed and US lawmakers attempted to regulate short-cuts through the crisis. The widely-copied Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act quadrupled the effective tax rate on thousands of imports and deepened the “Great Contraction” of 1929 to 1933. The price of popular anti-market sentiment was much higher in some of Europe’s fledgling democracies: fascism.

Despite the severity of the current crisis, such extreme reactions remain very unlikely. Yet there is plenty of room for policymakers to compound the damage already inflicted by the irresponsible conduct of the financial sector.

Well, that's a half-decent start, except for the irresponsible conduct of the financial sector bit, since the financial sector was just obeying the rules imposed upon it by the government and relying on the not-so-implicit promise that the government will bail out anyone and everything that ever goes bad. But why do I get the feeling that you're setting me up?

It is time, then, to remember what open markets have achieved, and what lies in wait for societies that suppress them.

So, what memories do you then have to offer? None, in the entire article.

It is no help that some of the loudest critics have little interest in what went wrong, less in how to fix it, and none at all in safeguarding against problems in future. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, this week applauded the UK government’s ban on short selling. His colleague, John Sentamu, declared that the short sellers of bank shares were clearly bank robbers and asset strippers. These are the words of a well-meaning man who can see no moral or practical difference between a car thief, a scrap-yard mechanic, and a person who insures a car and thus profits if it is stolen.

Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General, went one step further—looters after a hurricane was his ill-judged analogy. Are short sellers also to be shot by the National Guard? The trouble with such sentiments is that they solve nothing.

[Why do you claim that insurance companies profit when cars are stolen? If that were the case, surely some of them would be in the grand theft auto business in a big way. OOPS! Click here for a correction.] Other than that, those are good points, but...

Criticise in metaphors—unbridled capitalism; unfettered greed—and you duck the tiresome task of specifying what bridles and fetters you have in mind.

...as we shall see, you do not believe in your own admonishments or you think that the bridles and fetters that you would approve of are reasonable.

Consider the Washington rescue package first. Why should taxpayers bail-out millionaire bankers, and what should we force them to give back in return?

So you're recommending a double use of force? First to coerce money from taxpayers: you're not asking why taxpayers should bail out the bankers as a rhetorical device meaning they shouldn't, you're asking as a preface to justification. Next you recommend coercing something from businesses in return for receiving the money extorted from the taxpayers.

Those are natural questions but not the only ones. We should also ask whether taxpayers will profit, directly or indirectly, from spending money to shore up the banking system.

I'm going to be spending my money to shore up the banking system? Spending presupposes execution of my free will; taking the money from me in the form of taxes is extortion, not spending—forcing me to put my money to a use which I would never choose for it. Calling this spending is like calling the forced redistribution of wealth investment. And since when is it government's job to provide profits to anyone?

The answer is yes.

Yes, taxpayers will profit? I will see a return on my $5,072.461 investment? Really? Let's look at that...

The system is close to collapse, and the consequences of collapse would be misery for Main Street. Profitable businesses and creditworthy consumers would suffer. A successful rescue would prevent that and there is even a small chance that it would be profitable in its own right.

While preventing hardship is a good thing, avoidance of misery and suffering is not the same as profit. Also, profitable in its own right here must mean monetary profit, so I expect a check for my $5,072.46 plus the gains I've earned on it. What's that? You say the government will never write such a check? I'm shocked I tell you. Shocked!

That is the justification for the rescue.

Well, that eases my mind. How wonderful that I get to pay for the government's disasterous intrusion on freedom, and business's reliance on it, and get at best a maintenance of the status quo in return. Oh, wait, not my status quo, but my status quo minus my $5,072.46. I'm so happy!

Congress was right to scrutinise it—especially its lack of oversight—but has become distracted by a desire to clip Wall Street’s wings.

Governmental desire to exert more control over the people is a distraction? From what, its otherwise laissez-faire benevolence?

The case for more effective regulation is nevertheless undeniable.

The praise of free markets continues.

It is hard to defend a system where top banking executives walk away with millions in compensation when their businesses are, in retrospect, fundamentally flawed. This looks like a reward for failure. We have witnessed two financial crises—the dotcom crash and the current banking disaster—in the first decade of this century. That is hardly a record which inspires confidence in the current efficiency of capital markets or their transparency.

Right, because those are examples of the failure of the free market, as opposed to a system (I won't dignify it by calling it a market) dominated by the crushing sands of government regulation.2 The dot com crash can be dated to the exact moment Alan Greenspan said the words irrational exuberance. I know this because, among other things, I watched my investment portfolio begin to collapse immediately following that statement.

The current crisis is routinely described as a symptom of deregulation, but it is equally the child of earlier, ill-fated interventions. Subprime mortgages grew because the prime mortgage sector was dominated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two institutions founded, regulated and effectively underwritten by the government. Securitisation was an effort to sidestep capital requirements. But it also created instruments that few could understand and, in Warren Buffett’s prophetic words, really were financial weapons of mass destruction.

Except for equally, which should be removed, this is good, I'm with you.

Capital markets clearly need better regulation

Huh? Wait a sec, you just said...

but policymakers should guard against unintended consequences.

Gee, ya think? Then again, when have policymakers (read: legalized gangsters) ever guarded against, well, any consequence of their commandments...oops, I mean policies?

Markets are places of trial and, very frequently, error. Their genius is not perfect efficiency, but the rewarding of success and the weeding out of failure. No better alternative has ever presented itself.

Implied here is that a better alternative is possible, implicit support for more intervention in the hopes that some day we'll get it right.

This is a difficult time to defend free markets.

Indeed. It's extremely difficult to defend that which does not exist. Unless...are you saying that you think that what we've had to this point are free markets? And you get to write editorials for a major news organization?

Nevertheless they must be defended, not only on their matchless record when it comes to raising living standards, but on the maxim that it is wise to let adults exercise their own judgment.

So close, so very close, to defending freedom. You just missed it. Which was to be expected: you don't believe in freedom, because...

Market freedom is not a fundamentalist religion. It is a mechanism, not an ideology, and one that has proved its value again and again over the past 200 years.

...it's just a mechanism, just one of any number of policies from which the government can choose to manage the economy, which you clearly believe it ought to be doing. If a better alternative presents itself, well, we should jump all over it!

The Financial Times is proud to defend it—even today.

Kewl! I'm glad you're proud to defend freedom (even today, as if there's a time not to defend freedom). So let's see your defense, because this article ain't one.

See Also:

America vs. Congress et al. by Edward Cline

John Allison takes a stand by Nicholas Provenzo

Correction, 2008.09.28:
A friend at THE FORUM pointed out that I misinterpreted the article's reference to car insurance. The article is talking about the person who owns the car, not the company that insures it. Still, I don't see how the owner profits from having the car stolen: he receives fair value for the car, so he's lost and gained an equal monetary amount. If there are differences between cars' values and insurance payouts, they're surely so small on average that it's not possible to make a living by stealing cars for the insurance money. Besides, any given owner won't get away with that for very long.

Anyway, from now on I'll take a Reading Comprehension Super Pill before I comment on anything.

1The $700,000,000,000 figure most often stated for the bailout divided by approximately 138,000,000 taxpayers in the U.S. as of 2007. It's even worse if we accept the estimate in that Wikipedia article that a third of those pay zero income tax. That changes the amount each paying taxpayer owes to $7,608.70.

2Nice metaphor, eh? Oh, one little regulation won't hurt, if it's for the public good. ... Hey, how did I wind up at the bottom of this giant hourglass?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Save American Liberty from Environmentalist Tyranny

Rational Self-Interest

The following is an email I received from my friend, Paul Saunders. I am taking action by contacting every government official I can. I urge you to do the same.

To ALL of You Who Value Your Liberty and Your Life, This is a CALL TO ACTION.

In July the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [ANPR]: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act, which details their plan to force Americans to reduce emissions of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases. This follows on an Executive Order signed by President Bush, which was made possible by a U.S. Supreme Court decisions ruling that CO2 is a pollutant. (!)

This plan will strip the American people of their freedom, and place them under the control of a single, all-powerful, federal agency. Industrial permits, furnace regulations, auto emissions testing, building permits, transportation, your home’s temperature, and food production—all will fall under the boot of the EPA. Environmentalists will use lawsuits to pressure the EPA to tighten an ever-shrinking noose around the neck of every American.

This EPA Proposed Rulemaking would after November 11, 2008 force Mandatory, 70 percent reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050 which means Mandatory, 70 percent reductions of energy usage by 2050. This action would be destructive of, at first, your freedom and prosperity, but ultimately would endanger your life.

The EPA is inviting public comment on this plan. John Lewis and I have submitted our own objections. To see these objections—along with instructions for how to register your own comments—go to this website: http://www.classicalideals.com/EPA_Ruination.htm

Do it before November 11, the deadline for public comment.

IMPORTANT!!—Identify your comments as: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0318.

Our comments to the EPA objecting categorically to their ANPR appear in two separate documents:

First, a Cover Letter (3 pages): http://www.classicalideals.com/EPA-AnprCommentsCoverLetter.html.

Second, our reasons for the objections (33 pages): http://www.classicalideals.com/EPA-AnprComments.html.

Our objections in this second document, Comments to the EPA, are focused on six major grounds (moral, natural historical, scientific, logical, technological, political) and each appears as a separate Comment section (one to six) with supporting evidence and arguments. I do not believe that anyone else is objecting to this EPA Rulemaking on moral and political grounds as we are.

I already sent this notice to numbers of organizations that are active in refuting the scientific ignorance of the man-made global warming advocates. I urge you to work with us to Save American Liberty, from the marauders marching under the banner of Save the Planet.

Please choose to either send a comment to the EPA supporting our Comments to the EPA or generate and send in your own comments on this freedom-destroying Rulemaking.

The EPA invites public comment—until November 11, 2008. That is the deadline for opposing this horrific, tyrannical plan.

Read this, and act! Please spread the word. Send this website far and wide, put it on the blogosphere, copy it in whole or in part, and write a letter to the EPA and to any media you can reach!

Paul Saunders
Bethlehem, PA
Retired Chemical Engineer (Semiconductor and Opto-electronic processing)

Dr. John David Lewis
Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University
Author, Solon the Thinker and Early Greek Lawgivers
http://www.classicalideals.com/
esse quam videri

Update, 2008.09.28:
Capitalism Magazine has published Paul's and Dr. Lewis's objections to the expansion of EPA power as a seven-part series, EPA Fascism versus America. Here are links to the parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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