Sunday, July 27, 2008


Vitus, a Swiss movie, hit the big screen in 2007. It won a Swiss film award that year.

I'd never heard of it. One website said upon release, its box office was $28,092; another said its US box office was $186,492.

It is about an intelligent child prodigy, Vitus, who is controlled when she realizes she has a real wunderkind on her hands. Her control goes too far and he decides he wants to be an ordinary kid. He uses his intelligence "being ordinary" to find his way to autonomy.

Spiritually, this is one of the best movies, among a very, very few, I have ever seen.

It is a heart warmer, but it goes far beyond that. A heart warmer may produce warm fuzzy feelings, but it doesn't produce the feeling of sheer joy and vitality that we all seek although we may have given up on it. A worked-for achievement does that. My spirit soared seeing this movie. In fact, I thought I would burst. My soul heard the music of its possibility. My mind was spinning.

Vitus is the healthy ego. He may go through rough times, but his spirit and intelligence is unable to bend to the dictates of society around him.

In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, she describes this feeling. "She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance."

Yes, deliverance. I got it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wall Street Got Drunk?

The hell they did. Bush's statement is absurd, not from the standpoint that Wall Street didn't run with the openings they saw because of Washington's regulation, but because he places the cause as Wall Street.

A legitimate authentic businessman doesn't get "drunk" about these matters and he does not allow himself to be thrown off track by eating the manna dropped from Washington.

Suppose I have decided to be a bank. I offer safe-keeping for people's money. In an unregulated market, the value I'm offering is safety and liquidity. People want to know that their money is secure from theft and they want to know that they can go get it when they need it.

The issue of lending money becomes a potential threat to those values unless I know what I am doing. Loans of all kinds have to be set up first with the depositors such that they are compensated for the risks they incur with their deposits that can be used for making loans. I, the banker in this case, have to know how much reserve I must have to protect the basic values I offer lest people come to the bank and find that they cannot get their money. If that happens, I'm bankrupt and my business is over.

The government has told the banks that they can lend more than they otherwise would and they have told them to loan to risky would-be borrowers. The government, they said, will ultimately back their depositors via the FDIC and other institutions. They have refocussed the concerns of the bank by removing the urgent reality of their accountability to their customers. The government will cover it.

The fact that the government isn't a bank dealing with people nor an insurance company who sets up reserves for the risks it takes is another story. The government is FORCE and has to take everything out of the hide of the population. It does it by taxation or inflation, i.e., the printing press.

All of the shenanigans of the banks and mortgage companies in the current fiasco result from the government's removing the principles of sound banking from the concern of the banks and mortgage companies. Hence a bubble which, when the piper plays his tune better known as when profligate ways hit the wall of reality, has to burst. Bush's fingerpointing is ludicrous and ignorant of what is going on. He should know better. Until we make sure the government stops inserting their FORCE via regulations into the situation this will not change.

The moral of this story? Force obviates the seeking of authentic values and the responsiblity for achieving those values.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Unfree Market has Failed

With the economy slowing and the home mortgage industry reeling from the stupidity of government fostered regulations and money which obviated the need for sound financial judgment, we hear frantic cries, "Save us! Save us!!" directed to the government. If a person is trying to drown you, what good is it to scream for him to save you? Alas, this is the widespread response.

I read an argument last night the point of which was that gas prices are rising not because of rising demand but inflation. I hear scant mention of inflation as the cause and none of those come from Washington. We know when other currencies are rising relative to the dollar our currency is worth less. The dollar has been the currency of choice around the world for years and now people don't want it.

Government control of the money supply is certain, albeit sometimes slow, death and the expanding (once in a while it deflates) money bubble is where we have been perched for about a hundred years. Obviously money is something whose reputation has to be earned, as we are now seeing. It is done by the judicious maintenance of value, a quality that the US Government cancelled via the legal tender laws. See below: Money by Consent Not Force posted June 20.

The government is a political institution, not a business that must maintain its value to the world in order to exist. The governement deals with everything by the use of force, not value, and once it steps beyond the protection of individual rights, that force becomes an enemy of its people.

Every major industry is now regulated to the point that people cannot make rational decisions. Time is spent doing what we can get permission to do rather than what is creative, intelligent and prudent. The human mind is the source of values, production, wealth and happiness. The government, on the other hand, acting beyond its proper purpose, cancels the human mind except as a slave to its needs and whims.

Bribes to the legislators and regulators are commonplace because no other way to get their blessing to be their slave is possible. If you don't know how you are paying them bribes, think about it a minute. You buy a license to drive your car. You buy a license to open a business. You pay them fees and taxes to have a phone. The list is endless and would not be if these goods and services were the products of businesses creating appealing values and we were free. Now isn't this a mess? Nevertheless, it's true.

Government to Blame for Housing and Financial Crisis
by Yaron Brook (7/22/08)

Irvine, CA--In “The Government Did It,” an opinion piece published last Friday on, Dr. Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, argued that our government’s massive control over the housing and financial markets has led to many of the problems being blamed on the free market today.

“The financial peril of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Dr. Brook pointed out, “should help expose the lie that today’s financial problems are the result of an insufficiently regulated market.”

Citing the government’s hand in the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Reserve Board’s inflationary policy of keeping interest rates artificially low, the irrational lending standards forced on lenders by the federal Community Reinvestment Act, and the quasi-official policy of bailing out large financial institutions deemed too big to fail, Dr. Brook argued that “our government contributed to creating a situation in which millions of people were buying homes they could not afford, in which the participants experienced the illusion of prosperity, in which billions upon billions of dollars were going into bad investments. Eventually,” Brook concluded, “the bubble burst.”

“We do not need more regulation or economic ‘steering.’ What we need to do,” said Brook, “is remove the government’s power to coerce, bribe, reward and bail out irrational decisions. The unfree market has failed. It’s time for a truly free market.”

Yaron Brook is president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Copyright © 2008 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is This Coronation by Global Triangulation?

Suppose you have a close relationship with a friend/spouse. Your friend/spouse does something you don't like and instead of going to them with your complaint/concern, you go to another friend and talk about them. This person agrees with your side of the story which eases your angst. You don't really resolve your difference with your friend/spouse and you don't repair your relationship.

The situation smoulders; your relationship deteriorates. You wonder why you can no longer get it up. Your interest wains; an emotional estrangement ensues. A worse case is if you used what the second friend said as backing for your position in a talk with your friend/spouse. Needless to say, your friend/spouse will get angry, feel outnumbered and violated because you blabbed about them outside the relationship. This is the phenomenon of triangulation, the use of an uninvolved outside person/group to gain power in a situation.

There are other aspects to this like asking a question of the third person that you know they will answer in a certain way and then use that differently back home in a different context.

Obama is now in the Mideast, soon to go to Europe. Already Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, ran a controversial article stating that Maliki, PM of Iraq, agrees with Obama's 16 month plan. "When asked in and interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded, as written in the article, 'as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned.' He then continued: 'US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.'",1518,566841,00.html

(I'm hearing now that Maliki said he was misinterpreted by Der Spiegel. This may or may not be true since the Muslim countries are known for their opaque manipulations. I'm left wondering.)

Is Obama going to Europe to get backing from a "friend" to finesse McCain? Cannot he now say (or better yet let us see for ourselves), "It's what Maliki as spokesman for the Iraqi people want so my timetable is right and your hedging on a withdrawal date regardless of your reasons is wrong?"

McCain's position as I understand it is that we have had tremendous success in Iraq. We don't want to mess it up by being hasty and opening up the situation to a reversal when it is in its closing phase. If the situation were to deteriorate we may have to go back for a third war in Iraq, the very thing that most people complained about how Bush I handled the situation.

Obama, after visiting Iraq and Jordan (he's already been to Afghanistan) heads to Europe for some "rock star" performances. 300 of the press are following his every move, beaming images and stories back to the US. Is he using this means rather than debate and dialogue with McCain and the American people to secure his coronation? I think he intends so.

Power and adulation is Obama's primary motive. Positive results in the districts he has representated are "shrimpy" at best and non-existent or negative in at least two important cases. and regarding his association with Rezko who is now in jail in housing and regarding his education project.

I do not favor public housing under any circumstances as the free market is moral and it is practically superior for providing housing at all income levels. Also the same freedom provides responsible charity. The above links demonstrate the results for projects Obama put himself on the hook for. These projects are the result of an immoral ethic that pervades our society and which allows Obama to be irresponsible regarding his results. He says "I didn't know."

Further, political triangulation is a tactic from the class warfare playbook - pit one class against another, one ethnic group against another, ultimately one person against another in an ongoing group-based battle. Alinsky, his primary class warfare political tactic mentor, screams the only issue to be power, power, power, Everything I see in Obama is a match for these tactics. His campaign is certainly not about the issues. He says anything, contradicts what he's previously said or walks an oratorial tightrope in the hope to feed cake to all sides. As for me, my head is spinning; I have a headache; I don a neck brace before I watch TV (not really). The fascination with his eloquent preacherly orations have soured to grandiloquent bullshit. I don't believe any of it except that he loves adulation too much.

Just as the person in the opening scenario won't do the heavy lifting and endure the discomfort of rationally dealing with the real issues for whatever reason and opts for petty blow-offs, Obama continues to play the "I'm a star" game where "out-starring" his opponent is his answer. I find it deeply disrespectful to human being and anyone who actually cares and is interested in the workability of his ideas.

McCain is looking like a loyal friend/spouse while Obama galavants around the neighborhood looking for people who tell him he's cool.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Piercing the Pretense

When I saw this on The Drudge Report, I roared with delight. Finally someone had the guts to pierce the front and the stultifying PC that we know as Obama. Obama may get elected, but how can I take him seriously intellectually? I don't believe a thing he says.

Obama has so many untouchable subjects around him that whenever anyone points out obvious gaffes, inconsistencies, embarrassing blanks of knowledge, and the obvious tiptoe on his tightrope, he rebuts with why their remarks are inappropriate. He's "unable to understand why they would say that", "why they shouldn't have said that" and so "offended-waiting-to-happen" that he's painful to watch. Of course the cover above was "tasteless and offensive." (In this age of Ugly and Envy, since when has taste and inoffensiveness been a standard for much of anything?) He blows off serious discussion of issues. If you criticize him, you are wrong and very bad. Working around him must be "oh so much fun."

The New Yorker did him a favor.

I wish the article inside would have opened up this whole area for him and for us. Instead it worked real hard to make him an ordinary politician doing his thing. This he is not.

Obama is dangerous. Not in the sense of the cartoon, per se. He trafficks in class warfare. He uses any underclass as justification for all action. He is a political wonk whose main occupation is knowing the intricasies of how to gain power - and now ultimate power.

Whatever ideas he may use as justification in various settings, Obama is not a serious student of politics in any philosophical sense. If he were he would know better than to advocate these failed ideas. He exploits people to pit one segment of society against another. He loves grievances rather than ideals as his fulcrum. He spends other people's money to produce no change. Does this stop him? Not even a bump on the road.

In every satire is a grain of truth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

America's Special Grace

I read this this evening in the TIA Daily published by Robert Tracinski.

After listening to so much bad news and bad politics, this was a pleasure that had to be shared. It captures the essence of America's greatness although it attributes it to theist reasons rather than the Enlightenment one of the freedom of the individual mind - that solitary organ where thought, discovery and resulting knowledge that improves mankind's lot occurs. SCB

"America's Special Grace," "Spengler," Asia Times, July 8

Violent antipathy to America measures the triumph of the American principle, and the ascendance of America's influence in the world. America's enemies make more noise than her friends, but her friends are increasing faster than her enemies. America's influence in the world leapt as result of her victory in three world wars, including the fall of communism in 1989. Arguably, America is ascending even faster today, despite the reverses in its economic position and the strains on its military resources….

If America has been given a special grace, it is because its founders as well as every generation of its people have taken as the basis of America's legitimacy the Judeo-Christian belief that God loves every individual, and most of all the humblest. Rights under law, from the American vantage point, are sacred, not utilitarian, convenient or consensual….

It is an irony that globalization itself has provided the means to a handful of endangered ethnicities to assert themselves, sometimes in the most grotesque fashion…. We hardly need talk in this context of radical Islam, whose existence in the absence of the global oil market is unimaginable. Without America's global success, the undead of traditional society could not give voice to their rancor—much less finance it.

To love America is to acknowledge its special grace, namely that a nation founded not on ethnicity, language, or culture but rather upon the sanctity of individual rights will prevail, while the remains of traditional society are borne away by the current….

The coherence of traditional society imposes a structure on life, a structure so rigid that such societies cannot adapt to change and must crumble before encroaching empire. In return for the sanctity of individual rights, Americans are freed from the constraints of traditional society and made responsible for their own actions. For an American presidential candidate [Obama] to refer to traditional society as the model for the solution to American problems has no precedent. It is one thing to denounce American errors while upholding American principles. Never before has America considered electing a president who prefers the alternative, and that might just be the most dangerous thing to happen to the United States since its Civil War.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Source of Frustration in Arguing Politics

This political season is one of the most frustrating experiences that a person who grasps principles as statements of values can have. The more one integrates his life based on fundamental principles and sees life related to these principles, the more he feels the threat of the constant assault on these principles. So many outlandish, even insane, statements are uttered with so many people, particularly the media, not delving in depth about serious topics, except to perhaps concoct elaborate theories as to the political strategy of one candidate versus another, it is nigh impossible to keep one's head in the matter. When I hear this, personally, I feel like "harumphing" and walking away. I want to yell at them. Sometimes I do.

Intelligence is the ability to act on one's rational thinking integrated to the widest context of which he is capable. If one selects a job, he is more intelligent if he selects it because it meets all of his criteria for selecting the job. If it is something he enjoys doing where he uses as many talents as he can, where he accomplishes career goals, where he earns the money for his current and future personal/family needs, where he is challenged and experiences self-esteem then he is selecting it from an integrated value structure. On the other hand if he selects it to make enough money to live hand to mouth and nothing else, he is not very intelligent.

Integration of all one's values and actions is key and it cannot be done without an integrated philosophy. When a political candidate says that he wants to raise taxes on the rich and create programs to benefit the poor, the integrated person is going to experience an assault on his values. If he is rich, he will experience the fact that his rational choices and actions are to be highjacked for a purpose not his own. His choices don't count except as a pack animal that must carry the poor. If he is poor he experiences the institution of this principle as the undercutting of the value of his rising and being successful. In either case, a future has been cut out from under him.

The unintelligent person doesn't experience this assault. He thinks he is getting a break and doesn't see how it limits his own future, nor does he see how the success of the men of ability are crucial to his own well being.

The intelligent person sees, e.g., that universal health care requires the doctor to be enslaved to a highly income-regulated program where the doctor's ambition and skill make no real difference for his future. Thus the motivation to be a doctor is undercut to the point where the men of ability forego a career in medicine. The intelligent person sees that health care must suffer and decline.

The unintelligent persons sees access to health care that he would otherwise not have and thinks he is better off. He doesn't see the consequences because he does not have an integrated knowledge base.

At this point in time, the country favors the government to regulate and dole out everything. Most people apparently look to government to solve every problem. Given these thoughtless premises, most people issue their opinions like a fait accompli.

To argue against this mess, you have to take a deep breath and get present to basic principles. Establishing those, you can then draw the proper conclusion.

The government is the institution which regulates the use of retaliatory force. That is its only proper function. When it initiates force against its citizens which it does when it forces them to pay for and use their programs, it abrogates the motivation of all individual human beings to make rational choices. Society cannot benefit from this enormous source of creativity and problem solving. Everything gets reduced to a few enforced courses of action. Men instead of being free have to ask permission to act. When force is instituted, choice is eliminated. When force is instituted, rationality is eliminated. When force is instituted, value is eliminated. When force is instituted, man turns from the creative heroic being that is possible for him to a slave - frustrated, whining and demanding. Life shifts from possibility to brutality.

With the politicians all saying how they will initiate force to cause what they want, we all know that we are being assaulted at some level. We are nervous and frustrated and the cause goes beyond high gas prices. The politicans are offending us and they don't even know it.

The answer is not another government program but political freedom. The answer is not a gun but an argument. Focus on the principles and argue away. With this, the frustration will disappear.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Role of Spirituality in Politics

(This speech delivered to the Fellowship of Reason, July 6, 2008

This year we are seeing a phenomenon in politics that I have not seen in my lifetime.

In the 60s, John and Jackie Kennedy added an esthetic level to politics with their youth, style and grace. They captured the imagination of the country and even though the election was close and the politics not especially noteworthy, they still are remembered by many as the high point for defining American presidential style.

This year we have the candidacy of Barack Obama. Although some people try to compare Barack and Michelle to the Kennedys, I don’t buy it and think it is a stretch. It is true, they are working on a classy presentation, but it doesn’t come off natural to them, at least for Michelle, in the way it was for the Kennedys.

But there is something natural to Obama: The spiritual.

He speaks in the measured cadence and repeated phrases of a practiced preacher. He is charismatic and eloquent. Girls swoon and faint when they get near him. The cheering and screaming in his presence goes beyond the meaning of what he is saying. Obama is the apotheosis of a rock star.

His candidacy is a spiritual quest. He promises hope and change. Don’t all spiritual quests imply hope for change? When one is filled with despair and life is meaningless, is not a spiritual quest needed? “Surely there must be something greater than, more exultant than my little life. I hope so. Obama says there is. Let me follow him.”

Obama has arrogated to himself the role of the person who is going to lead the way and heal the rancor of our divided, angry nation. Obama is going to have us rise above our pettiness and even suggests correcting our wrong-from-the-start actions. Follow him and we will transform this entire mess we find ourselves victim of.

When I go to Obama’s website, I find a beautiful website. Unlike the others, the graphics are extremely well done and consistent. For a political website, it is an extraordinary esthetic, i.e. spiritual, experience.

The colors are red, white and blue except they are not the navy blue and the robust red that we know as our country’s colors. Obama’s blue is a lighter, a medium blue with shading suggesting a sky. His red is a toned-down, slightly-grayed red such that it isn’t so definite nor bold. It is quieter, doesn’t excite too much, and let’s you be with it all without feeling threatened.

McCain’s site, on the other hand has a picture of him in front of furling flags of a deep blue background with white stars and gold fringe and is associated with the pomp and grandeur of the elected office. (This is not an endorsement of McCain - just a comparison of websites and what in us to which they appeal.)

Obama’s website’s header has Obama’s symbol of a rising sun over a red and white striped landscape placed over the right shoulder of a picture of Obama dressed in a white shirt and a silvery grey tie. A halo effect of a lighter sky surrounds his shoulders such that his white shirt and the whitened sky merge as one at some places of this image. To the right of this image are the words: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . . . I’m asking you to believe in yours.” At the bottom of the page is the statement: “This website is powered by Hope.”

Clearly Obama is appealing to spiritual aspirations of a different order than whatever McCain is appealing to. I don’t deny that the office of President of the United States has a spiritual component to it. My question is: What spiritually can our President provide? Asking that, maybe we can know whether Obama is on the right track in his spiritual appeal to America?

The United States has the clearest principled founding document in the world. In the Declaration of Independence, we declare that “all men are created equal 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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - “

This agreement by which we live and true ourselves to in the course of our political life sets the standard for the spiritual nourishment that we need from the government. When our government is upholding this agreement and clearly acting in accordance with it, our spirit is buoyed and we feel confident to live our lives in the freedom that is ours by right. We are free to pursue our happiness. We are happy that our government is doing the job it was designed to do.

Witness the reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Second Amendment Right to keep and bear Arms. Many people got goosebumps when they heard this decision. This is the most life affirming court decision that I remember other than Roe vs. Wade, the decision affirming a woman’s right to her body. The United States may be the only country where the citizens may keep and bear Arms for the reason of keeping their politicians and government in check. With government running amok untethered by its duty to provide for our liberty, its about time we put these guys on notice.

When it does not uphold these principles and the lines of proper action are unclear, we become spiritually diminished and threatened. Upset, irritation and anger result.

There can be plenty of disagreement as to how to carry out the simple principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and in fact, we all know that it is the nature of government to encroach on the rights of the people, infringe their liberty and impede their pursuit of happiness.

I assert that America’s spiritual health coincides with the government hewing itself to the principles for which it was founded.

Obama, however, is not presenting himself as a person committed to carrying out our founding principles stated. He nowhere refers to them and when asked about his view of one or more of them, he equivocates, coming down on both sides of the issue – as he did with the Second Amendment. He is committed to Change and Hope, two amorphous meaningless words nowhere in our defining documents. Change to what? Hope for what?

Because Obama is not grounded in the principles of our founding documents and there is a good bit of evidence to say that he simply doesn’t agree with them, believing instead in class warfare and the divisions among men, he must find an alternate spirituality with some attraction in order to attract voters. I say he is fashioning himself as The Savior – the one who will provide the change and the hope that those attracted to this kind of spirituality can go for. They’ve bought it many times before. Why wouldn’t they buy it now.

He is fashioning himself, not as a proponent of ideas, but as the personality that is going to take us to the Promised Land, that heaven beyond our ordinary lives. This is why I think his website graphics and preacher-ly cadences evoke these otherworldly associations.

As an aside, many of the emblems that designate constituencies he hopes to attract are basically a circle in a blue background. Each one is elaborated to designate that particular constituency. The circle in a blue field is reminiscent of the UN flag, a world organization, not a national organization. Again, “heaven” is beyond our ordinary lives and ordinary boundaries.
My conclusion is that his appeal to the kind of spirituality he seeks to evoke is fundamentally inappropriate to a political campaign in the United States of America.

The constant polling of people gives us data that he is winning. I don’t really believe them at this point primarily because the main stream media has been so wrong in its predictions of past elections. But, then again, they could be right.

There are two things that worry me most about this election. First, have the practical, logical, reasonable people who are responsible for their own lives and that constitute the bulk of this country slipped into the minority; and have those who think they can profit by punishing the rich corporations and individuals or feel guilty for the success they have achieved or think it is time for a man with a different skin color regardless of his ideas to run the country become the majority?

Second, will Obama as he confidently embraces contradiction upon contradiction and eschews being governed by reality take on the status of a God? When he embraced Bush’s faith based program and said he will make that program the moral center of his administration, I fell silent. This was a daringly bold move. He blew off all his past condemnations of Bush and any likenesses of Bush as even remotely viable in this election. He risked his Hate Bush constituency. With this action he no longer gave heed to foe or contradictory stands or anything by which we measure a man. He is in the process of extricating himself from the realm of ordinary man. Either he will find himself licking his wounds at the curb because we judge him absurd or we will be drawn to him because of our fascination. Maybe he will become an uberman. Will we raise Obama on high to lead us wherever HIS heart desires in any moment of OUR future?

Why do I NOT think that ANYONE’s spiritual future lies there?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Why Do We 'Keep and Bear Arms'?

This is very good and the reason that I'm so heartened by the Supreme Courts recent decision. This puts the fear of God in the politicians and they have really needed that given that they have become a law unto themselves, divorced from us. I don't know where this may have originally appeared. I got it from The Atlasphere, a website where the lovers of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead may meet and share common values. SCB

Opinion Editorial by Larry Elder - Jul 4, 2008

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision affirming an individual right to gun ownership, now seems an appropriate time to remember why, historically, the right to "keep and bear arms" is so vital to freedom.

A prominent 20th-century Democrat made the following statement about the purpose of the Second Amendment: “Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. ... “The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.”

Recently the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, struck down the 1976 Washington, DC, ban on handguns. The court ruled that the Founding Fathers wanted the Second Amendment to allow individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The minority disagreed, arguing that the right only extends to those belonging to a state “militia,” such as the National Guard.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” What did the Framers mean?

Did the framers intend “Militia” to be an arm of government? Or did the Framers define militia as something completely different — a group of armed citizens with a right to “keep and bear Arms” to guard against unjust or tyrannical government power?

The Founding Fathers assumed that any government, including the one they established, could grow into a monster. They argued that only “the people” with a right “to keep and bear arms” could prevent such a tyranny.

James Madison, the “father of the Constitution,” stated that tyrants were “afraid to trust the people with arms,” and lauded “the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

George Mason said, “To disarm the people — that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said: “What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”

Noah Webster, the prominent political essayist who fought in the Revolutionary War, wrote: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.

“A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

Samuel Adams likened the Second Amendment to the First: “That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

Dictators throughout history sought to disarm their citizenries in order to impose power:

Vladimir Lenin said, “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

Mao Zedong said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Josef Stalin said: “We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?”

Adolf Hitler said: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”

Thomas Paine, in 1775, spoke about another kind of “tyranny.” Bans and restrictions on firearms affect the law-abiding citizenry, shifting power to the non-law-abiding. Criminals ignore laws. That’s why we call them criminals.

Paine said: “The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned while they neglect the means of self-defense. ... (Weakness) allures the ruffian (but) arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order in the world. ... Horrid mischief would ensue were (the good) deprived of the use of them. ... The weak will become a prey to the strong.”

Oh, the prominent Democrat quoted in the first paragraph? It was said Oct. 22, 1959, by future senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. How times — and much of the Democratic Party — have changed.

Larry Elder is a syndicated radio talk-show host and the author of Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests That Divide America.

Who Upholds Freedom Most - "Conservative" or "Liberal" Judges?

Here is an interesting comparison of the "liberal" and "conservative" Judges of the Supreme Court. What is being born out is that "conservative" judges tend to uphold freedom and individual rights; "liberal" judges tend to uphold and advance State control over the individual. The "conservative" judges honor your life; the "liberal" judges hand you over to the State.

This by no means is 100% true nor 100% consistent. But, it is going this direction. I'm thinking we have a philosophical dialogue on individual rights as the basis of how we organize ourselves as a society in our future. Read this:

I placed the quote marks around "conservative" and "liberal" as I don't think those terms are accurate representations of the underlying premises of those groups. The means of referring to the emerging orientations may better be served by Individual Rightists vs. Statists.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've been speaking out against Obama and people are getting that I don't want him for my President. This is true. But then, they ask, "McCain isn't much of a leader either, so what does he have worth voting for?"

First of all as of now there are three candidates for whom to vote: Obama, McCain and Barr of the Libertarian Party. I rule out the Libertarian Party because of its flawed base and its existence only makes the battle for liberty harder, not easier. I would much rather distinguish the liberty position from the statist positions of the Democrats and the Republicans than I would from the anarchist and amoral positions of the Libertarians.

I dislike Obama because I'm convinced that he will say anything, do anything and be anything to get and keep, when he gets it, power. I do not think he is a saint nor do I think he will ascend into those blue skies and white puffy clouds on his website unless he disintegrates before our eyes - which he is really working to have happen.

I definitely do not trust his Marxist past - 20 years sitting in a Black Liberation Theology church listening to a rabid racist preacher who, while a free man in the United States, is willing to blame America to its roots including the very principles of individual rights on which it is founded. I'm not willing to give those up, are you? For what? So one man or a group of men can dominate and force you by law, and you have no founding document of your individual rights on which to build your case?

Reverend Wright is about revenge not freedom. There is nothing to make up when you are free. Life begins anew and you are free to make of it what you can. That is as good as it gets in a political system. If you don't rise to the occasion, you designate yourself a victim and then you have to get back. To gain power to now dominate someone else is invalid as a workable idea and can only lead to war and rumors of war.

Included in Obama's Marxist past is his association with the domestic terrorists, Ayers and Dohrn, who subscribe to the same Marxist beliefs. Marxism is about class warfare. It is about setting one man against another in principle. It justifies any kind of violence based on one's prefabricated victim status. It leads nowhere. Countries set up on that principle have failed or will fail. (I can see it now if Obama is President. He invites Ayers and Dohrn to the White House. They, who have bemoaned that they never caused as much destruction as they would have liked, leave a package in a cloak closet. Boom! I do think this idea is silly, but I'm pointing up the inconsistency of a victim who wants to right a wrong by force when there is a civil mechanism to do so. Since Obama throws Wright and Ayers under the bus, can we get a promise out of him that he will never invite them to the White House? )

I don't want any of this governing our country and I don't want any of this choosing our Supreme Court judges. Simple as that.

This leaves McCain. McCain does not hold my view of government as the protector of individual rights. He definitely is a statist. There are two things that I like about McCain. He is able to articulate his claims on our lives in terms of sacrifice for the country and for all of us. Obama articulates his claims on our lives in terms of sacrifice for the poor and the least among us. Obama sets up the class warfare situation and McCain does not. I consider this difference a plus for McCain. (Under my Favorite Websites and Links see "From Each According to His Ability..." as a demonstration of the consequences to a society that sets up this principle.)

Next, I think McCain, if he does what he says he will do, will choose Supreme Court judges that are originalists - that is people who will interpret the Constitution based on the principles that generated it and are displayed there. (I, by the way, do not see an originalist as anti-abortion. I know many people do. I consider the right to abortion as the woman's right to her body and thus a derivative of her right to her life. A fetus, until it is born and has independent existence, is a function of her body and her life. It is absurd to claim that a fetus has a right to life which then sets up, in principle, a conflict of rights. There are no conflicts regarding rights. When she gets pregnant, she does not become the property of and thus under the direction of the state. Her body is her property - her fundamental property. Pregnancy does not convert her into a slave. The religious fundamentalist be damned on this point!) Developing law based on the principle of individual rights is vitally important to our getting our freedoms back. They are ours by right. Until this gets straightened out, we are not free. This is a vital issue.

So at this point, I'm voting for McCain.

You notice, I have not mentioned the war. I don't think either one of the candidates are going to abandon the results that we have achieved in the Middle East. I don't think it is the distinguishing issue. I do think that McCain will be a more capable Commander-in-Chief than will Obama. I think he can stand, if he has to, by a decision that can get unpopular. I don't see that quality in Obama.