Monday, December 31, 2007

First Principles - - I

Sometimes I feel like I'm just whining about every little mistake made by lefties. And, even though one could blog forever about just that, I yearn to write more positively from time to time. So, I've decided to make some posts about what I believe: first principles.

I believe there is a God who created heaven and earth. I am a Christian who believes that the foundation of Christianity the belief that there is ,"no remission of sin without the shedding of blood," and that the suffering and death of Jesus is how the sins of humanity are wiped out. I believe that kindness and tolerance are expected of me. And I don't think kindness and tolerance excludes speaking the truth to the misguided. Though this speaking of truth is not to be a full time occupation. Hopefully wisdom and grace will show us when and where to speak.
I believe in God and feel that it is a sensible approach to life. I feel that world views that lack the divine tend toward the solipsistic.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Robert Heinlein Said:

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterward.

He Employs a Political Device to Defeat the Ends of Nature

Employers who use illegal immigrant workers are breaking the law in order to escape the law of supply and demand. The use of these workers depresses wages for American workers. Many politicians who claim to be friends of unions and the working class also are in the tank for these employers who are willling to break the law in order to lower the living standard of American workers. And I've never seen this aspect of the issue adressed in any of the presidential debates or on any news or opinion show. The establishment of the two political parties and the MSM have sold out. Just one case is John Edwards who blathers on and on about fighting the power of monied interests but will give them all the cheap labor they want and screw over as many American workers as they tell him to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

At Least Code Pink Quit Screaming at Daddy

The Americans that I have heard talk about torture and the Iraq war have tended to focus on the 3 or 4 cases of waterboarding by the CIA. I have heard no moral outrage about the widespread and horrific torture visited on Iraqis by Iraqis. This leads me to reflect that: 1. They are just looking for a way to work out their own little internal dramas about George Bush. And/or 2. They might think that them there backwards foreigners just aint important enough for them to take notice of. Code Pink really doesn't care about humans being tortured they just want to keep up that unresolved argument with daddy that they have transfered to George W. Their opinion on moral issues is about as useful as the nuts who can only talk about UFOs, cutting taxes or building 7.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday Morning Mind Control on the CW

I saw a frightening children’s program today. A school was having a mock UN type of event. And an Iraqi girl had set up a display about Iraq. Someone had demolished the Iraqi display but no one knew who had done it. So students were being questioned by the principal while a bunch of kids sat in a room awaiting the results of the investigation. One girl was accused of having done the damage, not based on any evidence, but because she had joked about possibly declaring war on Iraq. Another kid was told that, “derogatory jokes are never acceptable.”
There was an Orwellian/ Soviet kind of feel to the whole thing. But basically the ’cool,’ thoughtful and incredibly caring adults were putting on treason trials of the kids to control their thoughts and feelings.
These attempts at thought and feeling control have been growing over the past few years. Now the CW has made it a part of Saturday morning children’s programming.
I guess it must require incredible insecurity to want to control the thoughts and feelings of everyone else. And it would be the ultimate tyranny.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Daddy, How Did You Become a Natavist?

"Daddy, how did you become a nativist?"
"It was easy, Jimmy.  I just wrote some stuff that pissed off a liberal and he started calling me names"
"You said 'piss' Daddy.  Is that worse than being a nativist?"
"Nothing is worse than being  a natavist.  It means that Hillary and Harry Reid don't like me.  It means I think there is a noncomprehensive solution to immigration.  And I might be put on trial
at The Hague."
"Does that mean they'll take me away from you?"
'Let's hope not. But someday they might start seperating relatives of hate criminals from the herd." 
"Are you a hate criminal, Daddy?  Who do you hate?"
"It's not that I hate anyone, Jimmy.  You don't have to hate anyone to commit a hate crime.  Liberals think that it's a hate crime to say something they don't want to hear.  They can be
controling and manipulative.  And they also have this problem that psychologists call
projection.  I'll explain it to you when you get older."

The Culture Wars. the ACLU and Ceramics

I was at the local hospital the other day and I stopped in the gift shop. As the little volunteer lady was ringing up my stuff I noticed a ceramic Mary, Joseph and Jesus in a manger on the shelf behind her. This clicked in with things I’ve been reading and thinking about lately. I said to her, “ Someday soon the ACLU might come in here, say that most of the patients’ stays here are paid for by the federal government and demand that the baby Jesus be removed from the hospital.” And as I walked away , I thought, “The ACLU will probably also simultaneously demand that foot baths be installed for the two Muslims that live in this town.”
I liked the volunteer’s reply. She just said, “ Well, if they do, we’ll all quit.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

It All Depends on Whose Steyn Is Being Gored

Mark Steyn recently wrote a column that identified a new civil right: the right to not be offended. A little thought about this leads me to wonder if, before I speak, I am expected to go to every person in the world and make sure every one of them is OK with what I’m about to say. Just joking. I know those who enforce this ‘civil right’ really don’t care about me suffering offense from other’s remarks. These enforcers are only interested in the thoughts and feelings of a few. What atheists and many nonChristians feel is especially important. The feelings of the members of certain racial groups are trotted out to limit the speech of others. But nuance is important here. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice might think they are black and I might even think they are. But their feelings are not of any interest to the enforcers: except bonus points are offered to anyone who will offend Condi and Colin.
There is a basic test of someone’s alleged beliefs. If you are willing to extend the benefits to all mankind, not just your friends and allies, then I might be able to accept that it is a truly and firmly held belief. But if the right to not be offended is only extended to a slice of humanity then it begins to look like just another weak assed rhetorical device.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Morally Obtuse"

I was going through some old stuff on my computer and I came across this column of T. Friedman's from Nov. 30, 2003 in the WSJ.  These three paragraphs bear repeating.
"I stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining — but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.
Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists — Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" — something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street
Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered — and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Does Congress Have No Respect for the Law and Normal Citizens?

Most Americans feel that people should obey the law.  I feel that it only breeds disorder and anarchy to pass laws and then tell police to not enforce them.  Congress has passed some immigration laws in the past few years but they will do nothing to see that these laws are enforced.  I have frequently written to my two senators (Feinstein and Boxer) to ask for an explanation of why these laws are not enforced.  At first they would not even reply to my questions.  But more recently they have begun to send replies (nothing like an election to get a senator's attention).  But they never send answers to my question.  They just send a generic immigration answer.    
This convinced me that that they don't ever read their mail from the likes of me.       
Why does the congress have so little respect for the law? Because they only see laws as something they sell to the highest bidder. They don’t pass a law unless someone is going to pay them. They’re pissed that they had to defeat comprehensive immigration reform just to not lose their seats. They’re really pissed because the voters have done them out of some money that they feel they are entitled to. They see laws as their commodity. K street is their customer and they sell them laws. Their attitude toward the law is some what like the attitude of a manager in a factory that manufactures paper clips. It pays the mortgage but they could just as well make rain gutters. And he’d be pissed if some normal citizen told him he couldn’t sell paper clips to people who employ illegal aliens. I see congress and laws as flowing out of the great tradition of the Magna Carta, John Locke and Tom Paine. But congress can’t see any difference between laws and paper clips and they see me as their enemy since I might sometimes ask them to pass a law just because it is what the country needs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

John Milton's Arguments Against Censorship

I had meant to summarize Milton’s Aeropagitica. But I no longer want to do that. I have set myself a more narrow goal. I intend to give summaries of Milton’s arguments defending freedom of expression. Often I have adjusted Milton’s arguments since his focus was on arguing against prior censorship.
ARGUMENT ONE Without freedom of expression our ability to think clearly is diminished by the lack of exercise imposed by the constraints of censorship. And our chance of acquiring new knowledge can only be limited by this lack of freedom. And sometimes the recovery of lost truth is nearly impossible.
ARGUMENT TWO If you are forbidden to hear your opponent’s beliefs and arguments this gives them advantage since they know both yours and theirs.
ARGUMENT THREE “Bad meats will scarce breed good
nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is
of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious reader serve in
many respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate . . .
how can we more safely, and with
less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading
all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is
the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.”
ARGUMENT FOUR How will it be decided who will be trusted to choose what speech will not be allowed? If some speech is disallowed because it is dangerous, how will the censors be safe?
(I would also ask if we would need overseers to make sure the censors act properly and if,  then we need overseer overseers creating an infinite regression.)
ARGUMENT FIVE “that this order of licensing conduces nothing to the end for which it was framed . . . See the ingenuity of Truth, who, when she gets a free andwilling hand, opens herself faster than the pace of method and discourse can overtake her.”
ARGUMENT SIX “And how can a man teach with authority, which is the life of teaching;
how can he be a doctor in his book as he ought to be, or else had better be silent, whenas all he teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the correction of his patriarchal licenser to blot or alter “

ARGUMENT SEVEN Some feel that making a book forbidden is just a sign something inthe work is important, otherwise no trouble would have been expended over it.
ARGUMENT EIGHT When truth is first seen it is different enough from the truth we have known for a long time that this difference might lead us to think it a lie and censor it. “that if it come to prohibiting,
there is not aught more likely to be prohibited than truth itself; whose
first appearance to our eyes, bleared and dimmed with prejudice and
custom, is more unsightly and unplausible than many errors, even as the
person is of many a great man slight and contemptuous to see to. “
ARGUMENT NINE “For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs
no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious;
those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.
Give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps . . . “
ARGUMENT TEN “ . . . we in the haste of a precipitant zeal shall make no
distinction, but resolve to stop their mouths, because we fear they come
with new and dangerous opinions, as we commonly forejudge them ere we
understand them; no less than woe to us, while, thinking thus to defend
the Gospel, we are found the persecutors”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do I Offend?

I just came across an account of why K Mart has stopped calling those green things Christmas trees. They will now call them holiday trees. They have told the press that this is because they don’t want to offend any of their employees or customers. I’ve been hearing this kind of thing for years but I still continue to be bothered every time I hear such things.

It seems strange to me that a company will make a change based on ungrounded claims that people are offended. And I think the fact that there was no intention to offend anyone is left out. Or did K Mart management decide to call them Christmas trees with the express purpose of offending customers and employees and then at the last minute decide to not be intentionally offensive?

I know they don’t sell a lot of books and magazines at K Mart. But they do sell some. I wonder if they look through every page of every one of them looking for the words ‘Christmas tree.’ Do they make sure that none of these books or magazines mentions that there are people who are Christians? And if they don’t do this is it with the intention of offending?

Where is all of this foolishness leading? Someday will someone from K Mart come to my door and tell me that I must quit breathing because they suspect one of their cashiers in Peoria is offended by me drawing breath. K Mart did it to Winston Smith so I guess they could do it to me.


Monday, December 3, 2007

The CNN Debate That Got Some Questions from Youtube

The CNN debate that got some questions from Youtube is an interesting topic. The definition of debate is being expanded. It now also means, "getting a few people together who share a zero sum goal and have people who hate them embarrass them and verbally abuse them while everyone there foolishly pretends they are engaged in a serious and honest enterprise." CNN says it is a news organization but seems more interested in presenting entertainment and working out their hate for Republicans. The fact is that these candidates continue to regularly place themselves in a no win situation that makes them look like fools. It seems they will sell their self-respect for a little air time. I have come to question the values and judgment of every one of them. And if the Republican party had much judgment or self-respect none of them would tune in to CNN and thereby reward CNN's dishonest spitefulness. You might say that CNN just never vetted the questioners. And I reply that an actual news organization would have vetted the questioners. An actual news organization would not have even thought about it: they would have just done it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stare Decisis When Convenient

Supreme court nominees have started to pledge to apply stare decisis to Roe v. Wade. (I'm waiting to see a senator give up that much of their constitutional power to another branch of government.) But if this stare decisis stuff is so great, let's really put it to use. How about the right to bear arms? There is a much, much, much longer history of citizens being allowed to own guns than there is of the 'right' to abortion. Why, oh why doesn't stare decisis apply here? Could it be that the senate judiciary committee thinks there has been a 220 year long misapplication of the constitution in the case of the second amendment? But I think that if guns could be used to perform abortions the second amendment would be safer. Of course, you'd have a hard time convincing me that any member of congress gives a fat f**k about my constitutional rights. I think they only feel they need to answer to K Street.