Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Palin and Death Panels

You thought Sarah Palin was a ditzy broad when she said there would be death panels in the Democrats' health insurance bureaucracy. Why did you think that? Because she's pretty?

Anyway, there are death panels in the senate bill and Reid wrote them in there so that they can't be repealed without 67 votes.

He did? Let's see what Palin has to say about it.

But the bill raises taxes on everybody just as we are teetering on the brink of a depression. At least there's that.

You're being taken to the cleaners and you will be denied medical care. The joke's on you.

But go ahead and donate to the DNC and vote Democrat again. Follow your leaders, sheep.

Obama really did turn out to be an asshole, as I told you a year and a half ago. Oh, well, at least he's black. You'll vote for him against Palin in 2012. Otherwise, you'd be shamed by the other "progressives" in your little circle of friends. As stupid as you are, that's more important to you than avoiding getting ripped off, having your country's economy trashed, or being denied medical care.

UPDATE: It's teh kleptocracy, stupid.

UPDATE: Let's see, what's the name of the political system in which government strong-arms business, pays them off, and teams up with them to control the masses in anti-democratic fashion? Oh, yes, it's fascism. And of course, the socialists hate the fascists:
Moneyed interests "control" the Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lamented Tuesday.

Sanders, the liberal independent senator, said that health insurance companies and drug manufacturers are getting too much out of the Senate healthcare bill, but said he'd still vote for it in order to extend coverage.

"The insurance companies are going to make out like bandits. The drug companies are going to make out like bandits,"
Wouldn't you hate your totalitarian competitors if you were a totalitarian? Oh, but he's still going to vote for the bill! LOL. These are your rulers. You elected them. August and noble statesmen to be taken seriously. Congratulations.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sentimentalism, Conservatism, and Human Nature

The question is: What gives the basis for conservative values? Why not pursue a fetish as the progressive does? Well, the progressive is really a tool of a kleptocrat, but leaving that aside, can't he quixotically pursue his ideology's fulfillment as reasonably as the conservative pursues the preservation of the large set of values which he cherishes?

The progressive usually bases his views in "reason," portraying conservatism as irrational bias, prejudice, or unreflectively dogmatic tradition. In fact, there is not the slightest reason underlying progressive ideology, as the finest attempt at justifying it, that of Rawls, failed miserably. But what is the basis for conservatism?

The basis is human nature. Yet, this citation is subject to the charge of dogmatism unless it is explained in a manner which shows it to be rational. "Because that is your nature" is not good enough.

The British sentimentalist tradition of Butler and Hume provides the basis for conservatism and human nature. Human nature is a set of desires which creatures like us are liable to have, and it delimits this set as distinct from desires which we are not likely to have. It implies certain institutions, traditions, and values because it renders these practically consistent with the fulfillment of our desires, whereas others are practically inconsistent with it.

Run through a list of time-honored values in your mind. Those are values which make it likely that we will fulfill our desires, whereas the rejection of those makes it unlikely that we will fulfill them. Run through a list of desires people naturally have. Now think of ones which people are not likely to have, such as cutting chunks of their flesh out of themselves, lying in utter torpor all day every day, avoiding the learning of language, preferring not to have liberty, etc. Of course, people do sometimes desire these things in unusual circumstances as means to fulfill another desire, as in the case of surgery in which flesh must be removed in order to fulfill the desire to live. So, what I'm asking you to do is to consider non-instrumental desires. It is obvious that some are natural and others are not, where by "natural" I mean nothing more than the likelihood of human beings' harboring these desires.

Of course, there is some flexibility and variation in human nature. There is a variety of possible cultures which allow for the fulfillment of desires natural to us. Streams of culture in ancient China, India and Greece are paradigmatic examples. People have flourished in these streams. Perhaps there is a ranking of the effectiveness of each in the order of flourishing, but that is beside the point. While there may be better and worse amongst good cultures, some cultures and values are obviously bad. Bad cultures do not allow for flourishing because they do not allow for people who are liable to have the desires we are liable to have to fulfill those desires. We should also note that the boundaries of a traditional stream of values are not rigid. The variation in human nature allows for individuals within one traditional stream to imagine new possibilities within it. Yet these boundaries are not absolutely permissive, constrained as they are by human nature.

The basis, then, is as the sentimentalists showed. There is nothing that we should count as a reason for a certain action other than that one desires to do it; and if an action is most fulfilling to one's desires then it is reasonable to do this action. What would you take as evidence that an action was reasonable to do even though it was not practically consistent with your set of desires? What would you take as evidence that it was not reasonable to do even though it was so fulfilling? Nothing. Conservatism sees high moral theory as anathema, and rightly so. Most such theory is nonsense used in progressive causes. But the sort of moral theory I'm laying out here maintains precisely that we should conserve our time-honored values because it is what we prefer to do and because they are ours. This is abundantly sufficient reason and No other reason can be necessary.

This is the rational basis of conservatism. It is human nature, which is a set of desires human beings are likely to have. "Human nature" here is not a meaningless term wielded by dogmatists but an empirically discoverable set of facts about what human beings are liable to desire. The rational basis, then, of conservatism is the close coupling of what one prefers - what is practically most consistent with one's desires - and what it is rational for one to do.

Leftism, fascism, progressivism, and so forth, are enamored of little bits of human nature, such as the desire for poverty relief, in utter neglect of all the other components of our nature. The are so obviously lacking in basis that one inspects for something else underlying them, which, as I've suggested a couple of posts below is kleptocracy. They are frauds. When a man stands to gain enormous power and wealth from you by titillating you with fulfillment of one or two of your desires - for example your desire to gratify your envy - you are about to be defrauded. If you haven't the character formed in traditions conservative of a large set of values which are able to fulfill a much larger set of your desires, you will not recognize the fraud. The drug addict, the Jim Jones cult follower, the alcoholic, the sex addict, and the kleptocrat's sheep are all characters stunted in formation, liable to fetishize only a few human desires and so unable to manage the fulfillment of the many desires whose fulfillment is necessary for good lives.
Climate Fraud

It's little-guy scientists against big oil $$$, right? Sure:
The Climate Industry: $79 billion so far – Trillions to come.
You're getting taken to the cleaners. Oh, well. But you won't change your mind. Because you hate rich oil executives. And Americans who drive but SUVs. You prefer the style and emotion of your political views. The science and reasoning aren't really all that important to you. How's that going to work out for you?

UPDATE: Charlie Martin shows how to follow the money.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Leftism/Progressivism: There's No Such Thing

There is only kleptocracy. The followers in a kleptocracy believe it is leftist/progressive. The leaders do not. The leaders use their followers. They are useful idiots. The leaders want power and money. The followers want gratification of their envies.

There is kleptocracy. Useful idiots fantasize that it is something called "leftism" or "progressivism." End of story.

Fascism? Same thing. No such thing. It's teh kleptocracy, stupid.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Climate Change

Are you an easy mark for a con-man who wants a few grand from you every year (and from your kids and from their kids)? Don't be.

But you'll still vote for decimating the American economy and crushing the hopes of development in the Third World. Because none of your friends aren't liberals and if you don't believe in AGW they'll think you are a weirdo and make you feel guilty. That's how you decide right and wrong: by how accepted or guilty other leftists make you feel. Yes, don't reject the beliefs of your chosen liberal elite. They will shame you, make you feel guilty. Do as you're told, you little worm.

UPDATE: Of course Al won't debate him. He actually knows stuff.

Oh, and the AP says that there's no there there in Climategate? LOL. The AP is implicated in Climategate. How do you like being lied to by "news" agencies?

UPDATE: Statistician William Briggs has a series on homogenization.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some Climategate Links

While the wealthy are lavishing $200M or so on themselves in Copenhagen this week, there is also this:

Hiding the decline.

How to make a fake hockey stick.


Scientists behaving badly.

It's fraud. It's kleptocracy. The AGW industry is big money. Fortunes are being made, as well as pseudo-scientific careers.

The ass kicker? Suppose it is a fact that there is AGW and it's a problem which we need to address. These con-men have so well and truly fucked the data and the science, we won't be able to discover this fact for decades. They are to blame for any delay. And you for your credulity.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It turns out you were lied to by the IPCC gang. Follow the money. And the power.

To catch up start with these articles by Charles Martin, all of them.

Then, read this post and all subsequent posts on that site. Guess who's money supported this CRU "research"? Yours.

For afters, don't miss this. And this.

You've been had. And now your economy is about to be crushed by Crap and Tax. Follow the money. It's called "fraud." You pay. Do you have any idea how much money there is in trading carbon credits and sucking money out of the federal government for green energy ventures? You pay. You lose. You're being defrauded. Do you have any idea how much power is embodied in the government control of how much carbon dioxide an economy generates?

No, but there's anthropogenic global warming, right? It's just that it's been taking a break for the last ten years with temperatures holding flat.

Go ahead and pay. You lose.

UPDATE: Don't miss this. What do you think of scientists who use your money to present distorted versions of their data and do not comply with FOIA requests to reveal their data and methods? Yet you want to change our economy on the basis of their pronouncements.

Follow the money and power:
If you're wondering how the robot-like march of the world's politicians towards Copenhagen can possibly continue in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed "climategate," it's because Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don't give a s*** about "the science."

They never have.

What "climategate" suggests is many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't either. Apparently they stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.[SNIP]

The moment they convinced politicians the way to avert the End of Days was to put a price on emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green was forged.

Big Government wants more of your taxes. Big Business wants more of your income. Big Green wants you and your children to bow down to its agenda of enforced austerity.

What about saving the planet, you ask? This was never about saving the planet. This is about money and power. Your money. Their power.

If it was about saving the planet, "cap-and-trade" (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) -- how Big Government, Big Business and Big Green ludicrously pretend we will "fight" global warming and "save the planet" -- would have been consigned to the dust bin of history because it doesn't work. We know it doesn't work because Europe's five-year-old cap-and-trade market -- the Emissions Trading Scheme -- has done nothing to make the world cooler.

All it's done is make hedge fund managers, speculators and Big Energy giddy with windfall profits, while making everyone else poorer by driving up the cost of energy, and thus of most goods and services, which need energy to be lighted, heated, cooled, grown, constructed, manufactured, produced and transported.

Fascism is that form of leftism in which a cabal of government, business and media kleptocrats screw you out of your future. You support it? You're a fascist or one of their useful idiots.

UPDATE: Delete the data. Hide the decline.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things You Believe
  • Anthropogenic Global Warming is pretty well confirmed by the scientific evidence. Our release of CO2 has caused the climate to warm. There is no evidence to the contrary.
  • Cap and Trade is a great idea. It will create jobs, lowering the unemployment rate, and help cool the planet.
  • The belief that economic stimulus - spending by the federal government in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs - works is based on sound economic evidence.
  • Sarah Palin is stupid, ignorant, and a silly, while Barack Obama is smart, knowledgeable and accomplished.
  • The only reasons there is any resistance to the federal government's plan to take over the health insurance industry are selfishness, ignorance and stupidity. The values at stake in the debate are fairness, decency and justice on the one side and greed on the other.
  • We should make private health insurance companies illegal and let the government be the only health insurance provider.
  • We have double-digit unemployment and will do so for the foreseeable future because of what Republicans did in the past.
  • Our guys in the military are stupid and have no other viable options in life and therefore are being taken advantage of by our government.
  • Good solid conservatives worth listening to for the sake of your open-minded fairness are chiefly David Brooks and David Gergen.
  • MSNBC is fair while FOX News is extremely biased.
  • The opposition to Barack Obama is attributable to racism and ignorance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


No, really.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


It's making a sound. Can't poke it because it's made of cyberpixels. Just have to wait. The world's most bestest blogger stirs. Prolly it'll just roll over and go back to sleep, which is just fine. Thy will be done!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Peter Bocking RIP

Fare thee well, PeterUK.

RIP, Mr. Bocking.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conservatism is in the Middle of a Web

There is a web of values which we have inherited from our ancestors, a large set which form the moral substance of the ways of life which we love and which make for good and decent lives. They hang together in mutual support in the way that a the strands of a spider web do.

Unfortunately, some of the strands may be pursued monomaniacally. Fetishizing one value over the rest, away one goes off on a tangent away from the central network. One leaves the other strands behind, gives them short shrift, allowing one's preferred thread to trump all the others. Libertarianism is an example of this monomania. Go to a local libertarian meeting. Half the room will turn out to be anarchists. Liberty is a trump, so government is not allowable.

Some of the strands do not fit in with the rest of the web. Moral and political debate is supposed to ferret out these elements and discard them, just as one discovers and erases whichever of the entries in a crossword puzzle is incoherent with the rest.

Some people make fetishes out of an improper strand instead of properly discarding it. An example is the effort to redistribute wealth. There is no justice in the redistribution of wealth. It also does no good. It is a bad value. Yet many base their political points of view on it, fetishizing it, making it trump all the other values in the web. They, too, end up far away from the central cluster of values, out on a tangent. But, unlike the libertarian, they sacrifice all else to a bad value, not a good one.

Conservatism is the intent to preserve the cluster, to prevent any drift of one's morals or of the body politic in any direction away from the center. The cluster is worth preserving. None of the strands in the cluster, whether proper or improper, is more valuable than the entire set.

So-called moderates? They are people who drift from the center in whichever direction, only not very far.

This is a decent picture of conservatism and its alternatives. As I've argued in previous posts, the left-right spectrum is a very poor model.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conservatism is Indexical

Reader Stephen Krueger writes in:
I've read some of John Ray's writings on the meaning of "right" and "left". What I took away from it is he was defining them as conservative and progressive, respectively. Conservatism meaning a general temper for experience or what came before, and progressivism meaning a temper for changing the standing order. The terms are not to be taken as determining what level of government is acceptable. So your statement: "It means that libertarians are to the right of conservatives, and anarchists still further to the right," doesn't fit.
Well, yes, but there is more to be said.

By "indexical" I mean referring to a certain thing. Political and moral conservatism is a conservative stance about a certain thing; it is not just a conservative stance about anything. And it that certain thing is a certain set of ways of life; it is not just any ways of life. There is a reason that there are no leftist conservatives, and it's not a superficial reason.

Of course conservatives are known for loving and preserving traditional ways of life inherited from history. This being so, one might set of a right-left spectrum in which those who want a new society are on the left and those who do not - conservatives - are on the right. This dichotomy might render the terms "left" and "right" more sensibly than the dichotomy between totalitarianism and liberty. In this way one could not be too conservative and anarchists would not be nonsensically placed to the right of conservatives.

However, this allows for the possibility of communist conservatives, anarchist conservatives, and so forth. In any society in which totalitarianism or anarchy held sway, the conservative, we would have to say, would favor maintaining the totalitarianism or anarchy. You might be satisfied with that sense of "conservative," in which the term applies to anyone who wants to keep his society the way it has been for some time. But this is not the best sense of the term.

The term "conservative" is indexical. It refers to the desire to preserve the ways of life suitable to our nature; "our" is an indexical term, a pointer. Take an analogy: "great lover." We don't mean someone who demonstrates deft and fervently amorous behaviors behaviors about just anything - bicycles, twigs, people, water, string, chunks of ice in Saturn's rings, etc. We mean he does demonstrates these behaviors toward human beings, and even certain human beings, at that, ones worthy of his affections. Similarly a man who reflexively aims to preserve his countries old totalitarian, welfare-statist, or anarchist system is not a conservative any more than a member of the Charles Manson clan would have been had one of them devoutly tried to preserve its traditions.

Therefore, what drives conservatism is human nature. Conservatism aims at obtaining and maintaining moral and political values which are appropriate to the kind of beings we are, which promote our flourishing and enable us to live decent and good lives. Fondness for tradition isn't conservatism without this tether to human nature. Conservatism is a disposition to keep to traditions but within the constraint that the traditions track the facts about human nature. You needn't be fully aware of this tethering and tracking to be a conservative; you need only have a sense that something like this is what you are trying to do in preserving your values.

To be conservative, then, you have to get it right. Conservatism is indexical. If you haven't pointed your conservative dispositions at the right set of ways of life, you are not a conservative. You may be a crank or a reactionary, but you aren't a conservative. You might think you are a conservative, but you would be mistaken, just as a child who doesn't know anything about soccer at all may play with a ball and think he's playing soccer but be utterly mistaken.

There are two points downstream of this. First, the right-left spectrum is still not very helpful here. There is a sweet spot called conservatism in which we get a variety of values right and intend to preserve them. Then, again, there is a variety of directions in which one may diverge from these values: libertinism, anarchism, libertarianism, welfare-statism, and totalitarianism. I suppose if you would like to call the sweet spot in the middle "the right" and all the deviations away from it collectively "the left," then you may. But I don't know why anarchists and totalitarians are leftists. No, the left-right spectrum is not useful.

Secondly, conservatism is indexical but has a less-than perfectly strict threshold for accuracy. If you took yourself to be a conservative but in aiming to preserve all the right values you didn't get everything right, but got almost everything right, then you would still be a conservative. The more you get wrong, however, the more we are inclined to remove you from the category "conservative" and place you in the category of "ideologue" or "reactionary crank." (Do not confuse "conservative" with "reactionary." Leftists can be reactionaries and there are many such leftists about today. A reactionary who will not take any criticism of his tendentious and unproven views seriously but will instead excoriate his critics.) Still, like many other concepts, "conservatism" is one the fulfillment of which doesn't require absolute perfection. This is why conservatism is a big tent. Conservatives have much to deliberate about, to disagree on, and to debate. It isn't easy to get all the right values right.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Cause of the Financial Crisis Was Government Interference

I notice that some people continue to blame "greedy" businessmen and underregulation of the market for the crisis. The idea is that it was they and not the CRA that caused the crisis. One fact adduced in favor of this theory is that most of the bad loans did not go to poor people. That's as deep as the theory goes. It's very shallow, but it gets you to where you want to go: to support for your leftist welfare state and your hatred of free markets.

So, let's rehearse this again. (Prior posts here and here.)

CRA. Must make bad loans. Artificially low interest rates? Why not.

Need to pool risk. FNMA FMAC MBS. Plus CDS/CDO.

Hey. I can dump all sorts of crappy loans into these MBS's! FNMA and FMAC are happy to cover for me. I'll make bad loans to middle class and even richer folk.

I'm making a killing. Flipping houses. Making crappy loans.

All of a sudden: POP! Oh, well.

Now let's go back in time and do this without government interference: without CRA/low interest rates/MBS/FNAC/FNMA.

Ready? Here we go:

Did you miss it? No, you didn't miss anything. Nothing happened. No bubble. No pop.

Let's even stipulate that the government allowed financial institutions to diversify in banking and investment and to get overleveraged. So, what? Nothing happened. It would have been a great world.

But alas, we live in this world, in which government interference is considered normal and in which the bad effects of stupid and immoral businessmen are amplified beyond belief, rather than squelched by market forces. Oh, well, at least it gives the leftists a chance to claim the crisis as a reason for even more government interference.

There will always be stupid and immoral businessmen. It's almost as unavoidable as stupid and immoral politicians. The free market and prudent laws are normally able to crush these people. But government over-interference in the market is not unavoidable. It is purely optional.

Government over-interference in the market kills and ruins lives by the million, yet you continue to support it because you hate the rich, you find in your pseudo-support for the poor (you give nothing to charity) a satisfactory facsimile of moral depth, and because you believe that this time, after all the failures of the last 100 years, a welfare state will finally work. You still believe that Keynesian stimulus will work someday because you hate the alternative: the free market. You still hate the fact that tax cuts for investors stops recessions. In fact, you are so far gone that all you need to dismiss these concerns is to wave your hand at the notion that moneyed forces have raised them. You are so far gone that you are all but satisfied by "that's just health insurance company propaganda" as a retort to every argument against socialized health care. Etc. You really are in quite a state of befuddlement. And you're proud of it.

You should re-examine your beliefs. Start by considering whether they are based upon hatred, rather than fact. Part of the problem is that much of your university education taught you that critical analysis means inventing moneyed interest behind every argument against your leftist ideology. This has crippled your intellect by allowing the muscle that dissects actual arguments to atrophy. You also have lost hold of the notions of the rights to life, liberty, property, free association and contract, and so forth. You have a lot to reflect upon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Palin in Hong Kong

Here are some excerpts. Point after point, spot on.

Fuller excerpt here.

More Palin, please.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Karl Denninger

Here he sums up his last year or so of blogging. It ain't pretty.

If you haven't been following Denninger, dip into his archives. It ain't pretty.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Simplicius on Right and Left

Go. Go and read.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Meaninglessness of "Right" and "Left"

Let's finish up this story.

If you want to use the terms "right" and "left," you have a decision to make. The early 20th C. fascists were on the "right" in common English. It has been demonstrated that they were also on the left, but that doesn't disprove the former point. Under these circumstances, "left" and "right" are incoherent or at least too confused to be useful.

If you want to use the terms, you will have to remove the confusion embedded in them, namely that the fascists were on the right and on the left. You'll need to prove that all users of English should (a.) reserve the term "right" for conservatives and other opponents of totalitarianism and (b.) stop calling Hitler and Mussolini "on the right" or "right wing." Good luck with that. It isn't going to happen. Take a look at John Jay Ray's writings on this. You'll have to search the Web under his name and "fascism," "leftism," "Hitler," and so forth; they're well worth reading in full. He has undertaken the Herculean task of semantically pushing the totalitarians out of the right.

Suppose you could accomplish this feat. Now you have conservatism on the right and totalitarianism (socialism, fascism, what have you) on the left. What good does that do you? It means that libertarians are to the right of conservatives, and anarchists still further to the right. Is that what you want? It will do you no good. If you want anarchists to be considered as to the right of conservatives, then you want to introduce a new semantics and not to clean up an old one. Also, you'll have rendered conservatism as only moderately right. To the right of it will be decidedly unconservative territory. This would render "extremely conservative" and even "very conservative" meaningless. You'll have to explain those features of the English language away.

"Right" and "left" are confused and intellectually useless. Their usage is best reserved as brickbats to be hurled at various totalitarians. This is how various totalitarians themselves have used them. The leftists decried the right wing fascists, and vice versa. At best the terms mean "totalitarian whom I dislike intensely." As a conservative, you can accept the label "right wing" only if you accept that it indelibly connotes "totalitarian whom I dislike intensely." Have fun washing that away. Lenin even denounced leftist communism as infantile. You better get to work if you want to clean up all the confusion. You'll fail, and if you succeed, you'll still have only useless gibberish left over.

Better to eschew these terms, preferring these: totalitarian, statist, fascist, socialist, communist, conservative, and libertarian. "Liberal" was also taken over by the socialists and is now in dire straits. It might be rescued as a close relative of libertarianism and conservatism, but the prospects are not good. Once you allow your language to be perverted for decades, you can't simply clean house. Semantics are not easily reversible because the meanings of words cannot be easily changed.

By the way, when you give up the useless left-right spectrum, you may still speak of degrees of conservatism. Conservatism is a devotion to a large set of important values, including liberty, order, justice, charity, and self-reliance, amongst many others. To be extremely conservative is to be absolutely and implacably so devoted. To be extremely unconservative is therefore to be amoral. There is in addition a sense in which one may be "too conservative." In this case, one is absolutely adherent to the traditional moral judgments one holds, even when one of them has been proven groundless or inconsistent with the others. The defenders of slavery in the 19th Century were too conservative in this sense. This is not a very salutary locution, however, as the ability to renounce moral judgments which run against the larger set of one's values is precisely a way of being devoted to that set and not a disloyalty to it. Slavery ran against the value of liberty and against certain non-moral facts, such as that blacks are people. To defend slavery in these circumstances is hardly conservative and only "too conservative" in an idiosyncratic sense. The real conservatives denounced slavery. Consider an analogy. Consider a scientist who won't give up his belief in one of the current theories in the face of conclusive evidence against it. Is he being "too scientific"? Of course not. "Too conservative," then, is hardly useful.

If you hear someone call conservatives "right wing" you might speak up and say "Do you mean like the fascists Hitler and Mussolini? Then how are conservatives, supporting limited government and individual liberty as they do, right wing? Please explain yourself." The reply will be hopelessly confused. This is a semantic task that requires less than Herculean effort and is achievable.
It's a Joke

Can we please stop pretending that the Obama Adminstration (such as it is) is not a joke?

Okay? Okay.

What kind of administration hires an avowed communist and 911 Truther as czar? The joke kind.

What kind of an administration quadruples the deficit from under $400B to a trillion or two every year? The joke kind.

It's not an administration. It's a joke. The joke is on you, your kids and your grandkids.

Are you surprised at all this? Really? When you hire a 47-year-old leftist ideologue who has never accomplished anything in his life and you make him the President of the United States, are you really surprised that the result is a joke? Really?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dostoyevsky, Alinsky

Simplicius has an interesting post.
Conservative writers have recently made much of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (1971), hoping to show that moves being made currently are not innocent of revolutionary intent. They are not wrong in this, but their case is actually stronger than they seem to realize. Alinsky’s tactics were not original, they had actually been developed over the past hundred and fifty years. His tactics had already been applied by Hitler in the 1930s, before him by Mussolini, and before him by Lenin and Trotsky. But that they were already clearly understood a good fifty years earlier is evidenced by these speeches and others like them in The Possessed.
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You Are Strangely Nonchalant

You voted for these leaders. Yet you are strangely nonchalant about their spending habits and the damage they are doing to the economy. Why?

Perhaps you weren't really upset about the GOP spending too much but merely used the issue as a brickbat to express your mindless rage. For now you are strangely quiet. Meanwhile, others get it:

We are probably moving into a multi-year depression like the one bloated government spent us into in the 1930's. I think you like the idea. It's a sort of catharsis to you, isn't it? Having lived in affluence for your whole life, you see poverty romantically, don't you? All the while, you suspect that you will do fairly well during the depression, working in the public sector which causes it. You know in the back of your mind that the suffering won't draw too near to you. Your hatred for those who don't share your fascistic vision but who just want a small government and who value mainly liberty, self-reliance and charity instead, has driven you to this. Who managed to put this vision into your mind long ago? What fueled it over the years? Do you have strong arguments for maintaining it? You don't, do you? You have only mindless verbiage, such as "For me but not for thee" and "Let the devil take the hindmost" which you convince yourself are the core of the American values you hate. You do not understand what you hate, yet you do not know this.

You are strangely quiet.

It galls you that conservatives give far more to charity than leftists do, doesn't it?
Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household
So, what really is the substance of your vision? It's certainly not concern for the poor any more than Lenin and Stalin's was. What, then, is it? What are your solid arguments for it? You need to think about that very carefully. That vision is destroying the American economy right now. What are you really up to? Who has put you up to it? What caliber of people were they?

UPDATE: You might consider other points of view:
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Americans say it’s always better to cut taxes than increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their own money.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 20% of adults disagree, and 18% are not sure.
Do you live in a way such that you only converse with people who agree with your progressive vision? Perhaps you live in an intellectually stagnant hole. But you can't tell. Does the notion of fiscal conservatism in politics make you angry and reach for epithets such as "racist," "callous," "oppression of the poor," and the other two I mentioned before? Do you feel that you want to label fiscal conservatives and supporters of small government and the free market "fascists"? If so, let that paradox sink in for a moment. It entails that the Founding Fathers were fascists. Of course, supporters of the free market favor interference with the market place that stops monopoly, fraud, and the like. So, take that off the table. Your belief that the free market and limited government are fascistic is based on the fact that in such a system, there will be losers who end up poor, isn't it? This is why you indulge in the mindless pap of "For me and not for thee." And yet, you give little to charity and you do not volunteer at soup kitchens. So, what is really the substance of your concern? Perhaps you find it a quick and easy way to install a facsimile of moral depth and seriousness into your soul. Perhaps you envy successful, happy people and want to bring them down. Liberty, self-reliance and charity, on the other hand, are not a facsimile and are not easy. They are also inconsistent with envy. As Franklin said, "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." You are ready for masters, now, aren't you? You call for them: experts in Washington to control most of the economy, to destroy private health insurance, and to control businesses. And yet you label opponents of this goal "fascists."

Leftists usually label their opponents "fascists" or "right wing," whether their opponents are competing leftists (as in the case of the international socialists' labeling the national socialists) or not (as in the case of your labeling the thought of the Founding Fathers fascistic.) Yet, are you sure that you aren't a fascist? Do you want a drastic increase in government power, along with a control of business by government? Do you think that government should implement many more regulations of American life? Did you have impulses to partake in a cult of personality surrounding Barack Obama? Do you feel a slight sensation of euphoria when contemplating a state in which all people are one in will and mind?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You've Been Had

VDH sums it up.

You voted for a charlatan who had never accomplished anything in his life and who has difficulty speaking in paragraphs when the teleprompter isn't around. Yes, you are really that shallow and ignorant. He tripled the deficit. The depression will be your fault. And the double-digit unemployment which will last for years. And the rationing of health-care. Perhaps we can dismantle and clean up your mess in the '20s. Probably not.

At least we can get a chuckle out of his doing rendition and torturing white-collar criminals. Yes, at least there's that. Of course, you're screaming for his impeached for that, right? I, sorry, I forgot. He's a leftist. So, it doesn't bother you.

You've been had. Wait until the next generation finds out what you did.

UPDATE: Enjoy your totalitarianism. Pity about the loss of liberty and prosperity though. Oh, well, at least you've satisfied your fetish for leftist ideology. How do you like it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just Keep Scrolling

Dennis is on a roll these days.

Have a read.

Friday, August 21, 2009

You're Getting Played

You are getting played for a fool. But then, you elected him, so why wouldn't he assume you were a fool?

Take a look at Palin on tort reform. Specific problem, specific solution.

Also, how about making it illegal for states to stop health insurance companies from selling across state lines? How about giving tax write-offs for catastrophic insurance but not for full insurance? Etc. There are specific problems with the system and they have specific solutions. Anytime a government official tells you he needs to replace the entire system, you're being played for a fool. Follow the money and the power. The official ends up with the power and the money if you agree to his plan, doesn't he?

Dennis is right a lot.

Indeed. If you're an economic egalitarian you have a duty to impoverish yourself by giving all of your excess money to charity. Either there is an injustice in your having more than someone else or there isn't.

Not a single leftist complies with this duty. They're all malcontents and posers.

Okay, the tedious objection: "We object to the system as it is. It's not fair that only we and no other wealthy people should give our money to the poor. So, we are justified in keeping our new Volvos and IRAs until the system is changed."

Reply: Uh, huh. Some people are in a burning house. You are in a crowd of onlookers standing outside. None in the crowd will help, despite your pleas. You could save some of the people in the house, but it's not fair that you be the only one. So, you decline to offer help and you go on sipping your $4 latte.

Hogwash. Sorry, but if you are on the left and you are rich, then you are a hypocrite.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Stop by M. K. Freeberg's. Free stuff to think about. No nonsense.

May I suggest Dennis? I call him DtheP, as Samuel called him in the old days. Dennis will cut through the day's news for you. Using implements such as a chainsaw, flamethrower, bulldozer, a nuke.

New kid on the block, a philosopher: Simplicius Simplicissimus.

Heh. These guys' blogs are feeling the awesome power of the philolanche right about now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whoops a Daisy

Presidents of Canadian Medical Association:
We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," [incoming CMA president] Doig told The Canadian Press.

"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."
Oh, my.
His thoughts on the issue are already clear. [Current CMA president] Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.
Oh dear, oh dear. Haven't they heard that limiting government power is fascistic?

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., you want to socialize the health insurance industry in the U.S. because you hate rich people. And you think leadership is having a bunch of lobbyists write a 1000-page bill and signing it by Tuesday. Meanwhile, in your universe, anyone who speaks out against this travesty is a racist.

UPDATE: Treacher notices some chutzpah.

Overall, 47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.

Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove....

Gee, I can't think why. When he said his health care bill would save us money and the CBO said, "Um, no. It will explode the deficit," Obama said, "Great, Congress better have it on my desk next week for me to sign. I'm not familiar with what's in the bill, but let's pass it before our vacations. The American people want it."

There were only minor details out of place, such as: 54% Say Passing No Healthcare Reform Better Than Passing Congressional Plan. They didn't even think it would be better than nothing. Huh.

Plus, they haven't forgotten this:

Oh, well. It's weird, though. You would have thought he would be able to accomplish something, given all the accomplishments on his resume.

UPDATE: Wheels are coming off. What's going on there, one might wonder? There is no there there. You hired a bunch of boobs.
Hennesy Analyzes the Health Care Bill

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

But It's Not Fascism

What is it called when big business gets strong-armed by a socialist party to give up dough and political patronage? Kleptocracy? Ah, yes. Fascism.

Oh, really? Oh, really. Sadly, yes.

Well, you voted for this asshole because you wanted hope and change, because he was black, and because your resentment of perceived Republican "wars for oil" gave you a sense of moral purpose which he preyed upon. Could you possibly be any more shallow and gullible? Well, if you also pulled the lever for Nancy or Barney you could.

When totalitarians take power they do so partly by convincing the resentful that the more conservative elements vying for power are totalitarians. They're very good at this. They even make you believe that those who favor limiting governmental power are fascists in cahoots with big business. Such confusion!

UPDATE: Ouch, ouch, and ouch. What's a lefty to do? Keep making stuff up, as usual.

Friday, August 14, 2009

DtheP: Nailed...

Well, yeah.
I'll say it again: Barack Obama is an utterly conventional, inside-the-box thinker. He has spent a life time carefully studying, and then dutifully repeating, what he was taught by his Leftist Elders. For doing so, he was handsomely rewarded.

Now Obama is called to do something he has never done before - think for himself - and he is at sea. And because he cannot think through to the new processes he promised, he must - by default - fall back on the old ones. The health care debate has cruelly exposed this, and it is exactly why so much of the health care industry is finding itself quite comfortable dealing with this Administration.

In Barack Obama, special interests now completely understand they have exactly the sort of man they have always dealt with in the past. You can't blame them for being tickled to death.
Read the whole thing. Add to this the narcissism, amorality and mediocre intellect, and you get the whole picture.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Oppose Government Health Care

These are the reasons (from a comment I left over at JOM):
1. Individuals have a right to form private insurance contracts without undue interference by federal and state government. These rights are already being violated and will be even more seriously violated under the proposed enormous increase in government interference.

2. Insurance companies have a right to do business without having to compete against a government insurance agency which sells its product cheaper and at a loss and which funds the program by forcing Americans who don't want it to pay for it against their will. People will pay for it against their will every April 15 via the IRS, which will use force to collect, even from Americans who do not participate in the government insurance plan.

3. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are broke, so it would be foolish to create yet another big government welfare program and expect it not to go broke.

4. As in Canada and England, U.S. government health insurance will have to ration health care because of the enormous pressure to avoid bankruptcy. After the government has driven private insurance out of business through unfair practices, this means that all Americans will have their health care rationed. It follows that Americans will suffer and die as a result of government infringement of their liberty to form private contracts.
Also, you have to look at the problem you are trying to solve. What is the problem? 1. Inefficiency in the health care industry. 2. The approximately five million Americans who can't afford health insurance and don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, some of whom may be good people in dire straits and therefore deserving of a little assistance.

These problems have many alternative solutions which do not reflexively resort to big government programs. Let insurance companies sell across state lines, for example. De-regulate the coverage they are required to provide, so that catastrophic insurance/HSA packages become more prevalent, tort reform, etc., etc., etc. There are loads of great ideas which increase liberty, prosperity, and charity. There are loads of experts in this field who understand the value of liberty and the burden on it and prosperity posed by big government and who have great ideas on how to fix the health insurance problems. (Just one example: Michael F. Cannon.) There is no reason to opt for government insurance, and there are plenty of reasons not to do so.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oops, Someone Read the Health Care Bill

John Lewis read the bill. It's not pretty. If you support the bill, then you support waste, rationing and lack of individual control of health care. Desire to insure the five million Americans who can't get health insurance couldn't explain such an action. Only resentment of wealthy people could explain it. It is only when we are driven by resentment do we knowingly and wrongly violate our own interests.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lefist Modus Operandi

1. The leftist will brand conservative opponents as "right wing" - somehow fringe, extreme. The irony is that right and left are flavors of socialism - one fascistic and one communistic. So, anyone in the leftist's audience who accepts that conservatives are "right wing" is deeply confused. The leftist is able to drive the confused audience away from conservatism by depicting it as leftism in its fascistic flavor. The left-right spectrum is a trick of the leftist. It is incoherent as a depiction of the actual array of possible political positions.

2. The leftist will disparage the motives of opponents' argument as merely brute manifestations of economic forces. Marx's great success was to spread the tactic of depicting the opposition to leftism as merely the attempt of the wealthy and their deluded servants to protect the free market system. By depicting the opposition in this way the leftist persuades the audience that there is no need to examine the opposition's arguments. Better yet, he may be able to convince the audience that there are no such arguments. The point is that leftism inculcates a reluctance to analyze arguments which run counter to leftism. It does this by characterizing any such disposition as itself merely the tool of the capitalist and free-market system to protect monied interests. This is one of the reasons why college graduates of sociology, English, anthropology, and history are unable to think critically. They have been taught that criticism is merely the ascribing of causes to belief, rather than the analysis of reasons for belief. Marx was a great success. He severely debilitated the modern mind. This debility is part of the reason for the success of leftism, even after its 100 years of ghastly failure.

3. The leftist will over-regulate the economy, creating dysfunctions and crises. These will usually be precipitated by businessmen acting in their self-interest. Blame the crisis on the businessmen, take power, regulate even more. The 2008 credit mortgage insurance crisis and the current inefficiency of American health care are due to government over-regulation. Of course, where the businessmen precipitated the crisis one could make the case that this might have been prevented by more regulation. The naive will fall for this. What the Marxist has done in that case is to shift the game into his stadium where you're either on the big government team or the totalitarian team. Those who call for less government regulation have to cut through an entire frame of reference in order to make their case. What is required is a smart and educated public. If this is unavailable, the leftist wins.

4. The leftist will lie. Of course, all people are tempted to prevaricate and sometimes succumb. But Marx argued that all morals are mere manifestations of economic forces. He was a nihilist and he inculcated this stance in his followers. Lying poses no problem for such people. It is the rare leftist who simply wants to uncover the truth about political and moral issues. Leftism is political movement to a totalitarian state. It is not a set of ideas aimed preserving truth in political and moral beliefs. In that sense of "ideology", in which ideology turns on epistemic issues of truth and justification, leftism is not an ideology but a social movement. It is no accident that there is not a single formidable argument for leftism. Marx had none. Rawls had the best but it was very poor.

Of course, the common American liberal is only partly infected by leftist intellectual and psychological dysfunction. He adopts these modus operandi only partially.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Leftist Modus Operandi: Mortgage and Health Care

First take a few decades of using government to interfere with the free market, creating "crises."

For example, over-regulate the mortgage industry by lowering interest rates, putting pressure on banks to make mortgages to people who can't afford them, and creating MBS and CDS in order to sop up the risk. Don't worry, there will be a hole in the plan somewhere. Ah, yes, there it is. The risk will nevertheless concentrate itself in these CDS holders because many in the mortgage industry will see a chance to make a killing in such a system and there will be a housing price bubble. It will pop and you will have your crisis. As the Leninist says, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." In this overregulated system, where the free market is sufficiently crippled that it cannot correct itself by throwing the losers to the curb, there will always be little holes of underregulation where statism is incomplete. These leaks will precipitate the crisis. You may plausibly blame the crisis on underregulation. The people, in their ignorance of the byzantine system you have created, will not know the difference. They will believe that the free market is to blame. You may plausibly blame everything on greedy businessmen and seize power.

Another example is the health care. Regulate the heck out of health insurance. Tell insurers what they must offer. Make it so that they can't compete in a free market across state lines. Make the justice system cause doctors to perform 25% of their tests for no medical reason but only so that they will not be sued. Crippled by government, the system will become very inefficient, provoking what the people may be ignorant enough to think is a crisis caused by the free market. You may plausibly blame everything on greedy businessmen and seize power.

There will always be idiots and immoral slime in the business world. There will always be such people in every walk of life. What the leftist does is to use government over-regulation to cause crises, inefficiency and waste in the economy that get exacerbated in certain cases by businessmen's idiocy and greed. The regulation will not be totalitarian enough to prevent these businessmen's wrongdoing. Then the leftist steps in, blames the problems on under-regulation of the economy. If the people are ignorant and gullible enough, they will assent. Then they will get totalitarian regulation of the economy.

The alternative is good, minimal regulation of the economy: regulation that prevents the most egregious crimes, monopolies, and crises and does nothing else - regulation that lets fools who make bad mortgages lose, regulation that allows insurance companies compete to offer cheap insurance. That is the kind of regulation that creates a free market economy. America should try having a free market economy. We wouldn't have had the mortgage crisis and we wouldn't have such inefficiency in the health insurance industry.

Remember these values?
  • Liberty
  • Self-reliance
  • Hard-work
  • Property
  • Community
  • Charity
  • Limited government
  • Non-covetousness (refraining from envy)
  • The formation of society as people prefer, unrestrained by government.
  • Anti-megalomania (e.g., George Washington)
  • Low taxes
These are values to be treasured. Productive of good lives, protective of rights, they are at the core of American values. Cherished less and less in America, they fade away.

Consider these values:
  • Economic equality: everyone having the same amount of wealth.
  • Large welfare state, unlimited in its power to take from the rich and regulate life.
  • Security and ease of life, not having to worry about taking care of oneself.
  • A society designed, top-down, and the design implemented, top-down, by leaders in government.
These are not values to be cherished. They are not at the core of American values. They are the values of statism (the phenomenon which at its extreme is totalitarianism, at its weakest is the European, Canadian and American socialist welfare state and in its flavors is any of the forms of leftism: communism, socialism, or fascism.) These values are not productive of good lives or protective of rights. Yet, their role in American society increases. During the last eighty years, with the rise of leftism in Europe and America, they have been replacing the American values.

The two sets of values are incompatible. You must choose which side you are on. Europe has chosen. America has been choosing and is still choosing. It must choose the American side or the statist side.

Say, out loud, "capitalism, free market economy." Do you feel a certain disdain, a hatred, and anger in the pit of your stomach? If so, then you have been trained to choose statism already. Who would have done such a thing to you? Who would stand to gain power from your support for statist policies? You should review that decision.

You must decide which society you will give to your children.
Poverty and Rights

Ever go camping? Recall what it's like. The tent. Scraping together a fire and a latrine. No fridge. Now imagine the camping continuing for the next fifty years, or however long you lasted. That's poverty. That's dire straits.

Now imagine you have a car, refrigeration, heating and air conditioning, free education through twelfth grade, and adequate medical care, nutrition, and clothing. You have little else, but you have the opportunity to gain much more simply by graduating from high school, not getting pregnant, not staying intoxicated, getting a job, and doing your best at the job every day. That's not poverty. It's not dire straits.

Outside of contracts, there is only one positive right: the right of innocents in your community who are in dire straits to be assisted by you. When someone in your community bleeds, you provide first aid. When a child in your community falls into poverty, you help him out. This assistance may require some transfer of wealth. The principle of charity is at work here. Whether we should use government to provide the assistance and to transfer the wealth is a question I leave open at the moment.

Americans are for the most part in fulfillment of its duties regarding positive rights. They provide the assistance necessary for Americans to avoid poverty.

More important are negative rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. The American governmental system is in serious violation of Americans' negative rights. It is not a limited government. It crosses the line.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Your Beloved Leader

Well, you voted for this asshole. Watch the video. Yup, that's him alright.

You know, it's funny. He sure seemed like an asshole when you picked him. How strange that it turned out that that's what he was.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Historical Oddities: Liberty and Prosperity

They're linked. They causally reinforce one another. Oddities. More often there is oppression, poverty, disorderly anarchy, death, disease, etc. Think liberty and prosperity are here to stay, indelible features of the social world? Think you can create a bloated and wasteful government which spends more money than the private sector and have your liberty and prosperity too?

For the sake of the ease of not having to look after oneself and for the sake of economically equal outcomes, we will relinquish liberty, with which an enormous government is incompatible. Prosperity will evaporate. But we will have no ease and we will have a tiny group of wealthy masters above us. We will return to the usual: oppression and poverty. Liberty and prosperity will return to their normal abode, the history books.

Monday, August 03, 2009

You Are Insane

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are broke. We are out of money and have only creditors to float on. There is a depression. The unemployment rate will be double-digit for the foreseeable future. Yet, you want to start another government health care program on the grounds of fiscal responsibility. And you want to raise taxes. You also want to hamstring any industry which emits greenhouse gases - any industry which uses energy - even as the earth's temperature has been flat for the entire decade, exploding the global warming models.

$400B deficits were considered monstrosities a decade ago. Now we accept permanent deficits of over $1T without objection. Consider the woman who used to feel horror at her husband's imbibing six glasses of scotch every night. Now she willingly purchases the entire bottle he imbibes in the morning and the one he imbibes at night. Passive, dull, broken, she submits. She even shares in the delight he derives from drowning his resentments in booze. This is her life now. She no longer knows any other. She knows she lies to herself. She no longer cares.

Liberty, self-reliance, and limited government are not even memories anymore. The insanity has grown for the last eighty years. The patient is no longer the same person as the healthy young man he once was. You can still from time to time see something in the eyes, though. Something longing, something panicking, a frenzied resolve to turn things around, unable to move. A light of awareness. A sorrow. But the light is usually not there in the eyes, which usually glower, dull, ignorant and brutal, while the morbidly obese body plods on, wallowing in its own waste, bellowing in pride as it erects a throne of feces at the bottom of the grave which it took eighty years to dig for itself. It will be dead before it can be buried alive. When the earth is dumped in only its children will be there to receive it, bewildered, doomed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Natural Law and Government Health Insurance

1. Bureaucrats in the federal government aren't going to take as good care of your health as you and your personal doctor, unmolested by federal interference, would do. The government will waste much more of the wealth inserted into this system than the private sector would. It's wrong to overlook these things and to nationalize the health care system. They are so as a matter of natural law.

2. Outside of contracts, there is only one positive right: the right of the innocent in dire straits in your local community or vicinity to be given simple assistance. Other innocents in dire straits in more geographically and socially distant locations have much less claim to your assistance, but they have some. It diminishes as we move outward until the duty is gone at some distance.

This point of view is treated with contempt by libertarians who think that even your good neighbor who, through no fault of his own, lies badly injured before you has no right to your administering first aid, calling an ambulance, or any other action. The libertarian will agree that you would be rightly branded as callous, mean and wicked; but he balks when it comes to the question, "Did your neighbor have a right to your help?" But the fact is that you would have done wrong by your neighbor and he would have had a right to simple assistance. The censure may be appropriate punishment, but it is punishment for wrongdoing and all wrongdoing violates another's rights.

This position also angers leftists, who believe that you ought to have your wealth redistributed to the destitute, no matter what their social and geographical distance to you. At least libertarians are respectable. Leftists, on the other hand, are rich and give little to the poor, even while maintaining that it is a strict duty to redistribute the wealth. They oughtn't to be taken seriously, especially since there is not a single good argument for their strange position.

But I digress. The point is that #2 is correct and it reflects natural law. The alternatives do not and are not correct.

3. When forced to pay a fixed fee for unrestricted access to a good by a large national government, people will be unrestrained in their use of the good and the system will go bankrupt unless the fee is raised very high or the access severely restricted. The fee will be lower and the access less restricted if the good is provided by the free market at prices set by market forces. It is wrong to overlook this and cause our society to switch from private to public provision of goods. This is so as a matter of natural law.

Morality has contours impressed upon it by its conformation to human nature. There may be other moralities on other planets for other species of people with other natures. Not everything goes, as the meanings of "right" and "wrong" are not utterly ambiguous. But there is some flexibility to these terms across species and, within species, across societies. Yet within any given species, constraints of its nature obtain, rendering certain moral stances untenable. Foolishly running against human nature usually results in calamity. Nor is it that the fool's morality - his communism or what have you - better while we are by nature unable to attain to it. It is not better. It is wrong. It may be right for a species of people with utterly different motivations but it is not right for us.

Yet the lust for power renders one able to fool the foolish and hoodwink the ignorant. Human nature gives us constraints on what is morally suitable for us but it unfortunately does not usually give us the wisdom to be able to maintain our values within those constraints unmolested by the power-hungry and their useful idiots. I can't prove that 1, 2, and 3 reflect natural law here. The proof is in the collective historical wisdom of a society, conserved against the odds and grasped only partially by any of its members, some more fully understanding it than others. If you are unaware of any reason to think that the big-government welfare state isn't made more likely to be disastrous and the free market more likely to produce flourishing by natural law, then you are an example of the imperfection of human nature when it comes to practical wisdom. As a result of this ignorance, innocents will die from having health care withheld from them by the government. And vast sums of wealth will be taken from those who rightfully own it against their will and put into the black hole of government.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

National Food and Shelter Plan: A Proposal

Health care is a right. Every American has a right to health care. This is because health care is a basic need without which one cannot function. Yet, food and shelter are much more basic needs than health care. It is possible to live without health care if you are lucky. But you can't live without the food and shelter.

Health care is a right because it's a basic need. Food and shelter and much more basic needs. Therefore, every American has a right to food and shelter. In addition, food and shelter cost about as much as health care insurance, maybe more.

The analogy is tight. Americans have a right to food and shelter. It's time for a national food and shelter plan. Food and shelter should be provided for a monthly premium, which should be waived for those who can't afford it.

Having paid your monthly premium or had it paid for you by more fortunate Americans, you would simply show up at any grocery store and take your food. The government would pay the grocer to provide you the food.

Now, what the government would pay the grocer would be competitive. Some say that many grocers would fold because their income would drop. But I don't believe that. Others say that there may come a time that rationing of food might have to occur because being able to take whatever food we want simply wouldn't do. This is true, but it's acceptable. We can't all have filet mignon or name-brand cereals. The government will have to dole these out rationally.

This is the kind of vision that really gets to the heart of what it means to be an American: to grow the government very, very big so that it can take care of everything instead of greedy businessmen raping us six ways to Sunday. All men are endowed with unalienable rights to food, shelter, health care and to not having to worry about all those things or about greedy businessmen making a profit off of them. That way, Americans can be free to do what they like, like video games and picnics and hobbies. That's the core vision of American values. That's the American way.

Watch out for reactionaries who don't want government to interfere with and strong-arm business. Those people are fascists.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Natural Law, Secular and Indeterminate

But to get back, let me give you a small taste of what I mean. It's pretty clear once you think about it. Though perhaps we are accustomed to natural law being fully determinate of all issues of right and wrong and also dependent upon the existence of God, neither is the case.

The natural law we're considering here is of course moral law. But take an analogy from biology where we may also speak of natural law. There are certain environmental conditions to which human beings are suited to thrive and others which cause them to do poorly. Just run through a variety of conditions and you'll see this. 4000 degrees Farenheit is inconvenient, as is zero degrees. Oxygen in the air is nice. When there's too little of it, well.... Also, there is a kind of diet which enables us to thrive. You can see that. Rocks and twigs are not so good. An all-meat diet isn't good, either. Etc.

Indeterminacy remains, though how much of it is an open question. How much greens to eat? Equatorial climate, or one more like that of France or Pennsylvania? The question closes up when you press the considerations further and look at anthropological and biological evidence for the suitability of certain environment and diet and the unsuitability of others. An array of different and approximately equally suitable environments and a similar array of diets remain. Yet the complete malleability of human nature as a theory drops out.

Now, is it preposterous to think that social arrangements, ethics, and character virtues are also tethered to human nature? Of course not. On the contrary, it is preposterous to think that human nature is suited to only certain diets and environments but is not a constraint on our choice of ethics and character virtues. This constraint, this tether, is natural law. It has some slack in it. There is more than one decent and admirable set of moral values which fits with natural law. Again, it is an open question how wide the options are. But the more you examine the question, the more it closes.

Let me throw out a value or two:

1. Each person ought to be allowed to act as he prefers and not be forced by others to act in accordance to their preference.

2. Violation of #1 is a forfeiture of one's own protections under #1. In other words, if you force others to act in accordance with your will, you may rightly be stopped.

3. Self-reliance and industry are good, and sloth is bad.

4. One ought to help members of one's community who do not violate principle #1 but who fall into dire straights through no fault of their own.

5. Failure to distinguish between dire straights fallen into through no fault of one's own and dire straights created by sloth and foolishness is bad. One ought not to help the foolish and slothful.

Etc., etc.

There are caveats to all of these principles, of course. There are no moral rules, but only summary rules of thumb. But you get the gist.

How about your values? Are they likely to suit human nature? Or do you suspect they likely violate natural law, while you look away? Do you feel lucky where others have failed repeatedly?

But there is more than human nature working in natural law. There is an analytical core to it. Wanton cruelty is immoral. Small kindnesses done for innocent people are good. These are so by definition. The terms "right", "wrong", "moral" and so forth have meanings which are not utterly inelastic. For example, a bowling ball can't be "what is right." Nor can it be immoral. The point is that there is an analytical definition of "rightness" which constrains morality as well as human nature does. Natural law, then, is the fact that the meanings of moral terms and the kind of creatures we are constrain how it is good for us to live.

In any event, these facts about natural law are so even if God does not exist. Imagine a world in which He does not exist. In that world, these facts are so. Imagine another world in which these facts are so and there is a God who holds human nature constant while attempting to make it the case that these facts about natural law no longer obtain. He fails. Q.E.D. Even God can't make cruelty good and liberty worthless. He didn't make them, respectively, bad and valuable in the first place.

The upshot is that the dismissal of natural law as hopelessly absolutist (i.e., committed to absolute determinacy in all areas of morality) or hopelessly committed to divine command theory is a non-starter.

By the way, progressivism is wedded to that non-starter, just as a matter of fact. If you're a lefty, you need to reform your position to say that socialism and statism are consistent with natural law and even more adherent to it than the alternatives. Good luck with that. Principle #1 is a tough customer. And when you look at the prosperity that has issued from this liberty, you really have problems. Why don't you consider abandoning your desire to be a puppet master, a designer of society? You're in violation of natural law. You might want to reflect on what motivates you. It isn't the plight of poor people. After all, you don't give all your wealth above the poverty line to charity, now, do you? You don't volunteer at the soup kitchen 15 hours a week, now do you? What, then, would drive you to embrace values that fly in the face of natural law?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Federal Government's Authority Over Your Healthcare

The federal government has the right to prevent you from contracting with any agency for health insurance. In other words, you do not have the right to form contracts with another party for the purpose of health insurance coverage unless the federal government gives you that right.

You do not have a right to refrain from purchasing health insurance. If you fail to purchase it, you may be held to be in violation of the law if the federal government so desires. The federal government will then have a right to punish you and force you to purchase health insurance.

American insurance companies may rightfully be prevented from offering health insurance coverage by the federal government. They have no right to offer it if the federal government does not give them such a right.

If the federal government chooses to do so, it may rightfully put private insurance companies out of business by undercutting their premiums by selling federal government insurance policies at a loss. That's legal. The federal government may use such tactics to create a monopoly. It has such a right.

When there is only one insurance company left, the federal government, it will have a right to deny its customers medical treatment. As in Canada and England, the American federal government has a right to withhold medical treatment from its customers.

The federal government can afford to create another federal health insurance program at this time.

In short, rights come from somewhere: the federal government. And money comes from nowhere.
Natural Law and Indeterminacy

The modern American liberal feels a sensation of resentment well up in his esophagus whenever he is told that there are natural laws of morality which are written in human nature and cannot be successfully overridden by conventional morality. He consigns any such notion to antiquated religious zealotry, theocracy, and so forth, waving away any mention of the fact that this country was founded on "the laws of nature" and "inalienable rights." He sees admirable thinkers such as Clarence Thomas as religious zealots and theocrats. He changes the subject when the Founding Fathers are brought up in this connection.

Yet, of course there are natural laws. The Founding Fathers had thrice your intellect and learning. Think twice before you blithely contradict them. Just think for a moment about the real thrust of the leftist's distaste for natural law. Reflect for a moment what might be in your breast with regard to these matters.

You are deeply dissatisfied with traditional American values and ways of life and want the government to create a new social structure in which freedom is vastly curtailed in favor of wealth redistribution. You want rich, white, conservative Christians to have less wealth and power, and you want their wealth and power to be handed over to poor, non-whites who are not conservative Christians. Everyone who subscribes to the existence of natural laws says this is a very bad idea. So, you hate natural law and those who espouse it. This is the attitude which cost 100 million lives for your cause in the 20th Century and ruined the black American family. It's an attitude which kills by having the government of England and Canada deny health care to people who have earned enough money to pay for it and then gotten sick. But you persist. Your moral aspirations are based upon resentment. Think for a moment about what it is that you resent. It's not pretty that you resent it. I won't mention what it is. You know. It's a very dark place to be. Yet, there you are.

There is a way out of your detestable little conundrum. Think a minute. Take a breath.

Natural law does not entail the existence of God or the authority of religion. There is no divine command theory in natural law, which is a good thing, because divine command theory was refuted by Socrates in the Euthyphro 2500 years ago. So, relax. You can continue to hate mainstream American Christianity while accepting natural law.

Also, natural law is not fully deterministic of right and wrong. It sets up a large array of fundamental values which are inalienable from human nature. These have to do with the nature of justice, fair play, family ties, liberty, charity, and so forth. They allow for a considerable degree of flexibility and may be adhered to with equal fidelity by societies of vary different conventional moralities. There is a game with certain rules and structures and avenues of success, but there are many ways to play the games, many styles which take the game in differing directions with acceptable results. This means that a society can decide how it would like to live. In other words, it may maintain loyalty to its cherished values without violating natural law while other societies with different values maintain their values without violating natural law. All this is so, provided that the two societies in question are lucky enough and wise enough to have values consistent with natural law, of course.

So, relax, you can have your atheistic relativism, provided of course you see that the relativism is constrained in scope by natural law. You'll have to scrap the leftism, though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Founding Fathers Quotes

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. -George Washington, Circular to the States, May 9, 1753

A people... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything. -George Washington, letter to Benjamin Harrison, October 10, 1784

Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can — GO — ...Go, starve, and be forgotten! -George Washington, letter to the Officers of the Army, March 12, 1783

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. -John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.... -John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. -Benjamin Franklin, April 17, 1787

But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the, designs of ambition. -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 19, 1787

Liberty is the very idol of my soul, the parent of virtue, the nurse of heroes, the dispenser of general happiness...." -Arthur Lee, The Farmer's and Monitor's Letters to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies 1769

Friday, July 10, 2009

With Apologies to Montesquieu

As virtue is necessary in a republic, and in a monarchy honor, so fear is necessary in a despotic government.... -Montesquieu

But if you want to have a big-government society, then you need to cultivate sloth, ignorance, guilt, envy, and a distaste for self-reliance. You need a people who are spoiled, lazy and dull. For then, not only will they not resist your government, but they will demand it. The alternative of a small, liberty-based government will be incomprehensible and scary to them.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed you're nothing, Alfie.

-Hal David

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Positive Liberty a Vacuous Concept At Best

...leftist legerdemain at worst. Here's the gist of it.
  1. First, we expand the concept of liberty to include power and wealth.
  2. Next, we show that since power and wealth are unequally distributed, liberty is unequally distributed.
  3. We then infer that those with more power and wealth are violating the right to liberty of those with less.
  4. Finally, we conclude that those with more power and wealth are obliged to give some of theirs to those with less.
I object to 1 as it makes no sense as an analysis of liberty. It is a redefinition of liberty. It is not an analytic definition; it is a redefinition. It is true only if stipulative. Fine, stipulate all you want, but don't pretend to be analyzing.

2 follows from 1.

3 does not follow. Now that you have changed the concept of liberty to include power and wealth, things which held true of liberty when the concept was narrowly defined as negative liberty no longer necessarily hold true. It holds true of negative liberty that a deficit of someone's negative liberty is a violation of his right. But it doesn't necessarily hold true of positive liberty. If you define "liberty" as fried chicken, don't expect every use of the word to hold true that held true before. In fact, since we are speaking of power and wealth, and we know that there are no positive rights to power and wealth, we know that in some cases an unequal distribution of liberty (as power and wealth) is not a violation of rights. For an unequal distribution of power and wealth in some cases is not a violation of rights. Cases of theft or tyranny are cases in which it would be a violation of rights. How ironic that leftism advocates theft and tyranny in response to distributions of power and wealth which are not in fact unjust. Legerdemain is needed in order to accomplish such a sophistical feat.

4 follows from 3.

In sum, 1 is idle stipulation and 3 is an invalid inference. Positive liberty has very little substance, though it may be used sophistically to marshal us along to the leftist drumbeat.

A coda: Some may wish to preserve positive liberty as self-direction, strength of will, self-control. One is constrained by weakness of will, by vice. However, even this won't work. We can speak of vices as hamstringing us, coercing or constraining our actions only figuratively. For they are not entities distinct from the agent. They are structures and dispositions of the agent. You can be free of your vices only in the figurative way that you can be free of a hamstring injury. A man with a hamstring injury is as free as he would be without it. It's just that there is something wrong with him. And a lack of liberty cannot literally be something wrong with you. Keep your concepts clear. Speak figuratively if you like, but don't use figurative speech as a foundation for a moral or political philosophy.