Monday, December 24, 2012

The Immorality of Gun Control

The Dec. 18th print edition of the Macomb Daily (a northeastern suburban county of Detroit) carried an oped by Roger Simon of www.creators.com, not to be confused with Roger L. Simon of PJTV fame. This Roger Simon, without the L, writes a screed pushing "real" gun control which according to him, has never been tried here in the U.S. Right! And that's why we still have a few freedoms left.

There are lots of things wrong with Mr. Simon's rant not the least of which is an outright falsehood. He claims for example:

"Four adults are killed in Benghazi, and the right wing politicizes it endlessly."

Pardon me but it was president Obama who immediately lied to the American people by claiming Benghazi was caused by an anti-Muslim video which of course, turned out to be false. It was Mr. Simon's left wing that sought to politicize Benghazi first. Obama kept it up for several weeks even making this false claim in a public speech. He even had Susan Rice push the video nonsense.

Mr Simon then claims the gun lobby and the social media cried "...too soon. Show respect for the dead. Do nothing now." While there indeed was some of that (the Detroit News wrote an editorial urging Gov Snyder not to sign a gun bill that would allow concealed carry anywhere in the State), the social media I visit was calling for action now not do nothing. I responded to that editorial calling for arming some adults in every school on the grounds that leaving kids unprotected any longer was unconscionable. Unfortunately, the Governor did not sign the bill. He left the kids vulnerable.

Mr Simon goes on to attack some alleged reasons for the Sandy Hook shootings. Here is his list of things that didn't cause the shootings and why:

It's not: the NRA is too strong, because they're not that strong.
It's not: godless schools like Mike Huckabee claims, because we can't wait for America to be as pious as Mr. Huckabee.
It's not mental illness, because other nations don't have that problem.

So, even though he cites no evidence for his claims, it must be the guns. In truth though, there is more to gun control that a misplaced concern for safety.

If man has an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then he must be politically free to take the actions and acquire the tools that will sustain his life. Some of those tools will be tools of self defense. The right to life must include the right to defend that life. Without the right of self defense, man has no right to life.

Gun control advocates do not respect such rights. They believe that because some weapons make killing easier than others, they should be banned to citizens and placed only in the hands of benevolent, caring, "good guys" in government. The desire for such a society goes all the way back to Plato's notion of "philosopher kings". This is the idea that an elite of knowledgeable rulers is best for ruling over the ignorant masses. This is exactly the attitude of most of today's politicians and intellectuals. They all imagine what a wonderful world this could be if only they had the power of force over you and me. They have it. Some in the Democratic Party may be reluctant to use it just yet. Obama is not.

In closing I want to say that the need for some adults to be armed in our schools is more urgent than ever. I'm told they do this in Argentina, the Philippines and in Israel. We need to do it here also. But there is something we could do right now and that is take down all the signs that declare "gun free zones." Look at what those signs really say: "self defense free zones." In essence they say "attention killers, here is a free killing zone just for you." I can't think of a sign more politically and morally wrong than that.

Mr. Simon ends his tantrum with a quote alleged to have been spoken by one of the teachers to her students: "Wait for the good guys; they're coming." Except she was referring to "good guys" as police in their role of protecting our rights while Mr Simon's "good guys" were police in the role of taking away our right of self defense.

PS As of this writing the Macomb Daily has not put the oped on their online version so I can't link to it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Get Rid of Sacrifice, Get Rational Self Interest

When you elect politicians to serve your interests and they don't follow the constitution, you will suffer due to the loss of your freedoms.

When you suffer due to the loss of your freedoms, you will look to your intellectual leaders for answers.

When you look to your intellectual leaders they will tell you that the sacrifice of your freedoms could not be otherwise.

When your leaders tell you the sacrifice of your freedoms could not be otherwise, you will get frustrated.

When you get frustrated, you will riot in the streets like the Greeks.

Don't riot in the streets like the Greeks. Get a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and read both.

When you read both you will discover that America has abandoned individualism and man's right to self interest in favor of collectivism and self sacrifice.

Get rid of sacrifice. Get rational self interest.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm back for now and the election.

Hi all. I'm back to light blogging. Now that the election is over and the candidate I was going door to door for lost I will have slightly more time to post on things I see and hear.

As for the election, well, I was disappointed because I thought Romney would provide a smaller dose of poison compared to Obama's lethal dose giving Objectivism a little more time to spread.

But now that TDL has won I have mixed feelings. I'm glad in a way because future disasters will be seen by the public as falling on Democratic shoulders and policies although the MSM will lie and blame everyone and everything except the Dems. I worry because my grand kids will be growing up under Obama Care and facing an increasing shortage of doctors and nurses.

There are good things to note however: voters returned the House to the control of the Republicans and the Repubs gained in state legislatures. I heard on the radio that the states with control of both houses and the governorship were Democrats 13 and Republicans 23. So this means to me that there was no love fest for Obama. Instead there was a slap in the face to the Republican national establishment for backing Romney the daddy of Obama Care and for ignoring Tea Party candidates. I don't think it was an explicit punishment of the Republican establishment although there was some of that, it was more like a sense of life vomit at the sight of the Party's obvious addiction to the self imposed second class status to the Democratic Party.

I have decided though that it's getting late and there is no longer lots of time to spread rational ideas in round about ways, to refrain from mentioning Rand's name or Objectivism or selfishness for fear of hurting feelings or being rejected out of hand. Sometimes the best way to resolve a problem is to meet it head on. So I have resolved to challenge many of the main cultural ideas like altruism, collectivism, sacrifice, greed and selfishness just to name a few in the popular press.In the past I have usually wrote LTEs sporadically. That will change.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Five hours ago I posted this on Facebook. I re-post it here with the comments. I was just watching Fox business Channel where Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Charles Munger (chairman of Berkshire-Hathaway) were answering questions from the lady moderator. Mr. Munger was asked why he thought Alan Greenspan paid too much attention to Ayn Rand. He replied that Rand's political philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work, adding that ax murderers exist in laissez-faire and there is nothing good about that and that people need restraints. OMG! In order for him to say that he has to believe that laissez-faire means no government in society when in fact it means no government interference with initiatory force in the market place. This is but one example of why businessmen are often their own worst enemies, and an example of the sanction of the victim. Like · · Unfollow Post · Share Joshua Lipana, Richard Ruggiero, Rob Van Aken and 3 others like this. Kristina Janson After what happened to Bill Gates in the Clinton era, you can bet your butt that they're going to sing the party line! They are imaging themselves as Martha Stewart behind bars. 5 hours ago · Like Philip Nelson We shouldn't rely on business men to present a moral ideal. Although Rand envisioned them as one of the main defenders of true freedom they are today one of it's biggest enemies. They are forced (or go voluntarily) to be supported by gov't ... See More4 hours ago · Like · 1 Kristina Janson In 1992, I met on several occasions Albert H. Gordon, of Kidder Peabody. As an investment genius and a builder of businesses, I thought that he would really appreciate to know that I thought his actions were moral. I wrote down a book recom... See More 4 hours ago · Like

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another LTE printed

This LTE was printed in the Detroit News on March 7th.

Letter: Focus on nation's founding values

"The Feb. 18 editorial brief "Appropriate driving law" is an example of a true statement that can be misleading in terms of the principle involved. The sentence: "This new legislation expands a smart law that rightly punishes drivers who have chosen to risk other people's lives with their irresponsible decisions" can leave the impression that the purpose of law is to protect people from irresponsible decisions instead of violations of their rights. The question then becomes who decides what is responsible or irresponsible and according to what standards?

Is the mother whose child had her turkey sandwich, banana and apple juice confiscated by food police guilty of irresponsible decisions? Were all of us guilty of irresponsible decisions for wanting to use incandescent light bulbs or watch analog TV or put salt on our potatoes?

The tea parties exist to get our nation back to its fundamental, founding principles. They could really use the support of those on editorial staffs to identify those principles.

The above quote could ideally have read in part "... rightly punishes drivers who have chosen to risk violating other people's rights." Individual rights are a profound value. To consistently fail to mention primary values is to consider them unimportant."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

LTE Printed

LTE Printed
By Mike N · February 16th, 2012 6:01 am · No Comments · ·Edit

I had the following LTE printed verbatim in the Macomb Daily a countywide newspaper serving Macomb county which abuts Wayne County home of Detroit.

“We must return to basic principles

I applaud George Will’s Feb. 5 opinion column, pointing out the dictatorial desires of progressives from Woodrow Wilson to Franklyn Roosevelt and President Obama. Americans need to know that the Democratic Party is dominated by those who think brute force is the practical way to govern citizens.

But Will failed to take the next step: to ask why do progressives worship force instead of freedom, while our Constitution clearly calls for freedom? The answer is to be found in the Declaration of Independence with its principle of individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This principle is one of reasoned self-interest, that one can serve one’s own interests as long as one respects the same rights of others.

But progressives disdain these principles, believing that man is not capable of reasoned behavior and must be forcibly ruled by benevolent masters, a longing for something that has never been or will ever be. If America doesn’t return to the principles of the Declaration of Independence soon, the progressives will have the dictatorship they crave. Where reason and rights do not prevail, force does.”

Mr Will is a famous conservative pundit who is quite good at pointing out all the idiocies of progressive policies. But like so many of his colleagues, often fails to identify the principles underlying those policies thus leaving them unchallenged to continue birthing more such policies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

More Part Time Objectivist Activism

My activism the last week in promoting Objectivist ideas was mostly good with only a little bad. First the good. On Monday the 6th I went to the center campus of a local community college to check on my rack of The Undercurrent newsletter. They were all gone so I plunked down another 25 copies and will check back in two weeks. Then I went to the south campus and my previous supply of 30 only had 3 left so I put another 25 there also.

On Tuesday the 7th I checked a coffee shop next to the college where students like to hang out. I put a rack of 30 copies there back in November. There was only 1 left so 25 more went there as well. I also left 2 copies of the Sampler on the bottom shelf of the rack.

Today I visited a small private college that teaches business with several other professions. I gave a copy of "Why Businessmen Need Philosophy" to the Administrator with a view towards providing more copies should any teacher want more to teach to his/her class. Failing that I wanted to donate the book to the business school library so it will be available to students to read if they so choose. The administrator seemed very receptive although she said she never heard of Ayn Rand or Objectivism. She has now. I also left a flyer for the free books for teachers program and the student essay contests with her.

The bad news came from a larger private college where I sought permission to place a rack with The Undercurrent on it. This administrator said that because people pay tuition to attend, it may be inappropriate for the school to be seen as advancing a given viewpoint. In a nutshell, no rack. So I have determined that if someone should haphazardly leave a few copies laying on a random table well, the school couldn't be held responsible. Besides, thanks to today's experience at the smaller business college, I'll be going back to donate a copy of WBNP to their library probably this Friday the 10th.

I was also reminded of another business college about five miles from those mentioned above. As soon as I order more copies of WBNP I'll be paying it a visit.

That's it for now but I'll keep looking for more opportunities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why we seldom get morally principled leaders.

I posted this at The New Clarion yesterday and am re-posting it here today.

The Friday Jan 6th print edition of the Detroit Free Press carried an oped by Leonard Pitts Jr of the Miami Herald titled "Ron Paul is foolishly consistent in his extremism." He starts it out with this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds" I'll skip the fact that there may be some debate over the contextual meaning of that quote in some circles and just focus on how Mr. Pitts uses it as received wisdom. I will quote a few passages with my comments in brackets.

"Ralph Waldo Emerson, meet Ronald Ernest Paul. He is the very soul of a foolish consistency. Meaning that he is willing, often to a fault, to follow his ideology to its logical and most extreme conclusions." [Right off the bat, Pitts is using extremism to smear Paul's consistency i.e. integrity. "(T)o a fault" means excessive, too much, but no argument is given as to why extreme consistency or integrity is a fault. Why is a man who is extremely honest faulty?]

"In this, the congressman differs from other GOP contenders for the White House and, for that matter, from most politicians, period. Your average pol might rail against the intrusion of government into the private lives of its citizens, then turn right around and advocate a law regulating what a gay man does in his bedroom--and see no contradiction. [Very true] Paul is too intellectually honest for that." [Mr. Pitts, you're starting to make Paul look really good]

"Intellectual honesty is a good thing, if only because it can lead you to reconsider a faulty premise.(If only? It has no other value?) But in Paul's take on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he doubles down on the bad premise instead." [Here Pitts confuses government enforced segregation with private prejudice and treats them as equal malfactors which of course they're not. Here the 'bad premise' is private prejudice.]

"In other words, forcing a restaurant to take down a Whites Only sign infringed the rights of the restaurant owner.[Yes, it did] A similar argument was made by segregationists in 1964--and by slave owners in the 1850s." [Not actually. Slavery and the Jim Crow laws were enforced by local and state governments and should have been repealed. Had they been repealed sooner, market forces would have eroded the private prejudices even sooner than history shows.]

"Can government be overlarge, overbearing, overwhelming, overrestrictive, overintrusive? Of course. And where it is those things, it is the right--and duty--of the electorate to pare it back." [Obviously Mr. Pitts doesn't think today's government is any of those things because the Tea Party which he opposes, exists to pare it back. Notice too that he doesn't object to the government being restrictive or intrusive, just overly so. He doesn't understand that he is actually saying don't overchain your slaves but chains are ok. But what would happen if the chains were removed completely?]

"On the other hand,unless you enjoy salmonella in your food and lead in your paint, unless you think it's OK that your doctor has no medical degree and your lawyer no licence, unless you're fine with breathing sooty air and drinking tainted water, and unless you really think a black woman in Mississippi, locked out of public places by threat of violence and force of law, should have been required to wait on market forces to rescue her, you must regard Paul's moral imbecility with a certain awe." [This is a partial rewrite of history. According to Pitts we were walking over bodies in the streets who died from salmonella, lead, tainted water and air and doctors and lawyers who didn't have government permissions to practice until the caring, loving government came along to save us all. Utter nonsense.]

[I have noticed that when statists mentalities are on the brink of achieving or losing their goals, they become more bold in the accuracy with which they identify their true goals and ideals.]

"Heaven help us if the intellectual rigidity he symbolizes is really the only alternative to the intellectual malleability of so many of his colleagues." [Wow! An open admission that intellectual malleability is the ideal, the norm to be achieved and admired. I will only add that Mr. Pitts is to be admired for his cognitive precision in identifying the intellectual status of Paul's Republican colleagues.]

With pundits like Mr. Pitts bombarding the public with ideas like this it is no wonder that the public has no principled leaders. My hope is that there are principled leaders out there taking notes on the election campaigns and deciding whether the public is ready for principled leadership. I think a growing number are. I just don't know how big that number needs to be to turn this country around. Perhaps 2012 will give us a clearer picture.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Objectivist roundup Jan 12 2011

This issue has posts on things like Inflation, the impact of entitlement programs on debt, Religious conservatism vs Islam, fighting for your life and the truth about Romneycare and a lot more.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Objectivist roundup #234

This week's Objectivist roundup is at Rational Jenn where you can read posts on things like "Thoughts on Drawing" or the "importance of mathematics" or on "When goals flounder, review your central purpose' and much more from an Objectivist perspective.