Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Global Warming - Scam of the New Millenium

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Not much time to write, but for a delicious holiday morsel, try this.

Apparently, some hackers broke into some computer files for the University of East Anglia and these files contained some pretty enlightening and embarrassing information about collusion and conspiracy within scientific and academic ranks to keep the global warming fires burning, as it were. In short, global warming is a scam and the lid has been blown.

Here is a sample from the above-linked article in the Wall Street Journal:

This is downright Orwellian. What the Post describes is not a vigorous debate but an attempt to suppress debate--to politicize the process of scientific inquiry so that it yields a predetermined result. This does not, in itself, prove the global warmists wrong. But it raises a glaring question: If they have the facts on their side, why do they need to resort to tactics of suppression and intimidation?

It is hard to see how this is anything less than a definitive refutation of the popular press's contention that global warmism is settled science--a contention that both the Times and the Post repeat in their articles on the revelations: "The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument," the Times claims. The Post leads its story by observing that "few U.S. politicians bother to question whether humans are changing the world's climate," and that "nearly three years ago the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded the evidence was unequivocal." (As blogger Tom Maguire notes, this actually overstates even the IPCC's conclusions.)

The press's view on global warming rests on an appeal to authority: the consensus among scientists that it is real, dangerous and man-caused. But the authority of scientists rests on the integrity of the scientific process, and a "consensus" based on the suppression of alternative hypotheses is, quite simply, a fraudulent one.
That guy is a lot more generous than I am.

Frauds. That is what they are. Frauds and liars and thieves.

Also, check out this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And, of course, this.

I am so glad that with all the fraudulent religious, right-wing, Christian nutcases out there we can at least trust the scientific community to give us the truth.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is Law?

The proper role of government in a free society is to defend individual rights. Governments do this through application of the law; without government there would be no law.

But what is the law? And by whose authority does government enforce laws? Frederic Bastiat provides the answer in his essay from 1848 entitled The Law.

Existence, faculties, assimilation — in other words, personality, liberty, property — this is man.

It is of these three things that it may be said, apart from all demagogue subtlety, that they are anterior and superior to all human legislation.

It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws.

What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Nature, or rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life; elements, each of which is rendered complete by the others, and cannot be understood without them. For what are our faculties, but the extension of our personality? and what is property, but an extension of our faculties?

If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together, to extend, to organize a common force, to provide regularly for this defense. And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

Collective right, then, has its principle, its reason for existing, its lawfulness, in individual right; and the common force cannot rationally have any other end, or any other mission, than that of the isolated forces for which it is substituted. Thus, as the force of an individual cannot lawfully touch the person, the liberty, or the property of another individual — for the same reason, the common force cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes.

For this perversion of force would be, in one case as in the other, in contradiction to our premises. For who will dare to say that force has been given to us, not to defend our rights, but to annihilate the equal rights of our brethren? And if this be not true of every individual force, acting independently, how can it be true of the collective force, which is only the organized union of isolated forces?

Nothing, therefore, can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense; it is the substitution of collective for individual forces, for the purpose of acting in the sphere in which they have a right to act, of doing what they have a right to do, to secure persons, liberties, and properties, and to maintain each in its right, so as to cause justice to reign over all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Real Reason for War

Why do we have wars? Because it elevates the role of the state in our lives, of course. I mean what better way a tyrant like Carl Levin to increase the pressure of his jackboot on our throats than to help start a war, then use it as an excuse to raise taxes?

Of course maybe we should consider ourselves lucky that all the government wants from us is a figurative arm and a leg; the innocent women, children and other non-combatants on the other end of American bombs will sacrifice those things quite literally.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deregulate marriage!

Posted by Allen Lewis

In 2005 the State of Texas Constitution was amended in an effort to ban gay marriage and same-sex civil unions. Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution reads:

Sec. 32.
(a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Former attorney, US Senate candidate and current candidate for Texas Attorney General Barbara Ann Radnofsky believes that subsection b may actually ban all marriage in Texas.

Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.

She calls it a "massive mistake" and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

In my view, this would be glorious news for everybody that is truly concerned about the sanctity of marriage. The government has no moral right to regulate marriage. Citizens should not have to pay the state for a license granting the right to enter into any type of contract, marriage included. We should not have to ask the state's permission to get married. The government should not be involved in marriage in any way whatsoever.

The institution of marriage has been irreversibly harmed in this country, but it's not for the reasons commonly cited by many conservatives. The state has taken what should be a sacred contract between two people - something that has historically been sanctioned by a religious authority - and made it the domain of the government.

By placing marriage (or more succinctly, the right to marry) in the domain of the law, our government has served only to perpetuate the insulting notion that the state should regulate the most personal of choices in our lives. We should deregulate marriage immediately.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Judge Andrew Napolitano and Nullification

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

I love the Tenth Amendment Center Blog. Like our friends over at the Repeal the 17th Amendment Blog, they are pretty well focused on one thing. I hope you will check them out from time to time as they raise consciousness on these important issues. I continue to look to the 10th amendment as the most viable cure available out there for out-of-control federal (or as Napolitano points out in the following video, national) government. Despite being a bit long, this clip is fabulous and enlightening. I viewed it at the aforementioned Tenth Amendment Center blog and liked it enough to want to put it here. It also serves as a good companion for the video in Allen's last post and together they make for a good introduction to Judge Napolitano. When Judge Napolitano begins his segments on constitutional law we will bring them to you as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Debra Medina on Freedom Watch

Posted by Allen Lewis

Debra Medina, who is running for Governor of Texas against two absolutely awful (but powerful) career politicians - Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison - appeared on Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano today.

I had the honor of working with Debra as a co-organizer on the 2008 Houston-area End the Fed rally. Debra is a true champion of liberty and freedom, unlike Governor Gardasil and Kay Bailout, who use the rhetoric of liberty when it suits them but govern and legislate, respectively, as leftists.

Walter Williams on Mao, Stalin, Lenin, and American Academia

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Professor Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University and for several years served as the Chair of that department. His weekly columns appear in 140 newspapers nationwide.

Go here to see a list of books written by Walter E. Williams.

The following is a portion of his most recent column. Click here to read the entire thing.
Walter Williams: Alan Kors, University of Pennsylvania history professor, gave the evening's keynote address. What he revealed about the dereliction and character weakness of academics, intellectuals, media elites and politicians is by no means complimentary, but worse than that, dangerous. Professor Kors said that over the years, he has frequently asked students how many deaths were caused by Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung and their successors. Routinely, they gave numbers in the thousands. Kors says that's equivalent to saying the Nazis are responsible for the deaths of just a few hundred Jews. But here's the record: Nazis were responsible for the deaths of 20 million of their own people and those in nations they conquered. Between 1917 and 1983, Stalin and his successors murdered, or were otherwise responsible for the deaths of, 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, Mao Tsetung and his successors were responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese.

Professor Kors asks why are the horrors of Nazism so well known and widely condemned, but not those of socialism and communism? For decades after World War II, people have hunted down and sought punishment for Nazi murderers. How much hunting down and seeking punishment for Stalinist and Maoist murderers? In Europe, especially Germany, hoisting the swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag is a crime. It's acceptable to hoist and march under a flag emblazoned with the former USSR's hammer and sickle. Even in the U.S., it's acceptable to praise mass murderers, as Anita Dunn, President Obama's communications director, did in a commencement address for St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral where she said Mao Tsetung was one of her heroes. Whether it's the academic community, the media elite or politicians, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism -- a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.

Academics, media elites and leftist politicians both in the U.S. and Europe protested the actions and military buildup of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the breakup of the Soviet Union. Recall the leftist hissy fit when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire and predicted that communism would wind up on the trash heap of history.

Professor Alan Kors did not say this but the reason why the world's leftists give the world's most horrible murderers a pass is because . . .
Well, don't you want to know why? To find out what Professor Williams's answer is, go to the column and read it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pelosi . . . Are You Serious?

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

I found this at CNS News. Click here for the whole article.

After this short audio clip, I'll quote some from the news article.

Now from the news article:
Currently, each of the five health care overhaul proposals being considered in Congress would command every American adult to buy health insurance. Any person defying this mandate would be required to pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service.

In 1994, when the health care reform plan then being advanced by President Clinton called for mandating that all Americans buy health insurance, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office studied the issue and concluded:

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”
CNS News also sent the following questions to Pelosi's office:
“If it is the Speaker’s belief that there is a provision in the Constitution that does give Congress this power, does she believe the Constitution in any way limits the goods and services Congress can force an individual to purchase?" CNSNews.com asked. "If so, what is that limit?”

UPS, Teamsters, Federal Government vs. FedEx

Posted by James Spurgeon.

This particular video is pretty relevant for me because I am currently employed by FedEx.

Government picking winners and losers based on which corporation has the right ties and makes the right contributions to the right politicians is right out of Atlas Shrugged. It is disturbingly dirty on a number of levels.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buy Insurance or Go To Jail

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

For the first time in the two hundred thirty-three years of the Republic, the federal government in Washington, D.C. is poised to mandate by law that citizens (subjects) purchase a commodity. Why has this never happened in the past? There is a simple answer. It is against the law. It is unconstitutional. That little wrinkle will not stop this government however. The House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has already passed such legislation. They did it while you were enjoying your weekend last Saturday and, hopefully (in their minds), not paying attention.

Is this the kind of transparency Obama promised? Is this the kind of health care reform Obama promised? Witness this short video.

Then there is this video, also short.

Obama, of course, is complicit.

Besides not answering the question, and thus answering it by his silence, this is the most ridiculous argumentation imaginable. Does he apply this reasoning when it comes to welfare? providing of services for illegal aliens? This man's whole ideology and political career is based upon requiring a few responsible people to carry the load for those who are irresponsible. And, now he wants people to start being responsible or he is going to fine them?

But is it fair to send people to jail who refuse to buy a government-mandated commodity? Nancy Pelosi thinks so:

The thirteen colonies declared independence from the crown for lesser grievances.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Without Power, There Can Be No Corruption

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Early this morning I was browsing over on the Tenth Amendment blog and ran across a couple of quotational gems with a link. The link took me to Nolan Chart and an op-ed piece by Brian Irving of North Carolina. Brian is a libertarian with some great thoughts on the real source of political corruption and how to end it. I wrote and asked for his permission to reprint his op-ed piece here and now you have it, just as it appeared on his blog and at Nolan Chart. (I added the Lord of the Rings photo just for fun and because I am a LOTR nerd. Be sure to run your mouse over any photos you find on this blog.)

Welcome Guest Blogger Brian Irving.
Just as predictable as the media's "gotcha" coverage whenever a politician gets caught cheating or stealing is the inevitable call by political reform groups for more laws to prevent such abuse in the future and for "better" ways of financing campaigns. They ignore warning from our nations Founders' who understood that the more corrupt a State the more it legislates.

We certainly do need honest and moral people with integrity to run for office. We certainly should applaud and support those elected officials who are honest and keep their hands out of the cookie jar.

It's pointless and disingenuous however to propose that forcing taxpayers to fund political campaigns they don't agree with will promote honesty. Compelling anyone to pay for something they oppose is not just dishonest and corrupt, it is immoral.

Corruption stems not from lobbyists money but from taxpayer money. As long as government isn't limited in what it can spend your money on there will always be people who will find a way to get the politicians to spend it on them.

Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." The corollary to this is that without power there can be no corruption for the politician has nothing to sell.

The absolute corruption of absolute power is evident in North Carolina government. Taxpayer-funded elections would only further strengthen the absolute power of the Democrat-Republican duopoly that wields on iron grip on state government by manipulating the law to favor supporters, reward cronies and thwart any third party or independent candidate who challenges that control.

Government is no longer about protecting individual liberty and promoting personal responsibility, it's about "what's in it for me" and "how much can I get."

If you reduce government power and restore the concept of limited government our nation was founded on, you eliminate the opportunity for corruption. Of course, the major party duopoly is not interested in reducing their power. That is why North Carolina has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation.

Any non-Demopublican or independent candidate must collect 80,000 or more signatures to qualify for the ballot. That takes time and money. Once they have climbed that mountain they can start running a campaign. That is, if they have not exhausted all their volunteers, resources and energy just getting to the starting line. It's like asking an athlete to run a marathon before entering 100 meter race.

Real campaign finance reform will begin the ballot box when Libertarians, Greens, Constitution and independent candidates can challenge the two-party state in a race without first having to have run a marathon.

Op Ed written for North Carolinians for Free & Proper Elections
I took the opportunity to link Brian's blog on our blogroll in the right column. Be sure to check him out.

Thomas Sowell on Bringing Down Health Care Costs

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Here is Thomas Sowell stating the obvious on what Obama Care will do to bring down the costs of medical care.
By Thomas Sowell
Although it is cheaper to buy a pint of milk than to buy a quart of milk, nobody considers that to be lowering the price of milk. Although it is cheaper to buy a lower quality of all sorts of goods than to buy a higher quality, nobody thinks of that as lowering the price of either lower or higher quality goods.

Yet, when it comes to medical care, there seems to be remarkably little attention paid to questions of both quantity and quality, in the rush to "bring down the cost of medical care."

There is no question that you can reduce the payments for medical care by having either a lower quantity or a lower quality of medical care. That has already been done in countries with government-run medical systems.

In the United States, the government has already reduced payments for patients on Medicare and Medicaid, with the result that some doctors no longer accept new patients with Medicare or Medicaid. That has not reduced the cost of medical care. It has reduced the availability of medical care, just as buying a pint of milk reduces the payment below what a quart of milk would cost.

Letting old people die instead of saving their lives will undoubtedly reduce medical payments considerably. But old people have that option already — and seldom choose to exercise it, despite clever people who talk about a "duty to die."

A government-run system will take that decision out of the hands of the elderly or their families, and thereby "bring down the cost of medical care." A stranger's death is much easier to take, especially if you are a bureaucrat making that decision in Washington.

At one time, in desperately poor societies, living on the edge of starvation, old people might be abandoned to their fate or even go off on their own to face death alone. But, in a society where huge flat-screen TVs are common, along with a thousand gadgets for amusement and entertainment, and where even most people living below the official poverty line own a car or truck, to talk about a "duty to die" so that younger people can live it up is obscene.

You can even save money by cutting down on medications to relieve pain, as is already being done in Britain's government-run medical system. You can save money by not having as many high-tech medical devices like CAT scans or MRIs, and not using the latest medications. Countries with government-run medical systems have less of all these things than the United States has.

But reducing these things is not "bringing down the cost of medical care." It is simply refusing to pay those costs — and taking the consequences.

For those who live by talking points, one of their biggest talking points is that Americans do not get any longer life span than people in other Western nations by all the additional money we spend on medical care.

Like so many clever things that are said, this argument depends on confusing very different things — namely, "health care" and "medical care." Medical care is a limited part of health care. What we do and don't do in the way we live our lives affects our health and our longevity, in many cases more so than what doctors can do to provide medical care.

Americans have higher rates of obesity, homicide and narcotics addiction than people in many other Western nations. There are severe limits on what doctors and medical care can do about that.

If we are serious about medical care — and we should be serious, since it is a matter of life and death — then we should have no time for clever statements that confuse instead of clarifying.

If we want to compare the effects of medical care, as such, in the United States with that in other countries with government-run medical systems, then we need to compare things where medical care is what matters most, such as survival rates of people with cancer. The United States has one of the highest rates of cancer survival in the world — and for some cancers, the number one rate of survival.

We also lead the world in creating new life-saving pharmaceutical drugs. But all of this can change — for the worse — if we listen to clever people who think they should be running our lives.

The last sentence sums the problem up rather nicely, I thought. Our problem is that there is a group of people who think it is their right to take charge of how the rest of us live our lives. They wish to control every aspect of it. It is about power. Our freedom is an assault on their power while their growing power means an assault on our freedom. Tell the oligarchy no.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Department of Homeland Security

Posted by Allen Lewis

One of the great failures of the George W. Bush administration - and there are many to choose from - was the wild expansion in the size, scope and power of the state. The Department of Homeland Security is a prime example. This agency (the third largest Cabinet department by headcount) has been a cesspool of waste, ineffectiveness and fraud since the day it was created. And now we find out that US "intelligence" agencies which fall under the purvey of DHS knew that Major Nidal Hasan was in electronic contact with al Queda in the months before his rampage at Fort Hood.

Like all government agencies, DHS is not subject to market forces. In a market system, when a firm fails to provide goods or services of adequate quality, it goes out of business. The incentive to succeed (with success defined by the customer) is clear, and the cost of failure is the immediate and complete withdrawal of resources to the firm by the market.

In the realm of government, failure is rewarded with additional resources, which are always stolen from the people through theft, legal plunder, and/or inflation. This is because a lot of politicians and moneyed special interests have a lot to lose if a government entity were to fail. Further, I categorically reject the idea that Americans have to give up their liberty to the state in order to secure liberty. DHS should be abolished immediately.

(Interesting bit of trivia: what was the last government agency to be abolished, and when did it happen. The answer is surprising, if not disheartening.)

Cal Thomas on the Tenth Amendment

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

I thought this was worth mentioning because it is the first time that I have noticed any pundit on a national level bringing attention to the 10th Amendment and how it is supposed to protect the states from runaway federal government expansion. Here is Cal Thomas:

Can the Tenth Amendment Save Us?

By Cal Thomas

Does the U.S. Constitution stand for anything in an era of government excess? Can that founding document, which is supposed to restrain the power and reach of a centralized federal government, slow down the juggernaut of czars, health insurance overhaul and anything else this administration and Congress wish to do that is not in the Constitution?

The Framers created a limited government, thus ensuring individuals would have the opportunity to become all that their talents and persistence would allow. The Left has put aside the original Constitution in favor of a "living document" that they believe allows them to do whatever they want and demand more tax dollars with which to do it.

Can they be stopped? Some constitutional scholars think the Tenth Amendment offers the best opportunity. The Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In 1939, the Supreme Court began to dilute constitutional language so that it became open to broader interpretation. Rob Natelson, professor of Constitutional Law and Legal History at the University of Montana, has written that even before Franklin Roosevelt's court-packing scheme, it was changing the way the Constitution was interpreted, especially, "how the commerce and taxing powers were turned upside-down, the necessary and proper clauses and incidental powers, the false claim that the Supreme Court is conservative, how bad precedent leads to more bad court rulings, state elections as critical for constitutional activists, and more."

While during the last seven decades the court has tolerated the federal welfare state, Natelson says it has never, except in wartime, "authorized an expansion of the federal scope quite as large as what is being proposed now. And in recent years, both the Court and individual justices — even 'liberal' justices — have said repeatedly that there are boundaries beyond which Congress may not go." … "Chief Justice John Marshall once wrote that if Congress were to use its legitimate powers as a 'pretext' for assuming an unauthorized power, 'it would become the painful duty' of the Court 'to say that such an act was not the law of the land.'"

It would be nice to know now what those boundaries are and whether Congress is exceeding its powers as it prepares to alter one-sixth of our economy and change how we access health insurance and health care.

Natelson makes a fascinating argument in his essay, "Is ObamaCare Constitutional?" (www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/08/18/is-obamacare-constitutional), using the Court's Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. In Roe, he writes, the court struck down state abortion laws that "intruded into the doctor-patient relationship. But the intrusion invalidated in Roe was insignificant compared to the massive intervention contemplated by schemes such as HB3200. 'Global budgeting' and 'single-payer' plans go even further, and seem clearly to violate the Supreme Court's Substantive Due Process rules."

Constitutional Attorney John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, tells me, "Although the states surrendered many of their powers to the new federal government, they retained a residuary and inviolable sovereignty that is reflected throughout the Constitution's text. The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and federal governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Court's jurisprudence makes clear that the federal government may not compel the states to enact or administer a federal regulatory program."

Lawyers are busy writing language only they can understand which seeks to circumvent the intentions of the Founders. But it will be difficult to circumvent the last four words of the Tenth Amendment, which state unambiguously where ultimate power lies: "…or to the people."

Americans who believe their government should not be a giant ATM, dispensing money and benefits to people who have not earned them, and who want their country returned to its founding principles, must now exercise that power before it is taken from them. The Tenth Amendment is one place to begin. The streets are another. It worked for the Left. --Cal Thomas
It has become more and more clear that the solution to our problem in and with Washington does not lie in Washington at all and that the only way to check its burgeoning authoritarianism is at the state level. Our founders gave us protection from this and they did so, in part, in that great Tenth Amendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who Made God?

Posted by Friar Rick.

Who Made God?

It is a question often asked by children but seldom asked by adults. It is a good question, nonetheless, for it presumes something which I would like to discuss in this post. What it presumes is known as causality or what you and I know intuitively as cause and effect.

How and why are questions we have been asking since we were old enough to speak. The very questions themselves demonstrate this intuitive knowledge of cause and effect within us. There is a reason for everything, and just as there is a reason for everything there is also a reason for everything that is . . . to be.

We know this both intuitively and by our experience. Every effect must have a sufficient cause. Things do not happen for no reason. Effects do not spontaneously come into being. There is a cause. How did this milk get on the table? It was spilled when a glass was knocked over. How did the glass get knocked over? It was knocked over by Jimmy's elbow when he was reaching for the mashed potatoes. How did the milk get in the glass? It was poured there by mom. Where did she get it? She got it from the gallon jug which was in the refrigerator. How did the jug get into the refrigerator? Dad brought it home from the store and put it there . . . and so on ad infinitum.

How long could we play that game? How far back does our chain of cause and effect go? That is the question at hand and the answer to that question is a valid, effective, and reasonable argument for the existence of God.

For the universe to exist there must be a sufficient cause outside of that universe to account for its existence.

Either that or you must confess that there is an infinite chain of cause and effect, that we could play our little game for eternity and never come to a first cause. But would that be logical? Theists contend that it is not and here is why.

I pose the question to those who might contend that there is no first cause, that our chain of cause and effect goes infinitely into the past. What caused that chain of events? Something did. An infinite series with no beginning involves a contradiction. It goes against the assumption that allows for the existence of the chain in the first place, to wit for every effect there is a cause.

We have a universe. That universe consists of matter and energy. It consists of space and it consists of time. What caused those?

While science cannot answer that, philosophy says that something must have caused them or they could not be.

And that is where it stands. Either you believe that matter is eternal, that it has always been, for it cannot have spontaneously generated, or you believe that there is an extramundane cause that brought it into being. The same for energy, time, space, and life, for none of those things can be explained as having been spontaneously generated without a cause.

An infinite chain of cause and effect is a logical absurdity. If a chain of three or four events cannot exist without a sufficient cause then no chain of events can exist without a sufficient cause, even if it is a chain of a million or a billion or a trillion events. As Charles Hodge put it,
"Nothing multiplied by infinity is nothing still. If we do not find the cause of our existence in ourselves, nor our parents in themselves, nor their progenitors in themselves, going back ad infinitum is only adding nothing to nothing. What the mind demands is a sufficient cause, and no approach to it is made by going back indefinitely from one effect to another. We are forced, therefore, by the laws of our rational nature, to assume the existence of a self-sufficient cause, i.e., a Being endued with power adequate to produce this ever-changing phenomenal world. In all ages thinking men have been forced to this conclusion. . . . The theistical argument is, that if everything in the world be contingent, this eternal and necessary Being must be an extramundane First Cause."
Which brings us back to our original question. Who made God? And the answer to that question is that no one did, for he is the uncaused First Cause. Without him nothing else in the universe makes sense. Without his existence, nothing else can exist. While everything in our universe is contingent, he is the Something standing outside that universe which is self-existent and contingent on nothing else.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Michael Moore, Capitalism, and Corporatism

Please welcome guest blogger Michael Labeit.

(The following is cross-posted, with permission, from EconomicPolicyJournal.com)

By Michael Labeit

The primary trailer to Michael Moore's latest hideously unwatchable “documentary” Capitalism: A Love Story features a narration of a series of events surrounding the financial crisis beginning in late 2008 and the federal government's particular method for addressing it with Moore ultimately proclaiming that “By spending just a few million dollars to buy Congress Wall Street was given billions.” No arguing with that proposition.

After just 22 seconds time Moore takes us to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) of Ohio who laments the fact that
“Everything was being handled by the Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs...they [influential Wall Street firms] had Congress right where they wanted them...this was almost like an intelligence operation.”
Again, touché madam. Immediately after Kaptur's last words evacuate her, the screen swings to an unidentified man in front of a Condo Vultures logo who asserts categorically that “this is straight up capitalism,” an assertion that ends up sounding--perhaps inadvertently--like a conclusion, one inferred, consciously or not, from the previous claims within the trailer. It is here where our brief search for the nonsense ends.

I cannot possibly recount how many times I have encountered this ubiquitous fusion, one that is pervasive but usually implicit, embedded within both the makeshift and prepared arguments of academics, pundits and politicians. Moore invites us to commit it ourselves.

It's the error of mistaking corporatism for capitalism.

I find myself having to identify and explain the fundamental differences between capitalism and corporatism incessantly to everyone from shout-and-holler Bill Moyer lovers to scandalously sloppy PhD professors. Unfortunately, I tend to come across people, thanks to both misinformation and disinformation from school and the media, who are staggeringly impenetrable to valid, logical demonstrations. Arguing with some very easily becomes futile, hellishly so. Nevertheless, the distinction between capitalism and corporatism exists and it must be made public.

What is Capitalism?

Defining our terms is the first step we must take in order to prove capitalism/corporatism unionists wrong. Capitalism is a social system based upon the recognition of individual rights, including private property rights where all goods, both intermediate goods and final goods, are owned privately. The “rights” referred to above are ethical-legal principles that identify and sanction man's freedom of action strictly within a social context.

Under capitalism, each individual possesses the legally unalterable authority to support and sustain himself, to conduct himself in accordance with his own independent judgment, to control the material product of his mental and/or physical labour, and, in connection with these rights, each and every individual has the legal authority to be free from the initiation of physical force. The initiation of physical force, also known as aggression, refers to any act that disturbs or upsets the soundness or cohesion of a non-aggressor's body, his property, or ownership of his property. A man must think and act in order to survive; his survival requires both mental and physical activity. Rights recognize and sanction man's freedom to proceed with thinking and acting in his self-interest. Only the initiation of physical force can frustrate another’s attempt to take those actions condoned by his rights. A man is prevented from exercising his rights only from the coercion of another. Murder, assault, vandalism, and theft are apt examples. Such actions and all other examples of aggression are illegal under capitalism, period. Accordingly, all relationships under capitalism must be formed voluntarily between consenting adults. Furthermore, this absence of aggression that exists under capitalism allows for the formation of the free market, the vast network of voluntary exchanges of property titles to intermediate and final goods.

Government intervention is yet another exemplar of initiated force since it is the use of aggression to fulfill certain socio-economic objectives. As such, it contradicts the essential nature of a capitalist economy as a non-aggressive economy. An economy remains capitalist so long as the government, or any other agency for that matter, refrains from intervening coercively in the peaceful private lives of citizens. The implications of this fact are substantial: under pure capitalism there are no taxes, no price ceilings, no price floors, no product controls, no subsidies to either the rich or the poor, no public streets, no public schools, no public parks, no central banks, no wars of aggression, no immigration restrictions, etc. Government neither resorts to aggression under capitalism nor does it sanction its use by others, end of story.

What is Corporatism?

Corporatism shares no such description. It is a social system where the government intervenes aggressively into the economy, typically with political instruments that benefit large corporations and enterprises to the detriment of smaller businesses and private citizens. Such instruments include subsidies, tariffs, import quotas, exclusive production privileges such as licenses, anti-trust laws, and compulsory cartelization designs. All involve the initiation of physical force: subsidies come from taxes, tariffs are taxes, import quotas restrict trade, license schemes prohibit non-licensed producers from producing certain goods, anti-trust laws allow competitors to gain or retain market share through legal competition in court, and compulsory cartelization speaks for itself. Economists David Gordon and Thomas DiLorenzo elaborate well on the less-than-pleasant nature and history of corporatism and economic fascism here and here . Read Murray Rothbard’s analysis of government intervention for further reference here.

Similar to socialist governments, corporatist authorities seize control of land and capital goods when they feel it is necessary to do so without regard for private property rights. However, unlike socialist governments, corporatist states usually do not formally nationalize private sector firms, choosing instead to assume de facto control over them rather than de jure control. This difference however is procedural, one of style, not of essence, making it superficial--ancillary at best--and therefore fundamentally useless as an argumentative tool of fascists and socialists to distance themselves from each other. Corporatism is a system of institutionalized aggression. Between the complementary terms “capitalist” and “non-capitalist,” corporatism finds itself comfortably within the latter.

This means that the latest attempt by the federal government to save the financial industry by subsidizing failed or failing institutional investors and banks is an illustration of a corporatist, not a capitalist effort. Market forces have nothing to do with the Troubled Asset Relief Program or the misleading “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” These Congressional gems do not present themselves as intellectual dilemmas for capitalists, for advocates of the free market-–not whatsoever. Under capitalism, firms that do not satisfactorily satisfy consumer demand are made promptly to surrender their assets and their business influence. Financial capital is siphoned away from these unproductive enterprises and allocated toward those who have proven themselves capable of taking up the mantle of “producer.” I want at this moment to intrude the name Ludwig von Mises, the man who bluntly argues in his text Human Action that
Ownership of capital is a mandate entrusted to the owners, under the condition that it should be employed for the best possible satisfaction of the consumers. He who does not comply with this imposition forfeits his wealth and is relegated to a place in which his ineptitude no longer hurts people's well-being.
Conversely, the kinds of legislative bills, laden with underhanded plots to subsidize various politically-connected businesses and undertakings, which see the desk of our current president, and have appeared before to his immediate predecessor, are political tools meant deliberately to obstruct the operation of this most capitalistic profit and loss mechanism. Call it what you’d like but you may not call it “capitalism.” If you find yourself cursing the wretched collaboration of businessmen and statesmen, by all means proceed. I welcome it. However, if that’s the case it is not the free market system that you find so reprehensible.

A Plea for Scrupulousness

So as we see, the implicit argument made within Mr. Moore’s trailor, if it may be designated as such, is a non-sequitor. “Bailouts, influence by Wall Street firms, ergo capitalism” is not even worthy of scrutiny. The intended fulcrum of the argument has nothing whatsoever to do with the inference. Its poor quality is as flagrant as its careless ambitiousness; it reeks, with few reservations, of a willingness to jump to conclusions. Such casual “reasoning” is enough to put me on my guard and tells me what to expect from the rest of the film.

It all boils down to diligence versus sloppiness. To put it vulgarly, capitalism is not whatever America has, or whatever Washington does, or whatever the rich do. It has a very specific identity, as does corporatism. Failing to discriminate between the two makes it that much easier for the government to further extend its authority beyond already breached Constitutional bounds. Crises make for serendipitous occasions for propagandists and pseudo-intellectuals. An economically inclined public can hedge against this menace.

"Capitalism!?! Say that again, would you."

-Von Mises, Ludwig. Human Action. 4th ed. Irvington: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996. Print.

Michael Labeit is an economics major, a disgruntled army reservist, an aspiring freelance writer, and an amateur logician. He currently resides in the People's Republic of New York City and can be reached at logician179@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2009 EPJ Group LLC

Ann Coulter on Voting for Obama

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

From her latest column, here is the beautiful and audacious Ann Coulter on voting for Obama:

Except the problem is that voting for Obama a year ago was a fashion statement, much like it was once a fad to buy Beanie Babies, pet rocks and Cabbage Patch Kids. But instead of ending up with a ridiculous dust-collector at the bottom of your closet, the Obama fad leaves you with higher taxes, a reduced retirement fund, no job and a one-year wait for an MRI.--Ann Coulter

Dick Morris on Democrat Arrogance

Dick Morris may not be ideologically straight, but he is politically savvy. He knows the game. That's why I respect his opinion when it comes to political analysis. Here he is describing how and how much Democrats just don't get it. I hope he's right.

As Santayana said, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." Congressional Democrats: Take note!

Are the elections of 2009 precursors of the same kind of massive partisan upheaval in Congress that we experienced in 1994? The historical data says yes, they are.

In Virginia, the outcomes in 1993 and 2009 were almost identical. In 1993, after the Democratic incumbent, Doug Wilder, could not seek reelection, the governor's race pitted Republican George Allen against Democrat Mary Sue Terry. Allen won handily, 58-41 -- virtually the same margin by which McDonnell defeated Deeds this week.

And in New Jersey, the parallels between 1993 and 2009 are equally striking. Democrat Jim Florio, then the governor, was seeking his second term against Republican Christie Todd Whitman. Just as in 2009 Chris Christie beat Jon Corzine, so in 1993 Whitman edged out Florio by 49-48. Chris Christie's margin was bigger, but his vote share was almost identical to Whitman's.

So if New Jersey and Virginia both behaved the same in 2009 as they did in 1993, will 2010 bring the same kind of sweeping Republican victory that 1994 did?

And will the Democratic defeats in these two states presage trouble for President Barack Obama's healthcare proposals in Congress?

Will history repeat itself? It depends on the depth and half-life of Democratic arrogance. If Democratic incumbents from red states start to take account of their own self-interest, the political environment for healthcare legislation in the House and the Senate will change dramatically. Democrats like Sens. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) will have to rethink their support for a bill that is dragging their party down.

It is clear that healthcare legislation and rising unemployment are exacting a toll on Democratic legislators and cost Corzine and perhaps Deeds the governor's mansion.

Will Democrats get the message?

If Democratic congressmen and senators continue to believe that they can be saved by Obama or by massive campaign budgets, they have only to look to New Jersey to understand how little either factor counted. Corzine outspent Christie by three to one and Obama campaigned actively in the bluest of blue states for the Democratic governor.

Of course, the 1993-94 political calendar was a time of improving economic news. The recession had ended in 1992 and unemployment was dropping.

The budget deficit was declining. So the worsening job picture so far in 2009 and the dire warnings of a jobless recovery in 2010 make this cycle even more perilous for Democratic incumbents. The message is clear. The handwriting is on the wall. But can Democrats read it?

The recent indication that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is considering a vote on healthcare reform this coming Saturday, blithely continuing as if the New Jersey and Virginia elections had not turned out the way they did, is evidence that she, at least, cannot read the writing on the wall.

For the House to pass Obama's healthcare bill five days after so huge a repudiation of the Democratic Party and its program is breathtaking in its arrogance. Voters all over America will get the point: The congressional Democrats don't give a damn what the voters think.
He is certainly right in his analysis of Pelosi's psychology.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thomas Sowell on Hope and Trust

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

The following is taken from an opinion piece published by Thomas Sowell on October 30. The entire piece can be found here.

Many years ago, at a certain academic institution, there was an experimental program that the faculty had to vote on as to whether or not it should be made permanent.

I rose at the faculty meeting to say that I knew practically nothing about whether the program was good or bad, and that the information that had been supplied to us was too vague for us to have any basis for voting, one way or the other. My suggestion was that we get more concrete information before having a vote.

The director of that program rose immediately and responded indignantly and sarcastically to what I had just said — and the faculty gave him a standing ovation.

After the faculty meeting was over, I told a colleague that I was stunned and baffled by the faculty's fierce response to my simply saying that we needed more information before voting.

"Tom, you don't understand," he said. "Those people need to believe in that man. They have invested so much hope and trust in him that they cannot let you stir up any doubts."

Years later, and hundreds of miles away, I learned that my worst misgivings about that program did not begin to approach the reality, which included organized criminal activity.

The memory of that long-ago episode has come back more than once while observing both the actions of the Obama administration and the fierce reactions of its supporters to any questioning or criticism.

Almost never do these reactions include factual or logical arguments against the administration's critics. Instead, there is indignation, accusations of bad faith and even charges of racism.

Here too, it seems as if so many people have invested so much hope and trust in Barack Obama that it is intolerable that anyone should come along and stir up any doubts that could threaten their house of cards.

Among the most pathetic letters and e-mails I receive are those from people who ask why I don't write more "positively" about Obama or "give him the benefit of the doubt."

No one — not even the President of the United States — has an entitlement to a "positive" response to his actions. The entitlement mentality has eroded the once common belief that you earned things, including respect, instead of being given them.

As for the benefit of the doubt, no one — especially not the President of the United States — is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?

When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image. He has his own press agents for that.
Thomas Sowell could not be more right. This administration, and the Left in general, believes it has already won the debate, that there should no longer be a debate, and that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid, racist, stirring up hate, you fill in the blank. They are among the most closed-minded people to walk the planet and feel as if they are entitled to be obeyed without question because they are the smart and beautiful people and they know better than the rest of us. We prols, and rubes, and peasants should just obey, not question. You can see this attitude on display even in relatively minor things--like how they feel the need to teach us how to sneeze properly.

They do not consider us citizens. They consider us subjects. And they are the ruling class.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Barack Obama and Book Burning

Posted by James Spurgeon.

My local paper is the Tyler Morning Telegraph. It is rather conservative as newspapers go. On its opinion page (which is one of the few things I find interesting in a newspaper) one will usually find conservative and/or libertarian opinions. Among the regular columnists are Cal Thomas, John Stossel, and Walter Williams. This past Sunday morning I picked it up and was blessed to read one of the best editorials I have read in a long time. I do not know who the author is, but here it is as it was run in Sunday's paper and I will also link you to it, here.

Late today, a church in Canton, N.C., reportedly will host a bonfire and barbecue. Into the bonfire, they'll be tossing "Satan's books," including all versions of the Bible that aren't the King James version.

"Pastor Marc Grizzard claims the King James version of the Bible is the only true word of God, and that all other versions are 'satanic' and 'perversions' of God's word," Fox News reports.

That includes more up-to-date translations such as the New International Version.

"On Halloween night, Grizzard and the 14 members of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church will set fire to other versions of the scripture, as well as music and books by Christian authors," the report adds.

These include authors such as Billy Graham and Rick Warren.

"We are burning books that we believe to be Satanic," Grizzard said. "I believe the King James version is God's preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God for English-speaking people."

It's not this or any newspaper's place to tell a religious body how best to worship God. But the event planned for this evening illustrates that some important things seem to be missing in our culture -- dialogue, disputation and debate.

Ideas are things to be engaged, tried, tested and weighed. They're not things to be exterminated.

The early church fathers didn't shy from disputation. Neither did Jesus. He engaged the ideas of the Pharisees, for example.

Yet as a society, we do shy from disputation.

We see it in the White House, which has chosen to answer the critical coverage from Fox News not with better arguments, but by claiming Fox News isn't a legitimate news outlet.

ABC News reports, "On Sept. 20, President Obama appeared on all the major Sunday morning news programs except Fox News. Last week, White House communications director Anita Dunn asserted 'Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.'"

This is a logical fallacy called "poisoning the well."

"If the White House could persuade moderates that any story originating with Fox is politically motivated and hence suspect, it might reduce the initial impact of Fox-generated content," says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "What the White House appears to be trying to do is reduce the migration of stories from Fox to other cable, broadcast, and print."

But those stories -- which include the ACORN scandal and "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones -- have migrated.

A far better response to criticism is to answer the charges, point for point. Engage the ideas. Dispute your opponents. If your ideas are better, you win.

That's the point the Amazing Grace Baptist Church and pastor Marc Grizzard are missing. The ideas contained in those books they're burning won't be extinguished. In a perverse way, they'll become all the more attractive to those young people the church wants to protect.

It's much better to face those ideas, weigh them and debate them.

That's what Jesus would do.

Mike Pence - Nancy Pelosi Health Care

Posted by Tom Sawyer.