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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reuters Can't Get it Right

Reuters has a "news" story on global warming that ends "President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of Kyoto in 2001, but said last week that climate change was a 'serious challenge.'"

I didn't realize we were still occupying Kyoto, but oh well.

Regarding the Kyoto Protocols, the US never ratified them, so Bush never negated anything. It was the US Senate, back in 1997, that rejected that treaty 95-0. More precisely, the Senate said they would reject the Protocols if Clinton presented them, which he never did.

This follows on the heels of Glenn catching the AP doing the exact same thing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Christian Intellectual Begs for Mercy

It is hard to believe how bad this article on NRO is. In it, a Princeton University Fellow argues against Richard Dawkins' Darwinism on the grounds that it hurts people's feelings. I'm not kidding. This is the argument of this "scholar": Dawkins should keep quiet, not because he is wrong, but because he knows "full well the emotional distress it will cause the spiritually sensitive." Holy PC, Leftist, kindergarten teacher, pussy argument!

I have already lost all respect for Holloway due to his cowardice, but let me continue. If we assume the mantle of the devout Christians that he is defending, how could we counsel a homosexual to repent, "knowing full well the emotional distress it will cause?" How could we convert a Jew or Muslim, "knowing full well the emotional distress it will cause?" I really don't think this is a principle he wants to establish.

He offers a totally bogus analogy to defend hiding the truth: Would you tell a man on his deathbed that his wife has been cheating on him? Well, no I wouldn't either. It hurts and it serves no purpose. But if Holloway's friend was about to propose to a woman, would Holloway shield him from the truth that she is an adulterer? Would he consider himself a better friend for performing this noble service? Because I would think him a traitor and coward. If his friend's business partner was defrauding him of his life savings and good name, would Holloway "save" him from the truth because he knows "full well the emotional distress it will cause?"

The column really does not go uphill from there, but I think that is enough stupidity for now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Unreachable Peak

So, I think that crappy Kos post I've been going on about deserves yet more criticism. I've already shown that the "Freedom from Want" that he wants to promote is neither a freedom, nor a libertarian position, as he ridiculously claimed. My further point is that this idea doesn't even smell like an actual principle.

One of the nice things about actual libertarian principles, besides their utility and their morality, is their achievability. If I go through a day without being told to shut up (spouses don't count) then I am enjoying freedom of speech. If I spend time with friends and colleagues, and it never results in g-men knocking on the door, then I more or less have freedom of association. Or, in a more theoretically pure example, if I live on a deserted island, I can be guaranteed that no one else will coerce me in any way.

Freedom from Want, on the other hand, like the Utopian dreams of the Communists or Islamists, will never happen. I know that the Left is using "want" to mean "poverty," but I think it is useful to emphasize the other definition. When we consider that "want" also means "desire" it is clear that want is really an infinite appetite. They claim that Joe Public is not "free" to turn down the minimum wage job at Walmart because his other options suck. But since he is not being coerced, he really is free, he just doesn't want his other options. By their reckoning, although I am free to turn down a job at Walmart, I am not "free" to get on my private jet and fly to Paris this afternoon, since I don't have the money to own one. Which is a ludicrous concept. Is that a freedom to enshrined and enforced? The leftist sees a line between earning more than minimum wage and owning a Jetstream, but that line can only be drawn by feeling, and not by principle.

You can also see that their "Freedom from Want" is not useful as a guiding principle and will always strive and fail to reach Utopia. If I ever make the lucre to have a private jet, I still will not be "free" to spend a weekend on the moon. If that happens, I will not be "free" to visit Mars. Infinite appetite. The basic message is "you deserve whatever you want" instead of the libertarian message of "you deserve to be an independent and responsible individual." I think adults will prefer the second.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Kos Still Wrong

I just want to add to the previous post on how wrong Kos's political philosophy is. I wrote that his "freedom" from want and a "freedom" from fear are not really freedoms at all. Well, the proper word is security. He is offering paternalistic, coddling, security, and then calling it "freedom."

Many on the left who object to government anti-terror programs like to quote Ben Franklin's "Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither." But they forget this advice as soon as we talk about socialized medicine or the minimum wage. While we should continue to defend civil liberties, even during war, and while I don't want the government spying on me, this is one of those few cases where government action can actually promote freedom. True freedom does not require a welfare check large enough to cover monthly cable charges, but it does require that we be free from violent coercion. If the government is not justified in using its powers to defend us from a genocidal, theocratic enemy bent on our destruction, than the government has no right to exist. While an external threat does not give the government carte blanche, there is clearly a legitimate role for the government to play here, unlike in Kos's socialist examples.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Libertarian Democrats

First, the statists kidnapped and raped the word liberal, destroying its true meaning, and now they are coming after libertarian as well. Keep your socialist hands off my lexicon!!!

In this instance, Kos claims to identify a strain of "libertarian democrats" whom he lauds as the wave of the future. He also claims the mantle for himself, natch. Of course, what this essay really is is the one millionth attempt to dress up leftist authoritarian urges with the language of true liberty, but redefined into total nonsense.
[Blah blah]
Traditional "libertarianism" holds that government is evil and thus must be minimized. Any and all government intrusion is bad. While practical libertarians (as opposed to those who waste their votes on the Libertarian Party) have traditionally aligned themselves with the Republicans, it's clear that the modern GOP has no qualms about trampling on personal liberties. Heck, it's become their raison d' etre.
Fair enough start.
The problem with this form of libertarianism is that it assumes that only two forces can infringe on liberty -- the government and other individuals.
The Libertarian Democrat understands that there is a third danger to personal liberty -- the corporation. The Libertarian Dem understands that corporations, left unchecked, can be huge dangers to our personal liberties.
The problem with this, is that it is retarded. Business simply does not have the coercive power that he ascribes to it. If a meter maid writes Bill Gates a ticket, she can compel him to pay it, and he cannot compel her to tear it up because she has the coercive power of government in her pen, and he is a mere titan of industry.

There are instances where it might appear that business has coerced individuals, such as the forced sale of private property to the New London Development Corporation, made famous in the Kelo case in 2005. It is true that the forced sale was reprehensible. However, the NLDC is controlled by the New London city government. The government was the defendant in the case (Susette Kelo vs. City of New London), and it was the Supreme Court that forced the sale. No matter how much business wanted or supported the decision, it was entirely the government that forced the sales. This is absolutely a case of government abusing individual freedoms.

[Blah blah]
In other words, government can protect our liberties from those who would infringe upon them -- corporations and other individuals.
Whoa! A paragraph ago, there were three threats to liberty. Now there are two? If Kos weren't such a weasel, this would say "government can protect our liberties from government infringement," which is not such an easy case. The $2 trillion government has decided against you, John Q Citizen, and now you are supposed to appeal to... the government. A real libertarian would be shivering at this point.
So in practical terms, what does a Libertarian Dem look like? A Libertarian Dem rejects government efforts to intrude in our bedrooms and churches. A Libertarian Dem rejects government "Big Brother" efforts, such as the NSA spying of tens of millions of Americans. A Libertarian Dem rejects efforts to strip away rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights -- from the First Amendment to the 10th. And yes, that includes the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.
Close enough. Now let the doublespeak commence:
So far, this isn't much different than what a traditional libertarian believes. Here is where it begins to differ (and it shouldn't).
A Libertarian Dem believes that true liberty requires freedom of movement -- we need roads and public transportation to give people freedom to travel wherever they might want. A Libertarian Dem believes that we should have the freedom to enjoy the outdoor without getting poisoned; that corporate polluters infringe on our rights and should be checked. A Libertarian Dem believes that people should have the freedom to make a living without being unduly exploited by employers. A Libertarian Dem understands that no one enjoys true liberty if they constantly fear for their lives, so strong crime and poverty prevention programs can create a safe environment for the pursuit of happiness. A Libertarian Dem gets that no one is truly free if they fear for their health, so social net programs are important to allow individuals to continue to live happily into their old age. Same with health care. And so on.
In the previous paragraph, he started with actual freedoms: freedom from coercion, the right to be left alone and to make your own decisions. Then he cooly transition to the "freedom" to make claims on others. I have the "freedom" to demand that you pay for stuff I want, and the state will back me up with force if needed. How do you like them "freedoms"? Obviously, I am using quotes because this is an out and out perversion of the actual definition of the word.

Kos seems to think this is an insight or smart or something, but this crap has been widespread at least since Roosevelt's Four Freedoms. (I'm sure Roosevelt was not the first, but it doesn't matter.) How is Kos's "freedom" to job protection, a social net, and health care anything but a retread of FDR's "Freedom from Want"? And FDR's "Freedom from Fear" predates Kos's freedom to crime and poverty prevention programs by a fair bit. And both are perversions of freedom.
[Blah blah]
The key here isn't universal liberty from government intrusion, but policies that maximize individual freedom, and who can protect those individual freedoms best from those who would infringe.
Well, this statement is useless after he has redefined "freedom" into oblivion, made up imagined corporate infringements, and rather dishonestly excluded the very real government infringements. I will mention, though, that the reference to "maximizing" freedom reveals the Utilitarian roots of statism. This invidious "greater good" argument is exactly how the Supreme Court justified its Kelo decision.
I am very much a Libertarian Dem, and this is exactly what my next book will be about. It's progressivism for a new century. And that's what this new breed of Democrat is building in the Mountain West and Virginia and Ohio.
Translation: I'm a douche.

Monday, July 11, 2005

AP Makes Crap Up

The AP sticks to it's general anti-Israel bias by nakedly blaming them for the bombings in London. This time they do it by putting words in Tony Blair's mouth.

I was a bit annoyed, but not quite irate, when I read two days ago that Blair saw Israel as one "root cause" of the bombings.
"You have to try to pull it up by its roots," [Blair] said. That meant boosting understanding between people of difference religions, helping people in the Middle East see a path to democracy and easing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he said.
But now it turns out that those words belong to some AP a-hole and not Blair after all. They simply made it up.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Tangential Point on Livingstone
I'm not sure why London Mayor Ken Livingstone is getting so much praise from rightish sources for condemning the London bombings. Sure, he hits some inargueable points: "in the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railway stations ... you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world, will arrive in London to become Londoners, to fulfill their dream and achieve their potential ... whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

But why does he throw in this Michael Moore, "it's a crime to hit blue states, but red states deserve terrorism" crap?
"
I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today - this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old."
"I want to say one thing" Red Ken tells us. The evil is that this attack was not against the mighty and powerful. Geez. My point is far from the most important issue at present, and Livingstone is existing in a moral plane 1000x more enlightened than the killers, but the Left is still infected by the class-warfare bug.

On the other hand, I continue to love Tony Blair. This is not bombing related, but I'm delighted to see him break the Labour Party from the inside. Great stuff:
"Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model," Blair told the European Parliament last month. "But tell me: what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe, productivity rates falling behind those of the United States; that is allowing more science graduates to be produced by India than by Europe; and that, on any relative index of a modern economy -- skills, R&D, patents, IT -- is going down not up."

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