Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An American Fascist

Neal Boortz examines Hillary Clinton’s war on individualism.

I think many politicians in both parties agree with her entirely, but they are smart enough not to speak so clearly that their collectivism can be easily discerned. For whatever reason, Hillary revels in semi-open statements of collectivism. For example, she recently made a statement that she would like to take the profits of energy companies and put them into a fund, overlooking the inconvenient concept of property rights. Perhaps in her mind property rights no longer exist.

In a perverse way one has to admire her courage and frankness. She is like a hit man who faces his victims and says, “Your life is over. I’m gonna kill you.” She’s not the hit man who says, “Hey, let’s be friends” and while he is slapping you on the back he fires a .22 into your brain behind your ear.

Hillary’s semi-openness does make her more dangerous if she ever gets into the Oval Office. It will mean that Americans have been softened to the point that they will elect a somewhat open collectivist. The left will be emboldened to expand their power grabs beyond the incremental increases we’re used to seeing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Party Above All

Hugh Hewitt, a clever polemicist who knows you have to stay on offense in politics, is calling anyone who questions Mitt Romney’s Mormonism a “bigot.”

Mike Gallagher notes,
As we learn more and more about Mormonism, we are forced to confront the fact that the church clearly has some peculiar and unusual beliefs. If the belief that the Garden of Eden is in Jackson County, Missouri doesn’t get your interest, how about the conviction that people will be gods and goddesses of their own planets in the hereafter? Or the sacred undergarments many Mormons wear, believing in some kind of protection against spiritual or physical harm? And more importantly, how about their belief that God is a person of the flesh and that the Bible needed to be altered and updated by a man named Joseph Smith who was visited by an angel named Moroni in the early 1800’s?
It looks to me like Mormonism is an early example of what we now call a cult, but because it has been around long and has many adherents, we accept it as a religion.

Me, I think you can question any religion, from Christianity and Judaism down to Shirley MacLaine’s latest emissions without being a bigot. They’re all false. They all lack any evidence in this world supporting their mythology.

Hugh Hewitt is, of course, thinking only of what’s good for the Republican Party. He believes Romney has a good chance at being the Republican nominee for President in 2008. Hewitt saw early on that Romney’s Mormonism would produce questions such as Gallagher asks and decided the best strategy would be to label the questioners as bigots the way the New Left calls anyone who questions multiculturalism a racist. Hugh Hewitt is happy to ape the left and degrade the national conversation a little more if it helps to elect a Republican.

Goodbye, Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan has written her resignation statement as the face of the peace movement. It is the bitter, spiteful work of a bitter, spiteful woman. She lashes out at Democrats and the peace movement in addition to the country she loathes, America.
…I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."
This I believe is accurate. There are many in the Democrat Party who hate the Republicans more than they oppose war or America. If a Democrat were president, no doubt many on the left would support this war. Likewise, some in the Republican Party would find reasons to oppose the war in Iraq, simply because it is a Democrat war. (Perhaps they would oppose it for a good reason: that Iraq is a waste of time and we should be going after Iran and Saudi Arabia.) That’s party politics.
Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.
What is the country that she loves? Canada? France? Venezuela?

Is she really gone for good? Don’t count on it. This letter marks the beginning of her money-making period. Now she will write books and give speeches, all for a fee.

The leftist idea that the American people are mindless sheep, manipulated by the lies of the corporate media -- an idea Gore expounds in his latest book -- lends itself to this kind of defeatism. Leftists do not think reason works with people blinded by capitalist greed. They think crusades such as Cindy Sheehan’s are doomed to fail and deep down they are certain that only force will work. Power is the only path to change in the leftist imagination. Crusades and protests are merely noble, Byronic gestures that at best illustrate the hopeless corruption of America. Cindy Sheehan’s failure serves as further justification to the left for expanding the power of the state -- as long as leftists do the expanding.

The Return of Dr. Kevorkian

Dr. Kevorkian gets out of jail on June 1. Dr. Kevorkian has been a leader in the fight for the right to suicide. If a person doesn’t have that right, then he doesn’t own his own body, the state does. As the play title asks, “Whose Life Is It Anyway?”

Writes Thomas Bowden of the Ayn Rand Institute:

"What lawmakers and judges must grasp," added Bowden, "is that there is no rational basis upon which the government can properly prevent an individual from choosing to end his own life. Our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness means that we need no one's permission to live, and that no one may forcibly obstruct our efforts to achieve personal happiness. But if happiness becomes impossible to attain, due to a dread disease or some other calamity, a person must be able to exercise the right to end his own life."

"To hold otherwise--to declare that society must give us permission to commit suicide--is to contradict the right to life at its root," said Bowden. "If we have a duty to go on living, despite our better judgment, then our lives do not belong to us, and we exist by permission, not by right.

"For these reasons, each individual has the right to decide the hour of his death and to implement that solemn decision as best he can. The choice is his because the life is his. And if a doctor is willing--not forced--to assist in the suicide, based on an objective assessment of his patient's mental and physical state, the law should not stand in his way."
When statists object to suicide I get the impression their real reasoning is: who are you to dispose of the state’s property? You have no right to deprive the state of one of its slaves.

Dr. Kevorkian has always brought out the worst in mixed-bag conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh. We should thank the Dr. for helping us see more clearly that conservatives are no friends of liberty. The religious right lusts to enslave man’s soul just as much as the socialist left wants to enslave his body.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Moving On

The 2007 season of the Redlands Shakespeare Festival ended Sunday with the last performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. We had an excellent crowd – looked like maybe 1,500 out there – and they were quite responsive. Got a nice standing O at the end. I was gratified to hear my friends and family tell me how good the other actors were instead of just me. I mean, they’re obligated to tell me I’m good! That they complimented the other actors tells me we had a good show.

As always when a show comes to an end I am most ready to move on. No nostalgic looking backward for me. Don’t look back – then you can’t see where you’re going.

Next I’ll be auditioning for Cyrano de Bergerac by one of my favorite playwrights, Edmond Rostand. I’m eyeing the part of Ragueneau, the fat cook who is also a poet. As a romantic playwright I am very much looking forward to studying Cyrano during the rehearsal and performance process to see how Rostand does what he does. This summer will be an excellent learning opportunity. I’ll be watching each scene, examining my emotional responses and asking myself, “Okay, how did he achieve that effect?”

I’m currently taking a verse speaking class for professional actors in LA. I’m also looking forward to having more time to write my play in the next few months. Also I need to move forward on my songwriting/recording project. The only problems with acting are that it takes so much time and it dominates my creative life so that I get little else done. Every day it becomes clearer to me that I can’t do everything I want to do. I must prioritize.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Marxist Origins of Political Correctness

Strategikon has a great video up on the origins of political correctness and the New Left in the Frankfurt School.

The New Left’s cultural critique of capitalism has been a fabulous success compared to the Old Left’s economic emphasis. Marxist economics was demolished by the Austrian economists and Marxist politics was ruined by its own bloody history of totalitarianism. But the New Left is now our cultural ideal and is indoctrinated into children in government schools. It has infiltrated every aspect of our culture to the point that it is hard to see because there is nothing else to distinguish it from.

The New Left was able to evolve so easily from the Old Left because they shared the same goal: the destruction of capitalism. It should be remembered that the first faction to fight for that goal was the religious conservatives. Marx secularized their arguments against capitalism. A big story in the coming decades could be the rapprochement of the New Left and the religious conservatives as they find common ground in their struggle against selfish, worldly capitalism.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finding Objectivism

In September of 1977 I was a 20-year old airman stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base near San Angelo, Texas. I was training there to become a Chinese linguist/analyst. West Texas was sultry and slow, with not a lot to do other than fish and drink beer. I had some time on my hands so I picked up a used, yellowing paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

I was not a great reader of serious literature. Mostly I liked comic books and science fiction. I had read some Hemingway and Steinbeck and I loved Shakespeare, which I had discovered in high school drama classes. The hardest novel I had read was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, of which I read several hundred pages before I figured out that Alexei and Alyosha were the same person.

With a big, serious novel I was prepared to invest several hundred pages of boredom before the plot grabbed me. Atlas Shrugged had me hooked within 100 pages. I experienced the thrill I used to feel when I read comic books as a child; I was reading about heroes in an exciting, suspenseful plot. I read the book in four days. I did not read it well, skimming the long speeches, as I had done in Dostoyevsky and I think even in Steinbeck’s East of Eden. I was more interested in the plot than in serious ideas. I have since gone back to read the long speeches many times.

When I finished the novel, I did not understand the ideas well, but what I did understand, I agreed with. The book rocked my world. I knew it was true and revolutionary. I thought, “Wait till they hear about this back home!”

Well, what followed was the great disillusionment of my life. It turned out that my family and friends were familiar with Rand and they had all rejected her. Most of them were liberals, a few were Christians. I was told that Rand was just a phase intelligent young people go through and once I got older I would see that life is not like it is in her novels. One teacher told me to come back and talk to her when I was 25. It was most unsettling to hear the people I had loved and respected most saying things like, "There are no absolutes" and "Life is not black and white" and "You have to compromise to get along in society" and "How can you know for sure? How can anyone know anything for sure?" After Atlas Shrugged I never looked at those people quite the same again.

As I explored Ayn Rand’s non-fiction and came to understand her philosophy of Objectivism, I realized that I could reject it and conform to the tribe or accept it and put some distance between me and those who were closest to me. There really was no question of how I would decide because Objectivism is true. I got a lot of sneers, smears and half-formed dismissals of Rand, but never a logical refutation of her ideas.

Leonard Peikoff has described his philosophy before discovering Ayn Rand as “chaos.” I would say that describes me as well. I was an atheist and had been since around the age of eight, when I decided God did not exist. I had very little interest in philosophy, politics and economics before reading Ayn Rand because I thought it was theoretical blather unconnected with real life. I was something of a liberal by default, but certainly not a leftist.

The one quality I had that made me receptive to Objectivism was intellectual honesty. I had no strong attachment to any philosophy or political position. My self-esteem was not threatened by Ayn Rand’s radical ideas. I was willing to read her arguments and see if they conflicted with the facts of life I had observed; they never did conflict with reality.

Discovering Objectivism was a thrilling intellectual odyssey because I learned that ideas are important and that intellectual premises actually move the world. The realization that philosophy was of life and death importance was like a portal to the vast universe of ideas. Before Atlas Shrugged I had been satisfied with comic books; after it, I was reading Peikoff, Mises, Aristotle, Hazlitt, Bastiat, Marx, Nietzsche, Menger, Gibbon, Windleband, Durant and so many others. Suddenly I was interested in philosophy, politics, history and economics. My higher education began in September of 1977.

The idea that ideas are important and have consequences is a like a secret potion Objectivists drink that makes them smarter than most other people. Really, how much sustained interest in ideas can a linguistic analyst or postmodernist have, when he believes that philosophy is an ivory tower game detached from day to day living? Modern philosophy does not motivate people to pursue knowledge. Modern philosophy turns ideas into an elaborate game in which one learns the right techniques designed not to discover knowledge of reality, but to impress one’s colleagues who also play the game. Life becomes compartmentalized: there’s modern philosophy and the world of ideas in one box, and the real world, family, friends, job, movies, oil changes and stubbed toes in another box. Objectivism shows how ideas and daily life are very much in the one big, fascinating box that is the world.

September of 2007 will mark my 30th anniversary as an Objectivist. It has been a long trip but not a strange one as in the Grateful Dead song. Unlike the hippies, I don’t need drugs to make life interesting. Seeing the world with clear, focused eyes and understanding the world with philosophy and acting to achieve goals that integrate with one’s knowledge is the best high because it is the functioning of man’s nature as a rational animal. It is a human doing what a human should do to survive and find happiness.

30 years is a long time, but I still see myself as in the middle of my journey. In spirit and mind I’m ready to go for another 30. The only question is when this aging body of mine will wear out. But in my soul I am still, though much smarter now, that 20-year old young man who sat down to read a battered paperback with small print.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Big Picture

Leonard Peikoff gave a speech called “A Picture Is Not An Argument.” It was aimed primarily at anti-abortionists, who use pictures of fetuses instead of logical arguments. His point also applies to this famous picture from Vietnam:

The girl in the picture, who was burned in a napalm attack (by the South Vietnamese, not American forces) is Kim Phuc. This picture became a famous symbol for the antiwar faction during the Vietnam Conflict. People looked at the picture and wondered, “Why are we napalming little girls in Vietnam?” The picture was used as evidence that the American cause was immoral.

In order to keep the picture in context, which many to this day are unable to do, one would have to remember that we were in Vietnam to stop the country from being conquered by the worst form of tyranny in history, communism. One would have to understand the value of liberty. One would have to understand that communism is the complete, systematic opposite of freedom: it is state control of every aspect of the individual’s life, or totalitarianism. These distinctions are beyond the understanding of the left, which seeks to destroy freedom and capitalism and erect state control of the individual in the west.

Further, one would have to understand that in a war between a free country and a dictatorship, the free country has the moral right to use whatever means it deems necessary to win. If victory necessitates bombing civilians, as it did in Japan and Germany in WWII, then bombing is moral. The aggressive dictatorship, which seeks to destroy the freedom of its enemies, bears the moral blame for the civilians who die in its war.

But Kim Phuc’s subsequent story gives us the big picture, and speaks more eloquently than any photograph.
As an adult, Phúc was removed from her university and used as an anti-war symbol by the Vietnamese government. In 1986, however, Phúc was granted permission by the government to continue her studies in Cuba….

After receiving permission, she then moved to Cuba, and met Bui Huy Tuan…. Kim Phuc and Bui Huy Tuan married and, in 1992, they went on a honeymoon. During an airplane refueling in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, they got off the plane and defected to Canada and asked for political asylum there. They now live in Ajax, Ontario and have two children.
Kim Phuc was used as a propaganda tool and enjoyed nomenklatura status in Vietnam -- but even so, she defected to the west! That should give anti-Americans pause, as they honestly reflect, if they are still capable of doing so, on how wretched life under communism must be that even its celebrities run away at first chance. Kim Phuc’s full life justifies our cause in fighting communism. We had every right to be in Vietnam (although we should not have been there as it was a purely altruistic, sacrificial venture from which America had nothing to gain).

As I watch America wage our current fight against militant Islam -- with our ridiculous rules of engagement, our lawyers on the battlefield approving who can be attacked, our dropping food on our enemies, our cowtowing to the UN -- I wonder how much our military is haunted and hobbled by this picture. How much have our present policies been twisted and shaped by the fear of another such photo showing up on CNN?

It is impossible to censor photographs. If we tried to keep all photographers out of war zones, we would end up failing in today’s world of digital cameras and the internet. What we need instead of censorship is education. We need Americans to understand the morality of our cause and the morality of total war in defense of freedom. We also need people to understand that a picture is not an argument. Only then can they get the big picture.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Small Telescope Catches Exoplanet

And now for some good news: An amateur astronomer caught GJ 436 b, a “Hot Neptune,” in transit across its star, an M-class red dwarf some 33 light years from Earth. This was not seen by a big telescope, but by a small telescope that can be used in a backyard.

The next few decades will be exciting for astronomy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Worst American President In History

Since Jimmy Carter said, “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” a remark he has since backed away from (but not retracted), calling it “careless,” there has been some opining among the right that Carter is in fact the worst president in history.

Carter was not the worst president in history, not even close. Being a typical Democrat, he was just incompetent, and mere incompetence cannot get really bad things done. For real, competent evil, one must turn to the Republicans. The worst president in history is Richard Nixon.

I’m not referring to his most famous failure, Watergate, which was just your average political dirty trick blown out of proportion by the left. Watergate is significant only as the high water mark of the liberal media. The media destroyed a Republican president and for the last three decades aging liberal baby boomers have been desperately trying to repeat the great victory of their youth without success. It has not happened again and with the growth of alternative media, it will never happen again.

A comprehensive account of Nixon’s failings would require a book, not a blog post. Here are just a few of his worst moments.

What liberals count as Nixon’s best moment, his going to China, was a terrible sell-out of communism’s victims. Nixon spat on the tens of millions of Mao’s victims by treating Mao as morally worthy of meeting instead of as the monster he was.

At home Nixon imposed wage and price controls, a purely socialistic intervention in the economy that bumbling Jimmy Carter never could have attempted. He created the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Health and Safety Administration, two assaults on liberty that to this day create anti-capitalist regulations that violate rights and hamper the economy. He expanded the welfare state, creating Supplemental Security Income and indexing Social Security to inflation. He created the Drug Enforcement Agency, probably the biggest move in America’s idiotic war on drugs.

But none of these evils is Nixon’s worst moment. He is responsible for the single most destructive act in the history of the American presidency, an act that has destroyed more wealth and worsened more lives than anything before or since. In 1971, as Wikipedia puts it, he “eradicated the last remnants of the gold standard.” This created the inflation crises of the 1970’s and affects us with “moderate” inflation to this day. The high interest rates that Republicans blame Carter for are actually the result of Nixon’s policies.

Henry Hazlitt explained inflation thus:

…inflation is nothing but a great swindle…. This swindle erodes the purchasing power of everybody's income and the purchasing power of everybody's savings. It is a concealed tax, and the most vicious of all taxes. It taxes the incomes and savings of the poor by the same percentage as the incomes and savings of the rich. It falls with greatest force precisely on the thrifty, on the aged, on those who cannot protect themselves by speculation or by demanding and getting higher money incomes to compensate for the depreciation of the monetary unit.

Why does this swindle go on? It goes on because governrnents wish to spend, partly for armaments and in most cases preponderantly for subsidies and handouts to various pressure groups, but lack the courage to tax as much as they spend. It goes on, in other words, because governments wish to buy the votes of some of us while concealing from the rest of us that those votes are being bought with our own money. It goes on because politicians (partly through the second- or third-hand influence of the theories of the late Lord Keynes) think that this is the way, and the only way, to maintain "full employment," the present-day fetish of the self-styled progressives. It goes on because the international gold standard has been abandoned, because the world's currencies are essentially paper currencies, adrift without an anchor, blown about by every political wind, and at the mercy of every bureaucratic caprice. And the very governments that are inflating profess solemnly to be "fighting" inflation. Through cheap-money policies, or the printing press, or both, they increase the supply of money and credit and affect to deplore the inevitable result.
Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to this enormity. By taking the final step of detaching the dollar from gold, Richard Nixon made the great swindle possible. Government spending will continue to grow as long as politicians know they can get away with this hidden tax while at the same time lecturing petroleum companies and other corporations about rising prices -- and then using the high prices that the state caused with inflation to further expand the power of the state! Jimmy Carter is a street corner hoodlum compared to Nixon, the Al Capone of American presidents.

UPDATE, September 16, 2011: This post is entirely wrong. I now believe that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the worst president ever. He brought Bismarck's welfare state to America. This is a fundamental change in the relationship between the individual and the state. Everything Nixon did is a detail compared to FDR's revolution.

Also, this post was written before the coming of Obama. I now rank the worst presidents as: 1) FDR, 2) Obama, 3) Nixon. #4 is a tough call, but candidates are McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Harding, Hoover, Carter, Bush 41 and Bush 43. I'm leaning toward Roosevelt because he started the civil service, which should not exist. Being at the creation of our vast bureaucracy is a more fundamental sin than anything by the other bumblers, war mongers and crooks on that list.

New Age Altruists

Instapundit posts on the health dangers of a vegan diet.

Bill Quick responds:
Vegans are whackjobs. Humans evolved as meat-eaters. Our guts are almost indistinguishable from those of pure carnivores. Modern vegans (who aren’t very smart to begin with - probably because of calorie shortfall) have problems with understanding that the ripe, juicy strawberries, the huge, sweet apples, the mountains of fluffy bread, the savory carrots and the fat potatoes they love so much didn’t exist while man was evolving as a meat-eating animal.

Hunter-gathers hunted almost exclusively. What little gathering went on might have, on rare occasions, contributed as much as 200 calories per capita of shriveled roots or sour, shrunken berries to the foodstocks of the family or tribe. Fat is a much more efficient storehouse of energy., and for humans living in the wild, a high calorie intake was a necessity - a necessity that could not even remotely be met by a vegan lifestyle, which was impossible anyway.

A human living on a meat-only diet will survive just fine. A human living on a vegan diet will sicken and die. The one tiny bit of logic possessed by vegans is their purported desire to leave a “light footprint” on the face of the earth. And pure, unsupplemented vegans will leave the lightest footprints of all - as premature corpses.
Veganism, animal rights and environmentalism are movements that result from the decline of reason in our culture meeting the moral imperatives of altruism. New Age types think in unfocused emotions, not logic. They see humans eating animals, a practice that is without question selfish, and in their inability to distinguish between rational and non-rational animals, conclude it is immoral. Or perhaps they don’t think rigorously enough to denounce it as immoral, they just get a vague emotional reaction that meat eating is wrong. Vegans, like environmentalists, are not driven primarily by any practical purpose, but by the moral purpose of sacrifice.

Unfortunately, they are not just a danger to themselves. If animals have equal rights to humans, then humans are no better than animals. Animals have nothing but force to use against other animals. The more consistent New Agers, not understanding man’s nature as a rational animal, will end up advocating violence to men if such is justified by an altruist-collectivist end. Consistent environmentalists have already come to this in their yearning for the “right virus” to wipe out billions of humans.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How Stupid Do You Think We Are, Senator?

This made me laugh:

Two weeks ago, Senator McCain defended his reputation as a hothead on Fox News Sunday, saying he loses his temper only when he sees corruption and wasteful spending.

Only a politician would say a lie this stupid and expect people to believe it. Politicians have a different standard of truth-telling than the rest of us. They can say BS like this and everyone just shrugs because that’s how politicians talk.

And another thing: any politician who really did lose his temper when he saw corruption and wasteful spending would spend every waking minute of his life in Washington, D.C. in a furious, screaming rage because our government wastes over two trillion dollars a year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Democrat Power Grab Fails

Interesting power grab by House Democrats today.

The rule providing consideration for the FY 2008 budget conference report (on the floor tomorrow) is expected to modify current House rules to prevent PAYGO offsets from expanding the scope of germaneness to further what Republicans may offer in their Motions to Recommit (MTR). In English, that means that Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat leadership are proposing a massive change to the current House rules regarding the Republican right to the motion-to-recommit bills to Committees for improvement.

This rules change is a historic infringement on the rights of the Minority-it is the first change in this House rule since 1822. The RSC Floor Action Team, under the leadership of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, have requested a series of procedural votes every 30 minutes in response to this power grab by the Majority.


In response to an earlier post, the Democrat Leadership responded to the protest votes (after about 4 hours) and pulled the rule change from the bill. Read Chairman Hensarling's statement here.

Earlier today, House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), today sought to rewrite the rules of the House to prevent PAYGO offsets from expanding the scope of germaneness to further what Republicans may offer in their motions to recommit the bills to Committee. Such a change would allow House Democrats to more easily raise taxes and increase government spending without being held to account. The move would have marked the first change in the germaneness rule since 1822 and is a direct infringement on the rights of the Minority in the House and the Americans that they represent.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s statement:

“There they go again, promising high ethics and openness and instead delivering a muzzle through a stunning abuse of power in the people’s house. Today, House Democrats sought to silence Americans from hundreds of districts across the nation by attempting to mute their representatives in Congress and we are not going to stand for it.

“On the heels of passing the largest tax increase in American history, House Democrats today sought to make it easier to impose even more tax increases upon families to fuel spending increases.

“Though it appears at this moment that the Democrats will back away from trying to change this nearly 200 year old rule, the Republican Study Committee and our Floor Action Team will be resolute in an ongoing effort to prohibit the Democrats from again trying to make such a massive power grab.”

I find this fascinating for two reasons. First, it shows the New Left’s contempt for our parliamentary heritage from the 19th century and the traditions of liberty. In the end all their rhetoric about “democracy” is empty. Power is everything to them, and if a 200-year old rule is in the way, these two-bit Robespierres swat it aside without blinking.

Second, the reason they wanted to get rid of this rule is so they could expand state power without individual names going on record. Once again, they want power without the disadvantage of being held responsible. One gets a palpable sense from these people that they feel entitled to power without having to answer to the American people, whom they must consider beneath them.

Americans have a hard time concretizing the idea that totalitarianism could come to our country. It doesn’t come in one dramatic fell swoop, but incrementally, law by law, rule change by rule change, as we saw the Democrats attempt to do today. We can thank the Republicans for doing what a minority party should do and stopping the Democrats from taking us another step toward the abyss of dictatorship.

Jerry Falwell

Rev. Jerry Falwell died on Tuesday after being discovered unconscious sometime in the 1980’s.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

As far as I’m concerned nothing good came from the man. Making religion a pressure group that has enormous power on the Republican Party is the worst thing that ever happened to the party. He did not stand for freedom and individual rights but for using government to restrict freedom in the name of religion. He was at least as bad for America as the SDS and the New Left he loathed.

Some of the Reverend’s greatest hits:

“Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.”

(re: 9/11 attacks) "...throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad...I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen."”

“God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.”

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah's chariotters."

"The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc."

"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.”

“There is no separation of church and state. Modern US Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the Founders had in mind in the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Here’s a quiz that asks you to tell which statements were made be Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or Osama bin Laden.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Today I Had A Climax

That headline got your attention, didn’t it?

I mean I figured out the ending of the play I am writing. Now I can go back and make sure every step of the plot integrates with and builds to the ending. Also, I will strive to make every scene as interesting and dramatic as possible. Then I’ll begin the first draft.

This play is something of an experiment: I’m writing it in iambic pentameter verse like Shakespeare. Maybe I shouldn’t say “like Shakespeare” because no one can compare to his poetic drama. Those poets who have been able to match him in verse music -- Shelley, Tennyson, Swinburne, for example -- have written tepid drama at best. (Also, I’m leaving out the old-fashioned poetic language: thee, thou, art, verily, forsooth, hadst, doth, sayeth, etc. The words are beautiful, but there is too much distance between us and that language for the dialogue to be effective and powerful.) Anyway, I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't work then I'll go back and rewrite the play in prose.

To attempt a poetic drama in 2007, after a century of prose dialogue post-Ibsen, is a daunting task. Many will shake their head at the very idea. I think I’m well suited for the task because I’m an actor. I write lines to be acted on the stage, not just read. More important, I am not a naturalist, like Maxwell Anderson, who valiantly wrote verse dramas, with some success, in the 20th century. For verse drama to work, the characters and the plot must be as big as the poetry.


The plays I am in, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Julius Caesar, open this week. Between them and my full-time job, I have little time for anything else. I’m grateful that I was able to steal an hour today for playwriting. Blogging has been light, and will continue to be light.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Around the World Wide Web 4

1. Must read! Deroy Murdock lists a few examples of how the Bush administration is just as statist as any Democrat could be. (Actually, Bush can be more statist than Clinton could be because the Republicans stood up to Clinton.)
…the national budget was a mere $1.86 trillion when Bush and the GOP Congress converged in 2001. After just six years, Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue inflated this ever-expanding vessel by 47.3 percent.
Neither party stands for freedom or anything close to small government.

2. Christopher Hitchens calls George Tenet’s new book sniveling, self-justifying and a disgrace. The piece is worth reading to get some idea of the mediocrity of the people that rise to power in Washington, D.C.

3. Gerard Baker notes that all the Democrat presidential contenders are against free trade.

The party has shifted in a distinctly protectionist direction since it last held the White House. Its union backers have succeeded in forcing Democrats to focus on the losses from globalisation rather than the gains. Domestically, Democrats are inclined to push back against the tidal wave of deregulation over the past 25 years.

Rising inequality, the pain of jobs lost to the emerging markets of Asia and gathering insecurity about the financial future mean the next Democrat president is not going to waste much time protecting the freedom of modern capitalism.

Not only are the Democrats philosophically inclined toward protectionism, but unions are a pressure group in the in the party base that the party cannot ignore. A Democrat president could undo a lot of free trade progress we saw during the Reagan and Clinton presidencies. The best we could hope for is a Hillary Clinton presidency that is somehow swayed by her husband’s old friends. This is a slim hope:
Even Hillary Clinton, the wife of the aforementioned market-supporting president, has made clear that she departs from her husband’s approach in this area.
4. At the Cassandra Page we read this Thomas Sowell quote:
I am so old that I can remember a Democrat, at his inauguration as President, say of our enemies: "We dare not tempt them with weakness."
What he remembers is the now extinct Old Left. Another Sowell gem from PrestoPundit:
“Global warming” seems to be joining “diversity,” “gun control,” “open space,” and a growing list of other subjects where rational discussion has become impossible — and where you are considered a bad person even for wanting to discuss it rationally.
5. Want a laugh? Read about “soft atheists,” who are disturbed by the “fundamentalist atheists.” These subjectivists are afraid that “outspoken” atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens are “rigid and intolerant, which ultimately makes them no different from the religious fundamentalists they condemn.”

6. All the talk about Gliese 581 c being a potentially habitable planet is overblown. According to one astronomer the chances are a thousand to one against. But these are exciting times for astronomy and an Earthlike planet will likely be discovered soon.

7. George Reisman writes about what is really behind the global warming talk.

The objective of the environmental movement is and always has been simply the destruction of energy production. Its further goal is the undoing of the Industrial Revolution and the return of the modern world to the poverty and misery of the pre-Industrial era.

This goal is not hidden. It is stated openly. In the words of Maurice Strong, Founder of the UN Eco-summits and Undersecretary General of the UN: “Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring [that] about?” —as quoted in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism (Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007), p. 6.
Think about that: the Undersecretary General of the UN says it is “our” (not sure who he means) responsibility to bring about the collapse of industrial civilization. It’s mind-boggling.

All we have to do is get the word out on what the environmentalists themselves, in their moments of honesty, say they want.

UPDATE: According to the Converted the Maurice Strong quote is unfairly taken out of context. Here is the full quote:
"What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The groups conclusion is "no." The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about? This group of world leaders forms a secret society to bring about an economic collapse."

I don't know whether or not Maurice Strong agrees with this fictional group, so I have to concede the point to the Converted.