Friday, May 30, 2008

Around the World Wide Web 63

1. Mike's Eyes have been observing his granddaughter's epistemology, with a fascinating thought about counting.

2. Exoskeletons: another science fiction idea that is now a reality.

3. This exchange is interesting, in a car wreck kind of way, as Chris Matthews exposes right-wing talk show host Kevin James for not knowing what Chamberlain did in the late 1930's that was appeasement.

And yet, Chris Matthews is wrong at the end when he defines appeasement as "giving up things to the enemy, not talking to the enemy." Talking to the enemy is giving up something, the most important thing: moral sanction.

4. You Kobe Bryant haters will enjoy this video compilation of what #24 did to the San Antonio Spurs last night to lead the Lakers to a victory and the Western Conference championship. He is a great player. He focuses on basketball the way Tiger Woods focuses on golf.

Now the Lakers face either the Detroit Pistons or the Boston Celtics in the finals. It should be a war either way. And either matchup will continue a bitter historic rivalry.

5. Adam Brodsky writes some excellent thoughts on Obama's commencement address urging students to become social workers.

6. Barack Obama, a self-made-up man.

Obama is not making "gaffes."  He's been a myth-maker from the first.  Isn't that the message of his books?  He is basically nothing, with a mother who's a total flake and a father who's as absent as a father can be, no real other family to depend on.  So he uses his brains (he has some), and he turns to literature of various kinds to assemble an identity.

In a big part of that identity construction, as John Derbyshire has written, Obama gets "hung up on his negritude."  And for all the rest, it's a Chinese menu, with two from Column A and one from Column B. 

He's Gatsby, he's the King (or the Duke) from Huckleberry Finn, he's Philip Roth's carefully constructed professor from The Human Stain.  He is, in short, a creature of American literature, not really an organically developed person at all.  He is an exemplar to the max of identity politics, or all politics is persona.

He is also Peter Keating, a man so focused on what others think that he BS's and plays loose with facts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If You Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Why must lefties tease us every election by promising to leave if the Republican wins -- but they never, ever leave? Add Susan Sarandon to the list of those considering a move.

Now, leftists might be correct that America is becoming a right-wing fascist hell. With the rise of religion it could happen. People who value freedom might prefer to stay in America and fight for it, but there is no duty to do so. If someone wants to leave, that is his right.

But it seems to me the worst thing you can do is threaten to leave if a Republican is elected, then stay when it happens. Then you are admitting by your actions that your words were just so much gas. Then you demonstrate by your actions that the Republicans have not yet turned America into a nightmare dictatorship, but that America is still a place where even loud-mouthed leftists prefer to live. You make yourself look stupid and your enemy look good.

Please, leftists, have some integrity this time. If you promise to leave if McCain is elected, then leave when it happens. Go to Canada. Go to France. Go to the moon if you want, just go.

Otherwise, we will be forced to conclude that you were scoring cheap points when you shot your mouth off and that you are not to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama Calls On Young Americans to Serve (Him)

In Barack Obama's Wesleyan Commencement Address he urges students to dedicate their lives to service to others rather than the pursuit of money. Obama equates altruism and collectivism with Americanism:

You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s.

Obama doesn't seem to understand that individualism and the rational self-interest of our "money culture" are expressed in America's founding document, the Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.

He has it backward. America's prosperity and liberty depend on individual prosperity and individual liberty. Why does the poorest American today have luxuries that kings did not have 100 years ago? Because Americans have been free to pursue their greed in a free market. Because rapacious capitalists have made billions of dollars in profits that Obama considers obscene and thinks should be taken from them. Battalions of social workers wiping babies' butts in ghettoes will not create an ounce of wealth that can be invested in our future and make us more prosperous. New cures for diseases, new drugs, life extension, higher quality of life -- all of these things and many more depend on capital savings invested by individual capitalists. All the state can do -- if it tries to do more than protect and defend individual rights -- is interfere with that process. When the state interferes with the economy it only destroys; it destroys wealth and it destroys our future.

But then, Obama probably does not equate prosperity with our "collective salvation." Maybe he thinks we would be better off spiritually if we were all wallowing in mud in an orgy of mutual self-sacrifice.

You don’t have to be a community organizer or do something crazy like run for President.

Doesn't that just make you want to throw up? Yes, Obama is merely doing his community service by attempting to gain power over America and enslave us all to his vision of collectivism and altruism. You so crazy, Obama!

I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country – your future – depends on it. At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As President, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage the young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity.

Our moral standing does not depend on America sacrificing more for the socialist hell-holes of the world in make work programs like the Peace Corps that serve only to allow altruist young Americans to strut around in moral exhibitionism. Those forgotten corners of the world that think America is in low moral standing do not understand American liberty and capitalism -- and neither does Barack Obama, who might spend the next four years working to destroy it from the Oval Office.

At a time when our ice caps are melting and our oceans are rising, we need you to help lead a green revolution. We still have time to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change if we get serious about investing in renewable sources of energy, and if we get a generation of volunteers to work on renewable energy projects, and teach folks about conservation, and help clean up polluted areas; if we send talented engineers and scientists abroad to help developing countries promote clean energy.

The man is ready to enchain our economy for a fantasy.

At a time when a child in Boston must compete with children in Beijing and Bangalore, we need an army of you to become teachers and principals in schools that this nation cannot afford to give up on. I will pay our educators what they deserve, and give them more support, but I will also ask more of them to be mentors to other teachers, and serve in high-need schools and high-need subject areas like math and science.

He plans to turn American education into another welfare state scheme of redistributing wealth.

On the big issues that our nation faces, difficult choices await. We’ll have to face some hard truths, and some sacrifice will be required – not only from you individually, but from the nation as a whole.

Ever notice how power-lusters are always willing to make the rest of us sacrifice? We're all just insignificant parts of Obama's excellent community service adventure; we exist only so he can dictate how we will all suffer and then preen about his altruist morality.

You know, Ted Kennedy often tells a story about the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps. He was there, and he asked one of the young Americans why he had chosen to volunteer. And the man replied, “Because it was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.”

I don’t know how many of you have been asked that question, but after today, you have no excuses. I am asking you, and if I should have the honor of serving this nation as President, I will be asking again in the coming years.

How do you "ask" something with a gun in your hand? That's like the Godfather saying, "I'm asking you to do me a favor." You can do what he asks or you can end up at the bottom of the East River. The whole apparatus and propaganda of the welfare state serve only to obfuscate the common denominator between the Godfather and Barack Obama.

If Obama becomes President, we will be electing a mediocrity who is too goddamned stupid to understand that you cannot make America better by violating individual rights. All Obama can do with his altruist-statist-collectivist premises is make America less free, less prosperous, less happy and less successful. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will all suffer at the dictates of a two-bit, sanctimonious, dull-witted social worker. Obama will leave America mired in cynicism, bitterness and despair because statism does not work. And he will do it all while orating insufferable banalities about service to the collective.

If McCain is elected, we will be electing the same ignoramus.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Around the World Wide Web 62

1. Laughing babies. If all babies did was laugh, I'd go buy one myself.

2. Is Obama a stealth socialist?

And PrestoPundit smells a whiff of fascism about Obama.

3. Maxine Waters threatens to nationalize oil. It's not a coincidence that the most ardently statist politicians are also the stupidest ones.

4. Kobe Dick.

5. Mark Steyn has more thoughts on Obama.

What’s worse than the painting-by-numbers demagoguery are some of the accidental glimpses of the Senator’s world view. For example: “The drug companies, they’re not going to give up their profits easily when it comes to health care.”

Well, gee, how unreasonable of them. But demanding they give up their profits “easily” comes easy to him. Until he wrote his recent bestseller, the concept of “profits” was entirely theoretical to Senator Obama’s life. As his wife put it, the Obamas “left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do. Don’t go into corporate America.”

It seems like every day the Obamas say something that makes my jaw drop. Obama wants drug companies to give up their profits and Mrs. Obama says, "Don't go into corporate America." Wouldn't you think that people who made these statements were Marxists?

6. Let''s hope McCain has plenty of lubricant:

McCain is going to screw us, every single chance he gets, as long as what he does makes him popular with the Press, or with “centrist” Democrats like Joe Lieberman, or with “moderate” Republicans like Olympia Snowe, or with “popular” figures like Ted Kennedy and Arianna Huffington, or with international bodies like the United Nations.

And occasionally, he’s going to screw us just because he hates conservatives, and because he can, and because he knows that as bad as he is, Obama would be orders of magnitude worse.

Barack Obama or What You Will

Charles Krauthammer has an entertaining piece on "Obama's Growing Gaffe."

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

It is an absurdity, but it should be remembered that Obama's statement is not a true gaffe, such as Al Gore's saying a leopard cannot change its stripes. (For you young people still serving out your sentence in public schools, leopards have spots, not stripes.) Obama's pro-appeasement statements accurately reflect his far leftist ideas. In the liberal cocoon he inhabited before running for President, nothing Obama has said is controversial.

More recently,

In a speech to Israeli lawmakers this morning, President Bush suggested that statements from Democrats –including Barack Obama – about reaching out to America’s enemies were akin to appeasement of Hitler ahead of World War II. This drew a quick reaction from the Obama camp.

Bush said: “The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. .. Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

Obama's immediate reaction, "He's talking about me!" reminds me of this passage from Shakespeare's 12th Night, or What You Will:

MALVOLIO: 'Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight,'--
SIR ANDREW: That's me, I warrant you.
MALVOLIO: 'One Sir Andrew,'--
SIR ANDREW: I knew 'twas I; for many do call me fool.

Sir Andrew is a comic character, so addled-brained that he is almost retarded. Obama is an American politician.

Since the McGovern rout Democrats have approached the Presidency by hiding their far leftist ideas, especially on foreign policy. They ride tanks and wear flag pins, hoping to fool voters into thinking they're as strong on defense as voters mistakenly think Republicans are.

Obama is something new. He "missed the memo," as the current phrase goes.

His sincerity has helped him among his base and young people. He exudes idealism and morality. No more of that cynical, Clintonian triangulation for Obama! His speeches induce swooning among Democrats. They haven't tasted this wine since the days of Camelot with JFK.

But more discerning and intelligent people find Obama surprisingly naive. Over and over, in blogs and comment sections of those who support free markets and individual rights, people have written something like "He really means it!"

For all of this, we should not be lulled into thinking Obama is without Machiavellian duplicity in the pursuit of power. Take this disturbing news:

His mild-mannered style has thrown off even some angry black radicals, who want him to speak out more forcefully about the legacy of U.S. racism and economic inequality.

One is Princeton professor Cornel West, a militant black and self-described socialist. Reportedly, West was reluctant to join the refined Obama's presidential campaign until Obama took him aside and explained to him that he had to walk a rhetorical tightrope to reassure whites. West is now solidly on board his campaign as an adviser.

(HT: Kriegsgefahrzustand)

If this is true, then as far left as Obama has been in his statements, he could go even farther were he not walking "a rhetorical tightrope to reassure whites."

All his life Obama has been deeply cloistered in the liberal cocoon. His father was a communist, so hardline that he sneered at communists who compromised Marxist principles to make them practical in this world. His preacher and mentor is a radical who believes in "black liberation theology." His wife is an ardent collectivist and typical anti-American leftist.

A life in the cocoon has left Obama out of touch with reality. The 20th century is one big laboratory experiment demonstrating the failure of socialism; Obama does not seem to have noticed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Fall of Conservatism

George Packer has written a long essay in the New Yorker called, "The Fall of Conservatism." Dan Flynn has written a post on Packer's essay. AmSpecBlog has some interesting posts on the essay here, here, here, here and here.

To sum up the essay up briefly, Packer concludes correctly that conservatism has failed, then talks to big government conservatives like David Brooks and David Frum, who suggest that the solution is for conservatives to embrace big government.

Although it is predictable that Packer, a liberal, thinks the right should become more liberal, the essay is interesting for being packed with information about the last 40 years of politics.

One thing I must object to is the idea that Nixon won over Democrat voters because he...

...adopted an undercover strategy for building a Republican majority, working to create the impression that there were two Americas: the quiet, ordinary, patriotic, religious, law-abiding Many, and the noisy, élitist, amoral, disorderly, condescending Few.

I have read elsewhere the notion that the Republicans appealed to racism and other dark passions to steal voters from the Democrats.

Nixon certainly worked hard to get Democrat votes, but even if the Republicans had not noticed that there were Democrats out there for them to steal, the Democrat Party would have lost those voters anyway. The Republicans did not so much win those voters as the Democrats lost them when they became a party of New Leftists. No way culturally conservative, pro-American voters would stay in a party that moved away from them. The real "dark side" that pieces such as Packer's never mention is the darkness of collectivism and statism adopted by the Democrat Party.

I must also object to the ever-appalling David Brooks, who calls small government conservatives "un-American." As Philip Klein responds,

But conservatives believe in limiting the size and scope of government not because of some random whim, but because it is a necessary way of preserving liberty. Unlike anarchists, we believe that government is necessary to protect individual rights -- through a police force that catches criminals, a court system that prosecutes them and settles disputes among individuals, and a military that protects us from foreign threats. Far from being "fundamentally un-American," these are precisely the principles on which the nation was founded. The Declaration of Independence reads that "governments are instituted among men" to "secure" our unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit --not attainment -- of happiness. The U.S. Constitution also envisioned a federal government of limited scope.

The welfare state that Brooks supports came from Bismarck's Germany. Bizarre, isn't it, that he sees this foreign import as the essence of Americanism?

Of course, neither Packer nor his conservative critics get close to the fundamental reason for the failure of conservatism: the political movement has been undercut from the beginning by the ethics of altruism. Capitalism cannot be defended by an ethics of sacrifice, only by an ethics of rational self-interest. Conservatism was doomed when Buckley made religion an integral aspect of the movement.

One of the key moments of the last 40 years, the government shutdown of 1995, is a perfect example of how conservative politics are undermined by altruist ethics. The Democrats stood firm with moral righteousness -- because they knew the morality of altruism that they shared with the Republicans was on their side. Once the TV networks started showing sob stories of government workers not getting their paychecks, the Republicans collapsed like a cheap lawn chair.

After '95 came the defeat of Bob Dole in 1996. In 1997 Brooks wrote his first piece on "National Greatness Conservatism." The fight was over. The idea of limited government had lost.

Where does the fall of conservatism leave America?

It leaves us waiting for next crisis. How we respond will determine our course into the 21st century. As Mises has written, crises caused by government intervention in the economy tend to lead to further intervention and eventually dictatorship. Hayek called it the road to serfdom. I don't want things to get worse, but I expect they will.

Breaking News

Simon Cowell announced today that Big Brown, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, will be allowed to compete in tonight's "American Idol" final.

The decision to allow the horse to sing in the final competition is controversial, as Big Brown did not have to endure the entire process like the other two finalists, David Archuleta and David Cook.

"I decided to let Big Brown compete because he has a chance to make history," Simon explained. "Big Brown could win the Triple Crown and be the American Idol, which has never been done before. Plus, it's nice to have a final contestant not named David."

Big Brown is scheduled to sing a blues number, "Don't Take Me to the Glue Factory, Mama," and a reggae song, "I Shot Eight Belles (But I Didn't Shoot the Deputy)." The horse is reported to have a lively baritone that is fast out of the gate and closes well.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I've been quite busy lately with the Redlands Shakespeare Festival. RSF is doing 12th Night (I play Sir Toby), Macbeth (Porter and Doctor) and Antony and Cleopatra (Lepidus and Proculeius). It's been a lot of work for almost three months, and it is just about over.

Antony and Cleopatra, a big, sprawling piece, is a tough play to do. I joke that it's the tragedy of a man who is PW'd. A more polite way to put it is John Dryden's title of his version of the story, All For Love. I noticed during one performance that the laughter was coming from the women in the audience; they saw the humor in the situation, whereas the men sat in silent horror as Antony loses his edge, his objectivity, his judgment in war and finally his life because he is blinded by his love of a woman.

I just got cast as Prospero in The Tempest at the San Jacinto Shakespeare Festival (web site doesn't seem to be up, so I can't give you a link). It's a bit of a drive, but it will be worth it to play one of those parts middle aged men most long to play. Prospero has almost 700 lines. Some of the poetry is stunning. The play seems a bit static; not much of a plot. As an actor I must find the urgency and the conflict or else I might end up just orating poetry -- and that's boring. What threatens Prospero? Does he fear anything outside him? Does he fear the sorcery in his soul? What is he fighting for? These are the kind of things I'm wondering about the character.

This blog really suffered in the last month as I was too busy with acting to dedicate much time to it. Doing three plays and working full time is exhausting.

I hope to have more time in the rest of the year to write plays.

Around the World Wide Web 61

1. Obama said we need more Arabic translators in Afghanistan. This and his statement about visiting 57 states are further evidence that the man is slow-witted and ignorant. At my most fatigued, I would never make either gaffe -- although I might misspell potato.

2. Shakespeare in the Capitol.

3. Dick Morris writes a good line:

A candidate who cannot get elected is being nominated by a party that cannot be defeated, while a candidate who is eminently electable is running as the nominee of a party doomed to defeat.

My only problem with this is the idea that the Republicans are "doomed to defeat." I am suspicious because this is what the MSM want to believe -- and I have learned over the years that the MSM's desires become CW and don't always reflect reality.

4. The world according to Obama:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said. "That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added." -- Barack Obama

Yes, we can't drive SUV's, eat all we want and be comfortable in our homes because France might disapprove.

This fool might be the next President of the United States.

5. PrestoPundit makes a point I fear is true:

IF YOU LISTEN to Barack Obama speak for more than 30 seconds on the history of American foreign policy everything becomes clear. Obama is the candidate for stupid people. If you're not one of the stupid people, you well know that the leading product from the government schools is stupid people. And if you're fooled by the fact that Obama leads among grad school types, trust me, I've gone to grad school, and grad schools are full of people who don't read newspapers, don't know American history, don't know economics, don't know science, and believe whatever the latest left wing conspiracy theory might be. From the point of view of government policy, they are very stupid people. Often enough Obama suggest he's really not so far from being one of them.

6. The GOP at the trough. Obscene.

When enough Americans ask, "By what right do these politicians buy votes with my money?" then maybe we'll get some change. But how many Americans is enough?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Fruits of Altruism

Although it is old news now, I have a question inspired by that special congressional election in Mississippi that was the third special election in a row won by a Democrat.

Does not the unpopularity of Republicans show what a disaster George Bush's policies (supposedly thought up by Karl Rove) have been? Bush let Kennedy write the education bill; he passed the prescription drug bill, the biggest welfare state handout since Johnson's Great Society; he expanded government regulations, such as outlawing the incandescent light bulb; he increased steel tariffs; he sent spending through the roof. The theory behind all this is the very old mixed economy program of spending money to buy votes from various pressure groups. You might call it the Republican version of Clinton's "triangulation," or defeating the enemy by joining it.

What has this orgy of big government bought Bush and the Republicans? Bush is now hated by both the left and the right. Bush could have spared us the massive explosion in spending and regulations -- and who knows, he might have ended up more popular than he is today. I think even many Republicans will agree that Bush's presidency must count as a failure and a tremendous waste of treasure. His is not the template for future Republican presidents.

When a party spends money to buy votes, the least it should get is more votes. If they're too incompetent to get even that, then they deserve to lose. (So much for the myth of Karl Rove's genius.)

So why did Bush pursue a program so damaging to the Republican Party? Because it is a program of altruism. Bush, a committed Christian, thought all that government spending was the right thing to do. Bush was not primarily motivated by partisan advantage, but by morality. When people pursue their morality, they will follow it even it ends up destroying them.

This brings us to the lingering war, a huge factor in Bush's unpopularity. It took us four years to defeat the Germans and Japanese in WWII. Seven years after 9/11 we are still mired in the Middle East, as taxpayer money and military lives go to bring a state of semi-freedom to Muslims who have never known freedom. We are establishing a program of permanent American sacrifice in the Middle East because we no longer have the confidence and boldness to wage a serious war to destroy our enemies.

Politicians tend to take the easy way out instead of showing leadership and taking risks. It might be hard to understand at first, but Bush's war policy is the pragmatic, easy way out. Waging serious war in America's self-interest would incur the wrath of the world, the intellectuals, the media and the State Department. It would take a President with a spine of titanium to stand up to all that altruist opprobrium. More precisely, it would take a President with a philosophic understanding that America has the right to defend itself and to demolish its enemies. Poor little George Bush, who holds Jesus as his favorite political philosopher, is hopelessly incapable of such an understanding. Instead of waging serious war, he has package-dealed war with setting America up as the nanny state of the Middle East. Bush could not conceive of America reducing a nation to rubble without also spending trillions to clear the rubble and rebuild the buildings.

By the standards of altruism Bush is a moral, noble, great president. Unfortunately for America, the morality of sacrifice can lead only to failure and death in this world.

Conservatism Now

Since the Republican Party and the conservatives gave up being a political faction that stands for limited government, what issues excite voters on the right? Abortion, immigration and gay marriage.

The Republicans have become a party of religion and bigotry. What genius thought up that?

I know I'm courting controversy by dismissing opposition to immigration and gay marriage as bigotry. Intelligent people have sophisticated arguments against both. But underneath the legalistic arguments lie ugly passions and irrationality.

Gay marriage has become an issue in California. (Since it is in the news, I will focus on this issue and set aside abortion and immigration.)

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that gays have a constitutional right to marry, striking down state laws that forbade it, in a decision that is likely to reenergize the election-year debate over same-sex marriages and gay rights.

Conservatives see this as the court "legislating" from the bench. If a majority of voters pass a law violating the individual rights of a minority, conservatives think the judicial branch should allow the unjust law to stand. Democracy over all!

Religious people oppose gay marriage because of anti-homosexual passages in a book written in ancient times called the Bible. Their opposition rests on superstition. (Religion is superstition widely held and therefore respectable.)

I can see nothing wrong with two people of the same sex marrying. How does their mutually consenting contract violate anyone else's right?

On what basis do we deny homosexuals the right of marriage? Because 2,500 years ago some semi-barbaric tribe wrote down its hatred of homosexuals in a group of writings that Christians and Jews today worship as the word of God? By that reasoning, we might as well start burning witches again.

I say gays have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us. Let them marry.

I realize that I am redefining the traditional concept of marriage. But note that capitalism has from the start been a revolutionary force redefining the traditional values of feudalism. Capitalism cares naught for tradition; it cast aside the values of God and king to give individual rights to man. In this respect, medievalist conservatives such as Richard Weaver and Hillaire Belloc are right in seeing capitalism as the enemy.

Some traditional values needed to go, such as primogeniture, serfdom and women as chattel. If we redefine marriage to include same sex unions, rights will only be expanded and strengthened. The marriages of heterosexuals will not be threatened in the least.

Abortion, immigration and gay marriage -- on all three issues, conservatives come down against individual rights. Liberals deny rights in the name of collectivism; conservatives deny rights in the name of mysticism. No wonder the right is on the losing side: who, aside from the deeply religious, wants to fight for a political agenda based on superstition?

Conservatism is as wrong, as foolish and as dangerous as liberalism. Let us cast aside these old standards and forge a new movement dedicated to individual rights in both the economic and the spiritual realms -- a movement of radical capitalism.

UPDATE: Revision.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Day at the Circus at the End of the World

John McCain's worst enemy is John McCain. Both Obama and Clinton are so inadequate and weak that they don't pose much of a threat to McCain.

Obama, if he ends up the Democrat nominee as most people think probable, will be the least distinguished nominee of a major party in my lifetime, and perhaps in American history. He is the emptiest of suits, a mediocrity who ascended through Chicago politics by networking, going to a church shepherded by a raving leftist anti-American and socializing at the salon of aging radical terrorists. He is an effete liberal who views America as a foreign country and longs to transform it into France. An Obama presidency would look much like Jimmy Carter's, with a naive, appeasing President being bitch-slapped into reality by a mean world that wants to destroy America.

Clinton has high "negatives," the touch of death in a profession that lives on votes. Not only that, she has a way of energizing her enemies, who see her as the Wicked Witch of the West, Mussolini and their mother-in-law rolled into one woman.

All John McCain has to do is smile, kiss babies and stand tough on America's defense and he can waltz into the White House against either of these losers. Unfortunately, he seems determined to prove he is as bad as any Democrat.

McCain wants to take on the highly speculative, dubious problem of "global warming."

McCain's major solution is to implement a cap-and-trade program on carbon-fuel emissions, like a similar program in the Clean Air Act that was used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that triggered acid rain.

Industries would be given emission targets, and those coming in under their limit could sell their surplus polluting capacity to companies unable to meet their target.

Now, for any reader who might think there is something to all this global warming talk, consider this from Walter Williams:

Over 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in Earth's atmosphere. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth's average temperature would be zero degrees Fahrenheit. Most climate change is a result of the orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the sun's output. On top of that, natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined.

Why is it that environmentalists never put global warming in the context that Dr. Williams provides? Could it be that they're trying to scare us with bad science? Could it be that their real goal is state control of the economy and the destruction of capitalism?

John McCain doesn't give a damn about capitalism and freedom. He loves state power; he holds sacrifice to the collective as the moral ideal. He thrills to the idea of mandating vast regulations on industry in the name of "saving the planet." As a man who has confessed his ignorance of economics, it doesn't matter what the actual, practical effects of his regulations will be; all that matters is his feel good fantasy and massive sacrifice. To altruists the gesture of sacrifice is an end in itself unconnected to any practical benefits. Nay, practical benefits would make sacrifice more of a selfish long-term trade, and where is the morality in that?

But McCain being McCain, he has to take the dishonesty of his proposal a little further by calling his massive regulations a "free market" solution. (In reality his "cap and trade" policies will amount to K Street lobbyists buying off politicians to get favors for their clients.) He does not understand that a market dictated and controlled by the state is not free. Laissez-faire capitalism is the separation of state and economy. The word for McCain's vision of private industry dictated by the state is fascism.

On the heels of this environmentalist nonsense, as if McCain were on a mission to rub the nose of small government Republicans in shit, the word comes out that he is considering Huckabee as his Vice President running mate. Could he make a worse choice than a religious nanny-stater? (Maybe he wants Huckabee at his side because the Arkansan is the only prominent Republican who makes McCain look smart about economics.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's the Ideas, Stupid

I am struck by how blind the left is to Obama's weakness as a candidate. They have their usual rationalizations for every criticism from the right.

Obama's father was a communist? McCarthyism!

Obama is not electable? Electability is a code word used by racists!

Obama has terrorist friends? Ayers is a distinguished academic. So what if he had a radical youth -- who didn't?

Obama's preacher is an anti-American conspiracy theorist? White America cannot understand black rage!

It seems that Obama himself does not understand the criticism against him.

Obama denounced what he called the Republican campaign plan: "Yes, we know what's coming. ... We've already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas."

The attacks are just name calling? This is the kind of self-serving delusion that keeps the left from realistically assessing the American electorate. Voters are smarter than the Democrats think they are; they understand that there are ideas behind the names and the labels.

If Obama is surrounded by far-left anti-Americans, is it not logical to wonder if maybe Obama agrees with them? Is he trying to BS his way to the presidency without revealing what he really thinks?

His wife raises even more suspicions in the minds of voters who are of the far left. She has some sense of humor:

"Asked how she feels about Bill Clinton's use of the phrase "fairytale" to describe her husband's characterization of his position on the Iraq war, (Michelle Obama) first responded: "No."

But, after a few seconds of contemplation, and gesturing with her fingernails, she told the reporter: "I want to rip his eyes out!"

Noticing an aide giving her a nervous look, she added: "Kidding! See, this is what gets me into trouble."

This unpleasantness comes on top of her anti-American statements and her altruist-statist-collectivist vision of widespread sacrifice:

...Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed.

There are profound ideas involved here, and questioning them is not name-calling or McCarthyism. People are justified in wondering just how Barack Obama intends to make them work.

It looks to me like we are in for a dreary autumn season of the left demonizing anyone who criticizes Obama as they strive to shift the focus from his ideas -- anything but an honest examination of what he really believes -- to the evil character of those who would oppose him. The left is projecting its own postmodern contempt of reason onto its enemies. This is the road to defeat for Obama, as I must not believe the American people are yet so dumbed down and corrupted that they cannot see beyond names and labels to the abstract ideas that words denote.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Around the World Wide Web 60

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."  --Groucho Marx

I always knew our politicians were Marxists.

1. The worst songs of the '80s.

(HT: Big Blue Wave)

2. Poor Obama. He is befuddled on the campaign trail and at times doesn't know where he is or what month it is. He seems to be a little overwhelmed. Critics noted that he looked tired in his denunciation of Reverend Wright. He made that waffle comment. Worst of all, he won't debate Hillary Clinton again.

And Obama’s the youngest candidate in the race. He’s the one who should be showing energy, enthusiasm, and presence. Instead, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have shown more of all these qualities, especially of late. If Obama can’t stand the demands of the road as well as the other two candidates, what does that say about his stamina if elected President?

My impish side thinks that is exactly what we need in a President: a midget too incompetent and passive to get anything done. Remember, our standard these days is to elect the candidate who will do the least harm to American liberty. By this standard feebleness and mental sluggishness are nothing to sneeze at.

3. Miley Cyrus, 15, posed topless (sort of).

Although I wonder if some of the hysteria over this reflects the neo-puritanism of both the feminist left and the religious right, I have to agree that 15-year olds should not be used in sexually suggestive photographs. Were I father to a teenage girl, I would insist she keep her clothes on for pictures until her 18th birthday.

Since the pathbreaking success of Madonna, I suspect there has been pressure on pop singers to adopt a "bad girl" image. (I wonder if that pressure had anything to do with Britney Spears's mental illness.)

Acting the whore is not a repudiation of religious values, but like Satanism is a perverse acceptance of them. Religion devalues worldly pleasures such as sex; promiscuity -- indiscriminate sex unconnected to serious values -- does the same. One of Ayn Rand's great insights is that sex is too good and important to be taken lightly or approached as a mindless slut. One's sexuality should be treated with the serious reverence that the religious reserve for the supernatural realm (that does not exist).

4. Questions about elections in the internet age.

How is the internet changing elections? Does the New York Times still set the agenda, or do blogs?

Another question: Could the homely Abraham Lincoln, who was once called a "baboon," have been elected in the television age? Does our modern process deliver better politicians than we had in the 19th century?

5. On HB List Jim May notes this harbinger of inflation -- consumer electronics prices will rise.

Inflation is the politicians' favorite tax because, due to the abysmal ignorance of economics, they don't get blamed for it. Moreover, they can blame business and use inflation as an excuse to meddle further in the economy and increase the power of the state.

I excerpt Henry Hazlitt's explanation of inflation in this post.

6. For your entertainment pleasure, I link to this clip from Kiss Me, Kate. The song is one of Cole Porter's best, "From This Moment On." Unless my hearing is mistaken (as it sometimes is when I analyze melodies in my head), the melody shoots up an octave from fifth to fifth then bounces back and forth between that high fifth and a fifth sharp. It is an expression of ecstatic joy, and it fits the lyric perfectly.

Bob Fosse, one of the dancers, created a style of his own. Interesting to note that Noel Coward's first response to this musical was that Porter's lyrics were too dirty. Coward was old school -- Edwardian old school.