Thu 28 Sep 2006
Kent McManigal proposes that we elect him President of the United States. I’ve never heard of him before today, but as with most of us, he would no doubt be an improvement over the status quo.
One major plus, in discussing the issue of “gun control” he displays a grasp of the fundamental abstract principle which must be mastered in order to formulate rational conclusions on any issue, including, of course, “gun control”.
I suspect he would agree with me that “gun control” is a misnomer.
I would suggest his term, “victim disarmament” is more accurate.
I would also suggest this illustrates an understanding of an essential fundamental abstract: the nature of causation.
For the finite human mind to manage causation effectively, it must ground it in the nature of the entities involved in the observed phenomena.
Thus, “guns do not kill people, people kill people.”; an obvious fact, but what of it’s implications?
From the perspective of entity-based causation, “gun” is an inanimate, human-created and operated device; incapable of acting on it’s own volition, as it has none.
“Person”, on the other hand, is a self-actuating, conscious, reasoning entity. It is capable of acting on it’s own initiative.
Thus, the phenomena we observe involving the use of a firearm can only be explained in terms of human decision-making.
It cannot be effectively or usefully explained in terms of the nature or availability of firearms.
In the process of structuring a rational social enviornment for humans, therefore, one must focus on the nature of the actor in the particular activity in question.
In the myriad cases of human activity, one finds an actor with a unique and incomparable ability to formulate it’s own behavior; to remember and grasp the implications of past events, and project into the future.
This dictates a mimimum of social constraint on the individual, and a maximum of individual accountablity for one’s actions.
Liberty and responsibility; the yin and yang of autonomony, man’s natural state. A natural state in no conflict with technological advance, or the practical requirements of comtemporary civilization.
From this perspective, then the “gun control” issue is clarified. It is fumdamentally impertinent to attempt to solve the problem through restrictions on availability of a device.
Limiting access to firearms only serves to diminish the self-defense capabilities of law-abiding citizens. While through it’s illegitimate application, erroding the citizen’s confidence in the law.
Those against whom they have legitimate self-defense concerns will merely find the means to circumvent the restrictions, in the case of criminals, or exempt themselves, in the case of authorities.
“Gun control” can therefore be better described as “citizen control” something of which we seem to have accumulated an over-abundance lately, for a purportedly “free” society.
Mr. McManigal, I believe, deserves serious consideration.
Fri 22 Sep 2006
Back when the war in Vietnam, television was a relatively newly established medium.
Back then, the War party, neither it’s Republican or Democrat faction, grasped the implications of a war being effectively televised, as the Vietnam was.
Night after night the horrors of war were transmitted to American living rooms.
Today, the war party, having learned it’s lesson, does not even allow the return of closed coffins to be recorded.
Understandably so. But as then, a new mass media looms. The internet.
Know someone of military age? Are they considering enlistment? Watch this video:
Now, have them watch it.
Recruitment shortfalls mount, plans for more war move forward.
Next stop: conscription, the ultimate statement of government ownership of the individual.
Mon 18 Sep 2006
In “War Is Horrible, but . . .”
Robert Higgs states:
“…preparation for war may entail…allowing the top brass to exert greater influence in policy making. Those officers may see that without war, their careers will go nowhere, and hence they may tilt their advice to civilian authorities toward risking or actually making war, even when peace might easily be preserved. Likewise, military suppliers may use their political influence to foster international suspicions and fears that otherwise might be allayed. Wars are not good for business in general, but they are good for the munitions contractors. Certain legislators may develop an interest in militarism; perhaps it helps them to attract campaign contributions from arms contractors… Pretty soon we may find ourselves dealing, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower did, with a military-industrial-congressional complex…”
Perhaps, what is needed is a fundamentally, if not radically opposite way of managing said dealings.
I have always been a believer in Ayn Rand’s contention that humans are naturally selfish; that that is a normal and desirable state of affairs.
If we base a solution on that premise (whether one agrees with it or not), then it follows that if we want peace, then we must penalize as failures those political and military forces we charge with our defense whenever they engage in war. Comensurately, we must reward them only while a state of peace is maintained.
Of course, this creates the problem of a disincentive to engage in war when it is indeed necessary.
But on the other hand, if war is indeed as horrible as we know it to be, then it’s proposal most certainly qualifies as what astronomer Carl Sagan, in refering to religious beliefs, called an “extraordinary claim”. And extraordinary claims, concommitantly, Sagan suggested, require extraordinary proofs.
If the military/political/industrial complex in the United States, ostensibly charged with “defending” the nation, judges a situation as meriting military action, they may proceed to so engage.
But, barring the presentation after the fact of evidence up to, shall we call it, the “Sagan Criteria”, they will be severly penalized.
Penalization, should, to my mind, given the severity and magnitude of the consequences of war, include the death penalty for the head of state at the very least, if not his immedidate subordinates as well.
Again, a system should be established to reward politicians, the military, their suppliers, etc. for the realization of an ongoing state of peace.
I propose a suspension of salaries, bill payments, etc.; a system of regular fines to all above a certain appropriate military rank.
It should involve an escalating scale, with the maximum reserved of the commander in chief.
And should remain in force throughout the conflict. Thus providing an incentive for a rapid conclusion.
After a state of peace is reestablished, those penalized should have recourse through a judicial process for rescindment of penalties.
However, standards for such plea should place a heavy burden of proof upon the wagers of war.
Additionally, it should offer them only relief from loss, and provide no incentive, other than the legitimate defense of the nation, for engaging in the “…Horrible, but…”
Wed 13 Sep 2006
If it was wrong from the start, it only stands to reason that it will be wrong throughout.
The wrong to which we refer, of course, is the invasion of Iraq and the insuing war against the people of Iraq waged by the current White House resident.
That it is in fact, and has been all along, a war against the people of Iraq, regardless of the original intent, now becomes a truth most difficult to avoid.
At the time of the American revolution, the colonies initiated a struggle against Great Britian to achieve their independence. French assistance was significant, perhaps crucial, but the initiative came from the Americans, not the French.
No sooner had the original rationales for the invasion been exposed as false, than bush rolled out his ex post facto alternative, the “liberation” of Iraq.
His remarks of December 12, 2005 are typical:
“…the Iraqi people have assumed sovereignty over their country, held free elections, drafted a democratic constitution, and approved that constitution in a nationwide referendum.”
At the time of the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution, I did a comparative analysis with the U.S. Constitution. I have yet to see an explanation of how this “democratic” Constitution is consistent with the establishment of a free society.
The Iraqi people, of course, had assumed nothing. A society that, for whatever reason, may have not possessed sovereignty, would most certainly not possess it now after a foreign invasion and occupation.
In fact, at that point, the only way to achieve sovereignty would be to repel the foreign invader. In essence, the capacity to do so is what sovereignty is. And this, precisely, is what the Iraqis are attempting.
“…It’s a remarkable transformation for a country that has virtually no experience with democracy…”
The nature of any such “remarkable” “transformation” would necessarily entail, as in the case of the American revolution, their own initiative as it’s most significant aspect.
And so the insurgency rages on unabated by the efforts of the hopelessly undermanned U.S. military.
“We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Our goal is victory, and victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq’s democracy…”
And what of the threat posed to Iraq’s “democracy” by the continued presence of a foreign occupation?
bush most certainly is, as an individual, a unique combination of stupidity, willful ignorance, and monumental arrogance. So he can hardly be expected to grasp that it is the very nature of the values that he claims to have handed the Iraqis, that those values must be primarily earned by those who would possess them.
Iraqis understand that in order to achieve any meaningful sovereignty, they can only do so by repelling the foreign occupier as a first step.
As Drew Brown of McCatchy Newspapers reported earlier this week, “Iraq’s political process has sharpened the country’s sectarian divisions, polarized relations between its ethnic and religious groups…however, attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces are still the primary source of bloodshed in Iraq…”, in reference to Monday’s GAO report.
Iraq, as history shows, is a contrivance of outside forces. The residents of the region have no interest in a centralized government.
The political process imposed by bush has only served to increase sectarian friction and violence.
Why might that be? Perhaps, as they have now had imposed upon them by force from the outside, a centralized government over which to contend?
In eary August, BBC reported that the outgoing British ambassador to Iraq predicted a breakup “along ethnic lines”.
This is the inevitable result of any successful effort at sovereignty by ethnically distinct neighboring groups, once they overcome coercive outside forces determined to force them into artificial union.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq never had a chance. It never had a chance, as it, initiated under false pretences, was wrong from the start.
At no point, and most clearly, not now, can there have been any “solution” other than immediate withdrawal.
Fri 8 Sep 2006
“Sometimes, living in South Florida can be awfully tough.”
I sactimoniously ended my last posting.
Well, I just came from the website of “Big Dave Patlak”
It just got a bit tougher, at least for me.
Sure, it’s always easy for me to sit here and lecture people in California on who to vote for.
Now, thanks to “Big Dave”, the shoe is on the other foot.
Big Dave is running for congress.
Big Dave is a Democrat.
This is Big Dave’s opponent, the Republican incumbent
I live in their district.
Big Dave says:
I want to raise the minimum wage; she makes sure it stays below poverty level.
Cut Gas Prices & Cut Health Costs
Raise Minimum Wage & Save Social Security
Reform the Medicare prescription drug program.
Repeal tax giveaways that move jobs overseas.
Sounds like an easy NOTA for me, right?
Big Dave also says:
I want our troops out of the civil war in Iraq. My opponent votes for the Bush failed policy.
I’ve always played the Holier-Than-Thou I never voted for a Republican or a Democrat song.
We’ll see what I do in November.
Fri 1 Sep 2006
The voters in the 8th District of California will be truly blessed this coming November seventh.
They will have two exemplary congressional candidates from whom to choose from.
and Philip Zimt Berg.
As I sit here in the Desolation of Smaug:
I cannot help but envy them; I may not bother to go to the polls myself.
From the website of Mr. Berg, who would have certainly earned my vote, had I it to give him:
Imagine if They tried to Have a war, but they didn’t have any money… The primary reason for this campaign is to ask San Franciscans to look deep into their hearts and seriously consider these four questions:
1. Am I against War? Yes or No
2. Do I support a large Federal Government that can raise large sums of money from taxes and debt? Yes or No
3. Does making War take a lot of money? Yes or No.
4. Repeat question number One.
Of course, as a Libertarian, no apologies for the Capital “L”, rather, a spit in the face to Small “l” cowards and hypocrites, I am deeply moved by Mr. Berg’s words; real Libertarians are, above all else, especially under current circumstances, advocates of peace.
But, as though that were not inspiring enough, there is also:
“My name is Krissy Keefer …
… And I am running for Congress as if my life depended on it. In fact, I think it does.
My campaign calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for high crimes against the people of the United States of America and the world…”
Ms. Keefer is the Green Party’s candidate.
The Green Party advocates a voting system known as “Instant Runoff Voting”.
If you’re not familiar, (they use it in local elections in those parts, I understand), It allows you, as a voter, to rank the candidates by your order of preference.
So, if I were a voter in the 8th district of California, I could express my preference for Mr. Berg. But were he to finish last, in a case where no candidate recieved a majority, he would be eliminated, and my vote would then be passed to Ms. Keefer. The cycle would continue until a candidate would have a majority.
So I could support Mr. Berg, primarily, Ms. Keefer secondarily.
And I could send the Republican and the Democrat to HELL WHERE THEY BELONG.
Sometimes, living in South Florida can be awfully tough.