The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Some Political Predictions - You Heard 'Em Here First, Folks

Now Playing: "Stick it Out" by the Men of Willowdale, from Counterparts, 1993

No crystal ball, no ouija board, no Al Gore whispering his Revealed Truths in my ear, just some prognostication based on philosophy and the simple patterns of recent history. See if you agree:

Prediction #1:  If the GOP doesn't hammer out and announce - very soon - a radical, focused and committed agenda to privatize and deregulate American medicine, then stick to it without compromise, there WILL be socialized medicine in America, á la Canada or the UK (where things like "self-dentistry" have become all the rage.)

The Democrat-Socialist Left have demonstrated conclusively that they are in this for the long haul - having just regurgitated a new SCHIT bill a mere matter of days after their first was rejected via a sustained veto. It's clear they have no interest in identifying and eliminating the root of the current "crisis" in government controls. For the Democrat-Socialists this is not about quality medical care for Americans, it's about the acquisition of political power for themselves, in perpetuity.

It's clear they intend to stop at nothing short of Clinton Care - a.k.a. health care nationalization - and absent principled opposition from the GOP, they will get it. The Demo-Socialists know that the (current) GOP typically compromise and cave on principle over time, so all they need do is continue chipping away at the few remaining private elements in the medical industry, and their patience will be rewarded by GOP default.

Note to the GOP in office and running for office: The defensive posture is no longer adequate, and "adequate" was never conscionable in the first place. Unless you get together as a team, hammer out and strike back with a proposal as radical in the direction of free markets as the Leftists' plans are in the direction of de facto fascism... the latter will be a Done Deal. We cannot allow that to happen, not if we value our continued physical existence.

Frankly, I remain amazed - though not surprised - at the in-your-face barbarity of the Democrat-Socialists in this nationalization push. The very notion that government has a "right" to take over something as intensely personal as the care and maintenance of my own physical body is contemptible. But history has shown that when governments engage in violating the property rights of citizens for decades, the attempt to violate the last, most direct property each of us has - our own physical bodies - is inevitable.

We must plot a course directly opposite that of the Demo-Socialists. We must fight for a complete Separation of Medicine and State - on ethical grounds.

Prediction #2:  If Rudy Giuliani is nominated as the GOP candidate and Hillary Rodham-Umbridge-Clinton is nominated by the opposition, Giuliani will win decisively, probably by a landslide. Whatever votes he loses to the myopic and destructive vestiges of the religious right, he will gain ten times over from Independents and (genuine) Democrats who are as disgusted with the Clinton/Reid/Obama/Pelosi/Boxer crazies as the rest of us. Recall that Clinton's negative approval numbers are breaking records while approval of the new Democrat-controlled Congress has been at a record-low 11% for two months running.

As for the GOP: Given that none of the GOP candidates is on a par with Reagan - easily the closest we've come to principled leadership in the last 50 years - the next best choice is a placeholder who at least appears committed to fighting the foreign barbarians who want to destroy us, and who will not turn the SCotUS into a mirror of the lunatic-left Ninth Circus Court of Appeals. IOW, in the absence of a candidate of consistent principle, and with frothing statist maniacs as the certain alternative, a pragmatic choice is all that's left to the...non-Left, and Giuliani will have to do.

Prediction #3:  If Fred Thompson is nominated as the GOP candidate and Hillary Rodham-Umbridge-Clinton is nominated by the opposition, the spread will be narrower - Giuliani enjoys a cross-partisan popularity that Thompson does not - but Thompson will still win a decisive victory.

The problem with Thompson is an echo of the problem at the core of the contemporary GOP: a conflict between a stated embrace of altruist ethics on the one hand, and on the other, the pressing need to shut down copious quantities of altruism-fueled Big Government institutions and edicts. As such, his campaign has been muted and lacking any kind of decisive ideological punch. As I wrote in a letter to the Fred'08 site, "How do you propose to effect any significant Reaganesque downsizing of that bloated, slobbering, oppressive pig that is our government, if your ethical credo is precisely the same as that used to impose that 'alphabet soup' leviathan in the first place?" Whether Thompson will reject that hoary, collectivist "sacrifice for the greater good" lingo in favor of an unequivocal defense of individualism remains to be seen. Even with that rot, however, he still handily defeats Rodham-Umbridge-Clinton.

If you guessed that I believe Clinton to be unelectable you'd be 90% correct: Unless the GOP defaults spectacularly with some late-hour intellectual sellout, with some "October surprise" scandal, or...

Prediction #4:  If Mitt Romney is nominated as the GOP candidate, the next President of the United States will be a Democrat-Socialist. Period. Trust me on this. The man reeks of RINOism and everybody knows it but the Romney camp, the religious conservatives, and talk radio host Hugh Hewitt (one of his staunchest backers.) Romney is Bush III, only with better speaking skills and a better barber. He would not sell America and Western Civilization down the river like a Democrat-Socialist, but his default on key principles would effect the same thing over time. That's if he somehow got elected. Romney is the embodiment of everything voters tossed out of Congress on its compromising, Big-Government-Conservative arse in November of 2006, and I think it's readily apparent. Like any other RINO, Romney is a non-starter with the GOP base - at least those who plan on voting for a President of the United States, not Pastor of the National Church.

Moral of the Story:  The GOP have this to win or to lose, and any bright nine-year-old could blow any current Democrat out of the water in the 2008 Campaign. But the GOP will have to go on the offense, not lounge around on defense. In other words, lampooning the Democrat-Socialist Party's lunacies is not enough.

They must propose a Republican agenda that aggressively counters the Democrat dry-rot that's been allowed to fester in American government, law and society for decades. That means we will need to hear more than "Wel-l-l-l, we could maybe sorta try to control the rate of growth of Federal spending..." and "Wel-l-l-l, the health care industry maybe should be unshackled, but...we can't be 'ham-fisted extremists,' now can we..."

We need to hear some solid Reaganism: Radical reductions in the size and scope of government power and of all government institutions not directly related to the defense of individual rights (i.e., the armed forces, the police and the courts); We need to hear some concrete proposals for regulatory review and sweeping repeal on a government-wide scale.

I will post some specifics on this eventually, but when you get right down to it, I shouldn't have to. Everybody knows that Big Government is out of control, but our political "leaders" are too frightened of negative press - or the dread labels of "ham-fisted extremist!" and "mean-spiritedness!" to even identify the problem, much less its sole solution.

Frankly, I don't know what's more exasperating:

a.) The fact that the patently obvious - the ethics and practicality of private, independent, free institutions - is still getting edged out in the battle for liberty by the threadbare yet historically-deadly toxin that is collectivism;


b.) The fact that default on the part of those who are supposed to understand individual liberty, uphold individual liberty and defend individual liberty - i.e., the GOP leadership - is the primary reason for liberty's disintegration in America.

Get with it, guys. If you can't beat a mental midget like Dolores Umbridge Clinton, you're in the wrong line of work.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Limbaugh vs. Censorship: A Call For Action

Now Playing: "A Handful of Earth" by Lane/Hellborg/Baker, from Abstract Logic, 1995

Last Friday a letter signed by 41 Democrat-Socialist members of the United States Senate and sent to the head of Clear Channel Communications, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh's syndication partner, was successfully sold for $2.1 Million on Ebay in a brilliant counter-maneuver by Limbaugh. The letter, recall, had been issued by Reid et al. demanding that Limbaugh be reprimanded for an on-air characterization - which characterization turned out to have been misrepresented by the Honorable Senators in any case.

I'm an objectivist, not a conservative, so there are a multitude of core issues on which Limbaugh's beliefs conflict with my own. But in general he is an exemplary political pundit, activist, entertainer and advocate for Americanism - even though he generally gets the philosophic basics wrong.

The now-infamous letter by censor-wannabes Reid, Clinton, Obama, Boxer, Feinkenstein, Dodd, Wyden, Dorgan, et al. is the most direct and chilling attack on our First Amendment since John "Traitor" McCain launched what eventually became the Shays/Meehan First Amendment Arsewipe-Transformation Act of 2002.

This isn't an issue of the political leanings or philosophic shortcomings of Limbaugh, nor of what different people may think of him. Rather, it is the issue of a shocking, ominous act by a group of powerful government figures against our core Constitutional rights. To understand the magnitude of what that letter represents, simply swap in for Limbaugh any given newspaper columnist, editor, or publisher, any network news anchor, any given author, or... any given Founding pamphleteer.

Am I the only one willing to identify the implications of forty-one sitting United States Senators trying to intimidate into silence the political speech of an American broadcaster?

The complete list of the New American Censors:

Harry Reid
Hillary Rodham Umbridge Clinton
Blanche Lincoln
Richard Durbin
Kent Conrad
Bob Menendez
Charles Schumer
Christopher Dodd
Barbara Mikulski
Patty Murray
Byron Dorgan
Bill Nelson
Daniel Akaka
Dianne Feinstein
Barack Obama
Max Baucus
Tom Harkin
Jack Reed
Joseph Biden
Daniel Inouye
Jay Rockefeller
Barbara Boxer
Edward M. Kennedy
Ken Salazar
Sherrod Brown
John Kerry
Bernie Sanders
Robert Byrd
Amy Klobuchar
Debbie Stabenow
Benjamin Cardin
Mary Landrieu
Jon Tester
Tom Carper
Frank Lautenberg
Jim Webb
Bob Casey
Patrick Leahy
Sheldon Whitehouse
Carl Levin
Ron Wyden

That list of Senators is a veritable who's-who of people in dire need of targeting and ejection from American government by American voters of every political stripe.

Let me emphasize that: This is not about Limbaugh's politics nor even him specifically, it's about preserving the right of all of us to speak out on politics, however, whenever, wherever we want - without being threatened with retaliation by monarchic, power-mad politicians. This was not censorship in actuality, rather a censorship trial balloon to peel away another layer of resistance to the confiscation of our priceless First Amendment. Keep in mind that "trial balloon" is another name for "preparation for future action."

These 41 b*stards need to be sent back to private life on each of their next end-of-term election bids. Every single one of them, in signing that letter, has openly admitted to violating his sworn oath to "uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America."

As I've pointed out many times before, some form of political censorship has always been the first step - the miner's canary, if you will - of advancing totalitarianism. If we allow these creeps to confiscate our right to speak, print, advertise, assemble, demonstrate, petition and believe whatever we choose, then we're all just rightless serfs, marking time until the next dictator du jour decides he - or she - wants to dispose of us.

So far I'm not hearing a peep from any of the rest of Congress, those vaunted Defenders of the Constitution... I recommend calling/writing/rattling their cages. Hard.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Conservatives Drive Me Crazy - Case # 6,241

(...or: How Conservative Ineptitude Is Neutralizing the Republican Party,)

Now Playing: "Begin the Beguine" et seq., via Art Tatum, from California Melodies

Today I switched on Sean Hannity's radio show and....I lasted about four minutes before I had to bail. Hannity was discussing the Democrat-Socialist Party's rash of proposals to nationalize what remains of America's medical industry; what I heard in his delivery was a distillation of everything the conservatives' philosophical and strategic ineptitude is doing (and has done,) to enable the triumph of irrationality and statism in America.

- Ineptitude Point #1: Conceding Premises at the Outset -

The conservatives are responding to Hillary's collectivized medicine crusade. That's: responding. They've heard her presentation; they object to it - not on ethical principle but because "it won't work" - so they spend the bulk of their time arguing over whatever specifics the Demo-Socialists toss out.

Note what the conservatives are not doing, conspicuously: They are not defending the inalienable right of doctors and patients to trade with one another without the interference of politicians, and they are not launching a principled agenda of privatization and deregulation as a direct rejection of the Demos' nationalization scam.

No, they simply criticize, passively and defensively, whatever outrages the Demo-Socialists lob at us.

This, incidentally, has been the pattern since the mid-1990s: The only time the conservative Republicans ever get around to proposing anything aggressively, it's in the form of one-upsmanship with the Demo-Socs on pathological altruism. As in "Hey, we can pass a bigger new entitlement program than you can... See? We care too." (A vivid and horrific example is the prescription drug wallow they recently tacked onto that slobbering, illegitimate monster called Medicare.)

But actually take stands on principle and reverse the slide into statism? Uh, no.

Note the deadly error in this default. In leapfrogging over ethical principle directly into debate on the details of Health Care Nationalization, they miss the vital first question, which ought to be the immediate focus of debate on all such Demo-Socialist proposals - and, sadly, most RINO proposals as well:

"What right does government have to meddle in the medical industry in the first place - especially when it is precisely that meddling, ca. 1965, which created the health care "crisis" we now see before us?"

To recap per Mises, as summarized nicely in Planned Chaos:

a.) Whenever a government interferes with a market, it initially seems a benefit - until the costs roll in and create a condition orders of magnitude worse than had existed before the interference;

b.) Rather than recognize the government intervention as the cause of the worsened condition and immediately repeal it, government officials, shunting blame to the very businesses into which they've intruded, add a new intervention to the first, to "fix" the problem;

c.) This secondary intervention initially improves the picture - until...the costs roll in and create a condition orders of magnitude worse than had existed before this latest intervention...

Etc., ad snowballum.

Which is how we got to the crisis condition we're in today. many conservatives do you hear identifying the root cause of the health care crisis and demanding an all-out assault on that root?

[~Sound of pin hitting floor, followed by dramatic echo...~]

The reason behind all of this is simple: Conservatives have replaced the right to one's Life, to one's Liberty, to the Pursuit of one's Happiness - and the self-responsibility that goes with explicit individualism - with the collectivist ethics of self-sacrifice and altruism. Therefore they have absolutely no answer to the most lame of Democrat-Socialist criticisms and cave under the faintest of pressure. That, in turn, means they do not dare propose anything for which they might face opposition.

Recall the lame-duck session of November and December 1995, when the GOP Congress was accused of "ham-fisted extremism" and "heartlessness" after refusing an omnibus (pork) spending bill, which refusal shut off funding for government operations just prior to the '95 holidays. The GOP had no principled reply (like, "How dare you Democrats claim a 'right' to squander other people's money, then evade responsibility for your actions?") Bob Dole, in his State of the Union response a month later, questioned why so many poor government employees had to have their Christmas seasons disrupted by anything so idiotic as principle. This man was rewarded with the 1996 candidacy for President of the United States.

Dole lost, deservedly; the celebrated "Freshman" GOP Congress, incapable of championing individual rights on ethical principle, folded along with its Contract With America, and the downward spiral began. And so it continues to this day.

Meanwhile, the rest of us GOP'ers out here in Realityland wait in vain for a single conservative GOP "leader" to stand up and challenge the core premise that government involvement in the medical industry is ethically, Constitutionally or even pragmatically justifiable in the first place. These people just can't - or won't - or don't dare - do it.

Instead they...discuss Hillary's plan.

So, having signed on at the outset to the Demo-Socialist Party's starting premises, (i.e., that doctors are slaves, hospitals are government fiefdoms, patients are cattle, and it's A-OK to fight a regulatory fire with gasoline explosives,) the conservatives lock themselves onto a dead-end track. They're left only to react to - and attempt to minimize the damage of - a Democrat power-grab that's all but certain to pass, with little opposition, into binding law.

Which is precisely how our government has mutated and metastasized into the vast, bloated, slobbering, oppressive pig we see before us. Conservatives busy themselves not with reversing the steady stream of Democrat-Socialist slop, but in debating what items ought to go on the hog's menu.

- Ineptitude Point #2: Tug-Of-War Forfeiture -

Something that ought to be obvious even to casual observers of politics is that Democrat-Socialists always jump right in with their maximum, hard-left bid - what Hearts players call "shooting the moon" - then back off a little if necessary, to preserve the comparative illusion of "moderation." Which means they generally get what they're after - which generally means the confiscation of more of our liberty.

Something that ought to be obvious even to casual observers of politics is that conservative Republican "leaders" never jump in with anything remotely related to achieving core GOP policies. They fall all over each other groveling for a chance to be the first to accept, then offer meek compromises on, the opposition's hard-left proposals - then congratulate themselves for "working in a spirit of unselfish bipartisanship."

Take note of what we haven't heard a peep of since the days of Reagan: Proposals for radical reductions in the size and scope of government, for eliminating programs, departments, regulations. Instead we hear a little timid muttering about "controlling spending."

So we have a tug-of-war in which one side goes for broke and pulls with all its might, consistently - while the other side gives in, sissy-fashion, every step of the way.

Guess which side loses?

- Conclusion -

The conservative "leadership" of the GOP, being spectacularly inept both intellectually and strategically, just never quite clue in to the larger picture of what's going on.

And what's going on? In a nutshell:

The Democrat Party is leading the GOP "leadership" around by the nose.

...Which is why our country is awash in the militant irrationality and out-of-control government power we have today. When those ostensibly charged with the defense of reason and liberty (the GOP's leaders,) consistently default on that responsibility, there is left a void. That void will always be filled by the most aggressive opportunists - in this case, the MoveOn wing of the Democrat Party.

Again, are there any Republicans left among the GOP "leadership"?

Essential Reading:

Robert J. Bidinotto's Up From Conservatism
Dr. Hudgins' 12-Step Cure for Big-Government Conservatism

Monday, October 08, 2007

Demonizing Columbus...for Barbarity's Sake

Now Playing: "Sticky Fingers" from T-Lev

Today is the day when the civilized world, or rather, the civilized people remaining within it, celebrate the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by the explorer Christopher Columbus.

Yeah, you read that right. It was Columbus, not the pre-Columbian immigrants from Asia whom we are now urged to call "indigenous," who brought to the Western Hemisphere the entire Greco-Roman philosophical corpus that ultimately made individual rights and liberty possible. It is Columbus, not the earlier Scandinavian explorers who settled on, then abandoned, what is now eastern Canada, who opened a new world to the whole of the Eastern Hemisphere - as a refuge to people of any ethnicity who sought escape from the collectivist tyrannies of feudalism and tribalism.

Predictably, the haters of Western Civilization, worshippers of primitivism and apologists for barbarity have spent the last couple decades in an attempt to demonize Columbus as an amoral juggernaut.

- Because Columbus and his crews inadvertently brought with them pathogens such as smallpox and rudely failed to bring 21st Century medical technology as well, he/they are to be considered guilty of "genocide";

- Because subsequent European explorers and "indigenous peoples" waged wars against each other, the former are to be considered guilty of having introduced injustice and strife to the latter.

The presumption here is that pre-Columbians were noble, peace-loving folk who lived in blissful harmony with one another and enjoyed an Eden-like "highly-advanced civilization."

...Like the peace-loving, errm, warriors of what is now North America, who lived in a state of perpetual warfare with one another and subsisted at a stone-age, tribal level that had not advanced in millennia;

...And like the Aztec, Toltec, Maya, Inca, Chimu and several other pre-Columbian cultures that routinely - presumably with a "have a nice day" at the ready - slaughtered both their own people and the subjugated peoples of neighboring tribes in vast ritual human sacrifices - in the case of the Aztecs several thousand per single ceremony - until literal rivers of blood drenched their "beautiful and highly-advanced" pyramids. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were also prominent in Hawaiian culture prior to the arrival of Western Civilization.

In short, what the ultimate conquest of the Western Hemisphere by the Eastern Hemisphere represented for the immigrant "indigenous peoples," was another conflict with yet another "tribe" - but with two vital differences: 1.) This new "tribe" had overwhelmingly superior technology, therefore won decisively, and 2.) this new "tribe" carried with it a body of ideas that revolutionized and, over time, vastly improved not just the lives of Europeans but the entire human race in its every ethnic derivation, including the descendents of the pre-Columbian immigrants themselves.

That body of ideas was, and is: Western Civilization.

I cannot recommend more highly the seminal essay by economist George Reisman titled Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism, first published in 1990 in The Intellectual Activist.

Pass the link on to every thinking person you know; there are links at the end of the essay to printed pamphlet versions, useful for mailing to your elected officious, harassing your leftwing professors (but I repeat myself,) and annoying - possibly enlightening - leftwing acquaintances. It should be considered required reading, not just as intellectual ammunition in the multiculturacists' attack on Columbus, but as a timeless reiteration of Western Civilization's nature and value.

Other excellent articles:

Columbus Day: In Praise of Exploitation by Edward Hudgins, 2005

On Columbus Day, Celebrate Western Civilization, Not Multiculturalism by Michael S. Berliner, 2003;

Columbus Day: The Cure for 9/11 by Thomas A. Bowden, author of The Enemies of Christopher Columbus, 2003

Also highly recommended:

Gibson's film "Apocalypto", an extremely well-done exercise in historical perspective.