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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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Umm, Nader Ain't It.

Now Playing: Pluie de Etincelles - the late Mr. Lane's 1995 piano jam

Sorry,'couldn't resist.

Friday, February 22, 2008

America's Core Conflict in Ethics

Now Playing: "Easy Blues" from Message From Nine To The Universe - just sublime...

As I've alluded here previously, we the people of the United States of America have been locked into a Presidential contest that, due to the politicians placed in front of us as "choices," guarantees that the next American President will be a hardcore statist. It is inescapable, barring some thoroughly improbable Douglas Adams-type upset in which an improbable number of American voters writes in an improbable candidate who, improbably, has a brain between his/her ears, at an improbability ratio of, roughly, 16,438,951,238 to 1 against.

As I've also suggested, the situation dictates (pun if you want one,) that principled, individualist Republicans dedicate themselves to "Alternate Plan B": focusing on non-Presidential electoral races, especially Congressional ones, for the long haul. Since we're doomed to having a committed enemy of individual liberty in the White House for the next four years, it is essential that Congress be bolstered this year, in 2010 and in 2012 with more people willing and able to counter his (or her) collectivist lunacy. The GOP's "leadership" sure as hell aren't going to step up to the plate on this.

Just this week the GOP gained a narrow recovery from disaster in the reversal by John Shadegg(R-AZ) of his Feb 8 announcement of retirement from Congress. Shadegg, recall, is one of the handful of Republican Congressmen that typically stands on principle against big government, out-of-control spending, "earmarks" corruption and generalized statism. Shadegg needs company; let's try to find similar people and work to get them elected, in positions from Congressman down to County Alderman.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Anyway, fresh in mind are soundbites from last night's Clinton/Obama debate, from recent speeches by each, and from the McCain/NeoCon/RINO wing. All three candidates are spewing brazen demands for "national service" and "self-sacrifice" and "giving back" and "duty," etc. ad nauseam, and most tellingly (pay attention here,) for a veritable avalanche of statist proposals based directly on that foundation of self-sacrifice.

In the wake of the recapture of Congress by the Democrat-Socialist Party in the 2006 election, I resumed frequent listening to conservative talk radio programs - 'cause those guys are at their best when they're in the opposition - and none of them have had much of anything to say against the Three Stooges' self-renunciation sermons, rather only against those consequential policy proposals.

Well, consequences do indeed have ideas behind them.

The phenomenon immediately calls to mind something I read in Leonard Peikoff's seminal 1982 work "The Ominous Parallels", the smarter older brother of Jonah Golberg's new book "Liberal Fascism". Funny how the observations of sound philosophy are bourne out in practice, consistently. Actually there's nothing funny there at all - just logic at work.

Something that cannot be stated often enough nor strenuously enough - particularly to today's conservatives (the Demo-Socialist Left are mostly beyond the reach of reason in any case,) is that:

a) economic liberty is an inescapable pre-requisite of political liberty, and

b) economic liberty is inherently - inescapably - egoistic.

In other words, economic liberty's core motive power is the individual's drive for personal self-betterment, personal innovation, personal enterprise, personal achievement, and for personal profit. The benefits derived by others - Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" - are secondary, as are decisions by individuals to engage in charity. In a meta-ethical sense this is an extension of man's inherent nature and inherent requirement for survival: Man is either free to think and act (i.e., to produce,) or he dies.

This, in turn, is why capitalism, and ONLY capitalism, is the politico-economic system perfectly in tune with the requirements of human survival and flourishing, and why capitalism walks hand-in-hand with human liberty - the two live or die together. Political and economic liberty are, in a word, inseparable; you simply cannot have either without the other. The argument for economic liberty - i.e., capitalism - is therefore primarily ethical, not merely pragmatic.

It is a fact that people the world over derive their ethics from religion of one sect or another. Virtually every religion's ethical credo is some form of codified altruism: Self-sacrifice for others is considered the unquestionable, highest virtue; self-interest (such as the entire drive for personal advancement, achievement and profit,) is considered as an unquestionable evil, or at best as something low and base.

Since philosophy is inescapably hierarchical in its structure and ethics is an antecedent branch to politics within that hierarchy, one's ethics - or a nation's ethics - will always inform and/or determine its politics.

A nation ostensibly dedicated to political freedom must, by that fact, also be a nation dedicated to economic freedom; a nation dedicated to economic freedom must, by that fact, also be a nation dedicated, at root, to egoism, the recognition of self-interest and individual sovereignty as moral and practical primaries.

If that nation instead embraces the opposite ethical credo - as in Clinton/Obama/McCain's fetishistic preachments that self-interest is "narcissistic greed" and that altruistic sacrifice to others constitutes "virtue" - and simultaneously attempts to retain its economic and political liberty, the result is an inescapable conflict.

It is precisely that conflict, the implicitly egoistic system of the Founders' conception vs. the explicit altruism being pushed aggressively by today's politicians and intellectual establishment, that has brought the United States to its present chaotic state - and the nightmarish Hobson's Choice of three committed statists as our only Presidential options. Again, it is flatly impossible to square a commitment to self-sacrificial duty within ethics with a political agenda of eliminating the dizzying array of altruistic government programs, agencies, entitlements, allocations, regulations, restrictions, bans, taxes, fees, licenses, permits, directives and bureaucracies to administer and enforce them.

If this conflict is not resolved, and resolved in a specific way - namely, the restoration of egoism as the appropriate moral credo of a free society - then a slide into freedom's antithesis: collectivism, can only be a matter of time. As to the practical mechanism by which that slide occurs, I will refer you to Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises' Planned Chaos.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hobson's Choice '08: Second Thoughts

Now Playing: Lip Service, from Max Webster's Mutiny Up My Sleeve

I can't do it. There remains no power in the universe that could compel me to cast a vote for McCain, and that situation will not change, ever - but neither can I actively support the election of a Clinton or an Obama. Though I understand perfectly the argument for voting for the Demo-Socialist - a dual vote, essentially: one withheld from McCain and another given to whichever candidate has the best chance of beating him - I could never live with the knowledge that I had consciously voted for any of these people - McCain, Clinton or Obama. They're intellectual clones and antithetical to everything I value. We've been given the Hobson's Choice between: the GOP's hardcore statist or the Democrat-Socialists' hardcore statist.

Sorry, but that is a contemptible charade, not a choice, and I will be voting "None Of The Above," likely via a throwaway write-in - Judge Janice Rogers Brown or George Reisman or Walter Williams or maybe T.J. Rogers.

Every time I reconsider Ron Paul, even as a throwaway vote, he...opens his mouth. And I'm once again running through creative combinations of harsh language in as many languages as I can access. A man who thinks Islamofascism is the fault of America is no better in practice than an al-Qaida propagandist - not to mention a walking, talking suicide pact.

I try and I try not to wax pessimistic, but to my mind the Elian Gonzales atrocity of Y2K was a chilling indicator of the degree to which Americans have lost their respect for the concept of individual liberty.

[Which brings up another tangential implication of the upcoming election, one that nobody is talking about: It is not just several Supreme Court Justices that will likely be replaced during the next Presidential term. Try "one Cuban dictator." When Castro finally does us the favor of assuming room temperature, the fate of Cuba will rest in no small part with the occupant of the White House.]

The Bright Side: (Oh damn - Monty Python! Sorreee...)

Given the horrible situation the Party powers-that-be have dumped in our laps, what individualist Republicans can focus their activism on is: everything else. We need to shift our focus to every other elected office besides the Presidency - Congressional seats, governorships, State legislatures, right down to city politicians. We need to seek out and promote solid GOP candidates and weed out RINOs at all costs. We, not the recidivistic Left, have the valid arguments; we have the best "product," as Logan Clements puts it. It is only with candidates steeped in the philosophy of American individualism and capable of articulating it clearly that entrenched statists can be dislodged. Above all, this needs to stop:

Another vital point: We non-leftists have always been spectacularly inept at political activism. This too must change.

Maybe it's complacency; definitely it has to do with being productive and therefore having far less time to be stomping around in street demonstrations. In any case, we need to be more willing to get off of our duffs and engage in activism on behalf of our values, consistently and long-haul-permanently.

It may be something as simple as hammering out a periodic letter to the editor of a local newsrag, starting a blog (though they're admittedly a dime a thousand these days,) organizing or joining a simple street corner demonstration on a specific issue, and of course the imperative of frequent phone calls, letters and emails to our elected officious. To paraphrase something rocker Ted Nugent said in a 2005 LibertyFest speech, if you are not in contact with your elected officials at least quarterly, you're a chump - so don't be a chump.

With the ascendancy of John McCain the battle for liberty has taken a major blow, and it's happened for the same reason it always happens: Default on the part of liberty's defenders.

Time to get active and stay active on the promotion of individualism and freedom. At this point it's the only political option we have left to us.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cut to the chase: GO HILLARY. Rah.

Now Playing: Umm, three guesses.

"...then he woke up and, to his utter horror, discovered that he'd been turned into a card-carrying Democrat." Yeah, my life as a cheesy Stephen King novel - tell me about it. In the grips of yet another
- type moment, Joe Verbose here is not feeling in a particularly talkative mood...

So I will defer to two of the clearest analyses of Tuesday's implications that I've yet seen anywhere.

First up is Robert Tracinski's Jan. 22 article "Why McCain Needs to Be Stopped", a far more eloquent (not to mention concise) enumeration of McCain's record and what it implies for principled, individualist Republicans than my preceding post.

Second is Robert Bidinotto's excellent Election Night entry "Will Super-Duper Tuesday anoint the new "progressives"?

With conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt already having pledged to fall in line behind McCain despite prior opposition to him, and the likelihood of party heavyweights like Rush Limbaugh and National Review following suit later in the election season, it looks to be a long, lonely road with some unsavory traveling companions for us individualist Republicans. Maybe we could all move to France for some better political representation.

Yes, Hewitt's points about national security and several likely SCotUS vacancies are well taken, but RJB is right: McCain must be defeated at all costs if this country's intellectual catalyst for liberty is to be preserved.

Anyhoo, though she's got my vote she will never have my respect - I've already swapped out my "RUDY" bumpersticker with a new one:


Monday, February 04, 2008

Addendum: A Vote for Paul, Huckabee, etc. is a Vote for McCain

I have a lot of friends who have talked themselves into the Paul camp, and I've heard lots in media - though thankfully I know not a single one personally - who are marching in lockstep behind Huckabee oblivious to the world around them, just like those two linear-obsessives in Dr. Seuss' "The Zax."

Allow me to amplify unapologetically that nagging little voice that's likely been flitting around your mind for some time now:

There is not a proverbial snowball's chance of Ron Paul nor of Mike Huckabee getting anywhere near a GOP primary win in the year 2008. Period, full stop, everyone out of the pool.

Read that again.

Got it?

Good, that means we've both got hold of the reality of the situation. And don't let's be blabbering about "Oh, well, with that defeatist attitude, of course nobody could win."

Hey, not all the Power of Positive Thinking nor Strenuous Media Spin nor Irrational Exuberance nor Drunken Unison Caterwauling nor Mystical Incantations By Firelight on behalf of those guys will alter reality. "You can twist perceptions/reality won't budge," as the Professor has written. (There is a Rush lyric for every situation in life, but this one works overtime...)

So, given the fact that the guy you're planning on voting for remains without...the proverbial snowball's chance of winning so much as the presidency of an ant farm, what would casting such a vote mean in practice?

Simple: It means a vote for John McCain.

And that, in turn... To recap in as much depth as my current supply of Pepto-Bismol will allow:

-> This is the same John McCain whose "Campaign Finance Reform" (read: Political Censorship,) legislation has run the priceless First Amendment of my Constitution and yours through the equivalent of a fine-pitch industrial paper shredder;

-> This is the same John McCain who once openly, now quietly (for some reason) has pledged his sycophantic fealty to the Climate Armageddon Industry and its faith-based "global warming" construct, at precisely the time when it is crucial we have at least a modicum of opposition to them.

-> This is the same John McCain who straight-facedly compared drilling for oil in a tiny sliver of the ANWR wastelands to drilling for oil in the Grand Canyon - at a time when every barrel of oil that McCain-type environmentalists force American producers not to produce means yet more oil revenue to OPEC. You know, to those kind folks who're fond of al-Qaida, Hugo Chavez, and the public torture of teenaged girls as punishment for being rape victims;

-> This is the same John McCain who in 2006 led the infamous "Gang of 14," siding with Democrat Patrick "WherrrzMyDrinkhh" Leahy & Co.'s filibusters of Bush Administration judicial appointments. This was, recall, at a time of an unprecedented quantity of judicial vacancies during rare GOP control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. Thanks to Traitor McCain, most of those vacancies remain...vacant, with both Houses of Congress now controlled by Democrats and the very real possibility of a White House presided over by a Democrat - or that very "Gang Of 14" leader himself. Imagine the militant lunacy that is the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals, expanded across courtrooms nationwide;

-> This is the same John McCain who for years has fought for higher taxation, who has parroted Marxian class warfare lingo in his virtually every statement on tax policy, and who as recently as last week voiced the contemptible dichotomy of " patriotism over profits."
This while he dares compare himself to President Reagan, no less.

Need I go on?

-> This is the politician to whom a Paul vote or a Huckabee vote goes, inescapably. As I've indicated clearly in a number of posts over the last year, Romney is far from being anything better than a placeholder in my book, and was at least three notches down on my ordered list of the original ten GOP candidates.

But if you take Michael Hurd's August 2004 article "Election 2004: Looking Ahead While Living Today" and apply it to the present situation with the particulars substituted, you have essentially the same argument in favor of voting for Romney, not just in the general election but in tomorrow's primary. Only in this case the primary opponent is a militant authoritarian-collectivist calling himself a "Republican," adding a whole new dimension of intellectual perversity to the mix.

Finally, if arch anti-Republican McCain is somehow jammed into the Republican nomination, the only principled choice left will be to pull a Peikoff - i.e. vote for whichever Democrat has the best chance of defeating him - in this instance with ample justification.

'Gonna be an interesting 24 hours - hopefully not in the 'Chinese' sense...


Giuliani's Wimp-Out Leaves Romney As Clear Choice

Now Playing: "I Won't Mind" from Uriah Heep's Wonderworld - Mick Box in a particularly snarly mood...

In a thoroughly inexplicable move, Rudolph Giuliani dropped out of the GOP primary race on Thursday, leaving Mitt Romney as the sole choice for Republicans.

I say "inexplicable" because of my difficulty in believing that the man couldn't have stuck around a lousy five more days 'til "super Tuesday," in which he was expected to make his leap to the head of the pack with delagates from New York, New Jersey and California. Though his campaign was reportedly broke, and with a fatally-botched strategy in the early primaries, his early pullout is nonetheless bizarre. Presumably his poor choice of strategic advisors was matched from the outset by a lack of will to win.

At any rate, Romney is now the only actual Republican candidate in the GOP primary race, though that insufferable traitor John McCain, propped up with the vigorous and near-continuous campaigning by the major - read: leftwing - media, entertains himself with delusional self-stylizations as a "Reagan conservative." Methinks he's in for a large surprise come the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The leftwing-wannabe Huckabee too is trotting along in the dust, presumably out of some warped species of religious vanity.

This Tuesday's voting is a crapshoot, also a true test of what today's GOP is made of. I think of it as an intelligence test: Will the rank-and-file Republican voters close their eyes to McCain's atrocious record on virtually every key element of Republicanism throughout his political career, and buy into his threadbare "war hero" schtick? A bright nine-year-old can grasp the fact that a McCain vs. Clinton or Obama race would dump on America the first single-Party "election" in its history - a Party which is most accurately described as Fabian Fascist.

At a time when America is in a battle for the very survival of Western Civilization, the transfer of American government into the clutches of any of those megalomaniacal statists would be an unmitigated disaster.

Like him or not, Romney is our only rational choice in the GOP primary race.