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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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pay No Attention To That Klan Behind The Curtain: Obama, Wright, and the Poison of Collectivism

Now Playing: U. Shrinivas' Samjanitha

In Asimov's Sci-Fi classic "Foundation," a great mathematician develops a science of predicting the future using mathematical probabilities involving vast numbers of people over vast periods of time. In the real world we only have that kind of certainty in hindsight, but philosophy performs a similar role in the forward direction.

It certainly did after the Reagan-engineered collapse of Soviet Socialism ca. 1989. We saw in vivid detail the practical expression of something philosopher Ayn Rand had told us repeatedly a full quarter-century before that collapse: Ideas shape the course of people and of nations, and the mere absence of an evil regime does not imply the automatic rise of a good one. The Russian Federation had a promising start on the road to a free society under Yeltsin, but there was never an explicit rejection of Russia's collectivist culture, much less an embrace of an explicitly individualistic one. The result has been Russia's descent, following the death of Yeltsin, into a neo-authoritarian regime under Putin. A vacuum does not make for a solid foundation.

It's taken longer in America, but the same philosophic void exists here. Perhaps due to the gulf between the rank-and-file American and the Ivory-tower intellectual with regard to individualism vs. collectivism, respectively, we haven't slipped into a Putin-type quagmire. It's been more of a study in "wishy-washy," under the back-to-back vacuity of the Clinton and Bush Administrations. We've bumped along more or less intact, government of course has continued its unchecked growth in size, expense and its progressive elimination of rights (pun intended,) but we've maintained a kind of uneasy continuity. Rand identified that phenomenon as: coasting along on remnants of the principled structures of the past. Also not much of a stable foundation for a robust civilization.

But 2008 is a Presidential election year, and this time a situation exists that America hasn't faced before: Our only viable (electable) alternatives for President are three committed collectivists, and at least one of them is steeped in an intellectual sewer of virulent, frothing hatred for the very country he seeks to lead.

By now the rants of Jeremiah Wright are a matter of public record, as is Obama's initial attempt to sweep his twenty-year association with Wright and his church under the rug as a "distraction" over someone he "stands behind." That attempt failed miserably, so following a series of public appearances by Wright over the weekend that culminated in his finding a new 'deep end' to go off of, Obama on Tuesday tried some stronger wording, which got rave reviews from the media (what a shock!) but not quite the same reaction from less-incestuous quarters.

At this point I think we can accurately categorize Wright as an Afro-neo-Nazi and Obama one of his followers, and if that sounds like hyperbole try the standard substitution test:

Imagine a GOP Presidential candidate, say Sam Brownback, having been found to have attended one of those creepy white supremecist churches for twenty years with his family. Imagine him suddenly, after those 20 years, finding reason to denounce that church - at a time that just happens to be seven months before a contentious election. What would you say about his apparent worldview, folksy public persona aside? What would you say about his fitness for the Presidency?

Imagine that same GOP candidate's wife going on record expressing the sentiment that she had never been proud to be an American before "appearances" within a Presidential campaign required it.

Imagine news reports surfacing that that candidate had surrounded himself with violent domestic terrorists - as close personal friends - who for forty years had maintained an explicit hatred of America, a stated desire to destroy it, and who made their names via deadly terrorist bombings committed in the attempt. Imagine that those domestic terrorists had reaffirmed that hatred of America and that commitment to its destruction as recently as a year ago.

Taken as a whole, what would you say about this hypothetical Sen. Brownback's suitability for the position of American President?

So...what of Obama's?

What we have in Obama is a stark contrast between words and deeds, and I don't think it's necessary to spell out which is the indicator of a given person's core beliefs.

He says he is "outraged" and "angered" and "saddened" by Wright's "wrong and destructive" comments. Even if we take him at his word, one inescapable fact looms over the carefully-chosen public pronouncements:

Obama has only found this "outrage" and "anger" and "sadness," has only recognized Wright's neo-Nazi rhetoric as "wrong and destructive," a paltry seven months before a Presidential campaign, only after sustained political backlash, and, again, after a full twenty years of uncritically accepting those same "wrong and destructive" ideas.

Obama can't have it both ways: He is a highly-educated graduate of a prestigious law school. Either he is a closet adherent to the Wright school of racism and hatred of Western Civilization, and is lying to the world about his "not knowing about" Wright's message - or he is, frankly, far too stupid to be holding the post of County Alderman, much less the President of the United States. Again: We are talking about two decades of chosen intellectual immersion in Jeremiah Wright vs. a sudden, pre-election stab at damage control.

Here too is another place where conservatism falls on its face:

The world of conservative punditry has generally granted to Obama the rather absurd leap that he doesn't really agree with anything in Wright's worldview - they're essentially taking him at his word.

I think that the duration of attendance at Wright's institution argues that Obama's worldview corresponds to far more of Wright's spew than he desperately hopes we will believe. His personality is as mild-mannered, guarded and reserved as Wright's is exhibitionistic and bombastic, but a thinking human being does not spend ten minutes in the audience of someone screaming "wrong, destructive and outrageous" neo-fascism. Obama clearly embraced Wright's raving as a deep, "spiritual" element of his family life. Else why, how, could he remain a part of that noxious community?

The philosophic link connecting Obama's strident hard-left worldview and ominous paeans to "change," Wright's (and presumably Obama's,) strident racism, and the broader Left's strident hatred of America and of Western Civilization, is: Collectivism.

That toxic philosophy's sole antidote is: Individualism.

Too bad we don't have an individualist candidate to support.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eco-Fascism as a Corruption of Causality

Now Playing: Red Barchetta, the tale of a post-industrial future from Rush, 1981 - based on the short story "A Nice Morning Drive" by Richard S. Foster.

A few years ago the whole New Age / Environmentalist / Mystic / Totalitarian axis regurgitated a bit of intellectual fraud going by the name of "The Butterfly Effect," which originated as a theory of that name in the early 1960s. It has since spilled into pop culture in dozens of books, films, television shows, "infotainment" and "reality"[sic] programs - and most significantly, into government policy under the aegis of the environmental cult.

It takes a supposed truism about cause and effect, obliterates all contextual - indeed, causal - requirements and declares every minute, inconsequential act as a causal wild card and assumes it to be an imposition on others. This assumption, in turn, is used to "justify" any arbitrary, coercive act government decides it wants to impose.

The concept of an isolated event setting in motion a chain of events that is utterly unexpected, is a tried-and-true formula in fiction - an entertaining example being the recent film 11:14. Causality is certainly a given in life, but it is constrained by the same contextual limits implied in its definition. In short, it requires proof of a cause-effect link - which is singularly, often boastfully(pg. 5,) lacking throughout the entire corpus of "environmentalist" dogma.

The eco-totalitarian cult has seized upon the "Butterfly Effect"'s conceptual elasticity - not to mention the collapse of rationality within American government and law - to extrapolate negative, usually catastrophic, "externalities" for the most innocuous of human actions. The causal wild card proclaims that, since the most subtle of actions, from moving about within the fluid of atmosphere to respiration itself, allegedly "impacts" others, then every human action - indeed, our very existence - is fair game for coercive control by government.

Thus we have seen the standard - even justifiable, on occasion - laws governing tangible externalities of heavy industry, expanded through the realm of the ridiculous into the area of the openly arbitrary (read: fascistic.) It's the same deterioration we've had as a kind of preview in the last two decades, in the Litigation Lottery phenomenon.

The cause (pun if you want one,) is the same for each: the ejection of reason from law.

The litigation lottery stories are infamous: $3 million awards for "inadequate warning" might be hot; the judge who sued his drycleaners for $67 million for...misplacing his pants; the phone company sued by an accident victim who happened to be in one of their phone booths when a car crashed into it; the suicidal New Yorker who sued the city for the subway's failure to kill him after he jumped; the New York snakebite victim who narrowly avoided a suit by "environmental authorities" for killing the snake that bit him, etc.

Eco-fascists are busily integrating that same lunacy into laws purporting to "protect the environment":

- In January of this year, the State of California Energy Commission inserted a shocking bit of Orwell into an obscure section of the California building codes. It would mandate, by 2009, something called a "PCT" or "Programmable Communicating Thermostat" in all new residential buildings. What that device would do is place the control of your home's temperature in the hands of State bureaucrats. That's right: picture a DMV employee remotely controlling how much air conditioning you'll get in July, and how much heat you'll get in mid-January. As Joseph Somsel puts it:

"In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course."

Jon Christian Ryter elaborates:

"It turns out the PCT is a universal thermostat. Not only will it regulate the temperature in the home, it can also determine when power is allocated to other receptacles in the home—appliances the State doesn't think you need to run during peak hours—your water heater, washing machine and dryer, and your dishwasher. Big Brother, after all, always knows best."

So far I've been unable to find information as to whether or not this thing has actually passed into law. Update feedback encouraged.

- Los Angeles' corrupt city officious are boasting loudly about their plans to impose an entire new layer of Orwellian regulation to all new development, under the breathless headings of "Historic Front" in the "Battle Against Global Warming." Yesterday, LA Mayor Antonio VivaLaRaza loudly and proudly signed into law a new ordinance that will force all new development to conform to a "standard" cooked up by something called the "US Green Building Council," listed simply as "a Washington-based nonprofit organization." Rest(?) assured, similar laws are being developed across the country for imposition on your town, which means: on you.

- The European Union, that Petri dish of toxic political atrocities, has announced it will apply the all-purpose abracadabra of "carbon emissions" to the problem of sparse funding, via an imposition of quotas on carbon dioxide emissions on airlines. If standard trends apply, the same will happen in America shortly - and inexpensive air travel, not to mention half a dozen current airline companies, will be things of the past, or of "A better, vanished time," as Professor Peart once put it.

- The incandescent light bulb has been officially driven into Black Market territory, at least as of 2014. At that time light bulb manufacturers will be required, at gunpoint, to curtail production of incandescent bulbs, and we will all be forced to use flourescent tube bulbs that a.) give off harsh yet weak light that most of us would deem unsuitable for a garage, much less living areas, and b.) which contain toxic substances like mercury - a bizarre irony that belies the "environmental" agenda's ostensible concern for "the environment" and indicates, rather, the priority of stomping on capitalism and individual liberty. Is it too much of a stretch to assume that by 2024 the same eco-totalitarians will have banned electric light altogether, in favor of "wholesome, organic candlelight?"

- They have already intruded all the way into our restrooms - "low-flow" toilets were mandated by government in 1992 and that mandate is now a reality, admirable attempts to abolish it notwithstanding; Last year erstwhile singer and "environmental activist" Sheryl Crow...ermm...floated the idea of "a limitation...on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."

- As economist George Reisman has reported, in addition to all of the above, the environmental cult now has clothes dryers, hot water, central heating, lawn mowers, elevators and who knows what else in its crosshairs.

The equation is simple and deadly: If anything and everything human beings do in the course of ordinary life can be defined as harmful to others, with no proof required in support of the proposition, then coercive government control of any and every aspect of human life can be justified in binding law, arbitrarily.

The environmentalist cult, in short, is a watershed in the imposition of neo-fascism. It must be opposed - openly, unapologetically, vigorously, and relentlessly. Our lives literally depend on it. As Rand once pointed out, it is often enough simply to register opposition in any situation in which your silence can be construed as acceptance. The simple assertion of disagreement confers a vital judgment on the corrupt idea and plants the seed of self-doubt in the mind of that corrupt idea's supporters. Just do it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Industrial Revolution Day 2008!

Now Playing: Voyager by RonMon, from the Gamma 2 album - a must-listen after finishing an episode of the excellent "Deadliest Catch" from Discovery - a celebration of productivity, as it happens...

Just the facts, Ma'am:

1. If you didn't have access to a.) your kitchen, b.) a grocery store, or c.) a restaurant, for something like three weeks, you'd starve to death. Think about it and test the theory - just stop eating for a day or two and see how long you can stand it.

2. Every living entity faces the constant alternative of remaining alive or dying, every waking and sleeping moment.

3. Every living entity has a means of survival that is specific to its nature; if it wishes to remain alive, it must take action to do so in a manner that is consistent with its nature.

4. No living entity can survive on a consistent basis by using the means of a lower creature - a moth can't survive by the same means as a paramecium; an aardvark can't survive by the same means as a moth.

5. Man's specific method of survival is: Reason applied via production. Man survives precisely by taking what he finds in nature and altering it to suit his needs, via a process of reason.

6. A systematic destruction of man's freedom to alter nature, logically and practically means the destruction of man's ability to remain alive.

The systematic destruction of man's freedom to alter nature is a basic but accurate description of the operative principle behind something called the "environmental" movement.

Its most recent tool in destroying man's means of survival is a hypothesis called "global warming," which predicts a rise in global temperatures that is allegedly the result of human activity, and which will allegedly result in worldwide catastrophe.

Various scientists have both promoted the hypothesis and refuted refuted refuted refuted refuted refuted refuted it. (Stuck keys - 'sorry.)

What is clear, beyond the utter lack of consensus on the hypothesis, is that it has already been employed in the drastic confiscation of man's freedoms to act in the furtherance of his life.

- As you read this, the price of petroleum, the lifeblood of industrial civilization, has been driven through the roof by a de facto grant of non-competition in perpetuity by the United States to the OPEC monopoly - which latter has been documented as having transferred oil sales proceeds into the bank accounts of the Islamic terrorists who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and who have been at war with America and Western Civilization ever since.

That constriction of oil production throughout America is the consequence of legislation that essentially transforms the natural resources of the North American continental shelf into a kind of de facto, quasi-religious shrine to the "environmental" movement.

The explosion in the cost of fuel has in turn driven up costs in virtually every aspect of every economy worldwide, driving those economies into recession.

- Countless proposals are being hatched, also as you read this, to impose a blizzard of coercive government controls, regulations, restrictions and bans on countless elements of human life - from the vehicles we use for transportation, to the foods we eat, to the very dwellings in which we live, to the electric light bulbs we use, to the to the planes we fly, to the way wash machines wash our clothing (we're already forced to marinate it in the previous person's waste water,) to the quantity of toilet paper we ought to be "allowed" to use(!)

The "global warming" hypothesis has also opened the floodgates for a deluge of "justifications" for new taxes. Since the Climate Armageddon hypothesis states that the 5% of "greenhouse gases" that is carbon dioxide will nonetheless be labeled the primary cause of the hypothetical "warming," carbon emissions are to be taxed. Not coincidentally, emitting carbon is a natural, inescapable byproduct of human life - of all mammalian life, for that matter. There are currently no proposals to impose taxes on non-human gas emitters however, to the vast relief of the world's herbivores...

So what the Climate Armageddon industry represents, in vivid yet somehow overlooked clarity, is merely a post-Soviet political repackaging of anti-capitalism, and more deeply, an assault on humanity per se.

And that is all that it is.

So today on Industrial Revolution Day, say a silent "Thank You" - to every smokestack, power plant, steel mill, railroad, tailpipe, logging crew, oil tanker, fishing fleet, 18 wheeler, airliner, family farm, factory farm, oil refinery, offshore platform, gas pump, power line, freeway, SUV, cow pasture, skyscraper, fast-food joint, television set, backyard barbeque, incandescent bulb, tobacco field, ski resort, subdivision, McMansion, and, oh yes: kitchen, grocery store and restaurant that's keeping you alive and thriving as a human being.

And tell any starry-eyed, greenshirt neo-totalitarian that goose-steps across your path today, to go straight to hell.

Further reading:

"The Arithmetic of Environmentalist Devastation," by Pepperdine University economist George Reisman, Ph.D.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Slavery Day vs. Tax Freedom Day - April 23

Now Playing: Nothing - Oh-dark-hundred again and can't sleep

Today is officially the day we all line up and pay our forced homage to that vast, bloated, slobbering, oppressive pig that our once-limited government has become - no thanks to President George "W-for-What's-A-Veto?" Bush, the RINOs ousted from Congress in '06, and of course the ever-constant Democrat-Socialists. As we sit here, two of the latter are struggling for the power to impose an even heavier load on the already-crushing burden we're paying today, while the alleged Republican candidate is poised to dump repackaged Marxism on us in the form of the faith-based "global warming" ideology.

According to the Tax Foundation, this year's Tax Freedom Day - the day at which your annual Indentured Servitude to the IRS ends and you officially start keeping what you've earned - falls on April 23, a week from tomorrow. The celebrated - and mostly meaningless - tax rebate checks have reportedly pushed the date up three days from the 2007 date. That's cold comfort in the face of 113 days - nearly four full months - of what is essentially slavery imposed on us annually.

Contemplate that fact in context of alleged "Republican" candidate John McCain's constant, career-long agitation for mandatory "national service" and his campaign's regurgitation of the socialist ethic of "serving a cause greater than yourself."

Note to candidate McCain: Read the Declaration of Independence. You know, that important-looking sheet of old paper they have under glass at the National Archives. In it, you'll discover an ideological mandate for a complete break with the centuries of self-sacrificial muck that had preceded it - and toward which you seek to drag us by force. We're currently your slaves for 113 days out of the 365/6 every year. How many more would be "enough" self-sacrificial duty in your eyes?

The individual's right to his life, to his liberty, to the pursuit of his happiness (i.e., the right to produce and to keep, by right, the property that is the consequence of production) context of politics, there is no cause greater than this. At least not according to this nation's Founders.

Self-sacrificial duty to some "cause greater than yourself," on the other hand, has been the ethical foundation for every single one of the most evil and deadly collectivist regimes in human history. Pick your "greater cause": For the Bolsheviks, it was "the dictatorship of the proletariat"; for the Nazis it was "der Volk" and "Common Good Before Individual Good"; for today's Islamofascists, it's "submit or die"; for today's Ecofascists, it's "Are you ready to change the way you live?" - with the unspoken implication "If not, we will make you." Not surprisingly, McCain has officially drunk the "global warming" Kool-Aid.

What America's political climate (pun if you want one,) desperately needs at this point in history is a reaffirmation of individualism - of the sovereign rights of individuals to their own lives - and of a government limited to the just role of defending that right.

As opposed to violating it with impunity while clamoring for yet more loot.