Monday, February 28, 2005

Words from an exile

Girl on the Right lead me to this post (Thanks to our halcyon Canadian friend). I was going to write something more about what is wrong with public education, but the Exile already did. Here are some exceprts, but you should just read the whole thing; its fun:

Exile from Hillary's Village
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s a lot of people got out of going to Vietnam by going to college. ... a very large number of those people weren’t just afraid of being killed in the war but were actively against it. In other words, they were liberals.

At some point (I don’t think that it was planned) they realized that they had the whole next generation of America sitting in front of them. They realized that these kids’ heads were empty. They realized that they had the perfect opportunity to stuff these empty heads with their own views and, therefore, shape the thinking of an entire generation, who would go on to teach the next generation, and so on until critical mass was achieved and communism was realized in America without the use of one evil, icky gun.

And there you have the American Public Education System ...

In a government union everybody is in the union. Think about that. In all other unions, things are negotiated between Management and Labor and they come up with a “fair” settlement. In a government union they’re all in the union. Not much negotiation there, is there? Both sides just say, “We want more”...

I drove by my old high school last spring and, on the school’s message sign it said, “Congradulations” to the seniors. I shit you not. It should be “Congratulations” to those of you who have been in the public school system lately....
I add only this message of hope: I believe that as the Vietnam generation ages and retires, the ideological monopoly that they have over our education system will weaken.

Academic freedom is not absolute.

Most of us understand the need for academic freedom, but many do not understand that this freedom is not absolute. Here is the text from the Laws of the Regents at University of Colorado which addresses its own rules explaining the restraint imposed on academic freedom [emphasis added]:

5.D.1 Intent and Definition

(B) For this purpose, “academic freedom” is defined as the freedom to inquire, discover, publish and teach truth as the faculty member sees it, subject to no control or authority save the control and authority of the rational methods by which truth is established.

(C) Within the bounds of this definition, academic freedom requires that members of the faculty must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research, and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others. The students likewise must have freedom of study and discussion. The fullest exposure to conflicting opinions is the best insurance against error.

5.D.2 Faculty Responsibility

(A) Faculty members have the responsibility to maintain competence, exert themselves to the limit of their intellectual capacities in scholarship, research, writing, and speaking; and to act on and off the campus with integrity and in accordance with the highest standards of their profession. While they fulfill this responsibility, their efforts should not be subjected to direct or indirect pressures or interference from within the university, and the university will resist to the utmost such pressures or interference when exerted from without.

(C) The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject, but should be careful not to introduce into teaching controversial matter that has no relation to the subject.

(D) Faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and members of the academic leadership of an educational institution. When speaking or writing as citizens, they should be free from university censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As faculty members however, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and institution by their utterances. Hence faculty members should be accurate at all times, should exercise appropriate restraint and show respect for the opinions of others, and when speaking or writing as private citizens should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

OK, Ward Churchill violates at least two of these laws. His crazed, irresponsible, wildly wrong, grossly offensive, tangential speech is not protected under academic freedom. (It is protected under the First Amendment since it does not directly cause the suffering of others.) If he is punished in some way for his comments, it will not be because of his politics. It will be because he has violated the terms of his academic contract.

With rights come responsibilities. In this case, the abandonment of the latter forfeits the former.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Politics and Peppers

Wizbang: "The fact that Republicans don't always practice what modern conservatism preaches leave them vulnerable to an effective opponent. The problem is that the liberalism espoused by Democrats isn't really an alternative"

This comment
by Dave of The Glittering Eye is worth noting:
I think that this is making things way too complicated. The Democratic Party is having a problem on the national level because it is the party of Fordism. Fordism isn't, strictly speaking, socialism. It's the American response to socialism. Fordism is the combination of mass production, mass consumption, and intervention by government “experts” in management, labor, production, and consumption to keep the system in order.

The problem is that Fordism is collapsing everywhere under the combination of globalism and the intrinsic complications of the system itself. The machine is just too big and too complex for any expert to manage it effectively.
First, I don't see how this simplifies anything. Second, when we talk about Leftism/liberalism we mean it in a general way specifically to include socialism and its softer cousins like Fordism and Keynesism, etc.

The problem with Liberals is precisely that they do not see the connection between these softer forms and Socialism proper. One benefit of American Conservative political philosophy is that it rejects these forms on principle.

Still, it is a good point and we should remember the distinction. Plus, Dave knows a Scotch Bonnet when he sees one, so he's probably right.
[edit: see comments]

Moral Time Travel and the Futility of Liberalism

Maverick Philosopher: "Identifying goodness with rational desirability is like identifying truth with rational acceptability. In both cases, relativism results."

I sure don't want to get in the middle of the debate going on over at Maverick's place (I could not keep up anyway), but I was thinking about what "rational" means in this context. I've always been bothered by the demand of the perfect rational observer. What good does it do to say that if you knew all the facts of a situation you could choose the good? If you mean to say that a real person could actually know all the facts, then you're nuts and otherwise you get relativism.

I think that when we say "rational and informed" what we really mean is our future self. Humans exist and act in time. There is a real, unchangeable past to inform us. Our present will be our past and that past will inform us whether we acted rightly or not. We know that that future will come and that our future will judge us. There is no need to imagine some perfect rational observer; we need only await him.

Liberals have refused to judge their past and therefore are now incapable of moral decision making. Liberalism is inherently incapable of morality anyway. They like to call themselves Progressives and this is the problem. They look to the future when they should remember the past. The history of humanity informs us that there is an unchanging human nature. Liberals believe that they can change mankind into a nobler creature (oddly they try to do this by shitting all over human dignity). Conservatives accept human nature for what it is and go about trying to improve our character.

History has placed The Left in the ash heap. If Liberals would accept that fact, they could join us in the truly noble effort of spreading prosperity and freedom to the rest of the world.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Wizbang is a reformed Liberal too

Wizbang: "So now, like a newly sober drunk or a reformed smoker, I'm pretty hard-core. I now see that one side really is a bunch of cultists. -- But it is the left. And it annoys me that so many otherwise rational people will spout utter nonsense because the cult leaders tell them to."

He had basically the exact same experience I did. My Father whom I had always thought was Republican, but who is, in fact, a raving mad anti-Republican (quote: "all republicans should be lined up and shot") told me to listen to Rush because he was a great entertainer. I too listened with all the intent of mocking him, but over time my efforts to prove him wrong failed and I realized that he made sense. Wizbang put it exactly right; the Left is a cult. I was a member just like he was and just like him I have been deprogrammed. I did the hard work of self examination and forced myself to admit that I was very deeply wrong in my own thinking and my world view. Just like him, I am annoyed, no, angry at those who refuse to do the same work.

You see, the problem is that Leftist thinking is not just another point of view; it is an evil point of view. I don't mind different ideas. Indeed, I actually enjoy heated debate. Among conservatives there is strong and vigorous debate as a matter of course. But, there are some ideas which we all should know are wong. We should not, for example, debate whether it is right to enslave other humans. We have all learned that lesson. There are many other lesson which we have learned through the years. Many of them form the basic ideology of America in the Delaration and Bill of Rights. The Left, though, refuses to learn some of these lessons. Like a teenager who wants to have his cake and eat it too, they say they are for free speech, but are in the habit of restricting it whenerver they don't like it. They pretend that they understand that our country has enemies, but refuse to stand up to them with anything resembling strength. They call themselves Democrats, but don't understand the nature of democray, nor why our founders rejected it.

The consequence of their refusal to learn these lessons is that they enact policies that are immoral. It is immoral, no to mention nonsensical, to take my money by force and give it to another in the name of charity. Worse, it turns out that when the government, as opposed to the citizenry, gives money to the poor, it destroys their life and the lives of those around them. That is so patenly obvious that even some Democrats, like Clinton, joined Newt to enact Welfare reform. My problem is that many Liberals refuse to learn from this experience. But, this issue is small potatoes compared to the anti-Americanism which has infected virtually all the ideas on the Left. The rest of us learned that capitalism and American values are the greatest forces for good in the world. Somehow, the Left continues to feel that American values are the problem. By rejecting the very ideas that allow prosperity, they ensure poverty and human suffering throughout the world.
Yes, it was difficult to admit that the moral relativism and Leftism/Liberalism which I espoused has caused the deaths and suffering of millions. It was hard to correct my thinking, to admit that I was wrong, to actually listen to what the Right had to say, to engage the debate honestly instead of using rhetoric and sohpistry to make myself feel good, but I did it. So did Wizbang and so have Hitchens, Dennis Miller, Cinnamon Stillwell and countless others. The fact is that anyone can do it and that is why I have a real problem with those who have not.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Killington, VT wants to secede and join New Hampshire

OK, so what do you do when your representatives will not vote the way you want and the rest of the state has discovered that they can just take your money? Well, you move. Its a free country, right? What if you are a whole town?

The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 24-Feb-05 - House panel recommends talks with Vt. on Killington:

Now, this is fun. Wizbang mentioned it last July, but it is in the news here again. You can view a peice on this from NH Outlook if you have REALBLOATAudio. (I don't so I don't know what is there.)

Liberals have been driving people away for years. Now they are driving whole towns away. Still they will not admit that it might be their own fault

Victor Davis Hanson at Dartmouth:

The Dartmouth Review: Victor Davis Hanson v. Ronald Edsforth

After VDH made a considered and correct argument in support of the Iraq war he had to sit through the standard response of non sequiturs like
"By invading Iraq ... the United States has abandoned its own democratic ideology and gone “down the slippery slope to militarism” and become “willing to delegate to our commander in chief the powers of a king.”
and, of course, the Dartmouth prof. had to protest too much:
Professor Edsforth presented himself as a “peace activist” and not a pacifist—pacifists abhor all wars, while activists oppose some and support others. He approved of the 2001 Afghan campaign but not the attack on Serbia in 1999. He said “all war is mass murder” and that wars bring out man’s “instinct to kill, our delight in torture.
I always like it when somebody reveals something about their own proclivities by accusing others of them.
There was one pertinent response
Taking a rigorous [I'm sure the author of this piece meant staunch or the like] stand against preemptive war, Professor Edsforth said democracy is not something that can be forced onto a population—“it comes from within and it is unlikely to be imposed from without.” Instead, democracies can only form as they did recently in Ukraine, based on a popular uprising against the authoritarian leadership. Edsforth sought to apply this rule to Iraq, saying that Western powers should have simply awaited Saddam Hussein’s death and then formented [sic] revolution; this, he said, would be far less costly in blood and treasure. As a result of the coalition’s 2003 invasion, he said Iraq “is in no condition to function normally for years to come.”
I said that it was pertinent, not that it was worthwhile. This "democracy can not be imposed from without" argument is common too. What is interesting to me is that is exposes how deeply confused the Left is. Democracy by its very nature really can not be imposed at all. This is what Bush means when he says that Freedom is God's gift to all mankind. This is what our Founders meant by
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Of course, what they mean to say is that America should not impose Western values -- this is really just anti-western sentiment divorced from any real argument about politics or foreign policy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wead does the Right thing; so should we.

AP Wire | 02/23/2005 | Author regrets secretly taping Bush talks

I love this story. First, the tapes made Bush look great. Then, the guy admits that he was wrong and tries to right this wrong.

I welcome this guy back into the fold. Yes, he made a stupid, disgusting, weaselly Liberal type mistake, but he publicly admitted his wrong and is activeily seeking to do the right thing. What more could we ask? He is setting the perfect example. We should do the same in our forgiveness and embrace him again. Everybody makes mistakes; few admit them and try to right them. This should be praised. Bush himslef was alcoholic and a rather childish man in his past. That does not bother us much because he repudiated that part of his life and now strives after the good. Let us join Wead in condemning his behavior and let us join him in his effort to reform.

Perhaps the Left will learn what true compassion really is.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Greenpeace, Liberalism, and Maturity

The Independant
Greenpeace campaigners, not a group of people unaccustomed to flying in the face of danger, were forced into a tactical retreat yesterday after feeling the wrath of angry oil traders.

On the day the Kyoto Protocol came into force, 35 eco-warriors stormed the Interna- tional Petroleum Exchange [IPE] in the City. Armed with fog horns, rape alarms and whistles they tried to stall business by creating a deafening noise that made it impossible for the traders to work. But the campaigners, who took ear plugs to hand out to traders, appear to have underestimated the hostility from their intended victims.

One demonstrator described how "all hell broke loose" on the trading floor: "We were actually getting battered. We weren't fighting back, which makes it even worse." Greenpeace's executive director, Steven Tindale, said: "They kind of pinned us into the corner, there were a couple of dozen around us. We were non-violent and peaceful and we made it clear that's what we were there for but there were quite a few blows raining down on our heads.

"They pulled a metal bookcase down on our heads. They were trying to use that to push us back out so that was the moment we decided to retreat."

He said he was shocked. "They weren't interested in our message, they just laid into us. They were swearing at us, it wasn't very subtle. Everyone who goes on a Greenpeace action is trained in non-violent direct action, so we know not to respond, although a few swear words may have come from ourselves."
This is a perfect example of what is wrong with the Left. They think and act like teenagers. Think of the audacity and stupidity contained in the statement, "they weren't interested in our message." What a joke. Greenpeace actions are never about the message; they are about the action.

Sure, one can argue that the traders are guilty of escalating the situation. Personally, I have no problem with confrontational escalation and I think the law is wrong to demand that we withdraw from these situations. Of course, if society actually punished Greenpeace for their obnoxious and unlawful behavior, citizens would not feel compelled to act in their own interest. But, since they continue to get away with childish behavior they will continue to do it -- just like teenagers.

Everyone knows you can't tell a teenager anything. First, they don't know much and second they do not know how to think. They are easily distracted and overly emotional. It is a wonder that they ever grow up. In fact, many do not ever grow up. Those people are called Liberals. The rest of us who have matured into adults are called conservatives (or sometimes libertarians, but not the whacko libertarians).

What is it that quickens this maturity? It is certainly not just political or academic debate. This is disappointing because it means that we can never actually affect a Liberal with argument. Instead, I think, we must wait until the world quickens them for us with a 9/11 or a Jimmy Carter or some personal event. Then when they have been awakened from the dogmatic slumber we can help them form their own adult character. This is how it happened for me and for others that I know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Bloggosphere as Equalizer

I like the gun rights slogan "God made man and woman, Samuel Colt made them equal".

In the world of newsmedia, the main stream media is man. The general public is woman. The bloggosphere makes them equal.

Knoweledge is the bullet we citizens fire through the bloggosphere shattering the MSM half-truths. An armed citizenry cannot be taken over.

Down with CNN! Down with CBS News! Viva la bloggosphere!!! Power to the people!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pax TV was interesting for 5 minutes; abortion and Exodus

Faith Under Fire with Lee Strobel Episode #104

I was flipping channels and the name of a guest on this show caught my eye. Her name is Peggy Loonan -- No kidding. She is president of Life and Liberty for Women, a pro-abortion group. Anyway here is her position. Note especially this part:

4. In Exodus 21:22-25 God leaves no ambiguity that for him a born woman's life is paramount to [sic] that of an unborn fetus's [sic] life through all nine months of pregnancy.

Her reading of the passage and her quite uninformed interpretation of it makes a strong case for censorship. Honestly, people like her and Ward Churchill really test my libertarian instincts. Now, some have argued that Churchill and other useful idiots are not fully protected under the First Amendment just as one is not protected when falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater. This may actually apply to the anti-American crowd, but, sadly there is no way to prevent Peggy the Loon from spreading stupidity and willful ignorance.

Here is the much more rigorous argument made against her reading. [also here]

OK, I know many of you do not actually follow the links so I will make a summary.

The Hebrew of this passage does not support the pro-choice reading even though some translations might. 1) There are Hebrew verbs which would read the way the Loon wants, i.e. miscarriage, but here the verb is the normal verb for birthing a living thing. 2) The word used for the embryo/baby is the common word used for all children despite the availability of a word like embryo.

So a proper reading yields a passage that suggests the exact opposite of the Loony reading. Exodus is not talking about unborn fetuses it is talking about premature birthing of children. So this part of the Bible at least indicates that abortion would be wrong, indeed punishable by death, for any embryo which could be removed and survive.

I don't care about this from some religious sensibility. This offends my intellectual sensibility. She may not know how to do research or textual analysis, but since 1995 the NASB has translated it right (again here). Surely she can read English.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Where have we been? AND Thanks to Churchill

My mother had open heart surgery three weeks ago today. I went down to Knoxville to take care of her for the two week recovery and was quite busy there with her and other business. Since my mother is also Late Bloomer's (formerly Ben and Clover) mother-in-law she came down for a week or so two and since we are nearly the only contributors who contribute the blog lay stagnant. I have a bit of domestic catching up to do, but soon we should be back in form.

Now, we should thank Churchill for his recent stupid comments. He has exposed exactly the problem on the left and the problem on our campi. Let him rage on. Americans will not stand for him. His anger and stupidity will drive more people to vote conservative. The government can not and should not do anything against him for it. He has no right to his job, though he may be protected by tenure. Parents and students may just refuse to take his class and his job might just vanish.

It seems that he may be a fraud anyway. If you say ridiculous crap and then it turns out you are a liar, you should expect people to punish you, not for being ridiculous, but for being a liar.