Quick Roundup 233

Monday, September 03, 2007

Afghan ... Fucking ... Goatherds?!?!

Galileo Blogs comments that, "Our Christian President has imposed these rules [of 'engagement'] on our soldiers," as he points to a Washington Times article by Diana West that should be required reading for those of us who favor defeating Islamic totalitarians.

Although she does not explicitly blame the religion, Ms. West recounts how Christianity, as put into practice on the battlefield, directly led to the needless sacrifice of nineteen American patriots:

[T]he SEAL team was unexpectedly discovered in the early stages of a mission whose success, of course, depended on secrecy. Three unarmed Afghan goatherds, one a teenager, had stumbled across the Americans' position.

This presented the soldiers with an urgent dilemma: What should they do? If they let the Afghans go, they would probably alert the Taliban to the their whereabouts. This would mean a battle in which the Americans were outnumbered by at least 35 to 1. "Little Big Horn in turbans," as Marcus Luttrell would describe it. If the Americans didn't let the goatherds go -- if they killed them, there being no way to hold them -- the Americans would avoid detection and, most likely, leave the area safely. On a treeless mountainscape far from home, four of our bravest patriots came to the ghastly conclusion that the only way to save themselves was forbidden by the rules of engagement. Such an action would set off a media firestorm, and lead to murder charges for all. [bold added]
Three of these men died, along with sixteen of those sent to extricate them from the attack they received as thanks from the "innocent civilians" whose lives they were forced by their own country to spare.

Read it all, out of respect for these men and for the sake of learning for yourself that liberals at home are not always, as Ms. West points out, the main threat to American lives on the field.

Christian conservatives are basically crucifying our soldiers rather than allowing them to do what they signed up for: defend our country.

Edwards Would Enslave Patients, Too

John Edwards obviously doesn't need me to connect the dots for him to realize that when the government enslaves physicians, the precedent has been set for it to enslave everyone else:
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK."
As an added bonus, notice the total contempt for the opinion of others those last two sentences show. As if anyone is choosing to enter his "universal health care" system. As if one owes something to somebody who points a gun to his head.

I have noted numerous times here that under socialized medicine (and often, under the current semisocialist system), the ability of a physician to practice according to his best medical judgement is severely compromised. Here, that goes for the patient as well!

On top of the universal indignity of citizens being herded into doctor's offices, consider what happens to those who disagree with what the government decrees is proper "preventative medicine". Some drugs have severe side effects (or pose big enough risks for them) that some may find them unacceptable in their particular context. Edwards is (perhaps) only a step away from making it illegal for you to turn down such drugs, to make certain lifestyle choices (e.g., smoking), or even to avoid certain medical procedures!

In that light, I propose the following name for the Edwards plan: MengeleCare.

Having said that, I would add only that MengeleCare is only the most obviously evil plan for socialized medicine so far. Any plan that forces physicians to practice on terms not their own is a violation of individual rights and as such is immoral and is a step towards the same end result.

Two Creeps in the Bathroom

Mark Steyn, between wisecracks, makes a point about the Larry Craig morals scandal that has been conspicuously absent from the public debate:
And so we have the bizarre situation of a United States senator convicted of the crime of brushing his foot and placing his carry-on luggage in the only available space of a men's room stall. Larry Craig feebly accused Sgt. Karsnia of "entrapping" him but, in fact, the officer didn't even need to entrap him into anything other than an allegedly intrusive shoe movement. That's a crime? On the tape, Craig sounds sad and pathetic, a prominent man cornered in a sordid transaction. Yet Karsnia sounds just as weird and creepy: a guy who's paid to sit in a bathroom stall for hours on end observing adjoining ankles. [bold added]
Not to condone Senator Craig's personal dishonesty or marital infidelity, but sexual activity between consenting adults violates nobody's rights and should therefore not be a crime.

[Update: A commenter brings up an issue I should have been explicit about here: There remain valid reasons for the police to have planted an officer in a public restroom and make an arrest like this. These are related to the property rights of the business owner, and not to enforcing Judeo-Christian sexual morality, however.]

Even More Looks at the Fair Tax

This morning, the Inspector and the Software Nerd tipped me off to a couple of in-depth discussions of the proposed Fair Tax over at Objectivism Online. I'm not sure when I'll be able to read them thoroughly, but if it gets enacted as advertised and it does not get watered down or vitiated later, it might warrant heavily qualified support from advocates of capitalism.

Take a look and judge for yourselves.

Regarding threads on Objectivism Online, it is unusual for me to have the time to keep track of them. I appreciate people tipping me off to such discussions, especially when something I say gets the ball rolling, and regardless of whether the people there agree with me.

Political "Spectrum" as Communist Apologists

I am unimpressed both by Pete Seeger's sudden "realization" that Josef Stalin was a butcher and by the following conservative writeup in the New York Sun:
Mr. Seeger continued in his letter to me: "the basic mistake was Lenin's faith in [Party] DISCIPLINE!" He often tells his left-wing audiences, he said, to read Rosa Luxemburg's famous letter to Lenin about the necessity of freedom of speech. And despite all of my criticisms of Mr. Seeger over the years, he ended warmly, saying: "You stay well. Keep on."

I was deeply moved that Mr. Seeger, now in his late 80s, had decided to acknowledge what had been his major blind spot - opposing social injustice in America while supporting the most tyrannical of regimes abroad. [bold added]
Note that Seeger regards Stalin as merely "mistaken" about methods. Ron Radosh then notes that Seeger remains a leftist.

Both men are saying the same thing about Stalin, which is a variant of "I admire his ideals, but oppose his methods." In doing so, both are serving as apologists for communism by implying that it could lead to anything other than a brutal dictatorship (or that it could really be compatible with freedom of speech).

I am grateful that Ayn Rand, who fled for her life from Soviet Russia, noted that one's ends ultimately dictate one's means and, therefore, one's results. Theory and practice are inseparable, because theory guides practice.

I reject the idea that one man's efforts should be expropriated for the sake of another man's life. I admire neither Stalin's methods nor his (or Seeger's or Radosh's) altruist-collectivist ideals.

Josef Stalin was not merely mistaken: He was unspeakably evil.

-- CAV


: Added note to Senator Craig section.
9-4-07: Fixed a typo.


Anonymous said...

Not to condone Senator Craig's personal dishonesty or marital infidelity, but sexual activity between consenting adults violates nobody's rights and should therefore not be a crime.

I think it's the public location that's the problem.

Gus Van Horn said...

Good point. The only problem there should be, properly speaking, is that the owner of the airport (which should not be the government) does not wish such activity to go on on the premises of his business.

This is distinctly different from the government acting as a sort of morals police. I have not dug to the bottom of this story, and can't say for sure which role the police played here now that you bring this up, although I am inclined to think "morals police".

In a fully free society, where the airports were privately owned, you could well get the same end result (ie.., an arrest) in a case like Craig's if customers begin complaining about sexual activity in a men's room.

Dismuke said...

This Craig issue brings to mind a story that I first heard on Paul Harvery News of all places.

A fellow walked into a bathroom, went into an empty stall and sat down to attend to his business. Suddenly, he heard from the next stall a voice saying:

"Hi, there!"

Feeling very awkward, the man mumbled "Uhh. Hi."

"How are you??" asked the voice.

"Uhhhm. I'm fine." the man reluctantly answered.

"What are you doing??" the voice asked

"Well, uhhhm. I'm just uhhh, sitting here." By now the man was extremely uncomfortable.

"Would you like for me to come over??"

"I would rather that you not" the man snapped back.

To which the voice replied, "Listen, honey, I'm going to have to call you back. There's this idiot in the next stall who thinks I'm talking to him."

Dismuke said...

Another thing about the Craig issue. Some of the Leftists in the dinosaur news media are having a field day with this predicting that it means very bad things for Republican Senate races next year.

One article I read stated that Craig's own seat is not likely to go to the Democrats because Idaho is one of the most Republican states there is. But it claimed that it spells likely doom for Republican races in other states because this is the sort of thing that will keep the Republican base home and away from the polls.

Besides being an exercise in wishful thinking, this shows just how much Leftists actually believe in the stereotypes that they attempt to pin on to their enemies.

The stereotype here is that Republicans are a bunch of narrow minded bigots who think they would go to hell if they voted for a gay guy or a guy who wasn't faithful to his wife. Of course, as with all stereotypes, there is an element of truth to it otherwise the stereotype would not work in the first place.

But such analysis goes far beyond the stereotype. It assumes that the vast majority of Republicans are not only bigots, but unbelievably stupid and utterly gullible. According to this analysis, because some Republican politician in Idaho is probably gay and tries to pick up men in airport bathrooms for anonymous sex and will, therefore, spend eternity burning in Hell, that means that any Republican candidate on the ballot in their state is also, by extension, somehow, dirty and tainted by the behavior. This theory holds that unless every single Republican candidate in the country, even ones they have previously never heard of in distant states, are not as pure as the wind driven snow - well, that means that to vote for anyone associated with the party is to fall into a wicked trap set by Satan. So, therefore, rather than vote for a party that somehow wasn't vigilant enough and allowed a pervert to come into its ranks, good homophobic Bible thumping Republicans are going to stay home and allow the White House and Congress to go to a woman they despise who has, herself, been dogged for years by rumors that she is a Lesbian.

The only people I have ever observed who have been that nitpickingly fanatical about punishing their own politicians, consequences be damned, whenever one of them fails to drink the Kool Aid and conform are....well, they have all been radical Lefitists. That is exactly the sort of attitude that you will see among the ranks of the posters at democraticunderground.com about the people on their side who fail to pass muster and live up to their bizarre expectations. And, I assure you, it isn't the Republicans who have to hand out free cigarettes and bottles of Thunderbird and rely on intimidation by union thugs in order to get more of their constituents to turn out at the polls.

So the dinosaur legacy media analysis of this story has not only been an interesting to observe exercise in wishful thinking, it is a great example of psychological projection and illustrates how they have been gullible enough to be unable to distinguish useful stereotypes from reality.

Gus Van Horn said...

RE: the Paul Harvey joke, I was at a departmental get-together in a bar, when a grad student returned, telling about how he started answering some guy in the bathroom ("How are the women?" "I'm having no trouble looking at them.") who turned out to be on his cell phone.

The guy then says, "So when are you going to GET HERE?" I cut in and asked him if the other guy called him "Senator Craig". That was, of course, when the student realized he was answering half of a cell phone conversation.

I consider it remarkably crass to use the cell in the lavatory and flush when I do.

As for your other comment, I think it is pretty well on the mark.

softwareNerd said...

On the "fair tax", Michigan has a proposal for one at the state level. At the State level isn't anywhere the same thing as at the level of the IRS.

Recently, Michigan scrapped it's "single business tax", without an alternative in place. Legislators are coming up with alternatives. One of them is being termed the "fair tax". It has the same characteristics as the proposals at the Federal level:
* Income tax would be scrapped
* Personal-property tax will be scrapped
* Tax money would come from sales-tax (it would go up from 6% to about 9%)
* A check would go to low-income families, so that the tax is not regressive

This proposal is being sold as a way to get businesses into Michigan, since they would not incur taxes (since only consumption gets taxed, not production).

Details here.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the information.

It would have been nice to see how this plays out at the state level before considering it at the federal level, but it's too late for this election.

Adrian Hester said...

Yo, Gus: "enforcing Judeo-Christian sexual morality..." What in politics you might call the lay of wife as a way of life. (Or perhaps not.)

Jim May said...

The one gotcha with doing such things as the "fair tax" at the state level is that while income happens "at home", consumption can happen anywhere. People who live on the Columbia River know all about living in Washington (0% income tax, 7% sales tax) and shopping in Oregon (9% income tax, no sales tax.)

Some states such as California attempt to redress it by means of a "use tax", which is basically the sales tax rate owed on out-of-state purchases. But enforcing that is a nightmare on many fronts, not the least of which is the government invasiveness required for such to be enforced to any degree. (The moral aspect goes without saying).

For "Atlas" junkies, that's the literal "Board of Equalization" we have here in California.

Gus Van Horn said...

It amazes me that either of Washington or Oregon is missing a sales tax or an income tax!

Galileo Blogs said...

States with no state income tax:

South Dakota

New Hampshire and Tennessee only tax dividend and interest income.

States with no sales tax:

New Hampshire

Alaska gets the double honors of no state income tax nor sales tax. Of course, they can only do this because they tax the oil produced in the state. In fact, Alaska hands a check each year to every Alaskan resident representing his "claim" on that oil.

New Hampshire certainly looks good from a tax perspective on the East Coast.

Florida, Texas and Nevada are all high growth states, and states that are missing a state income tax. That's no coincidence!

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for that list, GB.

Probably nearly every state on this list has some way to "make up" for the lost revenue. Texas, for example, uses property taxes and sends appraisers out all the time.

Darren said...

Gus, I thought you might be interested in something I heard recently, with everything you've said about the Fair Tax over the past few days.

I listened to part of the Boortz show recently, and he had the Rep. Linder (the co-author of Boortz's popular fair tax book) on to talk about the fair tax. Linder said that the fair tax was a "voluntary" tax because people paid the tax only when when they volunteered to buy something. Can you believe it?

Gus Van Horn said...

Sure. These are, after all, the same people who call the tax "fair".

Someone left a comment six times as long as my original post and pointed me to a verbose site packed with all sorts of minutiae about the effects of the tax, but refused to answer one simple question on my part: "By what right does the government take my money?" (He tried to leave another equally long comment that had nothing to do with anything I said and I turned it down twice.)

These things, Darren, are both examples of minds unable to think in terms of principles.

Inspector said...

"These things, Darren, are both examples of minds unable to think in terms of principles."

Quite, quite right. I've said it a'fore and I'll say it ag'in: pragmatism is the keystone of American politics. Whatever demons with which we must contend - whether they come from the left or right - it will be pragmatism that puts them in the door.

Gus Van Horn said...

And altruism. How do pragmatists know what "works" save by reference to prevailing standards?

Inspector said...

Got that one on the nose, Gus.