Biden Plagiarizes McCain

Friday, September 19, 2008

At first, it astounded me, although it should not have, that Barack Obama selected as his running mate Joe Biden, whose own 1988 presidential campaign was ended by a plagiarism scandal. Furthermore, by all appearances, this is one dog that, like "a thousand generations" of dogs before it, can't learn new tricks, as Joe Biden himself -- I mean Neil Kinnock -- might put it.

One of the many flaws of John McCain, who heads the Democratic Vice President's opposing ticket, is that he confuses national servitude with individual voluntarism. Alex Epstein put this well last year:

The logical end road of the belief that you have a duty to serve the nation is legislation that forces you to do so--i.e., compulsory national service. Like Time magazine, Senators John McCain and Evan Bayh, who introduced the Call to Service Act in 2003, think that "national service should one day be a rite of passage for young Americans." But there is only one way to make national service a "rite of passage": by government coercion. McCain has long favored compulsory national service, but laments that it "is not currently politically practical." Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution has proposed that every 18-year-old be forced to perform one year of compulsory service. This is nothing less than involuntary servitude of the youth in the land of the free. [minor format edits, bold added]
McCain never tells us how it is that a period of servitude will prepare the young to live lives as free men.

And add Joe Biden to the list of politicians who wish to tread on the last embers of freedom in America while whistling "Yankee Doodle":
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. In a new TV ad that repeats widely debunked claims about the Democratic tax plan, the Republican campaign calls Obama's tax increases "painful." [bold added]
It is bad enough that essentially the entire body politic takes government confiscation of property for granted as acceptable, which it is not. What is worse is that Biden is, like McCain, (1) selling a government coerced act as a virtue of altruistic morality -- while (2) ignoring the fact that coerced acts have no moral import whatsoever, (3) evading the demonstrable fact that acting in one's own self-interest (as the Founding Fathers did when they volunteered to fight the British at great personal expense and risk) is demonstrably the moral thing to do, and (3) helping to further set in stone the pernicious, anti-American notion that the government is the guardian of public morality. What is scandalous beyond belief is that none of this so much as raises a brow of the average voter.

Joe Biden is, obviously, not actually guilty of my rhetorical charge of plagiarism, although I wish that were his only sin. But if he and all the other major candidates in the upcoming presidential race seem as if they might as well be, it is because they all subscribe to the same, wrong, moral code. That is, they attach nobility to human sacrifice. Worse still, they all threaten to force America -- the land of the free! -- to endure the consequences of living by this idea by means of a collectivistic, anti-freedom political agenda, that differs between the two major tickets only in the details of its implementation.

What is supremely ironic about all these flag-wrapped calls to self-immolation is that it would be patriotic, and in the proper sense, for Americans to donate money, time, and effort to America -- but only if America consistently protected individual rights, meaning that she never forced anyone to do so! Just look at how the Founding Fathers acted as they rebelled from the tyranny of the British, and why they did so.

As Joe Biden -- I mean Neil Kinnock -- might put it, I wish I were among the first of a "thousand generations" of Americans to see freedom wax rather than wane in my lifetime. I will continue to work to see that happen, but I do not labor under the illusion that either Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin will help this happen. Appearances to the contrary, these tickets are carbon copies of each other.

-- CAV


Dismuke said...

"Voluntary" national service for young people always makes me think of the Hitler Youth. It too was "voluntary" before it became mandatory.

And even aside from the involuntary servitude aspects of it, right-wingers who are for this - well, who the heck do they think will actually run such an endeavor? It will be Stalinists and Leftists, of course. Eventually it will end up becoming nothing more than a mandatory ideological training ground for the Left, more so than even the public schools because, with 18 year olds, the officials and bureaucrats in charge no longer have to contend with protests of parents. And what sort of "public service" projects will they perform? Perhaps helping unfortunate people - i.e., Democrats - make their way to the polls on election day? Voter registration drives - aimed at Democratic voters? Patrols down residential streets to see who is conforming to water use and recycling guidelines and who might be still using illegal stashes of incandescent light bulbs at night? Even if the thing were voluntary, it has a very VERY statist ring to it.

BTW - the very WORST sort of scheme for "voluntary" service was put forth in the early 1990s by William F. Buckley who proposed "voluntary" national service. It was strictly "voluntary" mind you - it was just that anyone who chose not to "volunteer" would not be allowed to have a drivers' license or Social Security number, which Buckley considered to be a "privilege" and not a right. Imagine trying to find gainful employment in most parts of the country without a drivers' license. Imagine trying to find any sort of legal employment at all without a social security number. But apart from that, everything in his proposal was completely voluntary, mind you. That was when I realized that William F. Buckley was an utter idiot and certainly no friend of freedom. That this guy was not laughed out of the conservative movement for that one thing alone shows just how myopic, corrupt and bankrupt that movement is as a whole. And McCain is worse intellectually than the average conservative.

Gus Van Horn said...

Excellent point, and something that many conservatives, in their foolish circling-of-the-wagons around McCain are failing to consider.

Richard said...

"...paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans"

Of COURSE it is! What are you thinking? It is as if you were one of those freakin Randian cultists.

You wealthy Randian bastards wouldn't have a penny if it weren't for the American System, where the poor are working themselves to death for you capitalist gougers.

You wealthy jerks don't give a damn about the poor guy who works away his whole life for you, so long as you can get your big bucks and fancy yacht on the Chesapeake. You take your fancy jet trips to the Mediterranean and then come back to have little 'chats' with Dick Cheney and that Randian Libertarian Alan Greensspan. Then Dick, Alan, and his buddies in Washington give you a few more OIL bucks to keep you going.

Meanwhile you pretend you can't let the little guy take a couple more weeks to pay off the mortgage on his home so he can look after his wife and kids! Instead, YOU declare bankruptcy and take freakin' tax money, paid by the workers, so you can keep on raping the same workers... and take another trip to the Mediterranean.

You guys are all the same: let the little guy rot to hell, so long as you can squeeze him for another buck.

Oh, sh_t! Scratch that. I was reading DailyKos and forgot to think for myself.

Gus Van Horn said...

Cute, but I wouldn't call Alan Greenspan a "Randian" even in jest. He is arguably a big part of the current financial "meltdown", but inarguably NOT an adherent to or proponent of Ayn Rand's ideas -- as I mention here from time to time.

Richard said...

Hey Gus, it was ALL sarcasm, really! :-).

Greenspan's Subjectivism was suspected in his mere choice to run the Fed. His subsequent actions increasingly proved it, —even as 'we' gave him the benefit of the doubt, while rather hoping he faced bureaucratic and political conditions of which we could not be aware.

Gus Van Horn said...

"Greenspan's Subjectivism was suspected in his mere choice to run the Fed."

Suspected by whom? Some of Rand's fans who, for whatever reason, gave him the benefit of the doubt even as he chose a career as a central banker? People who don't know the first thing about Objectvism or even Capitalism?

You seem to have missed my point: Greenspan has done enough on his own to help people who oppose Ayn Rand's ideas appear to discredit them. Why help him?