Monday, July 20, 2009
Defense vs. Freedom and Domestic Tranquility?
Mike N of The New Clarion and commenter JG here inform me that Congress is close to passing a major expansion of so-called "hate crime" law as a component of a defense appropriations bill.
Some 45 states have hate crime statutes, and investigations and prosecutions would remain mainly in state and local hands. But the bill provides federal grants to help state and local officials with the costs of prosecuting hate crimes and funds programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles. The federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state does not have jurisdiction or is unable to carry out justice.At this juncture, it is worth noting the double blow against government protection of individual rights this represents, as pointed out long ago in The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds, by Tammy Bruce:
[L]et's say that both of the victims are gay. The grocery-store clerk ... kills his victim because he hates gay people. In the ... carjacking, the guy wants the woman's car, she's in the way and represents everything he hates (he's poor and disenfranchised, she is not), so he hates her and kills her. Whereas the grocery store clerk is still guilty of a hate crime, the carjacker is not, despite the fact that they both killed a gay woman. The actions were the same. The only difference is what the person was thinking when he committed the crime (p. 46).In other words, rather than working to make individuals safe from all crime, Congress has decided to make only certain individuals safer -- if they fall victim to people it deems "guilty" of "hate" (correctly noted to be an emotion by Mike N).
Weasel words about this bill not affecting "protected speech" to the contrary, it would, if passed, result in the exactly such a threat long term, and the short-term siphoning of government attention away from promoting domestic tranquility (i.e., fighting all crime) and the devotion of more on violating our freedom -- all in the name of defending us from foreign aggression.
Veritas de Caritate
Stephen Bourque takes a look at the recent papal encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, and finds that it "is essentially a socialist manifesto," but not before noting how the Pope's open alliance with the left can be helpful to advocates of individual rights:
In martial arts, a basic principle of dealing with two simultaneous attackers is to maneuver oneself so that they are both in view in one direction: in front or to one side. To be confronted by two enemies at once is problem enough, but to be between them is exceptionally difficult - one's attention is split, and it is necessary to continually shift focus from one attacker to the other. It is the same in military affairs. A war is more difficult when it is fought on two fronts. An army's resources are divided and spread thin, and if the attacking enemies have dissimilar natures, an effective repulsion may require different strategies and equipment for each enemy even when one's fundamental defensive principles are constant.Bourque explains further what he means, but a corollary of it is that now is not the time to help those who "defend" capitalism on religious grounds -- or think that religion and capitalism are otherwise compatible -- evade the fact that their ideas are killing capitalism.
Their support does not help us defend capitalism, and every inch of indulgence we grant their unjustified beliefs is that much distance we are placing ourselves closer to attack from both sides.
Walter Cronkite Dies
For a good laugh, we can see how Barack Obama wants to be remembered from his statement about Walter Cronkite's recent investment in agricultural real estate:
"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America," said Obama in a White House statement.Here are a couple of other pieces about Walter Cronkite I learned about through HBL. They're from the right, but still worthwhile. The last quote from the second of these is quite apropos, as it reminds me of the way some religious conservatives like to claim that Christianity is not an ideology, while at the same time demonstrating the even Cronkite knew on some level that his own profession was biased:
"His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged."
"But Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world," said Obama. [bold added]
Everybody knows that there's a liberal, that there's a heavy liberal persuasion among correspondents... Anybody who has to live with the people, who covers police stations, covers county courts, brought up that way, has to have a degree of humanity that people who do not have that exposure don't have, and some people interpret that to be liberal. It's not a liberal, it's humanitarian and that's a vastly different thing.Oh yeah, and it's a good example of the argument from intimidation.
And a deliberate conflation of the concepts of good will and altruism.
Buh-bye, Walter. You're dead. And that's the way it is.
And Speaking of Bad Reporting...
Sandy Szwarc of Junkfood Science has a few interesting notes about a funny thing that happened to a scientific story on the way to the public forum.
The long-awaited research on the effects of calorie restriction on aging in rhesus monkeys from the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin National Primate Research Center have just been released. It found no statistically significant difference in the number of deaths among the monkeys who've been eating a calorie-restrictive diet for more than 20 years compared to the monkeys who've been allowed to eat ad lib all day as much as 20% over their normal calories.No, that's not what made the news, but what Szwarc suggests should have been reported regarding a recent, widely-publicized study.
California vs. Texas
Amit Ghate notes that, "If a particular set of 144,000 people left California -- a state of 38,000,000 inhabitants -- half of its income tax revenue would be lost," while, on the lighter side, Amy Mossoff points us to a hilarious obituary of the "King of Pop Culture."
During that period, camp insiders say the increasingly psychotic state began driving away its long time professional management team and support crew. In its place, it assembled an entourage of con men and embezzlers, some of whom stoked California's increasingly bizarre environmental paranoia. It was seldom seen in public without a breathing mask to ward off imagined pollutants.Heh! And it's all that good!
Texas, on the other hand, may currently have the eighth-lowest cost of living in the country, but it is in danger of going, "in the direction of California--more social programs, more regulations, and higher taxes."
Looking to Follow
Qwertz is still around, I am happy to note. He's thinking about Twitter and looking for suggestions as to whom to follow.
I'll stop by there from time to time to see what his commenters say about that.