Monday, January 31, 2011

Character Assassination Starts Now

Never heard of Roger Vinson? Me neither. Soon we will hear what a despicable human being he is, courtesy of the left.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Misleading Education Argument Exposed

With a RUSD referendum coming up, be prepared to hear a similar argument repeated over and over. An excellent example of this argument was submitted to the Journal Times by the lovely and feisty Dorothy Constantine, and it goes something like this:

Education is critical. Education prepares our youth to be productive members of society. Other nations are getting ahead of us, posing a threat to our quality of life. But alas, education costs money. We should spend it.

Though here argument isn't finished, I will stop there and comment. I am in full agreement with Mrs. Constantine at this point in here argument. Education is critical, it costs money and we should spend money on education.

And now for Constantine closes her argument with: Support our public schools, where our future lies.

Notice the subtle switch from education to public schools? If you're not careful that will slip right past you. The argument assumes that education and public education are one in the same and that anyone who believes in the importance of education will therefore support public education.

What Constantine and others forget or deliberately omit is that one could strongly value education, as I do, while also recognizing the failure that is public education. There are other paths to an education outside of of government schools. Indeed, when we speak of an education crisis, most I think assume the conversation is about our public schools. Is there a private education crisis in this country?

I agree with Constantine for the most part, but I would change the final sentence. Education is important, support the privatization of education, where our future lies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Left and Fantasy Dictators

I am enjoying a new local lefty blog, A recent post about Ann Rand led to this exchange:

Siren: Rand saw a centralized government as an evil thing (and don't ya imagine how being raised in Russia influenced her, I always did). I for one, don't see it as an evil or even a bad thing...but all that depends on the mechanisms for control or regulation.

Downtown Brown: Which of the following persons or people would you like to have their hands on the levers of your "Mechanism". Bernard Madoff? George W Bush?, Michelle Obama? Margaret Sanger? Just curious which one you want to turn our system over to for "Control", and "regulation".

Siren: "We The People" baby boy, of course!

Me: "We The People" and centralized government are incompatible concepts.

Siren: I don't believe that is true. A government of the people, by the people and for the people is still a great concept and a worthy goal. Your point is registered and I shall end the conversation before it becomes unbearably obnoxious. Thank you for playing.

New comments are not allowed

Notice that the Siren begged out before having to defend her(?) assertion that a Soviet style dictatorship is not an evil thing so long as "mechanisms for control" remain with "we the people." Now this is the lefts fantasy, is it not? A benevolent dictator committed to justice and equality for all. It is a dangerous fantasy that has played out repeatedly and disastrously for millions of people throughout the world.

OK then, why is she wrong? Well for starters, by definition power and influence in centralized governments are, well, centralized in the hands of a few, or, with a dictator, one. Under such governments, again by definition, decentralized/"we the people" government doesn't exist. "We the people" might however be a useful propaganda slogan for the dictator.

So what if we have no power? We finally have selected a good and fair dictator who embodies the virtues of "we the people." Well perhaps, though not at all likely, but once that selection is made, there is no going back. And you will have a succession problem to deal with. Remember, you have chosen a dictator so by definition you have given up what power you have.

It is pure fantasy to believe that it will be the good and the just that will rise to power. Just as pedophiles are drawn to the teaching or preaching professions, the power hungry will be drawn to an empowered government. And the most skilled and most manipulative and the most narcissistic and the one best at consolidating power by whatever means necessary will rise to the top. And haven't we seen this over and over again throughout history to realize that the meek and humble and the just just (just wanted to use just twice in a row for the first time ever, sorry) won't make it to the top.

But alas, even a kind and just dictator would fail to make life wonderful for "we the people." Why? Try this thought experiment. Would New York City be better off today if there was a highly competent NYC food czar with dictatorial powers or with the present, nearly completely decentralized system of food procurement? Would a brilliant, competent, kind and just dictator be able to improve on the impossibly complex and diverse system that unfailingly delivers a mind numbing menu of foods to millions of people every day without anyone in charge. Now that is the true power and brilliance of "we the people" on display.

So if a kind and humble and competent dictator can't improve the food situation in just one American city, he won't be able to control and improve the lives of Americans. This is because the collective genius of "the people" will always exceed the genius of ANY one individual.

And lastly, we have a mechanism already that empowers "we the people." It is our Constitution and it will work if we use it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just Wondering

Do the recipients/victims of Obamacare waivers have an equal protection claim?

Economic Miracles

Do you believe in miracles? Sue Pedersen and Gary Bahr do. In the Journal Times today Sue supports a new school funding plan wherein "every school will receive more state aid and every taxpayer will see a reduction in the school tax levy." Gary wants an 85% reduction in property taxes, financed by "eliminating unfair special interest tax exemption devices", a move that will end our deficit and allow us to reduce the sales and income tax rates.

Both seem to come from the "have your cake, eat it, AND lose weight" school of economics. But I say if we are going to repeal the rules of economics, lets really make an impact. Under my plan, everybody makes $1 million a year, prices stay the same or go down, government delivers any service we desire and we pay no taxes. Anybody on board?

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Sound Philosophy

The Journal Times today reported that the Wisconsin School for the Deaf "soundly" defeated Union Grove Christian in basketball. After recovering from the profound insensitivity of the JT, I naturally began to ponder the age old philosophical question: If a basketball team falls in the woods....does it make a sound?

Now for the perpetually aggrieved, this post is intended as a playful take on our language rather than an effort to demean anyone with a handicap. But feel free to mock the presumably all-white Christian males who lost the game.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Boring Voter ID Thread

I don't want to write this thread. The subject bores me. But I am taking the bait from Sean at Kay's Blue Racine. The subject is a voter ID requirement. Here goes.

There are various claims about the impact a voter ID requirement would have on people. Sean's thread at KBR makes some rather outrageous claims. Can I refute them? I am not sure if I could or I couldn't. You see, I don't really care if the claims are true or not. Rights come with responsibilities or ought to. If you want to participate in a democracy, it really isn't too much to ask that you prove your identity in order to safeguard our democracy and make voter fraud more difficult.

Are there some people for whom a voter ID requirement will cause some measure of hardship? No doubt. This presents an opportunity for either political party to help said individuals to overcome the obstacle. Imagine a comfortable van paid for by George Soros, shuttling grateful seniors, homeless, handicapped etc...., chock full of cigarettes and propaganda about the virtues of the Democrat Party. Everyone who wants to vote will be able to vote. Only once though. End of story.

Sean, if I choose not to respond to your rebuttal, it is because it is not you that needs convincing. It is our democratically elected representatives that seemingly already are convinced. Elections have consequences.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Constitution Disappoints

Journal Times letter writer Sherry Trentadue-Forman pointed out that the United States Constitution hasn't "done a damn thing to eliminate the problem of looney toons with weapons." Or pens, but I digress.

Now that I think about it, the Constitution has been a major disappointment. The Constitution has done nothing, absolutely nothing, to ensure for me a lucrative career in the NBA. I even have trouble getting into a pick up game at the Y, thanks to that useless historical artifact.

Is there still hunger and poverty? Wars? You bet. In fact, some of the most horrific wars in history occurred after the US Constitution was written. Did the Constitution even bother to lift a finger?

Our economy is teetering on the edge, Muslim terrorists want to blow us up, the temperature on earth changes daily, and I still have a wart on my right hand. And what is our Constitution doing about these pressing issues? Nothing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tucson Explained

My apologies for my fixation on the Arizona tragedy, but I think I am ready to explain its political essence to my readers. It is this:

In the interest of promoting responsible civic discourse, the left is accusing conservatives of being accomplices to murder.

Ya, that'll work.

On Tragedies and their Political Uses

Political vitriol is a bipartisan phenomenon. So is the inclination to use current events to score points against ideological opponents and to advance agendas.

High profile shooting sprees by white people are tailor made for the lefts agenda. They allow the left to point the finger at the root causes of crime. Those root causes are always an insufficient amount of liberalism and or an abundance of conservatism, to paraphrase a recent George Will commentary. Conservatism therefor is implicated as an accomplice to the crime. The answer is to silence dissent (ie Fox, talk radio etc...) or otherwise attempt to restrict speech of political opponents. It also provides the opportunity to discuss anew the lefts desire to disarm the citizenry.

The recent Arizona tragedy presents fewer opportunities for conservatives to exploit. It would be hard to use it as an argument for lower taxes for example. But it could be used as an argument for tougher sentencing or for more jails. The right has not done this, however. The reason is that it doesn't fit this particular crime insofar as the perpetrator wasn't free on a technicality or because of insufficient jail space. I would also like to think that basic human decency is a factor as well. So the right is scoring political points mainly by challenging the despicable attempts by the left to pin this crime on, well, basically conservatism.

I am glad to be on the right on this issue and I would be embarrassed to be a liberal right about now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Crime and Culpability

Now is as good a time as any to consider the intersection of crime, causation and politics. In my previous post I suggested that liberals tend to seek out the root causes of crime. By contrast, conservatives tend to emphasize personal responsibility. Nowhere is this divide more evident than in the discussion of the crazed Arizona assassin named Jared Loughner. How long did it take before national liberal media sources began to speculate about the influence of Sarah Palin and or the Tea Party phenomenon?

To borrow a phrase from our esteemed president, "Let me be perfectly clear"... I do not think that we should seek to implicate either liberalism or conservatism for PARTICULAR crimes. Certainly not before examining the evidence as we have seen from many irresponsible liberal journalists. Be assured that I am NOT blaming liberalism for the Loughners crime. I am blaming Loughner as any true conservative would.

Now on to crime generally. Consider two perspectives on crime. Perspective #1 seeks to find reasons (other than the criminal himself) that a particular criminal committed a crime. Perspective #2 instead emphasizes personal responsibility and therefor holds the criminal solely responsible for the behavior. Those holding perspective #1 are always able to find reasons (other than the criminal himself) for a crime and in doing so therefor reduce culpability on the part of the criminal. Holders of perspective #1 will tend to influence policy such that criminals, being only partially responsible for their behavior, will receive lighter sentences. Similarly, they will excuse lesser offenses knowing that it is the larger society that is or should be held somewhat responsible for an individuals behavior.

Now ask yourself, which perspective on crime would tend to lead to more crime and which perspective would lead to less crime?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On Liberalism and Social Ills

Does liberalism contribute to the social problems of crime and family breakdown? Well yes it does. Sean wants me to back up my claim, so here goes. Sean et al, please consider the following as the beginning of a discussion rather than an outright claim of proof.

Let us start with family breakdowns. Generally speaking, liberals want to help people who are having difficulties, albeit with other people's money. Such a view leads to policy choices. One of the most pernicious and harmful to families is what most call "welfare." One of the consequences of welfare was that men became expendable as the government became the provider for single women and their children. Perverse incentives resulted wherein there were financial incentives to have children and remain unmarried. The result, predictably, was more single parents, more men with fewer responsibilities, more fatherless children.

Now crime. Again liberals have a soft spot for the downtrodden and this leads to policy choices. With respect to crime, liberals tend to hold society to blame for the bad behavior committed by criminals, well, unless they are white collar criminals. This mindset leads to excuse making/blaming of others rather than holding people accountable for their own behavior. This is particularly harmful for children to be fed the ideology that they live in a society bent on oppressing them. Thus bad behavior will not be "nipped in the bud" but rather will be seen and perhaps inadvertently encouraged as a sort of protest against society. As far as policy goes, this mindset contributes to laws that allow criminals to walk because of technicalities, light sentences, comfy prisons etc... that make criminal activity a more attractive option.

In both cases, liberalism fosters irresponsibility. When indeed we get irresponsibility, why should we be surprised?

PC Gun Battle

I am just returning from a nice vacation to Las Vegas. Among our many activities was a visit to an indoor shooting range. After selecting a weapon, a Glock for me, we had a choice of targets. There were basically three types of targets/bad guys to shoot at: Arab/terrorist ( sold out), white men, or Zombies. No blacks, Hispanics, women, apparent homosexuals, handicapped etc... villains to shoot at. Most of the many customers were white. How could a business get away with portraying their customer base as villains to shoot at?