"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States


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Thursday, November 04, 2004
  More Data on the Effects of Higher Education...
From the CNN Exit Polls, here's the data available for how people voted grouped by their level of education.
No High School49%50%
H.S. Graduate52%47%
Some College54%46%
College Graduate52%46%
Postgrad Study44%55%

Since I highly doubt that the majority of Ph. D's who voted for Kerry did so because they valued a free society and thought Bush was a bigger threat than Kerry in that respect, I can only conclude that we've been right all along. Postgraduate education is deadly.
  Whither Christianity?
I've noticed on several blogs the insistence that Bush's re-election wasn't a mandate to impose values or legislate morality (keep chanting, you'll believe it soon). At the forefront of their arguments is the seeming divergence yesterday: 11 states passed bans on gay marriage, yet Illinois chose Democratic rising star Barack Obama over Republican (Mary Cheney is a "selfish hedonist") Alan Keyes.

This, they say, proves that the country really wants Bush because he represents self-defense. Leaving aside the many exit polls showing values trumping self-defense in many cases (which I think are right), I have a much simpler explanation. We haven't yet reached a Christian theocracy yet. Instead, we are on the road to one. Keyes, who lost heavily, was rejected because he was consistent. In this respect, he deserves praise; he isn't a politician, he is on a moral crusade. He argues forcefully and effectively for his views, and he doesn't try to make them palatable for the masses. Most Christians aren't anywhere near consistent in their religious beliefs (as Dr. Peikoff has pointed out, consistent altruism leads to immediate death). They want to have their Christianity and their earthly life too.

Most Christians will go for the following argument: "We've got to protect marriage by defining it as between a man and a woman." You will have a hard time finding Christians who don't think gay marriage is a bad idea (at the very least, they think it will lead to polygamy and incest). So when you dress up the argument so nicely, they will swallow.

They're not ready for: "Homosexuals are depraved, disgusting and evil, and they are hell bent on destroying this country. We've got to crush these filthy sodomizers before its too late." Notice the difference - it's one of consistency and style. The first view tries to veil itself in "decent" desires, while the second expresses open hatred and desire for destruction. I'd argue that the second is actual Christianity, but that's another posting.

For those of you who listen to talk radio, think of it this way: the difference between the two arguments is the same difference you see between every pundit opposed to gay marriage on TV vs. Michael Savage on the radio (he was on TV, until he decided to tell the audience what he really thought).

Defense of America definitely played a prominent role in this election, but I think (Christian) Morality was right up there with it.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
  A Radical Change
Some have suggested that it's time to infiltrate the Democratic Party with the hopes of reforming it. I still think it's too early to go directly into politics, but I favor a more radical change. Let's conquer Canada!

Ok, ok, I know it's a crackpot idea. But I had to think up some lead before posting this extremely funny (yet poignant) image (hat tip - Matthew Yglesias).

The moral of the image - The Christian zealots are the greatest threat to our freedom and lives.
  Stark Commentary on the Election
John at Stark Relief has A few reflections on the election that are outstanding. His thoughts on how Bush and the republican party will take this re-election as a moral mandate are especially good, right on the money in my opinion. Thanks John!
  The Shanghai Gesture
Don Feder at FrontPage Magazine comments on the latest outrage from Colin Powell:
Powell perfectly reflects the State Department mindset. In almost any situation he favors appeasement over confrontation, sacrificing U.S. allies (Israel, Taiwan) to win brownie points with thugs (Arab regimes, the People’s Republic of China).

But what Powell did on a trip to China last week went well beyond the usual State Department shenanigans. Like encouraging a pyromaniac to play with matches and gasoline, his comments were inflammatory, bordering on lethal.

In an interview with Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV, on October 25th, Powell said both China and Taiwan should "move forward towards the day when we will see a peaceful unification." (Emphasis added.)

Just to be sure he wasn’t misunderstood, in a CNN interview the following day, Powell opined that both sides should exercise restraint and do nothing to prejudice "a reunification that all parties are seeking." (Emphasis added.)
How is a peaceful unification to be achieved between two parties, when the bigger one wishes to eat the smaller? For Powell to even entertain the idea that the unification of Taiwan with China would involve anything other than the rape of Taiwan, is obscene. China has repeated ad nauseum there firm resolve to see Taiwan rejoined with the mainland. For the US to capitulate in this fashion only emboldens and encourages the communist thugs, while demoralizing Taiwan.
  In Memoriam: Theo Van Gogh
Robert Spencer's latest piece at FrontPage Magazine tells the tale of the death of Theo Van Gogh:
Theo van Gogh was shot dead on an Amsterdam street on Tuesday morning. His assailant was a Dutch Moroccan who was wearing traditional Islamic clothing. After shooting van Gogh several times, he stabbed him repeatedly, slit his throat with a butcher knife, and left a note containing verses from the Qur’an on the body.
What crime did this man commit? What warranted such a bloody death?
Eight weeks ago, van Gogh’s film Submission aired on Dutch TV. The brainchild of an ex-Muslim member of the Dutch Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Submission decried the mistreatment of Muslim women — and even featured images of battered women wearing see-through robes that exposed their breasts, with verses from the Qur’an written on their bodies.
This makes me sick. It underscores the danger Islam represents to all civilized people.
  Adrian Apollo on Bush
Adrian Apollo has written an excellent piece on the danger Bush poses to the Supreme Court, which is a major part of the reason I opposed his reelection. A good part of the article focuses on the disgusting Justice Antonin Scalia's philosophy. The title of the article expresses my own feelings succinctly: Bush = Theocracy.
  Looks Like Bush Has Won
Well, it appears that Bush has been re-elected. I've just heard on FoxNews that Kerry may have just called the President to concede defeat. We'll see if it's true, but it doesn't really make a difference - Kerry has lost, and Bush has won. One good thing: it seems Bush has won both the electoral college and the popular vote, so their is very little wiggle room for any lawsuits.

However, overall I'm pretty depressed from the whole experience. Bush has been re-elected, the Republicans are extending their grip over the House and the Senate, thereby increasing their majority in both houses. I had hoped that if Bush won, maybe the Republicans would lose their majority, so we could at least count on some gridlock. Forget that.

One encouraging (and partially discouraging) note - Alan Keyes, the rabid Christian talk show host who ran against Barack Obama in Illinois has lost by a landslide (something like 73-27). This is heartening, because I interpret it to mean that unabashed religious zealotry is not supported by most Americans. The disheartening part is that if it gets dressed up in a suit and has a good feel to it, they'll swallow it hook line and sinker.
Monday, November 01, 2004
  See - I Told You Abortions Were A Good Thing!
I don't mean to gloat, but I've always maintained that abortions were a good thing. A recent article from NewScientist reports about a woman's dramatic improvement in her vision, from 20:800 to 20:84!
Three years ago Elisabeth Bryant believed she would be blind for the rest of her life. “I couldn’t see anything,” she says. Now, although her vision is not perfect, she can see well enough to read, play computer games and check emails.

Bryant has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that has blinded four generations of her family. What has saved the sight in one of her eyes is a transplant of a sheet of retinal cells. The vision in this eye has improved from 20:800 to 20:84 in the two-and-a-half years since the transplant – a remarkable transformation.
What does all this have to do with abortion, you might ask?
There is a catch, of course. The sheets of retinal cells used by the team are harvested from aborted fetuses, which some people find objectionable.
Now this is truly a wonderful discovery. What was previously a potential inconvenience can now be used to improve people's lives. Not only that, but if we ever achieve a rational culture, we could clone these cells (or fetuses) and have a market that would provide quality organs at low cost. Or women who'd be paid to become pregnant and then hand over the aborted fetus. Now there's a job I'd want - gorge on food all day while reading and blogging! I'd happily volunteer to carry "Junior"!

The possibilities are literally endless. Of course, this is exactly what the conservatives are afraid of:
One accusation of those opposed to using fetal tissue is that women might be tempted to have abortions to provide tissue to restore their own sight or that of relatives. “People are going to claim that we are promoting abortion,” says Norman Radtke, the surgeon who carried out the transplants at the Norton Audubon Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
One other thing that I find so ironic is that now the conservatives will have to come clean, so to speak; no longer will they be able to appear to care about people. No more pundits lamenting, "Well, you know, embryonic stem cells haven't cured any diseases, maybe it's not worth the investment when we have adult one that really do cure diseases..."
  Reisman on Soros
George Reisman has a new (reprinted) article at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute on George Soros. It was originally written in response to a piece Soros had penned in 1997, The Capitalist Threat. For those who don't know him, Soros is a billionare who slouches to the left, and whose biggest intellectual influence is Karl Popper. Dr. Reisman's piece does a thorough philosophical and economic demolition job on Soros. Here's some highlights:
In his epistemological argument, Soros claims that there is an essential common denominator between laissez-faire capitalism and communism and Nazism. He writes: "Although laissez-faire doctrines do not contradict the principles of the open society the way Marxism-Leninism or Nazi ideas of racial purity did, all these doctrines have an important feature in common: they all try to justify their claim to ultimate truth with an appeal to science." Soros has already announced the principle that: "Since the ultimate truth is beyond the reach of humankind, these ideologies [ideologies that claim to possess it] have to resort to oppression in order to impose their vision on society."

Soros appears to understand that "fascism and communism... both relied on the power of the state to repress the freedom of the individual." Since laissez-faire capitalism constitutes the absolute freedom of the individual from the state in all areas of life other than the initiation of physical force, it may, indeed, seem nothing less than amazing that he places it in the same category as those doctrines. In sharpest contrast to the present system of massive government intervention, under laissez-faire capitalism the activities of the state are confined to the protection of the individual against acts of aggression, such as, for example, murder, robbery, rape, and fraud, and attack by foreign aggressor governments. The state does not go beyond this strictly limited function. It does not intrude in people's economic activities; nor does it intrude in their beliefs, sex lives, or any other aspect of their lives.

Perhaps because he is somewhat embarrassed by the nature of his claim about laissez-faire capitalism, Soros tries more than once to soften it. In addition to the modest, nonessential, qualification quoted above, in introducing the alleged important feature in common," he writes: "I want to emphasize, however, that I am not putting laissez-faire capitalism in the same category as Nazism or communism. Totalitarian ideologies deliberately seek to destroy the open society; laissez-faire policies may endanger it, but only inadvertently." Yet just two sentences later, he declares, "Nevertheless, because communism and even socialism have been thoroughly discredited, I consider the threat from the laissez-faire side more potent today than the threat from totalitarian ideologies." In this sentence, Soros very clearly does once again put laissez-faire capitalism in the same category as Nazism and communism, however much he may deny doing so. For the mere discrediting of communism and socialism is not sufficient to make laissez-faire capitalism into a greater threat than totalitarian ideologies unless there is something comparably evil about it. To take an analogy from the field of health, the development of cures or preventives for heart disease and cancer could result in another life-threatening illness, such as stroke, being elevated to the status of the major medical threat to human life. But this would be the case only because stroke is extremely damaging and life threatening in the first place.
And later on:
Soros describes the power and influence of the laissez-faire ideology in a way that, at first at least, seems extremely puzzling. He depicts it as a presently existing, major cultural force. For example, he writes, "Insofar as there is a dominant belief in our society today, it is a belief in the magic of the marketplace. The doctrine of laissez-faire capitalism holds that the common good is best served by the uninhibited pursuit of self-interest."

The truth, of course, is that few ideas have less influence in today's society than that of laissez-faire capitalism. Its lack of influence is obvious when one considers such leading facts as these: There are currently over 19 million government employees in the United States, enforcing over forty thousand pages of federal regulations, tens of thousand of pages of state and local government regulations, and countless volumes of federal, state, and local statutes, with the number of laws and regulations growing by thousands of pages annually. Recent [2004] data show that total government spending in the United States, including transfer payments under programs such as social security and medicare, amounts to $3.7 trillion out of total incomes of $9.3 trillion, i.e., about 40 percent. A successful individual is subject, directly and indirectly, to combined federal and state corporate and personal income taxes at a total, cumulative rate of approximately 70 percent. On top of all this, the extent of the fall in the long-term future purchasing power of all contracts denominated in a fixed number of dollars, and thus of the possible future impoverishment of tens of millions of citizens, is anybody's guess, given the government's power to increase the quantity of money without any fixed, externally imposed limit. Such facts, of course, stand in the most forceful, direct contradiction of any actually existing, present influence of the laissez-faire ideology.

Read on...

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