"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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Friday, December 31, 2004
  ARI Op-Ed on Tsunami Victims
I received the following op-ed from ARI today:
U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims

By David Holcberg

As the death toll mounts in the areas hit by Sunday's tsunami in southern Asia, private organizations and individuals are scrambling to send out money and goods to help the victims. Such help may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own.

The United States government, however, should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Why? Because the money is not the government's to give.

Every cent the government spends comes from taxation. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Year after year, for decades, the government has forced American taxpayers to provide foreign aid to every type of natural or man-made disaster on the face of the earth: from the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-ravaged Europe to the $15 billion recently promised to fight AIDS in Africa to the countless amounts spent to help the victims of earthquakes, fires and floods--from South America to Asia. Even the enemies of the United States were given money extorted from American taxpayers: from the billions given away by Clinton to help the starving North Koreans to the billions given away by Bush to help the blood-thirsty Palestinians under Arafat's murderous regime.

The question no one asks about our politicians' "generosity" towards the world's needy is: By what right? By what right do they take our hard-earned money and give it away?

The reason politicians can get away with doling out money that they have no right to and that does not belong to them is that they have the morality of altruism on their side. According to altruism--the morality that most Americans accept and that politicians exploit for all it's worth--those who have more have the moral obligation to help those who have less. This is why Americans--the wealthiest people on earth--are expected to sacrifice (voluntarily or by force) the wealth they have earned to provide for the needs of those who did not earn it. It is Americans' acceptance of altruism that renders them morally impotent to protest against the confiscation and distribution of their wealth. It is past time to question--and to reject--such a vicious morality that demands that we sacrifice our values instead of holding on to them.

Next time a politician gives away money taken from you to show what a good, compassionate altruist he is, ask yourself: By what right?

David Holcberg is a research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Copyright © 2004 Ayn Rand® Institute, 2121 Alton Parkway, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92606. All rights reserved.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 5:29 AM
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
  Judge Roy Moore
You may remember Judge Roy Moore, who in the last year tried to fight the supreme court to keep his giant statue of the Ten Commandments visible on or in his courthouse. Well, upon traversing the blogosphere the other day, I came across this interesting blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, which had an interesting quote from the "honorable" judge, concurring in a case on child custody involving a lesbian mother. It encapsulates so succinctly all the things I viscerally hate in a true conservative. You can read his entire "concurrance" here, but here is a shorter quote that gets to the heart of his position:
I concur in the opinion of the majority that D.H., the mother of the minor children in this case, did not establish a change of circumstances sufficient to transfer custody to her from H.H., the father of the minor children. I write specially to state that the homosexual conduct of a parent -- conduct involving a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender -- creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody of his or her own children or prohibiting the adoption of the children of others.

In this case there is undisputed evidence that the mother of the minor children not only dated another woman, but lived with that woman, shared a bed with her, and had an intimate physical and sexual relationship with her. D.H. has, in fact, entered into a "domestic partnership" with her female companion under the laws of the State of California. But Alabama expressly does not recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships. § 30-1-19, Ala. Code 1975. Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated...It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected...

Alabama's courts, even beyond the context of a custody dispute, have expressed a moral revulsion to homosexual activity, reminiscent of that expressed by Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England. Earlier courts refused even to describe the activity inherent in homosexuality, stating that "[the crime against nature] is characterized as abominable, detestable, unmentionable, and too disgusting and well known to require other definition or further details or description."...

Natural law forms the basis of the common law. (7) Natural law is the law of nature and of nature's God as understood by men through reason, but aided by direct revelation found in the Holy Scriptures:

"The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity." (8)

1 William Blackstone, Commentaries 42. Blackstone's Commentaries explain that because our reason is full of error, the most certain way to ascertain the law of nature is through direct revelation. The ultimate importance of this law and its influence upon our law cannot be understated.

"Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these. There is, it is true, a great number of indifferent points, in which both the divine law and the natural leave a man at his own liberty; but which are found necessary for the benefit of society to be restrained within certain limits. And herein it is that human laws have their greatest force and efficacy; for, with regard to such points as are not indifferent, human laws are only declaratory of, and act in subordination to, the former."...

Homosexuality is strongly condemned in the common law because it violates both natural and revealed law. The author of Genesis writes: "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.... For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 1:27, 2:24 (King James). The law of the Old Testament enforced this distinction between the genders by stating that "[i]f a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." Leviticus 20:13 (King James).
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:37 AM
  Cox and Forkum - Tsunami
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:54 AM
  George Will Slights Ayn Rand
I just came across an editorial George Will wrote last week on Michael Crichton's new book State of Fear. The overall article isn't too bad, as it applauds Crichton's book as an appropriate rejoinder to the scaremongering of the environmentalists. However, two lines in the essay caught my attention:
"State of Fear," with a first printing of 1.5 million copies, resembles Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" -- about 6 million copies sold since 1957 -- as a political broadside woven into an entertaining story. But whereas Rand had only an idea -- a good one (capitalism is splendid), but only one -- Crichton has information.
Rather than go into any lengthly response, I'll let another (who wrote a letter to the editor) speak:
George F. Will mischaracterizes Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," saying Ms. Rand "had only an idea -- a good one (capitalism is splendid) -- but only one." He must not have finished the book (which is more than 1,000 pages).

In "Atlas Shrugged" Ayn Rand presents a philosophic system in which all associated branches are interrelated and consistent. These branches include metaphysics (the nature of the universe), epistemology (how we know what we know), ethics (the differences between right and wrong), politics (how we organize ourselves in society) and aesthetics (art). As readers can gauge from these diverse areas of intellectual inquiry, her feat is quite an accomplishment.

In my efforts to explain to others the essence of Ms. Rand's philosophy, objectivism, I often relate a story I heard her associate Nathaniel Branden tell when asked why he thought her books appealed so much to adolescents. Mr. Branden explained that people at that age often begin to question the meaning of life and the reason for their existence. They naturally look to their parents' lives for answers, and some come to the conclusion that there must be something better. Ayn Rand supplies the something better.

Feb. 2 is the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand's birth. What a perfect excuse to pick up a copy of "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged."

MARK S. LERNER

Reston
Thank you Mark. That was excellent!
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:43 AM
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
  Blogging Will Resume Shortly...
I've been extremely busy over the weekend, but blogging should return to normal in the next few days. Until then, here's a link to an editorial in the Washington Post dedicated to Yaron Brooks press release on Iraq. The only problem is that it attacks his position, albeit it unsuccessfully. But the fact that a newspaper editorial is attempting to refute an Objectivist position is a sign of our growing prominence.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:18 AM
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