Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Drop the I-word?

Here's the pledge:

I will not call any human being "illegal." The racially charged slur and related terms confuse the immigration debate, fuel violence and don't reflect my values. I join communities nationwide in challenging all media to do the same.

What's with the constant redefining of words from the left?  We can't use 'illegal' as a description anymore, because it is a 'racially charged slur?'

I don't get it.  Law abiding people are legal.  Law breakers are illegal.  Where's the slur in that?

An illegal medical practitioner breaks the law.  Illegal contributors to campaigns do too.  Even drug dealers can be legal or illegal.  What is the point of this, except to muddy & obscure normal definitions in order to deceive & convey a falsehood.. that is, that illegal immigrants aren't really illegal.. just undocumented.

I understand the arguments for it:

The i-word opens the door to racial profiling and violence and prevents truthful, respectful debate on immigration. No human being is "illegal."

But i disagree that we have to throw out descriptive words because of any implications some people MIGHT extrapolate from them.  It is not a racial slur.  It has no racial connotation at all.  White, black, asian, hispanic, & people from mars can all be 'illegal aliens'.

I see this as just smoke from the anarchists & no border people.

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  ~George Orwell

reason & emotion

 I have been thinking a lot lately (no, really!) about the political discourse in america. I think there is a cultural shift taking place. Emotion & passion are seen as more important than reason or logic. Reality shows reinforce this, & promote the idea that whoever has the most anger, indignation, or can yell the loudest must be right. Calm, reasoned replies are shouted down by these tactics, which have been widely used by the left.. look at any left wing protest or disruption in a speech.. they shout slogans & try to disrupt any discussion of issues. You don't really see that on the right.. you won't have protesters at a harry reid or pelosi speech shouting slogans & disrupting, but you do with chris christie, allen west, herman cain, sarah palin, or any number of right wing speakers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Complaining about the govt. An American right?

Over the years, i've been around a lot of complaining about the govt.. usually the federal govt, but sometimes local gets it too. I've done my share, though for a time i thought it was bad form to be critical.. we should be positive & helpful, not negative. But of all the old american men i've known in my life, & now that i've joined their ranks, i can see & understand it better. Right, left or middle.. it is our american heritage.

Most of the time, it is just something we do as a mutual connection in conversation. You can converse with other men about your kids, or job, or your truck or dog.. you get started with a common denominator. So we can also bitch about the congress, the president, taxes, or other socially accepted topic of polite conversation. This bitching has no party platform, and crosses partisan lines.

Now i've also known quite a few immigrants.. many from other countries who have become citizens. The ones who have come from a totalitarian regime are a little uneasy about criticizing the govt. It was fine to criticize america when they were in the old country, but doing it while living here seems dangerous. But once they realize they won't be hauled off by the secret service, they relax & get into it. Some foreigners, too, seem perplexed. They think by bitching about the govt, we want a revolution or are some kind of terrorists. They also are fine with criticizing america in their home country, but when visiting, it seems inappropriate.. like a dinner guest complaining to their host about their meal.. and rightly so.

The exception to this was the younger, classic, ideological liberal.. they would criticize their ideological opponents, but to say anything critical of their own was somehow traitorous. Most as they aged, like me, got more circumspective about it & settled down.

The new left is a different creature.. i'm not sure how to take them. On occasion they will critique one of their own, but always grudgingly, not with enthusiasm like the rest of us. Or they will say that criticism of the govt is being unpatriotic or anti-american. Many times on public forums i've heard the basic argument: 'America! Love it or leave it!' But they misunderstand the source of the criticism. Some might be genuinely concerned about some issues, but most of the complainers are merely exercising their american duty.

Federal welfare state

"..Minimizing government dependence is particularly beneficial to the poorest among us. Conversely, the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom." ~Allen West

This is not a new concept. It is not racism to be opposed to 'redistributionary handouts'. For true humanitarians, this concept should be enough to seal their opposition to the current welfare state. But for those who need more prodding, we can include the huge cost that we cannot afford.

There is nothing good or positive about the current federal welfare state. Those that are allegedly 'helped' are not helped, but are just redefined in another form of slavery.

The statists & social engineers have had their experiment. It has not worked in america, and we cannot afford to continue to pour money down a rat hole. It's time to cut our losses, phase out the welfare state, & return it to individual states & the private sector. Many of the other redistribution programs will also need to be modified or ended, like social security & medicare.

Americans are a compassionate people.. probably more so than any other nation in history. But we are not fools all of the time. We have common sense & can see if something is not working as has been promised. We love success stories of those who have risen above their circumstances. We want to encourage & promote those who want a better life. We are proud of 'the land of opportunity'. But we also see the landscape has changed. Individual freedom & responsibility are being systematically dismantled as the statists consolidate power & build their empire. It is not too late. We can return to a more individual based government & deny the statist's plans for complete control. But it will be a battle. Statists do not relinquish power easily. It must be taken from them kicking & screaming. But we must do it for the sake of the country & our descendants.

My central points have been mostly directed to the welfare state at the us federal level.  It is also reflected in SS & medicare. It is reflected in food stamps, 99 weeks of unemployment, adc, govt housing, & any other number of programs you want to bring up. The one thing they all have in common is they give people money. Giving people money is always popular for those on the receiving end. But the bigger question in a free society is whether giving people money is something the govt should be involved in? It has been my contention that they don't manage things like this well. They are good at wars, blowing things up, & intimidating other countries, but managing a safety net isn't in their skill set. It is also a social engineering project of redistribution. Giving people money is only possible if you take it from someone else. It is not a concept for a free society of opportunity & responsibility, but is a socialistic policy of income redistribution.

The welfare state is nothing new. It has been debated for centuries throughout history. You can debate it's merits, but you must also deal with the problems. Morally & philosophically, i see the federal welfare state as a failure, a waste of taxpayer money, a magnet to greed & corruption, & a disincentive for people to improve their lives. I do not see the constitutional mandate in the federal govt getting involved in charity, even though that is exactly what we have done.

We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. ~Davy Crockett

"Property is the fruit of is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." ~
Abraham Lincoln

"And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government." ~
Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Debate vs personal attacks

I have another criticism of the left.. no really, i do! I'm sure this is hard to believe.

The tactic is personal attacks. Many time in the forums we have a topic.. i know..expecting people to reply to the topic is very naive, but some don't understand the left's strategy.

You see, they employ what i'll call the '5 D's'.


Rather than reply to the topic in a reasoned manner, refuting any points with counter points & valid arguments, they will use the 5 d's. It is much easier, & they don't have to think. Say the topic is the debt. Rather than defend the debt, or explain why & how it is a good thing, they will accuse the poster of being a nazi or racist.. or ask why they hate women.. or say that the poster just wants to help rich people & they hate the poor.

This is very common. Any outside observer can go into almost every thread in forums like this & find good examples of this practice. Now some may object & say that conservatives do this too. That may very well be, but i am hard pressed to find examples of it, whereas with the left, it is legion.

But the main point here is personal attacks. Many leftist posters do not bother saying anything on the topic, but only smear the poster. ..and they are not refuting any points being made, but just attacking them. Here are just a few responses i've gotten to my posts recently. And if you look back in just this thread, you'll see countless other prime examples of this tactic, too.

'You're an idiot'.
'Your points about (insert topic) are sh**.'
'You're a stupid f***er.'

To me, this just shows the poster has given up with reason, & has to stoop to personal insults because his arguments are bankrupt. But that does not dissuade the left from doing this. Many times, they do it before offering any rebuttal.. most of the time, i would say.

It is one thing to dismiss an argument, or ridicule it, or point out fallacies in the reasoning.. it is another to ridicule the poster. Many on the left.. and i'm sure the right, don't seem to know or see the difference. I call it the 'i-don't-have-anything-to-say-but-i-can-still-ridicule' syndrome. They don't actually point out fallacies in logic, but just attack the poster. They seldom make any points of their own, but wait for 'gotcha!' phrases to attack.

Sometimes debates can get heated. Personal views are often held dear, & defended or promoted with great energy, dedication, & sincerity. I don't have a problem with that. I think exposing faulty logic or bad premises is fine. But the line is crossed when the poster is personally attacked or smeared..

Now another strange practice is when you point this out.. that personal attacks are not logic, they will say you are whining or complaining! Very bizarre. Pointing out fallacies in reason is 'whining' to them, it seems. I am not expecting things to change.. these practices are too deeply embedded into the leftist dogma.. it may take years of deprogramming for these flaws in reasoning to be repaired. I am merely pointing out the typical tactics that are often employed by the left.

So for those who only like the summary.. the one liner, bumper sticker version is this:

The left uses personal attacks rather than reason in their debates.
Emotion over reason!

the latter makes a better orwellian bumper sticker or party poster

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Freedom or free stuff..

It seems to me that the only strategy the pro obama forces have is to demonize & discredit the opposition.. they certainly can't run on his record. His 2 main accomplishments? The nearly $1Trillion stimulus, that still has us with 8%+ unemployment & a stagnant economy, & universal health care, which the supreme court will likely find unconstitutional. Oh sure, lots of his cronies have gotten sweet deals at the taxpayer's expense.. solyndra, unions, academic grants, etc, but the left does not see the govt as a partner with economic growth & business, but as competition. Free markets offend the leftists, who want govt to rule & micromanage everything.

I think the choice in the upcoming election is becoming more clear:

1. More statism, big govt, taxes, & control.


2. More individualism, limited govt, & personal responsibility.

Or more simply,

Free-stuff or Free-dom.

The problem as i see it, is too many americans are dazzled by the promise of free-stuff. They think we can just print money & have it all! If we're going to do that, why not print everyone $1 million & let them have it? It will only add a few more T's to the deficit, so why not?

The boom of the welfare state & the entitlement mentality may spell the end of classical america. It seems we will sell our freedoms for some retirement percs or an illusion of prosperity. But surely we know the gravy train cannot go on forever? All ponzi scams come to a bitter end, & this leftist run financial scheme we are in will too. The dollar will either collapse, or severe austerity will have to become the rule to offset the irresponsible fiscal policies the left has burdened the taxpayers with.

There is no 'something for nothing'.

We can postpone disaster for a while, but unless we deal with the financial madness in the govt they will bankrupt us.

The left will distract, divide, deflect, distort, & discredit to keep our attention off of their fiscal madness.

'Look, birth control!'

'OMG, Nazis!'

'Run!! Religious zealots, and racist, nazi, women haters!!!'

They will do anything to keep our attention off of the finances. They will conjure up racism to distract us. They demonize business or the rich or the middle class, or anyone they can to deflect. They will portray their opponents as women haters & racist nazis.. anything to move the discussion from economics.

If they are successful, i don't know if the nation can survive. 4 more years of socialist policies will bring us closer to financial ruin. Just because we cannot imagine financial collapse does not mean it cannot happen. It has happened to other nations throughout history, & we are dancing to the same tune.

"Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State." ~Winston Churchill

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

What IS Leftism? ..The first thing to say is that Leftism is emotional. The second is to say that the emotion is negative and the third thing to say is that the negative emotion (anger/hate/rage) is directed at the world about the Leftist, at the status quo if you like. The Leftist is nothing if he is not a critic, though usually a very poorly-informed critic. And the criticisms are both pervasive and deeply felt. ~John J. Ray

Monday, April 9, 2012

Strange ironies in ideology

I've always found some of the combinations of views very strange.  People's individual ideologies are not always consistent.  Here are a few examples:

Death penalty & abortion.

Historically, many catholics & other religious liberals were opposed to both, which is somewhat consistent... a sanctity of life issue.  But the left has morphed the classic liberal position of protecting the lives of the unborn into a women's reproductive rights issue.  So many liberals have embraced the position of abortion, while still keeping their opposition to the death penalty.  So for them, it is alright to kill unborn innocent babies, who they deem inhuman, while protecting murderers & anti-human criminals.

It is a definition problem.  Instead of seeking a moral or even scientific basis for human life, the left merely 'defines' the unborn as 'not human', so they do not deserve protection.  Yet they grieve & are filled with great compassion for the plight of a mass murderer on death row.  I find it very ironic that they can dismiss an innocent unborn without any consideration of rights or value, yet fight for the life of a sociopathic killer.

The welfare state, evolution, & racism.

Most liberals are horrified at any suggestion of racism.  Yet many promote a racist policy of welfare, that keeps the ghetto poor trapped in a gulag of dependence & racial discrimination.  Many in the eugenics movement, including Margaret Sanger, the founder of planned parenthood, were at least consistent in their views.

'Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease. Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents.' ~Margaret Sanger

Sanger saw charity to the poor as destructive to the human race.  She & other 'social biologists' preferred working with evolution to strengthen the human genetic pool, & through abortion & population control, limit the 'undesireables' who did most of the populating.  They did not favor helping the poor, but sterilizing them.  Social engineers saw aid to the poor as weakening the gene pool, since the fittest should survive, not the weak.

'It [charity] encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.' ~Margaret Sanger

Classic liberals were more libertarian in their views of individual rights, & opposed the eugenics movement.  Their roots were mostly religious.. helping the poor & needy.  They saw social biology as an enemy of humanity.  But now that it has been sanctified by the progressives & the left as a 'women's rights' issue, liberals can support eugenics, abortion, population control, & all their racist roots without having to worry about the label of 'racist'.

Register guns, not voters.

Most on the left are highly committed to restricting guns.  They want stricter regulations preventing people from buying a 22 at walmart.  A picture id is minimal, & registration of the firearm is essential.. they want inspections from law enforcement & a close watch over all sales.. and having strict regulations (or forbidding entirely) of the purchase of a handgun.

Yet to vote, they don't want a picture id.  They favor very loose registration of voters (if any), which leads to voter fraud & political corruption.

The irony of this is that the consequenses of voting are much more serious than an individual buying a gun.  Elected politicians start world wars, can ruin the economy, & get us all killed.  Buying a shotgun won't start a nuclear war, voting can.  Intellegent voting is a lot more serious than owning a revolver.

Anti war; pro UN.

Most on the left oppose the american military establishment, yet they support the UN.  They want the us military cut, & removed from all worldwide conflicts.  This is a classic, anti-war position from traditional liberals.  But the left has substituted the UN for american involvement.  It is ok for the un to engage in police actions in other parts of the world, & they want the american military (the taxpayers) to provide manpower, equipment, & financing for their projects.  They seem to fear american elected officials, with american based intelligence, but trust foreign appointed bureaucrats to send our servicepeople into danger.

Modern liberals have a very confusing set of ideals they must adhere to.  Many have abandoned the religious roots of their views to embrace the political expediency of the progressive left.  Instead of well thought out opinions based on a consistent world view, they swallow bumper sticker slogans & emotional hysteria.  The new political left has redefined the classic liberal view through fear & hatred of the conservatives, the liberals' arch enemy.

'It now remains for the U.S. government to set a sensible example to the world by offering a bonus or yearly pension to all obviously unfit parents who allow themselves to be sterilized by harmless and scientific means. In this way the moron and the diseased would have no posterity to inherit their unhappy condition. The number of the feeble-minded would decrease and a heavy burden would be lifted from the shoulders of the fit.' ~Margaret Sanger

"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking." ~J. K. Galbraith

They were touched not so much with love of the many as with hatred of the few. ~Sidney Webb