-- F.A. Hayak
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Obama excoriated the Republicans for the their support of tax breaks for owners of corporate jets. Unknown to most of us, however, Obama was for tax breaks for owners of corporate jets before he was against them. It turns out that the tax breaks for corporate jet owners was put in place in 2009 – when Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the Executive.
Damn those Republicans.
America’s decline is due to the loss of the American ideal and the rejection of the idea of American exceptionalism. American ideals derive from the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and because the older generations have failed to teach [these values] diligently to their children and their children have failed to honor their forbearers, the decline into mediocrity is inevitable.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Six Italian geoscientists are being prosecuted for manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake. Read the story here. This paragraph stands out:
A substantial portion of the public does not have sufficient grounding in basic sciences to understand the scientific information that is presented. This only widens the void between scientists and the public, forcing scientists to use intermediaries such as journalists or public relations personnel. And it also forces those media personnel to simplify concepts or ideas, often to the point where they are no longer strictly accurate. Somehow, whether intentionally or accidentally, this seems to be what happened in Italy.
This is true, as far as it goes. But the plain facts are that science is difficult, non-intuitive and not structured for the attention spans of young people raised on MTV reality-shows. When these same young adults enter the world of adults, which is to say and consequential world, their expectations are so off-kilter as to be delusional.
If you think I’m being unduly harsh, I have two words for you: “Global Warming”
Mike Potemra contributed a post to National Review Online, The Ethics of Social Change, in which he asserted that he strongly believes in absolute truth. In response to his article, he received a comment via email around which he wrote a second article, Truth Matters. Here is the section of the email comment to which Potemra responded:
Perhaps there is “absolute truth”. Let’s put aside, for now at least, the intellectual side of this discussion (quantum physics, ego, consciousness, conscience, mind, matter, soul, god, etc.)
You do realize, do you not, that people who “know” the “absolute truth” have committed unspeakable mayhem throughout all of history? Yes?
The list is long, and infamous, and while it includes obvious monsters like Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and Hitler, it also includes lots of religious figures, from pretty much every major religion, including many, many Christians. I know you know this – it is simply a fact.
Let’s face it, my friend. The quest for “absolute truth” pretty much always leaves behind a trail of broken bodies, broken minds, or even corpses.
Or, at minimum, plenty of hatred. I know you must be familiar with the comments at The Corner regarding SSM. A lot of people there, armed with the “absolute truth” provided by Christianity, refer to gays as “disordered”, with “totalitarian impulses”, and worse. . . . [The writer goes on to quote some combox comments, which, I will stipulate, are --- how to put this delicately? --- well, let’s just say they don’t seem to be exactly on fire with Christian love. --- MP]
I am writing only to say, think about it. The quest for “absolute truth” has a pretty dismal history.
And isn’t this because, there isn’t any obvious way to ascertain the truth? So people end up looking for truth in ideologies, both religious and secular. And there you have your problem.
Potemra went on to say that this email “is one of the most spectacularly wrongheaded passages I have ever read. To say that it is completely unhelpful to the human cause would be an understatement.”
Surely, Potemra is correct, but He makes a mistake by accepting the framework of his interlocutor. He should have rejected the premise of the writer’s argument outright because the debate centers not whose truth is absolute, but the authority behind the truth. If the authority of the truth is mankind, as secular humanists would argue, then all truth is relative and, by construction, absolute truth can not exist. Dig deep enough and you’ll find that most atheists are loathe to accept the consequences of their theology.
On the other hand, if the authority behind the truth is transcendent – higher than mankind – then the truth as expressed by that authority is absolute. The greatest evils ever committed in human history have been committed by people for whom a transcendent definition of truth does not exist. Their moral compass is set by themselves so they have no one to answer to but themselves. In the twentieth century alone, atheists – beholding to no higher authority than themselves – murdered over a hundred million men, women, and children.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Since the Democrat’s signature Cap and Trade bill failed in Congress, the administration has been trying to do by regulation that which would have been done under Cap and Trade. According Michael Morris, Chairman of American Electric Power, these regulations will force the closing of “five coal-fired power plants, spend an additional $8 billion refitting other plants, and lose 6,000 megawatts of its coal-generated capacity”
Not to worry says the EPA, because
“Regulated firms hire workers to operate and maintain pollution controls. Once the equipment is installed, regulated firms hire workers to operate and maintain the pollution control equipment."
... to improve relations whith our allies? How’s that workin’ out
Evidently, then President Bush angered the Russians by including the Czech Republic in our missle defense plan. In 2009, President Obama “shelved that plan and offered a new, reconfigured phased program with an undefined role for the Czechs” in favor of a new one which relegates the Czechs to pound sand.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
You will recall the sound and fury of the union protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled house and senate. After the legislature passed the collective bargaining bill and the governor signed it, the Democrats took it to Judge Maryann Sumi, a very lefty judge. Sumi then issued a Temporary Restraining Order ruling that the legislature had violated its own rules. This had the effect of preventing the publication of the bill. And just for good measure, Judge Sumi threw out the bill before the bill became law.
Get it? If this isn’t a rogue court, what is? This is not Canada. Courts can only rule on laws that are in effect.
Well, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has weighed in (my emphasis)
This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature. It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides: “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.” Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part: “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published. (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”
Ouch! Sumi just got bitch-slapped. Read the whole opinion here.
P.S. This is also a vindication of the legal strategy of not backing down to the unjust, unwise, uncalled-for, unlawful and manifestly political rulings of Judge Sumi.
Monday, June 13, 2011
This is so good that I’ve copied the article in its entirety. You can read the original article here. I like this statement so much because of his claim that beliefs have consequences. We order our lives according to what we believe – for good or bad. The religions of Judeo-Christian tradition have established a set of core beliefs the consequences of which have been the greatest force for human goodness in all of creation. Here then, is Dennis Prager’s understanding of those core beliefs.
1. There is a God who is the Creator of the world.
Therefore, life is not a meaningless coincidence, but has ultimate meaning — even if we humans are not fully capable of knowing what that meaning is.
2. This God is a personal God — meaning that God knows each of us.
Therefore, God matters and we matter. If there is a Creator God who does not know His creations, He doesn’t matter and we don’t matter. That is why there is no meaningful difference between belief in a God who does not know us and atheism.
3. “Personal God” does not mean that God necessarily intervenes in the life of each of us.
Therefore, we humans should be more concerned with what God wants from us than what we want from God.
4. This God is known as “the God of Israel.”
Therefore, those who say they believe in God but are unwilling to identify this God as the God of Israel believe in another god than believing Jews and Christians do.
5. God is moral and just.
Therefore, God judges all men and women.
6. There is ultimate justice.
Therefore, there is an afterlife. If there were no afterlife, God would neither be good nor just, since there is little justice in this life.
7. As G.K. Chesterton put it, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.”
Therefore, the secular West has produced a plethora of foolish, often dangerous, substitutes for God-based religion. These include substitute religions such as socialism, feminism and environmentalism, and evils such as communism and Nazism.
8. The Jews are God’s Chosen People, which means they have been chosen to bring humanity to God and His ethical standards (ethical monotheism).
Therefore, (1) the most evil regimes and doctrines of each generation focus their hatred on the Jews and, (2) there is transcendent meaning to the Jews’ existence and even to the Jews’ suffering.
9. Most Jews do not understand the meaning of chosenness.
Therefore, the greatest Jewish tragedy is that few Jews engage in this mission of the Jewish people. The Jews who talk to the world rarely live or advocate Judaism; and the Jews who live Judaism rarely talk to the world.
10. God blesses those who bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews (Genesis 12:3).
Therefore, America, which has blessed the Jews more than any nation in history, has been uniquely blessed; and the Arab world, which curses the Jewish state and Jewish people, is benighted. Conversely, should America abandon Israel, it will cease to be blessed. And only when the Arab world abandons its hate-filled preoccupation with the Jewish state will it begin to leave its benighted state.
11. God cares about goodness more than He cares about anything else. “The holy God is sanctified through righteous conduct” (Isaiah 5:16).
Therefore, God is not sanctified when Jews place law above goodness or when Christians place faith above goodness.
12. Human beings, not animals, are created in God’s image.
Therefore, human life is infinitely more valuable than animal life.
13. God, not human beings, is the author of the Torah.
Therefore, even when the Torah’s laws are time-bound— for example, the temple sacrifices or the potion drunk by an accused adulterer — its values are eternal even when unpopular (for example, man-woman marriage, taking the life of murderers, honoring a parent one does not love).
14. At the present time, conservative Christians — such as Evangelicals — and conservatives generally — such as Wall Street Journal columnists and talk radio hosts — are Israel’s, and therefore the Jews’, best friends. Meanwhile, universities throughout the Western world are centers of Israel hatred.
Therefore, most Jews ought to be suffering from major cognitive dissonance. That which they most distrust — Christians and conservatives — are Israel’s greatest defenders; and that which they most venerate — the universities — are Israel’s greatest antagonists.
15. The Israel-Arab conflict is the morally clearest dispute in our time.
Therefore, anyone who sides with Israel’s enemies or who works to delegitimize Israel has a broken moral compass, is to be feared, and is to be fought by all good people.