Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Commentary 38- Dionne on Capitalism

Capitalism's Reality Check

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, July 11, 2008; Page A17

The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.

Since the Reagan years, free-market cliches have passed for sophisticated economic analysis. But in the current crisis, these ideas are falling, one by one, as even conservatives recognize that capitalism is ailing.

You know the talking points: Regulation is the problem and deregulation is the solution. The distribution of income and wealth doesn't matter. Providing incentives for the investors of capital to "grow the pie" is the only policy that counts. Free trade produces well-distributed economic growth, and any dissent from this orthodoxy is "protectionism."

The old script is in rewrite. "We are in a worldwide crisis now because of excessive deregulation," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview.

He noted that in 1999 when Congress replaced the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act with a set of looser banking rules, "we let investment banks get into a much wider range of activities without regulation." This helped create the subprime mortgage mess and the cascading calamity in banking.


While Frank is a liberal, the same cannot be said of Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Yet in a speech on Tuesday, Bernanke sounded like a born-again New Dealer in calling for "a more robust framework for the prudential supervision of investment banks and other large securities dealers."

Bernanke said the Fed needed more authority to get inside "the structure and workings of financial markets" because "recent experience has clearly illustrated the importance, for the purpose of promoting financial stability, of having detailed information about money markets and the activities of borrowers and lenders in those markets." Sure sounds like Big Government to me.

This is the third time in 100 years that support for taken-for-granted economic ideas has crumbled. The Great Depression discredited the radical laissez-faire doctrines of the Coolidge era. Stagflation in the 1970s and early '80s undermined New Deal ideas and called forth a rebirth of radical free-market notions. What's becoming the Panic of 2008 will mean an end to the latest Capital Rules era.

What's striking is that conservatives who revere capitalism are offering their own criticisms of the way the system is working. Irwin Stelzer, director of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at the Hudson Institute, says the subprime crisis arose in part because lenders quickly sold their mortgages to others and bore no risk if the loans went bad.

"You have to have the person who's writing the risk bearing the risk," he says. "That means a whole host of regulations. There's no way around that."

While some conservatives now worry about the social and economic impact of growing inequalities, Stelzer isn't one of them. But he is highly critical of "the process that produces inequality."

"I don't like three of your friends on a board voting you a zillion dollars," Stelzer, who is also a business consultant, told me. "A cozy boardroom back-scratching operation offends me." He argues that "the preservation of the capitalist system" requires finding new ways of "linking compensation to performance."

Frank takes a similar view, arguing that CEOs "benefit substantially if the risks they take pay off" but "pay no penalty" if their risks lead to losses or even catastrophe -- another sign that capitalism, in its current form, isn't living by its own rules.

Frank also calls for new thinking on the impact of free trade. He argues it can no longer be denied that globalization "is a contributor to the stagnation of wages and it has produced large pools of highly mobile capital." Mobile capital and the threat of moving a plant abroad give employers a huge advantage in negotiations with employees. "If you're dealing with someone and you can pick up and leave and he can't, you have the advantage."

"Free trade has increased wealth, but it's been monopolized by a very small number of people," Frank said. The coming debate will focus not on shutting globalization down but rather on managing its effects with an eye toward the interests of "the most vulnerable people in the country."

In the campaign so far, John McCain has been clinging to the old economic orthodoxy while Barack Obama has proposed a modestly more active role for government. But the economic assumptions are changing faster than the rhetoric of the campaign. "Reality has broken in," says Frank. And none too soon.




My Commentary:

Zemack wrote

Does the term disingenuous come to mind? I’d be surprised if Mr. Dionne kept a straight face while writing this article. There is no “capitalism, in its current form.” There is only laissez-faire capitalism; the social system based on individual rights and a government that protects those rights…or statism, the social system of dictatorship. What we have today is a mixture of the two…i.e., a mixed economy.

The part that is failing today is not capitalism. Where do you see it?

Not in medicine, where 87% of America’s health care spending represents people spending other people’s money. And where the insurance market is buried under hundreds of government coverage mandates. And where the absurd government-imposed third-party-payer system leaves the individual who ultimately pays at the mercy of his boss or the state. And where massive government price-fixing through medicare, medicaid, and other wealth redistributionist schemes masquerading as “insurance” makes a mockery of market pricing. And where a new form of slavery has been created…EMTALA…which forces hospitals and their doctors to treat free of charge any free-loader who walks through an emergency room door demanding free healthcare.

Not in energy, where the industry is beset by government-imposed restrictions on production across the board, from exploration and drilling, to refinery construction and expansion, to nuclear power plants, to electricity transmission, to the laying of new pipelines. And where virtually every new energy infrastructure project is delayed or stymied by litigation-happy “environmentalists.” And where special government tax brakes and subsidies to politically connected companies with the latest “alternative energy” scheme are rampant. And where productive companies who produce and supply the energy we need are lambasted and threatened with theft by taxation of “excess” profits earned through market prices, while other companies…utilities…enjoy legal monopoly status and guaranteed prices and profit margins while being protected from competition.

Not in finance, where the banking industry is protected from bankruptcy by a government central bank that controls the money supply, interest rates, reserve and margin requirements, etc., and then acts as lender of last resort. And where the Community Reinvestment Act “encourages” lenders to offer mortgages to “sub-prime” (i.e., low-income) borrowers based on “flexible [i.e., lower] underwriting standards.” And where those same lenders can then sell those mortgages into a market artificially inflated by two government created and backed corporations, Fannie and Freddie. Where excessive housing “investment” is encouraged by tax policy. And where sound, prudent banking is penalized while reckless, unscrupulous lending is encouraged because of federal deposit insurance and the “too big to fail” bailout policies.

Mr. Dionne is attacking a straw man. Capitalism and free markets don’t exist today, except in bits and pieces here and there. Massive government intervention and control in our lives now approaches or exceeds the elements of freedom that still exist. The original Founding principles of inalienable individual rights protected by government are all but forgotten. The minimal “pseudo-deregulation” of recent decades pales in comparison to the size and scope of government.

Attacking alleged “free market failures” without investigating the coercive government policies, regulations and controls, some of which trace back decades, that preceded them is a sham. Today, it is not the distorted and shackled free market remnants, but ever-growing government interventions in private economic decision-making that has failed. Yet, Mr. Dionne and other statists blame free market capitalism, then call for even wider government powers to close whatever “loopholes” of freedom still exist. Well, some of us are on to the game. It’s not hard to see where this is all leading. If our freedom means anything, it is those who use government power to “regulate” the productive activities of private citizens that needs a reality check.

7/13/2008 2:44:56 PM

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Commentary On State/Church Separation

What's hard to understand about "separation"?

By Thurman Hart/NJ Voices 
on July 03, 2008 at 2:07 PM, updated July 03, 2008 at 2:45 PM


A friend brought to my attention that State Senator Gerald Cardinale wants our kids to begin their school day by reciting part of the Declaration of Independence. My problem with it is that he seems to be thinking too small. Below is the entire preamble of the Declaration, with the part the Senator would omit in bold:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


You can read the whole thing here.

My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 07/03/08 at 10:55PM
This is an excellent piece. However, I couldn't disagree more concerning Mr. Hart's assertion that the highlighted part of the preamble is "the truly revolutionary part of the document." Not to diminish this part's historical importance, but the first, un-highlighted lines are the core of the American Revolution. Never before had a nation been founded on the moral premise of the supreme value of the individual possessing inalienable rights, with the government's role as protector of those rights, as opposed to being his ruler. It is the first part that validates the second.

Having said that, I agree that the mere memorized recitation of a small part of the Declaration without a full knowledge and understanding of the complete document in full context would be futile. I'm not saying that is Senator Cardinale's intention, but that would likely be the effect.

As to the issue of "separation", the Founders were deeply suspicious of organized religion, including Christianity and its multiple sects. They understood fully the inherent dangers to liberty of placing into the hands of people whose beliefs rest on faith rather than reason the coercive power of government. They saw that danger as not only a threat to the non-religious but to other religious sects lacking political power as well.

It is not against religion that the "wall of separation" was erected, but against religious tyranny. That "wall" is our only guarantor of the freedom to practice any religious belief, or no belief at all. Far from being an inhibiting force against religion, it has actually been a boon. This fact became clear early on in our history. As Brooke Allen writes in her book,Moral Minority, Our Skeptical Founding Fathers:

"Madison was noticing what was becoming a peculiarly American phenomenon: namely, that full religious freedom, protected by the Constitution, seemed actually to foster religion and fan its flames rather than to spread atheism, as its opponents had feared. There could be no doubt about it: Americans, especially in the once-skeptical Southern states, were becoming more and more pious. Religious freedom had created an explosion of thriving sects, just as free-market capitalism was creating an explosion of new wealth. But this, perhaps, was not quite what Madison and Jefferson had in mind."

In America, the practice of religion by one is no threat to any other. We owe the unfettered right to our own beliefs free from fear of persecution to that "wall of separation." As an athiest, I cannot understand how any religionist would want to begin chipping away at that safeguard with such nonsense as "faith-based initiatives." With Senator Obama now throwing his support behind that program, the assault against state/church separation has apparently gone bipartisan. (Never mind his "re-invention" ploy. Any scenario that involves public funds going to any religious organization means that some people will be forced to support, with their tax money, religious beliefs that they may or may not agree with. It represents a violation of the First Amendment, of inalienable individual rights, and of the wall of state-church separation. Period.)

There is not much of the Left's agenda that I can support. But one great value they have traditionally offered is as a steadfast guardian against political intrusion into the religious sphere. If Obama's action is a precursor of a breakdown of the Left's resolve, the consequences for America long term will not be good.


Other's Commentary:

Posted by blarneyboy on 07/04/08 at 3:42AM

Didn't the veterans' bill after WWII smash this separation of church and state concept to smithereens?

Massive federal money went from the feds to every religious college that wanted it, and is still going there.

ROTC on a religious school's campus also helps that religion. It fills classrooms with ROTC scholarship students and rents space for the gov't instructors and their supplies....like rifles. Does the 'wall' appear and disappear depending upon the circumstances or is the whole "separation" argument a bogus creation of the ACLU?

Lastly, the first moslem attack on the West for several centuries was repulsed by adamantly christian armies. Can a 'secular humanist' state or civilization fight off a moslem terrorist onslaught over a period of a century or two? Will our atheists in foxholes prevail? and why does the gov't pay for religious chaplains if there really is a 'wall" that you want to strengthen against support of religion?

And what will happen if Baptists and Catholic and Methodist clergy decide that sending their kids off to fight for an atheistic gov't, serving as the lapdog of international corporists, serves no purpose within the concept of a "just" war?

And look at the UK with its state religion cursed with empty churches. The chief judge is ready to apply Sharia law, because the moslems of the UK DO attend services, and sometimes plan bombings there.

This thoughtful article raises a lot of questions for a civilization trapped in a religious war. We may need an Augsburg Confession, though, to unify the West now, as the confession did in 1530 against the moslem military offensives, then. Theoretical discussions of a 'wall' are of little use if the West becomes subject to Sharia Law as massive population shifts continue with the aid of the democracies.



My Response:

Posted by Zemack on 07/05/08 at 8:25PM

The principle of church-state separation, more accurately called religion-state separation, is no mere floating abstract theoretical idea without connection to reality. It is an issue crucial to a free society, as the Founders clearly understood. It is as vitally relevant today as then, especially in light of the rise of the threat from totalitarian, imperialistic Islam. As Mr. Hart says, there isn't "anything going on today that suggests throwing away our history would be a good thing."

The "wall" does not, however, mean atheistic government. The intellectual package-deal implied in that idea sets up a false alternative. And this goes straight to the heart of those words in the Declaration that the senator wants recited in schools. The choice is not between atheistic government and religious (Christian, Islamic, or any other) government. The choice is between either a government with the power to impose a particular set of beliefs on its people, or a government that protects the right of its individual citizens to hold and act upon his own beliefs and judgements, free from coercive interference by others. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."

Government is a tool. Its proper function is to protect the inalienable rights of its people, as individuals, and that's all. Neither an atheistic government, nor a Christian one, nor an Islamic one is consistent with America's revolutionary founding principles. A government that acquires the power to impose a particular set of beliefs thus becomes a tool of any group that happens to seize political control. Therefore, our best protection against the imposition of Sharia (i.e., Islamic) law in America is to prevent our government from ever acquiring that power...i.e., to maintain that "wall of separation."

The battle today is not between Islam and Christianity. It is between theocratic tyranny and political freedom. Our soldiers are fighting not for an atheistic government or a Christian government, but for the freedom to hold his, and our, own personal beliefs and for a government that protects that freedom.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men."


These revolutionary words should be repeated, and understood, because we Americans...all of us...are fighting for, and defending, the same thing.



Others' Commentary:

Posted by blarneyboy on 07/05/08 at 1:43PM

Zemack, the Declaration of Independence is a wonderful document.

It is NOT a part of American law, though; however pleasing it may sound.

It may well be time for the religions of america to trump your wall with a declination to help corporists build their greedy empire. Let them send their own offspring to protect their investments abroad.

I wish them God's speed, if that's permitted.



Posted by richl on 07/05/08 at 2:04PM
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Our Founding Fathers had a very specific intent in making the establishment of a religion an unconstitutional act, and a very specific definition of what that means. Most of them came from England where the government gave preference to and provided money and support for one of the Christian religions (the Anglican Church) and chose it as that country's "official" religion. They did not want the government establishing a national religion here. They wanted the government to stay out of religion, not for religious principles to be eliminated from government. Their desire was for the United States to be a nation with it's values and laws based on Christian principles, but did not want the government choosing one Christian religion (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) over another and establish it as it's "official" religion.

The same Founding Fathers who wrote the First Amendment that prohibited the government from establishing a national religion also believed that allowing and encouraging public religious practice was not the same as establishing a religion. Establishing a religion would require a government-sponsored set of beliefs, rules which must be obeyed by everyone, official ministers to teach the selected doctrine and penalties for those who do not conform. Our Founding Fathers were men of faith and wanted Christianity to be included in every aspect of life. The intent of the First Amendment was never to separate Christianity and state. If that had been the intent, it would never have been ratified.

The Constitution guarantees everyone freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

Liberal and politically correct interpretations have their intentions going in the wrong way. Government cannot influence or create religion NOT religion influences cannot reside in government priciples and buildings.


Posted by blarneyboy on 07/06/08 at 9:25AM

A particularly repugnant example of statist destruction of a religion is the New York Court's decision to force Catholic hospitals to pay for abortion coverage for their employees.

Kind of like asking Jews to contribute to the upkeep at Bergen-Belsen, and in a Catholic's view, no less depraved towards humanity.

I didn't hear of any atheists protesting this repudiation of a religious belief (Life, Liberty...... Thou shalt NOt Kill etc.) in a religious institution, by the government.



My Response:

Posted by Zemack on 07/06/08 at 10:15AM

Blarneyboy, you are certainly correct that the Declaration, technically speaking, is not part of American law. But however imperfectly implemented in practice, it is (or was intended to be) the philosophical basis for that law. A nations legal framework, to be just and fair, must be based upon some set of ideas...of universal principles...that all people can relate to and that can be the basis for resolving disputes peacefully. The Declaration of Independence is America's set of universal principles.

Otherwise, you end up with what we have today in America...the "controlled anarchy" of countless pressure groups and special interests fighting for control of the apparatus of government in order to impose some law or regulation or judicial edict or whatnot that coercively benefits one group at the expense of another. It is the fact that we have largely abandoned the Founding principles as laid out in the Declaration that has led to this free-for-all. What replaced those principles is...nothing. No principles, no ideas, no guideposts of any kind.

The primary victim of all of this is the individual and his inalienable rights, the protection of which is the very purpose of the Declaration. Unless we rediscover and take seriously that our Founding document is the set of universal principles that our law should be based on, the expanding "cold civil war", and the "polarization", now gripping America will continue to degenerate into either a "hot" war, as in Weimer Germany, or outright dictatorship, or both.

So, Blarneyboy, I must ask this question, which I ask in all sincerity, because I don't want to misunderstand your position. When you say that "the Declaration of Independence is a wonderful document. It is NOT a part of American law, though; however pleasing it may sound," are you saying that the Declaration of Independence is irrelevant?

Just asking.



Other's Comments:

Posted by blarneyboy on 07/06/08 at 6:52PM

Drericablair sums up the problems in Jersey accurately.

As the central gov't increases control over the individual and breaks us down into separate groups, it undermines the philosophy set forth in the declaration as a reflection of the natural law, not merely universal principles.


My Commentary:

Thomas Hart responded to my comments on his blog, which I much appreciated.

Here is an excerpt:

Mike Zemack was kind enough to post a thoughtful commentary on one of my posts at NJ Voices. Though his answer is almost two months old, I’d like to respond to it here –

As far as the separation of church and state go, however, I think we are in full agreement – and I think that is more important that quibbling over which part of the Declaration means what. Even if I love to do things like that.

Mike goes on to take to task one of the commenters on the original piece. He does a good job answering this tripe [from Blarneyboy]:


"Didn’t the veterans’ bill after WWII smash this separation of church and state concept to smithereens?

Massive federal money went from the feds to every religious college that wanted it, and is still going there."


Mike does a bang-up job on this:

"The 'wall' does not, however, mean atheistic government. The intellectual package-deal implied in that idea sets up a false alternative. And this goes straight to the heart of those words in the Declaration that the senator wants recited in schools. The choice is not between atheistic government and religious (Christian, Islamic, or any other) government. The choice is between either a government with the power to impose a particular set of beliefs on its people, or a government that protects the right of its individual citizens to hold and act upon his own beliefs and judgements, free from coercive interference by others."


Mr. Hart goes on to take apart Blarneyboy's reference to the "veterans’ bill after WWII" statement, which I want to republish here:

Veterans earn their educational benefits with their service. It is their right to use those benefits as they see fit – even if it means studying anarchist philosophy to justify destroying the government they once served. Even if it means studying the Bible, the Koran, or whatever scripture they want to study. Is the government promoting religion by allowing a veteran to study religion? No, they are promoting higher education. The veteran is choosing the field. That’s the end of that. Think of it the other way around – if a veteran wants to use his or her benefits to study religion, would a neutral government stop it? It hardly seems so.


Thomas Hart is one Christian who understands that any attempt to impose his religious beliefs on others would necessarily put his own freedom of religious faith and practice in jeopardy. The "Wall" is specifically designed to protect that freedom.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Commentarys 36 and 36a- Guns and the 2nd Amendment

Jersey-born judges get it right on guns
Posted by Paul Mulshine July 01, 2008 5:43AM


I was walking around Rutgers the other day when I came upon a memorial to students who had fought in World War II. The list of names was impressive, but I imagine most major universities in America have similar memorials.

It was only when I happened to walk by Old Queens that I noticed something you wouldn't see on just any campus. It was a plaque honoring the Rutgers men who had fought in the Revolutionary War. Nearby is the spot from which Alexander Hamilton directed cannon fire against the British in cover of George Washington's army.

You don't see that sort of thing in the so-called heartland, which would be in the heart of nowhere if not for the Jersey boys. Yet hardly a day goes by that I don't receive an e-mail from some self-proclaimed 100 percent American in a red state informing me that I can't possibly be a true conservative because I and my newspaper column originate here in New Jersey.

I am thankful to Antonin Scalia and Sam Alito for forever laying that myth to rest. It is a curious fact that two-ninths of the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court originates in that city where George Washington so famously routed the Hessians back in 1776. And the Trenton two were instrumental in the historic decision last week that, to the consternation of liberals everywhere, returned the Constitution to its revolutionary roots.

That was, of course, the decision in the case of D.C. vs. Heller, in which the court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment to the Constitution means what it says. And what it says is that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

You might argue that anyone could have concluded the same. But the genius of the Jersey-born Scalia was in expressing that opinion in terms that are irrefutable even to liberals. Liberals love to argue in favor of both individual rights and the right of revolution, assuming the revolutionary in question looks good on a T-shirt, à la Che Guevara. Well, if that's what you like, said Scalia, then you shall have it. He went out of his way to ground the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the right of citizens to rebel against an oppressive government.

With that task accomplished, Scalia went on to make it plain that the right to self-defense is every bit as much of an individual right as the First Amendment right to free speech. He cited an 1803 version of Blackstone's Commentaries that put Second Amendment rights on the same plane as First Amendment rights and said that in both cases the courts are sworn to protect those rights from overbearing politicians.

This left liberals nowhere to stand on principle. So they turned to politics. In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that "there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

Again, this is a subject a Jersey guy would know a bit more about than the California-born Breyer. Though Scalia left Trenton as a lad, his parents took him to New York City, then quite a rowdy spot. Alito, meanwhile, was until recently working in Newark, a city whose virtues in that regard I need not list.

Here is where we come to a crucial difference between liberals and conservatives. Implicit in the liberal view is the idea that rights must be trimmed to fit the behavior of the citizenry. The conservative, meanwhile, argues that rights are eternal while social conditions are temporary.

Andrew Napolitano, the third in the triumvirate of great Italian-American legal minds from Jersey, shares with Alito and Scalia what he calls an indispensable link to the great tradition they espouse, the fact of growing up in "a traditional Italian Catholic household."

Napolitano, a former Superior Court judge on the Jersey bench who is now a Fox News legal analyst, said this family history links all three to a conservative tradition perhaps lacking in the heartland -- the Catholic tradition of natural law as elucidated by Thomas Aquinas.

"The most important thing in the opinion is that the right to self-defense is a natural right," said Napolitano, who attended Princeton with Alito. "You have right to defend yourself against unjust use of power."

That principle is now explicitly enshrined in constitutional law for the first time since the founding. And it is a principle that, perhaps more than any other, defines the difference between liberals and conservatives.

So for all those people in the red states who write me e-mails questioning how someone from Jersey can be a conservative, there's your answer. Our revolutionary history is better than yours. And our conservative intellectuals are smarter than yours.


My Commentary:

Posted by Zemack on 07/02/08 at 9:29PM
The only drawback I see to that decision is how close it came to going the other way. The vote was 5-4. It should have been a slam-dunk 9-0.

It is a sad and dangerous fact that many if not most Americans have lost the knowledge of the concept of inalienable individual rights, the basic founding principle of the United States, and what it takes to keep them. While the right to gun ownership is not a primary right, it is derived from those primaries, which are life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life includes the right to defend that life. As Judge Napolitano correctly states, "The most important thing in the opinion is that the right to self-defense is a natural right. You have a right to defend yourself against unjust use of power."

I have never owned a gun, and I see no personal reason for ever owning one in the future. But it is still my right. Do I want to forfeit that right, just because I happen not to exercise it? NO!! By tying 2nd Amendment rights to the 1st Amendment, Justice Scalia raises a crucial point. The loss of any one basic right endangers all of the rest. Liberty never disappears overnight. It vanishes in a steady erosion of freedoms surrendered by the people to the state bit by bit in the name of "good intentions." It is a process that has been going on in America for about a hundred years. It is the road to dictatorship.

The only way freedom can be preserved is for every citizen to be willing to stand up and defend not only his own rights, but all peoples' rights. This issue is about more than gun owners, and the anti-2nd Amendment crowd should think again here. Those who would vote away the rights of others, should know that they are voting away their own, as well.



What are People Thinking?
By Kris | Jun 17, 2008

I run another blog, which is primarily focused on outdoor pursuits, as that is one of my hobbies. I wrote a post over there addressing Obama’s position on gun control, and the 2nd amendment. Recently, someone commented on that blog that Obama’s lack of respect for the 2nd amendment isn’t really a big deal. Here is the comment from the other blog:

i support obama…..i also understand where you’re comming from feeling worried about the whole “right to bear arms” situation…..but really, IS that the most important thing right now? yes, it’s our right as americans, and some would say that gun control policies would only lead to the government then slashing away at other rights, but i don’t believe that would happen….when politicians support gun control, it’s because they believe it’s a way to make our country a safer place….their intentions aren’t those of oppression. and as i stated before, we have much bigger problems facing this country…not voting for someone who otherwise has very good policies, just because of their stance on one issue is illogical.

What this person does not seem to understand is that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right. That means that politicians are not allowed to come along and decide that they “can make our nation a safer place” by getting rid of this right. Could the same politician decide that taking away the freedom of speech (1st amendment) could make our country safer, and therefore get rid of it? I think not, there would be wide spread outrage over such a move. However, much of the country is satisfied with taking away the 2nd amendment on a whim.

I am amazed that someone would ever think that BO’s policies are good other than this. I for one, find very little (if anything) that I can agree with BO on. His policies for the future of this country will certainly bring change, but that change will not be good. His idea is to turn as much over to government as humanly possible, after all the government knows better what is good for you than you do. I for one don’t need the government taking over my health care, or taking more money from my paycheck to pay for all the entitlement programs that are on the democratic agenda. We have far too many people wanting handouts rather than a hand up in this society, and BO and his policies will only exasperate the situation.

This person obviously has only swallowed the BO and democrat kool-aid. Never has taking away guns made a society safer. We can take the handgun ban in Washington D.C. as one example. Only one time since the institution of the ban has the murder rate been lower than when it was instituted. Seems to me that makes the plan a failure, as it was put in place to help cut the murder rate in the city. And yet, proponents of the ban insist that it remain. So, there is a whole city whose citizens cannot purchase a handgun to protect themselves–the whole point of the 2nd amendment!

Liberals will so easily allow the government to take away my rights, but they want to make sure that those detainees in Guantanamo Bay have their rights. What seems to be the problem here? I am a US citizen, and as such I have a right to keep and bear arms…I don’t think BO has the right to decide for me whether that is safe or not. I will most definitely vote against candidates that campaign on taking away constitutional rights. If you vote for them, then you had better start practicing keeping your mouth shut…your right to free speech just might be next!



My Commentary:

It is a sad and dangerous fact that most Americans have lost the knowledge of the concept of inalienable individual rights, the basic founding principle of the United States, and what it takes to keep them. While the right to gun ownership is not a primary right, it is derived from those primaries, which are life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

I have never owned a gun, and I see no reason for ever owning one in the future. But it is still my right. Do I want to forfeit that right, just because I happen not to exercise it? NO!! As Kris correctly points out, freedom of speech (or any other right) could be next. Liberty never disappears overnight. It vanishes in a steady erosion of individual self-determination surrendered by the people to the state bit by bit in the name of good “intentions.” It is a process that has been going on in America for about a hundred years. It is the road to dictatorship.

The only way freedom can be preserved is for every citizen to be willing to stand up and defend not only his own rights, but all peoples’ rights. Those who would vote away the rights of others, should know that they are voting away their own, as well.