Friday, July 27, 2012

The Real Meaning of "You didn't build that."

Obama spoke those four words last week in the context of a wider statement that can only be spun, but not misunderstood.

Those now infamous words amounted to his explicit confession of the ethical principle at the core of Obama’s belief system: collectivism.

As good a definition of collectivism one can find is Ayn Rand’s: “Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group -- whether to a race, class or state does not matter.  Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good’.”

OK, if “you didn’t build that,” someone else did -- and Obama told us who it was: other people, whether configured as “the government,” or “society.”  Anyone other than you.  The collective.

This means that if you didn’t build "that" and the collective did . . .  well, you have no inalienable right to “that.”

According to the President of the United States -- the freest, most capitalist, private property protective nation ever to exist --  individuals create nothing by themselves, it’s the collective that’s responsible, and so that’s where ownership of the "that" properly should be vested.

What's the "that"?

Private property.  Your private property.

Obama’s naked collectivist attack on individual enterprise -- "You didn't build 'that'" -- was, at bottom, an attack on the nature, source, and ownership of private property.

Someone, please explain that to Mitt Romney, as well as every Republican candidate running for election today.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

John Roberts and a Vietnamese Village

No one need read the entrails of a goat to understand the decision five Supreme Court justices rendered last Thursday regarding the constitutionality of the so-called Obamacare individual mandate.

With the dust settling on that decision—the mandate is constitutional not under the Commerce Clause, but as a newly-invented “tax” within Congress’s power to impose—focus is shifting to Chief Justice John Roberts’s vote that gave the four Court liberals and President Obama the constitutional victory.

Serious people are asking why Roberts wrote so patently an indefensible opinion, distorting reality to find a tax when there is no tax.

There are some who believe that Roberts’s whole-cloth tax rationale masked the Chief Justice’s clever Machiavellian plan to prevent the Commerce Clause’s further engorgement, tilt the election toward Mitt Romney, and otherwise in some not apparent manner do damage to the Court’s enemies.

Other commentators, preeminently Charles Krauthammer, argue that Roberts—who literally sat still when Obama insulted the Court and some of its members in person in front of Congress, the American people, and the world—is still hearing echoes of Bush v. Gore.  They believe, with some justification, that the Chief Justice feared his Court would again be held in disrepute if a 5-4 conservative bloc ruled Obamacare unconstitutional.  Indeed, in the last few weeks Obama himself, some members of his administration, a few Congressmen and Senator Patrick Leahy unconscionably told the Supreme Court it better not hold the mandate, let alone the rest of Obamacare, unconstitutional.

If this is why Roberts—otherwise a card-carrying judicial conservative, and staunch supporter of judicial restraint—caved in and ruled Obamacare constitutional, he made a serious miscalculation.  His tortured majority opinion has not only sullied his own reputation.  It has confirmed the view of many that the Supreme Court is just another pragmatic political institution—to be distrusted, even scorned.

One is reminded of the perhaps apocryphal Vietnam War comment, attributed to an unnamed American officer, to the effect that “to save the village, it had to be destroyed.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Progress report

I was just informed that The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction" is now number 6 of 100 on Amazon's list of "Hot New Releases in Constitutional Law."  (Note the company I'm keeping:

I mention this now because it provides me with an appropriate time to answer a question I've been asked in the past several weeks: "What am I [note the pronoun] doing to promote The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction"?

In a word, Nothing.

If this seems an odd attitude, here's why.
The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction" is the product of years practicing, teaching, researching, writing, cogitating, analyzing and synthesizing American constitutional law.  And spending decades applying to that subject Ayn Rand's political philosophy.  To the best of my knowledge no one else has done this in the same way I have. 

Just as Erika Holzer's and my "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, and my first and second editions of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, are unique books, so too is The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction."

I've eschewed my regular publisher in favor of getting this book out to the public before the November election, in the hope that it could have an impact on some voters.

I have seen that it is for sale on virtually every digital format in existence (for peanuts), and now there are print copies available (for peanuts, plus).

That's all I'm going to do.

(I'm taking a minute to think of a polite way to say the following.)

OK.  I've done enough.  The horses have been led to water, but I consider it unseemly for me to try to make them drink.

If members of the public consider my work valuable in the fight for freedom in America, it's up to them to use the ammunition I've provided.  Indeed, that's the least they can do.  They can spread the word . . . or not.

One easy way for like minded people to do that is by reviewing the book on Amazon.  Another is simply to tell as many people about it as possible. 

I have put up.  Now it's time for others to do the same, or . . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hanoi Jane as the First Lady

You'll need to paste this into your browser.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rick Santorum: The great right altruist hope

Most people think that “altruism” means nothing more than being nice to people. Contributing to Haitian relief, or medical research.  Helping the poor, supporting the arts.

But the real meaning of “altruism” when used in an ethical/political context is significantly different.  Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language defines altruism as “the doctrine that the general welfare of society 1 is the proper goal of an individual's action”2 — the sacrificial antithesis of one acting in pursuit of his or her own interests.  Others, anyone, everyone—before me, or you.

Ayn Rand defined altruism in the ethical/political context more fully: “the ethical theory which regards man as a sacrificial animal, which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.”3  She elaborated:

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar.  That is not the issue.  The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime.  The issue is whether you must continue buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you.  The issue is whether the need of others [“society”?] is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. * * *4

Closely related to altruism is the concept of “collectivism.” 

Contrary to popular belief, collectivism has nothing to do with people who share common interests voluntarily coming together, as in a bowling league.  On the contrary, and antithetical to the principles of individual rights and limited government, “[c]ollectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group (to ‘society,’ to the tribe, the state, the nation), and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests.”5  “Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group— whether to a race, class or state does not matter.  Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called the ‘common good’.”6

Because altruism and collectivism are ethical, not political/legal, doctrines, the only way to implement them is by brute force, of which the government has a monopoly. 

Necessarily, altruism and collectivism have a political/legal corollary, statism: “the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty”7 and of limited government. 

Altruism and collectivism are the antithesis of the individual rights principle of the Declaration of Independence, the limited government created by the Constitution of the United States of America, and the enumerated and unenumerated rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

Not to see Rick Santorum—now anointed by many of the anti-Romney Republican primary electorate as “The Great Right Hope”—for the unapologetic altruist-collectivist-statist he is would be a huge, dangerous mistake.

Either woefully ignorant about the nature and consequences of altruism-collectivism-statism, recklessly indifferent to these ethical/political doctrines, and/or seeking any port in a storm, in the last several days too many Americans have fallen for Santorum’s rousing paeans to individual rights and limited government.

Despite the vigor with which he claims to stand up for liberty, individual rights, limited government, and property and contract rights, and despite wrapping himself in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (how did he miss the Northwest Ordinance?), Rick Santorum is a cunning altruist-collectivist-statist of the worst kind. 

Don’t take my word for it.

On September 27, 2005, then-Senator Santorum gave a speech at “The First International Conservative Conference on Social Justice” entitled “The Conservative Future: Compassion.” 

That’s quite a mélange: “Conservative” (“in favor of preserving the status quo and traditional values and customs, and against abrupt change”8), “Social Justice” (often understood to mean “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs”9) and “Compassion” (“sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help.”10). 

The catchy title of his speech would have been more accurate had Santorum entitled it something like “The Future As Seen By This Compassionate Conservative: Sacrifice Of Some To The Needs Of Others, For The Common Good, Backed By Government Guns.”

Do I exaggerate?

Here’s Santorum in his own words (in Times New Roman), with my emphases, at the Conference:

“America’s conservative heritage never pursued a limitless freedom to do whatever one wants so long as no one is hurt. That kind of ‘freedom’ to be and do whatever we want, irrespective of the choice is a selfish freedom that cannot be sustained or afforded.  Someone always gets hurt when masses of individuals do what is only in their own self-interest.  That is the great lie of liberal freedom, or as I like to say, ‘No-Fault Freedom”—all the choice, none of the responsibility.

“We here today believe in something altogether different.  It is the liberty America’s Founders understood properly defined.  Freedom is liberty coupled with responsibility to something bigger or higher than self.  It is a self-less freedom.  It is sacrificial freedom.  It is the pursuit of our dreams with an eye toward the common good.  Freedom is the dual activity of lifting our eyes to the heavens while extending our hand to our neighbor.

“The only orthodox conservative philosophy that matches with this is compassionate conservatism.”

Indeed!  The above quotation is why every self-respecting free American should run as if from a plague from Santorum and other “compassionate conservatives” who, according to him, claim to understand the Founders’ intent and accomplishments better than they themselves.

In his speech, Santorum confessed that he and his compassionate conservative cohort scorn the individuality and personhood often called the “self.”  They do so because the individuals possessing those essential human traits are not selfless— meaning, that being selfish the latter don’t have the good grace to be complicit when they are, in Santorum’s own words, sacrificed for the common good.  No man or woman with stature and pride will willingly be complicit in their own destruction--let alone in the name of the "common good."

What does Santorum mean by “something bigger or higher than self”?  Probably mystical forces that drive him and other compassionate conservatives to make irrational and indefensible pronouncements about where rights come from, and how we are all our brothers’ keepers.

Have we not seen enough by now of what comes from sacrificing human beings for the “good” of others, rationalized by the mystical doctrines that give birth to altruism, collectivism and statism? 

Putting aside all of earlier recorded history, did not the Twentieth Century provide evidence enough of how much human suffering these doctrines produce?

Included in Isabel Paterson’ groundbreaking 1943 book entitled The God of the Machine is her essay The Humanitarian with the Guillotine.

I leave you with what Paterson’s title implies, as we hear more and more about Rick Santorum’s mystically-rooted belief that some of us, sometime, must be sacrificed by government to fulfill the needs of others.  But, all that killing and plunder, devastation and pain, is of course for the “common good.”

[1] According to Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition, a “society” is nothing more than “a group of persons . . . .”  Meaning, other people.

[2] Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition.

[3] Ayn Rand, “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 74.

[4] Ibid.  Emphasis in original.

[5] Ayn Rand, “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 175.

[6] Ayn Rand, “The Only Path to Tomorrow,” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1944, 8.


[8] Encarta Dictionary. 

[9] See Wikipedia.
[10] Encarta Dictionary.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mitt Romney's "Crime"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being pilloried for having been a venture capitalist.  His company used its own and investors' money (which was theirs to do with whatever they wanted) to purchase usually failing enterprises.  Their goal was to make them better and sell either parts or all of them for a profit.

Much has been said by pseudo conservatives like Santorum, Gingrich and Perry—and by the collectivists in the media, academia, not-for-profits and Democrat Party—that in risking their own money and trying to make a profit Romney and his colleagues somehow "took advantage"of the failing companies.

Worse than that anti-capitalist rant is the chorus' lament that in Romney’s investing, buying, fixing and selling, some people lost their jobs.

What everyone seems to be missing, however, is the insidious implication lurking in that lament: that those who lost their jobs were deprived of something to which they were entitled.  That the capital and labor of Romney and his colleagues was somehow to be used to benefit not themselves and their investors, but instead sacrificed for the benefit of the employees of the companies they had purchased.

Webster’s defines altruism as "the doctrine that the general welfare of society[other people] is the proper goal of an individual's action" — the antithesis of one acting in pursuit of his or her own interests.

The late Ayn Rand defined altruism this way: “the ethical theory which regards man as a sacrificial animal which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.”

That's what Mitt Romney is being accused of by his supposed friends and avowed enemies alike: not being an altruist. 

According to them, Mitt Romney’s "crime" was not sacrificing his own interests to those of other people. 

Not serving others at his expense.

To be moral—presumably like the mystic Santorum, the conniver Gingrich, the lightweight Perry, the confused Paul and the altruists/collectivists/statists of the Democrat Party—Romney was supposed to squander his time and lose his (and others') money so that the employees of failed and failing companies could keep their jobs.

That's not only not capitalism. 

It's ethical and economic cannibalism.