Book Review – We Chose Life: Why You Should Too, by Anthony Horvath

Book Review by Mary Ann Kreitzer

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare — hearing the words, “You have a very sick child.” For a dad, it’s particularly difficult because his job, besides providing materially for his family, is to protect his loved ones from harm. But when illness strikes a child, a dad often stands helpless to “fix it.” Decisions about dealing with a critical illness in an already born child are difficult enough, but when that illness occurs in utero, parents are faced with another issue. The question is inevitable – “Will you keep it?” Since Roe v. Wade made abortion-on-demand legal in all 50 states at any time during pregnancy, vulnerable families faced with a sick little one are often given the bad news and immediately invited to consider abortion. How will they respond to the challenge? Anthony Horvath, in his book “We Chose Life: Why You Should Too,” shares his story, his faith, and the reasons he believes others should “choose life” as he and his wife did. Those who find themselves in similar circumstances with a seriously ill unborn child would do well to put their panic on hold and read his story.

In December 2006, after two normal pregnancies that filled their home with three boys including a set of twins, the Horvath’s were thrilled to learn during a routine ultrasound that they were expecting a little girl. Then the shoe dropped. The ultrasound showed something else. “The doctor came in. She wasn’t smiling. Her expression was grim … she went right to the point. Our new baby girl had a lot of fluid in her skull, a condition called hydrocephalus. The doctor told us that it could be just hydrocephalus, or, worst case scenario, it could mean that she had spina bifida (SB)” [spina bifida is a general term for a group of a neural tube defects where a segment of the spinal column fails to close resulting in a buildup of fluid in the brain.]

A second ultrasound showed that the baby had the most severe form of the disease, myelomenigocele spina bifida. While there was no way to know the severity of the outcome, the baby could end up mentally and physically handicapped, catheterized, and permanently unable to walk – or not. “Here was the brutal reality,” Horvath says, “There was no way of knowing the future.”

Continue reading »

Karl Marx flunks history

In the following column, Olavo de Carvalho alludes to the Hegelian theory of the “historical imperative,” which the early Marxists used as a basis for their ideas.

This Utopian notion of history as a foregone conclusion, is still used by Marxists and their followers. I have shown how the idea of “gay marriage” is based in part on this idea and is seen by activists in the field as an inevitable outcome of all prior history.

Mr. de Carvalho points out the severe philosophical limitations of this Utopian idea. Ironically, its popularity and the virulence of its supporters are symptoms of its inherent lack of validity.

Don Hank

Social Critique and History

Olavo de Carvalho
Jornal da Tarde, October 11, 2001

All social critique is founded upon some idea of the better. It is only in comparison with this idea that any existing society may seem good, tolerable, bad, or unbearable. But the idea of the better does not emerge from nothing: it is conceived of by actual men, members of the same society they criticize. If we consider that the mindset of these men is entirely a “product” of society, then, only one of two alternatives is true: either they themselves fall into the evil they denounce, or society, having given these men the idea of the better, cannot be as evil as they say it is.

Therefore, all social critique that claims to have any foundation at all can only be based upon the premise that in man’s consciousness there is a dimension which somehow transcends any present society and to which he can transport himself in thought in order to judge that society from the outside, or from above.

It is evident, however, that a simple verbal appeal to a legitimating authority is not enough to validate any critique. A critique must not only allege but must also prove its logical affiliation with a superior authority.

Social critiques, therefore, can be hierarchized on a scale of strictly objective validity, in accordance with (a) the intrinsic legitimacy of the authority called upon to legitimize them; (b) the degree of logical consistency of the nexus between the legitimizing authority and the content of the critique. In other words: (a) The authority of the superior authority summoned to legitimize a critique may be false or deficient in itself, as in the case of the critic who condemns society based upon a pure Utopian model of his own invention. (b) If the alleged authority is valid in itself, there is also the risk that the deduction which the critic draws from it in order to validate a specific critique of a specific society is not a logically valid inference.

A history of social critique from antiquity to the present day would easily demonstrate that, over time, the social critiques formulated in the West have been progressively losing their validity as they have grow in virulence and in the number of their adherents. In other words: as time goes on, social critics lose in intrinsic authority what they gain in pretension and audience.

I know that this is a lamentable observation and that some people, without having ever studied the subject, or even become minimally aware of it before reading this article, will reject it in limine and will seek refuge from it behind all sorts of subterfuge. The only thing I have to say to these people is: don’t bother me; go study. As to other people, that is, those for whom the enunciation of a hypothesis arouses curiosity instead of tears, I suggest they compare, for example, the Socratic critique to the Marxist one. The latter has far more adherents and is much more ferocious than the former, but, in declaring that men’s consciousness is a “product” of history, the Marxist critique cannot allege any legitimizing authority other than history itself; however, since history does not provide models for its own judgment, but rather the simple reporting of faits accomplis, the Marxist critic is left with no other alternative than to infer from past history a hypothesis for a future development and to take it at once as the legitimizing authority for the critique of the present. Nothing proves that the predicted development is inevitable, nor that the state of affairs that results from it will have to be better than the present state of affairs; all this is nothing but hypothesis and has no other legitimizing authority than that of a hypothesis. On the other hand, Socrates’ critique, which did not gain many adherents, except in a very limited circle, had a much more solid foundation, since the authorities to which he appealed were the certainty of death and the intrinsic authority of reason, which no man can reject. 

Marxism stands at an even greater disadvantage when compared to the social critique of the Hebrew prophets, who draw their authority from the fulfillment of prophecies. Moses’ critique of the state of affairs in Egypt was founded upon his foreknowledge of the concrete means of leading the Jewish people to a better situation; and the success of his undertaking provided full proof of his claims. This is an argument that no Marxist can allege in support of his criticism of capitalism. Quite to the contrary, the historical achievements of the socialist model in USSR and China were so disappointing that, nowadays, Marxists, after having proclaimed and defended them as the purest and most typical expressions of how Marxism overcomes capitalism, strive to explain them ex post facto as accidental deviations and to purge Marxism of any commitment to such obvious failures.

Translator: Alessandro Cota; Translation Editor: Don Hank

Author Olavo de Carvalho is a noted correspondent for several major Brazilian newspapers and founder of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government and Social Thought. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute, the Atlas Foundation and the America’s Future Foundation.

To comment or schedule an appearance, contact Laigle’s Forum at:  zoilandon@msn.com

The border crisis and cognitive dissonance

The border crisis and cognitive dissonance

by Don Hank

The lack of response and negative response of many Americans to my recent article on the dangerous crisis at the US-Mexican border signals the existence of a sweeping epidemic of the mental disorder known as cognitive dissonance.

We often think of cognitive dissonance in terms of two different world views that one and the same person entertain. A well-known example is the compartmentalization practiced by some Christians who believe in Darwinism on a secular level and the Genesis version of creation on a religious level.

But in the case of the West, a much more serious and virulent form of cognitive dissonance frequently occurs in the minds of citizens whose “background noise” in the form of media reports and opinions, political activism, make us deny what our eyes and ears perceive. In other words, the victim is not only contending with 2 distinct and contradictory world views, which can cause neurosis. He or she is actually trapped (brain washed, we could call it) into believing something that his senses unerringly tell him is not true.

The most amazing example of this more radical form of cognitive dissonance that I have ever witnessed was when, in the midst of the “global warming” craze, a record late frost occurred in my area in PA and not only did the media not report it, but many of the locals with whom I spoke, even as the frost lay on the ground in full view, appeared visibly nervous and edgy when I mentioned that I had never seen frost this late in over 65 years living in the area. Of course, neither had they, but they couldn’t say so because they were supposed to devoutly believe in global warming — and not as the result of scientific study but as a result of fervent devotion of a mystical type not to be confused with brain activity. The belief would save humankind from extinction if only we believed fervently and acted upon our beliefs by accepting whatever remedies the government and the Self-Elect recommended. Praise Gaya!

The very same phenomenon is at work when people mention things like the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz by illegal aliens. Many absolutely can’t process this information and exhibit an evasive response when confronted with it. They literally dodge anyone who mentions it. Like Pavlov’s dogs, they have been conditioned. They dare not entertain such dissident thoughts, let alone discuss the issue with anyone. They not only feel guilty about having this information, because it contradicts the received wisdom that all Hispanics are victims and we evil rich Americans are their tormenters and are responsible for all ills that befall them. They also are deathly afraid that an activist could be lurking somewhere waiting to pounce on them for the indiscretion of stating a simple fact. None of these Hispanics who sin, so goes the narrative, can be held accountable for their actions. If they smuggle drugs, it is our fault because some Americans use drugs. If they rape someone it is because American women are racists who deny them love. If they join violent gangs it is because we xenophobic Anglos reject them and their language, forcing them to seek solace among their own kind.

I hope and pray I am wrong, but I am slowly coming to the conclusion that cognitive dissonance is now an epidemic of such enormous proportions in our country that, if someday Hispanics swept through middle class neighborhoods burning, pillaging, raping, murdering and shouting racial slurs against whites and blacks alike, a sizeable proportion of the residents of these neighborhoods would actually feel guilty about being “rich” and white (no matter that the Hispanics hated the blacks as well) and would ask: Where have we gone wrong? What can we do to show them we are their friends?

If my suspicions about that are correct, this could be the end of the line.

The wind farm boondoggle

The wind farm boondoggle

by Don Hank

Wind farms are considered an “investment” and governments are trying desperately to attract capital to build them.

However, as Christopher Booker recently wrote for the Sunday Telegraph, they are not a feasible investment.

And there are other issues as well:

First and foremost, any enterprise that requires government subsidies is a scam, and these babies just soak up public funds like a sponge while providing diminishing returns. A bona fide investment is one that the enterprising investor with a little vision can see is going to pay off eventually, either sooner or later. Wind farms without subsidies attract zero capital.

It is cynical and cunning to pretend that a wind farm could be a capitalist business enterprise, because, as the following article shows, the cost-benefit ratios are abominable. The public winds up paying not only at the start but throughout the use of this boondoggle.

Second, the machines are extremely noisy and the property values in their vicinity plummet.

Third, they occupy valuable farmland that is then taken out of use. The value of the crops that could have been raised there is lost forever, replaced by a “commodity” of much lower, and questionable, value.

You don’t save the planet by adding pollution, and noise pollution is pollution. And you don’t provide for a hungry populace by destroying farmland.

The labor and material costs of these windmills are very high and we can assume that any cost analysis including both the land and the machinery plus the labor needed to maintain and operate the system, will wind up showing a constant loss for the public, as well as huge “profits” for the public-private partnerships at our expense. (Some of the first PPPs were seen in Mao’s China. They are typically the first step in a gradual migration toward total and totalitarian communism. No one should confuse PPPs with free market capitalism. They are quite the opposite. Historians will also recognize their similarity to Mussolini’s state-private joint enterprises — a hallmark of fascism).

The bottom line is that the New World Order needs you poor. Otherwise they are afraid middle class people will overrun the planet and make it less desirable for the Self-Elect. They are already nervous about our presence here on “their” planet.

If the world needs clean energy, so far, all things considered, nuclear power is the only way to go, provided the redundant safety systems are put in place.

Administration’s inaction criminal and impeachable

Constitution: Obama guilty of treason, must be impeached

By Don Hank

I recently published a column on the gradual seizure of ranches in Arizona

by Mexican cartels with the tacit consent of the current administration.

I need to clarify that any person in a position such that he/she can be reasonably expected to be protecting US assets (US president, Homeland Security Chief, Border Patrol chief, etc) and who refuses to protect said assets is on a par with — but in fact is more culpable than — the actual perpetrators (in this case, the cartels, Mexican criminals and other invaders) of the harm to the assets.

This means that these people are liable and must be brought to justice as soon as possible.

Obama and his administration have made it clear that they not only will not meaningfully defend our borders and perform a modicum of their duties to protect American lives and assets (see the definition of security in the above-linked column). They have in fact clearly sided with the criminals, aiding and abetting them in harming a state and its citizens. Suing the state of AZ for protecting borders that can be expected to be protected by the federal government and is their duty to protect under the Constitution, is nothing short of treachery.

Here are the parts of the Constitution that are being directly violated – first an Article that applies indirectly, then an Article that applies directly:

 “Art. IV, Section 3: ….The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the US; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any claims of the US or of any particular State.”

The Obama administration has “construed” the Constitution “so as to prejudice the claims of” a “particular State” (AZ). That is a flagrant violation of the Constitution.

Further, and more directly:

The administration has violated Section 4 of Art. IV, which clearly states:

“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican form of government and shall protect each of them against Invasion….”

There is no wiggle room here for the Executive. Obama and the agencies subordinate to him, must protect the states against invasion and they are failing to do so, in flagrant violation of Constitutional Article IV. In fact, they are illegally suing AZ under color of law in an attempt to cover their tracks.

This passive refusal to protect a state and the pro-active frivolous and malicious lawsuit against AZ for attempting to defend itself amount to one of the grounds for impeachment explicitly enumerated under Article II, Section 4, because the inaction on the one hand and the active step on the other hand are quite simply treason. There can be no other word for it.

It does not matter what the Supreme Court says. Each state has the right to decide whether the government has denied them aid.

Regardless of this, it is time for the states to defend themselves against all blatant violations of their Constitutional rights, whether these violations be perpetrated by the Executive or a higher court, including the SC.

When a higher court violates the Constitution, it is up to the people (on the state level first) to assert their rights and just say no — as Sheriff Joe Arpaio has done, BTW, in refusing to provide documents improperly requested by the feds.

Arpaio is in his right under the 10th Amendment, which states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution does not grant to the federal government the right to interfere with law enforcement activities on the State level.

Nor did AZ, according to this same Amendment, have to accept the intervention of the higher court to hamstring their immigration law. They chose to do so. It needs to be recognized, in this regard, that Jan Brewer is willing to defend AZ only in part, but not in whole. She is behaving first as a politician and, as a distant second, as a defender of her State and its Constitutional rights.

Her endorsement of John McCain is evidence that she is only willing to half-heartedly defend her people.

The fact that the people chose McCain in the primary election is evidence that they are willing to allow the tail to wag the dog.

They have not fully grasped the Tea Party principles and the significance of the Constitution.

And there is one salient reason for this: Neither Brewer nor the people have actually read the Constitution she is sworn to uphold.

The government is not about to protect us from invasion without a significant change, and that change starts with education on the grassroots level. No significant steps toward securing our nation will be taken until the Articles mentioned above are read and understood by a majority of the people.

Cartel seizing US assets, with tacit consent of US government

by Don Hank

Today I sent out the following link to a report showing how one American ranch and its occupants (one of many) were physically threatened by dangerous criminals due to inaction on the part of the Obama government – inaction that, if it occurred on a local level, would immediately be seen as criminal. The fact that it is criminal on any level will not be missed by rational, thinking people. (BTW, there is a pattern here: The DOJ has recently been shown to refuse to prosecute perpetrators on the basis of their race).

I sent the link with this message:

The below-linked report was written by an Iraq war returnee. It contains foul language, but is so full of truth it can’t be ignored.

Conclusion:

We need to get control of our border.

To do that, we need to get control of our treacherous government.

Failing that, armed volunteers need to go to these ranches en masse and help protect what is ours.

http://bigpeace.com/pdollard/2010/09/24/american-rancher-x-part-2/

Don Hank

 

Shortly thereafter, I received the following message from a friend whose work I am familiar with. This man, by the way, does not publish and should not be confused with anyone who has recently been published either in this forum or elsewhere.

Quote from that message:

“So, when our representatives say that ANYONE can have access to this nation, to its people, property, and information, what does that say about their opinion of us?

And my friend, doing nothing to stop it is doing nothing to protect us, which is the same thing as actively allowing it.”

 

FWIW

My I offer some thoughts in this regard?

As you know, I have been in the “protection” field for over a quarter century and am professionally educated and credentialed in that field.  

At its most basic, things that are to be protected, assets for want of a better term, fall into 3 categories:  people, property, and information.   These can range from a single person or a dignitary to an entire population; from a single item of property to a building or a nation, etc.

Now here is the rule:  90% of protecting anything, no matter what, is access control, making sure that only the right people have access to the valued asset and likewise, making sure that the wrong people don’t.  

There is ALWAYS a security-convenience trade off.  That is the cost of it and these are opposite ends of a continuum.  As one moves along that continuum toward one, there is motion away from the other.  If one wants more security, less convenience is the cost, and vice versa.

Further, effective protection is in layers, or progressively more stringent “rings of protection,” actual physical, psychological, or procedural barriers that a person must negotiate before they gain access.  And these rings have objectives.

The basic strategy for designing a protective system is to include 4 basic goals—the 4 D’s:  deter, detect, delay, defend / deny. 

In other words, any system wants to DETER the “wrong” person from even attempting access in the first place by raising the chances that they will get caught and pay a price for it.  While we cannot change the value of the asset they are trying to gain access to, we can do much to change the cost of attempting access, and the likelihood of having to pay it.  Deterrence is THE first step, and a major one.

We also want out system to be able to immediately DETECT an attempted or accomplished breech in our protection (i.e. deterrence did not work) at the outermost  perimeter ring (i.e. property, border, wall, etc).  We then want to DELAY the person with other barriers of some kind, until a human response can be mustered to the breech site, and finally, we must DEFEND the asset-i.e. DENY access to it in a physical confrontation if need be.

This is NOT rocket science.  But, no matter what anyone says, until the basic decision to control access is made, and the cost of it paid, there IS NO, AND CAN BE NO, SECURITY FOR THAT ASSET, period.  OPEN ACCESS MEANS NO SECURITY!

Personally, there is also an inescapable corollary implied in access control:

How we define “the right person” to be granted access is based on the value of the asset to the owner.  The greater the value, the greater the inconvenience that will be tolerated in countermeasures, and the greater the required trustworthiness for persons to be granted access.   It is based on value, not cost, but value in the mind of the owner.

So, when our representatives say that ANYONE can have access to this nation, to its people, property, and information, what does that say about their opinion of us?

And my friend, doing nothing to stop it is doing nothing to protect us, which is the same thing as actively allowing it.

Obama no match for China

by Don Hank

Obama has been pushing China for a long time to revalue the RMB upward. In view of their refusal, he has recently made noises of wanting to erect trade barriers against China. A Chinese think tank has warned him that he will lose and has mentioned the unspeakable: the specter of the Chinese calling in our nearly trillion dollar debt with them.

Obama most assuredly will lose — ignominiously.

Obama is on a roll, having steam rolled over the US public with his open borders and amnesty policies, with his gifts to his banker buds who donated to his campaign, with unlimited “stimulus,” health care “reform,” lawsuits against Arizona, even human rights complaints filed against Arizona before the UN, his arrogant refusal to use the Dutch skimmers in the Gulf, the transfer of power to the corrupt unions and anyone who, like him, is minded to destroy the US, and on and on.

The reason he can do all these things is that he is the current occupant of the White House, is well-situated among the American left and the world banking elites, and, sorry to be so blunt, but his color is a teflon coating. It just is and everyone knows it.

So he is seemingly invincible in his adopted country and the West at large.

Many analysts have rightly observed that little or none of what he is doing and has done politically is a mistake. It is purposeful destruction of our economy and our culture and an intentional takeover of as much power as he can grab in keeping with the Cloward-Piven handbook.

On the other hand, most of us who worry about Obama’s seemingly unbridled power have not noticed some of the background noise with China. It started some time back when the US, Mexico and the EU decided to gang up on China before the WTO and demand that she start selling more of her scarce resources to the rest of the world instead of hoarding them. (At least one report says there may be a shortage by 2012). The action failed.

But Obama is accustomed to getting his own way and does not handle failure with aplomb. So now he is trying to pressure China to raise the price of the RMB (the Chinese yuan). That would be sweet, since we owe the Chinese many billions of dollars and we would like to see the cheapest possible dollars go to pay them.

But, whereas China-hand Geithner has had enough experience to know that the Chinese won’t be bullied, Obama apparently thinks they will eventually just give in like the Europeans.

But there is something about the Chinese that most Western leftists and New World Order types don’t realize — although they will get a crash course in it soon — and that is, that China is not on board with the stealth socialism that has been wrapping its tentacles around us for the past 100 years. They have had their experience with communism and, while they are content to hang on to a large dose of the economic system Mao introduced, they are not, nor will they ever be, missionaries and proselytizers spreading the gospel of Marxism the way Western elites do. In other words, while the European elites are on board with all the shenanigans of subprime mortgages and wealth redistribution as a tool of “social justice,” the Chinese have had their fill of these kiddy games and are moving on. They definitely are not interested in whether the West becomes socialist or communist. They are only interested in China. Woa, you say, then why the interest in, say, Tibet? And Taiwan? The answer is simple: the Chinese are and always will be enamored of their own culture – very much unlike the Western elites. One of the first things I heard from people on the street in Taipei was that the Chinese have a 5,000 year old culture. They are proud nationalists – both in “free” China and on the mainland. Tibet speaks a language that is little more than a dialect of Chinese and is written with Chinese characters. As far as China is concerned, Taiwan and Tibet are culturally part of China and that makes them hers.

Therefore the PRC wants these regions safely in the sheep fold.

Unlike the Russians, they have no interest – and historically have had none – in dominating other parts of the world.

But (and here is a big “but” that Obama will eventually learn the hard way) they will not give anything to anyone unless made to do so with considerable, overwhelming force or with an attractive bargaining chip. (Remember when Chou En Lai received Nixon and said “you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have something we want”?)

Obama will soon learn that he does not have anything China wants worse than what he wants from China. Sure, China needs us as a trading partner, but they also know that we can’t do without their cheap goods, so the threat of trade barriers is like a toy pistol. When Kissinger first made overtures toward China, it was out of an interest in furthering the New World Order, which would ultimately lead to a one-world government, with the Western elites at the helm. That move, and the moves made by all western elites since then with China were based on the naïve assumption that the Chinese, being far leftists, would be equally enamored with a socialist one-world government in which they played a role roughly proportional to their importance. That was a fatal miscalculation that is still ongoing and is almost amusing to watch. While China has no dreams of world domination, it also has no designs on playing a minor role in anything. If the elite want to start divvying up the world, then China will play along as long as China gets the lion’s share of the benefit. They don’t see the West as a partner. They see us as an opportunity, like a cat sees a mouse.

Obama, like every one of his predecessors, deals with China as though he believed they had a sense of fairness like ours and, because they are fellow leftists, must be in his camp.

The fact is, the Chinese despise the West and its superficiality. Thus they have no appreciation of our subterfuges like “climate change” (remember how Obama had to chase down his Chinese analog at the Global Warming conference?). Further, while they have many admirable traits, fairness in trade and diplomacy is not one of them. In dealings with the West, they treat that trait for what it is: weakness and stupidity. And now that they hold what may be called a controlling share of US debt, we simply do not have any bargaining chips with which to go to the table. None. And when dealing with China, that is an extremely precarious position to be in.

Obama has met his match. He is overwhelmed. Whether he appreciates the delicacy of his position is unclear at this juncture. It will be interesting to see his reaction when he finally awakens from his opiate slumber and realizes that China – and Russia too – are not about to cooperate or play Western power-by-stealth games. They have him in a strangle hold and will do what any wrestler would do – take him down for the count.

Further reading:

http://laiglesforum.com/obama-and-mao-a-short-history-lesson/1870.htm

I Wish the GOP was the Party of No

by A.R. Horvath

Obama has been on a tear, raging against the Republicans that they are the ‘party of no.’  From a recent speech:

“There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.”

If only this were true!  If only the GOP were eschewing new ideas and holding tenaciously to the perfectly good old ones!  If only.   Not that I am conceding Obama’s argument, here.  Either he is an idiot or we are- or he thinks we are.  The Bush tax cuts had nothing to do with the housing bubble.  Barney Frank (D) and Chris Dodd (D), did, and let us remember that this ‘inherited’ recession came only in the last few months of an 8 year term.  Shame, shame, Mr. Obama.  But I digress.

As the candidate field shapes up for the 2012 presidential election there is an opportunity to lay bare the fatal flaw in GOP ‘conservatism’ in the hopes that maybe something can be done about it.   Let me be clear, this isn’t a new development.  The problems began decades ago- even before we were born.   To help me get at what I’m talking about, let me begin with what may appear to be another digression.

Much talk has been made about Sarah Palin’s intelligence and education and her suitability to be president of these united states.  And this on the conservative side!  Have we ever wondered why we need our presidents and politicians so sophisticated?

We perceive that a high level of sophistication is necessary because the issues that our politicians will have to grapple with are so hugely complex that on no one of them could the president get away with saying, “this is above my pay grade.”    The underlying assumption, however, is that these politicians are going to have to actually navigate these hugely complex issues.

Therein lies the problem.  Constitutionally speaking, precious little is supposed to be done by the Federal government.  There shouldn’t be a thing called social security.  Or a department of education.  It shouldn’t require three doctoral degrees to balance out how taxation and distribution impacts the whole economy.  In short, the reason why ‘intelligence’ is needed in government these days is because we all take as our working assumption that the job of our politicians is to tinker, tinker, and tweak.

Now, this is to be expected from the Democrats.  Continue reading

Telling Muslims what they need to Hear (Koran Burning)

This article was posted several days ago but is being cross posted here.

This thing down in Florida where a pastor of a congregation not much bigger than my thumbnail has threatened to burn korans has reached the heights of absurdity. Pastor Jone’s one long publicity stunt has paid off in spades. It has attracted all kinds of attention. Even Obama has noticed, and given how hard it is for a commoner to attract his eye, that’s really saying something. But maybe not. President Oblivious seems to have a keen eye for potential beer summits or things touching on Islam.

Now, Interpol has announced this warning:

LYON, France – INTERPOL has today issued a global alert to its 188 member countries following the request of Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior, and its own determination, that if the proposed Koran burning by a pastor in the US goes ahead as planned, there is a strong likelihood that violent attacks on innocent people would follow.

Adding to the gravity of the matter, it says,

“September 11 is a day when the world should come together to redouble our efforts to prevent and fight terrorism, not a day when any individual, especially an American, should engage in provocative acts that will give terrorists propaganda intended to convert September 11 from a day of remembrance, to one of recruitment for terrorists and others inspired to attack the US and other western targets,” stressed Secretary General Noble.

Now, as near as I can tell, most Americans think burning the Koran is wrong. There is some wonderment about how there can be no constitutional doubt about the right to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site but no similar proclamation from Mr. Constitution about this man’s right to burn it if he wanted. I read something from Randall Terry about the Old Testament burning of idols but as a friend pointed out, generally it was one’s own idols that were being burnt. Israel was ordered to be pretty hard about idols in its territory, for example, but Israel was not ordered to march on the rest of the world in a purge. You know, like the Muslims think they are supposed to do.

I personally think burning the Koran in this way is wrong for reasons of principle. I am humored, though, that the objections that have been made by our leaders claim also to have principle in mind- the principle of protecting American soldiers and citizens overseas- manage to ignore the elephant in the room. Very simply, if Americans and other ‘innocent people’ are put at risk by Muslims around the world because some dude down in Florida sets fire to a book, there is something seriously unstable about these people. Seriously unstable.

Which leads me back to the Interpol announcement, warning that this ‘provocative act’ will help in the recruitment of terrorists. So let’s get this straight. Some guy in Florida sets fire to a book or two, or two hundred, and some thousands of guys all over the world begin plotting how to blow up disco halls, cafes, trains, etc, and begin sharpening their knives to ensure only the finest beheadings? Do I have that about right?

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The demolition of conscience

Olavo de Carvalho

Diário do Comércio, December 21, 2009

Whoever has fully understood my article “Weapons of freedom” must also have realized the conclusion to which it unavoidably leads: a good part of the moralizing effort expended by the “religious Right” in cleansing a corrupt society is useless, since it ends up being readily absorbed by the “cognitive dissonance” machine and used as an instrument for general perdition.

Nota bene: morality is not a ready-made list of laudable and condemnable behaviors for citizens to follow with the automatism of Pavlov’s dog. 

Morality is conscience, personal discernment, a quest for a goal of perfection which only gradually becomes clearer and finds its means of realization among life’s contradictions and ambiguities.

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the greatest problem of moral existence is not knowing a general abstract rule, but bridging the gap between the unity of the rule and the inexhaustible variety of concrete situations, where oftentimes we are squeezed among contradictory duties or find ourselves lost in the distance between intentions, means, and results.

Luther—to dispel any notion that I am favoring the Catholics—insisted that “this life is not devotion, but rather a struggle for the conquest of devotion.”

And Saint Padre Pio da Pietrelcina said, “It is better to withdraw from the world little by little rather than all at once.”

Great literature, beginning with the Bible, is replete with examples of anguishing moral conflicts, showing that the path of good is a straight line only from the divine point of view, which encompasses all in one simultaneous glance. To us, who live in time and history, all is hesitation, twilight, trial and error. Only gradually, guided by divine grace, does the light of experience dispel the fog of appearances.

Consciousness—especially conscience—is not an object, a thing you possess. It is a permanent effort of integration, the search for unity above and beyond the immediate chaos. It is the unification of the diverse, the resolution of contradictions.

The codes of conduct consecrated by society, transmitted through education and culture, are never solutions to moral problems: they are very broad and generic frames of reference that give support to conscience in its effort to unify individual conduct. They are to each person’s conscience as a building plan is to the work of a constructor: they say in a broad manner what the final form of the work must be, but not how the construction must be undertaken in each of its stages.

When codes are various and contradictory, it is the final form itself that becomes incongruous and unrecognizable, wearing down men’s souls in vain efforts which will lead them to become entangled in ever more insoluble problems, and in a great number of cases, to give up any serious moral effort. Much of the reigning relativism and amorality is not actually beliefs or ideologies: it is diseases of the soul, acquired by depletion of moral intelligence.

Under such circumstances, fighting for this or that moral principle in particular, without taking into account that, in the reigning mixture, all principles are good as fuel for keeping the cognitive dissonance engineering at work, can be of catastrophic naïveté. What needs to be denounced is not this or that sin in particular, this or that form of specific immorality: it is the whole framework of a culture set up to destroy at its foundation the vey possibility of moral consciousness. Tiger Woods’ case, which I mentioned in my previous article, is just one among thousands. Adultery scandals pop up every day in the same media that advocate abortion, free sex, and gay ideology. The contradiction is so constant and obvious that no agglomeration of curious coincidences could ever account for it. It is a political option; it is the planned demolition of moral discernment. Many people who are outraged at specific immoralities haven’t the slightest inkling of the permanent and general scandal industry, in which denunciations of immorality are usefully integrated as machines in a production line. Either the struggle against evil begins with the struggle against confusion, or it can only end up contributing to the confusion between good and evil.

Translated by Alessandro Cota. Translation reviewed by Don Hank.