Saturday, April 30, 2005
A National Identity Card
Why Are People so Dead Set Against a National Identity Card?
I opened my wallet just now and looked at the cards I carry. Two credit cards, for which I had to tell the credit people many details of my life. A driver's license with my picture on it, and my Social Security Number too. An auto insurance card, and an auto registration card that tells anyone what car I drive and what address I live at. Three grocery store cards, but their information is held by the stores somewhere. There is enough information about me in these cards to allow a criminal to steal my identity if he got hold of it. Downtown, I am registered as the owner of this house, together with my wife, and I am on the taxpayer roles of the IRS, this State, and this city.
Then I went to my bureau drawer and pulled out my US Passport, which has my picture, signature and home address on it. A thief in the night could set himself up very well with a new identity for a while. So what difference would one more piece of identity do to hurt me? Nothing I can see. In fact, it could help me a lot if I kept it somewhere other than where my wallet or passport are kept. The loss of either or both of them could be rectified rapidly if I had my super-duper ID card handy.
In all of the jobs I had, I was issued a company ID with my picture on it. I carried that card around every workday. It even had encodings to show the level of security clearance I held.
And somewhere in the world of government there is a dossier on me that shows all of the information collected about me over my lifetime, including fingerprints, pictures, and statements of investigators and their sources about me. Then too, every person born in the US has a birth certificate attesting to their birth, place of birth, and the names of their parents, and many also include footprints of the baby. There is a record on me somewhere in the Defense Department because of my service during the Korean War.
If you think a National or State Persons Database would threaten your life or existence, or curtail your freedoms, I think that is sheer baloney. Those who do object to it must have a reason. What is it? Are they afraid that their subversive activities would be discovered? Are they illegal immigrants? What is the beef? The ALCU sees it as a possible restriction of freedom. For me, that almost guarantees that there is a more sinister reason for the Leftist ALCU to be so upset.
We witnessed chicanery in Washington State during the last election, that could have been avoided if registered voters had valid picture ID Cards. Same would be true everywhere, provided the cards would be very difficult or virtually impossible to forge.
So tell me again: what's the beef?
Thursday, April 28, 2005
We Need Bolton
Help Us Out of Our Misery, Mr. Bolton!
The asylum called the UN needs to be toned down, and have its world-domination ambitions spiked. The US doesn't need the UN, but it is sure that the UN needs our money. As a taxpayer, I do not see any positive returns for giving this cluster of cut-throat, totalitarian primatives 22% of their budget. In fact, I see continued hostility, blockage, and anti-Americanism in this so-called august body.
We do need someone there to quit the diplomatic raindancing and call the situation exactly as it is. From what I hear, John Bolton is the man. I don't, however, have any high hopes that even a super-Bolton could change the dynamics of the UN in any rational way, but John could help us to transition our role into a that of a debating participant only, and at little or no cost to us.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
What is a 14-Year-Old Boy Doing at the Controls?
It was 1945 and the war was running down fast, Germany had surrendered, and the last and final act in the Pacific was unfolding. Many pilots had returned to the US, some having completed their allotted number of missions, others because of wounds or injuries that needed time to heal.
Two of these pilots were great swimmers, so they showed up daily at the Officer’s Club pool right on the shore of Mobile Bay. (Little did I realize that most of the time these characters were working off a hangover from their carousing the night before.)
I became friendly with “Mississippi”, a Captain with over 100 missions over Germany in P-47s. His buddy was “Bulldog”, also a Captain, who had been shot up over France, and flew his Mustang back to the UK, landed it, and then passed out. The pair of them had been given a sinecure assignment of checking out repaired planes before they were returned to service.
After I had made a nuisance of myself asking questions about their planes and missions, Mississippi came up with the idea of taking me with them on their next check ride. I was thrilled! The next day, at 1300 sharp I appeared at the Operations Room after having ridden my bike halfway around the base from the officer’s housing area where I lived.
Mississippi took me in hand and outfitted me with a chute, and made sure I knew what to do if I had to use it. The three of us walked across the tarmac to an old C-47 that had just had a thousand-hour overhaul. Mississippi and Bulldog walked around the plane to ensure everything was OK – a preflight check.
We climbed in; Mississippi was in the left seat, and Bulldog in the right. I was on a jump seat just behind them. They went through the usual checks, ran up the engines, taxied out to the runway and we took off. We climbed up to about 5,000 feet out over the Bay, and they went through a series of maneuvers and checks. It was a very clear day, no clouds, so the visibility was great.
Bulldog then got up and said he was going to take a nap in the rear, and motioned me to take his seat. Mississippi then began to instruct me on how to fly a C-47. He let me do some easy turns around big Bay buoys, then showed me how to use power to climb higher, and how to cut back on power to descend. I was really in heaven!
Then he asked me, did I think I could fly the plane for a while. I said yes, so he said to keep it at 5,000 feet, head due South for the ocean and keep over the Bay. When I got there I could do some turns or whatever I wanted, and then to head home, and he’d be back up to the cockpit before we got back to the Mobile area. With that, he too went to the rear, made a pillow of his chute, and was instantly asleep alongside Bulldog.
So there I was, a 14-year-old boy, 5,000 feet up in a twin-engine plane, piloting it virtually alone for the very first time after maybe 15 or 20 minutes of instruction. Flying the plane was so simple, however, that I didn’t think about what I’d do if we had an emergency of any kind. I just flew towards the ocean, and did some tentative banks and turns. The guys didn’t wake up, so I became bolder, made my turns tighter, and tried out the throttles to keep altitude just as I had been taught. They still didn’t wake up.
Then I climbed her up to maybe 6,000 feet, leveled off, cruised there for a few minutes, then eased back to 5,000 feet in a slightly diving turn. Still no wakefulness in the rear. It dawned on me then that the guys were sleeping off their hangovers while a kid (me!) ran them around the sky. (Had there been any untoward, jerky motion of the plane or strange engine noises they would have instantly awakened and rushed to the cockpit. This they told me afterwards!)
I was circling a sailboat when Mississippi came up and gave me a pat on the head! “Good job!”, he said. “But now you have to learn how to land. No sense in getting up here unless you can get back down in one piece.” He saw that I was shocked, so he said, “OK, I will handle the tower, flaps and landing gear, you just fly the plane as I tell you!” I said ok, sort of.
At his instructions, I flew the downwind leg, turned onto the base leg, then onto final approach, went over the outer marker, letting down at 400 feet per minute, and then I looked at the runway. It was dancing all over the place! There was a slight crosswind, and I was over-controlling to try to line up the plane with that jittering runway!
He put down the flaps and gear, and we were over the inner marker, I’d guess about 50 feet to the left of the concrete on the grass margin, but still about 100 feet up. I was petrified! Sweat begin to soak me all over. I steered right, but we seemed to float left as I did it. Panicked now at about 25 feet up, I looked at Mississippi. He gave a huge rebel yell of glee, grabbed the yoke and yanked the plane back onto the runway and sat her down nicely. I collapsed, totally drenched in my sweat, and pale as vanilla ice cream!
The guys were in tears they were laughing so hard! I had been set up in their diabolical scheme to scare me out of ten year's growth, just for the hell of it! They had a story to tell their buddies.
But then, so did I!
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
A Father's Influence
From the Beginning I Was Fated!
Since I was nine months old I have been in love with airplanes. It was a boy's thing, but it was driven into me by my father's second calling in the 30s -- he was a member of the Air National Guard, and flew on Sundays from a field called Sky Harbor outside of Nashville, Tennessee. At nine months old he took me up for my first ride, not that I remember it at all, but it does show the mad dedication he had for flying. My mother was there on the ground having a grand fit when she found out that Dad had climbed into the plane with me on his lap and had taken off!
The second time I went up with him, it was in the (then) new Curtiss O-11A biplanes the Guard had received. They were painted very colorfully with yellow and blue, and with a red and white striped tail. There was a fourth and a fifth ride too, one in a Ryan ST, and the other in a Curtiss Robin. The Ryan was a stunt plane, and I swallowed my stomach around the first loop I had ever experienced. but I did get to hold the stick for a while, even if I couldn't reach the rudder pedals.
At home, when my parents had parties, many of the people there were from the Squadron or from other aviation circles. After they had been there and quaffed a few drinks, the women gathered into a group for their kind of talk, so the men did too. I used to sneak to a point where I could listen to their flying stories and marvel at the close calls and funny events they told about, punctured by the loud roars of their laughter. It made a lifelong impression on me. Flying was romantic, daring and fun. There was no question but that it was the thing to do!
Then, when I was about five or six, we had moved to Miami Beach, and on the causeway from the beach a man had set up a business of selling rides in a seaplane. We had to try it out, my Dad and I! My best recollection is that it was a biplane with a cabin and floats; similar to a WACO Model N which I had flights in later on. It was a bumpy ride on takeoff, but I remember staring down at the part of Miami Beach where we lived from about 1,500 feet, and then later on bouncing noisily onto the water of Biscayne Bay with a lot of spray being kicked up.
The highlight of my time in Miami was going to the airfield to watch Amelia Earheart take off on the first over-water leg of what I understood was to be her round the world flight. This was June 1, 1937. My father decided to go in uniform, thinking that he might be able to get us into the inner circle of fliers, and perhaps even meet Amelia herself. We had just worked our way through the crowd to be near the official stand, when the announcer there yelled at my father to come over. He asked my father if he knew about flying, and would he take the microphone and comment on the takeoff.
So Dad took the microphone and proceeded to tell the story of the planned flight, something about Amelia Earheart and her crewman, Fred Noonan, and then, when they came out and climbed in the plane, what she would be doing to prepare for takeoff. Finally, with a sputter and then a roar the Electra's engines started, and she taxied out to the runway. The plane paused at the head of the runway while Amelia ran up the engines one at a time, and then the brakes were released and she took off, with Dad saying "...and there she goes!" for all of Miami to hear over the radio.
I was not told that she hadn't made it for several weeks, until I accidentally heard about it on the radio myself. But by then, I was well and truly hooked on airplanes and flying, and would not have hesitated to fly with my Dad around the world.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The EU and the French Vote
Yes or No to the EU Constitution?
On May 29th, the French will vote to accept or reject the constitution of the EU. Several French newspapers, including Le Monde, have polled the public and report that more than 56% of the voters are inclined to vote NON as of Saturday, April 23rd. If this happens, the ambitions of the French elite to lead the EU to glory will be abruptly quashed. They have two further hurdles to jump in that event, however. One is the same vote in Holland, where a NO vote by them would end the current attempts to form the EU.
Given that the Dutch pass the constitution, which is by no means a sure thing, then some 30 to 90 days later, as I understand it, a revised constitution can be submitted again for approval to the members, including France. If this fails in any nation, that is the end of it for now.
My outpost in Holland suggests that the Dutch will vote NO, and so does the news bureau AFP.
I have wondered how it would be possible for a central, and unelected government in Belgium to rationalize the now 25 desparate countries that have signed up initially for the EU, and make their economies sing with a socialistic, redistribute the wealth agenda. Culturally and historically these nations are rather far apart, and the more successful of them resent having to pay for the laggards among them to catch up economically(or not, which is more likely!).
There is a danger to the US in all of this, and it is Europe's dismal failure to build a defense force sufficient to keep Russia at bay. From a common defense viewpoint, the EU is weak to the point of extreme danger. NATO, which places the US in the role of major defender, is a shell now. The only reason for the US to consider maintaining its role is to discourage Russia from having a go at overrunning Europe.
It is also true that the EU nations have been basking under the protection of the US for 60 or so years, while spending paltry amounts for defense -- about 3% of their budgets per year -- whereas we have averaged over 9 or 10% of a far larger budget. All of this is true whether or not the EU becomes a reality, albeit a relatively toothless one.
A surprise ground invasion initiated by Russia with conventional forces probably couldn't be stopped. We would possibly face a fait accompli before we could reenforce the Continent, or we could go to nuclear war. Seems that today we are back into the same old Cold War MAD situation, but with less Allied troops on the ground, and a numerous 5th column in each country -- socialists and communists. I hope there are also less Russian troops on the ground too!
It all depends on whether Russia has covertly managed to build up their ground and air forces and material for such an invasion, and whether they have the ambition to do so now. Unthinkable? Maybe!
Are we really committed to these choices today -- to defend the chaotic and weak EU nations and risk nuclear war, or for the US to sit back and await developments? Neither choice is very palatable, but then it never was in the entire history of the Cold War -- and WWII as well.
Be prepared to duck!
The Nuclear Option
It is a Majority Rule Government, isn't it?
A vote real soon now may end the Democratic obstructionism against the judicial appointments of the President. Word is out today that the Republicans have the votes needed. The argument that this should not be done is fallacious: what is good today for the Republicans may some day (far off, I hope!) be good for Democrats. Meanwhile, perhaps we can rein in excessive judicial activism, and even roll back some of their most egregious decisions: abortion, gay marriage, etc. It is not right for 41 Senators to deny the President the appointees he wants by way of fillibuster.
Lately, I have read long and screaming diatribes on this matter emanating from Leftists, and just plain old, tottering Democrats, such as Sen. Robert Byrd of West (Byrd) Virginia, the King of Pork. What they are upset about, of course, is the distinct possibility that their two favorite end-runs around the Congress and the voters will be shut down; that is, judicial activism, and the fillibuster of appointees.
If this is accomplished, and some decisions are indeed reversed, there still remains the ALCU and the NEA lawsuit mills to neuter, among others... an unfortunately long list of other organizations that do not have the interests of the US or its people in their hearts. Shedding a continuous and intimate, blinding light on these radical, ultra-left, anti-American, near-terrorist herds, and their ideas and actions, might have a salutary effect -- if not, maybe a blinding, hole-making, high-energy, laser light would be in order. (just kidding!)
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Rule by Judicial Fiat is Unconstitutional
Opinion: Christian & Political Attitudes on Key Issues
........................Far Left....Left....Mainstream....Right....Far Right
This chart was constructed by me to reflect my opinion on the stance on the issues in five different groupings of Christians, from Far Left to Far Right. I also posit that these groupings correspond roughly with their political leanings. I believe a national poll along these lines would show substantially the same results. In any event, it is my opinion and I'm stuck with it. (My knowledge of putting tables into the posts is virtually non-existant. Sorry for that.)
From this base, I have formed the following opinions:
1. By far the majority of Christians oppose the post-modern changes being wrought on our society by fiat: abortion, gay marriage, no prayer in school, no Pledging Allegiance, moral relativity, and no placing of Christian symbols in public places, on coins, on money, and so on. This has been demonstrated in 13 States.
2. Most Christians are quite aware of the issue of Creationism versus Darwinism, and are simply ambivalent about it, seeing God as ultimately there, whatever science comes up with via Darwinism, and that Darwin's theory is scientifically useful and sound. The small Far Right minority, however, does make a big deal out of this issue, as does the Left, in opposition to the Far Right, especially the atheists in our population. This conforms to what I have experienced in five completely different Christian congregations over the last 40 years, from Episcopal to Unitarian, to Baptist, to Church of Christ, and Lutheran.
3. If a national referendum were to be taken on these issues, not simply a poll, my chart would reflect the outcome closely, I believe. If a ballot were to be taken throughout Congress, I believe the outcome would be quite similar as well.
But these two facts are the crux of the issues: there has been no referendum, and there has been no ballot in Congress. Instead, we have been ordered by the Supreme court to abide by their opinions and their elastic interpretations of the Constitution on these matters.
(The list of States enacting anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage legislation grows rapidly. I expect to see many more States enact such legislation by 2006 or 2008.)
4. Both the Left and the Far Left "Christians" and politicos are in synchronization with these issues, and in fact are the originators of the controversy about them. They are also the attackers of Christianity, together with other small groups, such as atheists and agnostics -- by way of the ALCU in large measure. In this group are the Secular Humanists, who, by their own Humanist Manifesto, align themselves with the Left and with acceptance of these issues. Liberal Leftists have demonstrated their beliefs on these matters most thoroughly at every turn.
5. It is hard for me to envision how a Far Left person could be Christian while at the same time giving the heave ho to most of the Ten Commandments and much else of Christian morality. But some so-called Sunday-Social Christians do, obviously.
6. I find it hard to explain how Christian Judges can rule against Christian values and Christian morality. By far the majority of Judges call themselves Christian. How is this happening?
Friday, April 22, 2005
Some Statements on Foreign Policy
Summary vs Total Explication
Commenter Tom suggested that I made sweeping statements on Foreign Policy, and should put more details into my post, "else I would be thought a whiner" in so many words. Well, all of that may be true, if pleading for a rational foreign policy from a conservative point of view to a State Department manned largely by Leftist FSOs, who have their own agenda, never mind that of the Administration they are supposed to support.
However, in posting my feelings about a number of aspects of our policy, and what I think about it, I do not see the necessity for either justifying my positions in detail in a broad first commentary, nor in documenting the thoughts of others about the same positions. After all, it is my blog, and my thoughts from a conservative view. This is particularly so when the subjects covered are extensive, and do leave room for additional explication if and when I get around to it. If anyone can show more detail than I did in a few paragraphs in a single post on the following list of subjects, my hat is off to them:
The cold war and its end
Accusing the US of empire building
The common American's view of empire building
Desires for peace and tranquility
Promotion of democracy
The War with Islam
The Coming Loss of Europe to Muslims
The UN as a fiasco
NATO as ending
The EU as hopless
Sovereignty of the US
What Leftist Want ( this alone would take me several pages, plus references to papers such as the Humanist Manifesto, which outlines how we should become subservient to the UN or a World Government)
Why No Attack Since 9/11
What I posted was a Summary of conservative stands on these matters, from my point of view. To be more explicit and detailed will take time and effort later. If that is whining, so be it. I don't think so, Tom!
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Principles of Conservatism: Some Aspects of Foreign Policy
Are You With Us?
We have found ourselves standing as the lone survivor of the Cold War with a premier economy, a strong military, and a worldwide presence. Daily we are accused of being empire builders and a threat to the rest of the world. Only we seem to know that we have no ambitions or plans to rule the world. No one in their right mind would have such an ambition. Who needs any part of the screaming, squabbling, ratty-tatty, obnoxious world to run? We don’t!
We do want peace and tranquility, and the ability to trade and travel freely throughout the world without terrorists or wars to plague us. It is natural for us to promote democracy wherever we can, and even to spend our men’s blood and much of our treasure to do so when it is timely. We do want a Pax Americana, but without the trappings of an empire.
But we are in a great conflict whose real outlines few are willing to accept yet. That conflict is between Islam on one side and Christianity and the US on the other. It is a war we cannot and must not lose, or there will be no more America to love and support, and no more sterling society for our children to inherit. Many other countries do not see the situation as we do, even as their own populations are growing with Muslims at a frightful pace, such as all of Europe, sad to say.
Europe may well be lost to a Muslim majority within a few dozen years, and there is little we can do about that. Europe must save itself this time. Twice we have saved them from tyranny and oppression. I believe there will be no third time in this instance, since it would be an internal kind of revolution, and no one wants to conquer Europe again to save it from the Muslims. So good luck to you, Europe, I hope you can survive under Muslim rule! Your multiculturalism will be your downfall. Just a reminder: you must sign up to Islam, or be beheaded.
We are seeing the demise of NATO as a viable organization, and the EU is laughable in its unwieldy attempts to merge 23 European countries into one super-nation. I think it will not survive more than a dozen years itself. It is culturally and economically incompatible all the way through! If Turkey is admitted, the door will be open for a super-flood of Muslim migrants.
The UN has proven to be a fiasco as well, with scandal after scandal rocking its members, particularly the US. We have lost faith in the UN, and consider it merely a debating society, plus a few good sub-organizations, perhaps.
Free trade is being pushed aside at every turn because of the inherent difficulties of reconciling the economies of 140 nations. It is too hard for the EU, who have raised tariffs to protect their far fewer members from economically superior producers. Most European governments now spend about half of their tax receipts on farm subsidies, and will soon be obligated to spend much of the rest to make good on their economics-be-damned socialistic promises. This isn’t something that can last.
America is a proud and free country, and we want it to stay that way. Thus, we do not want to give away any of our sovereignty to the UN. Not one little bit of it. Further, we want to gain control of our borders to stop illegal entry cold. There is nothing wrong with immigration as such, it is the flooding of the nation with illegals who do not obey our laws and do not act as good guests that we abhor. It is the cry for duality or plurality of language that makes us shudder and think we are being divided and duped into becoming a quasi-Latin state. English is the language of America.
How is it that many people on the Left think we would be better off under a World Government? Do they really believe that adding a layer of laws on top of our laws, a layer of culture on top of our culture, and a layer of management corruption on a scale we can never comprehend will make us more free? It is very doubtful. They simply want our money.
Meanwhile, we must pay four times what we do now for the privilege? I think not! Just imagine if the vote of Kenya and each of the rest of the African dictatorships was worth just as much as the vote of the US on vital matters. Do Kenyans ( or any other country) have a finely tuned sense of fairness for what happens in the US? I don’t believe so. It is sheer nonsense.
While I believe we should go it alone if necessary, it is also helpful if we have allies who will stand with us. Australia is a good example of that. So is Poland. And so is the UK in the case of Iraq, even when the populace has been turned against us. A not insignificant part of that is due to the Muslim population of the UK. Many voices against the government and the US.
President Bush has it exactly right: you are either with us or against us. France, Spain, Germany, Russia, and China are against us. Too bad for them. The scions of communism band together. France’s wine industry is suffering now, partly because of our boycotting their wines, but also because of over-production. I wonder whether German beers have fallen in popularity too?
We are not competing in a popularity contest for world acclimation, much to the chagrin of the Left. What we are doing is fighting a war of survival. Countries that go against us will sorely miss our aid and succor in their times of distress. They will miss American trade and tourist dollars too.
Countries that actively fight us will be lucky not to have their cities turned into a heap of fused silicon, especially those who acquire the nuclear bomb and threaten its use against us. Definitely so if they actually do set off one in America. Which brings me to another point. Why haven’t we had another terrorist attack?
One realistic idea is that Osama ben Laden and his crowd have come to the conclusion after our successful Afghanistan and Iraqi invasions, that we can and will fight, and we have the power and will to do so. Plus, another factor is that if we did suffer a large attack, a devastating loss of life and limb, such as a nuclear bomb over New York City, the American people would demand revenge, we would volunteer for service as a man, and would go after all of the Middle East – Iran, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt – all but those friendly Gulf States that have supported us. This time they would be occupied and under martial law for an indefinite period.
Thus by succeeding with an attack, OBL would have lost the entire Arabian area to the US. I think he sees this, and has held off. He reads the temper of the American public very well. The nihilistic Left would be totally suppressed by a second catastrophe, so there would be little or no opposition to a thorough military response. Such an act would thus provoke us to move out smartly and massively to finish off the fight, rather than standing pat after the Iraqi situation has been stabilized, and waiting for a bomb or biochemical attack to occur here.
Principles of Conservatism: Free Market Economy
The Key to Peace and Plenty is Worldwide Free Markets
While the US is heavily a free market economy, especially inside the country, it is not completely free from price controls, rent controls, subsidizing farmers and sugar production, and allocation of resources such as communications and power.
This idea of worldwide free trade, if applied, would remove tariffs and duties from imports and exports between all countries. What prevents application of free trade is the problem of significant dislocation of people and industries both in the US and in other lands from the time of onset of free trade until each industry had readjusted to the new situation. Hence, the concept has been attempted internationally in small increments, but with mixed success.
It has been shown that price and rent controls have exactly the opposite effect from what is intended, that is, low prices and low rents for the consumer. Over a few years, artificially-controlled low prices result in scarcities of commodities, poorer quality, and even higher prices because of the scarcity.
Suppliers shun lower price markets for higher ones, thus the scarcity in the low price markets. This in turn effectively drives prices higher because of people being forced to buy higher-priced substitute goods not under control, or as in the case of rentals, being forced into renting in the excluded luxury apartment sector at a high price to get a convenient place to live at all.
Then too, owners of rental properties react to rent controls by removing their properties from the market, causing a shortage of available housing at the controlled price. This phenomena has been observed in NYC; San Francisco; Stockholm, Sweden; Tokyo, Japan; London, England; and Sao Paulo, Brazil, so it is a well-proven result. Many abandoned buildings in NYC attest to owners not only removing their property from the market, but abandoning them altogether because they cannot provide the services needed at the price they are forced to set.
The public welcomes price controls, and politicians vote them into place rather easily, knowing that before the price impacts are realized they will have moved on and the public will have forgotten their role in it. Once the nightmare of controls reaches hysterical proportions, the politicians then in office are again heroes for removing them. In some cities, removing controls cannot seem to be done at all, to the long-term negative impact on the citizens, even if they can’t believe it.
Few people are sufficiently educated in practical economics to see the trouble for what it is, or they themselves don’t want to lose their own benefit of a large, spacious and cheap apartment downtown. This has been true in NYC particularly.
The conservative believes that a free market, where supply and demand are allowed to work, is by far the best policy.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Principles of Conservatism: A Strong Military
Carry a Big Stick!
For many years, it has been a strong tenet of conservatives that we should have a military force that is second to none. In fact, the idea that we should have a force that can fight two and a half wars at once while defending the nation at home at the same time has been the mantra since the presidency of Reagan, and even before then.
But, of course, the leftists with Clinton cut and cut and cut our forces till we are embarrassed to man properly the current war in Iraq while also living up to our military commitments around the globe. Then too, perhaps we should reconsider some of those commitments as well.
We need a number of things: a superior army with at least 4 or 5 new divisions, with the latest in tanks, armored personnel carriers, mobile artillery, and armored supply trucks, together with the latest in communications, command and control and battlefield intelligence gathering systems; an up-to-date air force of 30 wings with truly modern air and strike fighters, air transport and air tankers, as well as a new version of the A-10 Warthog to provide the close air support that supersonic fighters cannot do well; a navy armed with cutting-edge warships and carriers, which should be all-nuclear, and organized into perhaps 14 Task Groups of two carriers each, each carrier having a complement of the best naval aircraft we can buy, together with supporting ships and attack submarines.
We should retain our nuclear deterrent forces and upgrade them as needed, including the bomber fleet, the submarine boomers, and the ground-launched missiles out in Montana and elsewhere. This includes continued development of better nuclear weapons.
In addition, we need to expand three other forces: 1) our special forces, 2) our airborne forces, and 3) our occupation (liberation!) forces. I would add a division for special forces, a new division to complement the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, and at least three divisions trained particularly for the role of occupation or “liberation”.
We should reduce our dependence on reserve and National Guard call-ups, and instead concentrate on building voluntary forces.
It is my contention that we need to institute a form of National Service for young men between the ages of 18 and 25. There should be a two-year service period for these men, and they should be given training across the board. After that period, these men should become a ready and trained reserve, with several two-week refresher periods for the next five years. Given this reserve, and with the augmentations mentioned above, we need not call for a draft except in dire emergencies. Every man should have the opportunity to serve his country.
I see an overriding objective: that we must not be capable of being defeated or denied free access to any ocean or country in the world against any combination of enemies we might reasonably expect, such as an alliance of Russia-China-North Korea-Iran-Egypt, for example.
As was said many times: “Peace Through Strength” is the goal.
Principles of Conservatism: Limited Government
Look to Yourself, and Your Community First!
We have an enormous and growing government. Almost half the workers in the US are directly or indirectly employed by the local, State or US government. This should not be so. There seems to be a direct correlation between the percentage of government workers and the percentage of taxes I have to pay.
What has happened is that many legislators, have responded to their constituents without serious evaluation, and have passed laws that have turned needs into rights, and rights into long-enduring, even timeless entitlements and sinkhole projects. President after President has tried to curb government agencies and projects, only to find that by some means they survive and grow still.
In this massive growth there are many dangers, not the least of which is the encroachment of government regulations and laws on our everyday life, freedoms, and activities. Small businesses today face a huge task to keep up with the paperwork demanded by an array of agencies from local to national, each of which is pursuing a piece of the law. It is a nightmare.
With so many stakeholders in government largess, it becomes harder and harder to move away from high spending and deficits.
What is it that is essential to government? What are the minimums that we should strive to reach?
National defense and home security is an obvious and essential government function. (DOD)
Creating basic law and enforcing it is a second necessary function.
(Congress, Justice, Courts, Police, and Prisons)
Foreign affairs, international trade, and aid to poorer countries is a valid function too. (State)
Control and management of our money supply and our banking system seems to be a necessity as well. (Treasury)
Regulation of interstate commerce has demonstrated its value to us. (Commerce)
Health, education and human welfare is a great need. (HEW)
Control and management of energy I would include. (FEC)
Control and management of communications also. (FCC)
Agriculture has been a significant absorber of funds for generations. It was the basis for our economy for a long time. Today its functions seem to have been subverted to dispensing largess from the government and taxpayer to large agricultural corporations, and not the shrinking number of small farmers remaining. Perhaps it should be massively redirected and shrunk itself. (DA)
Why do we need an environmental control agency? Why isn’t that function a proper part of every agency’s job, each from its own aspect? The EPA has usurped many of the rights of individuals in the name of environmental correctness, without materially contributing to our welfare, but it still has a growing budget. It is laughable the contortions gone through to save some obscure bug from extinction. Species die and others are created all the time. What makes the current set so special that the average person has to be hit with more taxes and more inconveniences or even confiscation of property for some inconsequential species to survive?
This tirade for limiting government could march itself through every organization we have now and propose major redirections and cuts that would most likely solve both the national debt and social security insolvency all at once, or at least within a few years. Yes, we would have to work smarter in many areas to make up for what had been done in government or for government, but the economy would get a tremendous boost in the process, and many jobs would appear as a result.
Conservatives think in terms of limiting government, limiting taxes, and maximizing freedoms.
The old saying "He who governs least governs best" is true.
Principles of Conservatism: Traditions
We Are Surrounded by Traditions
Everywhere I am, and every situation that I find myself in, I see the workings of traditions, the ways of doing things, the mores, the everyday rules of behavior and processes, that have passed the tests of time. Marriage is a strong tradition, for example, because it solidifies the bonds between a man and a woman, and establishes both the legal and spiritual foundations for a family.
Another tradition that I encounter, and it is a moral one, is that of “my word is my bond,” and a handshake is better than a long involved contract -- between those who honor this commitment. One’s religion is seeped in tradition, and its traditions are considered sacred. Many traditions are embedded in the daily operations of our government, and in our workplaces, which if changed overnight could lead to chaos and disaster. There is likewise an enormous tradition in law which is carefully husbanded and employed on a daily basis. We would be foolish to want it otherwise without compelling reasons. In the medical profession, the oath: "First, do no harm," is a paramount tradition.
Obviously, there are those who spurn traditions as irrelevant and passe, and there are some who look for traditions to break and discredit, simply because in their leftist thinking they do not like even the idea of tradition, and wish to plough new ground. One of their attacks feeds on the thought that just because that is how it has always been done doesn’t mean that is should be done that way today.
What they often miss, of course, is the inherited wisdom placed into traditions by generations before us, unless they delve deeply into its history. Traditions that are worthwhile have undergone trial by fire, and they exist because they have been found to have survival value, and are highly useful, pleasing, and rewarding to follow. It may not be obvious in some cases why a given tradition has value, but if one looks hard at its history, the value will be discovered. But, if not, then a change is in order. Everyone has heard of the carpenter’s traditional rule of “measure twice and cut once,” and it is easy to see the value of it.
Conservatives conserve traditions that are worthwhile, while at the same time, they are very willing to consider new ways of doing things, even at the cost of tradition. But any new way must be analyzed carefully and thoroughly before proceeding to use it, to satisfy all concerned that the traditional way is truly obsolete, little will be lost and much will be gained if the new way passes the test of time. One must deal with the "Law of Unintended Consequences" as well, for that is often where problems arise. Conservative thinking is an answer to the "change in haste, repent at leasure" way of approaching life.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Principles of Conservatism: Individual Responsibility
If You Are Here in the US, You Have Responsibilities and Duties
Every individual has a definite set of responsibilities for his personal actions, and to perform certain actions, whether a citizen of the US or not. The main responsibilities of individuals are listed here, but it is not all encompassing.
He or she is responsible for the following (and more):
Self care -- feeding, clothing, shelter, medical care, and so on.
Earning -- finding a job, if needed, to earn one’s keep.
Family -- ensuring his family has the necessities of life.
Education – seeing that he and his children are educated properly.
Property – taking care of property; maintaining it in good shape.
Law -- obeying the laws of the locality, State, and the US.
Law -- aiding law enforcement in keeping the law.
Citizens -- informing themselves on issues and voting.
Citizens -- knowing the Constitution and Declaration of Indep.
Citizens -- knowing the history of the US in a positive way.
Citizens -- participating the processes of governance.
Neighborhood – being a good neighbor and a good citizen.
Language – using English, and learning it if needed.
Assimilation – becoming a US citizen if here permanently.
Serving – serving in the defense of the US if needed.
Other -- as required.
For those who are dissenters against the government, I say you are still bound by these responsibilities and duties, especially the duties with respect to the law.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Principles of Conservatism: The Imperfectability of Man
The Sinner is With Us Still
It is fair to say, I believe, that the key difference between conservatism and liberalism ( or progressivism, if you must use that term) is that conservatives hold the position that man has not progressed in any spiritual or moral way since Adam and Eve, whereas liberals believe in the perfectibility of man if only the proper conditions can prevail. But, of course, these conditions can never be realized. Utopias are a myth.
Certainly, it can be demonstrated that insofar as intellectual power is concerned, the ancients were every bit the equal of today’s thinkers. There has been no substantive intellectual improvement in man in the last 9,000 years, going back to the earliest times of recorded Chinese civilization. It is true that knowledge of the physical universe and the history and biology of man has advanced today far beyond that of Chinese, Biblical, Greek and Roman scholars, but not in mental prowess. As someone said: “ We seem to know more and more about less and less.”
Similarly, one can observe that on the question of morality, we are no further along now than were the ancients, else we surely would have solved the problems of crime, war, hate, poverty, hunger, genocide and all of the other evils that plague us still. We are sinners, we have sinned, and we will sin.
The question of spiritual growth is ephemeral and not capable of objective demonstration. But I submit that if there had been substantial collective spiritual growth in man over the past few millennia, we would know it for a certainty: it would be apparent to the least of us. Nothing of the kind has been shown. It is not a kinder world we live in.
The implication of this lack of progress by man, in fact his persistence in sins of all kinds, is that forces of civilization and government working together must take care to account for the immoral, the criminal, and the depraved, as well as the overly-ambitious rulers, tyrants, and would-be conquerors that we face year to year.
It is true that the tenets of Judeo-Christianity are widespread, but how many people actually follow that prescription? Too few, I think. This is likewise true of most religions – they have a large group of believers on Sunday, or whatever day their religion decrees as holy, and they are laissez faire practitioners of simply getting along expediently for the rest of the week, by and large. Then too, we still have religious wars, not the least of which is the current clash between Christianity and Fundamentalist Islam, which is a dominant issue today.
As a consequence of this perverse drive of man to sin, we have erected a government with many checks and balances to thwart either the cult of the charismatic man, the temporary passions of the mass of the population, or even the differing opinions of compartments of our representative government from irrevocably altering our national scheme of things. We have installed large police forces to mind our land and its laws, a large system of justice and imprisonment, and a large armed forces to defend us from outside threats.
We have a conservatively organized government, as proofed against man the sinner as we know how to create. We must keep it that way and try to improve its conservative workings.
Principles of Conservatism: The Ten Commandments
How many of us remember ALL of the Bible’s Ten Commandments? I will admit to a struggle before writing them down – and they were certainly not in order, nor were they close to the wording in Exodus. Since these Commandments lie at the origins of conservatism, at least that variant of conservatism professing our Christian heritage, repeating them here (in abbreviated form) as part of this series of posts on principles is appropriate, I believe.
I I am the Lord thy God.
II Thou shalt have no other Gods before me;
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images…;
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: …
III Thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy God in vain…
IV Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
V Honor thy father and thy mother:…
VI Thou shalt not kill.
VII Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII Thou shalt not steal.
IX Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
X Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife … (manservant, maidservant, ox, ass, anything which is his.)…
There is still controversy between sects of Judeo-Christianity as to the exact numeration of the Commandments. I believe I have used here the accepted Protestant listing and combination of statements.
Many more commandments from God are contained in Exodus and Deuteronomy, but most of them have been “bypassed” as not relevant in today’s world. These original ten have been preserved by most sects, and to Christians, they represent the beginnings of our laws.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Principles of Conservatism: Natural Law
The Higher Authority
Natural law is defined as that set of certainties ( moral absolutes) without which we could not agree about right from wrong ( Brad Miner, on natural law).
There are volumes written on the subject of natural law and its many sects and variants. I do not intend to recast them here, but rather to point out that classical natural law or moral absolutes was thought by our founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, to be embodied in the Ten Commandments and the rules of God as written in the Christian Bible.
Derived from this interpretation of natural law are the natural and inalienable rights of people, which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Subsidiary to liberty or freedom, as they believed these to be synonymous, is the natural right to personal property, which in itself is a fundamental requirement for a people to be truly free. The natural law and the natural rights that stem from that law form the basis for the Constitution of the United States of America.
Principles of Conservatism: Private Property
Why it is so important to us
F. A. Hayek in his work -- The Road to Serfdom – (written in 1944) said:
“ What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, no only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves.”
He goes on to say later:
“ Who can seriously doubt that a member of a … minority will be freer with no property so long as fellow-members of his community have property and are therefore able to employ him, than the would be if private property were abolished and he became owner of a nominal share of in the communal property? Or that the power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest functionnaire possesses who wields the coercive power of the state and on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am allowed to live or work?”
This idea that freedom equals unrestricted right to private property is one of the cornerstones of conservative philosophy. It stands in direct opposition to the ideas of communism, and to a very great extent socialism as well. The idea of private property arose from traditions traced from the origins of civilization, and has been incorporated into the laws of many lands. This right has been called a natural right, in that a person has a right to possess that which he justly acquires. It is one of the few certain natural rights, and one which no government can deny without also denying the freedom of its citizens.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
My Conservative Beliefs
Theism, and adherence to the commandments of God. Belief in love, faith, hope and charity. Worship as and where one desires.
Insistence on moral certainty as derived from the commandments of God and His natural laws, morals and mores.
Traditions as the compiled wisdom of past generations, which are not to be changed suddenly or lightly, without long and hard reflection on the consequences – both intended and unintended.
Federal, constitutional, and republican form of government, including the carefully derived checks and balances between the various parts as given by the Constitution. Close adherence to the Constitution is a mandate. Belief in subsidiarity, which places problem solving as near to the individuals concerned as possible.
A mankind that can be good or evil, and cannot be trusted to “do the right thing” without laws, regulations, and ordinances, and especially their daily enforcement.
A mankind that has not progressed in any essential mental, moral, or spiritual way since the beginning of civilization, and cannot be forced, cajoled, or shamed into any real progress either, at least for the next millennium or two. Man is sinful.
Responsible citizenship, honorable duty to country, and sincere patriotism for the nation.
Freedom in all of its forms: worship, speech, association, assembly, movement, and ownership ( property rights). Exceptions are in order here as well: pornography should not be accessible by underage children; treason and sedition must be punished; slander and libel must be punished; and liars must be shunned, if not prosecuted.
The right of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, subject to the restraints of common sense, good citizenship and law.
The family and the institution of marriage between a man and a woman as the basic building block of society. Family unity should be supported wherever possible. Honoring one’s ancestors is an important factor in keeping family unity intact.
Equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.
Limited government, and limited growth in government sufficient to cope with the rise in population, and the complexity of modern life, and not growth in power, budget or personnel to further centralize the government.
Traditional education, unfettered with modern experimentation that has proven to be ineffectual, and funding mostly dedicated to teachers and pupils, not overhead “education experts” and unneeded administrators. The curriculum through high school should be pared down to reading, writing, English, arithmetic, civics, history of America, American literature, world literature, science, mathematics, geography, world history, and foreign languages, together with courses in trades as needed. The track system should be reinstalled to allow for students to proceed more closely to their natural pace of learning. Testing should be continued, with essay questions taking a more predominant role.
The university systems of so-called “academic freedom” and tenure need to be thrown out in favor of professors and administrators with a balanced view and desire to teach effectively and in an unbiased manner. Teach the students how to think, not how to recite the Communist or Humanist Manifesto. Reduce the budgets of Universities so that citizens can attend without incurring lifelong debt for themselves or their families.
English as the primary language in America. Immigrants must learn English to become citizens.
Ultimate sovereignty of the US, its borders, and its institutions, not to be diluted by world authority or by illegal immigrants or workers. The idea that nation-states are phasing out is wrong.
The failure of the UN, or any such organization of nations to perform world government. The UN should be marginalized.
Security for the US, both internally and externally. For this purpose we need strong, well-disciplined, coordinated federal, state and local police forces. We need National Guard forces in each state.
The armed forces of the US should be well-equipped, and large enough to fight 2½ wars simultaneously while maintaining the defenses of the nation at home. Weapons research, development and production should allow for replacement and modernization throughout the forces in a timely manner. We should continue to seek peace through strength.
Capitalism, and free trade throughout the world, but not collectivism ever!
Proactive pursuit of freedom and democracy for all.
Fighting terrorism wherever it arises. Subduing by force and eventually pacifying the remainder of Islamic Fundamentalists is important to the reduction of terrorism.
Voluntary association of free, democratic nations to promote peace, free trade, and the well-being of their citizens, as well as to promote their common defense.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Two Clintons Again?
Hillary Clinton appears to be making some headway in her diabolical campaign to reinvent herself as a moderate democrat, simply to get elected President in 2008. This subterfuge will be continually exposed as time goes on, and she is more closely and extensively questioned about her beliefs.
The sad thing is that democrats have been making astounding promises to the public ever since Bill was at it in his first election. I am sure that Hillary will make grand pronouncements too, each of which is designed to pull in voters by outright bribery and deceit. Just as Bill and John did.
But the blogosphere will be ready to do the necessary analysis and probing of past statements to give the lie to her about-faces. Hillary, no less than Bill, is a master of saying what is needed to get elected, but either doing nothing about it afterwards, or actually going in the opposite direction. Campaign promises, and party platforms emanating from the Left are not worth relying upon when voting.
The Left Fear Death!
Does death influence the politics of people?
Some people fear death and the process of dying to such a degree that it drives their every thought and action during their whole existence. Others accept the inevitable process and their death with great equanimity. Few of us want to talk about it, perhaps because it opens up fear again in stark terms, and sparks endless rants about religious and non-religious belief systems.
Christians and Muslims believe in heaven or life after death, while Atheists and Agnostics apparently believe in nothingness after death, or in heaven on earth, or both. Do you think this has something to do with the drives behind the issues and attitudes of Rightists -- heavily Christian -- versus the Leftists -- somewhat Christian plus Atheists, Agnostics, and other nihilists?
Salvation being a major aspect of Christianity, the comfort that brings to the people who have faith in Jesus is enormous. They can assign their worries to the dustbin, and simply believe – believe in a good life on earth and heaven after death. Christians need not debate endlessly about the meaning of life and the pseudo-moral imperatives of immediate change in the direction of Leftist ideals.
Shaky, dubious Christians, agnostics and atheists, however, are faced with believing in nothingness after death. Dust unto dust, and that is that. This could generate a huge push in their minds to try to make their own heaven on earth, since there is nothing else to look forward to but an infinitely long sleep. I suppose the older they get, the shriller they become to see something of their ideas of a collective utopia take root here in the US before it is too late.
But, frustrated by the unseemly need to convince a majority of the people, or at least a majority of the people’s representatives, that their utopian ideas make sense and should be made into law, Leftists turn to duplicity and conniving with sympathetic and left-leaning judges to thwart the will of the people, and make laws by fiat, without representation, and with little or no regard for the Constitution.
It would seem that most on the Left have not absorbed the fact that utopias are not possible to construct, either from scratch, or from where we are right now. What you get when you try is first a period of chaos, and then the ascension to power of a tyrant, supposedly to set things right again.
The problem is, no tyrant, no totalitarian regime, has ever worked towards giving power back to the people, nor has any actually done so. The honest, well-intentioned Leftists (whoever they are!) are then stuck in between the masses of people and the elite who seized power and now govern with an iron hand. The vocal dissenters, our well-intentioned Leftists, who rail against the new regime, along with the Rightists who survive the chaos, wind up in a gulag – or are put to the death in astronomical numbers.
But the Left still fears death today, wants its version of heaven on earth right now, and are certain that they will be one of the governing elite, and not one of the disappeared. Or, God forbid, they might become one with the oppressed masses, an ironic fate they richly deserve.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Liberalism, Socialism, Communism
Why Hate the Left?
Here is a compilation of reasons many on the right cannot abide leftists:
(In no special order)
Leftist arrogance and assumption of always speaking the truth, while denigrating everyone else.
Elitism. The assumption that a few, highly educated, well-placed and “superior” men can rule the country better than our current system does., despite the total failure of such an approach in the USSR, for example.
Refusal of the leftists to take any responsibility for the 8 million people killed by the Communist Vietcong in Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. The Left caused us to withdraw from Nam just before victory was going to be declared.
Refusal by the left to take any responsibility for the 20 million people murdered by the Communist USSR. The Left gave its hearty support to the USSR and ignored the gulag and the pogroms.
Hiding behind such group names as “progressives” in order to lessen the reaction to their words and actions within the public.
Taking over the public education system nationwide, and dumbing it down, not teaching American history, and not teaching the 3 Rs or science and mathematics.
Disguising their motives from the people. Not telling it like they intend it to be – a full takeover by socialists/communists of the US, followed by “cleansing” just as in Vietnam, China and the USSR.
Further disguising the fact that they aim ultimately to take over the UN, and to become the head of a World Government, instituting a communist-directed administration, and assuming full powers over the free democratic nations of the world.
Taking every opportunity to attack the Christian Church, to try to marginalize the followers, and to remove Christian symbols from public places.
Denying the existence of God.
Using activist judges to further their agenda of subverting the Constitution of the US.
Advocating killing babies by way of abortion on demand.
Advocating homosexual marriage, cynically designed to weaken the family unit.
Attacking the family as the basic building block of a stable society.
Attacking our traditions and our institutions to undermine our faith and security in our belief in the American way of life. Notable among these attacks are the maneuvers of the feminist movement, which attacks a broad front of work, family, and personal relationships.
Attacking the current Administration for its forthright pursuit of freedom in the world, instead of passively accepting the growth of competing faiths such as Islam and systems of government, such as the UN.
Attempting to substitute moral relativism for moral certainty, which, if successful, would destroy our value system completely.
Belief in the innate goodness of man to see us through the pogroms and chaos that would surely follow their ascension to power. The moral relativist sees good in all things. Evil doesn’t exist… for them.
Using collectivist ideas to drown out the free and independent voices of American democracy and our republican state. The use of Politically Correct speech is an example.
Supporting absolute freedom of speech, which includes opening our schools, libraries and newsstands to hardcore pornography.
Indifference to moral standards, and the mores of this society. Promoting licentious behavior, prostitution, open marriage and free love.
Bribery of the public. Promising a free lunch to the citizens in order to win votes. Free health care, free college education, higher welfare payments, higher social security payments, total job security for life, and whatever else appears to take money from the rich and redistribute it to the poor. All of this to be paid for by higher taxes, of course.
Gun control. The motivation for gun control is centered in the left. They truly believe that taking personal weapons away from the citizens would reduce gun deaths and injuries, when quite the opposite is true. There are somewhere between 700,000 and 3 million reported gun incidents that prevented crimes in 2000, undoubtedly many of which would have been catastrophic to the victims without a weapon being available. Then, too, if they do try a takeover, the general populace would be unarmed. How very convenient.
The descent from Liberalism through Socialism to full Communism has been demonstrated many times in the world. This descent must be prevented.