Sunday, December 4, 2016

Castro’s Mortal Sins . . . PERIOD

After duly acknowledging the horror of the deceased Cuban Communist dictator—although it shockingly saw fit to praise Castro for bringing “medical care and education to the country's poor”—the New Jersey Star-Ledger saw fit to spend most of its editorial criticizing America’s foreign policy as it relates to Cuba since 1959. The Star-Ledger opens Castro's mortal sins, and our own imperial arrogance with;

Fidel Castro had a knack for driving Americans nuts.

No doubt, he was a tyrant and a liar, a man who tortured people for the crime of speaking their minds. The fact that he brought medical care and education to the country's poor does nothing to excuse that horror, nor does the fact that the dictator he toppled was a tyrant as well.

Castro was the sort of man who put poets in prison, and arrested people who dared to open a business. The moral depravity is matched by the economic stupidity.

What else needs to be said?

Just this: That the United States squandered its moral standing in all things related to Castro by responding to him with the arrogance of a colonial power.

Get that? America’s decades-long, bipartisan response to the Communist takeover of Cuba equates to “the arrogance of a colonial power.”

Now, United states government foreign policy is certainly fair game for debate and criticism. Some of the Star-Ledger’s criticisms are valid.

But for me, mixing a condemnation of Castro with a critique of American policies is morally nauseating. It amounts to trivializing the monstrous injustice imposed by Castro on the Cuban people, and even people beyond Cuba’s borders. Not content to enslave and impoverish only Cubans, Castro sought to enslave other nations through aid to communist-led “Wars of National Liberation.” And don’t forget the U.S.-threatening deal he made with the Soviet Union to bring nuclear missiles into Cuba, which brought us to the brink of nuclear war in 1962.

I left these comments, edited for clarity:

Castro’s treatment of dissidents is only part of the story. His “economic stupidity” is more than that. The economic devastation was by design and backed by perverted egalitarian moral fervor.

To the extent Castro “brought medical care and education to the country's poor,” he did it by confiscating almost all of the wealth that Cubans earned, and then spreading it around to a population kept universally poor. Cuba’s medical care came in part at the expense of medical care for the Cuban people. According to NPR, the Cuban government set up for-profit ventures that sent Cuban doctors on “international missions” to secure hard currency for Cuban rulers. Cuba’s “education” was really indoctrination that banned “subversive” books and ideas and mandated classroom chants of “We will be like Che,” an ode to the terrorist communist guerrilla Che Guevara.

I’ll never forgive President Obama for criticizing America for its economic inequality in the context of visiting Cuba and opening diplomatic relations there. He had it exactly backwards. Economic inequality is a natural result of a free country where each person has the individual liberty to rise as far as his talent, ambition, moral character, values, choices, tolerances, and ability to make the most of his personal circumstances will carry him. Economic inequality goes hand-in-hand with political equality, and that virtuous combination—economic and political freedom—is to America’s moral credit. In America, ordinary people can get rich, and they do so through businesses that produce mass-market goods and services and create jobs in the context of free trade, lifting everyone along with their growing fortunes. In Cuba, like all tyrannies throughout history, the rulers and their cronies get rich by looting the people and keeping them down.

And yet Obama goes to Cuba—the egalitarian socialist hellhole that essentially banned personal flourishing, the only way to establish economic equality—and criticizes the United States for inequality—the same capitalistic United States to which ordinary Cubans by the tens of thousands, not counting the thousands who died or were imprisoned trying, fled looking for the economic opportunity that Castro forbade. Shameful.

Whatever criticism America deserves for its policies toward Cuba pales in comparison to the horror that Castro brought to Cuba. His is a textbook example of socialism—the subordination of the individual to the collective “good,” as determined by an omnipotent state. The suffering of the Cuban people lies squarely at Castro’s blood-soaked feet, not America’s embargo. This editorial should have been, “Castro’s Mortal Sins . . . PERIOD.”

Related Reading:

After meeting Castro, I have no regrets choking Cuba—Robert Torricelli, former U.S. Senator

Victims of Communism in Cuba: 73,000Michael W. Chapman for CNS News

Friday, December 2, 2016

How the Birth Control Mandate Undermines the Inalienability of Rights

The path to socialism in America is paved with subverted principles of liberty, sprung on us bit by bit without us even knowing it.

For example, earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court heard another challenge to ObamaCare’s birth control mandate. That mandate had already been challenged under what is called the Hobby Lobby case, in which plaintiffs argued that the mandate violated religious liberty (many Christians oppose birth control, and the plaintiffs argued that Christian employers shouldn’t have to provide birth control to their employees because that would violate the employer’s religious beliefs). The case resulted in a partial exemption from the mandate for some employers on religious grounds.

The latest challenge, Zubik v. Burwell, was brought by a group of nuns called Little Sisters of the Poor, who were also a party to the Hobby Lobby case. This time, Little Sisters is arguing that the original exemptions don’t go far enough, and now want to expand the exemptions to cover essentially all conscientious objectors to the birth control mandate.

This is one of many court challenges to ObamaCare. The thing that is most disturbing about this case is the reaction to it. For example, University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who fought on the side of the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby, this time sided with the government. He wrote in the Washington Post:

The second, and even more dangerous argument: These organizations say that because the government exempted the insurers of churches and their integrated auxiliaries, it is required to exempt the insurers of all other conscientious objectors as well. Otherwise, it discriminates between two groups of religious organizations.

This argument is a mortal threat to an essential and widespread source of protection for religious liberty. There are thousands of specific religious exemptions in U.S. law. If legislators and administrative agencies cannot enact a narrow religious exemption without it being expanded to become all-inclusive, many of them will not enact any religious exemptions at all. And they will start repealing the exemptions they have already enacted.

The question is, why are there so many religious exemptions in U.S. law to begin with? Why do we need specific, narrow exemptions to protect religious liberty? Is it because the laws from which the exemptions are carved are themselves rights-violating? The New Jersey Star-Ledger, citing Laycock, picked up on this case in an editorial. In Why the nuns fighting Obamacare may hurt religious liberty, the Star-Ledger wrote:

These nuns do good work, but their lawsuit is so absurd that they are hurting their own cause by pursuing it.
Remember: The Little Sisters already sought an exemption under Obamacare that would protect them from covering birth control for their employees, and they got one, just as Hobby Lobby did. Now they are fighting the very provision that gives them that exemption, because they believe the law must exempt all conscientious objectors.

But if religious exemptions must be so broad as not even to distinguish between religious and other objectors, the government may no longer grant them at all, Laycock fears. Legislators will think they can't enact a narrow religious exemption without it being expanded to become all-inclusive. They'll start repealing the exemptions they've already enacted.
Which is why churches should hope the Supreme Court rules against the Little Sisters, too: Not to protect Obamacare. To protect religious liberty.

I left these comments under the Star-Ledger editorial, edited for clarity:

There should be no religious exemption for the birth control mandate because there should be no birth control mandate to begin with. The government has no right to dictate insurance mandates of any kind. It’s only proper role in regard to health insurance is to prosecute fraud, remedy breach of contract, and mediate contractual disputes in courts of law.

What the Star-Ledger is really saying is that we the people are rightless subjects of the state, and we are only “free” to the extent the government allows it. This is the basic premise of the totalitarian state, and totally contrary to the principles of inalienable individual rights and limited rights-protecting government upon which this country was founded. It is the ultimate inversion of America—The state acts by right, and the individual acts by permission. In this case, the state dictates insurance coverage, and then grants limited permission to select people to skirt the mandate.

This is what the Star-Ledger brazenly advocates; a society of, for, and by the state. To add insult to injustice, the Star-Ledger threatens to take back even the limited “grant” of liberty—the limited religious exemptions—if the subjects don’t stop clamoring for a bit more liberty. This is the action of a mob boss, not an intellectual guardian of a free society. The idea that liberty is a mere grant of the state is the mentality of a King.

Individual rights are moral principles guaranteeing the freedom to act upon our own judgement, so long as our actions don’t violate the same rights of others. The Declaration of Independence is correct: Rights—the individual kind, the only kind there are—come first. Then, “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” All insurance mandates should be abolished. The government should protect the rights of insurers and consumers, employers and employees, to contract voluntarily with each other to mutual advantage—or not contract at all. We should not have to seek “conscientious objector” status to practice our rights.

The only proper decision for the Supreme Court to render in Zubek, if it is to hold on to what little is left of its legitimacy as a guardian of the Constitutional protection for the rights of man, is to invalidate the birth control mandate itself. To do otherwise would not “protect religious liberty.” It would further entrench the principle that religious liberty—and by extension all liberty—is a privilege, not a right. It would be a victory for state supremacy.

The Supreme Court subsequently returned the case to the lower courts for “reconsideration.” Stay tuned. The question is, have we reached the tipping point in America where we have inverted from inalienable rights to state-granted privileges? Not yet. But we’re on our way.

Related Reading:

SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Decision Skirts the Fundamental Issue

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The ‘Alt-Right’: The New Left’s Chickens Homecoming

Is Donald Trump, wittingly or not, raising the profile and influence of the so-called alt-Right?

In Trump disavows Nazis, saves them a seat at the table, the New Jersey Star-Ledger chastised president-elect Donald Trump for not disavowing the so-called “alt-Right” movement strongly enough. Trump’s selection of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior advisor, the Star-Ledger believes, gives legitimacy to the alt-Right and its racist views.

I only recently heard about the alt-Right. From what I know about it, the alt-Right—which is not really on the Right, properly understood as standing for individualism—is racist, as well as nationalistic and collectivistic.

(I don’t yet know much about Bannon, so I can’t comment on his alleged ties to the alt-Right. I can, however, point the reader to an excellent column by PJ Media's Walter Hudson, who wrote,

The problem with Steve Bannon is not his personal views, for which there seems to be little evidence of anything egregious. The problem with Steve Bannon is the role he has played in proliferating the abhorrent views of others. While in charge of Breitbart News, Bannon transformed it into a haven for the alt-right.

Hudson believes that “Trump should go out of his way to condemn the alt-right,” and that “That declaration should be echoed by a repentant Bannon, or Bannon should be fired.”)

In any event, the alt-Right seems largely a reaction to the more subtle and more insidious racism of the Left—more insidious because the Left's racism is more highbrow, and being smuggled in under cover of “good intentions.” The Star-Ledger  writes;

Our president-elect seems vague about such approbation, as he is unaware that he has empowered white nationalists, emboldened neo-Nazis, and inspired the KKK to reemerge from beneath its rock: "I want to look into it and find out why," he said.

He can skip the inquiry. It's happening because his incendiary rhetoric still echoes. It's happening because he has conveyed his approval by appointing Steve Bannon as his chief strategist – the same Bannon who calls Breitbart "the platform for the alt-right." It's happening because they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.

The Star-Ledger writes here that “It's happening because they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.” But the fuller unabridged statement in the print edition reads “Its happening because diversity is a dirty word to these ‘patriots,’ and they have tacit permission to express their retrograde impulses.”

The Left’s concept of “diversity” is racial identity politics, not diversity in the only way it matters, in the content of individual character. In other words, race—not ideas, choices, values, moral character, and the like—is the defining characteristic.

When you identify people by race, and then divide people by that standard, what do you expect to happen—especially when you go out of your way to marginalize one of the races, white people? You encourage racism and other forms of group identity politics; e.g., the alt-Right’s white separatism. The alt-Right is the New Left’s chickens coming home to roost, and all decent people suffer for it.

For the rise of the alt-Right, we have the New Left and their “diversity” crusaders to thank. When you “set the table” for racist tribalism, you get racist tribalism. The alt-Right and the New Left are not opposites. They are two sides of the same coin. The New Left divides people by race, based on the premise that different races are genetically predisposed to their own unique ideas and perspectives. The alt-Right also divides people by race, based on things such as genetically informed average racial group intelligence, as measured by things like IQ testing. The two are blood brothers: Both are both collectivist and anti-individualist; both are hostile to free markets and capitalism; both in essence reject free will; both are hostile to American culture.

Racism is a specie of collectivism. The Left is fundamentally collectivist, an ideology that, not surprisingly, it also shares with the alt-Right. Collectivism holds the group as the standard of moral value and judgement—and the easiest group to identify the individual with is his racial group or heritage. The only alternative to racism, both Left and alt-Right, is individualism, the antipode of collectivism and the heart and soul of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Individualism is the defining characteristic of American culture—a culture that both the New Left and the alt-Right stand in fundamental opposition to.

Related Reading:

The Founding Fathers, Not ‘Diversity,’ is the Solution to ‘Our Racialized Society’

Monday, November 28, 2016

‘Public Option’ Health Plan: How Statism Begets Statism

New Jersey offers an unequivocal demonstration of the regressive, cancerous tendencies inherent in the regulatory welfare state.

With insurance companies in New Jersey fleeing the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a government-operated plan that he said will stabilize the volatile market.

The "New Jersey Public Option Health Care Act" would require the state Health and Banking and Insurance departments to develop the plans, according to the legislation Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) introduced on Thursday and announced on Monday.

Any consumer could enroll in the plans, which would compete with those offered by private carriers, according to the bill (A4211).

"Health care should be a right for every New Jersey resident," said Gusciora (D–Mercer).  "I think the climate is finally right to make significant changes to our system that will enshrine that principle in our laws."

"The government has the benefit of representing a large population of people, and that gives them a lot of clout in cost and reimbursement negotiations," Gusciora said.

I left these comments, taking the above statements in turn.

With insurance companies in New Jersey fleeing the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill to create a government-operated plan that he said will stabilize the volatile market.

This is classic statism.

First, the politicians cripple an industry with regulations, making it impossible for private companies to deliver their services. Then, these same politicians ride to the “rescue” with another coercive government program—another small step on the road to the progressive government takeover of healthcare.

Such is the method of these statist scoundrels. Such is the process by which the American people are succumbing to the creeping loss of their personal freedom to “big government.” Instead of demanding a repeal of the government policies that are causing insurers to “flee the health exchange created by the Affordable Care Act,” too many Americans are as clueless as the population of Animal Farm that succumbed to the devious power-grab of the pig leadership.

Any consumer could enroll in the plans, which would compete with those offered by private carriers, according to the bill (A4211).

To believe the very idea that there can be “competition” among parties in which one “competitor has access to taxpayer funding while holding a gun to the heads of its supposed competitors, in the form of legal regulatory powers, is astoundingly naive. Market competition implies voluntary consent, agreement, and exchange on a level legal playing field. The very fact that the government, which is responsible for forcing so many companies off of the field, will now become a “competitor” is corruption more properly understood as legal organized crime rather than market competition.

"Health care should be a right for every New Jersey resident," said Gusciora (D–Mercer).  "I think the climate is finally right to make significant changes to our system that will enshrine that principle in our laws."

To believe that there can be a “right to healthcare” is to believe in slavery. Rights are guarantees to freedom of action to pursue personal goals, not an automatic claim on goods and services that others must be forced to provide. While slavery manifests in varying degrees of brutality, the idea of a right to material values other than what one has properly earned by his own effort in voluntary trade with others must by definition mean involuntary servitude for those forced to provide it—and a government that increasingly controls the economy on the way to a totalitarian state.

"The government has the benefit of representing a large population of people, and that gives them a lot of clout in cost and reimbursement negotiations," Gusciora said.

The term “negotiation” implies voluntary give and take, resulting to a voluntary agreement—or not. But when the government uses its lawmaking powers—the power of the gun—to “represent a large population of people,” it is essentially seizing a monopsony economic power. To claim that “negotiations” are possible between private economic parties and coercive government monopsony is another distortion of the language. If the government seizes a monopsony in some field, it can essentially impose its demands by arbitrary fiat, because its negotiating “partner” must either succumb to the government’s demands—the “clout” of the gun—or get out of the business (or at least abandon the part of the consumer market for which the government has seized a representative role). Some “negotiation!”

Regulatory tyranny. Individual rights denial. Language distortion. Such is the means by which statism begets statism.

Related Reading:

The Free Market Doesn’t ‘Do’: It Liberates You to Do

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Spreading Objectivism for a Free Society

In a Facebook posting, Thomas M Miovas Jr wrote "A brief note to the young Objectivists":

A brief note to the young Objectivists out there, many who tend to be very enthusiastic about spreading Objectivism for a few short years (less than ten), and then they grow wary of not getting many converts or not enough philosophical conversations, then they wane and go back to a more normal just posting what they want to post on FB and elsewhere.

While I acknowledge it can be easy to "get burned out" with tepid replies to a rational philosophical stance, it would actually be bad for your self-esteem to stop posting rational philosophical posts because rationality is man's motivator.

Just keep in mind that this is a long term project trying to convert a society to a certain philosophical view. And, as you already know, few are going to be as enthusiastic about reason as you are. So my recommendation is to keep at it, don't let your spark go out, as Ayn Rand put it.

We are up against a two hundred year change from The Enlightenment, and it is going to take a while to gain that attitude back into the culture.

So, don't get too frustrated that not much seems to happen for many, many years. Stick to your rationality and your rational values and continue to speak out when you can.

I have found that starting out with the thought of converting people will just lead to frustration. The best advocacy on any given issue is to just make your case as clear as you can. In other words, be Objectivist. Don’t preach Objectivism. In most cases, you don’t even have to mention Ayn Rand or Objectivism to advance Objectivism. Remember that Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas is said to have predicted that, though the American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened. Whether or not Thomas actually said that, it turned out to be largely true. How did the Left accomplish it? They relentlessly framed their arguments in terms of socialism's moral foundation, altruism/collectivism.

Our task is harder, as the socialists simply exploited the well-established cultural acceptance of altruism. We need to fuel a moral revolution. But we have American’s implicit sense of individualism, however weakened since the country’s Founding. If you really observe, you’ll find that most people already live largely like rationally selfish individualists, even though they’ve never heard the term, including Christians. By relentlessly promoting liberty on a foundation of rational selfishness, we can emulate the socialists’ strategy, in reverse. Americans may not knowingly adopt Objectivism. But they can still adopt every fundamental principle of Objectivism, leading to a fully free society without most Americans even knowing that it was Ayn Rand who led them there. One thing we have on our side that the socialists never did; history and rationality.

Just be good at applying Objectivist premises—being rational—to real life issues. Teach by demonstration. Show by doing how Objectivist principles work; how they apply to concrete issues. Each time you do, you may be planting a mental seed in someone’s mind. A tepid or non-response to your philosophical argument probably means the person has confronted something he hasn’t encountered before. Don’t worry about immediate results. And it’s more fun that way. One of the best rewards you can receive is to have someone say simply, “I never thought of it that way.”

For example, in answer to the common practice of blaming selfishness for someone’s bad behavior, explain that selfishness is not the problem. The real problem is the person’s choice of values and/or his means of pursuing or advancing his values. A lack of rational selfishness, not selfishness as commonly understood, is the underlying problem. Always tie abstract ideas to reality. E.G.: Don’t let people get away with floating abstractions, such as “the common good.” Make them explain in concrete terms what they mean (that can get interesting!).

Remember, the philosophical battle is a street fight. You likely never going to hear, “Thanks to you, I’m now an Objectivist.”  It’s mind-to-mind combat, and it requires an army, of which each of us must do our part to the extent of our ability and mastery of Objectivism. I recommend reading and rereading Ayn Rand’s essay “What Can One Do?” in Philosophy, Who Needs It? Victory can only come one mind at a time.

Related Reading:

Introduction to Objectivism—The Ayn Rand Institute

John David Lewis, New Intellectual

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thanksgiving Message

[This year, I'm thankful for the heroic men and women of the fossil fuel industry. Reliable, economical, industrial scale energy is vital to our incredible, by historic standards, standard of living. Fossil fuels are the workhorse of our energy infrastructure, yet the industry has to work under the moral weight of demonization by energy enemies who claim that fossils are “dirty” and ruining the planet. So, a double thank you—for providing 87% of the world’s energy, and for continuing to do so despite the cruel demonization! Once again, THANK YOU!]

Reprinted below are two thanksgiving messages that I think captures the true essence of Thanksgiving, a holiday practiced only in America. Regardless of how one believes he came into existence (God or nature), the reality is that man is a being of self-generated wealth based on reason who requires certain social conditions for his survival. America was the first country founded explicitly on those conditions; i.e., a country where every individual owns his own life and possesses inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and to the pursuit of his own happiness, coupled inextricably with the obligation to accept the reality that all people are equally endowed with these rights and to treat them accordingly.

It is thus that America, born of the enlightenment ideas of individualism, reason, and republican government, achieved in the span of a mere two hundred-plus years (following centuries of stagnation) its spectacular standard of living. The ensuing excerpts are from two essays that I believe correctly recognize where the credit for America's material plenty belongs: to any man or woman, on whatever level of ability or accomplishment, who contributed in a great or small way to American greatness by doing an honest and productive day's work in pursuit of his or her own well-being.

Ah, Thanksgiving. To most of us, the word conjures up images of turkey dinner, pumpkin pie and watching football with family and friends. It kicks off the holiday season and is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. We're taught that Thanksgiving came about when pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. We vaguely mumble thanks for the food on our table, the roof over our head and the loved ones around us. We casually think about how lucky we are and how much better our lives are than, say, those in Bangladesh. But surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday.

What should we really be celebrating on Thanksgiving?

Ayn Rand described Thanksgiving as "a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production." She was right.

What is today's version of the "bountiful harvest"? It's the affluence and success we've gained. It's the cars, houses and vacations we enjoy. It's the life-saving medicines we rely on, the stock portfolios we build, the beautiful clothes we buy and the safe, clean streets we live on. It's the good life.

How did we get this "bountiful harvest"? Ask any hard-working American; it sure wasn't by the "grace of God." It didn't grow on a fabled "money tree." We created it by working hard, by desiring the best money can buy and by wanting excellence for ourselves and our loved ones. What we don't create ourselves, we trade value for value with those who have the goods and services we need, such as our stockbrokers, hairdressers and doctors. We alone are responsible for our wealth. We are the producers and Thanksgiving is our holiday.

So, on Thanksgiving, why don't we thank ourselves and those producers who make the good life possible?

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things--all the values we most selfishly cherish. We should thank researchers who have made certain cancers beatable, gourmet chefs at our favorite restaurants, authors whose books made us rethink our lives, financiers who developed revolutionary investment strategies and entrepreneurs who created fabulous online stores. We should thank ourselves and those individuals who make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable--those who help us live the much-coveted American dream.

As you sit down to your decadent Thanksgiving dinner served on your best china, think of all the talented individuals whose innovation and inventiveness made possible the products you are enjoying. As you look around at who you've chosen to spend your day with--those you've chosen to love--thank yourself for everything you have done to make this moment possible. It's a time to selfishly and proudly say: "I earned this."

Debi Ghate is associated with the Ayn Rand Institute.

The religious tradition of saying grace before meals becomes especially popular around the holidays, when we all are reminded of how fortunate we are to have an abundance of life-sustaining goods and services at our disposal. But there is a grave injustice involved in this tradition.

Where do the ideas, principles, constitutions, governments, and laws that protect our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness come from? What is the source of the meals, medicines, homes, automobiles, and fighter jets that keep us alive and enable us to flourish? Who is responsible for our freedom, prosperity, and well-being?

Since God is responsible for none of the goods on which human life and happiness depend, why thank him for any such goods? More to the point: Why not thank those who actually are responsible for them? What would a just man do?

Justice is the virtue of judging people rationally--according to what they say, do, and produce--and treating them accordingly, granting to each man that which he deserves.

To say grace is to give credit where none is due--and, worse, it is to withhold credit where it is due. To say grace is to commit an act of injustice.

Rational, productive people--whether philosophers, scientists, inventors, artists, businessmen, military strategists, friends, family, or yourself--are who deserve to be thanked for the goods on which your life, liberty, and happiness depend. ... Thank or acknowledge the people who actually provide the goods. Some of them may be sitting right there at the table with you. And if you find yourself at a table where people insist on saying grace, politely insist on saying justice when they're through. It's the right thing to do.

I couldn't have said it better myself. These truths are obvious. A simple rudimentary knowledge of history, coupled with basic observation and logic, are all that's required to realize it. Thank you Debi Ghate and Craig Biddle!

Have a joyous, and well earned, Thanksgiving.

Related Reading:

The Star-Ledger's Thanksgiving Tantrum