Monday, January 21, 2008

Excerpts 7- Rudy Giuliani for President-1

“Giuliani, as mayor, surrounded himself with loyalists and treated those who criticized him as enemies. He picked fights with the unions, with his police commissioner and with nearly all of the city's African-American leadership. So if he acted the same way as president, who would stand up and tell him when he's wrong?”

For Giuliani, the fight comes first, by Tom Moran, the New Jersey Star-Ledger 01/21/08

Translation; Rudy Giuliani is not a mealy, me-too politician who compromises away any principles he may have in order to not “pick a fight” (Of course, .the “unions,… his police commissioner and… nearly all of the city's African- American leadership” would never “pick a fight” with the Mayor!)

But it is precisely Giuliani’s willingness to “pick a fight” with the American Left that draws me to him. It’s not that I necessarily agree with him on every issue. And it’s not that he has never “moderated” his views on some issues for political reasons. Every modern politician does. But when Giuliani firmly believes that he is right, as Mr. Moran correctly points out, he has the gutsy, tough-skinned willingness to “go to the mat” for his beliefs.

This election is shaping up to be a classic battle of the individual against the state. The Democrats across the board have come down clearly on the side of the state. Their “championing” of the children, the poor, the uninsured, etc., is just mawkish posturing to cover for what looks to me to be the most openly statist agenda to be put forth by any political party since at least 1972. The Dems have produced a bumper crop of candidates trying to outdo each other on who would be most effective at wielding the government’s coercive power to impose his economic “vision” on private American citizens.

At this point, only one side of this battle has been joined. The GOP candidates, by and large, offer only watered-down statism in some form. Of the major candidates (Huckabee, Romney, McCain, and Giuliani), only Giuliani shows the potential to break out with an explicitly pro-individual stand. For one thing, he is not beholden to the activist Religious “Right”, which has its own authoritarian agenda. Second, he has promised not only to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but also to introduce the largest tax cut in American history if he takes office. In addition, he has vowed to make “school choice” (i.e., educational freedom) a major component of his agenda. Another area of hope (if you believe in individual rights and self-determination) is in the area of health care, where he has offered market-based solutions that mostly reduce government’s role (though admittedly not nearly enough). This all points generally in the right direction.

What’s missing is a bold policy statement explicitly defending the individual’s right to be free from government’s coercive intrusion into his private economic affairs. I’m referring here to a broad philosophical declaration of principles uniting his issues under the banner of individual rights, from which he can give Americans a clear “choice not an echo” (to borrow a phrase). Armed with this explicit declaration, he will be able to clearly and unequivocally lay out an agenda that is diametrically opposed to the other side and at the same time strip away the Democrats’ façade and expose their fundamentally socialist agenda for what it is.

Engaging the individual’s side of the coming battle will require two things… extraordinary inner guts and fortitude, and a strong philosophical platform based on the rights of the individual. Of the major GOP candidates, only Giuliani, I believe, has the first. What’s missing, so far, is the second.

Post Reference 22

Friday, January 18, 2008

Elizabeth Sullivan's "Authentic" Snake Oil

In an editorial in the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Elizabeth Sullivan lambastes the winner of the recent GOP primary in Michigan, Mitt Romney, for “dishing out…illusions” regarding the loss of American manufacturing jobs. In this she is certainly correct not only about Romney, but about most modern politicians.

Ms. Sullivan then takes positions on the issues of American jobs and international competitiveness, which deserves some scrutiny. Since Ms. Sullivan is somewhat vague on particular points, I have had to make certain assumptions about what she is advocating. This caveat aside, I believe that I am correctly understanding the thrust of her position.

Correctly denigrating the “Easy answers that are a throwback to failed policies of the past”, she says the following:

“To regain America's economic edge, nothing but a broad overhaul will suffice in the way America thinks about trade, investments in education, innovation and competitiveness and the critical role of manufacturing in driving both U.S. well-being and technological change.”

Who could disagree with that statement? But, as with all statements of a general nature, the “devil is in the details”. After giving an overview of the “crises in manufacturing”, a mouthful emerges in the final paragraph. “What America needs are not the glib asides of a presidential snake-oil salesman…”, Ms. Sullivan declares. This is certainly true. What, then, does America need? We need “… an authentic industrial policy that treats trade as an opportunity…”.

In other words, another snake-oil salesman. All we need is another man with another plan to be imposed on the private economy by governmental coercion. But government planning (industrial policy) is just more of the same “Easy answers that are a throwback to failed policies of the past”. It is just more poison. To understand why, it is important to draw the distinction between government and private economic action.

Private activity, i.e. a free market, is governed by the principle of non-coercion. In essence, the free market is voluntary trade between productive individuals based on mutual consent to mutual gain, with each acting in his own self-interest for the furtherance of his own well being…a win-win situation.

Government’s only means or tool of operation, on the other hand, is legalized force. This is proper, so long as it is not abused. Government economic intervention is the override by force of the voluntary choices of free individuals by bureaucrats and politicians; in essence the awarding of special unearned economic privileges to some at the expense of the best interests (and rights) of others who are forced to accept an unchosen obligation. Since the recipient paid nothing in return and the victim had a net loss, this represents an economic (and moral) lose-lose situation.

Government intervention, then, is not the answer. Since it prevents people from acting in his own best interest, the law of unintended consequences becomes operative. A prime example is included, ironically, in this very same paragraph:

“Lost manufacturing jobs in Cleveland and lost worldwide sales for U.S. corporations have become interrelated problems. And at the root of the former, rising health care costs and other ‘legacy costs’ [ex., pensions] in manufacturing continue to injure U.S. competitiveness and long-term industrial strength.”

It is government policies dating back to the 1930s and 1940s that imposed these “legacy costs” on American business. For example, the third-party-payer system for health insurance was imposed via tax policy and shifted the responsibility for medical care from the individual, where it properly belongs, to the employer. In lieu of wage and salary increases, the employer instead assumed responsibility for the employees’ health coverage. This has now come back to haunt American business, which made promises it could not keep and should not have made.

Ms. Sullivan wants this new industrial policy to “look…at preserving manufacturing jobs as a matter of priority.” “In the decade from 1995 to 2005,” she reports “this country lost a staggering 3 million manufacturing jobs, according to the Brookings Institution.” But most of those job losses were due to greater manufacturing efficiencies, technological innovations and such which drive down the cost of manufactured goods (Heritage Foundation report). This relentless cost-cutting raises the general standard of living by making goods more affordable while at the same time raising the productiveness of American workers, resulting in rising real wages.

The focus on the “staggering [loss of] 3 million manufacturing jobs’ is also very misleading in at least two important ways. First, as the Heritage Foundation reports, manufacturing job losses due to rising productivity is a worldwide phenomenon. Second, job losses are not restricted to the manufacturing sector. 15 million jobs are lost yearly in America. Of these, only 3% are lost to global trade. Yet, the number of people employed grows steadily because 17 to 18 million new jobs are created every year in America. It seems Ms. Sullivan is engaging in a bit of demagoguery herself.

As to the small percentage of job losses “going overseas”, there is a virtuous cycle here, too. The cheaper goods entering the United States also raises the American standard of living by leaving more disposable income in the hands of people, which can be invested, used to pay down debt, or spent on other goods, including American-made goods. In any event, the government has no moral right to “save manufacturing (or any other) jobs” at the expense of the rights of other Americans to purchase goods made by people outside the US (i.e., to engage in voluntary, uncoerced trade).

No one has an inherent right to a job. If the voluntary economic decisions of millions of individuals (the market) leads to the shrinkage of some businesses or industries with resulting job losses, no one has the right to override those choices by governmental coercion…i.e., industrial policy. Ms. Sullivan’s vague call for a new industrial policy that is “authentic” is just another call for another glass of snake oil. The best thing the federal government can do for “jobs” is to begin rolling back its massive tax and regulatory regime…i.e., get out of the way of businessmen, entrepreneurs, and investors who take the risks and make the investments that lead to job creation.

The best “industrial policy” is no policy at all. It’s not that economic planning is unnecessary. The question is who should do the planning. Ms. Sullivan says state bureaucrats and politicians acting on the blind political expediency of the moment. But the only people who can and should plan “the economy” are the millions of individual producers and traders who actually are the economy…i.e., the people, each pursuing his own welfare and happiness in accordance with his own rational self-interest.

Post Reference 21

Monday, January 14, 2008

Now, Celebrate Abolition

“[A]bolition constitutes one of the greatest moral achievements of Western Civilization.”- Dinesh D’Souza, (As quoted in The Capitalist Manifesto by Andrew Bernstein, p. 274)

Rather than having apologized for slavery, we should instead be celebrating America’s role in slavery’s abolition.

To understand this point, it is crucial to understand the institution of slavery in its entire historical context. Slavery is the product of the principles of collectivism and statism. The first holds that the individual is the property of the group or tribe. The second holds that the individual is the property of the state (or the monarch, feudal lord, military dictator, etc.) Both deny the value of man the individual. For thousands of years, based on these two ideas, slavery was practiced by all peoples, against all peoples.

A full-blown opposition to slavery didn’t surface until the 18th century Enlightenment. The Enlightenment, it is absolutely imperative to understand, represented the birth of the exact antithesis of slavery’s philosophical foundation of the twin evils of collectivism and statism. These antithetical Enlightenment principles were individualism, limited representative government, and capitalism (the economic system based on voluntary trade rather than statism’s rule by brute force).

Now, it is important to understand that such a widely practiced institution as slavery, practiced for thousands of years, doesn’t disappear easily. It took a long and bloody struggle to eliminate slavery in Western Civilization, and the struggle to eradicate it from the entire world is far from over. Today, slavery continues in parts of Africa, the Islamic world, and under various dictatorships such as Cuba and North Korea.

America, the first country founded on Enlightenment principles, played a central role in the Abolitionist movement which was born in Europe, where England and later France led the anti-slavery movement there.

To fully appreciate its historic, and heroic, role, one must never forget the contextual fact that America inherited slavery from the world's pre-Enlightenment past, and that the battle against it neither began nor ended in 1776. It was an on-going struggle that transcended the birth of America.

There were many heroes in this extraordinary and bloody struggle. There was John Locke, the intellectual father of the American Revolution whose radical 17th century writings included an explicit attack on slavery and earned him a death threat from the English government, prompting him to publish his treatises anonymously (He announced his authorship of his writings through his will). There were America's Founding Fathers who, despite the fact that some were slaveowners themselves and amid vehement opposition from pro-slavery forces in America, never-the-less laid out the fundamental principle of man's inalienable individual rights in the Declaration of Independence that ultimately sealed the fate of slavery. There were the unsung heroes of the American Abolitionist Movement and of the Underground Railroad; and President Abe Lincoln and the tens of thousands of Union soldiers who died in a civil war fought primarily because of and to end slavery.

My point here is certainly not to diminish the dark part of our history represented by slavery, nor of its historical significance, nor of the untold suffering of so many human beings under this evil practice. But we must never let the fact of American slavery obscure the incalculable magnificence of the achievement of the Enlightenment and of the Enlightenment’s child, the United States of America…the abolition of slavery.

The New Jersey Legislature has chosen to officially apologize for our state’s role in slavery. As I have written in my previous post on this subject, I profoundly disagree with this resolution because its logic rests on the same philosophical principle as slavery itself, collectivism. And, since ideas are the driving force of human affairs, this resolution represents a defacto endorsement of that hidious institution.

So be it. Perhaps now the legislature can find the time to issue a resolution acknowledging New Jersey’s, and America’s, role in the great historic fight, and ultimate victory (at least in Western Civilization) over the primordial, monstrous evil of slavery.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slavery, Racism and Collectivism... and New Jersey's Folly

The New Jersey legislature yesterday officially apologized, on behalf of the state, for slavery practiced within its borders in the 19th century and earlier. The New Jersey Star Ledger's January 3, 2008 editorial calls it merely an “official wrong [that] merits an official apology.” It states:

“Assemblymen William Payne and Craig Stanley are sponsoring a simple, worthwhile resolution that says the state Legislature apologizes, regrets this state's involvement in slavery and encourages citizens to remember and teach their children the truth.
“[O]fficial state policy, unfortunately, made New Jersey one of the few Northern states to sanction the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and its provisions for hunting down runaways and returning them to their owners.”

But this is not the whole story. It is being billed as a step toward rectifying the lingering injustice of racism. As quoted by Associated Press Writer Tom Hester Jr., the resolution also states the following:

"The proposed resolution expresses ‘profound regret for the state's role in slavery and apologizes for the wrongs inflicted by slavery and its aftereffects in the United States of America.’“It states that in New Jersey, ‘the vestiges of slavery are ever before African-American citizens, from the overt racism of hate groups to the subtle racism encountered when requesting health care, transacting business, buying a home, seeking quality public education and college admission, and enduring pretextual traffic stops and other indignities.’ " (emphasis added)

Racism, it is said, is a remnant of the enslavement of blacks in the early years of America. It is said that by apologizing for whatever part early New Jersey residents played in regards to slavery, a step will have been taken toward ending this vestige of slavery. But this apology bill will do no such thing. In fact, it will only reinforce whatever racism exists in the minds of people.

This is because racism is not rooted in slavery. Slavery and racism, in fact, are two separate and distinct evils, although they share the same philosophical base… collectivism. While American slavery may have had racist overtones, it must be remembered that America, at its founding, inherited slavery, which had been practiced for thousands of years. One of the greatest contemporary historians, Thomas Sowell, said of slavery:

“[F]or most of the thousands of years of its existence, slavery had nothing to do with race...Slavery existed all over this planet, among people of every color, religion and nationality….[A]nyone familiar with the history of slavery around the world knows that its origins go back thousands of years and that slaves and slaveowners were very often of the same race…Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black slave was brought to the Western Hemisphere; moreover, Asians enslaved other Asians, Africans enslaved other Africans, and the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere enslaved other native peoples of the Western Hemisphere…[and] Thousands of free blacks owned slaves in the antebellum South.” (These quotes were taken from two articles written by Mr. Sowell and published in the New York Post some years ago, although regrettably I don’t have the dates.)

Racism, on the other hand, is a mindset separate and distinct from the institution of slavery. Some members of all ethnic groups are guilty of its practice. The racist views other people not as individuals but as subordinate members of a group, racial or otherwise. Twentieth century philosopher Ayn Rand, the greatest defender of individualism, defines racism as follows:

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage—the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors…. [R]acism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty.” (From her essay “Racism” in the book Return of the Primitive)

What racism and slavery have in common is that they are both rooted in collectivism. Collectivism is the philosophical doctrine, which holds that the individual has no value and that the standard of value in human affairs is the group to which he “belongs”. The common traits that tie him to the collective (the tribe) may be nationality, religious belief, race, skin color, social or economic status, etc. When members of one group or collective take slaves from another, it is collectivism at work. The tribal warfare that goes on generation after generation in various parts of the world is collectivism in action…with the warring groups holding each other responsible for wrongs perpetrated centuries ago regardless of the fact that the individuals comprising these groups had nothing to do with the ancient events. The individual is held responsible simply by sharing certain characteristics of the group.

While it is being billed as an official act of the state, the implication of this resolution is that the current residents are held to be guilty of the wrongs of their predecessors some 200 years ago, simply because of the color of their skin and their current residency. This implication is unavoidable since the NJ State officials who sanctioned the slave institution were elected by and acted in the name of the people of New Jersey. Those who practice racism today are guilty of irrationality, not past slavery.

The logic behind the official apology being contemplated by the NJ legislature is derived from the same collectivist doctrine as racism and the institution of slavery. By adopting this bill, which is likely a precursor (despite official denials) to the adoption of the even more evil “slave reparations”, New Jersey has officially endorsed the same essential philosophical premises of slavery and racism. (Slave reparations would compel innocent people to make financial “restitution” to modern day profiteers on the injustice of past slavery, which would itself be a new type of slavery.)

One cannot fight evil without attacking it at its root. The best thing any New Jersey resident, or any American, can do in protest against the evil of slavery is to do as I have done. Make the essential fundamental choice. Reject collectivism and adopt its only antithesis, individualism, as a moral and philosophical absolute. This means to pledge to treat every person you encounter as a sovereign individual and to judge him solely according to his own ideas, actions, and overall character, while never ascribing to anyone any sort of group or tribal identity. It further means to pledge to never accept any unearned guilt because of the actions of others.

As to New Jersey's “official" apology for slavery; I hereby disavow any connection to this resolution. I will not accept any guilt or responsibility for the evil deeds perpetrated by those who came before me.

Post Reference 20

Friday, January 4, 2008

Amnesty International Shows It's Stripes

Essentially, there are two methods by which to mount ideological opposition. The first is to openly and explicitly announce your disagreement with that which you oppose, spelling out the nature and reasons for your disagreement clearly and concisely, then offering your counter-arguments.

The second method is through the "back door". Your true intentions are never stated explicitly. Instead, you use a series of statements that don't directly attack your opponent but instead rely on vague implications or insinuations, out-of-context or non-contextual comparisons, guilt-by-association, and other such tools to plant in a reader's mind negative connotations about that which you are attacking without any real ideological "meat" to digest. Often this type of "argumentation" comes camouflaged behind some public issue which serves as a cover for your true agenda, which is to smear an opponent.

The second, dishonest method is what was used in this hit piece against the United States.

Hiding behind the "human rights" banner, Amnesty International poses as an impartial advocate of justice for all humanity. But impartiality and moral equivalence are two entirely different things. A statement in an op-ed in the New Jersey Star Ledger titled Jersey joins a human rights campaign by Jeffrey Laurenti (an obvious AI supporter) is about as outrageous an example of moral equivalence as one can imagine.

"Acidly, it [Amnesty International] noted that 91 percent of these executions took place in just six countries -- China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the United States -- a veritable axis of death."

A statement of this nature reveals a basic hostility to freedom and justice. To equate America, where the death penalty is administered under the most rigorous standards of due process including a long set of appeals and only for the most heinous of crimes, with states that execute people for exercising their most basic human rights is to make a mockery of that term. Indeed, to equate America, the first and most moral country in history because it is explicitly based on the individual's right to his own life, with tyranny on any level is essentially an attack on reason, individual rights and representative government because those three principles represent the Enlightenment ideas upon which America was founded.

Mr. Laurenti attributes that statement to Amnesty International, but it is not a quote so one must conclude that he ascribes to its meaning and thus cannot be given a pass. A man of his stature, it must be assumed, knows exactly what he is saying.

Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Laurenti equates Medieval Church-sanctioned murder with American capital punishment. "The Vatican, which once blessed executions to combat heresy", he writes, "has become a vigorous advocate of abolition worldwide, consistent with its pro-life ethic"(emphasis added). Thus, Mr. Laurenti declares, the rape-murderer of a child in 21st century America is no different morally from a medieval man daring to challenge Church dogma! Both are equally worthy of having their lives spared! Translation; America equates with the Church tyranny of the Dark and Middle Ages.

Here is another example of an implied equating of America with tyranny;

"In the same period that Americans were re-embracing the death penalty, campaigns for its abolition gathered momentum in Europe and Latin America. Britain eliminated capital punishment, except for treason, in 1971. Canada abolished it in 1976, France in 1981. One of the first measures adopted by countries emerging from right-wing or Communist dictatorships was elimination of the death penalty: Italy in 1947, Portugal in 1976, Argentina in 1984, Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1990." (emphasis added)

Translation; America is a quasi-dictatorship. What other implication can one draw from such a statement? Why is the fact that Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary were former dictatorships before abolishing capital punishment even relevant to this issue? Why refer to the Medieval Church's execution of dissidents?

No answers of any kind to those questions emerge in this piece. No context of any kind is provided. In fact, no case what-so-ever is advanced for why AI opposes capital punishment, except for vague references to "human rights". (For a moral defense of capital punishment, see my previous post on this issue) No reasons for why America's death penalty statutes should be abolished are given except that other nations have done it.

Just what are the "human rights" that AI is dedicated to upholding? How do these "human rights" relate to the issue of capital punishment? In what way does each of the ruling authorities mentioned apply it's death penalty statutes? How do they differ? For what types of crimes? In what way does smearing the United States through implication as no better than the worst tyrannies both past and present make their case against the death penalty? Again, no answers are given, and no context what-so-ever is provided. All we are left with is the implied charge that "America has the death penalty. So do the world's tyrannies. Therefore, America is tyranny."

Since AI basically skirts the death penalty issue here, one must focus on it's concept of "human rights" for a better understanding of the purpose and meaning of this article. In search of a clue to AI's human rights agenda, I turned to it's website. According to it's own Statute, no direct answer is given. By way of definition, there is only this; Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments (which go unnamed).

The only relevant passage in the Universal Declaration which it sights is Article 5, which reads "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." This statement is at the heart of the death penalty debate, and is open to wide interpretation. An article purportedly advocating a position on capital punishment must address the issue of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Yet nowhere in this essay is Article 5 touched on.

Since this article doesn't address the very issue it is supposed to be addressing, what could the author's purpose be? Lets look more deeply into the basis of Amnesty International's purpose.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. It is a rambling, contradictory document. The first line of it's Preamble reads; "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." (emphasis added)

How are "inalienable rights" defined? Americans, at least those with a proper understanding of the principle, would not recognize the UDHR definition. For example:

Article 23. the right "to protection against unemployment."
and to "equal pay for equal work."
and to " the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection."

Article 24. "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay."

Article 25. "(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care...etc, etc, etc,.

Article 26. "(1) Everyone has the right to education... which "shall be free" and "compulsory."[?]
"(2) Education shall be directed to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.[as defined here, which means socialist indoctrination]

Article 27 "(1) Everyone has the right... to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

Articles 23 through 27, which AI ascribes to, represent the obliteration of the very concept of rights. The above "rights" refer to products and services produced by someone. The "right" to food, clothing, housing, medical care and an education...provided by whom? The right to protection against unemployment...guaranteed by whom? The rights to equal pay for equal work and reasonable limitation of working hours...determined by whom? In a free society, people deal with one another voluntarily and by mutual consent to mutual advantage. No one can have a "right" to the product of someone else's work except that which is acquired through the free and voluntary exchange of values...i.e., trade. The "rights" enumerated above cannot be guaranteed except by governmental force because, as Ayn Rand eloquently explains;

"Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

"If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.

"Any alleged 'right' of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

"No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as "the right to enslave."
(From Individual Rights in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.)

Ensuring the "rights" enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can only be achieved by imposing "an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude" on some men for the unearned benefit of another. Why? Because the object of those "rights" are man-made, not found free in nature. Voluntary trade is essentially the only legitimate method of acquiring the product of another man's work (leaving aside charity or inheritance).

Amnesty International, in other words, advocates socialism. Socialism is the political implementation of collectivism, the doctrine that holds that the individual is secondary and subordinate to the primary unit of value which is the group...i.e., "society", the "public", the "people", etc. Since the "group" is not an entity of any kind but merely an aggregation of individuals, someone must represent the group. Who? The state. The individual, then, being only a component of the group, belongs to it's representative...the state, which can dispose of the product of his labor in any way it deems necessary to fulfill the "rights" it guarantees to "the people".

It necessarily follows, then, that the concept of the inalienable rights of the individual, properly understood and as stated in the American Declaration of Independence, is an obstacle to socialists and must be discredited. Therefore, America, the nation of inalienable individual rights, must be discredited to pave the way for socialism. Leftist organizations like AI, though, do not usually attack America on direct philosophical grounds. Instead, they rely on "hit" pieces like the Laurenti article, which uses the death penalty issue as window dressing.

AI does commendable work exposing and opposing political repression. But, in classic leftist fashion, it advocates economic repression. But economic freedom and political freedom are corollaries. Political freedom rests on the foundation of economic freedom. A man who can have his property legally seized to satisfy someone else's "right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family" is not free, economically or politically. A man whose "rights" are not an inalienable endowment of nature but rather an arbitrary creation of the state does not possess rights but privileges which can be revoked at any time to satisfy the privileges of others. To be economically free means to possess the exclusive right to dispose of the product of one's productive efforts.

Socialism, upon which rests AI's reason for being, is tyranny. Whether fully (communism, fascism, or national socialism), or partially (welfare statism) implemented, it is in essence a tribal social system based on the forced subservience of the individual to the rulers.

The only opposite, the antitheses, philosophically, morally, and practically to socialism is capitalism (which doesn't exist anywhere today except in bits and pieces). If Amnesty International were a true advocate of human rights, it would advocate Capitalism, the only politico-economic social system that upholds and guarantees both political and economic human rights.

Post Reference 19