Thursday, August 30, 2018

Note to Sandi Tibbetts Murphy: Violence is Not Masculine

The murder of Mollie Tibbetts by an illegal alien has sparked, for better or for worse, a nationwide conversation about immigration. Tibbetts’ sister, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, pushed back, posting this statement that went viral. My wife shared it on her page, via Chris Yingling August 25 at 1:18 PM, who captioned it “Full statement from Mollie's family. The ONLY people that have a say in this. A must read.”


No, no and no.

Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us. We hereby reclaim our Mollie.

Mollie was a young, intelligent, caring woman with a ready smile and a compassionate heart. So many across the state of Iowa and the entire country embraced her, and us, as we all searched and hoped for her safe return. It was not to be. Mollie was killed, and a man has been arrested and charged with her murder. Yes, that man is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty as to his legal status. But it matters not. He could have been a citizen, born in this country; he could have been an older, white man from anywhere; he could have been a man from Mollie’s world. He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie’s life, with tragic results. He is a man who felt entitled to impose himself on Mollie’s life, without consequence. He is a man who, because of his sense of male entitlement, refused to allow Mollie the right to reject his advances – the right to her own autonomy. Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say no.

Our national discussion needs to be about the violence committed in our society, mostly by men, as seen by these grim statistics from the FBI:

• 89.5% of murders are committed by men.

• 98.9% of forcible rapes are committed by men.

• 80% of violence against families and children is committed by men.

• 85% of intimate partner violence is committed by men.

We must be willing to address the way we raise our boys and young men, so that violence is not a part of their response to this world. Like the recent murders of the Colorado family or the similarly tragic homicide of Kate Steinle, Mollie’s death is further example of the toxic masculinity that exists in our society.

Mollie’s murder is truly tragic and horrifically painful for all of us who knew and loved her, the extinguishing of a treasured spirit much too soon. It is not your right to exacerbate this grievous act by hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering. You do not get to use her murder to inaccurately promote your “permanently separated” hyperbole. You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.

No. We reclaim our Mollie

I posted to following comments on my wife’s page:

First, this piece was posted by the victim’s sister, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, on her page. She appears to be speaking for herself, not the whole family. That said, I agree with her that Mollie Tibbetts’ murder should not be exploited to imply that all illegal immigrants are violent criminals. I cringed when I saw some doing just that. Rivera is one single illegal immigrant, not representative of all illegal immigrants. But I take issue with the rest of the Murphy’s statement. It morphs into a smear piece against men and political dissenters.

The statement calls for “Our national discussion . . . to be about the violence committed in our society.” Fair enough. But it blames “toxic masculinity” for the violence generally and for Tibbetts’ murder in particular. Merriam-Webster defines “masculine” as A: “male” and B: “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man.” Violence is not a “quality.” Nor is violence “appropriate to” men. She cites FBI statistics to “prove” her case. But statistics, of course, are worse than damned lies. The statistics Murphy cited notwithstanding, the vast majority of men do not commit violence. That nonviolence doesn't make them unmasculine. Rivera is one single man, not representative of all men.

The statement condemns “those of you” for “hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering.” While the exploitation of Mollie’s murder to make a point against illegal immigration may be unsavory, you can’t automatically assume that opposition to illegal immigration equates to racism, as Murphy implies. Those using her murder to make a statement against illegal immigration may be using bad judgement. But they are not necessarily racist. The tarring of masculinity as violent, as this statement does, is itself racist--against the male race. The tarring of all opponents of illegal immigration as racists is, if not racist, certainly unjust.

As a husband, father, and grandfather, my sympathies go out to this family. I recognize that anger and grief can cause people to say thinks they may later regret. But, I cannot give my unqualified endorsement to Murphy’s statement. It seems she engaged in the same tactic as she chastises others for; using her sister’s murder to advance her views on a controversial issue, in this case immigration and gender--in the process painting entire groups with a broad brush. Murphy concludes, “You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.” Neither do you, Sandi.


I speculated that Murphy's language was the work of a political activist. My suspicion was confirmed when I read the following from Marxism in the Mainstream:

It bears repeating: “today’s political left” has a “neo-Marxist view.” The watchwords of this ideology are commonplace. As Jordan Peterson said to Tucker Carlson, any time you hear the words “equity, diversity, inclusivity, white privilege, systemic racism, any of that” you are hearing someone spout off their neo-Marxist indoctrination. One might also add terms like “tolerance,” “multiculturalism,” “toxic masculinity,” and people “of color” (code for “the oppressed”). [my emphasis]

I had never heard the term “toxic masculinity.” But it sounded like a Leftist slogan. I was right.

I continued to discuss this in the comments section. You can follow the conversation on my wife’s page, where you can find three comments and 25 replies (so far).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

QUORA: ‘Can you start a purely communist society in the US?’

I posted this answer:

Of course. In a fully free nation (or still predominantly free nation like the United States of America), individual rights, including rights to freedom of association and property rights, are protected by a government of constitutionally limited powers. A number of individuals can voluntarily agree to sign over and pool all of their property and earnings under common ownership and establish a method to distribute that wealth according to need. As a private association, no one can legally stop them.  Nor can the communist association force others into their “society” (community). That would be communism, lower case “c”.

What no one can do in a free nation is use the government to legally force their communistic beliefs on others. That would be Communism, upper case “C”—i.e., Marxism—which would require an end to individual freedom and private property via the establishment of a totalitarian state.

It is a simple fact that, under capitalism’s limited government, a socialist can live by his convictions based on the separation of economics and state just as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist can live by their convictions based on the separation of religion and state, so long as they respect the same rights of others. Under a Communist government, a capitalist cannot live by his convictions because no one can escape the dictates of the socialist rulers—a capitalist, or anyone who seeks any measure of economic freedom, is by definition an outlaw.

Related Reading:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What ‘System’ Do HSAs Harm?

A bill making its way through Congress would expand Health Savings Accounts, the tax shelter tailored to individuals. Jonathan D. Salant explains the bill for

Health care legislation passed by the U.S. House before departing for its annual August recess will do little to lower premiums or provide more Americans with insurance, but will give a bigger break to wealthier taxpayers, according to studies and experts.

Two bills focused on expanding Health Savings Accounts [HSAs], which are funded with pre-tax dollars and are combined with bare-bones plans that cover only major expenses. That puts most of the burden for paying medical expenses on individuals, but they can use tax-free savings to cover them.

They would expand the list of allowable expenses from the accounts and increase the maximum contribution to $6,900 from $3,450 for individuals and $13,300 from $6,900 for families.

The “bigger break” is people keeping more of what they earn. But welfare statists see no difference between that and getting a government handout funded by other people's’ taxes. Notice that paying for one’s own healthcare is characterized as a “burden,” not a personal responsibility and right. The bias toward the entitlement mentality and government control, and against achievement and success, is obvious.

Not surprisingly, then, this article, published in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, is titled New Republican plan to address Obamacare gives biggest breaks to the rich. Going on, Savant reports:

"These bills provide more opportunities for higher-income people to tax shelter but won't really make much a difference in the health care system," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health care. [sic]

I left these comments:

What, exactly, is “the health care system?”

Statists hate the idea of people keeping more of their own money, and spending it as they see fit. To these statists, “the system” has nothing to do with actual individual human beings. It has everything to do with central control and wealth redistribution.

But the “system” is people--real, live individual people, each with their own needs and values and goals. The GOP bill expands freedom of individuals to take care of themselves, expanding peoples’ ability to manage their own affairs with their own money according to their own judgement, while maximizing the most frugal uses of their money. HSAs liberate people to tailor healthcare more to their needs and values, while reducing dependence on third party payers like employers, leaving the holder’s healthcare less vulnerable to losing her job. HSAs reduce the tax discrimination against individuals and in favor of employers, thus adding more fairness.

The government shouldn’t be interfering in peoples’ health care choices at all. But as long as it does--and it does so on a massive scale--any small attempt to reduce the infringement on individuals’ rights is a welcome step.

There is plenty wrong with “the system,” such as the myriad government mandates and government-stifled competition that drive up premiums, and they should be dealt with. Those who oppose policies that expand individual freedom, such as HSAs, cannot claim to care about “the health care system.”


Such is the Leftist bias in Star-Ledger reporting. I want to make clear that I am in favor of a flat tax, with no deductions or credits that favor some but not others.

Related Reading;

No Free Market Health Reform Will "Work"—by Socialist Standards

How to End the "Hostage" Crisis

The Healthcare Alternative: Government Planning vs. Individual Planning

Friday, August 24, 2018

Climate Holy Rollers Turn to Unearned Guilt

Climate Change Catastrophism, like every religion, has its holy rollers. A New Jersey Star-Ledger op-ed by Tom Moran, With these dunes destroyed, the climate disaster gets personal, is just that--holy rollerism. To the climate holy rollers, every recurring natural event, no matter what--you name it; heat, cold, drought, heavy rains, storms of every stripe, beach erosion--has a ready explanation provided courtesy of holy rollers--climate change! “Climate Change” is to Catastrophists as “God” is to religionists--a ready "explanation" for anything they feel like.

Moran moans:

So, it broke my heart when I visited last weekend and saw the damage that climate change had done. Suddenly, the political was personal.

For decades, the gently rolling dunes behind the beach have extended for hundreds of yards, the sea grass a magical mix of greens, yellows and tans that seem to sparkle as sunset approaches. It may be the prettiest spot on the Cape, a place where my family and many others line up the kids to take photos.

I arrived last weekend and saw those magical dunes had been flattened, leaving a much narrower strip of dunes, along with lots of bare sand. Thanks to rising sea levels and a series of four tough storms in March, the ocean breached the dunes, and like a merciless thief, carried away the treasure.

Moran goes on to frame the issue of climate change--only the man-made kind--as something that is unequivocally bad that must be “fought.” That’s not new. But here, Moran introduces a new tactic: He introduces the term “personal.”

I left the following comments, edited and expanded for clarity:

For 20,000 years, people have moved or mitigated rising sea levels and other hazards like heat waves. The risks of living near oceans, and of climate generally, always existed. And if human activity is contributing to sea rise, who’s to “blame?” Do coastal dwellers/visitors use electricity? Drive a car? Consume food produced on farms? Buy products produced in factories? Access modern healthcare? Enjoy heating, cooling, and sanitation systems. Clean water on demand? If human activity is a cause, then the coastal dwellers are just as guilty as everyone else. If everyone is to blame, then no one is to blame: Global warming is simply a natural byproduct of improving human living fueled by reliable energy. Virtually every human on the planet benefits.

Where is talk of the risks of insufficient reliable energy? Or the positives of a warming climate? Or the cruel futility of forcing people into unreliable “renewables” that drive the cost of electricity up, thus living standards down? Why are catastrophists so terrified of the deep and wide case provided by opponents--the books and studies showing climate change/global warming to be mild and manageable, and humans flourishing right along with the alleged “catastrophe.” Why are they brushed off as “skeptics” and “deniers?”

Catastrophists’ dredge up anecdotes featuring real problems. But for every anecdotal problem, one can observe, all around, a long list of benefits. So their monstrous campaign against reliable energy--especially fossil fuels--is resisted in America. But the catastrophists have a new weapon. Borrowing from religion, they trot out a new gimmick--guilt. It’s “personal,” says Moran. I’m suffering, and it’s your fault, if you’re a “skeptic”--or a Republican. It’s may be sad to see dunes washed away (especially when you ignore that man has be replenishing beaches and rebuilding dunes for decades). But it’s hard to feel sympathy for other people’s problems when those people start blaming the world--and me--for their problems. I rejected Christianity because of its ideology of guilt. And I reject Environmentalism’s ideology of guilt. I reject the climate holy rollers. I reject the war on human flourishing. I reject unearned guilt for living!

Related Reading:

Climate Alarmism and the Catholic Church; Faith-Based Allies in the War on Prosperity

Pope Francis: Prosperity, Liberty, and Climate Change are the Common Enemy

Creationists and Climate Change Ideologists: Perfect Together

The Pope Adopts The Religion of Environmentalism—Michael J. Hurd

The Unholy Alliance Between the Climate Change Catastrophists and the Christian Left

Sierra Club's Jeff Tittel Smears Star-Ledger Article and its Contributors for Excluding Climate Religion from Hurricane Analysis

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

QUORA *: ‘Why do people find communism so terrifying as an idea?’

QUORA *: ‘Why do people find communism so terrifying as an idea?

I poste this answer:

Not all people find it terrifying. Only people who have some understanding of its actual nature.

Communism** is an outgrowth of collectivism. Collectivism is rooted in altruism. Altruism is the moral doctrine that the individual has no moral right to live for himself; that self-sacrificial service to others is his only moral purpose. It follows logically that altruism is the moral road that leads straight to collectivism.

Collectivism is the doctrine that the good of the group is the standard of morality. Since Communism is a political manifestation of collectivism, Communism embodies the principle that each and every member of society must live through, for the sake of, and at the expense of everyone else, not for oneself. “Society,” however, is an abstraction. Society is not a conscious entity separate from the individuals that comprise it: It is not an entity capable of acting in its own interests. Only individuals are capable of acting, and society is comprised of individuals. Yet communism claims that society has interests that supersede the interests of the individuals that comprise it. Since society cannot act on its own--that is, independent of individual thought and initiative--who, then, assumes the authority to represent society’s interests? A ruling political elite, acting through the mechanism of the state.

Since communism holds that the interests of society morally supercede the interests of the individual, the state holds full power over all individuals’ lives—their property, their goals, the proceeds of their productive work, what they may say or write, and so on—which it can dispose of for whatever it deems to be “the good of society.” Therefore, communism denies individual rights, including rights to property and free trade. The individual has no rights to his life, political liberty, earned property, or pursuit of personal happiness: He exists for the state.

Communism is a form of socialism that embodies strict economic egalitarianism. No one is permitted to be “unequal” in wealth, no matter how productive. Therefore, unlike the fascist manifestation of socialism, Communism abolishes all private property. All productive facilities—businesses, factories, patents, choice of career, etc.—get taken over, owned, and run by the state. The state collects and/or controls all of every individual’s proceeds from work, and distributes the proceeds to the population “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” In its most consistent form, the state even dictates career choices, “for the good of society.” Hope and aspiration for a better life earned by one’s own effort is thus squeezed out of every life. No one may succeed beyond anyone else.

Since few people would willingly submit to such subjugation, it follows that only a government of totalitarian powers can achieve communism. Leading communists understood this. Karl Marx understood this. One of his leading deciples, Red China’s Mao Zedong, called for communists to get control of the state for a very simple reason--its military power, the essence of political power; the power of the gun. Mao was brutally clear: “Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist . . . Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us
 that it is only by the power of the gun the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords.” Therefor, “Every Communist must grasp the truth,” declared Mao in 1938, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." [My emphasis]

The leading holder of “the power of the gun” is, obviously, a nation’s government, which holds a legal monopoly on physical force, via it law-making powers. Unlike capitalism, which arises naturally without central control when people are free under a constitutionally limited, rights-protecting government, Communism must be imposed by force from the top down. Thus, every initiative of communism begins with armed aggression by the government against its own citizens, by design. And so it went, in practice, over the past 100 years: Every country that went Communist faced the unalterable consequences of totalitarianism, looting and destruction of the nation’s most productive citizens, economic collapse and stagnation, intellectual repression, starvation, hopeless economic egalitarianism, and mass murder. Bloody, poverty ridden totalitarianism is not an aberration of communism. It is central to the ideological DNA of communism. There can realistically be no other result from a system that legally subordinates people to the moral supremacy of society, and grants government all the power it needs to enforce that creed for the alleged benefit of society. Communism grows out of the barrel of a gun.

The fear of communism is completely rational and justified. Communism is thoroughly utopian; that is, it is contrary to the requirements of human nature. Human nature requires us to be free individually to think and act on one’s own judgement in support of one’s own life. Communism forbids individuality. Communism therefore is thoroughly immoral--the self-responsible, self-supporting, peaceful individual respectful of the rights of others has no place in a Marxian communist utopia. Communism is as evil in theory as it is deadly in practice. Communism has appeal only to the lowest kind of person--the greedy, the power-luster, the envious, all united by their hatred of the self-supporting, productive person who doesn’t need to enslave others to satisfy his needs and wants, and just wants to live in peace and voluntary cooperation with his fellow men and woman.

That, in the essential, is why people fear the idea of communism. 


However, that fear won’t save America from totalitarian communism (or some other brand of socialism, such as national socialism--i.e., fascism). Why? Because communism is collectivism and collectivism is grounded in the morality of altruism. Altruism holds that the essence of moral action is self-sacrificial service to others, which leads logically to subordination to society. As long as people think altruism is good, they will be unable to resist creeping socialism leading inexorably to totalitarianism communism--the essence of which is altruism. “Communism is good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice” is not a defense against communism. People must understand that communism is brutal in practice because it is immoral and inhumane in theory.

** [I am speaking here of “modern” Communism, upper case “C”--that is, as conceived by Karl Marx. The “idea” of communism goes back at least to Plato, the original totalitarian. But it could also refer to voluntary communes. Since there is no reason to fear a voluntary commune, the question above is taken to mean totalitarian Marxian socialism, or communism.]

* [Quora is a social media website founded by two former Facebook employees. According to Wikipedia:

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010.[3]Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.[4]

You can also reply to other users’ answers.]

Related Reading:

The Roots of War—Ayn Rand

Property Rights and Title 2

The Sweet Sociability of Self-Interest—Dan Sanchez

Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle

What is Capitalism?—Ayn Rand

Nazism, Communism, Atheism, and the Enlightenment

On Marx’s 200th Birthday

Why Marxism—Evil Laid Bare--C. Bradley Thompson for The Objective Standard

China’s Recovery from Socialism vs. Bernie Sanders, The Most Evil Politician in America

Economic Inequality Complaints Are Just A Cover For Anti-Rich Prejudice—Don Watkins

Related Videos:

The saga of The Twentieth Century Motor Company in Atlas Shrugged, in which the company founder’s heirs implemented the Marxist principle, “From Each According to His Ability, to Each According to his Need.” Parts one, two, and three.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Yes, Let’s Make Science Great Again: Stop Government Funding of Science

In a June 2017 New Jersey Star Ledger Guest Column, Make science great again, Andrew Zwicker and David Hodges wrote:

Former Vice President Joe Biden often said, “Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.”

Judging by that standard, President Donald Trump recently showed us what he valued with a budget that proposed massive cuts to medical, scientific and climate change research. Whereas past presidents might favor some initiatives over others, the magnitude and breadth of the decrease in funding sent a clear message about priorities and illustrates a dismaying trend in how some Americans value the role that science plays in our democracy.

Since the time of this country’s founding, taxpayers have subsidized research and development to grow the economy, encourage innovation and increase prosperity. Although there were some people — even Thomas Jefferson — who objected, it was commonly understood that investing in research and development was a way to help the greater good. Today, however, it is harder to come to a common understanding on the greater good because there is so much disagreement on the role that science should play in public policy.

But is Biden’s standard valid? Only to a statist. From a standard of individual rights, it is not. There is no connection between valuing science and supporting government funding of science. Jefferson was right to oppose government funding. Zwicker and Hodges obviously equate respect for science with government funding of science. It’s amazing, therefor, to read this statement later in the essay:

[S]cientific results and the scientific process have never been about politics. Evidence has no association with any political party, nor does it come with a certain world view; it just is.

The authors state that “The simple fact is that too many Americans today value scientific results by how much it conforms to their pre-existing beliefs instead of adjusting their beliefs to the science.” True enough. But are politicians immune to this bias? The authors would have us believe that they are.

Government funding is by definition politicized science, precisely because politicians must approve of who gets the funding. Are we to believe that politicians will somehow avoid approving of funding to scientists who do not produce scientific conclusions based on “how much it conforms to their pre-existing beliefs instead of adjusting their beliefs to the science?” Don’t make me laugh.

Government funding manufactures scientific “consensus” that conforms to the politicians’ beliefs, and the scientists know it. They know what their future funding depends on. And since government funding carries with it the imprimatur of “official,” you end up with science as dogma. Ayn Rand called this “the establishing of an establishment”: Government funded research morphs into the standard, with non-governmental research that doesn’t conform to this standard being pushed outside the “mainstream.”

Anyone who values science as a reference from which to draw rational conclusions should demand the separation of science and state, in the same way and for the same reasons as separation of church and state.

Related Reading:

On Trump and Government Scientists

America’s ‘Science Problem,’ America’s Ideology Problem

Philosophy, Who Needs It?—Ayn Rand, Chapter 14, “The Establishing of an Establishment,” Page 162

Why I Don't Trust the "Climate Consensus"

Saturday, August 18, 2018

America: Supremacy of Government, God, or Liberty?

A video of Donald Trump made its way to me via Facebook. In this clip, Trump says, “In America, we don't worship government... WE WORSHIP GOD.”

I post this comment:

What’s the difference? America is not about authoritarianism; not socialism, not theocracy, not any kind. America stands for the primacy of individual sovereignty and liberty.

Related Reading:

Conservatives’ Christianization of Christmas and the Left’s Multiculturalism Are Both Un-American

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Freedom of Speech, Con and Pro in Letters

Following are excerpts of two letters published in the New Jersey Star-Ledger in July, 2017. Neither was posted online.

The first is titled Trump criticism should be banned [7/5/17]. First reminding us of the media “attack” on Sarah Palin, David F. Lipton writes:

Well, I think the attack on Palin was “gentle” compared with the hate-filled, vicious, nasty, never-ending attack by the media and Democrats on Donald Trump as candidate and president.

It is time for new constitutional statutes, and new case law to unfold, to redefine “freedom of the press” and possibly “freedom of speech” if what we read and hear (nasty and untrue) is “legal” under our present statutes.

In Letter subverts our free speech and press [7/7/17], Paula Zevin responds:

May I suggest to reader David F. Lipton of Toms River to open his eyes and really take a look and listen around him (“Trump criticism should be banned,” letter to the editor, July 5)?

A free and strong press is vital to our democracy, and the Founding Fathers knew that in the 18th century. That is why The Star-Ledger publishes reader letters such as his.

[I]f he wants only “nice” things to be said about those in power, . . . he can move to Russia or North Korea, where you can say only “nice” things about the leaders.

I will take the give-and-take of our own press from both sides and defend the precious freedoms of speech and of the press as we have them today. They need no “repeal and replace.”

Amen, Paula!

Related Reading:

The First Amendment

J.K. Rowling Laudably Defends Free Speech On Principle

Anti-Free Speech, from All Sides

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

‘Dark Money’ is Free Speech. Protect It

The New Jersey Star-Ledger is at it again, railing against “dark money” in politics. In It's not just Putin. Trump protects all dark money meddlers, the Star-Ledger mixes apples and oranges--that is, legitimate law enforcement with innocent private individuals and groups, taking its obligatory swipe at the pro-freedom Koch brothers. As one reads the editorial, you can see the gradual turn from clearly illegal activities like Putin’s election meddling to going after innocent American citizens. “Trump is likely doing this because conservative heavy hitters like the Koch brothers fought for it,” the Star-Ledger rants. “They want to keep their dark money donors secret.” It doesn't mention that the Koch brothers are regularly harassed with death threats--a good reason for donors to want to remain free from "public disclosure."

I left these comments:

“Dark Money” is the language of dictators who want to silence the free speech of private citizens. Another word for “dark” is anonymous. Given the inextricable link between spending and speech, anonymous spending equals anonymous expression. Anonymous expression is a right that should be protected. Political anonymity has been used throughout history by free speakers to avoid harassment and intimidation by both governments, political opponents, and private thugs. It was used by Revolutionary advocates of freedom and independence to shield them from British reprisals. It was used by 20th Century black Civil Rights advocates to shield them from white racist lynch mobs.

Aside from protection, some people might want to head off ad hominem attacks so their ideas can be debated on the merits.

In cases of actually illegal activity, such as foreign government interference in American elections, that should be treated like any other crime. Investigators seeking disclosure from private political action groups should need a subpoena based on evidence and probable cause. Otherwise, no forced disclosure of political donors.

Monetary expenditure is intricate to free speech. Rights to anonymity is crucial to spending on free expression. Free expression is crucial to intellectual freedom of the individual as well as public debate during election seasons or regarding law and policies. After all, what is the “democratic process” but free and open debate for the purpose of persuading and influencing? Those who throw around terms like “dark money” are up to no good.They are attacking freedom of speech. Unless a crime is committed, keeping one’s political donations large or small private from both public and government is a fundamental right that should be protected by government.

Related Reading:

The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech--by Kimberley Strassel, especially Chapter 2, “Publius & Co.”

The Anti-Free Speech Fallacy of ‘Dark Money’

Making Private Donations Anonymously is a Right

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Don’t Force Anybody to Finance NJ's 'Fight on Climate.' Just End It

In How N.J. forces the poor to finance the fight on climate, Tom Moran writes for the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

In Newark's South Ward, friends and family gathered at their church Wednesday morning to say good-bye to Linda Daniels, a 68-year-old matriarch who died gasping for breath on a hot afternoon, a few hours after PSE&G cut off her electricity, causing her oxygen machine to sputter to a halt.

That was no act of God. Electricity rates in New Jersey are among the highest in the country, and one reason is that we lard electric bills with added charges, mostly because raising taxes is a steeper climb, politically, than raising fees.

New Jersey is spending more than $1 billion a year to fight climate change, all financed through regressive electricity bills. Before long, the number could easily reach $2 billion.

So, after this awful death of this good woman, it's time to take a second look at that. Fighting climate change is imperative. But putting such a heavy cost on the shoulders of people like Linda Daniels is just wrong.

But, observes Moran in a fit of honesty, “this is no right-wing conspiracy against the poor. In New Jersey, at least, it's coming from the left.” Moran concludes:

But no one is talking yet about the need for a fundamental change in how we finance the fight against climate change. Perhaps if Daniels' death sparks that conversation, it will offer some small solace for this tragedy.

I left these comments:

“But no one is talking yet about the need for a fundamental change in how we finance the fight against climate change.”

This is a sneaky attempt to frame the debate. I’m not biting. But I am talking.

The problem is not “how we finance the fight against climate change.” The problem is the fight, which is really a fight against reliable, affordable energy. No one should be forced to pay that political bill. Eliminate that $1 - 2 billion in state expenditures—along with the “renewable energy” subsidies, Clean Energy Fund, and associated taxes and electric bill fees—and get the state out of the fight against climate change. Then let each household and business decide for themselves whether they want to “fight climate change.” If someone wants to, they can foot the full bill for their solar panels or windmills or whatever themselves: They will not be stopped. But neither will anyone be forced to pay.


It’s encouraging to see the price of renewable energy--unaffordable electric bills--come to the fore. Sadly, it took a tragedy to accomplish that. And it was entirely unnecessary. The cost of “fighting climate change” has been shown in practice. As Alex Epstein observed in testimony before Congress, Germany has gone down the road to a “green energy revolution” and its consumers have paid dearly, to the tune of electric bills 3-4 times higher than Americans pay. And despite all of that economic pain, Germany has had to turn back to coal to keep the electrons flowing.

Related Reading:

The Obama-Clinton One-Two Blackout--Alex Epstein

"Clean" Energy Subsidies vs. Oil Industry "Subsidies"

End All Corporate

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Essential Anti-Human Soul of Environmentalism

An aging, obsolete hydroelectric dam in Warren County, New Jersey, is scheduled to be demolished, Steve Novak reports for Normally, this wouldn’t be news. But here in NJ, Environmentalists are celebrating the destruction of the dam--not because it will be replaced with some superior electric generating station, but because the stream and surrounding area will be returned to its “natural” state.

None other than NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe was there, saying

"I want to thank Mother Nature ... for the 109-year loan" of the Paulins Kill for hydroelectric power, DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe said. "And now, Mother Nature," she continued, holding a prop sledge hammer aloft, "you can have it back."

I left this comment:

Notice what’s missing from “Mother Nature”--man, and his survival needs. We are just “borrowers”; she’s being polite. She means hijackers.

To an Environmentalist, nature is a supreme benevolent consciousness that encompasses everything but man, who is a destructive, unnatural intruder. Why isn’t that dam considered “natural?” Because man built it to serve his survival and flourishing. If a beaver builds a dam, it is “natural.” But not man.

Nature is not a consciousness-- a “Mother.” That is superstition. Nature is impersonal existence, along with everything in it, including man. But nature doesn’t provide for man’s needs, as it does other species. Nature gives man a dangerous environment, albeit one filled with raw materials. Unaltered nature is wholesale death for man. But unlike other species, nature gives man a reasoning mind. To live and thrive, man must use his intelligence to transform raw nature to suit his needs, such as build dams.

I have no problem with dismantling an obsolete industrial project. I do have a problem with Environmentalism because its ideal environment does not include man--intelligent, creative, flourishing, nature-improving man. Environmentalism recognizes every species’ right to its means of survival as “natural.” But not man’s means, which is reason and productive work and harnessing nature. Man only “borrows”--at best. The statement by McCabe exposes the underlying anti-humanist soul of the Environmentalist Movement--the primitive-like valuing of “Mother Nature” over human life.

Related Reading:

Human Energy Needs vs. 'Mother Earth'

How Earth Day Anti-Industrialists Hijack ‘Science’ to Deny Humans the Benefits of Science

“Not-so-Sane” Environmentalists are Perfectly Sane--and Anti-Humanist

Trump Could Give Us a Welcome Respite from Environmentalist Political Domination

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Banning of Alex Jones: Facebook Choice or Regulatory Extortion?

Facebook banned Alex Jones from its platform for posting “hate speech” and “bullying.” The Associated Press reports:

Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech following protests on social media.

Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his “Infowars” show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. Over the past several days, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have also removed material published by Jones. Twitter, which hasn’t banned Jones, has also faced similar calls.

The question is, are these companies truly doing this on their own, as a matter of principle, business policy, or market pressure? Or are they being coerced by political threats of regulation?

If the first, then it is their right, even if dumb. And it is dumb, if done on principle. You can’t defeat ideas you consider bad except by exposure by letting those holding those views express themselves. They can only be defeated by intellectually discrediting, and then by countering with a better viewpoint. What better place to expose and open to refutation bad ideas than on social media? They, after all, the media, not Starbucks. Prohibition does not work. It didn’t work with alcohol. It doesn’t work with the “War on Drugs.” And it won’t and never has worked with ideas. Truth-seeking is about exposing and debating, not burying and retreating into an “echo chamber.” This view gets support from a surprising source, Former President Barack Obama. Obama said it is wrong to silence “people who are different than us.” We should instead listen to them “because we should try to understand their point of view. Maybe we can change their minds, maybe they'll change ours. You can't do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponent has to say from the start.”

The effect of the ban is actually to have the opposite effect: to elevate what is said in importance. Bans only make martyrs of the silenced, drawing more attention to them and widening their reach. It’s interesting that until I read about Facebook’s ban of Alex Jones, I had never heard of Alex Jones. Now, I’m investigating his views to see what the hoopla is all about, so I can judge for myself. News of Facebook’s ban is actually helping to expose more people to Jone’s ideas, even as it makes them less exposed. Censorship doesn’t do anything but drive ideas underground, where they continue to spread but with much less public scrutiny. And by cutting Jones out of Facebook, Facebook is denying intelligent opponents the chance to use their own free speech to challenge and refute the ideas--all for the sake of people who lack the courage or ability to fight back on the “battleground” of ideas.

If the second, it gets much worse: We’re dealing with outright government censorship. The First Amendment protects the likes of private entities like Facebook to ban points of view it doesn't approve of. The First Amendment doesn’t give us the “right” to broadcast at others’ expense. It does protect us from forcible government censorship or jailing for speaking our minds. But what if politics intersects with the private sector? Politicians have been threatening these companies, saying “Either you control your content, or we will.” Jesse Walker for Reason looks back at the McCarthy era of Communist blacklisting by targeting Hollywood, and draws parallels to today:

In the Trump era, the target of choice for people worried about foreign subversion—and other disfavored speech, from "fake news" to sex ads—is social media. "You created these platforms, and now they're being misused," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) told representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter during last year's hearings on Russian activities during the 2016 election. "And you have to be the ones who do something about it—or we will."

As tech companies create ever-more-intrusive rules about what can and can't be said using their products, threats like Feinstein's clearly play a substantial role in their decision making. [My emphasis]

Whether through direct regulation, or the back door of threats of regulation, we’re dealing with another assault on free speech and press, in direct violation of the inalienable individual right to intellectual freedom and expression and conscientious objection as explicitly guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Facebook and the other companies appear to be caving in to political pressure. If so, they are aiding and abetting the advance of dictatorship in America. Aspiring dictators need to suppress dissent and control the intellectual narrative. They have found a powerful weapon in the internet and social media companies. First, they tried to control the internet through “net neutrality” regulatory control of internet service providers (stymied by Trump, for now). The logical next step is to control the internet content providers. The statists, mostly on the Left, must be exposed. It is these statists, not the Alex Jones of the world, who are the real threat. They must be stopped. As Walker implores:

Anyone who cares about free expression should object to censorship by proxy, both as it manifested itself in the early days of the Cold War and as it threatens to re-emerge in social media today.

Related Reading:

The Life and Death of a Hollywood Blacklist: Sometimes censorship is a public-private partnership, by Jesse Walker for Reason.

Monday, August 6, 2018

To 'Stop Gun Violence,' Stop Free Speech, Leftist Says

Left statists are ever looking for rationalizations to assault free speech rights. The latest salvo comes from Alan L. Moss, “former wage-hour chief economist and congressional fellow to the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey,” a “liberal” Democrat. In a New Jersey Star-Ledger guest column, Moss asserts that in order To stop gun violence, we must revamp 2nd Amendment, remove big money from federal elections: i.e., go after the First Amendment:

Attempts to limit campaign contributions that give the gun lobby (and others) the ammunition to win political support also have been decimated by the Supreme Court (Buckley v. Valeo, 1976). In that and later decisions, it found that campaign-expenditure limits contravene the First Amendment provision on freedom of speech; corporations were given the go-ahead to spend from their general treasuries to influence ballot initiatives; and aggregate limits on political giving by an individual to candidates, political action committees and party committees combined were found to be unconstitutional. These decisions have opened the floodgates to bribery through campaign donation. [My Emphasis.]

To counter this freedom, Moss calls for a constitutional amendment, jumping on the Article 5 bandwagon—”a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution -- called for by two-thirds (currently 34) of the state legislatures” * :

[A]a new amendment must be fashioned to relieve federal political candidates of the burden to raise campaign funds. Formulas should be developed to estimate reasonable funding requirements for those who represent a minimum of voter potential either through party acceptance or other proof of popular support. Under this system, the federal allocation of campaign funds would be the only financial resources devoted to election expenditures. [My Emphasis.]

Moss would go way beyond placing limits on campaign funding, which we already have. He would outright ban them. More ominously, we see that Moss is not just talking about direct contributions to political candidates. He proposes to ban campaign spending “to influence ballot initiatives.” Though he refers specifically to corporate spending, where does one draw the line? Indeed, Moss doesn’t. He seeks to ban all private election spending, including for issue advocacy: “the federal allocation of campaign funds would be the only financial resources devoted to election expenditures.” That sweeping statement is crystal clear: Only government can engage in election spending. We the People are cut out of the loop.

I left these comments:

The right to political advocacy at one’s own expense, either individually or in association with others--to express oneself; to persuade and influence; to support political candidates of one’s choice--is fundamental to freedom. Likewise candidates’ freedom to seek funding, privately and voluntarily, from willing donors.

Moss would throw all this freedom out. He says private campaign funding is “bribery through campaign donation.” But in fact forcing private citizens to fund political candidates and ideas through their taxes whether they agree or not is criminal. It puts government officials in charge of deciding who gets to run for office and who doesn’t. Note Moss’s moral inversion: Private voluntary political advocacy is “corruption”: Government control of the electoral process is “the will of the people.”

Moss’s motive, echoing the Left, is to silence dissent, as all aspiring to dictatorship must. Advocating the “wrong” ideas; successfully persuading voters of the “wrong” ideas; who then vote for the “wrong” candidates; who then vote for the “wrong” policies and laws: Subversive ideas cannot be permitted. So criminalize basic freedom of speech.

Don’t be suckered by the “big money” ploy. Those with the resources to reach a mass audience express not only themselves; they give voice to the millions who agree but lack the resources. Ban “big money”, and you silence millions of average voters. Of course, that’s the point--too many average people vote the “wrong” way.

Private financing of political expression and campaigns is the governed's best way of keeping the political class accountable. Exploiting “gun violence,” Moss would strip the people of those basic individual rights by outlawing free speech in federal elections, an ominous portent for America.


Moss goes well beyond even the proposed First Amendment-eroding Democracy for All Amendment. That would constitutionally empower “Congress and the States [to] regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” 

That’s bad enough (see links below). Moss would outright ban private initiatives “to influence elections.” Moss would leave no discretion to elected legislatures, and thus future voters. What will be left of the electoral process--of free elections? What will be left of our Constitutionally Limited Republic? The Left gets more brazen in its drive to end free speech every year. They must be stopped.


* [Calls for an Article 5 convention of the states are coming from both the “Progressive” Left and Conservative Right **. See, for example, Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments. As Moss’s article demonstrates, this could be a dangerous road for liberty lovers.]

** [As opposed to the Liberal Right. See Craig Biddle, Principles of the Liberal Right.]

Related Reading:

Democracy for All Amendment: The Battle for Free Speech Reaches the Constitutional Pinnacle

Democracy for All: The "Drown Out the Voice of Average Americans" Amendment

Democracy for All Amendment: Proponents Don't Even Believe Their Own "Drown Out" Hype

Anti-First Amendment Democracy for All Amendment Introduced in Senate

Hillary's Pledge to Overturn the First Amendment—and Why it Should Be Defeated

Obama Urges Amendment to Overturn the First Amendment

Saturday, August 4, 2018

'Social Justice' Collectivism in American School and Culture

A For the New Intellectuals post by Anoop Verma:

“You’ll sit enthroned and enshrined, you, the little people, the absolute ruler to make all past rulers squirm with envy, the absolute, the unlimited, God and Prophet and King combined. Vox populi. The average, the common, the general. Do you know the proper antonym for Ego? Bromide, Peter. The rule of the bromide. But even the trite has to be originated by someone at some time. We’ll do the originating. Vox dei. We’ll enjoy unlimited submission—from men who’ve learned nothing except to submit. We’ll call it ‘to serve.’ We’ll give out medals for service. You’ll fall over one another in a scramble to see who can submit better and more. There will be no other distinction to seek.”

~ Ellsworth Toohey, whose life is devoted to creating a collectivist society, addressing one of his victims, Peter Keating (from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead)

A recent family encounter immediately came to mind. I left these comments:

During a recent family picnic, I sat (suffered) through a recording of my brother-in-law’s commencement address to the 2018 graduating class of the Rhode Island high school he principals. His speech lauded the students who “studied” “social justice,” “sustainability,” and “renewable energy.” On individual “achievement,” he reserved his highest praise for a student who logged 3000 hours—that equates to 1-1/2 years of full time work @ 40 hours a week—in “community service.” (That’s no misprint. 3000 hours in 4 years.) That was the only part of the speech that was interrupted by cheers from the audience! The speech was generally classic Left collectivism. My brother-in-law was quite proud of it.

Ellsworth Toohey is alive and well.

I often hear about indoctrination in America's schools. I get anecdotal evidence from time to time; in an article, a conversation with a friend or teacher, something one of my grandchildren say. But my brother-in-law’s speech is “straight from the horse’s mouth” evidence of systematic collectivist/Leftist indoctrination. I want to focus on so-called “social justice.”

“Social justice” is collectivism and is particularly insidious and evil. “Social justice” holds that only groups based on some common characteristic—race, gender, sezual orientation, national origing, the catogories keep expanding—count, with each member judged according to average group statistical outcomes current or historical, and then assigned victim or oppressor status according to his group regardless of his individual choices, character, or circumstances. The goal is to equalize outcomes through economic redistribution and regulation, taking from “oppressor” groups and giving to “victim” groups. It’s always about the group, not the guilt, innocence, actions, or actual injustice or victimization of individual people.

Real justice applies only to the human entity that actually exists--the individual. But the individual doesn’t matter to “social justice.” He is an inconsequential cog in a group machine. It doesn’t matter whether the success you achieved was earned or not, whether you were lazy or ambitious. It doesn’t matter whether you are racist or not, or whether you were ever a victim of racism or not. In the case of actual oppression, such as against blacks in earlier America, it’s not enough to correct the injustices (such as repeal of Jim Crow Laws). You are what your group is deemed, victim or oppressor, in perpetuity, until the “injustice”—including past injustices that you had nothing to do with—has been “corrected” (reversed, actually) or until average equal outcomes are realized—the equality imposed by government policy; i.e., by force. It’s the collectivist mindset that leads straight to massive injustice, including genocide.

I’ll give you another personal example of the “social justice” mindset, this time relating to a specific event.

My wife was explaining to a leftist friend about how unfair it is that our daughter must pay school taxes even though she homeschools her four children. Our friend’s retort? “She’s lucky she can do it. But I believe we have a moral responsibility to those less fortunate.” Does it matter that our daughter is a victim of injustice perpetrated against her by her own government? Doesn’t that qualify as “less fortunate?” No. Because she’s “lucky”--that is, capable and willing to make the extraordinary effort to take on the responsibility of educating her own kids. Who are these “less fortunate” others? Who knows. Who cares whether their “less fortunate” status is due to bad circumstances beyond their control, their choice to send their kids to public school, or lazyness, or incompetence, or just lack of interest in their kids’ education.

Who cares even who they are? To the collectivist, it’s all about some abstract grouping, not real people with real circumstances. Our daughter is a real victim of a real injustice, yet “thrown under the bus” for an abstraction, “those less fortunate.” Collectivism is a moral escape hatch--an end run around an actual moral judgement. It’s merely an individual. How does a mere individual compare to the “greater good” of taking care of the “less fortunate?”

“The rule of the bromide.”

“Social justice” is anti-justice. Social justice in fact makes real justice impossible, because it shifts the focus away from real, actual, living, breathing, thinking human beings. It’s a repudiation of the dignity and autonomy of the individual. “Social justice,” like all forms of collectivism, is a moral escape hatch--an escape from having to treat people fairly. The ultimate goal of the Social Justice movement is, of course, socialism—the social system of greed, powerlust, envy, and hatred of and desire to destroy success and achievement. This is really what the school indoctrination is all about--to condition the young to reject individualism and accept the basic premise of collectivism, thus paving the road, a back road, to a socialist America.

Related Reading:

Collectivism Generates Irrational Hatred

The idea of ‘Protected Classes’ Does not Advance Individual Liberty

Collectivized 'Rights' versus Individual Rights—Ayn Rand

Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle

Related Viewing:

How Social Justice Warriors Rationalise Their Hatred For Life & Humanity—Yaron Brook

Prager U. VIDEO: What is Intersectionality?—Ben Shapiro

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Some Relief, and Fairness, to For-Profit Colleges, Thanks to DeVos

The Obama Administration, true to its statist, Leftist agenda, spend years waging an assault on private sector colleges and universities. The Trump Education Department, under the leadership of Betsy DeVos, is taking a different approach, giving some relief to these schools.

In If Betsy DeVos and her unscrupulous profiteers won't do their jobs, N.J. will, the New Jersey Star-Ledger attacked Betsy DeVos for rolling back the Obama-era assault on private, especially for-profit colleges. The Star-Ledger wrote:

For-profits aren't the ones lending students money, so don't care if they can't pay back it back. They encourage people in dire straits to take out as much financial aid as possible. Then they suck up this federal loan money like sponges, leaving veterans, single parents and others who live paycheck-to-paycheck with huge debts and no degrees.

I left these comments:

All colleges “suck up” federal loan money. Why single out for-profits? The problem of the disconnect between too-high student loan debt relative to career earning potential cuts across all higher education—including public colleges, which have ridden the government’s student loan gravy train to tuition increases four times the rate of inflation over the last several decades. Anyway, education producers, private or public, should be no more responsible for students who overpay than other businesses are for someone overpaying for cars, vacations, or anything else. Don’t the consumers of education have any responsibility for controlling their spending?

For-profit colleges sell education, like all colleges. They cater mostly to mature working poor and middle class students who are trying to improve their skills through education while juggling jobs, families, and other adult responsibilities. These schools largely succeed despite unfair competition from public colleges, which have the benefit of taxpayer subsidies that enable them to keep tuitions artificially low. True, there are some unscrupulous actors, as in every field. But the Left, due to its irrational hatred of profit-seeking and private enterprise, is waging a war against private colleges, hoping eventually to eliminate them and gain increasing government control over higher education. Kudos to DeVos for rolling back the Left’s discriminatory assault on private colleges.

The government should not be involved in lending money to students at all. But so long as it is, and so long as it regulates these loans, it is morally obligated—and should be legally obligated—to treat all students and all educational institutions equally under the law.

Related Reading:

The Government’s Assault on Private-Sector Colleges and Universities

The Government’s Renewed Assault on Private-Sector Colleges.

Stamato's For-Profit College Hatchet Job

Obama’s “Free” Community College Scheme