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Just Released: The Merchant of Mars: A Novella by Ron Pisaturo

The head of NASA convinces the President that space exploration should be done by private industry, and the United States government declares, “The first person to land on Mars, live there a year, and return alive owns the whole Red Planet.” Capitalists compete to win the greatest race in history. Environmentalists plot to make them all fail.

That is the premise of Ron Pisaturo’s novella, The Merchant of Mars, now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook. That premise draws on a political idea by Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger.

Author Pisaturo says about his story:

The story’s heroes are greedy capitalists who want to exploit Mars, and the villains are environmentalist progressives who want to ‘save’ the planet—Mars, that is. The story illustrates that there is virtually no limit to what capitalists can achieve when the government recognizes and protects property rights.

The pro-capitalist perspective of the story flows naturally from deeper elements. The good guys drive the action. They don’t merely react to the diabolical plans of an evil mastermind. It is the heroes who are the masterminds, the ones with gigantic plans, the ones who build great and powerful machines; and it is the villains who react by trying to destroy those machines.

The heroes are not grim loners who reluctantly become heroes only after their loved ones have been killed by the arch-villain and his all-powerful organization. The heroes don’t wait for bad things to happen. They make good things happen. The heroes are already-successful and happy individuals who risk everything—their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor—to achieve something beyond the dreams of others. Their conflicts are great because they have a lot to lose and a lot to gain, and they and their loved ones face all-or-nothing, life-and-death choices throughout their journey.

It’s not easy to build a business. Many people in today’s society think that only society as a whole can do it. This story shows individuals doing it. They have to raise money, make payroll, meet deadlines, mortgage their personal property, lay off employees, fight regulations and government-subsidized competitors, turn down government subsidies that come with strings, drive competitors they admire and love out of business, or lose everything.

The novella can be read in one sitting.

UPDATE: You can read an excerpt at The New Romanticist.

Progress in the global war on poverty

Progress in the global war on poverty – CSMonitor.com

Global poverty has fallen faster during the past 20 years than at any time in history. Around the world hunger, child death, and disease rates have all plummeted. More girls are getting into school. In fact, never before have so many people, in so many poor countries, made so much progress in reducing poverty, increasing incomes, improving health, reducing conflict and war, and spreading democracy.

Some of these gains – especially the declines in poverty and child mortality – rank among the greatest achievements in history. Yet few people are aware that they are even happening. Most people believe that, apart from a few special cases such as China and India, developing countries by and large remain hopelessly mired in poverty, stagnation, and dictatorship. Yet the reality is quite different: A major transformation is quietly under way, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people in nearly every corner of the world.

[…]

What sparked these changes? […] First, the end of the cold war, the demise of communism, and the collapse of the Soviet Union dramatically improved the global environment for sustained and peaceful development. The United States and the Soviet Union stopped propping up some of the world’s nastiest dictators. Proxy wars and political violence associated with the cold war came to an end in Central America, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and elsewhere. Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia gained their freedom. Perhaps most powerfully, economic and political ideologies shifted substantially. Communism and strong state control lost credibility. A new consensus began to form around more market-based economic systems and – at least in many countries – more accountable and democratic governance, along with greater respect for basic freedoms and rights. Developing countries around the world introduced major economic and political reforms and began to build institutions more conducive to growth and social progress.

Second, globalization and international access to new technologies brought more trade and finance and a far greater exchange of ideas and information. Exports from developing countries are five times as large today as they were just 20 years ago, and financial flows are 12 times as large, creating many more economic opportunities. With deeper global integration came technologies that spurred progress: vaccines, medicines, new seed varieties, mobile phones, the Internet, and faster and cheaper air travel. To be sure, globalization has brought challenges, risks, and volatility, not least the 2007 food and 2008 financial crises. [These in fact were caused by government policy.–Ed.] But it has also brought investment, jobs, ideas, and markets, all of which stimulated progress. 

Third, while global changes mattered, the countries that began to move forward did so primarily because of strong leadership and courageous actions by the people in those countries themselves. Where new leaders at all levels of society stepped forward to forge change, progress ensued; where old dictators stayed in place, or new tyrants stepped in to replace the old, political and economic systems remained rigged. ….

Affirmative Action For Movie Casting?

Star-Trek-Into-Darkness-Benedict-Cumberbatch

Movies should cast the best actor for the part — whatever their race or gender. Sadly many viewers are race-conscious rather than race-blind.

Quoting Opinion: A look at Whitewashing and Ethnicity Swapping in Television and Movies

Diversity is important for movies. The whole world watches Hollywood movies, and our films should include a great variety of talented actors, regardless of race or gender. Traditionally, American television and movies have been less than stellar at casting people of color or women for parts that could be portrayed by any ethnicity or gender. The raunchy comedy South Park, even shamelessly goes after this trend in television and movies by having one African American character who is named “Token”.

[…]

If a new movie is released and it isn’t based on older movies, or history, then Hollywood should strive to bring more diversity to their cast. For example, take a science fiction movie like Edge of Tomorrow. The film takes place in the future and involves battles between humans and aliens. Hollywood can and should cast a diverse team for these original movies, as it’s new territory not built on past franchises.

The real diversity that matters — whether in schools, work, sports, or movies — is intellectual (performance), not racial.

How IP-Fueled Innovations in Biotechnology Have Led to the Gene Revolution

On November 30, 2015, the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property released a new issue paper, The Gene Revolution, by Amanda Maxham, a research associate and writer at the Ayn Rand Institute.

Dr. Maxham explores how innovations in biotechnology, enabled by the intellectual property rights that protect them, have led to the “Gene Revolution,” where scientists use genetic engineering to dramatically improve human life. In order to combat widespread misinformation about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), she traces mankind’s long history of improving plants, animals, and microorganisms to better serve our needs.

In particular, Dr. Maxham looks at twenty-nine different GMOs, including insulin, flu vaccines, cheese-making enzymes, apples, cotton seeds, and pet fish, as examples of the endless possibilities the “Gene Revolution” holds for the betterment of humanity–if we can overcome the groundless mistrust and strive to protect the future of scientific innovation.

Watkins on Thomas Piketty’s The Economics of Inequality

Brilliant analysis by ARI’s Don Watkins on Thomas Piketty’s The Economics of Inequality. Here are some notable gems:

Why should we care about inequality in the first place? Economic inequality, after all, can result from the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer…but also from everyone getting richer, some more rapidly and others less. Indeed, the story of capitalism is of steady and, over time, dramatic improvements in living standards. Economic inequality in capitalistic societies refers not to absolute deprivation, of which there is less than ever in human history, but to relative deprivation, whose odiousness is not self-evident.

[…]

To earn something, however, doesn’t mean that factors outside your control played absolutely no role in the outcome. When we say that someone has earned something, we aren’t distinguishing people who chose their parents or place of birth from those who didn’t. Rather, we’re acknowledging that the knowledge, skills, or expertise that makes one person’s work more economically valuable required effort, ambition, and initiative, whatever one’s natural talents or social background. If you attained your wealth as a result of non-fraudulent, non-coercive exchanges with employers or customers, then you earned it—and it’s wrong for the government to seize it on the theory that it would be nicer if someone else had it rather than you.

[…]

[Piketty’s] egalitarian project rests on the premise that the actual possession of wealth and the moral right to it are inversely related. This dogmatic indifference to the processes whereby wealth is created and acquired, and the habits and dispositions that have proven conducive to individual prosperity, as opposed to the habits and dispositions that reliably result in poverty, means that advocates of “social justice” like Piketty are devoted to perpetrating a profound injustice. [Piketty’s Unaswered Question]

 

Thompson on The Confederate Flag and Government Buildings

pinion: What’s in a flag– reflections on race in South Carolina – HS Insider quotes Professor C. Bradley Thompson, Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism:

“I think it’s entirely appropriate for the state government to take down the Confederate Flag from government buildings,” Thompson said. “I don’t see what relevance it has to be flown on any government building, and given its history, I think there’s very good reason to not want to fly it. That said, I do know that a lot of South Carolinians, white and black, have a great affection for the Confederate Flag and, for them, it has nothing to do with what it’s often portrayed as representing. So there’s a culture clash, I think, between those who still want to be able to fly it either privately or on war memorials and those don’t.” “I think the very best thing that has come out of this controversy is a conversation about the meaning of that flag. I think that’s an important conversation to have and I don’t think it’s one that people have had for a very long time.”

Andrew Bernstein at Objectivist Summer Conference 2015

I am giving 2 lectures at Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 this summer in Charlotte, North Carolina! The conference runs from July 4 through July 9.

One is on “Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs Under Capitalism,” describing the achievements of such producers and great minds as Madame CJ Walker, George Washington Carver, Elijah McCoy, and numerous others. That innovative black American thinkers and entrepreneurs flourished during the freest part of America’s economic history is a little known aspect of our heritage. This talk is a step toward remediating that failing.

My other talk is on “Objectivism Versus Kantianism in The Fountainhead,” showing that the philosophy of Kant permeates and motivates, in differing forms, every villain and foil in the story–Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, Lois Cook, et. al.–while the story’s hero, Howard Roark, is an embodiment of every principle of Rand’s philosophy. Rand versus Kant is not merely the essence of “The Fountainhead”–the 2nd greatest novel ever written–but is the essence of the contemporary struggle for reason and individual rights.

These will be outstanding lectures at a great conference.

Do not miss it. http://www.objectivistconferences.com/

Judicial Watch Accuses Obama Administration of Misleading Court on Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

[Press] Judicial Watch accused the Obama administration of stalling and withholding information from a federal court in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top aide’s emails.  Last week, Judicial Watch attorneys sought a status conference over the issue of the Hillary Clinton’s and other secret email accounts in order to “avoid further undue delays, prejudice and potential spoliation.” In response, the Justice Department, on behalf of the State Department, told the federal court handling the matter (U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth) that there was no need for a hearing until at least late April and that, contrary to statements by Mrs. Clinton and various administration spokesmen, it was not aware of the secret email issue until recently.  In its response (Reply in Support of a Motion for a Status Conference), Judicial Watch cited Mrs. Clinton’s press statement:

Secretary Clinton was the head of the agency and the State Department cannot claim it was unaware of the State Department’s failure to records-manage agency emails from the Office of the Secretary. In fact, the “Statement from the Office of Former Secretary Clinton” states that “[h]er usage [of non-“state.gov” email for State Department business] was widely known to the over 100 Department and U.S. government colleagues she emailed.”

Judicial Watch also accused the Obama administration of continuing to thwart the FOIA:

The State Department has yet to demonstrate how it is satisfying its obligations under FOIA in light of recent revelations that Secretary Clinton’s emails were not being properly managed, retained and produced. This also applies to emails received or sent by other officials or employees within the Secretary’s office to conduct government business who used non-“state.gov” email addresses. To determine the adequacy of the State Department’s search, both Judicial Watch and the Court should be informed by the Department directly of the details surrounding the retention of agency emails within the Office of the Secretary and the extent of the Department’s ability to search, request and retrieve those records …

Had Judicial Watch not challenged the State Department’s search, this case would most likely have been dismissed before any public revelations were made about the unlawful arrangement relating to the State Department’s handling of agency emails during Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department …

[T]he State Department has still not responded to Judicial Watch’s request to confirm whether its supplemental search includes all non-“state.gov” email addresses used by other officials or employees within the Secretary’s office for government business …

To the extent that Secretary Clinton used her non-“state.gov” email address to communicate with State Department employees outside her office who used “state.gov” email addresses, the State Department would also have to conduct agency wide searches to respond properly to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Judicial Watch also is concerned that documents might be lost because of the State Department’s misconduct:

Time is of the essence in this case. The statement by former Secretary Clinton during a press conference that she did not preserve approximately 30,000 emails she sent or received through her non-“state.gov” email address she used exclusively to conduct government business is a matter of public record – not [as the State Department alleged] “conjecture.” Only last week, the State Department publically disclosed that it was unable to automatically archive the emails of most of its senior officials until last month. This is also a matter of public record – not conjecture. The State Department has still not informed the Court or Judicial Watch whether it has undertaken any efforts to retrieve agency emails from non-“state.gov” email addresses used by other officials or employees within the Office of the Secretary during the relevant time period or from other employees within the agency. The State Department needs to request these agency records immediately in light of the Department’s history of poor records-management and preservation of agency records.

Judicial Watch also shoots down the contention that Hillary Clinton’s alleged removal of the records would prevent them from being subject to FOIA.  There is no precedent for the head of an agency “purposefully rout[ing] a document out of agency possession in order to circumvent a FOIA request.”  In fact, there is precedent for a court allowing discovery into the circumventing of FOIA, as happened in Judicial Watch’s historic FOIA lawsuit against the Clinton Commerce Department.  In that case, Judge Lamberth “already found that discovery was appropriate where it was ‘designed to explore the extent to which [the Department of Commerce (“DOC”)]…illegally destroyed and discarded responsive information, and possible methods for recovering whatever responsive information still exists outside of the DOC’s possession.’”

“The Obama administration’s fraud, misconduct and misrepresentation on the Hillary Clinton email scandal continues in federal court,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.  “Our independent litigation exposed the email scandal and just forced, for the first time, the Obama administration to admit accountability for at least some of the records Hillary Clinton concealed from the American people.”

Climate Has Been Changing Since The Earth Was Formed

From Richard S. Lindzen: The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics – WSJ:

Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

As to the science itself, it’s worth noting that all predictions of warming since the onset of the last warming episode of 1978-98—which is the only period that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to attribute to carbon-dioxide emissions—have greatly exceeded what has been observed. These observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In addition, there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models. There also is observational evidence from several independent studies that the so-called “water vapor feedback,” essential to amplifying the relatively weak impact of carbon dioxide alone on Earth temperatures, is canceled by cloud processes.

There are also claims that extreme weather—hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, you name it—may be due to global warming. The data show no increase in the number or intensity of such events. The IPCC itself acknowledges [1]the lack of any evident relation between extreme weather and climate, though allowing that with sufficient effort some relation might be uncovered.

World leaders proclaim that climate change is our greatest problem, demonizing carbon dioxide. Yet atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been vastly higher through most of Earth’s history. Climates both warmer and colder than the present have coexisted with these higher levels.

Currently elevated levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to increases in agricultural productivity. Indeed, climatologists before the recent global warming hysteria referred to warm periods as “climate optima.” Yet world leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all, and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s immense benefits.

End States Who Sponsor Terrorism

By Leonard Peikoff

Originally published on October 2, 2001. All the more relevant today. — Editor

Fifty years of increasing American appeasement in the Mideast have led to fifty years of increasing contempt in the Muslim world for the U.S. The climax was September 11, 2001.

Photo:   Michael Foran

Fifty years ago, Truman and Eisenhower surrendered the West’s property rights in oil, although that oil rightfully belonged to those in the West whose science, technology, and capital made its discovery and use possible. The first country to nationalize Western oil, in 1951, was Iran. The rest, observing our frightened silence, hurried to grab their piece of the newly available loot.

The cause of the U.S. silence was not practical, but philosophical. The Mideast’s dictators were denouncing wealthy egotistical capitalism. They were crying that their poor needed our sacrifice; that oil, like all property, is owned collectively, by virtue of birth; and that they knew their viewpoint was true by means of otherworldly emotion. Our Presidents had no answer. Implicitly, they were ashamed of the Declaration of Independence. They did not dare to answer that Americans, properly, were motivated by the selfish desire to achieve personal happiness in a rich, secular, individualist society.

The Muslim countries embodied in an extreme form every idea–selfless duty, anti-materialism, faith or feeling above science, the supremacy of the group–which our universities, our churches, and our own political Establishment had long been upholding as virtue. When two groups, our leadership and theirs, accept the same basic ideas, the most consistent side wins.

After property came liberty. “The Muslim fundamentalist movement,” writes Yale historian Lamin Sanneh, “began in 1979 with the Iranian [theocratic] revolution . . .” (New York Times 9/23/01). During his first year as its leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, urging a Jihad against “the Great Satan,” kidnapped 52 U.S. diplomatic personnel and held them hostage; Carter’s reaction was fumbling paralysis. About a decade later, Iran topped this evil. Khomeini issued his infamous Fatwa aimed at censoring, even outside his borders, any ideas uncongenial to Muslim sensibility. This was the meaning of his threat to kill British author Rushdie and to destroy his American publisher; their crime was the exercise of their right to express an unpopular intellectual viewpoint. The Fatwa was Iran’s attempt, reaffirmed after Khomeini’s death, to stifle, anywhere in the world, the very process of thought. Bush Sr. looked the other way.

After liberty came American life itself. The first killers were the Palestinian hijackers of the late 1960s. But the killing spree which has now shattered our soaring landmarks, our daily routine, and our souls, began in earnest only after the license granted by Carter and Bush Sr.

Many nations work to fill our body bags. But Iran, according to a State Department report of 1999, is “the most active state sponsor of terrorism,” training and arming groups from all over the Mideast, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Nor is Iran’s government now “moderating.” Five months ago, the world’s leading terrorist groups resolved to unite in a holy war against the U.S., which they called “a second Israel”; their meeting was held in Teheran. (Fox News 9/16/01)

What has been the U.S. response to the above? In 1996, nineteen U.S. soldiers were killed in their barracks in Saudi Arabia. According to a front-page story in The New York Times (6/21/98): “Evidence suggesting that Iran sponsored the attack has further complicated the investigation, because the United States and Saudi Arabia have recently sought to improve relations with a new, relatively moderate Government in Teheran.” In other words, Clinton evaded Iran’s role because he wanted what he called “a genuine reconciliation.” In public, of course, he continued to vow that he would find and punish the guilty. This inaction of Clinton’s is comparable to his action after bin Laden’s attack on U.S. embassies in East Africa; his action was the gingerly bombing of two meaningless targets.

Conservatives are equally responsible for today’s crisis, as Reagan’s record attests. Reagan not only failed to retaliate after 241 U.S. marines in Lebanon were slaughtered; he did worse. Holding that Islamic guerrillas were our ideological allies because of their fight against the atheistic Soviets, he methodically poured money and expertise into Afghanistan. This put the U.S. wholesale into the business of creating terrorists. Most of them regarded fighting the Soviets as only the beginning; our turn soon came.

For over a decade, there was another guarantee of American impotence: the notion that a terrorist is alone responsible for his actions, and that each, therefore, must be tried as an individual before a court of law. This viewpoint, thankfully, is fading; most people now understand that terrorists exist only through the sanction and support of a government.

We need not prove the identity of any of these creatures, because terrorism is not an issue of personalities. It cannot be stopped by destroying bin Laden and the al-Qaeda army, or even by destroying the destroyers everywhere. If that is all we do, a new army of militants will soon rise up to replace the old one.

The behavior of such militants is that of the regimes which make them possible. Their atrocities are not crimes, but acts of war. The proper response, as the public now understands, is a war in self-defense. In the excellent words of Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, we must “end states who sponsor terrorism.”

A proper war in self-defense is one fought without self-crippling restrictions placed on our commanders in the field. It must be fought with the most effective weapons we possess (a few weeks ago, Rumsfeld refused, correctly, to rule out nuclear weapons). And it must be fought in a manner that secures victory as quickly as possible and with the fewest U.S. casualties, regardless of the countless innocents caught in the line of fire. These innocents suffer and die because of the action of their own government in sponsoring the initiation of force against America. Their fate, therefore, is their government’s moral responsibility. There is no way for our bullets to be aimed only at evil men.

The public understandably demands retaliation against Afghanistan. But in the wider context Afghanistan is insignificant. It is too devastated even to breed many fanatics. Since it is no more these days than a place to hide, its elimination would do little to end terrorism.

Terrorism is a specific disease, which can be treated only by a specific antidote. The nature of the disease (though not of its antidote) has been suggested by Serge Schmemann (NYT 9/16/01). Our struggle now, he writes, is “not a struggle against a conventional guerrilla force, whose yearning for a national homeland or the satisfaction of some grievance could be satisfied or denied. The terrorists [on Tuesday] . . . issued no demands, no ultimatums. They did it solely out of grievance and hatred–hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage, but abhorred by religious fundamentalists (and not only Muslim fundamentalists) as licentiousness, corruption, greed and apostasy.”

Every word of this is true. The obvious implication is that the struggle against terrorism is not a struggle over Palestine. It is a clash of cultures, and thus a struggle of ideas, which can be dealt with, ultimately, only by intellectual means. But this fact does not depreciate the crucial role of our armed forces. On the contrary, it increases their effectiveness, by pointing them to the right target.

Most of the Mideast is ruled by thugs who would be paralyzed by an American victory over any of their neighbors. Iran, by contrast, is the only major country there ruled by zealots dedicated not to material gain (such as more wealth or territory), but to the triumph by any means, however violent, of the Muslim fundamentalist movement they brought to life. That is why Iran manufactures the most terrorists.

If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.

Eliminating Iran’s terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will “end the state” that most cries out to be ended.

The greatest obstacle to U.S. victory is not Iran and its allies, but our own intellectuals. Even now, they are advocating the same ideas that caused our historical paralysis. They are asking a reeling nation to show neighbor-love by shunning “vengeance.” The multiculturalists–rejecting the concept of objectivity–are urging us to “understand” the Arabs and avoid “racism” (i.e., any condemnation of any group’s culture). The friends of “peace” are reminding us, ever more loudly, to “remember Hiroshima” and beware the sin of pride.

These are the kinds of voices being heard in the universities, the churches, and the media as the country recovers from its first shock, and the professoriate et al. feel emboldened to resume business as usual. These voices are a siren song luring us to untroubled sleep while the fanatics proceed to gut America.

Tragically, Mr. Bush is attempting a compromise between the people’s demand for a decisive war and the intellectuals’ demand for appeasement.

It is likely that the Bush administration will soon launch an attack on bin Laden’s organization in Afghanistan and possibly even attack the Taliban. Despite this, however, every sign indicates that Mr. Bush will repeat the mistakes made by his father in Iraq. As of October 1, the Taliban leadership appears not to be a target. Even worse, the administration refuses to target Iran, or any of the other countries identified by the State Department as terrorist regimes. On the contrary, Powell is seeking to add to the current coalition these very states–which is the equivalent of going into partnership with the Soviet Union in order to fight Communism (under the pretext, say, of proving that we are not anti-Russian). By seeking such a coalition, our President is asserting that he needs the support of terrorist nations in order to fight them. He is stating publicly that the world’s only superpower does not have enough self-confidence or moral courage to act unilaterally in its own defense.

For some days now, Mr. Bush has been downplaying the role of our military, while praising the same policies (mainly negotiation and economic pressure) that have failed so spectacularly and for so long. Instead of attacking the roots of global terrorism, he seems to be settling for a “guerrilla war” against al-Qaeda, and a policy of unseating the Taliban passively, by aiding a motley coalition of native tribes. Our battle, he stresses, will be a “lengthy” one.

Mr. Bush’s compromise will leave the primary creators of terrorism whole–and unafraid. His approach might satisfy our short-term desire for retribution, but it will guarantee catastrophe in the long term.

As yet, however, no overall policy has been solidified; the administration still seems to be groping. And an angry public still expects our government not merely to hobble terrorism for a while, but to eradicate it. The only hope left is that Mr. Bush will listen to the public, not to the professors and their progeny.

When should we act, if not now? If our appeasement has led to an escalation of disasters in the past, can it do otherwise in the future? Do we wait until our enemies master nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare?

The survival of America is at stake. The risk of a U.S. overreaction, therefore, is negligible. The only risk is underreaction.

Mr. Bush must reverse course. He must send our missiles and troops, in force, where they belong. And he must justify this action by declaring with righteous conviction that we have discarded the clichés of our paper-tiger past and that the U.S. now places America first.

There is still time to demonstrate that we take the war against terrorism seriously–as a sacred obligation to our Founding Fathers, to every victim of the men who hate this country, and to ourselves. There is still time to make the world understand that we will take up arms, anywhere and on principle, to secure an American’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on earth.

The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them.

Dr. Leonard Peikoff, a philosopher, is Ayn Rand’s legal and intellectual heir. He was a close associate of Ayn Rand for thirty years, and today is the preeminent spokesman for her philosophy of Objectivism. He is author of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America. His most recent book, The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out, (2012) develops an hypothesis explaining the major trends in philosophy, literature, physics, education and politics throughout Western history.

DOLLAR: The Cause of Hitler’s Germany

To this day, Nazism remains vivid in the public mind as the greatest evil in human history, and continues to be the subject or background of countless novels, films, and non-fiction analyses. But the artists and scholars of 2014 still have no real explanation; they are no closer than they were in 1982 to identifying the fundamental roots of Nazism.

This book does.

The Cause of Hitler’s Germany is about two-thirds of The Ominous Parallels, a book published by Dr. Peikoff in 1982. In the The Ominous Parallels, Dr. Peikoff intended a warning: If Americans continue to accept and act on the same philosophic ideas that led to the Third Reich, then America will have to follow a parallel course and suffer the same result.

Unlike The Ominous Parallels, The Cause of Hitler’s Germany is offered not primarily as a warning but rather as an explanation.

The Cause of Hitler’s Germany focuses only on the Nazi aspects of The Ominous Parallels: on their intellectual origins in German philosophy, and then on their manifestations in Weimar culture and, as a result, in the world of Hitler.

Learn more about the genesis of The Cause of Hitler’s Germany >

DOLLAR: New Book on the Business Cycle and a Free Market in Money and Banking

Dr. Brian P. Simpson, author of Markets Don’t Fail! (Lexington Books, 2005) and an economist at National University in San Diego, CA, has written a new book on the business cycle and a free monetary and banking system.  The book shows how government interference—particularly in the monetary and banking system—causes the business cycle, including the recessions, depressions, and financial crises that are a part of it.  The book also shows how establishing a free market in money and banking can virtually eliminate the business cycle.

This book is a major contribution to the monetary, banking, and business cycle literature.  It builds on the business cycle theory developed by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.  The two-volume book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is titled Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle, with subtitles of Integrating Theory and Practice for volume one and Remedies and Alternative Theories for volume two.  Volume one was published in April.  Volume two is due out in July.

Part one of volume one shows how manipulations of the supply of money and credit by the government are the primary cause of the cycle.  Part two applies the theory to over 100 years of U.S. history to illustrate the explanatory power of the theory.  The author uses extensive quantities of data to make his case, including data for interest rates, the rate of profit in the economy, the money supply, the velocity of money, industrial production, GDP/GNP, gross national revenue (a more comprehensive measure of spending and output than GDP/GNP), and more.  He shows how the theory explains the Great Depression, the Great Recession, the recession of the early 1980s, and all episodes of the cycle in the U.S. since 1900.  In addition, he goes back to 18th century France and the Mississippi Bubble to demonstrate the explanatory power of the theory.

Part one of volume two critiques alternative theories of the cycle, including Keynes’s theories of depressions and fluctuations, Keynesian “sticky” price and wage theory, and real business cycle theory.  Part two shows what a free market in money and banking would look like, provides an outline to transition to a free market in money and banking, and gives a detailed explanation of why it would lead to greater stability in the monetary and banking system and raise the rate of economic progress in the economy.

Here are links to the two volumes:

Volume 1: http://us.macmillan.com/moneybankingandthebusinesscycle/BrianPSimpson
Volume 2: http://us.macmillan.com/moneybankingandthebusinesscycle-1/BrianPSimpson

It is also available at Amazon at a discounted price.

Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle: Volume I: Integrating Theory and Practice: 1
Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle: Volume II: Remedies and Alternative Theories

The book is highly recommended for anyone interested in free-market ideas or monetary, banking, and business cycle theory.  Economics professors will find both volumes excellent for courses on “macroeconomics,” money and banking, Austrian economics, or the business cycle.  Both volumes would also be great additions to the collections of university libraries and libraries of free-market institutions.

The Creative Lifestyle: Routines and Daily Rituals of Creators

Pulling data from Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, RJ Andrews at Info We Trust designed some epic charts of how some of history’s most creative and influential figures organized their days.

daily-rituals

Daily Rituals: Life-hacking tips from novelists, painters, and filmmakers.

Given how much time I’ve spent reading and thinking about artists’ schedules and working habits, you might expect that I would have some insight into what makes for an ideal daily routine. Is there some combination of sleep, work, exercise, coffee, and focused head-scratching or brow-furrowing that is most likely to lead to creative breakthroughs? Or, at the very least, are there some basic guidelines that will stave off blocks and guarantee a minimum level of intellectual output?

Short answer: no, not really. The one lesson of the book is that there is no one way—the rituals and habits that helped Artist A create a masterpiece would never work for Artist B; and, actually, they might not even work for Artist A for very long.

One’s daily routine is a highly idiosyncratic collection of compromises, neuroses, and superstitions, built up through trial and error and subject to a variety of external conditions.

That said, there are certain behaviors that cropped up over and over again in my research. A large number of novelists and poets, for instance, wake up early in the morning and try to get some words on the page before other obligations kick in. Composers, I’ve found, almost invariably take a long daily walk. And if you suspect that caffeine is the real engine of a good deal of creative activity, well, you may be on to something.

 

Some thoughts on Black History Month

Black History Month: Celebrating Race-Based Achievement is Racism | Capitalism Magazine

Black History month is intended to counteract the historical bias against blacks. The Tulane University Black History Month Web site reads, “Obviously, a White History Month is not needed because the contributions of whites are already acknowledged by society. Black History Month is meant to remedy this inequity of representation.” According to Jacquelyn West-Ford, Drexel’s senior associate dean of students, “Black History Month is simply a time to bring attention to the achievements that black Americans have made to education and society.”

But Black History Month is not meant to remedy inequity of recognition as such — merely inequity of recognition for those who are black. The holiday discriminates against other unrecognized achievers — as if black achievers were the only ones who have been treated unfairly by history. If remedying inequity of recognition were the true purpose of the holiday, it would be called “Month of Unrecognized Achievers.” It would celebrate people like Nikola Tesla, the father of modern electricity, and not just people like Martin Luther King Jr., whose achievements are already more widely recognized than Tesla’s.

The Ten Commandments Rationally Examined

by Edward Cline

One of the most infuriating things about conservatives who claim that the U.S. was founded on Biblical morality and the Ten Commandments is that, like Muslims, their minds are closed to any arguments to the contrary. They slam shut so hard you can feel the draft.  So, let’s examine the Ten Commandments and see if any one of them has anything to do with our vanishing freedoms. I have used the Commandments as published by the ultra religious conservative group, Politichicks, in Lydia Goodman’s December 18th column, “How Many Laws Does One Country Need? God Says Ten.”  Their exact wording is not as I remember them, my having been exposed to them in the Catholic Church in the 1950′s, but that is a minor point.

The 10 Commandments

1 –  And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.

No problem. There are no other gods before him. Not even God. There’s no queue outside my door.

So,  Moses parted the Red Sea and talked to a burning bush, and suddenly hefted a pair of very heavy stone tablets on which were chiseled the Ten Commandments and which he had to lug back down the mountain. These are apocryphal fairy tales akin to Mohammad riding a winged horse to have a personal huddle with Allah and having an angel whisper into his ear Allah’s own fifty dozen commandments.  There really isn’t any reason why any rational person should take this Commandment literally. Especially if he doesn’t subscribe to the notion of the existence of a supernatural entity that knows all and can do all, and knew what you would do billions of years before you were even born, but still imbues you with the “freedom” of choice. Which doctrine should believers believe in: Predestination, or volition? I’ve never heard an argument that made any sense, because, among their other faults, fast-talking preachers and priests all try to reconcile man the hapless pawn of God, with man the being of volitional consciousness.

But, theologians and believers will retort: God is above human understanding, beyond reason, except in his heart, and in his faith. To know God, one must suspend one’s mind, because an inquiring mind is an obstacle to belief. And that retort is largely a legacy of Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant, who wrote reams and reams of paragraphs in an attempt to save religion from the Enlightenment. (Kant wasn’t the only one, just the best known.) Trying to defend religion from reason, he invented a “pure” reason that would explain and justify the unreasonableness of religion, or why it was so reason-proof and rebuffed the evidence of our senses in his Critique of Pure Reason, by which we have an a priori grasp of God that has nothing to do with mere, mundane reason. Here it is from the horse’s mouth:

HUMAN reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer.

That’s just in Kant’s 1781 preface. It more or less encapsulates his theme and subject. He could be brief when he wanted to. Read the balance at your own risk, but be sure to have a bottle of Tylenol handy. His oft-interminable sentences are sure to give you a throbbing headache.

2-  You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

First off, this sounds too much like the Islamic prohibition on representations of Mohammad. However, artists of the Judeo-Christian creeds have played fast and loose with representations of God. Witness Michelangelo’s rendering of God. It’s an old fellow with an untrimmed beard and garbed in a nightgown.

Secondly, I’m guessing that God exempted himself from his own Commandments, because jealousy is a venial sin, a minor misdemeanor, and forgivable. Very big of him. “Do as I say, not as I do”? This Commandment is particularly extortionate, because reads like a Mafia curse. His iniquity will be visited on the guilty, and on the guilty’s descendents. The notion fits right in with the doctrine of Original Sin, in which one is burdened with sin before one is even born. Adam originated the sin, and we’re his heirs. Spiffing.

When I was a young, ignorant kid, I thought that a sin manifested itself as a black spot on one’s belly. I was continually looking for one, or what resembled an ink stain, because I was constantly sinning. One never appeared. I have a mole there, but it’s brown. It’s just a collection of chemicals.

Now, was God “born” old, or did he “age”? Has anyone ever attempted an image of God as a Young Man? But, how could he “age” before he invented time? According to the Big Bang theory, it was just him and that dimensionless ball of glop that he caused to explode. Was that the beginning of eternity, or the end of infinity? Go figure. Picture a consciousness, form and gender unknown – or was there a gender? – floating in a void in immeasurable time, with only the ball of glop for company. It’s a prospect and a premise that puts all the recent CGI-rich science fiction films to shame.

And whoever said God was male? The feminists have had problems with that presumption. They have been busy subjecting the Bible to Critical Theory analysis, trying either to find a semantic or linguistic loophole in Genesis which claims that God made man in his own image and likeness, or to deconstruct it to shreds in a revolt against patriarchic sexism and producing some very vitriolic screeds.

Finally, to return to Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, what has God got against art, that is, against making likenesses of things on earth and in the sea? Some of the greatest art was created in his glory. Surely he couldn’t object to that? (Off-hand remarks here about Michelangelo, or “Big Mike,” are not meant to be deprecatory of his greatness as an artist.)

3 – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Well, why not? It’s just about the only time an atheist or even a steadfast Christian will remember God, by taking his name in vain, or in anger, or in frustration, and curse like a sailor. Further, unlike God, I wouldn’t be offended if people began taking my name in vain. If anything, I’d be flattered. Please, take my name in vain, as often as you wish.

4 – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

I remember the Sabbath only because my bank and favorite restaurants are closed.

5 – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

I can’t honor my parents. They always voted the straight Democratic ticket, and for Obama, twice. Further, it’s a confusingly worded Commandment. What exactly had God given me? Democratic parents, or the land and the long days? Will honoring my parents add years to my life?

6 – You shall not murder.

Well, why not? Give me a reason. Is it because another person’s life isn’t another’s to take – that is, the person owns his own life – or is it because it’s assumed he’s God’s property, and taking his life would amount to really serious larceny and put the kibosh on God’s own plans for the person?  God notoriously does not tolerate interference with his divine plans. He can be very, very wrathful.

7 – You shall not commit adultery.

Again, why not? If your spouse has turned into a prune-faced anchorite utterly hostile to divorce and about as romantically exciting as Norman Bates’ mummified mother or Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera, where else is there to turn?

8 – You shall not steal.

And not steal what? The limelight? The scene? The ball? Someone else’s real property? Commit plagiarism? Please, someone give me a reason other than God’s officious, persnickety say-so. This and the other Commandments come out of literal nowhere, from the void of faith and belief. Has the Federal government heard of this Commandment?

9 –You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I guess this is God’s dictat against lying. But why limit it to neighbors? How about unneighborly tax collectors, criminals, and feminists? I say bear as much false witness against them as the traffic will carry. Has Barack Obama heard of this Commandment? There are forms of this Commandment in the Koran, but maybe he just skipped over them in Indonesia.

10 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

Envy doesn’t necessarily lead to covetousness, or even to theft or illegal appropriation or pilferage or shoplifting. Some dyed-in-the-wool Christians argue that this particular Commandment is the sole foundation of capitalism. No wonder Karl Marx was dead set against it. He was wrong, too. The foundations of capitalism – indeed, of freedom of speech and of thought and of property – can hardly be the arbitrary assertion of a ghost or even of a genuine mortal.

Of course, Christians won’t give up trying to wed freedom and religion. A case in point is a column, “Ayn Rand and Jesus: Do they teach opposing viewpoints about economy?” on BeliefNet, in which, incredibly, the writer asserts that there can be a moral “overlap between an atheist and a Christian.”

Among other things, there can be overlap between an atheist and a Christ follower in discovering truth.  Jesus would disagree with Ayn Rand that there is any morality outside of God. He might tell her that she hasn’t traced her absolutes back far enough to an objective reality.

I would like to have seen Jesus say that to Rand’s face and leave the room in one piece. On the other hand, she was such a formidable and persuasive debater that perhaps Jesus might have wound up an atheist.

Religion, she noted, was (and remains) a primitive form of philosophy. In her March 1964 Playboy interview, she said:

Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very—how should I say it?—dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.

By way of illustration, religion can be compared with the stick men children first learn to draw; a fully rational philosophy, absent any form of mysticism and reliance on unsupportable assertions, should then lead them to create the likes of Michelangelo’s “David.” But modern philosophy has so failed men in their search for a “coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values,” that they are doubling back to the primitive form of it because it seems to make more sense than, say, Existentialism or Nihilism or Marxism. One can’t really blame them. Look at what Existentialism has produced in the way of a representation of man: there’s Rodin’s “Walking Man,” and Giacometti’s. Not much of a choice. One can sympathize with them, but not ally oneself with them, except on an ad hoc basis.

Faith in the existence of the supernatural, and even in the “extra-rational,” has been a stumbling block all throughout man’s history. And it has proven dangerous. Faith in a supernatural giver of laws has become faith in a statist and totalitarian system that promises paradise on earth. But it can only attempt to deliver that paradise by employing faith’s necessary partner: force. And, as Rand so well put it:

I have said that faith and force are corollaries, and that mysticism will always lead to the rule of brutality. The cause of it is contained in the very nature of mysticism. Reason is the only objective means of communication and of understanding among men; when men deal with one another by means of reason, reality is their objective standard and frame of reference. But when men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge, no persuasion, communication or understanding are possible….And more: no man or mystical elite can hold a whole society subjugated to their arbitrary assertions, edicts and whims, without the use of force. Anyone who resorts to the formula: “It’s so, because I say so,” will have to reach for a gun, sooner or later.

No, there is no “overlapping” possible between reason and faith. Any attempt at it will result in the triumph of faith, as exemplified in the porous, virtually tongue-in-cheek rationalizations one can read on BeliefNet, which is no defense of freedom at all. Faith can give one the illusory comfort of a comprehensible universe – or, more often than not, lead to the horrors in history and those taking place in our own time.

Three Ways Climate Scientologists Abuse Science

Writes Alex Epstein at Forbes:

“Science” is perhaps the most abused word in the English language.

The word used to name the method of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein has also been used to rationalize some of the most destructive political policies in human history, such as socialism and population control. The Nazis invoked the once-renowned “science” of eugenics to justify a Holocaust of “scientifically inferior” races.

How do we protect ourselves against such abuses of science? By knowing the one key difference between real scientists and science abusers. Science abusers treat science as an infallible authority to be blindly obeyed by the public. Real scientists treat science as a method to be carefully explained to the public.

By this standard, today’s vaunted “climate science consensus”—that it’s been scientifically proven that we need to dismantle the fossil fuel industry, the economic engine of the world—is more Scientology than science.

Here are three ways the Climate Scientologists abuse science.

1.They use manipulative language

If you are ever asked the incoherent question “Do you deny climate change?” you have found yourself a Climate Scientologist.

No one denies “climate change.” “Climate change” is a constant. The “climate,” which is an averaging of weather over long timespan, is an inherently changing phenomenon. There’s no “climate non-change.”

Don’t tell me “Oh, we all know what we mean by climate change”–because I don’t, and neither do you.

“Climate change” is a manipulative, rubber term used to mean anything from “the climate changes” (which everyone agrees with) to “we impact the climate at least a tiny amount” (which everyone agrees with) to “we impact the climate for the better” (yes, that’s possible) to “we are making the climate much more dangerous” (which much fewer people agree with) to “we are making the climate much more dangerous and the only response is to stop using fossil fuels but also incoherently oppose nuclear power and hydroelectric power while advocating the worst-performing energy technologies, solar and wind.”

Climate Scientologists are usually advocates of the last, bizarre position. Since they can’t argue for that view honestly and directly, they dishonestly name their view “climate change.” That’s the equivalent of a eugenics advocate calling his view “evolution.” Which is, in fact, exactly what eugenics advocates did. And just as we needed more thinkers back then, so we need more Climate Thinkers today.

Read the rest of The Church Of Climate Scientology: How Climate Science Became A Religion at Forbes.

The Real War on Black Men…By Other Black Men

Writes Glenn Garvin at MiamiHerald.com

There is no war on black men, at least not by white men. Last year, the Scripps-Howard News Service studied half a million homicide reports and found that killings of black victims by white attackers have actually dropped over the past 30 years, from 4,745 during the 1980s to 4,380 during the first decade of the 2000s. There were nearly twice as many white victims killed by black assailants: 8,503 in the 1980s, and 8,530 in the 2000s. [Zimmerman Trial: Trayvon Martin was not Emmett Till]

According to findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National CrimeVictimization Survey (NCVS) and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), Supplementary Homicide Reports:

Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatalviolent crimes and of about 8,000 homicides in 2005. While blacks accounted for 13% of the U.S. population in 2005, they were victims in 15% of all nonfatal violent crimes and nearly half of all homicides. […]

In 2005 nearly half of all homicide victims were black Blacks accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in 2005, according to the FBI’s UCR.Black males accounted for about 52% (or 6,800) of the nearly 13,000 male homicide victims in 2005. Black females made up 35% (or 1,200) of the nearly 3,500 female homicide victims.[…] In 2005 most homicides involving one victim and one offender were intraracial. About 93% of black homicide victims and 85% of white victims in single victim and single offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race. [Black Victims of Violent Crime]

You got that? In the United States, 93% of the black people who were murdered in 2005 were murdered by other people in their beloved “Black community.”

Perhaps this is what prompted Jesse Jackson to say:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.” [Remarks at a meeting of Operation PUSH in Chicago (27 November 1993). Quoted in “Crime: New Frontier – Jesse Jackson Calls It Top Civil-Rights Issue” by Mary A. Johnson, 29 November 1993, Chicago Sun-Times (ellipsis in original).]

So much for “racial profiling.” From an editorial in the Baltimore Sun:

Jesse Jackson has been taking an unusual amount of heat from his fellow African-Americans recently because he has identified black-on-black crime as a major problem in poor communities. The reaction reminds us of the incredulity that greeted the little boy’s observations concerning the emperor’s new clothes. Isn’t it obvious that blacks are the primary victims of crime in poor neighborhoods, and that the brunt of the suffering inflicted by black criminals is borne by other blacks?

In a society with a less troubled racial history than ours, these would be self-evident statements. Because criminality has so often been used in the past to paint all blacks in a negative light, however, frank discussion of the problem has always been an extremely touchy subject. Mr. Jackson has been accused of fueling racist stereotypes.

Yet one of Mr. Jackson’s roles is that of iconoclast. And [Jackson] has performed valuable service by jettisoning the taboo against black leaders talking about black-on-black crime. He knows that the “root causes” of much crime are to be found in poverty, broken families, hopelessness. And his audiences, who are overwhelmingly black, know he is not talking about them when he speaks of the “bad black brothers” who deal drugs, rob and kill. They just want help getting criminals off their streets.

Critics have lambasted Mr. Jackson’s claim that black-on-black violence is the nation’s “number one civil rights problem.” They point out that black criminals don’t target their victims because of their color but because they are vulnerable and close at hand. So how can such crimes possibly be considered a “civil rights” matter? Yet when services — including police protection — in poor black neighborhoods are stretched to the breaking point, when good schools, businesses and jobs are virtually non-existent, when all the elements that make a community viable are lacking, surely that is a human rights issue.

Apparently it is OK to rob, rape and murder someone — just so long as you don’t do it because of their skin color? This is context-dropping “compartmentalization” on steroids. This the result of so-called “civil rights” advocates who deny individual rights.

Ironically, many of Mr. Jackson’s detractors are the same people who subscribe to various theories of a massive white conspiracy to keep blacks down. Perhaps they fear his ideas may deprive them of a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Jackson, however, speaks to the concerns of all decent people, black and white, when he suggests the same moral force that sustained the civil rights movement of the 1960s must now be applied to task of ridding poor communities of lawlessness and terror. If that seems like a revolutionary message in the 1990s, it is only because it has the ring of truth. [Jesse Jackson On Black Crime | Jesse Jackson on crime – Baltimore Sun]

The above was written in 1993. My how have things changed today under the Presidential “leadership” of the great divider.

Founding Fathers on Religion and The State

 

1. “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

2. “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
~George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792

3. “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
~George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

4. “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

5. “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams

6. “Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88)

7. “We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for
honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.”
~John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785

8. “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802

9. “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

10. “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

11. “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

12. “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
-Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

13. “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual.
State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”
~Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808

14. “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,

15. “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
~James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

16. “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
~James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

17. “Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.”
~James Madison, letter, 1822

18. “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
~James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical
Endowments

19. “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.”
~James Monroe, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1817

20. “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it’s a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
~Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780

21. “Manufacturers, who listening to the powerful invitations of a better price for their fabrics, or their labor, of greater cheapness of provisions and raw materials, of an exemption from the chief part of the taxes burdens and restraints, which they endure in the old world, of greater personal independence and consequence, under the operation of a more equal government, and of what is far more precious than mere religious toleration–a perfect equality of religious privileges; would probably flock from Europe to the United States to pursue their own trades or professions, if they were once made sensible of the advantages they would enjoy, and were inspired with an assurance of encouragement and employment, will, with difficulty, be induced to transplant themselves, with a view to becoming cultivators of the land.”
~Alexander Hamilton: Report on the Subject of Manufacturers December 5,
1791

22. “In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
~Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)

23. “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
~George Mason, Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776

24. “It is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join, and from which they can derive no benefit; for remedy whereof, and that equal liberty as well religious as civil, may be universally extended to all the good people of this commonwealth.”
~George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

25. “A man of abilities and character, of any sect whatever, may be admitted to any office or public trust under the United States. I am a friend to a variety of sects, because they keep one another in order. How many different sects are we composed of throughout the United States? How many different sects will be in congress? We cannot enumerate the sects that may be in congress. And there are so many now in the United States that they will prevent the establishment of any one sect in prejudice to the rest, and will forever oppose all attempts to infringe religious liberty. If such an attempt be made, will not the alarm be sounded throughout America? If congress be as wicked as we are foretold they will, they would not run the risk of exciting the resentment of all, or most of the religious sects in America.”
~Edmund Randolph, address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June
10, 1788

26. “I never liked the Hierarchy of the Church — an equality in the teacher of Religion, and a dependence on the people, are republican sentiments — but if the Clergy combine, they will have their influence on Government”
~Rufus King, Rufus King: American Federalist, pp. 56-57

27. A general toleration of Religion appears to me the best means of peopling our country… The free exercise of religion hath stocked the Northern part of the continent with inhabitants; and altho’ Europe hath in great measure adopted a more moderate policy, yet the profession of Protestantism is extremely inconvenient in many places there. A Calvinist, a Lutheran, or Quaker, who hath felt these inconveniences in Europe, sails not to Virginia, where they are felt perhaps in a (greater degree).”
~Patrick Henry, observing that immigrants flock to places where there is no established religion, Religious Tolerance, 1766

28. “No religious doctrine shall be established by law.”
~Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731

29. “Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.”
~Oliver Wolcott, Connecticut Ratifying Convention, 9 January 1788

30. “Some very worthy persons, who have not had great advantages for information, have objected against that clause in the constitution
which provides, that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. They have been afraid that this clause is unfavorable to religion. But my countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it is to exclude persecution, and to secure to you the important right of religious
liberty. We are almost the only people in the world, who have a full enjoyment of this important right of human nature. In our country every man has a right to worship God in that way which is most agreeable to his conscience. If he be a good and peaceable person he is liable to no penalties or incapacities on account of his religious sentiments; or in other words, he is not subject to persecution. But in other parts of the world, it has been, and still is, far different. Systems of religious error have been adopted, in times of ignorance. It has been the interest of tyrannical kings, popes, and prelates, to maintain these errors. When the clouds of ignorance began to vanish, and the people grew more enlightened, there was no other way to keep them in error, but to prohibit their altering their religious opinions by severe persecuting laws. In this way persecution became general throughout Europe.”
~Oliver Ellsworth, Philip B Kurland and Ralph Lerner (eds.), The Founder’s Constitution, University of Chicago Press, 1987, Vol. 4, p.
638

31. “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
~Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791

32. “God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
~Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773

33. “Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
~Roger Sherman, Congress, August 19, 1789

34. “The American states have gone far in assisting the progress of truth; but they have stopped short of perfection. They ought to have given every honest citizen an equal right to enjoy his religion and an equal title to all civil emoluments, without obliging him to tell his religion. Every interference of the civil power in regulating opinion, is an impious attempt to take the business of the Deity out of his own hands; and every preference given to any religious denomination, is so far slavery and bigotry.”
~Noah Webster, calling for no religious tests to serve in public office, Sketches of American Policy, 1785

35. “The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion.”
~Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention, 1787

These are hardly the words of men who allegedly believed that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible as conservatives constantly claim. On the contrary, the great majority of the Founders believed strongly in separation of church and state. So keep in mind that this country has survived for over two centuries under the principle of separation and it is only now when conservatives are attempting to destroy that very cornerstone that we find America becoming ever more divided and more politically charged than ever before. If this right-wing faction has their way, America as we know it will cease to exist and the freedoms we have enjoyed because of the Constitution will erode. The Founding Fathers had a vision of this
nation and trusted that the people would protect that vision and improve upon it. Now is not the time to fail them. Because the day the people fail, so does America.

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