Commercial Speech is Free Speech

The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism has filed an amicus brief in support of Nike’s petition to the Supreme Court to hear an appeal for a recent California Supreme Court decision. Nike was accused by Left-wing organizations of running “sweat shops”, i.e., shops that provide jobs in third world countries which pay more than other local jobs in that country (that is why people in those countries go after them!). Under the assumption that the People’s Republic of California was an actual state in America operating under the rule of law, Nike decided to defend itself in the media–and was sued by the Lefties who defamed it for false advertising and unfair trade practices!

Being Lefties themselves, and totally ignorant of the concept of individual rights (which applies to individuals who work in corporations too), the California Supreme Court rules that Nike’s advertising is not protected under the First Amendment, because it is “commercial speech.” However, the advertising by the folks who hate Nike is protected, because it is “political speech.”

In an amicus curiae to the US Supreme Court on Nike vs. Kasky, the Center asked the court to end the distinction between political and economic speech that squelches a businessman’s right to speak before the public. In a world full of crosses, the Center’s work definitely merits a dollar. Read the Center’s Brief (PDF 221K)

Harry Potter: A Hero Children Should Emulate

IRVINE, CA–Far from being an agent of the occult, as his critics contend, Harry Potter is the kind of hero children should be encouraged to read about and emulate, said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

“It is true that Harry lives in a magical, fantastical world, but what’s important is that he is a hero who wins through intelligence, effort and courage,” said Dr. Brook. “Throughout the series, Harry has developed his talents through hard work and has learned to think for himself, to be honest and to be self-confident. He has friends who share his values and he earns the respect of his teachers. Aren’t these the character traits all parents want their children to possess? I know they’re qualities I actively try to instill in my two boys.”

Dr. Brook said that the critics’ focus on the supernatural aspects of the Harry Potter stories is completely non-essential. What is fundamental is the abstract meaning being conveyed during the course of Harry’s magical adventures. “By means of the theme, plot and characterization,” said Dr. Brook–particularly as they involve the hero–every good children’s story implicitly addresses such broad questions as: Is the world fundamentally a benevolent or a malevolent place? Can one rely on one’s own mind or not? Is life to be eagerly embraced or fearfully skirted? Can the good succeed or does evil have to ultimately win?

The Harry Potter series appeals to so many children and adults alike because the answers it gives to these questions are overwhelmingly positive. The Potter books show a world in which happiness can be achieved, villains can be defeated and the means of success can be learned. “The books are, in short, fuel for a child’s maturing mind. As vitamins and minerals are essential to a child’s healthy physical development, so literature with this view of the world is essential to a child’s healthy mental development.”

Chinese “Capitalism”

BEJING–For 81 years, China’s Congress has wielded the power of a dictatorial regime under the guise of protecting the peasantry.  But apparently, running people over with tanks in the name of the proletariat is no longer fashionable.  So why not try it in the name of the bourgeois?

China’s 16th Congress is now re-writing the constitution to include “advanced forces” (businessmen) in the list of those “represented” by China’s tyranny.  Previously, the list only included workers and peasants.  Jiang Zemin, the Communist Party chief, explained that “all legitimate income, from work or not, should be protected.”  He did not offer a definition for the word “legitimate.”

Although one would hope that this is a long-overdue move towards laissez-faire capitalism for the battered Chinese, Mr. Jiang made it clear that China’s government will remain authoritarian in nature and that China is just trying to “keep up with the times.”  Corruption is expected to remain an integral part of the Chinese legal system.
When a terrorist forsakes Allah and starts killing in the name of Thomas Jefferson, do you celebrate, or check to make sure you’ve still got enough ammo?

Just another “morally equivalent” set of laws

TEHRAN, Iran–On Thursday, an Iranian court convicted a University professor of insulting some dead guy and encouraging students to study.  He was sentenced to 74 lashes, exile to three remote Iranian cities for eight years, and prohibition from teaching for 10 years–oh, and death.
The “court,” if it can be called that, found history professor Hashem Aghajari guilty of insulting the “prophet” Muhammad and questioning the clergy’s interpretation of Islam during a speech in June.  “Are people monkeys to imitate [the clerics]?” Aghajari asked during his speech.  “According to the clerics, students who study and understand the Quran have committed a crime because they didn’t go back to the clerics for guidance.”  Apparently the court agrees, and Aghajari will die for his “crime.”

Although this might appear unjust to non-Berkeley Americans, it must be remembered that Iran’s form of government is a different but equally valid one, and the United States should not attempt to impose Western ideals on those simple, happy, people.


Swept Away (Not)

Nice to see the anti-capitalist warriors trounced in the elections yesterday. But let’s not assume too much about the whether the GOP is going to pick up the banner of the capitalists in the war on capitalism. Remember, this is the Republican party that proudly put its name on the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Bush is the Republican president who proudly signed it, who derailed two decades of progress in global trade by slapping on steel tariffs, and who selected, from the entire adult population, Larry Lindsey, Paul O’Neill and Harvey Pitt. Pitt began yesterday, while the polls were still open, what may turn out to be a purge of the Bush economic team, starting with himself. But that’s only good news if he’s not replaced with war criminal Rudolph Giuliani. And that still leaves Lindsey and O’Neill. And, truth be told… Greenspan.

This was the worst they could come up with?

It took the New York Times four days to come up with this limp editorial in the lead position on the edit page. I guess they were having a hard time thinking of something to say to cast Friday’s Microsoft decision in a negative light, obviously disappointed that judge Colleen Kollar-Kettely had done something less than impale Bill Gates’ head on spike. The weightiest pronouncement on the subject that the Grey Lady could muster was to wag its finger at Microsoft and tut-tut that “the company would be well advised to abide by the spirit, and not just the letter, of the settlement.” The “spirit” being… what exactly? The judgment that the court did not render? The punishments it did not impose? It’s just the Times trying to pretend that even though it lost this round in the war on capitalism, it really won. In “spirit” you know.

Peter Jennings on Art

On the November 1 edition of World News Tonight Peter Jennings highlighted the work of what he refered to as “two Palestinian artists”:

“In the West Bank city of Ramallah, two Palestinian artists have created their own version of the Statue of Liberty at Mr. Arafat’s headquarters, which the Israelis destroyed. You can see the torch is pointed down. That, they say, is intended to symbolize how the U.S. was inverting its own values by supporting Israel.”

Mr. Jenning did not elaborate on what values the U.S. was inverting.

Brothers in Racism

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Democratic candidate for Governor, Maryland recently made this statement:

[My opponent] opposes affirmative action based on race. Well, let me tell you something; slavery was based on race. Lynching was based on race. Discrimination is based on race. Jim Crow was based on race. And affirmative action should be based on race.

By showing what “affirmative action” shares in common with Jim Crow, lynching, and slavery, isn’t Miss Townsend really making a case against affirmative action–by showing it to be racist?

Clearly the morality of her political program is not Miss Townsend’s concern–only the expansion of her political power, to legally force her will on others, is. The theory of egalitarianism and class warfare provides the justification–unlimited democracy provides the means.

Who drives the economy?

The WSJ, USA Today, and Reuters have been carrying stories where various experts claim that a drop in “Consumer Confidence” is a bearish signal for markets. Not so, according to Economist Richard Salsman, who writes in the latest edition of the InterMarket Forecaster,

The positive (and correct) view of markets — which thoroughly dispels the Keynesian myth — is known as Say’s Law (named after the great classical economist, Jean Baptiste Say). Say’s Law demonstrates that supply (production) constitutes demand –and that production is the source of income, exchange and (ultimately) consumption. Say’s Law also represents the irrefutable axiom that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are always equal and never out of balance, because they are the same thing, seen from two distinct perspectives…Only producers, savers and investors — not consumers per se — drive the stock market and the economy.

According to Salsman, if investors pay any attention to the “consumer confidence”, it should be as a contrarian indicator, and seen to add a further impetus towards a bullish signal.

Anti-war protestors take themselves seriously

Around the world today, protestors gathered to condemn President Bush for considering military action against Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical Iraqi regime. 

In Washington, D.C., Rev. Jesse Jackson declared, “if we launch a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, we lose all moral authority.”  He did not mention whether or not that strategy worked well for the Kurds. 

In Amsterdam, protestor Renas Arif told the Associate Press that he was opposed to Saddam, and he was opposed to a strike against Saddam.  Clever. 

In Baghdad, Hussein allowed twelve anti-U.S. activists to protest in front of U.N. offices, although earlier in the week he had guards shoot warning shots over the heads of demonstrators that he didn’t agree with.  All twelve of today’s protestors were Americans. 

In Berlin, pacifist German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele told demonstrators that a U.S. war against Iraq is “unjustified.”  Hitler would certainly have agreed. 

In Stockholm, the leader of Sweden’s former communist Left Party, Gudrun Schyman, declared that, “Saddam Hussein is one of the absolutely worst dictators in the world today…but that doesn’t justify the U.S.A.’s war plans.”   

“You don’t disarm a regime by conducting an armed war,” she added.  Ms. Schyman did not offer to march into Baghdad herself, unarmed, and show the world exactly how one goes about disarming a regime.  

The only thing the San Franciscan protestors had to add to all this was, “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your racist war!”  Yawn. 

Aziz al-Taee, spokesman for the Iraqi-American Council, didn’t seem to understand what the fuss was all about.  “I think America is doing just fine…We think every day Saddam stays in power, he kills more Iraqis.”   

Aw, what does he know, anyway?

Two suspects held in sniper case

According to The Washington Post, two suspects in the Washington area sniper case were arrested last night after a local resident spotted a van matching police descriptions at a Maryland rest stop.

The two suspects, former Army soldier John Allen Muhammed, 41, and Lee Malvo, 17, were arrested without incident as they were caught sleeping in the van.  Although the suspects do not appear to be connected to Osam Bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist organization, Mr. Muhammed is a recent Muslim convert who changed his name from John Allen Williams.

Thanks, Allah.

In the Name of Islam

Writes Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe,

At least 14 Israelis were murdered — many burned alive — and 65 were wounded when a car packed with explosives rammed a passenger bus near Hadera on Monday.  Islamic Jihad promptly took credit for the slaughter, and once again that perfect silence you heard was millions of Muslims in America and Europe not crying out in protest against those who commit massacres in the name of Islam.

The night before, Islamic terrorists bombed a Catholic shrine in the Philippine city of Zamboanga, leaving one dead and 12 injured.  Three days earlier, two terror attacks in the largely Christian city’s shopping district killed seven and wounded more than 160.  And from moderate Muslims in the West, the heartfelt expressions of revulsion and sorrow were — inaudible.

Time and again we have been instructed that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  Over and over we have been assured that most Muslims are nonviolent and tolerant.  And yet when Islamist fanatics commit acts of horrifying atrocity, and do so as Muslims, the peaceable Islamic majority has nothing to say.  Why not?

The answer is obvious: the Islamic majority explictly agrees with the terrorists ends (the establishment of Islam as a world religion), resulting in their failure to condemn their terrorist brother’s means. For further explanation, see Professor Locke’s article Radical Islam’s Assault on Human Life.