Because Government is so Great?

I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.

–Bob Dylan

    The National Post has this article which talks the Wal-Mart’s actions during the Hurricane Katrina response.   Having grown up in Northwest Arkansas, I have an innate bias towards Wal-Mart (I am sure that my tenancy towards Libertarianism doesn’t have anything to do with it either.)  It is was nice to see them get some, much deserved,  good press.
    Here is a quote by Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart.  The quote comes from the memo that Lee Scott sent out to all the regional and store managers regarding the Katrina tragedy:

A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level,” was Scott’s message to his people. “Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing.

 
    The article reminded of one of my favorite episodes of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Too Serious to be Left to Politicians.

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

–Ronald Reagan

The election season is upon us again, and I am prompted to post about a topic I have not discussed much in the last couple years (ignoring the fact that I didn’t discuss much of anything last year.) I have shied away from politics because I became so disgusted with the current political situation. Bush had driven me absolutely insane with issues like the Medicare prescription drug program, the Patriot Act I & II, illegal immigration, McCain-Feingold, and massive debt spending… and those are just the issues that make him look like a liberal.

I’ve just basically had it. The great ideology of the 94 Republicans is dead and we have killed them. Regan is turning over in his grave and all that most Republicans seem to care about is the war in Iraq. I want a real Republican.  I want a constitutionalist, a libertarian, and a federalist of old. Instead the Republicans in the legislature continually rolled over for Bush while Democrats simply let things get worse so they could point fingers during the next election. Then they get elected; and shrug their shoulders because “they cannot do anything without the Presidency.”

Now we get to the election and we have two Democrats that intend to do the exact same things as Bush (albeit with more spending, more regulations, and higher taxes) and one Democrat who ONLY seems to care about the war.
On the Republican side we have an even bigger problem. It seems we are stuck in the middle on an identity crisis with only two options being presented to us; the neocons or the sudo-evangelicals. Rudy isn’t a conservative on abortion, immigration, or gun control; Huckabee isn’t conservative on taxes or government spending; and Romney… well Romney is whatever he thinks I want him to be at any given moment.

I am DONE with choosing between the lesser of 8 evils! I am done with liberals dressed in the American flag claiming to be Republicans! I am done with politicians who claim to be capitalists because they support corporate welfare! And I am certainly done with ANY candidate with the last names of Bush or Clinton!

Thankfully there is not just a good option for President, but possibly the best candidate in the last 100 years. Someone who believes in what the founder fathers fought for. Someone who supports ALL of the Constitution, not just the parts they like. This year, for President, I am working for, giving money to, and voting for Congressman Ron Paul! I figure I can either vote for the America of our Constitution; or shut the hell up about being a real Republican.

The same mistakes, only sooner.

Yes, another set of links. I have a pretty massive bookmark list to empty out and everyone who visits suffers because of it.

  • Dijkstra’s Algorithm – Wikipedia is like a drug. Hello my name is Bob.
  • Beating Ubuntu – A editorial on how to take the Linux desktop title away from its current leader.
  • Desktop Linux: Mission Impossible – Editorial discussing if it is even possible for desktop Linux to ever win the OS war.
  • Kontact & Google Apps – Kontact is probably the best Outlook replacement on Linux and this tutorial by Linux.com helps you get it working with Google.
  • Retirement Mistakes – Ben Stein (look up his wikipedia bio, you will be floored by how smart this guy is) discusses the 3 biggest retirement mistakes people make.
  • Raising Smart Kids – Some tips on how to develop children with above average intelligence.
  • The POG Gallery – Glen Palmer first designed the closed bold semi-automatic paintball gun before the Auto Cocker had even been conceived. To this day his son makes the best paintball guns in the world (with not electronics in them.) Here are some beautiful examples.
  • Worlds Most Expensive Scotches – The title says it all.
  • Bill Cosby’s Rant – This is part of a speech Bill gave at the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Decision.  It is an interesting commentary on the state of civil rights in the United States.
  • Are Rich People Parasites – An editorial by David Gordon that discusses the economic value of wealth in a free market society.

And the truth…

I have been glued to Cato-at-liberty for the last couple days. Cato-at-liberty is the official blog for The Cato Institute, the definitive classical conservative think-tank. I have become so sick of both parties (Democons and Repulicrates), and their constant hypocrisy that I haven’t even been able to blog about them. Reading the posts on Cato-at-liberty has been like a breath of fresh air for me. While I may still catch the occational literary trash; I have basically given up on intelligent political discussion, from the any mainstream media source.

Here are some of the web resources I have been reading lately. They have NOT been dumbdown for your reading pleasure:

War & Peace

The Futurist is running a two part article (titled “The Winds of War, The Sands of Time”) discussing the relative state of peace in the world.  The article points out that from the metric of human beings killed in combat; the last couple years have been the most peaceful in recorded human history.  The reasons for this “”expansion of peace” are the usual suspects; expansion of democracy and an increase in overall absolute wealth worldwide. 

The other interesting piece of data gleaned from the article is the wikipedia List of wars and disasters by death toll.  When I saw this page I had the same feeling as the one I got the day I first saw the History channel.  Something along the lines of “Ohhhh, crap!  There goes my free-time for the next six months.”  They even list the individual battles by death toll.

Please excuse me, I have some reading to do.

When Life is Fair

Looking through the old digest articles from the Hoover Institution has uncovered this article by Thomas Soxwell titled “When Fairness Is Unjust.” My personal history has a strong educational influence; both from an educators perspective as well as an administration one. “Fairness” as a scholastic idea has been one of the most destructive forces in education, especially for the unprivileged and poor. Yet for some reason that continues to defy logic; the public school system (in many places) has continued to pursue a policy of “leveling the playing field.”

Here are a couple facts for those who have not experienced life. “Life” is NOT fair!  It will never be!  And if you attempt to make things “more fair” by expecting less of people; you will get it.

State’s Rights vs. Slavery

I had a die hard Confederate teach the Civil War back in the 8th grade. One of the many myths that we were taught was that “the Civil War was not about slavery; it was about state’s rights.” To prove overwise, I present to you the Constitution of the Confederate States of America and exactly how it differs from the U.S. Constitution.

The Slow Death of Democracy

Old Europe is dying. For 200 years philosophers and thinkers have predicted the failure of Democracy. Not from the slow creeping encroachment of civil liberties, but because of the steady natural drift of progress socialism. Once a people learn that democracy can be use as a vehicle for wealth redistribution; the unstoppable decline of freedom will have already begun. While civil liberties are often taken away and returned based on the ebb and flow of a counties appetite for conflict; economic liberties (arguably the more important of the two freedoms), once taken away, are almost never returned.

Witness, France. Long thought to be a fountainhead of liberal progressive socialism. Where, whatever your state of being, the government can always be counted on to save you. The reality is entirely different however. Some places in France are experiencing unemployment levels equal to those of the United States DURING the great depression. The economy is in shambles and the almost universally recognized reason, the very government programs that the citizens have come to depend on. Within a decade or two, the economy of France will be so bad that the government will go totally bankrupt trying to pay for it all.

This problem is both well known and well understood. Regardless of the Utopian ideals of college professors and social activists; the reality is that there is simply a limit to what a government can be expected to do to help its citizens. At some point trust (and personal responsibility) must be places in the citizenry themselves. The USSR (and almost every communist country in the world) failed because of the realization, China has stayed a communist country because they identified and reformed (just) their economy in light of this realization Yet in France’s developed democracy; any reform (to fix the admittedly identified problem) is met with such hostility that their are riots in the streets.

Its a sad reality that the Presidents domestic spying and counter-terrorist programs (in the form of the Patriot Acts) are less likely to hurt American Democracy than his prescription drug package and the “No Child Left Behind” initiative.