Saturday, May 27, 2006

They Died in Vain

This morning's Presidential Radio Address began with these words:
Good morning. This Memorial Day weekend, Americans pay tribute to those who have given their lives in service to our Nation. America is free because generations of young Americans have been willing to sacrifice to defend the country they love, so their fellow citizens could live in liberty.
Not a single person who signed America's Constitution would agree with these claims. America's Founding Fathers had better political eye-sight than Americans today. They were able to see tyranny in a government that was far more libertarian than our government today, and they were willing to take up arms to "alter or abolish" it.
In 1795, James Madison observed that “of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
America's Founders would see the myths in Bush's radio address:
  • Soldiers had their lives taken from them in the service of the government, or in the service of "the military industrial complex," but not in the service of the nation created in the Declaration of Independence.
  • America is less free because of these wars.
  • Many of the dead were not "wiling to sacrifice," they were conscripted, kidnapped, enslaved.
  • America does not "live in liberty." America's Founding Fathers took up arms against tax rates estimated by historians at less than 5%. We pay ten times more in taxes than they did, having half of everything we produce taken by the government, and none of our remaining property is secure.
The issues are bigger than any particular war. Ultimately these issues boil down to the Libertarian pledge:
I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
The Bush Administration, and nearly all previous administrations, are willing to kill thousands of innocent non-combatant civilians in order to achieve their political goals. When we approve of these strategies, we poison our own lives, becoming more willing to use violence to resolve problems with our children, our spouses, our neighbors, and those we deem to be our "competitors."

This Memorial Day weekend, take a few moments to consider not just the war in Iraq, but all the wars that have left the 20th century the most blood-stained century in human history, and ask yourself what you can do to prevent even more such wars in the 21st century.

Here is a page I wrote ten years ago. Not much has changed:

Memorial Day, 1996

Friday, May 26, 2006

Are Unbelievers Believable?

The final round of John Lofton's interview with potential Constitution Party candidate Jim Gilchrist is now available:


Lofton's questions go way beyond immigration; they probe the nature of citizenship and the oath itself. Many groups who claim to defend the 1st Amendment call attention to the "Christian Reconstructionists," but the issue Lofton raises is a way more controversial item on the Reconstructionist agenda than all the Reconstructionist watchdogs are aware of. (Lofton used to write for the Chalcedon Foundation and would probably be considered a "reconstructionist").

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Minuteman Founder on UN, Sodomy, Draft, and more

Our analysis of John Lofton's interview with potential Constitution Party candidate Jim Gilchrist has been updated. Here are links to his views on

The United Nations,
God and Government,
The Draft

with, of course, comments on Gilchrist's views.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Iraq and the Constitution Party

John Lofton's interview with Jim Gilchrist, founder of the "Minuteman Project" and potential presidential candidate for the Constitution Party, continues here:


Nothing could make plainer the fact that this potential candidate does not understand the Constitution as it was written in 1787, nor the Constitution as it now exists (i.e., as a piece of paper, a symbol, useful for political manipulation and demagoguery, but having no real function in the government of a nation).

The same thing could be said about other candidates in the Constitution Party who support the War in Iraq. Unfortunately, it might well be said even of Libertarian Party candidates who support "regime change" in Iraq.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Constitution Party, Part 2

I continue with my analysis of John Lofton's interview of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-immigration "Minuteman Project," and potential Presidential candidate for the Constitution Party.

In today's installment, Gilchrist speaks out on:

Bush's Supreme Court Nominees
Capital Punishment
Federal Katrina Aid
Foreign Aid
Free Trade
Second Amendment

And I comment on his answers, which, may I say, are fairly lame.


Monday, May 22, 2006

"Minuteman" Founder Jim Gilchrist

This week I'd like to comment on an interview with Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-immigration "Minuteman Project." He is positioning himself as a potential Presidential candidate for the Constitution Party.

The complete interview is found here: Exclusive Interview: Jim Gilchrist. Gilchrist was interviewed by John Lofton, former Communications Director for Constitution Party Presidential Candidate, Michael Anthony Peroutka, and co-host of the online radio show, "The American View." Lofton is razor-sharp, but sometimes the blade isn't set straight.

Gilchrist's stand on immigration is well-known, so the the idea behind this interview was to probe his stand on other issues. The first issue Lofton raised was abortion. Here are the questions Lofton asked:

Q: Where are you on the abortion issue?
Q: Okay, what about in the case of rape?
Q: How about incest?
Q: But, it seems to me that the status of the unborn baby, whether the unborn baby is there as a result of rape or incest, or just a married couple, is totally unchanged. That under no circumstances, if you’re against the killing of the unborn baby for married couples, then it’s the humanity and status of the child that does not change in rape or incest.
Q: Now the exceptions that you mentioned - that was, the so-called life of the mother or health of the mother —.
Q: What do you think you as President could do to stop abortion?
Q: How do you, Jim Gilchrist, view the Roe v. Wade decision?
Q: Is it law?
Q: What do you think South Dakota should do if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down their anti-abortion law?
Q: Shall I assume that you were against removing of the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo?
Q: How would you characterize what was done to her?

I have posted my answers alongside Gilchrist's. They are here:


Tomorrow's questions relate to the War on Iraq.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Alligators and Environmentalists

Alligator attacks are in the news:

While the news is alarming to most Florida residents (and tourists), the attacks should cause rejoicing among environmentalists.

George Reisman's brilliant article "The Toxicity of Environmentalism" explains why:


A recording of this lecture (given at the University of Michigan) is available and it took only 4 minutes for Reisman to get to the alligator line. If you were homeschooled you can read the article at one of the links above and get to the line in about a minute, or 2 minutes if you went to government schools and move your lips when you read. The entire article is a must.

Then if you're ready for the logical conclusion of environmentalism, click here:

It's no joke. They're serious.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers' Day

If you're alive, you should be grateful to your mother.

According to U.N. statistics, every day around the world over 135,000 mothers kill their unborn babies. Every day in America about 4,000 lives are ended prematurely. I'm grateful my mother weighed the temporary inconvenience to her against the 80-or-so years I hope to live, and decided in my favor.

John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States, described the cultural significance of my mother:
From all that I had read of History of Government, of human life and manners, I had drawn this Conclusion, that the manners of Women were the most infallible Barometer, to ascertain the degree of Morality and Virtue in a Nation. All that I have since read and all the observations I have made in different Nations, have confirmed me in this opinion. The Manners of Women, are the surest Criterion by which to determine whether a Republican Government is practicable, in a Nation or not. The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Swiss, the Dutch, all lost their public Spirit, their Republican Principles and habits, and their Republican Forms of Government, when they lost the Modesty and Domestic Virtues of their Women.

The foundations of national Morality must be laid in private Families. In vain are Schools, Accademies and universities instituted, if loose Principles and licentious habits are impressed upon Children in their earliest years. The Mothers are the earliest and most important Instructors of youth.... The Vices and Examples of the Parents cannot be concealed from the Children. How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn that their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers.
John Adams, Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L.H.Butterfield, Belknap/Harvard, 1962, IV:123, quoted by John Eidsmoe in Christianity and the Constitution, Baker Book House, 1987, p. 272.
Feminists would criticize Adams as a proponent of "patriarchal" "oppression." Adams acknowledges that it is largely women that hold together a Patriarchal society.

Who Counts the Most Important Things?

A prosperous Free-Market economy can flourish under a "patriarchy" even in the absence of the institutions of church and state, as long as virtuous mothers train children in Christian morality.

Social Order Without "The Government"

I will probably be most grateful for my mother's "de-programming" me on the way home from church. Our family attended a liberal (but socially respectable) Presbyterian church, with which my mother disagreed theologically and politically. Decades later she still subscribes to the Presbyterian Layman, but often cannot bear to read the latest issue, and discover which lesbian goddess will be substituted for Jesus Christ in the latest Sunday School curriculum. It wasn't this bad when I was a kid. But I remember being taught in Sunday School that none of the miracles in the Bible were true. It was "just an east wind" that dried up the Red Sea and allowed Israel to cross. Evolutionary science is right and Genesis is "merely poetry." Etc., ad nauseam. My mother always told me I could believe the Bible. "Don't listen to that Sunday School teacher."

(Why were we there? My parents were born in the Ozarks and left for California to begin climbing the social ladder. Bible-believing churches were too much like the Ozarks to them, I guess; built on a foundation of ignorance and/or emotion. Liberal churches were more sophisticated. More "scientific." More "intellectual.")

The seeds my mother planted in my early years began bearing fruit in high school. I discovered that evolution was no more scientific than creation, and was born out of a climate of hostility toward Christian ethics. I read Aldous Huxley admit that a universe based on random chance was preferable to him over a universe which had God's meaning imprinted on every atom, because he did not want to be subject to God's morality, political or sexual:
There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.
Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, 1937
The "creation vs. evolution" debate became for me the "free-market vs. socialism" debate, as well as the "family vs. abortion" debate. The respectable "science" of the liberal presbyterians became the "military-industrial complex," and I became a pacifist. Their "progressive" politics became the welfare state, and I became an anarcho-capitalist.

That's a label that undoubtedly never entered my mother's mind as she contemplated her son's future. But it's the inevitable and logical conclusion of the Bible-based faith she gave me. She taught me in these subtle ways to question earthly authority in the name of a Higher Authority. And yet this questioning was never done in an angry or mean-spirited way. I've still only developed a fraction of the humane and Christian character traits my mother tried to teach me, but I'm blessed by the head start she gave me. I'll never be able adequately to thank her.

Friday, May 12, 2006

U.S.: Defender of Freedom?

One year ago this week, President Bush visited the tiny nation of Latvia, a nation that was handed over to the Soviets by Churchill and Roosevelt. Bush made a surprising admission -- bordering on an indictment -- of U.S. policy after World War II.

As a consistent opponent of U.S. military intervention, I am often asked, "What about World War II?" I answered this question two years before Bush spoke in Riga, Latvia's capital city. Here's what Bush said:
As we mark a victory of six days ago -- six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox. For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.
Then Bush began to spin:
The end of World War II raised unavoidable questions for my country: Had we fought and sacrificed only to achieve the permanent division of Europe into armed camps? Or did the cause of freedom and the rights of nations require more of us? Eventually, America and our strong allies made a decision: We would not be content with the liberation of half of Europe -- and we would not forget our friends behind an Iron Curtain. We defended the freedom of Greece and Turkey, and airlifted supplies to Berlin, and broadcast the message of liberty by radio. We spoke up for dissenters, and challenged an empire to tear down a hated wall. Eventually, communism began to collapse under external pressure, and under the weight of its own contradictions. And we set the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace -- so dictators could no longer rise up and feed ancient grievances, and conflict would not be repeated again and again.

In these decades of struggle and purpose, the Baltic peoples kept a long vigil of suffering and hope. Though you lived in isolation, you were not alone. The United States refused to recognize your occupation by an empire. The flags of free Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania -- illegal at home -- flew proudly over diplomatic missions in the United States. And when you joined hands in protest and the empire fell away, the legacy of Yalta was finally buried, once and for all. The security and freedom of the Baltic nations is now more than a noble aspiration; it is the binding pledge of the alliance we share. The defense of your freedom -- in defense of your freedom you will never stand alone.
But they did stand alone. For fifty years. The entire U.S. empire was mobilized to fight Hitler, but a monster ten times as evil was ignored. Despite Bush's reference to "airlifting supplies to Berlin," the fall of the Berlin Wall came about without any real involvement on the part of the U.S.

The U.S. opposed the national socialism of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI), but World War II was a victory for international socialism, both in Eastern Europe and Asia. Joe McCarthy was right: the highest echelons of the federal government were dominated by international socialists. The United States is still governed by the philosophical progeny of Trotsky, Roosevelt and Alger Hiss. U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran is designed to culminate in this same internationalist vision.

There is no evidence that our current congressman understands these realities. The Troops Don't Defend Our Freedoms

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Teach Republicans a Lesson

Peggy Noonan tells Wall Street Journal readers that "it may take a defeat in November for the GOP to unlearn the lessons of power."
Congressional Republicans right now seem just like the liberal Republicans of the great Losing Era of Republican history, circa 1960-80. All the Republican congressmen in those days had good beliefs, and shared them at the Rotary luncheon back home. The government was getting too big and taxes were too high. Then they'd go back to Washington and vote for higher spending and higher taxes. But not as high as the Democrats, they'd point out. Their job was to stand athwart history and cry, "Please slow down just a little bit!"
Republicans don't even make good speeches anymore. They're more concerned with
how big the minority Democratic bloc in the House really is, how many votes the other team has in what committee, where to go for legal money, how the press will react to any given decision or statement.

A reporter told me a story a few weeks ago. He was at a meeting with an important Republican congressman. Talk turned to the upcoming 2006 elections. The congressman argued it will be better for the Republicans than people think; they'll hold the House. He said they are better at getting the vote out. He made the case for this based on turnout figures in 2000 and 2004. They have more money. He made the case for this assertion too. And they have a message. The reporter who was there said later he noticed the oddest thing. Under "message" his notes were blank. He couldn't really remember what the congressman said.
This underscores the importance of persuading Missouri Republicans to not vote Republican. Especially if they actually believe the way small-government Republicans are supposed to believe. The best thing Republicans can do is throw out corrupt big-spending Republican Congressmen, even if it means electing a Democrat in 2006 (because so many votes went Libertarian!), and then see how the candidates in 2008 suddenly recall the libertarian message that voters want to hear (even if it seems they don't want to hear it from Libertarians).

A Democratic majority in the house will spin their wheels for the next two years trying to impeach Bush (who will be out of office before Dems succeed anyway), and it just might be that a Democratic congressional spending spree might elicit from Bush his very first veto in his two terms as President.

Southwest Missouri needs a genuinely free-market Congressman. Southwest Missouri should gift America with the first card-carrying Libertarian in Congress.

Gas Prices in Perspective

While oil companies reap "windfall profits" of about $.10 a gallon, Sheldon Richman points out that governments reap "windfall taxes" of about $.60 a gallon, six times more than oil companies. But voters are more inclined to elect a Congressman who promises to "end windfall profits" than one who promises to end "windfall taxes."

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in 1980 was $1.25. When that figure is adjusted for the federal government's inflation of the money supply (which reduces the value of each dollar by creating new dollars out of thin air so that incumbent Congressmen can "bring home the bacon") the average price of gas in 1980 was $3.03, which is about what it is today.

Asking the government to "do something" about rising gas prices is like asking helium to "do something" about rising balloons.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Letter from Iran

If Charles Manson said, "Don't be a psychopathic serial killer, that would be bad," would you say, "That's hypocritical, coming from a psychopathic serial killer, so I don't have to listen to that advice"? No, you should listen to that advice because it's true, even though it comes from a hypocrite.

Is there anything true in Monday's letter from Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad to President Bush?

Ahmadinejad writes to Bush with this understanding:
I have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him).
Bush once said his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ, although White House Christmas I mean Holiday Cards did not mention The Philosopher by name. Bush has never come right out and said he is "born again," but his campaign staff allows Christians to believe he is. Ahmadinejad is willing to concede the claim, but then asks some probing questions, which could be directed to Bush's followers as much as to the President himself:
Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ ... But at the same time,

Have countries attacked? The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city, or convoy for example, the entire village, city or convoy set ablaze?

Or because of the possibility of the existence of WMDs in one country, it is occupied, around 100,000 people killed, its water sources, agriculture and industry destroyed, close to 180,000 foreign troops put on the ground, sanctity of private homes of citizens broken, and the country pushed back perhaps 50 years. At what price? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent from the treasury of one country and certain other countries and tens of thousands of young men and women -- as occupation troops -- put in harms way, taken away from family and loved ones, their hands stained with the blood of others, subjected to so much psychological pressure that everyday some commit suicide and those returning home suffer depression, become sickly and grapple with all sorts of ailments; while some are killed and their bodies handed to their families.
These rhetorical questions are as obvious as "Don't be a psychopathic serial killer, that would be bad." The fact that they come from a certified nut-case does not reduce their truthfulness.

Ahmadinejad was also on target when he said:
I point out that throughout the many years of the imposed war on Iran, Saddam was supported by the West.
U.S. policy toward Saddam in the 1980's was one of "Shaking Hands with Tyranny." More discussion of prior U.S. support for Saddam is found on my Iraq webpage.

The U.S. federal government is probably the greatest source of war and military conflict on the planet. Ahmadinejad wants to know if this is a mark of "a Christian nation":
You might know that I am a teacher. My students ask me how can theses actions be reconciled with the values outlined at the beginning of this letter and duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him), the Messenger of peace and forgiveness.
No reconciliation is possible.

Ahmadinejad also raised the issue of prisoners being held without regard for Constitutional rights:
There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals.

European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values.
The actions of the U.S. Security State are far worse than the government actions listed in the Declaration of Independence that gave rise to the American Revolution.

Ahmadinejad also pointed out U.S. intervention in Iran:
The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including: the coup d’etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution, transformation of an Embassy into a headquarters supporting, the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborates this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-à-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and collaborating their country’s progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.
Amadinejad asks all-too-pertinent questions about 9-11. Only a nut-case would suggest that the federal government could have prevented 9-11. So call me a nut-case:
September eleven was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services – or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren’t those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?
As I ask on my terrorism webpage, if you hired an exterminator and a month later your entire house collapsed from termites, would you not fire the exterminator?

Far from protecting America, the federal government has been creating enemies around the world for decades. U.S. foreign policy in the 20th century has been completely un-American. America's Founding Fathers did not believe in this kind of perpetual foreign intervention:
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."
— Washington, Farewell Address (1796) [Washington’s emphasis]

I deem [one of] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
— Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
Amadinejad goes on to raise some stock liberal arguments, but there is a valid point:
If billions of dollars spent on security, military campaigns and troop movement were instead spent on investment and assistance for poor countries, promotion of health, combating different diseases, education and improvement of mental and physical fitness, assistance to the victims of natural disasters, creation of employment opportunities and production, development projects and poverty alleviation, establishment of peace, mediation between disputing states and distinguishing the flames of racial, ethnic and other conflicts were would the world be today? Would not your government, and people be justifiably proud?

Would not your administration’s political and economic standing have been stronger? And I am most sorry to say, would there have been an ever increasing global hatred of the American governments?

Mr. President, it is not my intention to distress anyone. If prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph or Jesus Christ (PBUH) were with us today, how would they have judged such behaviour?
It is wrong to say that the government should have spend our money on social concerns rather than on military ventures on behalf of oil companies. The government should not have taken the money in the first place, and should be funding neither social projects or military ventures. But if the government were going to confiscate my money, I would rather have the money spent on widows and orphans than on bombs and dictators. How can Christians support such extraordinary expenditures on "regime change?"

Ahmadinejad sounds like a preacher, quoting the Koran profusely in ways that parallel the Christian Scriptures, and inviting Bush to repent:
Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we can overcome the present problems of the world – that are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets – and improve our performance? Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice? Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected? Will you not accept this invitation? That is, a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and His prophets?
Bush will go down in history as being far less a Christian than Thomas Jefferson. Andrew M. Allison, in Thomas Jefferson: Champion of History, writes:
It was partly because of his reticence on the subject of religion that Jefferson's political enemies had been able in earlier years to convince some voters that he was an atheist who would endanger their God-fearing republic. But his references to "our Savior" in his private letters prove that he was no atheist.[note 12: For example, see his letter to Martin Van Buren (29 June 1824)] This fact is further evidenced in a personal statement he had written to Dr. Benjamin Rush during his presidency:
My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others. [TJ to Dr. Benjamin Rush (21 Apr. 1803)]
On another occasion he wrote, "I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man." [TJ to Jared Sparks (4 Nov. 1820)]
The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

  1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
  2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
  3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.
"Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips," Jefferson believed, "the whole civilized world would now have been Christian." [TJ to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (26 June 1822)]

Sharing a hope nurtured by many Americans in the early nineteenth century, Jefferson anticipated a re-establishment of the Christian religion in its "original purity" in the United States. Although he believed it would not take place until after his death, he had no doubt that it would eventually be accomplished. "Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity," he said, "I must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle and modern ages."[TJ to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (19 July 1822)
If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.[TJ to Jared Sparks (4 Nov. 1820)]
The "future state of rewards and punishments" that Jefferson spoke of does not bode well for Bush. And in line with Paul's words to Timothy ("godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" 1 Timothy 4:8), Amadinejad rightly warns Bush about the more immediate future:
Mr. President,
History tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments.
As Jefferson put it:

Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

If America is a Christian nation, she deserves better leadership than the Republicans have given us.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Branson Democrats

Yesterday I received an invitation to address Branson Democrats (it may be Taney County Democrats, I can't recall) tonight at the WishBone restaurant inside Engler Block, 1335 W Highway 76, Branson, 6:30 pm.

I did a little review of the Party Platforms:

If you take away specific references to names of candidates or parties, the Demoblican and Republicrat platforms are nearly identical. Each party claims to be the Savior of the world, and both parties advocate bigger government while paying rhetorical tribute to personal responsibility. A couple of campaigns ago I put together a page comparing the two parties on crime:


One could pull entire paragraphs out of each party platform, lay them side by side, and nobody could tell which party said it.

On nearly every issue, by contrast, the Libertarian Party Platform is bold and clear. I suppose one could argue that the LP Platform is just as utopian as the other parties, but the means to the end -- the proposed solution -- is specific. The LP proposes concrete cuts in government which will lead to liberty and predictable types of human action.

I think this is the first time I've been invited to speak to a rival party function. I'll challenge them to compare platforms.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Death of Wisdom

On this day, May 7, in the year 558 A.D. in Constantinople, the dome of the Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") collapsed. Emperor Justinian I immediately ordered the dome rebuilt.

The City was originally called Byzantium. It was made into the eastern capital of the Roman Empire in AD 324, by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great; Byzantium was renamed Nova Roma ("New Rome"), but this name failed to inspire; the city soon became known as Constantinople, "the City of Constantine".

At the time when the Western Roman Empire was crumbling, the Eastern Empire was being Christianized, and would last another thousand years. Justinian's goal was a Mediterranean-wide Christian order: politically, religiously and economically, united and ruled from Constantinople under a single Christian emperor.

Justinian's vision of a "Christian order" was immature compared to the more mature Christian ideals of America's Founding Fathers a millennium later, which were themselves immature compared to the vision of "Liberty Under God" which we hope will take hold in the 21st century.

Many Americans tend to think that human beings were too primitive 1500 years ago to create such impressive beauty:

The Hagia Sophia Cathedral continued to be one of the great architectural achievements of the world, even after the Moslems conquered Constantinople in 1453, added minarets, and began using the Hagia Sophia as a mosque:

There is also a Christian Cathedral in the Kremlin, St Basil's. Stalin the atheist repeatedly considered the possibility of demolishing the cathedral, but never did. Priests in St. Basil's were often communist KGB agents, however.

A huge Christian Cathedral can create the outward appearance that Christianity still exists -- under atheistic Russia and even in Islamic Constantinople (not officially renamed "Istanbul" until 1930). Article 52 of the constitution of the "former" Soviet Union declared:
(1) Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited.
(2) In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.
But true Christianity was underground. Justinian would find no Christianity in his Christian Cathedral. Publicly, in Stalin's Kremlin and in Sultan Mehmed II's Istanbul, Christianity was dead.

In the public square of Washington D.C., America is dead. The architecture still exists, but not the vision. America's Founders could not find their America in Washington D.C. From "K Street" Lobbyists to the floor of the House, the ideals that made America the greatest and most admired nation on earth are dead.

Further, there are plans coming before Congress to abolish even the remaining constitutional architecture of the United States by merging the U.S. with Mexico into a common "Security Perimeter" which presages a European Union-style regional government in the Western Hemisphere.

In his article "United States of North America," Steven Yates writes:
In 1787, 13 former British colonies that had briefly been independent states agreed to create a free trade zone inside a shared security perimeter. People, goods, and capital would move freely throughout that region, ignoring previously existing borders. The union thus created was christened the United States of America.
Prior to this, Virginia and Massachusetts were separate nations. Today they exist as separate states in name only; the shots are called for them in Washington D.C. There is a cultural difference between California and Missouri, but both are fundamentally united under the sway of Washington D.C. Italy and Great Britain still exist, but their ability to call their own shots is being replaced by regional governments and courts under the European Union.

Our Congressman, the Majority Whip, has been using his whip for Vote-buying and Arm-twisting to complete the abolition of the United States.

The situation is one of the most significant junctures in American history, but the more significance you attach to it, and the more attention you call to it, the more likely you are to be written off as an "extremist."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Trouble for Ron Paul?

A Texas blogger posts an interesting poll in Texas CD14, Ron Paul's district. Congressman Ron Paul is a Republican in name, but a Libertarian in substance.

Question: As things stand now, would you vote to reelect Ron Paul to Congress or do you think it is time to give someone new a chance?
Response: 33% Re-elect, 48% Someone New, 20% Undecided
This is a sad reflection on Texas voters. Too many Americans value novelty over truth. This explains the success of Madison Ave. advertisers who can reduce the quality of a product but increase sales by calling it "New!"

The blogger notes that Ron Paul's Democratic opponent suffers from poor name recognition:

Only 25% of the district has heard of him, compared to 88% for Paul. As such, in a head-to-head matchup, Paul starts out with a comfortable 57-33 lead

Besides, right now it's Paul with the money (over $300K cash on hand) and not [his opponent] ($57K as of March 31),
Compare Paul's modest campaign war chest with that of Roy Blunt's:

The blogger reveals himself to be a Democrat who nevertheless finds much in Paul to admire:

There are things about Ron Paul that I like. Just the other day I got an email from a Democratic mailing list that praised Paul for his continued opposition to the Iraq war. There are issues on which my position will be closer to Paul's than it will to [Paul's opponent]'s, and in this increasingly polarized partisan atmosphere, that's highly unusual. Paul's not stamped from a mold, and he's not a yes-man, and I value those things. If we had a better Congress in place, I'd be content enough to leave him be.

But we don't have a good Congress; we have one that's corrupted and ossified by a dozen years of one party in power and that party's deeply flawed ideology, and those things can only be alleviated by a change in leadership.
Our blogger has fallen for the charade deliberately cultivated by the two parties: the idea that the two parties are different. The Republicrats and Demoblicans have been in power for the last 80 years, stuck in a revolving-door of leadership rotation. Regardless of which party is in power, there has been consistent, relentless growth in unconstitutional government. If America's Founding Fathers could be transported through time into the 21st century, they would see the reality of the Democrat-Republican stranglehold, and repudiate the two-party duopoly. As Georgetown Professor Carrol Quigley (Bill Clinton's mentor) observed:

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."
But how many Missouri voters are willing to read that paragraph, reflect on its implications, and refuse to vote for the two-party monopoly?

A final quote from our blogger:

Further, Paul isn't taken seriously by his Republican Congressional colleagues. He's an eccentric they tolerate because he'll give Denny Hastert his vote for Speaker. On issues where I do agree with him, he has no effect on the debate. As his hostility to hurricane relief shows, he's not serving his constituents, and he's not serving any kind of purpose as a contrarian view/voice of conscience because no one with any power pays attention to him. He's a boutique Congressman at a time when seriousness is needed.

Ron Paul is more consistent with the free-market rhetoric of the Republican Party Platform than virtually every other Republican in office. The problem is not that Ron Paul is not taken seriously by the Republicans. The fact is that Republicans don't take their own rhetoric seriously.

When our own Congressman was first elected in 1996, the Republican Party Platform called for the abolition of the Department of Education, as well as numerous other unconstitutional government agencies:

As a first step in reforming government, we support elimination of the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Energy, and the elimination, defunding or privatization of agencies which are obsolete, redundant, of limited value, or too regional in focus. Examples of agencies we seek to defund or to privatize are the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation.
The National Endowment for the Arts was notorious for its subsidizing of anti-Christian, pornographic “art,” including “art” which featured a figure of Jesus Christ submerged in a container of the artist’s urine. These programs undermine the very heart and soul of the America in which today’s students grow up.

And yet, our incumbent Congressman has not only failed to abolish these unconstitutional agencies, he has consistently voted to INCREASE funding for them. Democrats and the mainstream media highlight the fact that these Republican budgets embody "cuts" in the increases proposed by Democrats, but never mention that they still represent increases in overall spending. These budgetary increases in spending have been led by Majority Whip Roy Blunt.

But it’s not just that these agencies are unconstitutional. They are immoral and anti-Christian. And this is where America’s Founding Fathers would be truly horrified at today's Republicans.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

National Day of Prayer

Today is the "National Day of Prayer." President Reagan made the first Thursday in May the National Day of Prayer in Public Law 100-307.

There is no mention of the National Day of Prayer on Congressman Roy Blunt's website, nor any of his fellow Republicans:, or (the Democrats apparently haven't gotten their websites up yet), so this is the only website in this campaign with info on the National Day of Prayer.

According to Question 178 of The Westminster Larger Catechism (1648),
Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
The signing of the U.S. Constitution was commemorated by a Day of Prayer, and prayer has been a part of every Congress and virtually every Presidential Inaugural address since the Constitution was ratified.

There are some who claim such a day is a violation of "the separation of church and state." In 1999, Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota, refused to issue a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, saying, "There are people out there who are Atheists, who don't believe at all. They are all citizens of Minnesota, and I have to respect that." Clearly, either atheists or Christians are going to be "disrespected" by every government action. The only way to eliminate all such disrespect is to eliminate all government action.

No Congressman who supports The National Day of Prayer violates his oath to "support the Constitution." It is clear that America was never intended to be a secular nation, but a nation "under God." For the first 300 years of American history (1600-1900) America was a Christian and capitalist nation. But the 20th century marked a transition to a secular and socialistic nation. This is because any government that will not acknowledge itself to be "under God" is a government that thinks it is God. The National Day of Prayer declares who God really is, and is one remaining weapon in our struggle against a Messianic State.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Your Papers Please"

I'm back in Missouri after two weeks in California. Apparently I forgot to turn off the grass before I left.

I have no horrifying stories of abuse at the hands of TSA ("Thousands Standing Around") airport security. But then, maybe that's a horrifying statement in itself. I am always captivated by the technology involved in lifting a couple of hundred people and their baggage into the air, and this awe and wonder always outweighs my disgust at government security. But perhaps I should be more horrified at what millions of people are subjected to every day.

When I was young I heard about how people in the Soviet Bloc were subjected to border checks and searches. The phrase "Your papers, please" summed up the inability of soviet serfs to travel freely. We now live in a situation that resembles East Germany or the Soviet Union. But most Americans really don't care. Most Americans don't remember freedom. This is horrifying. America's Founding Fathers did not tolerate much smaller infringements on our God-given right to travel. They would not have put up with TSA bullying.

No rational free person would do what the government does. No private company would subject its customers to hours of senseless waiting, force them to take their shoes off, probe them, interrogate them, and require them to carry papers or ID cards which can be checked and re-checked several times. Nobody seriously expects to find anything by doing all this, except a few nail clippers. There is no rational basis for doing all this. Millions of man-hours are wasted every day. No profit-making company would work this way.

So why does the government work this way? In his book Bureaucracy, Ludwig von Mises explained that government bureaucracy has no monetary way of measuring success, only a regulatory way.

Bureaucratic management is the method applied in the conduct of administrative affairs the result of which has no cash value on the market.
Government cannot make a profit, it only exercises force over others. Bureaucratic success is measured by its increasing regulation of others. Sheldon Richman writes:

In the marketplace, owners of businesses could essentially give their managers one simple directive: “Make as much profit as possible.” Under these circumstances, managers can be granted great discretion, because the profit imperative determines the details of day-to-day administration and the profit-and-loss sheet is an unimpeachable scorecard.

This is inapplicable for a bureaucracy. A bureaucracy does not sell its “services” to consenting customers, so there are no prices for what it does. It obtains its revenues and finances its operations through taxation — fiscal force — not through sales. Without the possibility of sales — and the possibility of rejection — there is no prospect of profit and loss. Thus it would make no sense to tell a bureaucrat to maximize profits. There can be no profits.

Since that is so, Mises writes, bureaucrats cannot be given discretion in the manner of profit-oriented managers. Rather, they must be “bound to comply with detailed rules and regulations,” whether a government is accountable to a despot or to the people.
Mises sums up the government:

Every half-wit can use a whip and force other people to obey. But it requires brains and diligence to serve the public. Only a few people succeed in producing shoes better and cheaper than their competitors. The inefficient expert will always aim at bureaucratic supremacy. He is fully aware of the fact that he cannot succeed within a competitive system. For him all-round bureaucratization is a refuge. Equipped with the power of an office he will enforce his rulings with the aid of the police.
In our day vastly more people believe in bureaucracy than in freedom. Everybody talks about America as the "land of the free," but with freedom comes responsibility; with profit comes the possibility of loss. Americans today want security more than freedom, and therefore want bureaucracy more than the free market.

When I'm on "the campaign trail" I have to remember this, because I'm more of a defender of the free market even than Mises. In the 1962 preface to Bureaucracy, Mises wrote:
There are areas of man’s activities in which there cannot be any question of profit management and where bureaucratic management must prevail. A police department cannot be operated according to the methods resorted to in the conduct of a gainful enterprise. A bakery serves a definite number of people—its customers—in selling them piecemeal what it has produced; it is the patronage of its customers that provides the social legitimacy—the profitability—of the bakery’s business. A police department cannot sell its “products”; its achievements, however valuable, even indispensable as they may be, have no price on the market and therefore cannot be contrasted with the total expenditure made in the endeavors to bring them about.

This essay does not condemn or blame bureaucracy. It tries to point out what bureaucratic management of affairs means and in what it differs from profit management. It further shows in which field bureaucratic management is the only possible method for the conduct of affairs.
With all due respect to Mises, I believe there is no field in which bureaucracy (socialism) works better than capitalism. I believe even the police should be privatized, and should operate in a competitive market. "Anarcho-capitalism" is hard to sell to lines of sheeple silently complying with the irrational demands of airport security.

For further reading:

Up against the wall! And thanks for cooperating. - Institute for Liberal Values