Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tell Elaine Huguenin that Leni Riefenstahl Has a Cold.

You are a Jewish cinematographer.

You hear a knock at the door.

Don't worry. It's not the Gestapo. It's the Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

They report that Leni Riefenstahl has a cold, and has called in sick.

Since you're a gifted filmmaker, Our Dear Leader has requested that you complete the film project that Ms. Riefenstahl began, a documentary called Triumph of the Will.

You will be praised for your work. The film will be recognized around the world as one of the greatest documentaries ever made.

In case you're not up on historic films, Triumph of the Will  is a 1935 film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The primary purpose of the film is to make Hitler and Nazism look good. No, great.

The Independent wrote in 2003: "Triumph of the Will seduced many wise men and women, persuaded them to admire rather than to despise, and undoubtedly won the Nazis friends and allies all over the world."

As an observant Jew, you respectfully and courteously decline to work on the film.

I'm sorry, but that just won't do.

That kind of selfishness violates New Mexico's "anti-discrimination" law.

You remind the New Mexico Supremes of the "freedom of religion" in our increasingly-irrelevant Constitution, and how that cannot be consistent with forcing a Jew to work on a Nazi propaganda film.

But the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously disagrees. John Stonestreet comments:
       And still even more troubling was the concurring opinion of justice Richard Bosson. He acknowledged that, under New Mexico law, [believers] are “compelled . . . to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” He admitted that this compulsion will “leave a tangible mark on  [believers] and others of similar views.”
       Nevertheless, this compromise is, according to Bosson, “the price of citizenship.” While  [believers] are free to believe whatever they want, outside of their home they “have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.”
       Bosson called this compromise “part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people.”
In other words, the Nazis are not required to compromise their desires to show tolerance for the Jews, it is believers who must compromise.

And "religious freedom" in the United States means as much as it does in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or the "former" Soviet Union: you can believe anything you want, as long it stays in the space between your ears, and Big Brother doesn't know about it.

The U.S. is becoming a joke. Christians must never trade their heavenly citizenship for U.S. citizenship.

"Our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Missouri vs. A Free Market Internet

Update, 8/20/2013
Campaign for Liberty opposes the bill favored by
The bill is supported by big businesses and pro-tax forces.
Maybe Amazon is exploiting Associates like me to lobby for a bill that will help Amazon crush competition.

I need to do more research on this issue.
I wonder if Governor Nixon's office will educate me.

 Dear Governor Nixon,

My home was destroyed by the Branson tornado last year. I was taking care of my mother at the time, and she was airlifted to a Springfield hospital and returned to me on a feeding tube. I am now her full-time caregiver.

I can't get a job outside the home, so I depend on the internet to bring in money.

I just received a letter from one of my internet income sources that they have terminated my income due to the unconstitutional Missouri state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by you on July 5, 2013, with an effective date of August 28, 2013.

I wish Missouri politicians would recognize that any legitimate social goal that needs to be achieved will be achieved more efficiently and more personally by Missouri businesses, churches, and voluntary associations operating in a Free Market than by any socialist program coming out of Jefferson City. You should be cutting government spending instead of taking more money from people who are already struggling to make ends meet. And you shouldn't use government coercion to protect your special interests from competition.


From: " Associates Program"
Date: August 14, 2013, 7:18:05 PM CDT
Subject: Amazon Associates: Important Account Notification

Greetings from the Amazon Associates Program.

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective August 27, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Missouri state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Nixon on July 5, 2013, with an effective date of August 28, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after August 27 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Missouri residents.

Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to August 28, 2013 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of August 27, 2013, any final payments will be paid by October 31, 2013.

While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Missouri residents.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.


The Amazon Associates Team

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The U.S. is Bankrupt

Detroit has acknowledged its bankruptcy.

Washington D.C. has not.

"Official" acknowledgement does not change reality.

Detroit Today, Washington Tomorrow - Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff @ PBS NewsHour

The United States is Bankrupt because Americans believe they are "entitled" to other people's wealth.

h/t Gary North

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The 2nd Amendment vs. Family Values

I'm surprised (not really) that many who espouse "family values" also champion the Second Amendment.

I'm already on record repudiating the Second Amendment.

I Repudiate the Second Amendment.

But consider this real-world scenario.

Given Obama's record of job destruction (over 90% of jobs created in his administration are part-time; unemployment statistics are vastly understated), imagine your neighbor -- desperate for a job to feed his family -- answers a public announcement in the classifieds of government jobs opening up. He applies and gets a job going door-to-door confiscating guns.

Charlton Heston famously quipped that if they came for his gun, they'd have to pry it from his cold dead fingers.

Of course, no defender of the Second Amendment expects to have cold dead fingers. He intends to make sure the jackbooted government thug coming for guns is the one who has the cold dead fingers.

That sounds macho enough, but the "jackbooted government thug" is your next-door neighbor.

And your claim boils down to this:

"It is more important that I retain possession of a firearm than it is for the kid next door to have a father."

Obviously, once the kid next door loses his father, you will have your gun pried from your cold dead fingers by a vastly superior armed federalized SWAT team that was backing up your next door neighbor.

The time for armed revolution against the tyranny in Washington D.C. has long passed. It's too late for that now.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Carl Menger, Postmillennialism, and Judgment

At the opening of the Mises University, Tom Woods mentioned [video - audio] the description by Mises of Carl Menger's sadness over the decline of liberalism and the rise of statism in Europe. Here's what Mises said:

Around Christmas, 1903, I read Menger's Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (Principles of Economics) for the first time. It was the reading of this book that made an "economist" of me.

Personally I met Carl Menger only many years later, He was then already more than seventy years old, hard of hearing, and plagued by an eye disorder. But his mind was young and vigorous. Again and again I have myself why this man did not make better use of the last decades of his life. The fact that he still could do brilliant work if he wanted to do so was shown by his essay, "Geld" ("Money"), which he contributed to the Handwõrterbuch der Staatswissenschaften (Encyclopedia of State Sciences).

I believe that I know what discouraged Menger and what silenced him so early. His sharp mind had recognized the destiny of Austria, of Europe, and of the world. He saw the greatest and most advanced of all civilizations [nineteenth and twentieth century Western Europe] rushing to the abyss of destruction. He foresaw all the horrors which we are experiencing today [1940, World War II]. He knew the consequences of the world's turning away from true Liberalism [not the contrary Leftist so-called liberalism in the United States] and Capitalism. Nonetheless, he did what he could to stem the tide. His book, Untersuchungen über die Methode der Socialwissenschaften und der Politischen Economie insbesondere (Problems of Economics and Sociology, translated by Francis J. Nock and edited by Louis Schneider) was meant as a polemic essay against all those pernicious intellectual currents that were poisoning the world from the universities of Great Prussia. The knowledge that his fight was without expectation of success, however, sapped his strength. He had transmitted this pessimism to his young student and friend, Archduke Rudolf, successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The Archduke committed suicide because he despaired about the future of his empire and the fate of European civilization, not because of a woman. He took a young girl along in death who, too, wished to die; but he did not commit suicide on her account.

My grandfather [on my mother's side] had a brother who died several years before I was born. The brother, Dr. Joachim Landau had been a liberal deputy in the Austrian Parliament and a close friend of his party colleague, deputy Dr. Max Menger, a brother of Carl Menger. One day Joachim Landau told my grandfather about a conversation he had had with Carl Menger.

According to my grandfather, as told to me around 1910, Carl Menger had made the following remarks: "The policies as conducted by the European powers will lead to a horrible war that will end with gruesome revolutions, with the destruction of European culture and the destruction of the prosperity of all nations. In preparation for these inevitable events investments only in gold hoards, and perhaps obligations of the two Scandinavian countries can be recommended." In fact, Menger had his savings invested in Swedish obligations. Whoever foresees so clearly before the age of forty the disaster and the destruction of everything he deems of value, cannot escape pessimism and psychic depression. What kind of a life would King Priam have had, the old rhetors were accustomed to ask, if at the age of twenty he already would have foreseen the fall of ancient Troy! Carl Menger had barely half of his life behind him when he foresaw the inevitability of the fall of his Troy.

The same pessimism overshadowed other sharp-sighted Austrians. Being Austrian afforded the sad privilege of having a better opportunity to recognize fate and destiny. Grillparzer's melancholy and peevishness arose from this source. The feeling of facing powerlessly the coming evil drove the most able and noble of all Austrian patriots, Adolf Fischhof, into loneliness.

For obvious reasons I frequently discussed Knapp's Statliche Theorie des Geldes (State Theory of Money) with Menger. His answer was, "It is the logical development of Prussian police science. What are we to think of a nation whose elite, after two hundred years of economics, admire such nonsense, which is not even new, as highest revelation? What can we still expect of such a nation?"

Of course, one can have hope in the long-term Christian Reconstruction of the world and still have reason to believe in the short-term judgment of statism in a particular nation or culture. Mises seems to have avoided Menger's "psychic depression," sustained perhaps by a sense of duty, an obligation to share knowledge and provide answers, even if the answers are rejected by a majority (1 Peter 3:15). Theonomy trumps eschatology.

In fact, the judgment of statism in history, while tragic in a human sense, is a vindication of God's Word, and thus a cause of hope and rejoicing. The Theocratically-meek shall inherit the earth, often after the fall of pride-blinded Troy.

Menger was a humanist.