Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another great one from PJTV

Again, thanks to Pajamas Media:

The Power and Danger of Iconography

With thanks to Pajamas Media:

My Letter to Senator Robert Casey (D-PA)

Dear Senator Casey,

I am writing to express my supreme disgust and extreme displeasure at your vote yesterday to uphold federal funding for ACORN and its affiliates by voting "NO" on the Johanns Amendment.

ACORN representatives in multiple states are either under investigation or already subject to criminal prosecution for incidents of voter fraud.

ACORN representatives were recently recorded by intrepid, independent investigative journalists conspiring to promote tax fraud, mortgage and bank fraud, child exploitation, illegal immigration, and the facilitation of prostitution.

Your vote yesterday is a disgrace to the good name of your father, a slap in the face of every Pennsylvania resident, a stab in the back to every American taxpayer and voter, and shows blatant disregard for the oath you took to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; to bear true faith and allegiance to the same."

Thank you for your attention.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Senate Adopts the Johanns Amendment to HR3288!

The United States Senate has adopted the amendment proposed by Mike Johanns (R-NE) that prevents ACORN from receiving ANY federal funds under current appropriations.

The vote was 83-7.

Every American tax payer owes a debt of gratitude to James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles.

Wisdom of the Day

And yet however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have
already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former
cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions
will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall
be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their
opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their
declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the
energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a
temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over
scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more
commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere
pretense and artifice; the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the
public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual
concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be
infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it
will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the
security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed
judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition
more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people
than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of
government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more
certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those
men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have
begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing
demagogues, and ending Tyrants.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1

Getting Exactly What You've Asked For

I happened to be at my parents' house in New Jersey this weekend, and I decided to risk assured infuriation by reading their copy of The New York Times. I wasn't disappointed. One article in particular jumped off the page at me, and it's a wonderful demonstration of how the willingness of "We the People" to cede our liberty and sovereignty to government makes all of our lives worse.

The piece is entitled "Turning to Windmills, but Resistance Lingers" and it is dated September 13, 2009.

It's the story of Wendie Howland of Bourne, MA. Based on the introductory paragraph, "Wendie Howland grows her own food and heats her water with rooftop solar panels. She drives a Prius with a bumper sticker that boasts 'One less S.U.V.'," I'm going to go out on a strong limb and assume that:

1) She's a good, caring liberal.
2) She voted for President Obama.
3) She has enthusiastically supported environmental groups and regulations.

Well, Mrs. Howland and her husband have been prevented by government regulation from erecting a wind turbine on their own private property so they can generate some or all of their own electricity. It's a disgrace, but it's exactly what liberals have asked for time and time again by placing in the hands of government what we can and cannot do with our liberty and private property.

Ms. Howland's neighbors "overwhelmingly approved" a bylaw regulating windmills in 2007. This is "collectivism" at its worst, especially since "To Mrs. Howland, the town's claim that a windmill would hurt the character of her neighborhood was especially galling. None of her closest neighbors objected, she said."

Now, the usual liberal response to an anti-regulatory comment by a conservative usually descends into rhetorical slams like "you don't believe in a clean environment" or "you only care about big business' interests and not that of the people", or worse.

I support Mr. & Mrs. Howland's desire for a wind turbine because it is the conservative thing to do! It is their private property. How they want to use their property, and their wealth to improve upon it, is their business and no one else's.

Here's how a scenario like this should play out, taking both self and community interest into consideration:

1) I want to erect a wind turbine to generate electricity for myself. It is worth the cost to me because I believe that I'm going to get more value out of the transaction than what I'm spending. That value could be in lowering my electricity bill, believing that I'm being better to the environment, whatever - the value is what is important; I'm acting in my own self-interest.

2) Since it is in my own self-interest to care about my neighbors, I inform them that I'd like to build the turbine. This gives them the option to object, raise concerns, or otherwise act on their own self-interests.

3) Now, I'm putting my "neighbor" hat on. What am I worried about? How is this going to affect me? If the thing falls over, where's it going to land? Perhaps I don't want them to erect their turbine, but what can I do to mitigate the situation? I can ask for financial consideration. I can ask them if they have an insurance rider covering the turbine and its effects. I can ask if I can share in the electricity generated - either for my consent or for contribution of my own wealth -since it can't practically be stored. I can ask for a trade or concession as simple as, "Hey, whenever I need to cut my grass can I use your tractor?"

4) Back to being the turbine erector. Now that I've talked to the neighbors, I can decide if the costs of my project - including that of satisfying my neighbors and community - still provide the value I'm looking for. Maybe I go ahead, maybe I don't. Perhaps my neighbors still aren't happy and seek other recourse if we can't come to a mutually agreeable, beneficial, and profitable solution.

That is liberty. That is freedom. That is caring about one's neighbors out of one's own self-interest.

And that, by the way, is capitalism. Trading wealth for value in one's own self-interest to generate more wealth, be it material or otherwise, is the essence of economics.

It's also the essence of our unalienable right, as Jefferson wrote, to "the pursuit of Happiness."

I hope the Howlands eventually get their freedom to use their wealth and property as they want to, even though by what I'm assuming their political and regulatory stances have been, they got exactly what they asked for time and time again in being denied their freedom.