Archive for the ‘liberty’ Category

I went to one Tea Party/Tax Day Protest yesterday, a friend of mine went to another, and I haven’t spoken to anyone who went to the third one, which was not really a rally/protest because (a) it was held at a hotel, and (b) it was limited occupancy.  You needed reservations.

The reviews are in: if we are going to have a vibrant, active Tea Party scene in this town, the various groups are going to have to get a little better at coordinating with each other and stirring up the “normal” folks to turn out.  Both of the events at the Capitol were sparsely attended, and there was a disproportionately large presence of “Texas Independence” types and Libertarians.   When normal, mainstream folks don’t show, the fringyer the scene.  What was weird was the money that they seem to have laid their hands on since the last protest.  Lotsa fliers, tee shirts, big expensive banners, and pre-printed stuff.  It made me think that the rumored “crashing” that was to have taken place was of a more subtle nature: give money to the fringe whackos so that they look like they are organized and dominant.

A week before the rallies, I sent out an email to everyone I could think of asking when and where.  I had received no word, despite belonging to several groups who had active Tea Partiers in them.  I was gratified get many responses, but most were inaccurate in one way or another. Then, at the last minute, news about another gathering surfaced- this I heard about on the Greta van Susteren show.  Newt Gingrich was to be in Austin on April 15.  Then one of the known events changed times- something I heard through the grapevine, too (not complaining about grapevines, but why does my friend get the robocalls and I don’t?).  Mind you, we had all googled “Tax day protest Austin” and “Tea Party Austin” and other permutations of relevant searches and NONE OF THESE events showed up on the searches.  None, zero, zip, nada.

So, to recap: poor publicity and poor, self-defeating lack of coordination, and last minute changes leading to poor attendance and dominance of astro-turf fringe groups.  I’d like to hear from people who went to the Gingrich event, which I believe was sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots.  Way to go, guys: suck the oxygen out of the other rallies for an indoor, limited access event.  Nice!

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This link forwarded to me this AM. Looks familiar.


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Watching the US House pass the healthcare bill two nights ago left me shaking my head and my ire at democrats skyrocketing. I can’t and will not listen to them, and refuse to believe they can ever be trusted with the keys to the country. Eleven states are prepared to file suit against this legislation and I hope against all hope they are successful. (Brings to mind the line from Dumb & Dumber – ‘so you’re saying there’s a chance?’)

One of the better dialogues of the day was between Mark Steyn and Dennis Miller. Steyn reacts in a blog post “Happy Dependence Day” on National Review online. The best quip from Miller being that New Hampshire will be receiving Stimulus funds to get people jobs scrubbing the word “free” from every place the state motto (Live Free or Die) appears, making it “Live or Die” as a consequence of the new health care laws.

How could anyone believe there are Pro-Life democrats after this. Stupak is such a cheap date. Who believed he would have ever voted against the bill? How his head was turned by an executive order is pure foolishness – let’s see, Obama also signed an order closing Gitmo in one year, to no effect. Laura Ingraham has nickname Stupak as “Stooge-pac”.

Repeal? Charles Krauthammer (also on with Miller) says very unlikely and predicts the value added tax. He and Steyn are the two sharpest knives in the drawer, and they both say this bill is an intermediary stage and we will keep moving to a single payer system. Who can argue against?

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For whatever reason, my personal brand of self-expression seems to tickle Kathryn.

What can I say?  After 6 minutes of actuarial foreplay, with a climax of “If you think that [the American people] want a government takeover of health care, I respectfully submit, you aren’t listening to them,” my conservative bodice is officially ripped.   What isn’t shown in the video is the sputtering, rambling, shambling, unfocused, and incoherent response from President Red Pill-Blue Pill.  I sat through it: it was long enough for me to finish my cigarette.

OK, it’s a girl thing.  Philo- keep your shirt on.

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Barack Obama urges his supporters to get “in your face.” The attempt to silence critics that Michelle Malkin recounts deserves much more attention than its been getting.

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Barack Obama is complaining to the Department of Justice and threatening stations and networks with legal action to stop them from airing an independent ad that links him to domestic terrorism by way of his association with Bill Ayers. As Michelle Malkin points out, that doesn’t bode well for freedom of speech under an Obama administration. Obama calls the ad an “appalling lie.” But everything the ad says is true:

  1. Ayers, as head of the Weather Underground, was a domestic terrorist.
  2. Ayers remains unrepentant about his activities.
  3. Obama did have close association with Ayers—much closer than Obama has acknowledged—getting his political start in Ayers’ home and working with Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the only thing that gives the complaint any chance of success is a law called McCain-Feingold?

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For some time now, rates of violent crime in Europe have been far higher than in the United States. Now, increasingly, it has a racist and religious edge to it, as gangs of North Africans and Turks attack native Europeans. Links to Muslim immigration are obvious, though information suggesting as much is officially suppressed. What strikes me, but Europeans rarely remark upon, is the role of gun control. Europeans cannot protect themselves the way Americans would in similar circumstances. Even the police use rubber bullets, allowing criminal rampages to take place without consequences for the criminals. Gun control opponents in the United States have often argued, “If having a gun becomes a crime, only criminals will have guns.” The European experience suggests taking it one step further. If you keep guns out of the hands of criminals as well as the law-abiding public, all the criminals have to do is arm themselves with knives, rocks, or a board with a nail in it (thank you, Simpsons!) and attack in groups.

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Wretchard quotes Mark Steyn, speaking in Vancouver before he goes on trial:

What we’re up against is not primarily defined by what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are still essentially military campaigns and we’re good at those. … it might be truer to say that this is a Cold Civil War – by which I mean a war within the west. The real war is a domestic war: the key terrain is not the Sunni Triangle but every major city within the western world. …

Even if there were no battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if no one was flying planes into tall buildings in New York, even if no one were blowing up trains and buses and nightclubs in Madrid and London and Bali, even without all that, we would still be in danger of losing this thing – without a shot being fired.

Wretchard himself remarks:

But what “kinda guy” is modern Western multiculturalism, that proud creation of “progressive” thought? It is, in the last analysis, the principal ally of every fascist unicultural force there is. Steyn soon warms to the point that what is at issue isn’t what Islam is; because Islam will be what it will be. What is at issue in the hate speech proceedings is what the West wants to be.

In the comments, he continues:

Islam and Marxism are examples of “greedy ideas”; ideas whose main purpose is to reproduce themselves, in part by eliminating all competition until they literally rule the world.

In contrast, the notion of diversity as a good springs precisely from idea that even ideas which are “unfit to survive” deserve preservation on the grounds that they contribute something even if we do not know what that something is.

The phenomenon of a “multicultural society” coming to the rescue of a “unicultural tyranny” is the outcome of a greedy idea coming into an environment where it’s very greediness — its will to power — is protected.

I am not persuaded that the current multicultural leadership is truly committed to diversity. Rather, diversity is used as a cover under which a “greedy idea” can be advanced. The problem with totalitarian notions is that by their nature they are all or nothing affairs. As one Englishman put it, “they are either at your feet or at your throat”.

The key problem is how to face down greedy ideas like Marxism and Islam without becoming a species of totalitarianism ourselves. I am not convinced this is possible, at least in the militant stage. Totalitarian ideas must be beaten down until they are discredited. They are unsafe to leave in virulent condition.

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Hollar on Happiness

Brian Hollar reflects on happiness and Iceland:

While it is true that people in wealthier countries are happier than people in poorer countries, there is only weak correlation inside those countries between happiness and wealth. (In other words, if you live in a wealthy nation, earning a lot of income probably won’t buy you a whole lot of happiness relative to a modest income.) My intuition says that a similar relationship may hold true for marriage and religiosity — cross-country comparisons and intra-country comparisons may lead to two entirely different results. It is entirely conceivable that countries with higher divorce rates and lower levels of religiosity are “happier” than countries with lower divorce rates and higher levels of religiosity, while at the same time people in each country who have higher religiosity and lower divorce rates are happier than their fellow countrymen.

P.S. – People generally are happier the freer they are. When freedom and wealth both increase, people have greater opportunity and ability to express true preferences about both religion and marriage. This could lead to less preference falsification within society — potentially leading to higher divorce rates and lower rates of religious participation. (Timur Kuran has some excellent work on preference falsification called Private Truth, Public Lies.) I would expect societies with lower levels of preference falsification to have stronger correlations between happiness, marriage, and religiosity.

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Michael Malone writes in today’s Wall Street Journal about the new frontier of widespread entrepreneurship:

The entire world seems to be heading toward points of inflection. The developing world is embarking on the digital age. The developed world is entering the Internet era. And the United States, once again at the vanguard, is on the verge of becoming the world’s first Entrepreneurial Nation….

In the past there have been trading states like Venice, commercial regions like the Hanseatic League, and even so-called nations of shopkeepers. But there has never been a nation in which the dominant paradigm is entrepreneurship. Not just self-employment or sole proprietorship, but serial company-building, entire careers built on perpetual change, independence and the endless pursuit of the next opportunity.

Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.

Some of us are already there:

Scary, exciting, liberating, frustrating, infinitely ambitious and thoroughly amnesic. If you live in a high-tech community like Silicon Valley or Redmond or Austin, you already live in this world. It’s hard to imagine more exciting places to be.

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