Archive | March, 2013

The One Minute Rational Argument for Gay Marriage

Chip Joyce eloquently makes the argument for homosexuals being legally allowed to marry:

Marriage has been defined as heterosexual only because of religion. Period.

It is obvious to honest people who don’t live in complete seclusion, that gay couples exist with the exact same relationship as married people have, and they need and deserve the same legal recognition and protection.

The definition of marriage has been wrong because of religious bigotry. The concept of marriage applies to gay couples too, and the definition needs to be corrected to accurately refer to the concept.

It’s like this: a bad definition of swans said they are white, and then there was a black one. The concept “swan” is the same, regardless, and the definition is demonstrably flawed. In the same way, there is no reason for “man and wife” to be in the definition of “marriage” any more than the color white be in the definition of “swan.” “Man and wife” and “white” are non-essential and should be omitted. Marriage is a type of relationship between two consenting adults.

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Putin on a Nostalgia Bender

Putin on a nostalgia bender, misses those good-old KGB days:

Governments and rights organizations are decrying raids by Russian authorities on more than 2,000 international and domestic advocacy groups, what observers say is an unprecedented campaign to silence critics of the Kremlin.

[…]

“This is an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in Russia that started in June with the adoption of a number of restrictive laws, which curtailed freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” said Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch. “There is a lot of poisonous anti-foreigner rhetoric and proposals for new laws; it is a very bad atmosphere.”

The raids are being conducted under Russia’s “foreign agent” law, which requires Russian nongovernmental organizations that engage in public advocacy and receive money from foreign donors to register as foreign agents. In most cases, the raids are carried out by prosecutorial, Justice Ministry and tax officials.

[…]

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday that the raids are aimed at combating money laundering and corruption. [Link]

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Obamacare Rolls On and On

Insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Obama’s overhaul, the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts has estimated.That’s likely to increase premiums for at least some Americans buying individual plans.

The report by the Society of Actuaries could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act.

While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.

The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. That’s because the primary impact of Obama’s law is on people who don’t have coverage through their jobs. [Link]

 

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Ben Carson Disappoints

Ben Carson is disappointing. Says evolution is anti-marriage.

“Dr. Carson has also used his platform as a famous neurosurgeon to promote the rejection of evolution,” the explanation  reads. ”‘Ultimately, if you accept the evolutionary theory,’ he said, in a statement that would apply to the majority of students and faculty at Johns Hopkins, ‘you dismiss ethics, you don’t have to abide by a set of moral codes, you determine your own conscience based on your own desires.’ This belief of Dr. Carson’s was unknown to many of us at the time of his nomination.” [Link]

 

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Video: Global Capitalism: The Solution to World Oppression and Poverty by Andrew Bernstein

The opponents of global capitalism overlook the key points in the debate. The capitalistic nations of Europe, North America and Asia are by far the wealthiest societies of history—with per capita incomes in the range of at least $20,000-$30,000 annually. But capitalism is not merely the system of prosperity; fundamentally, it is the system of individual rights and freedom.

Capitalistic nations protect their citizens’ freedom of speech, of the press and of intellectual expression. Similarly, their citizens possess economic freedom, including the right to own property, to start their own businesses and to seek profit. By stark contrast, the pre-capitalist systems of history, and the non-capitalist systems of the present, are politically oppressive and economically destitute; their citizens have no rights and, consequently, little or no wealth.

What deeper principles make possible the freedom and wealth enjoyed under capitalism—and lacking in its political antipodes? How has capitalism already greatly enhanced the lives of millions of human beings in formerly impoverished Third World countries? What can the men of the free world do to further promote the spread of capitalism into the repressed nations of the globe?

Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York, and teaches at Marist College & at SUNY Purchase. Dr. Bernstein is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire (2005); Objectivism in One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (2008); Capitalism Unbound: The Incontestable Moral Case for Individual Rights (2010); and Capitalist Solutions: A Philosophy of American Moral Dilemmas (2011). He has written the Cliffs Notes for three Ayn Rand titles: Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged.

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Tax Dollars Well Spent

Now I can rest easy. The Question of the Century has been answered for me. Now I can retire to Bora Bora and let all my troubles lift from my mind and shoulders, enjoy my retirement, chase after the nubile maidens in that fair land, and contemplate moon rises, for this I now know:

“Many duck penises are cork-screw shaped and some scientists believe this is because of a form of evolution known as ‘sexual conflict’.”

“The grant was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus package.” [Link]

But I do wish the government would fund a study of why, oh why, goose droppings resemble tiny gray-green grenades. I will wait with bated breath for the findings, happy to know that my tax dollars are being so well spent.

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Investors.com: Ayn Rand’s Idealism Explains Her Enduring Success

Charles C. Johnson has penned an excellent piece on Ayn Rand’s enduring influence, “Novelist Ayn Rand’s Romantic Idealism Explains Her Enduring Success – Investors.com“, which is best summarized by this sentence:

Ayn Rand is one of the best-selling novelists of modern America. Her success owes much to her vision of human excellence.”

Definitely worth a read.

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Lobbying and Political Power

by Brian Phillips

We regularly hear about the corrupting influence of money on the political process. Politicians of both parties eagerly endorse, and pass, campaign finance “reform” to limit donations, and then are equally eager to find ways to skirt the law to finance their next election. But this doesn’t stop statists of every variety for calling for more “reforms.”

As an example, The Houston Chronicle, in response to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, editorialized:

With this action, the court has effectively undermined the influence of individuals and parties on electoral outcomes, while vastly increasing the clout of business behemoths and their lobbyist representatives to influence and intimidate legislators to support their agendas. If the lawmaker doesn’t play ball, he or she can be threatened with an unregulated financial blitz come election time.

This is a classic case of dropping context. The Chronicle conveniently ignores numerous facts as it puts forth another call for more government regulation.

Contrary to the paper’s implication, “business behemoths” are nothing more than a collection of individuals. Individuals do not lose their rights when they join together to pursue a common goal. They retain their right to act according to their own judgment without interference from others, so long as they respect the mutual rights of others. This includes donating to political candidates.

The paper fears that this will lead to undue corporate influence over elections, that businesses and their lobbyists will exert pressure on politicians to support legislation and policies favorable to those businesses. This is likely true, but it too drops context.

The paper refuses to question the premise that underlies lobbying. It fails to question a political process that allows–and even encourages–pressure group politics. Instead, the paper argues that some groups–businesses–should not have an “unfair” advantage.

Lobbyists are not a creation of the free market, but of a mixed economy–an economy with a mixture of freedoms and controls. When government has the power to regulate economic activity, individuals will seek to influence that power. When government has the power to arbitrarily dictate the actions of individuals, individuals will seek legislation that is favorable to them.

The logical result is pressure group politics, in which individuals band together to exert influence on legislators. Whether the group is a union, a business, or a special interest, it will claim that the “common good” or “public interest” requires legislation that provides it with special benefits at the expense of those who are not a member of that group. This is true whether the legislation prescribes or proscribes, whether the legislation confers tax benefits, or creates entitlement programs, or attempts to stimulate some industry.

When faced with the alternative of legislation that is beneficial or harmful to their interests, most individuals would prefer legislation that is beneficial. It is morally proper to pursue one’s interests, so long as one respects the mutual rights of others to do the same.

Pressure group politics makes this virtually impossible. One never knows when some government edict will dictate or prohibit certain actions. One never knows when his plans and interests will be sacrificed to the “general welfare”. The motto of pressure group politics is: Eat or be eaten; sacrifice oneself, or sacrifice others.

The Chronicle does not question the need for sacrifice. It only wants to quibble over the victims. Despite what the Chronicle believes, the real issue is not who should influence politicians, but the purpose of government.

Government’s only legitimate purpose is the protection of individual rights–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. When government is restricted to this purpose, the motivation to influence politicians does not exist. When government can no longer dispense political favors, lobbyists will disappear.

 

Brian Phillips has been actively defending individual rights for the past twenty-five years. He has successfully helped defeat attempts to implement zoning in Houston, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico. His writing has appeared in The Freeman, Reason, The Orange County Register, The Houston Chronicle, The Objective Standard, Capitalism Magazine, and dozens of other publications. He is the author of Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants

Dr. Binswanger makes the case for open immigration in Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve An Apology – Forbes:

Freedom of travel is a right. It is a right possessed by every human being, not just by Americans. […]

Why is this? It is because land does not belong to the government, or majority, but that:

Land belongs to individual, private owners, and only they have the right to invite or bar others from coming on their land. The government has no more right to lock people out than to lock them in. The same principle damning the Berlin Wall damns walls erected to keep people out.

[…] what are we to think of those “illegals” who have disobeyed these laws? Everyone seems to think that entering the country without the government’s permission is a serious offense, that the illegals should at the least be “sent to the back of the line,” that their law-breaking forever stains them with dishonor. But the law is wrong. […]

The illegals came here because they value America. They broke an unjust law in order to live a free, better, richer life. In the vast majority of cases, obeying anti-immigration laws would mean never getting to live here. It’s a life sentence.

Breaking bad laws to build a better life not is dishonorable; it is admirable, provided breaking the law involves no use of force. Coming here in defiance of unjust laws is a peaceful act; it is just the avoidance of the force our government would initiate against them. It is certainly wrong to wield private force; it is wrong to take the law into one’s own hand. But these are not involved in illegal immigration. 

Read the rest.

 

 

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It’s Not a Sacrifice But an Investment

Woman donates kidney to husband just before Valentine’s Day – TODAY Celebrates

“(I’m) giving as much love as I have,” DeGeso-Jones told Orlando’s News 13 before the surgery. “It’s completely from my heart. James has said things to me about it being a huge sacrifice, and I said, ‘It’s not; it’s an investment. This is our life. It’s not just your life that I’m giving, too. There can’t be an ‘us’ without it.’ So, that’s what it’s about.”

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