Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Common Sense

President Obama is in the news talking about worldwide "common sense" regulation of business. He used similar locution talking about "common sense" gun control. One gets the sense that President Obama uses those words similarly to the fictional Oceana in George Orwell's 1984, in which the "Ministry of Peace" wages war and the "Ministry of Truth" spreads lies.

What is common sense when it comes to government? One of our founding political philosophers, Thomas Paine, writing in 1775-1776 told us in his famous pamphlet, "Common Sense:"
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labour out of the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right, will have a seat.

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act, were they present. If the colony continues increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of the representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED.

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right.

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is granted. When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, subject to convulsions, and incapable of producing what it seems to promise, is easily demonstrated.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

When is a Weapon an Assault Weapon?

It is no secret. I do not like Eric Holder. Eric Holder supports the misnamed assault weapons ban.

There is a vast difference between a fully automatic rifle (already illegal except for law enforcement organizations and a few license holders) and a semi-automatic rifle. No knowledgeable person would equate the two.

Maybe it is the word "automatic" (even preceded by "semi") that scares. But a semi-automatic is NOT an automatic. The only shooting difference between a semi-automatic pistol and a double action revolver is that the "semi-automatic" has an easier trigger pull (and therefore more accuracy). There is one other difference, one must physically cock the semi-automatic before firing the first round.

Assault weapons bans are based on big lies. The bans far exceed bans on automatic rifles which are already illegal. The bans truly infringe on Second Amendment rights by banning some of the most popular guns in America.

See this video.


See this one -- testimony by a shooting victim.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Eric Holder, A Bad Attorney General

Eric Holder reversed the Department of Justice position on a death-penalty case last night in San Francisco, offering a 40-year sentence in a plea agreement for multiple murders, Reports the San Francisco Chronical.
Fort, 27, is accused of committing three murders and attempting two others in 2003 and 2004 as a leader of a gang that fought for control of turf and drug trafficking at the Sunnydale public housing projects in Visitacion Valley. Police said one victim, a 7-week-old infant named Glenn Molex, was killed in his Bayview home in September 2003 by a shot fired from a passing car intended for his father.
If charged under state law and convicted, Fort would have faced either the death penalty or life without possiblity of parole.

A Prayer for Our Time

A prayer for our time:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we ave done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Amen!

[Source: Pastor Joe Wright of the Central Christian Church in Kansas]

As a Christian, I pray this in Jesus's name.

Update: This prayer stirred controversy in the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996.

Obama Depression Coming?

From the Wall Street Journal:
Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it's become clear that Mr. Obama's policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence -- and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth.
...
The market has notably plunged since Mr. Obama introduced his budget last week, and that should be no surprise. The document was a declaration of hostility toward capitalists across the economy. Health-care stocks have dived on fears of new government mandates and price controls. Private lenders to students have been told they're no longer wanted. Anyone who uses carbon energy has been warned to expect a huge tax increase from cap and trade. And every risk-taker and investor now knows that another tax increase will slam the economy in 2011, unless Mr. Obama lets Speaker Nancy Pelosi impose one even earlier.
Obama and the Democrats are now in charge. Their idea of change appears to be the employment of tax cheats in the government and equality for all in the form of universal poverty.

Opposition to Voter ID is Racist?

I read a recent Mother Jones article (don't ask why) that noted that voter ID laws have a negligible effect on elections.  OK so far.  T...