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“Danger Spaces” for Free Speech and Open Discourse

Posted by V the K at 11:11 am - November 2, 2015.
Filed under: Free Speech,Freedom

Liberals (or Progressives, or Leftists, depending on the degree of honesty with which they are willing to label themselves) especially feminists are fanatical about shutting off avenues of Free Speech that questions their dogma. Some feminists demand that, when a speaker they don’t agree with comes to a college campus, they must be given safe spaces with coloring books and stuffed animals, lest the mere presence of such a speaker cause them trauma. Some feminists have demanded making the entire internet a “Safe Space” by outright banning of disagreeable comments from the internet.

The correct response for those of us who cherish open discourse is to label spaces where free and open dialogue occurs as “Danger Spaces.” First of all, it sounds cool. Second, it creates a dramatic contrast with the the prissy “Safe Spaces” demanded by the feminist left. Third, it brands Free Speech as something dangerous and exciting and thereby encourages people to seek it out.

Fourth, and I think this is the most important thing, it points up how idiotic and silly the leftist/feminist notion that free speech is so dangerous they have to create “Speech-Proof” shelters to protect themselves from it really is.


Irwin Schiff, R.I.P.

This past week, we had news that Irwin Schiff passed away on October 16. Schiff was a U.S. veteran, author, heroic income-tax protestor and, sadly, a U.S. political prisoner.

photo of Irwin Schiff
Irwin Schiff, 1928-2015

Big Government advocates will sometimes claim that the U.S. tax system is voluntary. They say it because they want to deny the obvious: that government is force (by its nature, it operates by forcing people against their will) – and that, as advocates of Big Government, they do basically want a dictatorial, regimented society.

I’ve seen lefties making the “voluntary” claim in GP comments. But as a stronger example, here is Democrat leader Harry Reid saying, “Our system of government is a voluntary tax system…We have a voluntary system.” Because, says Reid, if you don’t pay taxes in the U.S., “You don’t go to jail.”

That “voluntary” claim is nonsense, in practice. Some people, such as Eric Garner in 2014, are hounded by the police for selling untaxed cigarettes and then fatally assaulted by the police. Others like Gilbert Hyatt may be hounded by State authorities for decades, although they paid all taxes in full. Others like perceived Tea Party groups may be blocked (silenced) by the IRS for their political beliefs, before they could even have a chance to file tax reports.

And those who refuse to pay income taxes due to their outspoken moral and constitutional principles, such as Irwin Schiff, are jailed – and then forced to die in jail from untreated cancer. So much for the U.S. system being “voluntary”. You can be a conscientious objector to the draft! But not to the federal income tax.

I could try to tell more of Irwin Schiff’s story, but Peter Schiff does it best in his article, Death of a Patriot. Read the whole thing.

And consider downloading and reading Irwin Schiff’s last book, The Federal Mafia: How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes. It’s free.

It’s free because, during Schiff’s lifetime, the government enjoined him from selling it. That makes it a banned book; indeed, it’s supposed to be the only book banned in the U.S. in the last 50 years (other than libel cases).

The book also claims that the U.S. income tax system is voluntary. I must suggest that Mr. Schiff’s own experience shows that, as a practical matter, he was mistaken about that. But he covers the history of the income tax in the U.S. and the IRS’ own use of the word “voluntary”. As such, Schiff may well have been right about the underlying Constitutional principle, or what *should theoretically* be true under the U.S. Constitution (which today’s U.S. government flouts in many ways).

Anyway, the book’s unusual ban, and Schiff’s cruel death in federal prison, should tell you something about our government’s true priorities. Hint: It’s much more to do with protecting the government’s power and jobs, than protecting or serving you.

On the Difficulty of Being a Patriot (when your citizenry sux)

Hi folks! (Jeff/ILC) I haven’t posted here for several months. Where have I been?

As a rule, I dislike negative people; I like problem-solvers and try to be one. But sometimes, even a problem-solver can get negative because problem-solving starts with acknowledging reality, and the reality may be very negative.

This is the situation I’m in, with regard to the United States of America. By my guess, Americans today fall into roughly four categories:

  • 25% good people. (Constructive people who see clearly and value liberty.)
  • 25% confused people. (Semi-good people who have been mis-educated with anti-freedom ideas. Some of these may live off the public trough, although they know they shouldn’t.)
  • 25% parasites. (People who expect to live off the public trough, claiming it’s right and they deserve it.)
  • 25% fascists. (People, usually leftists though not always, who actively want government to control more and more of everyone’s lives. Even speech, for example with speech codes.)

When I was a kid, things were not much better; but they may have been a little bit better. The proportions seemed to be more like 30, 30, 20, 20. So the balance was a little more in favor of the good people.

I believe that, by now in 2015, the balance has tipped against the nation’s remaining good people. As a result:

  • We get “leader” after “leader” who is either pathetic and confused (Donald Trump, any of the Bushes), or pathetic and malevolent (Barack Obama, any of the Clintons or Kennedys).
  • We get government officials that continually lie – for example, saying that unemployment is 5.1% when it is 11% or more – and a media that couldn’t care less, as long as Planned Parenthood or its other favorite causes will be funded.
  • Add your own. (Libya? Syria? Talk about illegal wars! Given that ISIS and the disgusting, U.S.-backed “Syrian rebels” are much the same people, shouldn’t we be asking if ISIS may be an incredibly-stupid U.S. covert op?)

I gotta be honest: It’s depressing. As I survey this post-modern, corrupt, neo-socialist wreck of a nation that had once proudly taught the world about human freedom and productivity, I feel disgust and disappointment. I’ve been absent from the blog because I hit a point where I simply did not want to pay any attention to current events. And because I (still) feel uncomfortable writing at a blog with the word “patriot” in the title when, in Obama’s America, there is increasingly less that is worth defending.

I love and support the America that its Founders had intended: a beacon of liberty. I do not love or support (except by paying a ton of taxes, in cash) the America that we have in the year 2015: a deceit-filled, national-socialist travesty whose eventual crash (and/or takeover by China) can no longer be prevented.

That’s at the political level. On a personal level: I have to admit that it took me a couple decades to “get it” – that is, to understand real economics, psychology and morality and how they should interact to make a free society. It took me awhile, because I was mis-educated originally (was told a lot of the standard lies), and because my general desire to love people and give them credit made it hard to disbelieve the lies. It took me a long time; so why not be patient with the many people today who “don’t get it”?

Here’s why not. Yes, it took me a long time; but I did “get it”, because of my lifelong commitment to figuring out what’s real and what isn’t real, what works and what doesn’t work. I don’t see most people making even half of such an effort. I see a majority of people lying to themselves and others, spouting crap, not caring that they’re spouting crap, and treating their families like crap – as they indulge themselves with daily marijuana, coke, alcohol, iPorn, affairs/hookups, all-day gaming or other destruction. Which they rationalize.

Anyway…your thoughts?

Gays Provoke Muslims into Killing Them

Posted by V the K at 11:35 am - May 10, 2015.
Filed under: Freedom

Just applying the “Pam Geller” standard to the recent ISIS Executions of Gay Men (which no one on the left gives a damn about). And to make the point, here’s offering some edits to the recent statements of prominent members of the MFM attacking Pam Geller for *provoking* Muslims.

“Why would anyone do something as provocative as hosting a Muhammad drawing contest being gay“?  New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.


“This is what happens when you light the fuse act all gay and stuff. You get violence.” – Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly.


“Everyone knew this eventbeing gay would unglue some who might become violent. And the police had no choice but to do their job and be there to protect against violence perversion of public morality…” – Greta Van Susteren, Fox News host and Scientologist. (Scientology being another gay-hating cult the left is perfectly okay with.)


“I think [the gays] caused this trouble, and whether this trouble came yesterday or it came two weeks from now, it’s gonna be in the air as long as you taunt flaunt your sexuality.” – Chris Matthews – MSDNC


“At some point free expression absolutism homosexuality becomes childish and unserious. It becomes its own kind of fanaticism.” – Washed Up 70′s cartoonist Garry Trudeau.

Progressive Leftist Busybodies (Democrats) Want to Control Your Diet

Posted by V the K at 11:23 am - February 21, 2015.
Filed under: Freedom

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), one of the thousands and thousands of Government bodies that have contributed to our $18 Trillion National Debt, has decided that the American Diet… much like Health Care, and Education… must be nationalized for the sake of “Public Health” and Gaia. 

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • “Make broad policy changes to transform the food system so as to promote population health, including the use of economic and taxing policies to encourage the production and consumption of healthy foods and to reduce unhealthy foods”
  • Forcing Americans to adopt a “plant-based” diet in order to reduce Global Warming.
  •  Diet and weight management interventions by “trained interventionists” in healthcare settings, community locations, and worksites
  • Limiting the time Americans spend watching TV or being on the computer through “coaching or counseling sessions,” “peer-based social support,” and “electronic tracking and monitoring of the use of screen-based technologies” as a way to limit screen time.

They want to raise taxes on foods they don’t approve of in order, literally,  to pay busybodies to watch over and nag people about diet and exercise.

And, guess what, they have decided that good health is a “human right.”

“In such a culture, preventing diet- and physical activity-related diseases and health problems would be much more highly valued, the resources and services needed to achieve and maintain health would become a realized human right across all population strata, the needs and preferences of the individual would be seriously considered, and individuals and their families/households would be actively engaged in promoting their personal health and managing their preventive health services and activities,” 

Yeah, nothing says “human right” like a Government Authority forcing you to do something against your will.

America is number…12? 16? 49?

The U.S.A., once number one for economic freedom, has sunk to number 12 per the Heritage Foundation. (Top seven: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Chile.)

Somewhere, some leftist is going “Yeah cool! Because economic freedom sux!” Well then. The U.S.A., once number one as a place to be born, has sunk to number 16 in The Economist magazine’s more Europe-friendly rankings. (Compare to 1988 ranking, here.)

What about political-social freedoms, like freedom of the press? The U.S.A., once number one for that, has sunk to number 49. Behind South Africa, Slovenia, even Germany.

As Reporters Without Borders puts it:

In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists were arbitrarily arrested during clashes between police and demonstrators protesting against black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting…

And where would RPB rank us, if they could consider that our tax authority specially targets our domestic political dissidents (Tea Party conservatives)?

“Thanks, Obama!”

Who are the real progressives? (Hint: We are)

Here’s a thought: *It’s wrong to take things from people by force.*

The above is an ethical principle so basic that even leftists know it. When, say, watching a movie that has cavemen, the leftie can see that the caveman taking things (by force) is a sign of his savagery. Or, when teaching a kindergarten, even a left-wing teacher will stop the kid who grabs another kid’s toys or body parts without prior, explicit consent. The willingness to deal with others by mutual, voluntary consent is the foundation of civilized society.

But in the sphere of politics, the left-winger forgets it. Politically, her concept is that if you can get “the community” or government to take things from people by force (rather than taking things yourself)……then it’s OK. She calls that concept “progressive”. But it isn’t progressive. It’s regressive and, indeed, reactionary.

It’s reactionary because it dates back to savage times. It’s the prevailing rule in the dark(er) ages of human history. In medieval and early modern times, they called it the Divine Right of Kings. The idea was that the monarch, being answerable only to God, had the right to take anyone’s life, liberty or property at any time. Which meant, more or less, that the government had the right; government was effectively unlimited.

Beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries, unlimited government was opposed by the Lockean Revolution, a set of ideas developed by many, including John Locke. The core idea was that individuals have natural rights, superior to the government’s. The Lockeans were not anarchists; they pushed the ideas of limited government and rule of law.

The Lockean Revolution was (and still is) profoundly progressive. In itself, it is an instance of progress (over savagery). Also, to whatever extent it has been practiced, it has tended to make the surrounding society much more developed and open.

Opponents of the Lockean Revolution were reactionaries. Why? Because almost by definition they were aristocrats, defending old privileges and unjust institutions (such as slavery and unlimited government).

Eventually, the reactionaries saw that Big Government could not survive, if people understood that it was reactionary. Big Government advocates saw the need to dress themselves up as new-fangled and “progressive”. So they developed new political theories; new justifications for Big Government, that is, government which would be able to take things from people by physical force, as it pleased.

Following more socialistic philosophers such as Rousseau or Marx, advocates of Big Government chopped off the King’s head – while preserving his Big (or nearly unlimited) government, in practice. Instead of God or the King’s right, they talked about the supremacy of the People (or Nation or Race or Proletariat or Community) over the individual. (“We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” – Hillary Clinton)

In chopping off the King’s head – and by their own loud, ongoing proclamation – Big Government advocates have re-branded themselves as “progressives”. But they are not. They remain reactionaries. Because, in practice, these “progressives” still oppose the Lockean Revolution – which is (in Jonah Goldberg’s phrasing) the greatest gift to humankind of the last 1,000 years.

In point of fact, limited government – and the Rule of Law – are civilization and progress; while Big Government, however left-wingers may now justify it, is still as savage and reactionary as it ever was.

We who believe in freedom and limited government may often get called reactionaries, by left-wingers. Call it example #6553 of left-wing deflection and projection.

Leftists hate hearing about the socialist roots of Nazism

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:09 am - December 9, 2014.
Filed under: Freedom,History,World History

That’s my embriefening of Daniel Hannan’s title from February: Leftists become incandescent when reminded of the socialist roots of Nazism.

Short version of this post: Hannan is awesome, so why not go read it?

Long version: I’ll tease his article for you, then add my comments. (more…)

Lesbian Mayor of Houston Backs Down

Posted by V the K at 9:51 am - October 16, 2014.
Filed under: Free Speech,Freedom

The lesbian mayor of Houston is backing down from her demand that churches in her city turn over all of their sermons, emails, and other communications so her lawyers could examine them for any criticism of her.

Mayor Parker admitted that the subpoenas were too broad, and that the pastors’ sermons should not have been included. “It’s not about what did you preach on last Sunday,” she said. “It should have been clarified, it will be clarified.”

However, she still maintains that the Government has the right to monitor the content of religious speech; because that’s who the Democrats are these days.

Europeans getting skeptical on Europe?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:20 am - May 27, 2014.
Filed under: Freedom,Politics abroad

Consider these recent items:

Some of these anti-EU folks are extreme nationalists, but more of them (like the UKIP) simply love liberty, democracy and traditional national sovereignty. The EU establishment hates those things, so look for EU media to try to tar them all as extremists, regardless of truth or facts.

That Which Is Not Freedom

Posted by V the K at 8:27 am - April 29, 2014.
Filed under: Freedom,Post 9-11 America


Rob Lowe Is the Man

Posted by V the K at 1:59 pm - April 9, 2014.
Filed under: Freedom

Sing it, you crazy brat-packer.

“My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.”

Amen, Brother, Amen.

Remember When Liberals Used to Believe This?

Posted by V the K at 11:19 pm - February 24, 2014.
Filed under: Free Speech,Freedom

YouTube Preview Image

Communism vs. freedom: The war is back!

And it’s happening in the middle of our own society, now.

I didn’t say nearly enough about this morning’s incredibly wrong quote from Jonathan Gruber, who is billed as the ‘architect’ of Obamacare:

We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or [if] you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance.

The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return.

First, Gruber doesn’t understand free markets: If we had them (and we have NOT had them in medical care for decades), then health insurance would always be available to people with pre-existing conditions, at some price. And they could choose to take it, or not – as they have the means and perceive being to their own advantage (or not).

One of the ways the Left wins is by warping language. In this case, the Left has warped the concept of “health insurance” to mean “subsidized health care”, health care paid largely by Other People’s Money.

And it’s true: the free market won’t supply that – beyond voluntary charity. Because it is by definition a win-lose transaction. Someone must be forced to pay the subsidy, and that person loses. The free market is about win-win transactions. If your basic desire is to win at someone else’s expense, forcing them to pay for you, then you naturally hate free markets; the Left is your political home. Congratulations.

Next, Gruber thinks it’s “discriminatory” that people with conditions would pay more for health care. But here’s the thing: They take more health care.

Just like young men get into more car accidents, consume more repair services and thus have to pay higher rates for car insurance, so unhealthy people properly should have larger bills for health care – or health insurance.

Finally, Gruber’s quote wrongly chalks up everything about one’s health to genetics, ignoring the role of lifestyle choices in determining health – and thus ignoring the role of personal responsibility. And that may be where he’s most wrong. We know that socializing health care will lead a society to greater disease, as people make worse lifestyle choices.

But we also know that the Left has a ready ‘solution’ for it: namely, greater government control of people’s lifestyle choices. We’ve seen the beginnings of it in the U.S., with Nanny Michelle-Bloomberg’s efforts. It’s a road that ends with everyone doing mandatory calisthenics in front of the telescreen, _1984_-style. Because, at some point, no one’s life is their own anymore; each person is an investment (property) of the State.

Which brings me to my point. There are, so to speak, “two paths you can go by”.

  • If you believe in freedom – that is, in self-ownership, responsibility and choice under the Rule of Law – the logic of your position drives you toward limited government. Not to anarchy, but to *min*archy: the idea that government is there to protect people’s rights against attack and crime and, beyond that, to do little; allowing people to reap what they sow.
  • If, instead, you believe in community ownership of people’s lives and efforts – the central tendency of communism – the logic of your position drives you toward ever-larger government. You will always need more government, to solve the social problems that you caused by your last round of increases to government. Concluding in totalitarianism.

People support Obamacare and President Obama depending on whether – deep in their souls – they truly prefer freedom or dictatorship.

Gruber’s idea is essentially communist. The idea that capable and healthy people must be forced to pay for incapable or unhealthy people, lest society be “discriminatory” or whatever, means that people’s lives are not their own. Whatever people become, whatever they produce, is ultimately the State’s property to distribute as it sees the need.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” – it can’t really ever be implemented, but if it could be, then only by total government diktat over everyone and everything. That is Gruber’s road – the underlying logic of his position – whether he admits it or not. It is also Karl Marx’s.

Thoughts for the day

From Jake Meyer in Bruce’s Twitter stream:

It can’t be a human right if it requires someone else’s labor. That’s theft, not freedom.

And, from Rep. Steve Stockman:

About 110,000 people contract chlamydia each month, more than signed up for Obamacare. Obamacare is less popular than chlamydia.

UPDATE: And America’s Communist era arrives thusly:

JONATHAN GRUBER, M.I.T.: …We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or [if] you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance.

The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return.

Gruber’s argument can (and will) be used to re-distribute anything. Literally anything. Because it’s founded on the idea that everything is generated, owned and consumed communally.

Steve Jobs of Apple, for example, was just a “genetic lottery winner” – right? He should have been forced to “pay in return” for his gene-crime of being unusually driven and talented, right? So that others could consume whatever wealth he created?

Health, and all other forms of wealth or success, never have to do with a person’s individual choices or efforts, right?

UPDATE: As long as we’re thinking like Communists, I just noticed something odd about how Obamacare ranges its plans from worst (Bronze) to best (Platinum). Isn’t it…um…kind of racist?

the color Bronze the color Platinum
(the color of Bronze) (the color of Platinum)

Liberal Logic on Display: Two Prime Examples

I’ve seen two examples this week of jaw-droppingly appalling liberal logic which, I figure, just have to be shared in the same way that unusual specimens belong in a museum.

The first one appeared in Salon on Tuesday, and it purports to be a treatise on the necessity of “positive” rights.  It says that the original Bill of Rights doesn’t go very far, and conservatives are foolish and “short-sighted” to insist that those rights are essential and shouldn’t be tampered with.  According to the author of the piece, Michael Lind, what we really need is to endorse FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”–which includes things like the right to a job, to a good home, and to medical care and good health.  Lind writes: “FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, and similar proposals, are not intended to replace the original bill of rights, but only to supplement it. Progressives believe that we should have both the right to free speech and the right to minimal healthcare at public expense.”

Lind’s article uses both appeals to authority (FDR and Cass Sunstein) and some sleight of hand to avoid tackling the very real contention that we can’t demand “positive rights” at other’s expense without in some sense enslaving those who are tasked with providing or paying for those “rights.”

In a brief rebuttal at PJ Media, Stephen Kruiser cites his own, contrary authority:

The negative/positive rights debate is brilliantly explored by Richard A. Epstein in his book Mortal Peril. He begins with a general discussion but his focus is on American health care. He points out that the positive rights frenzy contains “certain remnants of a discredited socialism” and that “…the protection of these newly minted positive rights invests government at all levels with vast powers to tax, to regulate, and to hire and fire the very individuals whose rights it is duty-bound to protect.”

The story, of course, is one we’ve seen over and over. The government continues to bloat itself as the social welfare state grows and in the process more rights are trampled upon than created.

The title of Epstein’s treatise can apply just as easily to the second, even more stunning example of liberal logic, which I saw linked by several folks on Facebook today.  It’s an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person: A Manifesto.”  The idea behind the article by Allison Benedikt is that public schools are ruined because students whose parents care enough about educational quality to devote their own resources to education aren’t forced to remain in the public school system.

Nowhere does it occur to this genius that perhaps the real problems with the public schools have to do with the teachers’ unions or with the educational bureaucracy which has arisen at public expense.  No, according to this author, the solution to all the problems with the public school system is that if everyone has to go, they will get better because parents will demand it, even if some large number of kids who would or could have had better options has to be sacrificed for the sake of liberal mediocrity.  (You really do need to read the article to believe it is not some sort of ridiculous hoax.  Even the usually liberal crowd of commenters at Slate are put off by the article.)

A much saner, contrary view appeared several days ago (before the absurd Slate article was published) at the Sippican Cottage blog (hat tip Transterrestrial Musings).  The whole piece is worth reading, but this excerpt nicely encapsulates the tone of the piece:

You see, there are no public schools in America that I know of. They’re reeducation camps for people that weren’t educated in the first place, maybe, or little prisons, or pleasure domes for creepy teachers, or places where tubby women work out their neuroses about eating on helpless children at lunchtime — but there’s not much schooling going on in school. A public school is a really expensive, but shabby and ineffectual, private school that collects their tuition with the threat of eviction from your house.

To liberal “thinkers” like Allison Benedikt and Michael Lind, unfortunately, that sort of a situation apparently sounds like a “great society.”

New Mexico gets it wrong

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 3:17 pm - August 25, 2013.
Filed under: Equality (Real or Faux?),Freedom,Gay America,Gay Marriage

Via Ace and Breitbart, NM’s Supreme Court has ruled that New Mexico law compels photographers who religiously disbelieve in gay marriage to serve gay weddings.

If the law does: Then it’s a bad law, a law that violates natural human rights to freedom of association and to freely-chosen work. It is not good for gays; picture a gay photographer being required by law to serve the wedding of some social conservative whom he or she despises.

Living in the present in challenging times

Several of my Facebook friends like to post inspirational and thought-provoking quotes on a regular basis.  Two or three of them have recently posted a quote which has been attributed to Lao Tzu which reads:

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.

As someone who has lately been bouncing back and forth between these states of mind, I can appreciate the essential wisdom of the quote.  Most of my feelings of depression lately have been spurred on by my regrets about things I wish I had done differently in my life, and so in that regard, they are an instance of dwelling in the past.  Most of my anxiety stems from my concerns about where our country is headed under its current leadership (or lack thereof), and my feelings of uncertainty or even paralysis as to what is or should be the best path for me to take from this point forward.  The more I think about it, the more overwhelming the many different options start to become.

Partly because of the circumstances which have fueled both my recent feelings of depression and of anxiety, I also have to wonder whether or not the “living in the present” endorsed by the quote is really so desirable after all.  When things are going well, yes, that sounds ideal, but isn’t there the risk of a sort of complacency which can result in self-indulgence, lack of ambition and disengagement?
I thought of these points and more yesterday when Glenn Reynolds linked to a post by Sarah Hoyt entitled “If You Don’t Work, You Die.”  In the post, Hoyt reflects on the importance of what she refers to as envy and striving for growth and life, which, to my mind suggests a certain resistance to complacency.  She reflects on an experiment in Denver in the 1970s with a guaranteed minimum income and the finding that a certain segment of the population was content to live on it and to stop striving to better their lives, and she speculates that it is partly an inherited trait which had value in the conservation of social energy.  The part of the post that fascinated me the most was when she described herself in the following terms:
Some of us are broken.  We were given both envy and high principles.  We can’t even contemplate bringing others down to level things, but instead we work madly to increase our status.  (No, it’s not how I think about it, but it’s probably what’s going on in the back of the monkey brain.)  Most of humanity however is functional.  Give them enough to eat, and a place to live, and no matter how unvaried the diet and how small/terrible the place, most people will stay put.
It seems to me that she has hit on something crucial there because although I’m often tempted to focus on being content with things the way are, every so often something happens to jar me from that state of mind, either by making me feel depressed or anxious or by throwing me off balance completely with some new dream or hope.
I’d like to write more about the disruptive power and potential value of such dreams, but for the time being, I’d like to pose a question for our readers.   When we live in difficult and challenging times, how can one try to remain “in the present” without falling into complacency or without becoming disengaged from the sorts of issues and problems that threaten to make existence even more trying and difficult?

Today’s Appalling Facebook Meme

Wow, just wow, is about all I can say in response to this piece of leftist rationalization which I saw today on Facebook.  It goes without saying that we’d be hearing something VERY DIFFERENT from this fellow if there was a Republican president.

The message here boils down to: freedom doesn’t matter, liberty doesn’t matter, rights don’t matter, and the most important role for government is to stand for “social justice.”  Here’s the link, but I’ve quoted the whole thing in its appalling entirety below:

Things I’m more worried about than my phone being tapped:
Global warming. The richest 1% controlling more wealth than the bottom 50%. Homelessness. Gutting the food stamp program. The rich hiding several Trillion untaxed dollars. Secretaries paying more in taxes than billionaires. Politicians being bought and sold. Malaria and starvation. More people per capita in prison than any other country. The “war” on drugs. More black men in prison than in college. Rising cost of education and health care. The rise of extremism. The continued oppression of women. The general lack of compassion in the world. The degree to which we all blame our problems on others and close our eyes to our own irrationality.
That more people are outraged by a small loss of privacy than any of these other issues.

Should I add “People who write in sentence fragments” to his list of outrages more “worrisome” than a government which spends all its time monitoring its people, or is that just my pet peeve?

Not surprisingly, the best responses to this kind of thing date to the founding of the Republic.  We’ve always got the classic from Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But in this context, where the message is to sacrifice liberty for “social justice,” I think Sam Adams might be better, though trying to choose just one passage that is appropriate is rather like an embarrassment of riches.  I have long admired this one:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Perhaps this one is better: “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

And just in case the Obamalaise is getting to you, here’s one worth repeating regularly: “Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.”

“A government culture that has little respect for its citizens”

Just watch this:

H/t Ace & Powerline.