Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

From ForeignPolicy, Rosa Brooks writes a piece called “Blood on the Constitution”:

Here we go again. With 12 dead bodies at Washington’s Navy Yard, not including that of the shooter, Americans are back to the usual handwringing: Why, oh why can’t we stem the tide of gun violence?

People, this is not rocket science. (Yes, I’m mad).

That’s the best way to write a modern liberal column.  Impotent Rage!

Americans currently have crappy gun-control laws, “crappy” being the technical legal term for “hopelessly, pathetically inadequate,” especially when compared to other countries‘ laws. Yes, those countries with fewer guns and fewer gun deaths — they have much tougher gun-control laws than the United States does.

Those “other countries” being the usual suspects: cold-weather politemongers of Canada (who have abandoned their long gun registry as pointless and a stupid failure), ethnically whites-only no-guns Australia, under-siege religious-ethnic bonded Israel, unarmed UK, genetically homongenous Norway, and genetically homogenous xenophobic and occasionally murderously totalitarian Japan.

And why do we have crappy gun-control laws? Because of the Second Amendment, which gives Americans a constitutional right to crappy gun-control laws. That’s why we fought a war against the British: We wanted to the right to kill each other, instead of being killed by foreign enemies.

At least when leftists write mad, they write what they feel.  And she’s right, in her own warped worldview.  But we’ve had some of the kind of gun control laws she’d like in the past.  They were instituted so America’s slave underclasses and minorities and undesirables could be kept down.  Just the way she likes it – she just adjusted her sights to oppress the serfs of the Country Class.

The real reason we have the Second Amendment is to preserve a free state – as opposed to a tyrannical oppressor state.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

- Thomas Jefferson

And remember, he was referencing Shay’s Rebellion at the time – a domestic insurgency against perceived tyranny.  And it was viewed as a good thing, because it was necessary to keep the government honest.  Yes, that was TJ supporting armed rebellion as a way to keep government in check.

Brooks real complaint is that the classic liberal enlightenment document that the nation is based on must be destroyed.

For its time, the U.S. Constitution was a pretty impressive document, if you leave aside certain small details such as slavery, which was considered A-OK by the Founding Fathers, and women’s rights, which were considered not A-OK. But let’s give the Constitution’s authors a break; they lived at a time when slavery was widespread not only in the United States but around the globe and women were still considered semi-chattel in most of the world. For its time, the Constitution was not bad at all.

But for our time, it stinks.

First off, it was broad enough that “all men are created equal” in founding documents can easily apply just as well to everyone.  And things like the 3/5 compromise were written to slowly abolish things like slavery.  Also, amendments, how do they work?

Whenever I teach constitutional law, I ask my students if they’re happy that they live in a nation with the oldest written constitution in the world. They all nod enthusiastically. Then I ask them if they’d be equally pleased if our neurosurgeons operated in accordance with the oldest anatomybook in the world, or our oil tankers steered using the oldest navigational charts in the world, or NASA’s rocket scientists used Ptolemaic astronomy to chart the path of the Mars Rover.

Frankly, having the world’s oldest written constitution is not something to be proud of.

From here she goes into a leftist diatribe about how the Constitution sucks because it’s old, and thus it’s irrelevant and needs to be destroyed to represent her chosen vision of a modern world because remember, she’s mad.

But she’s got some specious argument there about age being a condition of obsolescence.  A counterpoint would be to ask students if they think their mathematicians should continue to use the Pythagorean Theorem, or if they should use the positions put forth in the Kama Sutra in their dorms.

soha ali khan

Picture of Soha Ali Khan unrelated.

Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.  Often it means it’s tried and true, and especially as human nature tends to be rather consistent, the Constitution works rather well, just like the Quadratic Formula and cowgirl.

And boy, have circumstances changed lately. To return to gun deaths, the framers could never have imagined weapons technologies like those used in Newtown or the Navy Yard. But because the U.S. Constitution is amazingly difficult to amend (incredibly, women still have no text-based constitutional guarantee of equal rights), Americans are stuck with gun rules from more than two centuries ago.

The Founders were very, very smart men.  They were inventors themselves.  They also had privately owned cannon at the time – ordnance, not arms; and they were well aware of rapid firing weapons, anti-personnel munitions, and all kind of other assorted nastiness that could be used for evil intent.  Keep in mind that was also an era where swords were still commonplace, and unlike a gun, you don’t have to reload a sword ever.  Also, medicine to treat wounds in the 1700s was much more limiting. thus survivable wounds today would often have been fatal wounds then.

The Constitution is difficult to amend for a reason.  It’s so a bunch of mad shrews like Brooks don’t just go out and change it willy-nilly.  Anger-fueled madness triumphing over reason is how with the likes of Carrie Nation and later iterations of the temperance movement, we eventually got Prohibition, which no one but some progressive anti-freedom anti-drink busybodies wanted.  Government driven by progressive do-gooders inflicted Prohibition on the population, and murdered 10,000 US citizens for our own good.

Crime statistics of individual man on man pale in comparison to 10,000 murdered by the government in the name of “the common good” against “fiend intemperance”.  And that’s from a mostly benign government.  Government is the problem.

oleg volk government killing

This may help explain why the U.S. Constitution no longer gets much global respect. Just a few decades ago, the overwhelming majority of nations around the globe modeled their own constitutions on it. Today, that’s no longer true.

Just why other democracies are losing interest in the U.S. Constitution as a model is an interesting question, and there are undoubtedly a thousand and one reasons.  But I’ll bet the Navy Yard shootings just added 12 more.

Guess what, Brooks?  I don’t care too much what other countries do with their constitutions.  I like ours just fine.

I also don’t care because most of the world isn’t founded on the idea of a representative democratic republic based on Enlightenment ideals of the individual as the most important element of society.  Most new governments are filling themselves up with collectivist declarations of the special rights of group A or group B, not with the declaration of the Natural Right of Individual X.  They exist only to empower the Ruling Class at the expense of the ruled, to balance different balkanized groups against one another while the truly powerful play a game of favorites with resources they steal from the population.  It is a game of plunder, where Brooks and her Ruling Class plunderers distribute it for the good of their own personal power as the Ruling Class.

It’s worth noting that her bio includes this:

Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation. She served as a counselor to the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a senior advisor at the U.S. State Department.

She’s been a high-level advisor in the Obama administration, and a professor of law.  She teaches students that the Constitution must be destroyed, and she advises government to destroy the very document that governs the government.  She is one of those Ruling Class elites who of course would demand that you be disarmed.  It makes her job of administering your resources and deciding how you will be controlled that much easier.

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And as a complete counterpoint to her nonsense:

The left always says they want things like gun control  or health care “for the children”, but they sure do want them to die.

First, from a journalism professor at the University of Kansas:

ku prof nra death to children

First off, he’s wishing death to children, because somehow he’s decided that the children of NRA members are deserving of death.  Why?  Because he has assigned blame for the actions of a murdering madman in DC (a gun-free zone, remember) to the NRA.  “Journalism” professor David Guth clearly does not understand that the NRA is an anti-murder organization.  The NRA offers training for John Q. Public and Officer Murphy alike in order to help provide them with self-defense skills to avoid being murdered.  But Guth is one of those enlightened, anointed intellectuals to whom “guns are bad, m’kay”, and thus any organization which is pro-gun must also be held accountable for the actions of anyone using a gun.  Sort of like blaming Boeing for 9/11.

Second, it’s idiotic in a practical way.  As a leftist, he’s blaming the NRA for the actions of a madman and feels that the NRA is responsible, feeling that the NRA’s push for self defense rights are the reason murders happen.  The problem here is that if NRA members have their way, madmen are stopped PDQ.  The NRA’s School Shield program offers training and assistance to any school that wants to have an active defense.  There have been a few schools in states like UT and TX that have started offering the ability for teachers to carry firearms at school, which offers an immediate response to a madman.  Liviu Librescu saved a lot of kids by sacrificing himself to barricade a door, a courageous and selfless act of a hero.  But Nick Meli saved a lot of people by presenting an armed threat to a madman and didn’t have to sacrifice himself.  Thing is, this journalism professor is angry, but he can’t even see that if the NRA gets its way (which he hates), then the children of NRA members won’t have to deal with this threat at all.

He is demonstrating the leftist media-academia mentality of feeling over thought.  He wants people to feel pain because he thinks all it takes is for them to feel and they’ll come to his side and share his feeling, that guns are bad, m’kay.  It’s flawed to begin with, rests on an infantile understanding of human nature, and is not just reprehensible, but bonesnappingly stupid.  It’s also entirely impossible for him to understand that the real problem is that good people are left defenseless, and beyond the madman, fault lies with those who left good people defenselessDr. Suzanna Hupp explained this to congress once, but not all of them listened.

Also, last I checked, God is probably more likely to damn people who wish death to others’ children, but maybe Guth stopped reading right around the part with Pharoah not letting people go, and he didn’t understand what the other warnings like the frogs were about.

Or he could be a leftist lunatic who wants your kids to die for revenge so you can feel pain.

He’s been placed on administrative leave, but he defends his words.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Friday issued a statement regarding Associate Professor of Journalism David Guth.

“In order to prevent disruptions to the learning environment for students, the School of Journalism and the university, I have directed Provost Jeffrey Vitter to place Associate Professor Guth on indefinite administrative leave pending a review of the entire situation. Professor Guth’s classes will be taught by other faculty members,” Gray-Little said in the statement.

That’s a start.  The Kansas Senate majority leader is calling for his removal.   But Professor “Death to Your Kids” doubled down by defending his words by saying you’re too stupid to understand him.

‘If you look at how I structured the statement, I didn’t really bring [the NRA’s) children into it,” he said. “I carefully structured the statement to make it conditional, but apparently it was too much of a nuance for some people.”  Guth went on to say, “I don’t want anybody harmed. If somebody’s going to be harmed, maybe it ought to be the people who believe that guns are so precious that it’s worth spilling blood over.”

It takes work to lie that much.

He posts his explanation on his blog that make things even more clear.  First off, he’s wearing a Maryland shirt, which makes a lot of sense.  Most Kansans, even the leftiest leftist in Lawrence, aren’t liable to become his brand of violent, hate-filled idiot.

I am angry, frustrated, sad and determined.  The news of the senseless slaughter today at Washington’s Navy Yard has me again questioning how we can let this madness continue.  Frankly, I don’t care if I am criticized for being too quick to judge, too harsh in my criticism or too strident in my tone. The time has passed for niceties and tact. The blood spilled today is on the hands of the National Rifle Association.  I don’t care how the NRA tries to spin this. One fact is undeniable: The NRA has championed a gun culture that is shredding our nation’s moral authority like armor-plated bullets ripping through flesh. Is that imagery too graphic for you? It is no worse than what we are seeing every night on our television screens. Do our citizens have a right to bear arms? Certainly, that’s what the Constitution says.  But as it is with every other right enumerated in the Bill of Rights, there are limits. A person’s right to go about his or her job at the Navy Yard – or for that matter to attend an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut – trumps any individual’s right to stockpile weapons of mass destruction in the name of personal freedom.  I don’t wish what happened today on anyone.  But if it does happen again – and it likely will – may it happen to those misguided miscreants who suggest that today’s death toll at the Navy Yard would have been lower if the employees there were allowed to pack heat. Those fools don’t get it. If the price of “security” is to turn every workplace into an environment that can erupt into a Dodge City-like shooting gallery with the slightest provocation, then we have really missed the point. There is no justification for the widespread sale of assault weapons, high-volume magazines or hollow-point bullets. In fact, their sale is a well-documented threat to national security. Enough is enough. Lynn Jenkins, my congressional representative, is going to hear from me.  And if she fails to support reasonable restrictions on these murderous munitions, I am going to give my money and vote to someone who will.  There are two sides to this debate: The side of angels and the NRA. Where do you stand?
X
That’s it for now. Fear the Turtle

This is worth dissecting because it’s such a wonderful raging microcosm of the singular leftist anti-gun worldview.  The senseless slaughter at the DC Naval Yard was perpetrated by a madman who ignored laws against murder.  The madman killed a guard and killed people with the dead guard’s sidearm.  The madman had secret clearance and authorization to be on base and worked there, in that gun free zone.  He was also an avid video gamer (note this is just to illustrate a point, not a statement about video games).  Some of the earliest FPS games start with a player with a knife who needs to kill a guard to acquire better weaponry.

wolfenstein knife

It’s not a difficult concept, and it’s how the DC Naval Yard shooter was able to double or triple his available weapons in a matter of a moment.  As someone who was authorized to be there and familiar to people on base, he could’ve just stabbed the guard.

Point being, a madman with access to a weapons-free zone and desire to do harm can and will acquire a weapon.

The time has passed for niceties and tact.

 

Ah, a declaration apropos of nothing, and a justification for being an emotional twit.

The blood spilled today is on the hands of the National Rifle Association.

 

No, it’s not.  Again, a wild declaration with no connection to reality.

I don’t care how the NRA tries to spin this.

 

Translated: “I said something reprehensible and called for the murder of the children of my political enemies.  I will turn this on them by saying that they are misrepresenting my words and spreading lies about me.  Now I can accuse them of lying about me and claiming I called for God to damn them and death to their children.  Which I did.  But now my own words can be used against them, claiming they smeared me.  I am a clever journalism professor and no one can see through my veil of bullshit.  I am a genius.”

One fact is undeniable: The NRA has championed a gun culture that is shredding our nation’s moral authority like armor-plated bullets ripping through flesh.

 

Another wild declaration that is completely and 100% deniable because it’s dead wrong.  Gun culture doesn’t support murder, it supports self defense.  And bullets aren’t armor-plated, just in case you needed any more proof the prof is an ignorant fool.

Is that imagery too graphic for you? It is no worse than what we are seeing every night on our television screens.

 

Translation: “I’m saying this for shock value.  But you should be shocked at yourself!  Bwahaha!  I am so clever by saying horrible things while accusing you of being the horrible thing!”

Do our citizens have a right to bear arms? Certainly, that’s what the Constitution says.  But as it is with every other right enumerated in the Bill of Rights, there are limits.

 

Translation: “Question I intend to tell you the correct answer to.  Lip service to gullible fools.  Rights only extend until I think that force should be applied to stop them and they offend me, which is whenever I feel like.”  End result, rights are meaningless, law is meaningless, the rule of man is all that’s important.

A person’s right to go about his or her job at the Navy Yard – or for that matter to attend an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut – trumps any individual’s right to stockpile weapons of mass destruction in the name of personal freedom.

 

There is no right to be safe anywhere.  There is a right for you to protect your safety, but there is no protection the government can grant that can make you safe.  You can be in a gun-free zone on a military base protected by guards and still get murdered.  As in the case with the DC Naval Yard and Fort Hood, by people who were trusted by the government.  Students at a school who are left undefended and unprotected are just a defenseless to madmen as they are to teachers who molest their students, or fires in buildings.  No amount of wishful thinking will make any of them go away.

Also, I don’t stockpile WMDs, and I don’t know anyone who does.  My local range wouldn’t let me use the one Trident II missile I bought at a gun show, so why should I stockpile more of them?  I need to find a new range because of it.  Freedom.  ‘Murica.

I don’t wish what happened today on anyone.

 

Translation: “I wish that on my political enemies who resist me and my ideas.”

But if it does happen again – and it likely will – may it happen to those misguided miscreants who suggest that today’s death toll at the Navy Yard would have been lower if the employees there were allowed to pack heat.

 

Like I just translated: “I wish that on my political enemies who resist me and my ideas.”

Those fools don’t get it.

 

Translation: “I don’t understand their point at all, so they must be fools.”  This is where that disconnect comes into play.  Conservatives do understand liberals, but not the other way around.

If the price of “security” is to turn every workplace into an environment that can erupt into a Dodge City-like shooting gallery with the slightest provocation, then we have really missed the point.

 

Then what was the point, prof?  Because yours is completely wrong, all your facts are wrong, and all your opinions based on those facts lead to failure and more wrongness.

The death toll absolutely would be lower when people can fight back.  It works every time it’s tried.  The only thing that’s guaranteed when people are disarmed is that the government will be armed.  In the short run, it means Major Nadal Hassan and Sergeant Hasan Akbar and Sergeant John Russell can kill at will, in the long run, it means Major General Vasili Blokhin can kill at will.

oleg volk responsible government agents liberals and dissidents

The price of security (no sarcastic quotes) is easily bought with armed citizens.  Police officers and law enforcement tend to be filled with people with massive egos, yet there aren’t gunfights in police stations every day.  Gun stores are filled with massive egos, yet gun stores don’t erupt into gunfights over .45 ACP vs 9mm arguments.

There is no justification for the widespread sale of assault weapons, high-volume magazines or hollow-point bullets

 

“Assault weapons and high volume magazines” are effective tools, but are no more evil than the people behind them.

A leftist crusading against hollow point bullets is again demonstrating he’s an idiot.  Hollow points allow for more effective energy transfer in a target.  Whether you’re blasting Bambi or a bad guy, they provide more immediate damage that results in “stopping power” by opening as they enter the target and destroying more inside.  The objective is to stop the threat (or not to injure a game animal and make it suffer).  Police carry hollow points for the same reason most citizens do – pistols are relatively weak when it comes to stopping people (you may kill an assailant with a .22 LR, but he may bleed out in an hour after he’s crushed your head with a brick), and hollow points allow for more effective expansion of the bullet and doing more immediate damage that will stop someone.  Often, pistols with hollow points won’t even penetrate far enough to kill, but they’ll wreck enough on the way in to stop someone – which is the point.

The sale of ARs, standard magazines, and hollow points, none of which were likely used by the DC Naval Yard shooter initially, and if he used a standard capacity magazine, it was only by killing a guard first (and the military tends to use FMJ rounds, not HP, because of better barrier penetration).  So that argument is meaningless again.

In fact, their sale is a well-documented threat to national security.

 

There is no “well documented national security threat”, except maybe in a Mother Jones op-ed.  Now, if a leftist wannabe tyrant gets his way into power and starts dictating to people how they must live, then they are… but arms in the hands of US citizens are only a threat to tyrannical regimes.

Enough is enough. Lynn Jenkins, my congressional representative, is going to hear from me.  And if she fails to support reasonable restrictions on these murderous munitions, I am going to give my money and vote to someone who will.

 

Bluster bluster bluster.  You just got her a lot more phone calls against your ideas than for.  You just energized the NRA and KSRA and other pro-gun groups.  Their whole ethos can be summed up with the saying on a Gadsden flag: Don’t Tread On Me.  They want to be left alone, and they will defend themselves.  That’s it.  They defend themselves against madmen and against political attackers both.  Leave them alone and they’re harmless.

He finishes with this very telling line.

There are two sides to this debate: The side of angels and the NRA. Where do you stand?

 

Where have I heard that before…

One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.

- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

John Lott is famous for his book “More Guns, Less Crime”.  Its conclusions and point are summed up succintly with its title.

Now Harvard found the same thing, via HotAir:

The Harvard study attempts to answer the question of whether or not banning firearms would reduce murders and suicides.  Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with HIGHER gun ownership often had LOWER murder rates.

Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high.  In fact, the murder rate in Russia is four times higher than in the “gun-ridden” United States, cites the study. ”Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.” In other words, the elimination of guns does not eliminate murder, and in the case of gun-controlled Russia, murder rates are quite high.

The study revealed several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates. Contrast that with Luxembourg, “where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.

The study found no evidence to suggest that the availability of guns contributes to higher murder rates anywhere in the world.  ”Of course, it may be speculated that murder rates around the world would be higher if guns were more available. But there is simply no evidence to support this.”

And, as the study points out, where guns are banned, murderers still find weapons with which to do their dirty work.  The difference is that the victims potential means of self-defense.  With guns available, one would assume their deterrent effect if not outright effectiveness in the self-defense realm would predictably knock the murder rate down.  Criminals and murderers are less likely to attack if the possibility the potential victim is armed exists.  Common sense 101.

This is news only to people who refuse to accept it.

Heinlein said it well decades ago: An armed society is a polite society.

Link to the full Harvard study.

The study starts off noting that the former Soviet Union, with miniscule gun ownership, had a vastly higher murder rate.  And, of course, because they’re academics and it would radically change the study and obliterate counterarguments, they omit that the government of the Soviet Union committed millions of murders which would’ve been stopped by an armed populace.

Fists/A World Without Guns by Oleg Volk-

woman defending oleg volk-

government murder (photo by Oleg Volk)

I’m in the process of reading Michael Lee Lanning’s “Inside the LRRPs – Rangers in Vietnam”.  It’s a good book, and nestled in the middle of Chapter 6: The Men With Painted Faces, where he discusses how LRRPs recruited their men and officers, is this quote:

While colleges and universities were a prime source of officers for all of the services, they also were a haven for those more interested in maintaining their draft-exempt status than in education itself.  The length of the Vietnam War and this draft loophole produced America’s most-educated generation, as students stayed in college past undergraduate level to earn masters, doctorates, law degrees, or anything to remain deferred until the magical age of twenty-six, when a young man was no longer draft eligible.

It’s stated so succinctly that it encapsulates and explains a major leftist swing in academia.

Those who stayed on for years and years in college were often those who sought to elude the draft, who hated the war (though many were fine with war for their own causes), and who thought they were more intelligent than those around them.  Certainly years and years in academia resulted in increased knowledge, even if it was devoid of wisdom or experience necessary to frame that knowledge.  They hated the war, yet they would ultimately side with LBJ and his “Great Society” social experiments as they became the educated ruling class.   They decided they knew, and now know, what’s best for everyone else.

With degrees and experience, they could get into government jobs, with their education – a luxury just a few decades before, they could now take the lead in society with their papered cleverness.  Those who stayed in academia then set the tone for future generations of leftist academics.

It becomes crystal clear in retrospect that so many of our nation’s current problems and things that make traditionalists’, conservatives’, and libertarians’ eyes roll – like a toy gun buyback in California – stem from the fact that our nation’s education system was demographically remade in the late 1960s and early 1970s by people whose defining trait was cowardice.

While it may not be a new revelation, and of course exceptions existed and remain, that trait has stayed dominant into the present day, and permeated education, society and culture.

It’s a fascinating sit-down with a very wise man.

Around the 13:30 mark, there’s a very good summation of why the anointed intellectuals believe what they do so firmly, and reject the contrary.  There’s a huge ego component to it.

If you believe in free markets and traditional values and so forth, there’s no exultation that comes with it.  You’re just someone who believes in free markets and traditional values.  …  But if you believe in social justice and saving the environment, you are really something.  People with that viewpoint have a huge ego stake.  Empirical evidence is like gambling all of that on a roll of a dice.

History often proves the anointed intellectual leftist wrong, so they ignore it or rewrite it.  That’s why they get into education.  When science proves them wrong, science becomes subject to modification, and opinion trumps evidence – and any evidence that must be fabricated or changed to support the cause is completely acceptable.  Easy examples are Rathergate and Climategate.

By contrast, it’s difficult to be a cause-head who says “I don’t know what’s best for you, you do.”  It’s difficult to motivate people to a righteous cause of non-intervention in other’s lives.  If you’re out to save them from themselves, you have mission that lends itself easily to a holy crusade.  If you’re out to shrink the size of government and interference in their life so they can make the best decisions that their experience leads them to, you have a much more sophisticated argument, and a much more difficult job to motivate people – something that doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of political action.

You can’t do “fired up/ready to go” chants for that very well.

Eight – seven – six – five!  Everyone lead your own lives!

Four – three – two – one!  Let’s leave everyone alone!

From HumbleLibertarian

During the presidential debates, Romney took a stance against Obama’s Apology Tour.  Obama denied it, but as is expected of his administration, if it’s worth denying or covering up, it’s probably doubly true.  Consider this piece from Commentary Magazine complete with quotes from top Obama advisors Samantha Power and Anne-Marie Slaughter:

Power wrote that America’s record in world affairs had been so harmful to the freedoms of people around the world that the United States could remedy the problem only through profound self-criticism and the wholesale adoption of new policies. Acknowledging that President Bush was correct in saying that “some America-bashers” hate the American people’s freedoms, Ms. Power stated that much anti-Americanism derives from the role that U.S. power “has played in denying such freedoms to others” and concluded:

U.S. foreign policy has to be rethought. It needs not tweaking but overhauling….Instituting a doctrine of mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When [then German Chancellor] Willie [sic] Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?

Thus, even at the beginning of the Bush presidency, Power saw Brandt’s apology for the Nazis’ destruction of European Jewry as the model for an American leader to seek pardon for the sins of U.S. foreign policy.

These are the advisors who went and pushed the World Apology Tour.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, of Princeton University, whom President Obama would later appoint as the State Department’s head of policy planning, likewise exhorted whomever would succeed President Bush to apologize for America’s role in the world. In a February 2008 article in Commonweal entitled “Good Reasons to be Humble,” she wrote:

[I]t will be time for a new president to show humility rather than just talk about it. The president must ask Americans to acknowledge to ourselves and to the world that we have made serious, even tragic, mistakes in the aftermath of September 11—in invading Iraq, in condoning torture and flouting international law, and in denying the very existence of global warming until a hurricane destroyed one of our most beloved cities….

[W]e should make clear that our hubris, as in the old Greek myths, has diminished us and led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

All this helps explain the remorseful tone of the Cairo speech. It also sheds light on Obama’s determination to set precedents and create institutional and legal constraints on the ability of the United States to take international action assertively, independently, and in its own particular interests. Without reference to this severely jaundiced view of American history, one cannot make any sense of the hesitation and meekness, the extreme deference to the Security Council and shyness about encouraging opponents of hostile dictators that have characterized the Obama administration’s policy toward Libya—and, for that matter, toward the anti-Assad-regime upheaval in Syria and, in 2009, toward the Green Movement anti-regime demonstrations in Iran.

Short short version: “America’s bad, m’kay.”

The blame-America first crowd has been writing American foreign policy.  They soundly believe in their self-flagellating leftist egocentrism that not only does the world revolve around them, and the US, but that the US is the cause of all the world’s problems.

It’s worth it to read the whole piece: The Obama Doctrine Defined.

We have evolved to need coercion.

 

From Daniel Lieberman, Harvard biology professor, via the NYT:

…humans evolved to crave sugar, store it and then use it. For millions of years, our cravings and digestive systems were exquisitely balanced because sugar was rare. Apart from honey, most of the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate were no sweeter than a carrot. The invention of farming made starchy foods more abundant, but it wasn’t until very recently that technology made pure sugar bountiful.

Unsurprisingly, a Harvard professor is ignorant of the outside world, and ignores that there are fruits and melons and berries and even vegetables of the squash family that are quite sweet.  There are many that have been more refined and developed through agriculture, but there were plenty of them around in nature beforehand.

The food industry has made a fortune because we retain Stone Age bodies that crave sugar but live in a Space Age world in which sugar is cheap and plentiful. Sip by sip and nibble by nibble, more of us gain weight because we can’t control normal, deeply rooted urges for a valuable, tasty and once limited resource.

The constant cry that there is an evil villain out to ruin The People, the constant drum beat that The People are weak, unable to control their urges, and must be controlled are all present.  This is going to be very predictable.

What should we do? One option is to do nothing, while hoping that scientists find better cures for obesity-related diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. I’m not holding my breath for such cures, and the costs of inaction, already staggering, would continue to mushroom.

Mr. Lieberman opens his piece by saying that criticisms “most worthy of attention” are the libertarian arguments that this is bad.  That’s Lieberman’s way of ignoring them.  His questions are based on false premises.  His question of “what should we do?” is really – “what should the government do to The People?”  He, being an elite Harvard professor, is clearly a ruler of men, an intellectual powerhouse whose huge brain means that he is of course exempt from being lumped in with The People – but the “we” he speaks of is that of the Ruling Class.

The “do nothing” argument is flawed.  If the government does nothing, individual citizens will make their own decisions.  Off the top of my head, I can think of two writers here who’ve lost double-digit weight in the last year because they got sick of being heavy.  Nature solves its own problems.  Nobody wants to be at an unhealthy weight.  Modern individuals, with modern, sedentary jobs balance the costs of health issues against those of other pressing matters in their daily life.  If they have families they need to spend time with, that time at the gym may become less important.  If to maintain their standard of living, they need to work more in a sedentary job and there’s a health cost, that’s a decision they make.  If they recognize that their weight (whether that be too big or too small) is effecting their quality of life, then they work to change it.

The relative availability of modern foodstuffs is not an issue in their weight.  Their decision to eat and drink the amounts that they do is.  This goes to Lieberman’s second flawed point.  Everyone knows what makes you fat.  Everyone.

A more popular option is to enhance public education to help us make better decisions about what to eat and how to be active. This is crucial but has so far yielded only modest improvements.

A recent study even showed that when you feel fat, you’re getting fat.  Your body will tell you.  Within 3 hours after eating, you’ll feel it.  From Metro:

A team led by obesity expert Prof Fredrik Karpe made the discovery by asking volunteers to eat fatty foods containing traceable carbon isotopes.

They tracked the fat’s path from the gut, which they assumed would be taken around the body by the blood to be ‘burned off’ by the muscles, with the excess slowly adding to our girth over time.

Instead, they found the first fat from a meal entered the bloodstream about an hour after it was eaten by the volunteers.

‘By the time three to four hours have passed, most of it has been incorporated into our adipose tissue, mostly in the shorter term fat stores around our waists,’ Prof Karpe said. Fat around the waist is used only for short-term storage, and can be burned off when people need energy.

Your body tells you you’re fat.  You feel it.  Education isn’t that difficult.  Calories in > calories out, you get fat.  Calories out > calories in, you lose weight.  Calories in = calories out, you stay at your present weight.  You intake calories with food, burn them with activity.  Millions of pages have been written about this, but ultimately, it’s not that complicated.  Most of those millions of pages are spent trying to balance lifestyle and eating habits and the best ways for each individual, which government cannot do anyway.

The final option that Lieberman comes up with is, as usual, that of all other final answers to problems that the state has deemed worth destroying.  Of course the “final option” is the one he states that he laments by listing last.  He then notes that the paternalistic state is really a good thing, and by introducing coercion to mimic the “nasty, brutish, and short” existence of primitive man, we will finally have the best solution to fighting obesity.

The final option is to collectively restore our diets to a more natural state through regulations. Until recently, all humans had no choice but to eat a healthy diet with modest portions of food that were low in sugar, saturated fat and salt, but high in fiber. They also had no choice but to walk and sometimes run an average of 5 to 10 miles a day. Mr. Bloomberg’s paternalistic plan is not an aberrant form of coercion but a very small step toward restoring a natural part of our environment.

For all the academic twisting here, no, the government’s function is not to reduce us to animals.  Lieberman’s graphic represents what they think of the public – mindless apes:

And the solution is sitting in the ad bar, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Lieberman continues, justifying his desire for control of The People’s bodies:

Though his big-soda ban would apply to all New Yorkers, I think we should focus paternalistic laws on children. Youngsters can’t make rational, informed decisions about their bodies, and our society agrees that parents don’t have the right to make disastrous decisions on their behalf. Accordingly, we require parents to enroll their children in school, have them immunized and make them wear seat belts. We require physical education in school, and we don’t let children buy alcohol or cigarettes. If these are acceptable forms of coercion, how is restricting unhealthy doses of sugary drinks that slowly contribute to disease any different?

Paternalistic laws have only propagated in the last few decades because the state has sought to replace the parent.  Youngsters don’t have to make rational, informed decisions because that’s their parent’s jobs.  Society doesn’t agree at all with Lieberman.  Government bureaucrats and the Ruling Class have decided to instituted controls regardless of what society thinks.  Paternalistic laws now try to change adults into children, all of whom “need” controlling by the state.

Lieberman’s arguments are founded on a basis of overreach that has never been part of the American tradition – those aren’t acceptable, either.  Taking parental authority from the parent and placing it in the hands of the state is part of Lieberman’s academic ruling class society – it is not part of greater American society.  Mandatory education laws often force children into crappy schools run by governmental bureaucrats – in comparison, home-schooled children often do better because their parents have a personal vested interest in the well-being of their own child.  The parent of a child will almost invariably be more interested in the well-being of their child moreso than the most enlightened, wonderful schoolteacher attempting to teach a hundred in a day.

Requiring immunizations has taken place as part of disease-reduction initiatives, but you can catch mumps or rubella.  You don’t walk by a fat person and suddenly gain 40 pounds.  There are also plenty of arguments against mandatory vaccinations, some of which come from Hollywood kooks, and some of which come from folks who really don’t like that medical industries can simply force people to buy their products through government mandates.  If there were benefits to it, people would choose to do it.  Flu vaccinations are pushed, but not mandatory, and people volunteer for them.

Children drinking and smoking were stopped by their parents, not by the state.  The push for control over drinking is what begat Prohibition, wherein the moral busybodies in the Temperance Movement declared that people were too drunk and stupid to be trusted with their freedoms.  That resulted in the entire nation rebelling against it.  It also resulted in the state murdering its citizens for their own good.

As for seat belts:

Seat belt laws are part of the same problem.  They assume that individuals can’t make good decisions, and that people must be forced into those decisions.  For years, there were no seat belts in automobiles.  Individual manufacturers came up with ways to make cars safer, some of them being far ahead of the curve, and as individuals saw safety features, they chose to buy them.  Notably, Volvo owes much of its reputation in the US to numerous safety features.  With the exception of seat belts where a person could become a projectile and impact another person, seat belt laws do infringe on personal freedom.

The children in the truck bed above are not going to be violently flung out of the truck.  The driver, knowing he has a load of precious cargo, is going to drive safely and slowly.  If he does, the children won’t ride with him again – their parents won’t let them.  Or, even without seatbelt laws, a law enforcement officer could stop the truck and deal with the driver as necessary for endangering his passengers.

Back to Lieberman:

Along these lines, we should ban all unhealthy food in school — soda, pizza, French fries — and insist that schools provide adequate daily physical education, which many fail to do.

The state is not the parent.  If parents tell the schools to stop serving foods they deem unhealthy, then the school – which is employed by the parent-taxpayers, must respond.  To do otherwise is a failure of the school to live up to the contract is has with the parents.  Of course, in Lieberman’s world, the school, as a function of the state, is superior to the parent.  As such, the school can dictate how they will raise children.

The assumption that rich foods are a cause of childhood obesity is also contingent on portions served.  100 calories of pizza, with bread crust, a layer of cheese, a pretend piece of meat, is the same as 100 calories of sandwich, with a slice of cheese, a bread crust, and a pretend piece of meat.  The decisions to eliminate soda, pizza, and french fries are based on Lieberman’s Ruling Class notion of “what is good for you”, not on what actually is.  As noted in his own article, these rich foods are incredibly good for you if you’re in a state of constant activity.  So their elimination not only restricts the freedom of individuals to choose their own foods, but also assumes that children aren’t engaged in any activities, and penalizes the active for the sake of the inactive.

I note that it restricts individuals freedoms, and not just those of children, because parents who send their children to school have already had lunches confiscated.  The parents’ authority to feed their own children is stomped on by the state.  This isn’t some case of child abuse or neglect (aside from in the minds of fascistic nanny-staters), this is a case of the state dictating how you shall live.

Adults need help, too, and we should do more to regulate companies that exploit our deeply rooted appetites for sugar and other unhealthy foods. The mayor was right to ban trans fats, but we should also make the food industry honest about portion sizes. Like cigarettes, mass-marketed junk food should come with prominent health warning labels. It should be illegal to advertise highly fattening food as “fat free.” People have the right to be unhealthy, but we should make that choice more onerous and expensive by imposing taxes on soda and junk food.

And here we get to the “nudging”.  Make choices so onerous and difficult that people will be forced into what the dictator desires.  The iron fist of an authoritarian state is wearing a velvet glove.

Adults who face the consequences of their own decisions will make choices.  No one wants to be a bloated fatass.  The mayor was wrong to tell people what they can and can’t put in their bodies, but he’s a tyrant across the board, and his only redeeming quality is that he’s a wonderful example of one.

The food industry doesn’t need to be more honest about portion sizes.  Individuals need to be responsible for their own actions.  Saying “people have the right to be unhealthy, but…” is another excuse justifying dictatorial control.  These taxes and impositions aren’t about health, they’re about control.  Individuals who eat foods in moderation can eat what they like and have no issues.  Those individuals are being denied choice foods by their own government because other individuals make poor decisions.  None of this is the province of government.

Individuals then don’t have the right, with onerous taxes and impositions, they might have the priviledge of being unhealthy.  It will be restricted to those who can afford it.  The wealthy and powerful will be able to afford one lifestyle, while those who are relatively poorer will no longer be able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.  The reason the term “fat cat” came about is because previous to the last few decades, the only people whose labor had ceased to be vigorous manual labor and who could afford enough food to be fat were the very wealthy.  Today, thanks to advances in technology and agriculture, everyone can afford the bounties of those foods.  Lieberman is desirous of price controls and taxes to socially return us to a time where only the wealthy and privileged could enjoy dining as they see fit.

This would hardly be progress, and does not improve the life of the individual.

Additionally, labeling doesn’t work.  A study I’ll link to as soon as I can find it again brought up that people who guess calorie amounts of foods usually get them fairly close, or overestimate.  If you’re looking at this breakfast:

You know there are a LOT of calories in it.  You don’t need a chart to see that it will make you full, it will keep you powered for most of your day, and you can eat a light lunch, because you  had a massive breakfast.

With regards to Lieberman’s absurd statement that food makers shouldn’t be allowed to say “fat free” if a food can make you fat, that’s just stupid.  Fat is a substance.  If the substance is in the food, it’s has fat, it has lipids.  If it doesn’t have fat, it’s fat free.  Anything eaten in excess can make a person fat.

Finally, Lieberman sums up with this cry for tyranny:

We humans did not evolve to eat healthily and go to the gym; until recently, we didn’t have to make such choices. But we did evolve to cooperate to help one another survive and thrive. Circumstances have changed, but we still need one another’s help as much as we ever did. For this reason, we need government on our side, not on the side of those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them. We have evolved to need coercion.

We did evolve to eat healthily.  We evolved to eat what our bodies need.  We didn’t evolve to go to the gym, we evolved to live at the gym.  Modern workplaces and modern conveniences mean we’re enjoying a sedentary life.  The key word there is that we are ENJOYING.  Millenia of our ancestors as poor dirt farmers working their way up from misery have allowed us modern luxuries.  It’s up to us as individuals to do something with them.

We didn’t evolve to cooperate, we cooperated to survive.  The individual’s survival first, and the enhancement to individual survival that a group provides is why we got together in groups.  Here Lieberman’s thinking is exposed in such a short sentence.  He shows a collectivist mindset, that there is “the people” and not the individual.  We banded together to aid each other, not to coerce each other.  We as individuals found that survival strategies worked better when we formed voluntary bonds.  The government, as it was intended, is a voluntary cooperative that exists as a construct of the Constitution.  It follows the orders of We The People – each individual – it is there to provide for our security and defense that we as individuals might live freer lives.  We established our government to provide for our rights to live free of the rule of a king or dictator, that we might exercise our inalienable rights as bestowed by our Creator.

Lieberman’s cry for the government to crush the free market is that of a Marxist useful idiot.  “Those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them” are the usual class-enemy capitalists, and his desired government is one that will crush capitalism.  His desire is for tyranny.  He makes a plea for coercion, and through his warped world-view, demands that the state protect us from ourselves.  The people are stupid, unreasoning, mindless apes who are still trapped by their weak bodies and weak minds, fooled by the decadent capitalist exploiter!  Thus we need the government to beat us, to crush our freedoms, he reasons.  He demands a government that will coerce us in order to free us from our exploiters, trading in someone who offers you what you want for someone who tells you what you are allowed.

This is the very heart of tyranny.

And it’s complete bullshit.

Circumstances have changed, and we have one another’s help.  Lieberman views us as unreasoning apes, and it’s not much surprise that his apes are black, seeing as how demeaning races tends to be a theme for Harvard academics.  The very page that Lieberman posted his desperate cry for government to oppress and crush the freedoms of individuals refutes his own idiotic claims.

Look to the right of his misanthropic screed and you’ll see the solution.

We have one another’s help in voluntary cooperation.  It’s called freedom.

In the form of the free market, CocoaVia there is introducing a product that fulfills that desire for sweet foods.  Interestingly CocoaVia links to Mars Botanical, which links to Mars, as in M&M Mars, who make all kinds of candies and food products, for humans and our animal friends.

The very same “those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them”, as though profit, money, and desires of free individuals are all dirty things, are here to provide us with options we want.  If our sedentary lifestyles result in us getting fat, we’ll change to diet soda.  If we still want candy, but we as individuals know that a king size Snickers is going to be a lot of calories, then we swich and try something like “CocoaVia” and enjoy the taste without the calories.

Stoking our cravings and profiting from them is why we aren’t Lieberman’s ideal of a caveman.  Our cravings for food, water, shelter, sex, and the rest of Maslow’s Hierarchy has driven us to the point where we can communicate these ideas through the digital realm instantly across the entire planet, and for some ideas, even beam them around the planet and off into space.  Our desires are what drives us.  To squelch these desires, to have them crushed beneath the boot of a tyrannical government that knows what’s best, is the dream of a power-hungry fool.  Lieberman is an idiot of the most educated, highest caliber.   Lieberman views us as the sum only of our nature, and not of our minds.  He sees the people as a mass of idiot cavemen who must be controlled and coerced – forced by government into doing what he has decided they should.  If he includes himself among the cavemen, it is only in a self-flagellating gesture of his own misery; but he still views himself as more intelligent than the foolish fat cavemen around him, viewing them as Cass Sunstein’s ideal of the average American as Homer Simpson, an idiot roaming through life who needs government to control him.

Freedom itself refutes the needs that ostensibly cause demand for tyranny.  Freedom itself, as shown above, has generated a response to the demand for healthier alternatives.  People don’t want to be bloated fatasses.  People want to be thin – and there are plenty of people who want, through voluntary cooperation, to help their fellow man.  There are a myriad of programs available, and there have been for years.  There have been people selling or giving away fitness advice for years from Jack LaLanne to Richard Simmons to Billy Blanks to Jillian Michaels to Suzanne Somers to Zuzana:

There have been groups of free individuals who voluntarily cooperate in order to help themselves, and others, be healthy.  The luxuries afforded by millenia of slow standard of living improvements have made it so.

To demand that a ruthless government oppressor force people into being healthy is at best a pathetic indictment of the character of the person demanding it, and at worst a sniveling plea to allow the egghead arguing for it to become a greater power in the dictatorial Ruling Class.

While doing research for this piece, I stumbled over some supporters of these measures.  Most fall in line with Cass Sunstein’s idea that people, as opposed to individuals, are dumb Homer Simpsons, too stupid to live, and need to be controlled.  A few even indict themselves for the same traits, as here:

What is going on here?

I know you think I’m going to come down on the “food police” banning cupcakes in schools. But as an adult constantly struggling with my weight who was a fat kid, I have to say that schools being forced to serve healthier food could literally be a lifesaver.

There are a few who want to be treated like Private Pyle because they can’t take care of themselves.  You want to eat how you like, you pay the price in your own life.  You want to budget some fat into your life because you enjoy chow?  That’s the prerogative of the invidividual.

Lieberman and the “Serious Eats” fatbody, however, want everyone to be treated like the platoon because a few people are fat.  They want everyone to pay for one individual’s decisions.  Notably, the world of the military exists through voluntary cooperation, through voluntarily subordinating the will of a free man to that of a state forged on a Constitution made by free men to protect the rights of men to be free.  The US military swears an oath to a piece of paper that protects the right of the individual to eat those jelly donuts, while they themselves go without.  There is actually a purpose for it there.  In free society, there is not.

Lieberman and the “Serious Eats” no-self-control fatbody begin to fall into a subset of that leftist mindset of the “Moral Equivalent of War”, wherein they believe the state should use force against its citizens – for their own good.  These fools believe it is moral to hurt one’s own people; it is moral for the state, which exists at the behest of the individuals, to oppress the people, because it’s what they’d really want.  They want free men outside the realm of that squad bay to be treated like recruits becuase it’s “for the people’s own good”.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

- CS Lewis

Lieberman, you are demanding force be used against free individuals, free men.  You view us as rapacious, mindless black apes; you dismiss the individual’s will and wish to control men as a collective.  Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day, where we fought against your kind of ideas.  You want us all to suffer and couch it in your pseudo-science belief that people are in biological need of control.

We have evolved to need coercion.