The Obama Administration: Change in pennies, part 6,437

“This time, it’s different.”

How many times have we heard this before?  Oh yes, the mainstreamers say, all those other decisions—Vietnam, Korea, the Bay of Pigs, Iraq II, etc.—were mistakes, and the United States should never have stuck its nose into those situations.  But this time, it’s different.

In the video below, Congressman Ron Paul explodes U.S. foreign policy in front of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who, having listened—or at least remained silent—during Paul’s remarks, says, “Afghanistan is not Iraq.”  Then he pulls one of Dick Cheney’s rabbits out of his hat:  “September 11, 2001…..”

This man works for the administration of Barack Obama, the candidate of “change.”  Before the election, I warned people not to expect any real change from Obama.  “Oh, you’re being pessimistic,” I was told.  “Yes, every other president in the past two generations has backed away from his campaign promises, but…….(drumroll, please)……this time, it’s different.”

So much for that.  

Such lunacy will continue to the end of the world, so long as people allow themselves to be hypnotized by these mountebanks each time the olympiad rolls around.  It could change, but I doubt it ever will.  Human nature is flawed, and one of those flaws is gullibility.  One of the evils of the State is that the gullible, who elect these clowns, bring down the rest of us with them.  Maybe someday this will be different, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Hat tip to LRC.

From one kind of murder to another

Barack Obama may be predisposed to commit fewer war crimes than his predecessor, though we must express such hopes with due caution if not downright skepticism, but one area on which he has turned the tables in the Murder-by-State department is abortion.

Obama has promised to push for the passage of FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, which among other things would force many healthcare providers to face the choice between performing procedures they find morally reprehensible, or shutting their doors.  So much for freedom.  This sounds to me like coercion, and, as usual, it is brought to you by the State.

But it doesn’t stop here.  Obama has already reversed the Mexico City policy, which under the W. Administration prohibited U.S. funds from going overseas to assist in the procurement of abortions.  Bush’s policy would seem to be the sensible one, for why should my tax dollars provide for a procedure which I find to be abhorent, either in a foreign country, or here at home?  Why should tax dollars support any ill-advised jaunt (such as the invasion of Iraq) that is morally controversial?  (Moreover, why should there be taxes, or the State, period….but I digress…)

Many would perhaps not want to admit it, but the key issue here is one of forcing American citizens to violate their consciences.  Perhaps this is a good sword to fall on, just the place to begin in the long battle against tyranny, for Ron Paul warned a year ago already that many of us would soon be facing tough choices and would have to decide if we were willing to commit civil disobedience.

The issue of abortion is a difficult one.  By saying that I do not mean to imply that I think the morality of it is hard to sort out.  It is difficult because it is hot, and sound reason is getting lost in the heat.   When I was a Statist (God forgive me!), I used to advocate a Constitutionalist approach:  Simply have Congress revoke this issue from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution.  In all the years of Republican control of Congress, this option was never taken seriously, in spite of the fact that such bills were introduced.  This is one of the reasons that I don’t take the GOP seriously on this issue.

Many more, however, advocate a change in the make-up of the Supreme Court.  Good luck with that.  This is impossible to predict, and even with a pro-life president, even the best nominee is no better than a roll of the dice.  Besides, Article III, Section 2, and all that.

The real problem with trying to solve this through Constitutional means is that the Constitution really doesn’t matter anyway.  If it is true that the Lone Ranger President actually called it “just a G*ddamn piece of paper,” then, well, he’s right, and history proves him right.  The government has massaged, and even rended, the Constitution to get whatever it wants.  Why should it be any different with this issue?

The problem with the issue of abortion is that it would seem that civil law would be ineffective at truly preventing it from happening—as is the case with civil law so much of the time.  Yet, if there were to be no secular protection for the life of the unborn, who would be the defenders of the victims of abortion?  The best solution in the Statist milieu, it would seem, would be local laws that were enforceable.  Repeat:  this is within the Statist milieu.  (I’m dealing with present realities, for a change, but only for one paragraph.  You needn’t worry.)

Would it be better, however, for various religious institutions to institute their own penalties for this crime?  That has its own problems, not the least of which is that someone without religious affiliation would be unaccountable to anyone. Maybe the private common law courts that would be used in the anarcho-capitalist system envisioned by Murray Rothbard could be used to avenge the killing of the unborn.

Incidendentally, I do not accept Rothbard’s idea that the unborn child, being a parasite of its mother, does not have any rights.  It is the foetus’ parasitical nature which leads Rothbard to this conclusion that the unborn is really just property of the mother.  The implications of this, however, are ghastly.  What, then, about the nursing infant?  What about the mentally handicapped or deranged young adult?  What about the elderly, and those considered to be in “vegetative states”?  If being “parasitical” voids one’s rights, then most of our lives would be in danger at one point or another.

What is more, Rothbard really didn’t need to view the unborn as a parasite in order to keep his ethic of liberty consistent.  All one need do is define the unborn life as one belonging to itself, with all the rights that the rest of us have, and there is no problem of consistency.

Of course, that’s ultimately the rub, isn’t it?  In the final analysis, one’s views on abortion are not so much influenced by what one thinks the Constitution does or does not say, or by whether or not one is a Democan, Republikrat, libertarian, or anarchist.  It comes down to what one thinks a foetus is.  After all, if one believes that it is a life, then consistency requires that we stand up for its rights, and if one believes that it is not its own life, then that opens the door to toleration of, or even downright acceptance of, abortion.

We won’t all agree on this subject, and we might even disagree vehemently.  And that is the number one reason why the State should keep its grubby mitts out of the abortion industry.

Help to put an end to abortion by putting an end to the State.

Miscellaneous Political Thoughts

The presidential inauguration is barely a day away, and the United States of America is about to engage in a peaceful transition from one form of self-congratulation to another.  Not much change is really in store.

All across America, people are wetting their pants with the anticipation of a new president.  This is partially understandable, given the monstrous tyrants who’ve run this country for the better part of the past decade.  Nevertheless, the remainder of the excitement is, I’m afraid, based upon the legendary short memories of the American electorate, along with that ageless failure to understand human nature, and, more specifically, the nature of politics.

I do not hold any personal animosity toward Barack Obama.  None.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy.  The bottom line, however, is that he is a politician, and politicians practice politics, which is the art of legalized theft and violence.  This art is enacted to coerce one section of society to do something for the benefit of another section of society, usually at the former’s considerable expense or inconvenience.  Moreover, politicians are the consummate Statists and expect the citizenry to be, as well.  When it comes down to it, we all belong to the State in the minds of these bureaucrats.

With all of this in mind, it would be hard to get excited about change even if the next president were a nominally laissez-faire thinker, which Obama most assuredly is not.  At the same time, perhaps my pessimism guards me from the hysterical hooting and hollering of the self-styled conservatives who are still too stupid to know that they ruined their political standing without any help from their enemies and who actually believe that there is a dime’s worth of difference between the Democan and Republicrat parties.  Socialism or Fascism.  Take your pick.

In a sense I miss the days when I was just as susceptible to the moronic emotional vicissitudes of politics as so many others seem to be; it’s as though I have one less sport to watch.  Maybe I’ve been reading too much Albert Jay Nock.  Or maybe I’ve been reading just enough.

I suppose the danger here, however, in the midst of recognizing the intrinsic evil of politics and the insoluble morass that is earthly life in this vale of tears is the temptation to stick one’s nose in the air, declare oneself to be above it all, and then to walk away into isolation.  Then there is the temptation to think that, just because one has ascertained the depth of the moral turpitude of politics, that one is therefore a saint, someone untouched by the ugliness that happens when we men butt heads.

This is foolishness.  In particular, it is utter folly in the case of your humble scribe, for I am a jackass.  I always have been, and I probably always will be, even if I set out to improve society using means other than the political.

But at least I didn’t vote.

Transition politics

In the past few days, I’ve obtained functioning cable for the first time in years.  I was actually afraid that this would turn me into a couch potato, but so far it hasn’t come to that.

I do get some TV, however, when exercising on my indoor bike, which I’ve been using in lieu of running outside lately.  Tonight I was watching several cable news channels and indulging in the hilarity that is politics.  Really, the most hilarious part about politics is the indignation that decent people, who should nonetheless know better by now, show when some aspect of politics is revealed to be heaped in corruption.

Here are some fragmented obsessions from the transition period:

–George W. Bush today, daring to speak on behalf of the American people, said that the citizenry wants the Big Three auto makers to succeed.  Not me.  These are companies that have been investing unwisely for decades—for example, paying much more for labor than market circumstances would suggest reasonable.  I want them to fail so that better companies with better products and better service can take their place.  And look at it this way: if they were to go under, the remaining inventory would probably sell off for dirt cheap.  As to replacement parts, well, a savvy businessman could fill that void.  Long live Honda, I say!  (And I should have bought a used Honda instead of a brand new GM car, which is now, at eight years old, a complete piece of crap.)

–GASP!  Caroline Kennedy missed some elections!  The pundits are talking about this in a way that only gives support to my smart-aleky talk about “pious civic claptrap.”  A few talk radio personalities spoke of this revelation as though Kennedy missed Holy Days of Obligation and will have to go to Nation-State Hell unless she repents of her awful sin of not choosing the Lesser of Two Evils.  But since politics is the art of legalized theft and violence, I say that her absences were moments of shining glory.

Kennedy does seem to be campaigning for this Senate seat, something which the Establishment of yore would likely have considered to be in bad taste.  Of course, taste went out the window a long time ago.  Here’s my question:  If Kennedy really is the saint that everyone says she is, why is she seeking to enter the dirtiest profession known to man?  (Yes, politics is dirtier than prostitution, since both the prostitute and the john are engaged in a consensual, rather than a coerced, act, unlike the taxpayer or the young man signing up for Selective Servitude.)

–When did Charlie Sheen become Governor of Illinois?  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.  In a twisted sort of way, I sympathize with Blagojevich.  He is a politician, so I have no love for him, but the idea that the Federal government should come after him on corruption charges is laughable.

–A number of constituencies which helped to elect Barack Obama are already frustrated with him, which is understandable.  As I said a while ago, expect your change in pennies. Good for the true believers on the Left for holding the new guy accountable (such vigilance always helps to highlight the evils of politics), but I think they’re going to end up being disappointed nonetheless.  George W. Bush broke his campaign promises (humble foreign policy, no nation building…), so did Bill Clinton, so did George H.W. Bush, and so did Ronald Reagan, if I’m not mistaken.  Why should it be any different this time?  And why does the electorate keep coming back for more every four years?  Boycott the 2012 election, I say, and show these people just how much legitimacy this cracked up system really has.

Ultimately, all this stuff is just a big show to me, useful for entertainment purposes only.  Once you’ve read enough Albert Jay Nock, most of this garbage becomes pretty predictable; nor does it seem like a terribly good idea to try to change any of it.  When you’re a jackass like I am, you begin to realize that you’ll be lucky if you just get around to changing yourself.

Obama and prospects for change

Thanks to the Young Fogey, I found this piece from Justin Raimondo on the bellicose foreign policy team which Barack Obama is presently trying to assemble.

A few months before the election, I was sitting in one of my favorite Belgian bars here in Philadelphia, batting the breeze with a friend. In a casual sort of way, the election came up, and it seemed like we’d be moving along from the subject rather quickly when some chic in the corner invited herself into our conversation. She wanted to quiz us on who we’d be voting for. You all know what my answer was. I was then subjected to a five-minute long tract of pious, somniferous, Statist claptrap which claimed that it was my duty to vote, and to choose between the lesser of two evils, if necessary. Our uninvited interlocutor went on to lament that she, having emigrated from Ireland and not having become a citizen, does not have the right to vote. Well, if it’s that important, I suppose she’d become a citizen.

But she hasn’t.

Friends, this girl badgered me; I do not exaggerate. She would not let the subject go. My friend and I wanted to get on to the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. We were finally rescued by one of her cigarette breaks.

Now Obama has been elected, and change is supposed to be on the way. Amen, iterum dico vobis: Don’t hold your breath, or you’ll suffocate. If we get any change, it will be in pennies.

Miscellany…

…lest you think I crawled in a hole and died…

Speaking of dying in holes, late Saturday night I noticed a strange sound that I couldn’t quite locate. I thought perhaps it was the wind, then I thought maybe it was my refrigerator trying to run unsuccessfully. Finally, I located the sound between the walls of my apartment. An animal. Perfect.

The first thing you do in such a situation, of course, is to Google. This usually brings up the worst-scenario results first, so I got to read a lot about the malodorous effects of decaying flesh on the domestic environment. Sounds like this is going to be lots of fun.

The next morning, the sound was gone, and so also, I hoped, my uninvited hotel guest. Never mind: Sunday night it was back, so I made a point yesterday of calling the guy in charge of upkeep, and he surmised that my new friend is a squirrel who has found a way in and a way out. He bases this on past experience with this building. I hope he’s right; then I won’t have to worry about carcasses on the other side of dry wall.

This situation has yet to be resolved. I will be sure to fill you in on all the details.

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Last night I dropped by the taxpayer-funded library (hey, I know, none of us is completely consistent, right???) and picked up Murray N. Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty. If you don’t know about Murray Rothbard, you should try to get to know as much about him as you can, ASAP. Go to mises.org.

Meanwhile, here’s a taste:

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Something big is going down tomorrow at the National Press Club. Ron Paul has indicated that he intends to make a “major announcement.” [Update:  I'm being advised presently by a contact in Washington that this is being overblown and that it is "nothing."] No one is really sure what that means, but at this point, it appears as though most or even all of the third party candidates for president will be there. Many are dreaming the impossible dream that Paul will spearhead some kind of “unity” (anti-establishment) ticket, but I’m not sure how well election laws would allow for that.

One thing is certain: if the third parties, particularly the right-wing ones, find a way to pool their resources, they’ll be sued all the way to the moon by the JackSss McCain campaign, which would surely suffer from the busting of the two-party monopoly.

Only time will tell on this, but imagine if the third parties are successful at something as modest as getting into the prime time TV debates. Think of what this could do for the political discourse in this country. I can just hear it now, McBama wastes time talking about tax policy, and then someone like Barr or Baldwin jumps in and talks about the depredations of the Federal Reserve.

Obama picks Joe Biden

Word has leaked that Barack Obama intends to nominate Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) for the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket. While I obviously wouldn’t like the great majority of Joe Biden’s politics, I will say off hand that he does strike me as genuine, which is a rare commodity these days to be sure [Update:  I can't believe I said something so stupid.  I beg my readers' forgiveness.]. A lot of people hate his unpolished demeanor; I find it to be refreshing. Only time will tell if this choice will help Obama make inroads against McCain (Biden has been in the Senate ten years more than McCain and has deep foreign policy credentials) and even with former Hillary supporters who are reticent to get on board.

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