Yet another socialist state – Greece – finds itself insolvent. When will they ever learn?
Quotations from Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, by Ludwig von Mises –
Wherever Europeans or the descendants of European emigrants live, we see Socialism at work to-day; and in Asia it is the banner round which the antagonists of European civilization gather. If the intellectual dominance of Socialism remains unshaken, then in a short time the whole co-operative system of culture which Europe has built up during thousands of years will be shattered. For a socialist order of society is unrealizable. All efforts to realize Socialism lead only to the destruction of society. Factories, mines, and railways will come to a standstill, towns will be deserted. The population of the industrial territories will die out or migrate elsewhere. The farmer will return to the self-sufficiency of the closed, domestic economy. Without private ownership in the means of production there is, in the long run, no production other than a hand-to-mouth production for one’s own needs.
All rational action is economic. All economic activity is rational action. All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.
The average man is both better informed and less corruptible in the decisions he makes as a consumer than as a voter at political elections.
When we call a capitalist society a consumers’ democracy we mean that the power to dispose of the means of production, which belongs to the entrepreneurs and capitalists, can only be acquired by means of the consumers’ ballot, held daily in the market-place.
Hear, Oh Greece! And Bernie Sanders fans! And Pope Francis!
Margaret the Great on the virtue of inequality and the vice of egalitarian thinking:
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. It cost many of them everything they had. They paid it willingly.
Justice Scalia, in his dissent from the Supreme Curt’s ruling that makes same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States (see our post immediately below, Who rules America?), so despised what five of his fellow justices ruled – because they had no right to – that he wrote this :
The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.
His chief concern is that the Supreme Court was exceeding its powers and disastrously changing its proper function as a checking and balancing branch of government. Also, he declared it wrong to shut down the democratic process of debate within the states.
He firmly stated that the issue of same-sex marriage itself was not important to him.
Much as we like his dissenting opinion on the whole, on this point we disagree. While we take no position on any sexual preferences, practices, or proclivities (as long as there is no exploitation or corruption of children involved), we think that the issue of same-sex marriage is important. Its legalization throughout the United States has profound consequences.
Far from augmenting individual freedom, the ruling is radically destructive of it.
Here is an article that explains why that is the case, by Stella Morabito at The Federalist:
Same-sex marriage is a notion that contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. I doubt many have thought this through, with the ironic exception of the elites who have been pushing the agenda the hardest.
Most people are weary of it all and going along to get along, especially since dissent has become such a socially expensive proposition, almost overnight. That in itself should deeply concern anyone who values freedom of expression.
Sure, true believers scattered across the land really do think the entire project ends with allowing same-sex couples to marry. Most persist in the blind faith that a federal ban on the standard definition of marriage will have no negative effect on family autonomy and privacy. That’s a pipe dream.
The same-sex marriage agenda is more like a magic bullet with a trajectory that will abolish civil marriage for everyone, and in doing so, will embed central planning into American life. And that, my friends, is the whole point of it. Along with Obamacare, net neutrality, and Common Core, genderless marriage is a blueprint for regulating life, particularly family life.
The Rainbow’s Arc
Unintended consequences usually come about when we are ignorant or maybe lazy about a course of action. But we usually crash land after following an arc of logic, which in this case has gone largely undiscerned and unaddressed in the public square.
Americans are in a fog about how marriage equality will lead to more central planning and thought policing. This is partly because the media and Hollywood only provide slogans to regurgitate while academics and judges push politically correct speech codes to obey.
Let’s explore the fallout of that arc of faulty logic. Included below are some 15 of the gaping holes in the “marriage equality” reasoning that Americans have not thought through.
1. The Kids Are Not Alright
Last month, six adult children from LGBT households filed amicus briefs opposing genderless marriage …
Whenever a parent is missing — for whatever reason — a child feels a primal wound. In this respect, parents belong to their children more than children belong to their parents. We ought to recognize that privileges of civil marriage should ultimately exist for children, not for adults. Children have the right to know their origins and not to be treated as commodities. Same-sex parenting — which increasingly involves human trafficking, particularly with artificial reproductive technologies (see number eight) — deliberately deprives a child of a mother and/or a father. The “marriage equality” agenda requires that such children bear that burden alone and repress their primal wound in silence.
2. Love’s Got Nothing to Do with State Interest in Marriage
“Love is love” is an empty slogan when it comes to state interest in marriage. How two people feel about one another is none of the state’s business. The state’s interest is limited to the heterosexual union because that’s the only union that produces the state’s citizenry.
And it still is, whether the union happens traditionally or in a petri dish. Each and every one of us — equally and without exception — only exists through the heterosexual union. In any free and functioning society, there is a state interest in encouraging as much as possible those who sire and bear us to be responsible for raising us.
3. The Infertility Canard
Just as the state has no litmus test for feelings or motives, it has no litmus test for any heterosexual couple who do not produce children because of intent, infertility, or age. Conflating same-sex couples with childless or elderly heterosexual couples seems to be the fallacy of composition: claiming something must be true of the whole because it’s true of some part of the whole.
Sorry, but the heterosexual union, no matter how it takes place, is the only way any citizen exists, including intersex and transgender citizens. So recognizing that union without prejudice remains the only reason for state interest in marriage.
4. Same-Sex Marriage Will Settle Nothing
It’s only the starting point for a glut of philosophically related demands for state recognition and approval of many other types of relationships, including polygamy and incest. This will mark the sudden beginning of an even more sudden end for same-sex marriage, not so much because those other types of relationships prove immoral, but because they serve as exhibits for the argument that all civil marriage — including same-sex marriage — is unsustainable and discriminatory.
5. “Marriage Equality” Opens the Path for “Unmarried Equality”
There’s a movement waiting in the wings called “unmarried equality,” which argues that all civil marriage should be abolished because it privileges married people over singles. If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, it will set the precedent for abolishing marriage. Far from getting the state out of the marriage business, it will invite the state to regulate all familial relationships, particularly those with children. Once the state doesn’t have to recognize your marriage, it is freer to treat your spouse and children as strangers to you.
6. Transgenderism Is a Big Part of This Package
Americans have not thought through the implications of same-sex marriage and how it is logically a big step to erasing all sex distinctions in law. If we become legally sexless, the implications are vast when it comes to how or whether the state will recognize family relationships such as mother, father, son, or daughter. There’s already a push to eliminate sex identification at birth, which could mean removing sex distinctions on birth certificates. This will seem logical because all gender identity non-discrimination laws already presume that everybody’s sex is something arbitrarily “assigned” to them at birth.
7. It’s an Open Invitation for State Licensing of Parents
If we allow the abolition of sex distinctions and civil marriage — both of which are written into the social DNA of same-sex marriage — we logically allow the state to gain greater control over deciding familial relationships. Civil marriage so far has presumed that a child born into a heterosexual union has the default right to be raised by his biological parents together. How can the presumption of maternity or paternity survive in a legal system that recognizes neither sex distinctions nor a marriage relationship?
The bellwethers are out there. MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry did a “Forward” spot for the Obama administration in which she stated that all children “belong” to communities, not families. Another friend of the Obama administration, gender legal theorist Martha Fineman, calls for state-subsidized care-giving units to replace marriage and the family.
8. Same-Sex Marriage Commodifies Children
You may think artificial reproductive technologies (ART) are fine as an avenue to obtain children for those unable to conceive. But in the context of genderless marriage, ART ramps up the potential for human trafficking. Check anonymousus.com to read testimonies of grief and loss felt by children who were conceived in this manner. Check the movies Eggsploitation and Breeders by the Center for Bioethics and Culture to hear stories of the exploitation of women in the industry. There is definitely an element of human bondage in all of this, particularly because human beings are being deliberately separated from their mothers and fathers, in a way that echoes the wounds of slavery’s separations and the search for one’s roots.
About the next section (9): we are leaving it in, although we care not a jot about any church’s teachings about anything, because freedom of religion must mean freedom to have no religion. The important points this author makes above and below are matters of reason and common sense .
9. It Sets a Head-On Collision Course with Freedom of Religion
The handwriting is on the wall. You need only reflect on how a screaming mob managed to conjure up total surrender from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence so he would reject that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Catholic Charities is closing its adoption services where same-sex marriage laws pressure them to reject their church’s teachings about marriage and family. Owners of businesses that serve the wedding industry are being forced to either scrap their consciences or shut their doors. Anti-discrimination lawsuits against churches that don’t perform same-sex marriages will undoubtedly increase.
10. It Sets a Collision for Freedom of Speech and Press
Campus speech codes. Social punishment. Firing Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla for discovering his thought crime of privately believing in marriage six years prior. The utter compliance of virtually every big business in America, every media outlet, every pundit who is permitted to have a voice in the public square.
11. It’s Especially On a Collision Course with Freedom of Association
I already mentioned that abolishing civil marriage, along with legal sex distinctions, puts the government in a better position to regulate familial relationships, and probably to license parents. If we think deeply about these things, it’s hard to avoid the fact that freedom of association begins with family autonomy, a place where the state is supposed to leave you alone in your most intimate relationships. It’s hard to see how freedom of association is not affected, especially when PC speech codes have everyone constantly checking their chit chat with neighbors, co-workers, and classmates. At Marquette University, staff were told that any conversation or remarks construed to be against same-sex marriage were to be reported to Human Resources, even if just inadvertently overheard.
12. Same-Sex Kills Privacy by Growing Bureaucracy
With the erosion of family autonomy practically guaranteed by the rainbow arc of same-sex marriage, private life will tend to evaporate, just as it always does in centrally planned societies. Distrust grows because people fear punishment for expressing dissenting views. The emphasis on political correctness in the name of equality, coupled with an ever-growing bureaucracy, is a perfect environment in which to percolate a surveillance society.
13. It’s Meant to Be Global
The United States is already punishing countries and threatening to cut off aid if they don’t accept the LGBT agenda. This is especially true of developing countries, in which the whole idea is foreign to over 95 percent of the population. According to a report by Rep. Steve Stockman, corroborated by a Pentagon official, the administration held back critical intelligence from Nigeria which would have aided in locating girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. The new National Security Strategy recently released by the White House makes clear that the LGBT agenda is a global agenda. And it looks a lot like cultural imperialism of the worst kind.
14. It Promises a Monolithic Society of Conformity
In the past year or two, everyone with something to lose by opposing same-sex marriage — with the honorable exception of Eich — seems to have scuttled their principles. Five years ago, the American Psychological Association voted 157-0 — that’s right, ZERO — to support genderless marriage. For an excellent assessment of what this sort of conformity means for a free society, read Brendan O’Neill’s article in Spiked, entitled Gay Marriage: A Case Study in Conformism. The agenda was imposed by elites, entirely due to a methodical blitzkrieg of programs and enforcement dictated from above. Same-sex marriage simply could not come about without suppressing dissent in all of our institutions.
15. Expect More Severe Punishment for Dissent
If you think the bullying of businesses, churches, and individuals who don’t get with the LGBT program now is bad, it promises to get much worse once codified. Is this really the sort of society you wish to live in? Where expressing an opinion from your heart on faith [or lack of it – ed], family, marriage, relationships, love, or the very nature of reality — is routinely attacked as hate speech? Because that is exactly what you need to expect.
Justice Anthony Kennedy made it very clear in his words of the Windsor decision that any dissent on same-sex marriage was tantamount to animus. It is but a short step from presuming animus to punishing dissent.
So perhaps the biggest question hanging in the air is this: What will the authorities decide to do to dissenters?
Watch out for the harm the well-meaning do!
Sam Westrop writes at Gatestone:
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has accepted an invitation to become chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR). The ECTR boasts an advisory board comprising a dozen European presidents and prime ministers. It describes itself as a non-governmental body that “fosters understanding and tolerance among peoples of various ethnic origin; educates on techniques of reconciliation; facilitates post-conflict social apprehensions; monitors chauvinistic behaviours, proposes protolerance initiatives and legal solutions”.
Behind all this jargon, Blair and the ECTR claim to promote religious belief and dialogue as a means to challenge hate speech and extremism. Writing in The Times, Blair and ECTR President Moshe Kantor state:
It is our firm belief that it is not religion or faith per se that causes or foments conflict. It is the abuse of religion, which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide. … The ECTR brings together parties and political leaders who have been at the heart of some of the world’s most difficult conflicts to foster dialogue. Our projects also tackle conflicts from the ground up — focusing on the root causes of intolerance, which are usually ignorance of other faiths and cultures — and so the ECTR takes its message to schools and universities around Europe to encourage tolerance and reconciliation.
The ECTR’s mission is explained in a document entitled A European Framework: National Statue for the Promotion of Tolerance. This “framework” is currently being brought before parliaments all across Europe. For Blair and the ECTR, however, “tolerance” seems not to be freedom of expression, but an Orwellian standard of behaviour to be rigidly enforced and regulated by government.
“Tolerance,” the ECTR claims, is “respect for and acceptance of the expression, preservation and development of the distinct identity of a [religious, racial or cultural] group”.
Proponents of individual liberty, however, argue that true tolerance means tolerating views that we dislike. In a free society, there is no requirement to show “respect” for such views, merely to accept the right of free people to express them.
“There is no need,” the ECTR explains, “to be tolerant to the intolerant.” It seems that European “tolerance” means only tolerating a European agenda.
The notion of “group rights” is deemed to trump individual liberties. The ECTR calls for European countries to introduce a number of “criminal offences punishable as aggravated crimes”, as part of a Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance. These crimes would include:
(iii) Group libel…
(iv) Overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia or anti-Semitism.
(v) Public approval or denial of the Holocaust.
(vi) Public approval or denial of any other act of genocide the existence of which has been determined by an international criminal court or tribunal.
These measures are staggering assaults on free speech.
Particularly damaging is the proposed criminal offense of “group libel” – the notion that defamatory statements about a group of people are actionable by individual members of that group.
Group libel has no basis under British law. In 1993, a British court ruled in Derbyshire CC v Times newspapers that governmental entities could not sue for libel because it would lead precisely to undemocratic restrictions on free speech. Group libel laws, such as the ECTR is proposing, would allow extremist religious and political movements to censor reporting and criticisms of their beliefs.
In Britain, Public Order Acts already criminalize incitement to violence. If, for example, a neo-Nazi activist advocates that Jews should be murdered on the streets of London, he would likely be prosecuted.
The ECTR, however, wants to go much farther. As an “aggravated crime”, group libel, the ECTR’s framework explains, also means “defamatory comments… with a view to… slandering the group, [or] holding it to ridicule”.
Blair is repeating his old mistakes. In 2006, his government was condemned for its attempts to criminalize anyone who “intends…to stir up religious hatred or was reckless as to whether religious hatred would be stirred up”.
After losing a vote in parliament and after politicians, comedians and journalists forcefully argued that such proscriptions would censor honest criticism of religious groups, Blair was forced to accept amendments to the legislation.
To criminalize ridicule would be disastrous. In a free society, no one has the right not to be offended. As Conservative MP Dominic Grieve said in 2006, the proposals were an attempt to “appease” some minority groups.
Along with criminalizing – in the name of tolerance – views that the ECTR deems intolerable, Blair’s group also proposes Orwellian means of regulation to further its “tolerance” ideology. “The Government shall ensure,” the ECTR advocates, “that public broadcasting (television and radio) stations will devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of tolerance.”
In addition, government funded bodies will impose and enforce such tolerance, with the ECTR framework calling on governments to “establish a National Tolerance Monitoring Commission as an independent body — composed of eminent persons from outside the civil service — vested with the authority to promote tolerance.” A separate governmental body will also be set up to “supervise the implementation” of the Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance.
The ECTR also lobbies for “entrenching state funding for religious institutions into law”.
Once again, Blair seems unable to learn from his own follies. Under the Blair government, the authorities poured millions of pounds of funding into the pockets of religious groups, which the government believed would challenge extremism and terrorism. Publicly-funded groups, however, included Islamist organizations connected with terrorist movements.
The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, has since noted:
As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called ‘non-violent extremists’, and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. … Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.
Europe needs to divorce the state from oppressive interest groups; it should not do the opposite and embrace them further.
The ECTR’s proposals only serve to reinforce the dangerous flaws of multiculturalism policy. Under this system, people are classified as members of religious and cultural groups, not as individual citizens with individual rights. By defining individuals by the groups to which they belong, you deny individuals their own voice and rights of citizenship.
In a recent case before London’s High Court, a British judge ruled that an illegal immigrant who beat his own son should be forgiven because of the “cultural context”. In other words, the law should protect only white children; the ruling implicitly condones the beating of minority children — all in the name of diversity and tolerance. Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equality Commission, described the decision as “the effective abandonment of the migrant family’s child on the altar of multiculturalism”.
As an extension of multiculturalism policy, the ECTR’s proposed measures seek to protect the various groups by which European states classify their citizens. Such laws and regulation would further divide Europe into tribal groupings, composed of various religious, ethnic, cultural and political movements – all in competition with each other for government patronage and support.
By criminalizing our freedom to criticize religious movements, or even to express intolerant thoughts, and by offering legal protection to religious groups from ridicule or insult, Blair and the ECTR would destroy the most important tenet of individual liberty: freedom of expression.
A free society cannot proscribe toleration of the intolerant. Actual tolerance requires free citizens to tolerate views they dislike.
We should certainly not, as the ECTR advocates, be forced to “respect” views that the government declares suitable.
In a democracy, the law is designed to protect individuals against the agenda of oppressive interest groups. But Blair and the ECTR are proposing the very opposite. Under government-enforced “tolerance”, extremists would flourish, honest critics would be silenced, freedom of expression would be criminalized, and, in deference to religious and cultural “groups”, the individual would lose his right to be an individual.
Brooklyn Bridge, a cable-stayed suspension bridge, completed in 1883, spans the East River in New York. It was the brainchild of John A. Roebling
Here is an article by Michelle Malkin, titled Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge?:
How many times have you heard President Obama and his minions pat themselves on the back for their noble “investments” in “roads and bridges”? Without government infrastructure spending, we’re incessantly reminded, we wouldn’t be able to conduct our daily business.
“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive,” Vice President Joe Biden infamously asserted. “Private enterprise,” he sneered, lags behind.
As always, the Beltway narcissists have it backward. Without private enterprise and free-market visionaries, public infrastructure wouldn’t exist.
Take the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, which turned 132 years old this week. It’s not a government official whose vision built that. It’s a fierce capitalist who revolted against unimaginative command-and-control bureaucrats in his home country.
Before he went on to pioneer aqueducts and suspension bridges across America, culminating in the Brooklyn Bridge, John Roebling was a government engineer in the German province of Westphalia. A cog in the Prussian building machine, he chafed under autocratic rule. No decisions could be made, no actions taken, he complained in his diary, “without first having an army of government councilors, ministers, and other functionaries deliberate about it for ten years, make numerous expensive journeys by post, and write so many long reports about it, that for the amount expended for all this, reckoning compound interest for ten years, the work could have been completed”.
Fed up with innovation-stifling conformity, subordination and red tape, the ambitious 25-year-old Roebling set sail for the U.S. in 1831 aboard the American-built ship August Edward. During the 78-day journey, he wrote of his hopes and dreams “to found a new home in the western continent beyond the ocean, a new fatherland free from tyranny”. Upon arriving in Philadelphia, he celebrated his adopted land’s free-market economy.
“The numerous hindrances, restrictions and obstacles, which are set up by timid governments and countless hosts of functionaries against every endeavor in Germany, are not to be found here,” he reflected in a letter to friends and family.
“The foreigner must be astounded at what the public spirit of these republicans has accomplished up to now and what it still accomplishes every day. All undertakings take place through the association of private persons. In these the principal aim is naturally the making of money.” The pursuit of self-interest was in of itself a source of public good, he concluded, “principally (as) a result of unrestricted intercourse in a concerted action of an enlightened, self-governing people.”
Roebling failed at silkworm-farming, fabric-dying, rape seed oil farming and canary-raising before embarking on his engineering career. He patented an improved boiler for steamships, a safety gauge for a steam-boiler flue and a steam-powered motorcycle. He traveled wherever he could utilize his skills – constructing dams on the Beaver River, consulting on hydraulics on the Croton River Aqueduct, knocking on doors for work across Pennsylvania.
With unbridled determination to build a lucrative family business, he patented and pioneered America’s first commercially successful wire rope company. Frugal and financially savvy, Roebling operated on saved capital and refused to borrow. Several of his new clients paid him in stock, and he soon had a thriving investment portfolio. Coal mining companies in the anthracite region snapped up his sturdy cables.
Did he have “help” along the way? Plenty – from other capitalists, that is.
Roebling purchased his wire from industrial pioneer Robert Townsend, who had founded the first iron wire mill west of the Allegheny Mountains in 1816. Townsend, who had learned the wire-making trade from Baltimore wire weaver Hugh Balderson, manufactured rivets, nails, fasteners and telegraph wire, in addition to supplying Roebling with wire for his early experiments and projects.
Samuel Wickersham’s Pittsburgh Wire Works also supplied wire as Roebling gained more project work. And Sligo Iron Works made charcoal “blooms” for Roebling’s wire: large blocks cast from molten iron and later steel, which were then “hot rolled” at high temperatures between two rotating cylinders into wire rods.
Later, Roebling’s sons Charles and Ferdinand built a 200-acre state-of-the-art manufacturing campus, steel plant and village outside Trenton, N.J. Employing 8,000 workers, Kinkora Works produced everything from chicken wire and telegraph wire to tramway and elevator cables.
The suspension cables on the Golden Gate and George Washington bridges were manufactured by the Roeblings. So were the control cables in the Spirit of St. Louis, the first airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the tramway and construction cables used to build the Panama Canal. Even the wires used to stabilize the wings of the Wright Brothers’ aircraft used Roebling trusses.
Here’s the lesson White House progressives and Common Core historians won’t teach: Roebling’s Brooklyn Bridge is a towering legacy of the countless pursuits of individual American innovators who benefited the public by benefiting themselves and their families. The wealth-shaming social engineers in Washington will never understand. Private profit is a public good.
John Augustus Roebling
(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter Nadir H. Khan)
The Washington Post reports:
Senators left Capitol Hill early Saturday morning without taking action to extend or replace a controversial surveillance program set to expire at month’s end, paralyzed by a debate over the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.
Our tentative answer to the dilemma: As there’s an administration in power that believes government should control our lives, we would vote for civil liberties over national security; if there were an administration that knows it’s first duty is to protect our freedom, we would trust it not to overstep the mark, so we would vote for national security.
And yet …
Trouble is, even if we were so lucky as to get a reasonably trustworthy administration, it could all too easily be replaced by another statist gang such as we have at present.
Readers are invited to give their own views on this difficult conundrum.
Rick Roderick expounds John Stuart Mill:
Further to stress the supreme importance of liberty and reason, here is our summary of excellent points made in an article by Jeffrey Tayler, a contributing editor at the Atlantic.
Astonishingly, the article was published by the far-left periodical Salon. It is quite long, but it is good, and may be read in its entirety here.
Last week’s assault on the “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest that Pamela Geller hosted in Texas proves the jihad against freedom of expression has opened a front in the United States. She and those with her came close to being murdered, yet some in the media blamed her for the gunmen’s attack.
Acceptance of the fraudulent term “Islamophobia” contributes to the generalized befuddlement on the left about the faith in question and whether negative talk about it constitutes some sort of racism. It patently does not. Unlike skin color, faith is not inherited and is susceptible to change. As with any other ideology, it should be subject to unfettered discussion, which may include satire, ridicule and even derision. The First Amendment protects our right to practice the religion of our choosing or no religion at all, and our right to speak freely, even offensively, about it. From a rationalist’s perspective, any ideology that mandates belief without evidence is a priori dangerous and liable to abuse.
The “Prophet” Muhammad transformed the Despot on High into an even more menacing, wrathful ogre, whose gory punishments meted out to hapless souls after death fill many a Koranic verse. Muhammad was a triumphant warlord leading military campaigns that spread Islam throughout Arabia. He preceded his invasions by demands that populations either convert or face the sword. Verses sanctifying violence against “infidels” abound in the Koran, and warn that Hellfire awaits those worshipping anything besides Allah. The real meaning of the word “Islam” is surrender — to Allah. Surrendering denotes groveling and humiliation.
We should proudly espouse, as alternatives to blind obedience to ancient texts, reason, progress, and the wonderful panoply of other Enlightenment ideals underpinning our Constitution and the liberties characterizing Western countries. We cannot wimp out and blame the victims for drawing cartoons, writing novels, or making movies. The media need to begin showing Muhammad cartoons. We must stop traducing reason by branding people “Islamophobes”, and start celebrating our secularism, remembering that only it offers true freedom for the religious and non-religious alike. And we should reaffirm our humanistic values, in our conviction that we have only one life, and need to make the most of it. There is nothing else.
This is not a battle we have chosen; the battle has chosen us. It’s time to fight back, and hard.
Our only quibble would be with this in the original article: “…some in the media on the right and the center-right have essentially blamed [Pamela Geller] for the gunmen’s attacks … ”
While it is true that Greta van Susteren of Fox News did that, and Bill O’Reilly did it too (only to be forcefully and brilliantly contradicted by Megyn Kelly), most of the “blame Geller” opinion is to be found in the left-slanted Islam-supporting media, notably the New York Times. Which is why it is astonishing that Jeffrey Tayler’s article – defending Geller, free speech, and the secular values of the Enlightenment – appeared in Salon.
Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of F. A. Hayek. (Friedrich August von Hayek.)
He is one of the greatest defenders of liberty in the history of the enlightened West.
His work as an economist is enormously important.
Milton Friedman said of him:
No person had more of an influence on the intellectuals behind the Iron Curtain than Friedrich Hayek. His books were translated and published by the underground and black market editions, read widely, and undoubtedly influenced the climate of opinion that ultimately brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
An article at Townhall by David Boaz lists some of the plaudits and honors he received:
Who was Hayek? He was an economist born and educated in Vienna. After the Nazi conquest of Austria, he became a British citizen and taught there [in Britain] and at the University of Chicago for most of his career.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.
President Ronald Reagan called him one of the two or three people who had most influenced him …
President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom.
Margaret Thatcher banged his great book The Constitution of Liberty on the table at Conservative Party headquarters and declared “This is what we believe.” …
He is the hero of The Commanding Heights, the book and PBS series on the battle of economic ideas in the 20th century.
His most popular book, The Road to Serfdom, has never gone out of print and saw its sales explode during the financial crisis and Wall Street bailouts.
John Cassidy wrote in the New Yorker that “on the biggest issue of all, the vitality of capitalism, he was vindicated to such an extent that it is hardly an exaggeration to refer to the 20th century as the Hayek century”.
If only! No Western country, even under leaders that held him in the highest esteem, put his theory into practice. Every one of them is a welfare state to some degree. In all of them government is an agency that redistributes wealth. Hayek believed the business of the state is to protect liberty with the rule of law, not to plan the economy, or intervene in the working of the free market. He taught that only the free market can provide the signals that make for the most efficient use of resources. Central planning is socialism – and socialism, Hayek explained, tends towards totalitarianism.
Here is Hayek, champion of free market capitalism, talking about Maynard Keynes, advocate of government intervention in markets and the economist whom Western states have preferred to follow:
In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith wrote:
“Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it … He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”
Hayek (we quote from here) “called the free market system a ‘marvel’ because just one indicator, the market price of a commodity, spontaneously carries so much information that it guides buyers and sellers to make decisions that help both obtain what they want. The market price of a product, a component of the invisible hand, reflects thousands, even millions, of decisions made around the world by people who don’t know each other or what the others are doing”.
Hayek’s most popular and least technical books The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty ought to be prescribed reading in every high school and every university in the world.
We doubt they will be. The socialists have won. The decline of the West may be irreversible.
First Pamela Geller was attacked by terrorists for holding a free speech event. Then she was attacked by the media for the same reason.
Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media looks at the media’s twisted treatment of Geller after the foiled shooting in Garland, Texas.
The left-slanted media want sharia enforced in America rather than US constitutional law.
And not only the left-slanted media. Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, and Greta van Susteren of Fox News have also blamed Pamela Geller for exercising her free speech rights. Dhimmis all.
However, also on Fox News, the excellent Megyn Kelly argued with Bill O’Reilly and decisively showed him to be wrong – though he still didn’t seem to understand that he was.
Kelly told O’Reilly … the point [Pamela Geller and her organization] were making about free speech was a solid one. The First Amendment, she said, isn’t meant to protect popular speech; it’s meant to protect “the most outrageous, offensive, incendiary speech”.
O’Reilly countered, “It’s always cause and effect… This is what happens when you light the fuse, you get violence.” Kelly was surprised to hear that, telling O’Reilly he sounds like he’s “attacking the event itself”.
When O’Reilly said he would “do it another way,” Kelly got really fired up and said this:
“You know what else the jihadis don’t like? They hate Jews. Should we get rid of all Jews? That’s the path we’re gonna go down if we don’t stop catering to the jihadis.”
Watch the video here.