Mike Renzulli

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Everything posted by Mike Renzulli

  1. The libertarians I am refering to are mainly of the anarchist strain. Many of the ones I have been in contact with locally and nationally do tend to side with the Gazans since they see the U.S.'s support of the American Empire (so-called). So in reaction to this, they will support the side in opposition to Israel. In this case the Palestinians. They also borrow somewhat about Ron Paul's assertion that Israel created Hamas which is not true at all. One Phoenix libertarian in particular has befriended and conducted activities with said Code Pink activist and when I was opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I also allied with many leftists who organized/participated in the Arizona Alliance for Peaceful Justice that I and a couple of other libertarians participated in as well. There is also Antiwar.com which has not only detractors on the right but on the left too and (to the best of my knowledge) has had numerous leftists on their radio program. In 2008 the Future of Freedom Foundation had a conference that had libertarian and socialists in their speaker line up.
  2. Okay I would like to hear your thoughts on why it is. In terms of which libertarians I am refering to I thought I made it clear in the latter part of the article. Specifically, I am refering to the ones who ally themselves with Palestinians in the Gaza-Israel conflict. Many go so far as to borrow the logic of leftists, Hamas and other jihadist groups who are hostile to Israel and the Jews.
  3. Vittorio Arrigoni is one more casualty in a morally bankrupt cause undertaken by hardcore leftists to defend terrorists and obstruct Israel’s ability to defend herself. Upon volunteering to do so, Arrigoni was sent to Gaza by the International Socialist Movement (ISM). The ISM (which really stands for I Support Murderers) is the same group responsible for recruiting people such as Rachel Corrie and Angelo Frammartino. Arrigoni and Frammartino were murdered by Islamic jihadists while Corrie (despite the lies told by her apologists) died attempting to block the destruction of a tunnel entrance used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle weapons into Israel. It should also be noted that on numerous occasions the ISM has had their facilities raided by Israeli authorities. This is mainly due to the group's ties to terrorist groups. Regretfully, all three of these albeit naïve idealists are dead. Their lives wasted for a cause that embraced the very violence they abhorred so long as it was directed at Israel and not Gaza Palestinians. The worst part about it is that Corrie's parents and Arrigoni’s mother continue the work of their kids. Rachel Corrie's parents have gone so far as to initiate a lawsuit against the IDF ironically enough via Israel's court system. Vittorio Arrigoni's mother will travel to Gaza via one of the second Gaza Flotilla ships in May. Corrie and Arrigoni's parents are conducting themselves in true communist form. They obviously consider sacrifice (even of their own children) as their highest calling despite their well-to-do lifestyles and the true intentions of the people they staunchly defend. A short time ago I had an exchange with a local Code Pink activist on Facebook. I borrowed from the logic of David Horowitz and asked this individual if she denounced Hamas as a terrorist organization. Her reply was only that she denounced violence and despite my pressing her numerous times on a discussion thread and emails she would not condemn Hamas. In real life and cyberspace discussions I have had with libertarians (some of whom have worked with local leftist groups on certain activities), I am told that I have been brainwashed or am a victim of propaganda for defending Israel. Am I? Let’s consider the actual words of the people some claim are the victims of Israeli oppression and that they so rigorously defend. Consider these quotes from the charter of Hamas: Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. And [The Jews’] scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there. Then there is the Quran: Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve. (8:55) The unbelievers (i.e. non-Muslims) are your invenerate enemy. (48:29) Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. (9:73 & 66:9) Then there is Islam's prophet Muhammad: I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’. And You (i.e. Muslims) will fight with the Jews till some of them hide will behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying: ‘O Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew jiding behind me; so kill him’. Finally consider the wisdom of these prominent Muslim scholars: In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations. - ibn-Khaldun, 14th century Muslim scholar The meaning of the term terror used by the media … is jihad for the sake of Allah. Jihad is the peak of Islam. Moreover, some of the clerics … see it as the sixth pillar of Islam. Jihad – whether Jihad of defense of Muslims and of Islamic lands such as Chechnya, the Philippines, and Afghanistan, or Jihad aimed at spreading the religion – is the pinnacle of terror, as far as the enemies of Allah are concerned. – Sheikh Wajdi Hamza Al-Ghazawi, October 6, 2001 And finally Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which nation assumes the role of the standard-bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State. ... Towards this end, Islam wishes to press into service all forces which can bring about a revolution and a composite term for the use of all these forces is ‘Jihad’. .... the objective of the Islamic ‘ Jihād’ is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of state rule. – Abul Ala Maududi Finally, let's not forget a 1991 memo published by the Muslim Brotherhood uncovered by the F.B.I. entitled An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America which says: The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Proecess" with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal. Islamic scholar and Middle Eastern expert Bernard Lewis summed it up beautifully in his essay Communism and Islam about how the two ideologies are two sides of the same coin: Quite obviously, the Ulama of Islam are very different from the Communist Party. Nevertheless, on closer examination, we find certain uncomfortable resemblances. Both groups profess a totalitarian doctrine, with complete and final answers to all questions on heaven and earth; the answers are different in every respect, alike only in their finality and completeness, and in the contrast they offer with the eternal questioning of Western man. Both groups offer to their members and followers the agreeable sensation of belonging to a community of believers, who are always right, as against an outer world of unbelievers, who are always wrong. Both offer an exhilarating feeling of mission, of purpose, of being engaged in a collective adventure to accelerate the historically inevitable victory of the true faith over the infidel evil-doers. The traditional Islamic division of the world into the House of Islam and the House of War, two necessarily opposed groups, of which- the first has the collective obligation of perpetual struggle against the second, also has obvious parallels in the Communist view of world affairs. There again, the content of belief is utterly different, but the aggressive fanaticism of the believer is the same. The humorist who summed up the Communist creed as There is no God and Karl Marx is his Prophet! was laying his finger on a real affinity. The call to a Communist Jihad, a Holy War for the faith-a new faith, but against the self-same Western Christian enemy-might well strike a responsive note. Let me stress that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims. There are decent, secular Muslims (like Dr. Zudhi Jasser) who want to practice their religion peacefully, and do not wish to harm anyone. However, the facts not only about Islamist terrorism but also the Israeli-Gaza conflict, by and large, are facts libertarians seem to have largely ignored. Either out of a willful ignorance of the enemy we face or out of an intrinsic, subjective notion of being consistent for the sake of being consistent. If anything the above quotes and the abundant of amount of evidence make it amply clear that the left is allied with Islamists soley to bring down Western civilization and not out of any high-minded, noble concern for the plight of the downtrodden, opposition to warfare, or out of any concern for our liberties. This and that the American Empire and the conspiracist mythology the left and some libertarians follow has been thoroughly debunked by the author should be ample reason for libertarians to disassociate themselves with leftists in their activities. Those on the left who are allied with Islamists do so not only out of their hatred of capitalism (i.e. Western civlization) but also due to both ideologies wishing to subject the individual to the collective will. Libertarians allying themselves with leftists in general is a serious error in judgement and is not consistent with libertarian principles. What libertarians will be not remembered for is their principled defense of liberty but rather the company they keep exemplifying their intellectual daftness and useful idiocy for defending the very people who want them dead.
  4. Of course the U.N. is going to stand by the report or the conclusion of it's other bodies that conduct investigations. Most the U.N. member nations are dictatorships in which many of them are Islamist despots. If Israel intentionally targets civilians then why does their military warn them prior to their attacks on Gaza? The Associated Press in 2008 reported that the IDF send texts and pre-recorded cell phone messages to Gazans prior to an attack. The IDF did the same thing for Lebanese civilians prior to an Israeli attack on a village in Lebanon in 2006. The truth is that Hamas purposely positions weapons caches near civilian targets hoping such defacto human shields will prevent their positions from being destroyed by Israeli precision fire weapons. However, despite their best efforts at warning the populace if Gaza Palestinian civilians are killed or wounded as a result of Israeli retaliation, Hamas blames Israel and (worst of all) the media will report it as such. Hamas has turned the Gaza strip into a terrorist base and the group has broken every cease fire agreement negotiated with the Israelis in which Egypt has been the moderator. So the blame for civilian deaths in Gaza lies with Hamas. Not Israel.
  5. Goldstone also said: We had no evidence that Israel didn't intentionally target civilians, so we concluded that Israel did so. Now we have evidence to the contrary. If only Israel had provided that sooner... Essentially, Goldstone's notion is that Israel is guilty until proven innocent. Such excuse making and idiocy leaves me in awe!
  6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html Richard Goldstone is the former head of the UN Human Rights Council that alleged in a 2008-2009 report to the body claiming that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. In the above op-ed he repudiates/retracts what the commission concluded in its report. Islamists (like Hamas) have used the report's conclusions and the fact that the Israelis would not participate in the investigation as a way to drive home their claims about Israeli oppression in the Gaza Strip. Now, fortunately, they have had the wind taken out of their sails.
  7. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/atlas-shrugged-fans-shock-theater-chains-119063899.html CULVER CITY, Calif., April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on the film's recent fan-based grassroots uprising, "The Strike" Productions today announced it will be expanding the initial release of the Atlas Shrugged movie from 11 markets to over 50. "AMC called directly to report their online contact system was being hit too hard. They requested we direct traffic to a specific address just to handle the volume," said producer Harmon Kaslow. "While it's unusual for showtimes to be listed this early, the doors of the exhibitors have been thoroughly beaten down by Ayn's fans. Many of the theaters are now posting showtimes so tickets can be pre-purchased," continued Kaslow. "And, theaters and showtimes are now being reported as sold-out." Fandango.com lists the 7:00pm showing at Regal Cinema's Union Square Theater in New York City as "sold out." "Our online 'Demand Atlas!' service has been receiving an incredible amount of traffic since launch," said Scott DeSapio, Online Marketing Director of the film. "After toping the charts at another web site as the 'Hottest Demand Worldwide' for more than a week, we decided to build our own in-house 'Demand Atlas!' feature to better service Ayn Rand fans. We're completely blown away by the response." "Our fans have spoken, and we have directed our booking agents to expand the release of Atlas Shrugged into the major theaters located in more than 80 cities across America," announced Kaslow. "Of course, until we're locked down, fans still need to let us know where the movie should play by coming to our website and demanding Atlas to their city." "As a direct result of fans in Atlanta demanding Atlas, we immediately set about booking a theater. The current report is that the theater is already sold out for a number of shows on Friday, April 15, 2011 - opening day. We couldn't be more excited." concluded Kaslow. For up to date theater information, visit http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/theaters. Fans can "Demand Atlas!" at http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/demand.
  8. What I said in terms of rights are contextual are in terms of ethics among human beings. In terms of government, like I have said (and am tired of repeating myself), a legitimate one views individuals under its jurisdiction as having rights up until the point that it is discovered via an investigation that one group or person poses a threat to the individual rights of others then they lose a part or all of their rights depending on the threat posed. I believe this is what Ms. Rand, Dr. Peikoff and Robert Bidinotto are stating as well. In terms of the below statement you make it seems your stated disagreement or concern is one of articulation and not necessarily theory. The right to property is absolute, but when infringed, the recourse has to be to put the original owner back to his original condition. In other words, a reasonable implementation of justice would yield the same consequences as your interpretation does, but does not throw property rights out the window. I.e., the solution here is not to change the definition of "right to property," but to make sure you have a sane definition of "right to justice." Shayne
  9. I would tend to agree with Shayne's assessment on property rights and I think this might be similar to what Leonard Peikoff said in his podcast on the Ground Zero Mosque that property rights are contextual. There is a right to property only in so far that force or fraud is not used to obtain it. In terms of the issue of physical property the right only goes so far until it is deemed that said property owner poses a threat to the individual rights of others. either around him or her or at large. For example, if someone possesses a nuclear weapon or, to paraphrase Dr. Peikoff, if said property owner is using their house or structure (such as a religious institution) as a means of trying to influence followers or guests to be terrorists. The right to property is absolute, but when infringed, the recourse has to be to put the original owner back to his original condition. In other words, a reasonable implementation of justice would yield the same consequences as your interpretation does, but does not throw property rights out the window. I.e., the solution here is not to change the definition of "right to property," but to make sure you have a sane definition of "right to justice." Shayne
  10. I think this would also fit the criteria of this discussion. In another essay he wrote on Rand vs Peikoff, Robert Bidinotto wrote: "Rand's stress on contextualism was ironically the hallmark of Peikoff's "Understanding Objectivism" course, in which he made an all-out attack on "intrinsicism" (meaning, on this issue, the belief in inherently good or inherently evil ideas or actions.) These interviews, in fact, show Rand stressing reasonableness in her criteria for judging people." He quotes from interviews with Ms. Rand: From the Ray Newman interview with Ayn Rand NEWMAN: When do you classify someone as immoral? RAND: Only when he has done...done, in fact, some immoral action... When someone in action [Rand's emphasis] does something which you know, can prove, is an immoral, vicious action -- a sin, not a value; or a vice (whichever you want to call it) -- then you have to judge him as he has proved. You never judge a person on mere potentials, and you seldom judge him on what he says, because most people do not really speak very exactly; and on the basis of some one inadvertant remark you would not judge a person as immoral. If, however, he goes about the country preaching immoral ideas, then you would classify him as immoral. NEWMAN: Well, there are people whom I meet who are mixed. In other words, they hold certain virtues, but then in particular situations they may act against the virtue -- or the sin or the evil. RAND: Yes. NEWMAN: Is that like, you can't be a little bit pregnant? Which is that if you're a little bit immoral, you're immoral? Your...your character is rated as immoral? RAND: In fact, yes. But the important thing here is the degree of knowledge a given person has. If you do not know exactly the nature of what you are doing, then you can't be considered immoral -- particularly if it's a young person and it's correctible. A person can make a mistake and correct it. But it would have to be a major crime -- for instance, a person lying. Let's use that as an example. I would never forgive that at all. I would regard that as a top immorality, and regard that person as immoral, regardless of what kind of virtues he or she might have. Needless to say, if you have a robber or a murderer, or a person who is systematically breaking the rights of other people, you would call him immoral, no matter what lesser virtues he might have. So you, in judging people of mixed premises, as most people are, you have to balance, in effect hierarchically, the seriousness of their virtues and of their vices, and see what you get in the net result. From the James Day interview with Ayn Rand on "Day at Night" (video) [in response to a question about values being absolute.] RAND: ...Values are contextual. They depend on the context of a given situation. Now there are, unfortunately, too many people who are part good, part bad. Well, that's their problem. But what would morality demand from them? To struggle to the best of their ability, to do good and to never do evil consciously. If a man does that, I would regard him as completely good -- if he never does evil consciously, deliberately. However, if he does just one action which he knows to be wrong, but permits it to himself, then he's evil absolutely. The rest is only a matter of time. DAY: You've written that the concept of God is morally evil. RAND: I didn't say it's morally evil -- not in those words. I said it is false. DAY: False. RAND: I said it's a fantasy. It doesn't exist. I would say that religion can be very dangerous psycho-epistemologically, in regard to the working of a man's mind. Faith is dangerous, because a man who permits himself to exempt some aspect of reality from reason, and to believe in a god even though he knows he has no reason to believe in a god -- there is no evidence in a god's existence -- that is the danger, psychologically. That man is not going to be rational, or will have a terrible conflict. It's wrong in that way.
  11. Just by making this statement goes to show you don't know what rights are and is another feather in my cap showing how you (yet again) like to argue since you have no merit to your own morally bankrupt intrinsic philosophy (if any). If you knew anything individual rights (which it's obvious you don't) you would know that rights only apply to entities who have the capacity/ability of deliberation and choice (i.e. humans). With humans reason is our primary means of survival which is why rights can't and shouldn't be granted to other entities who do not such as forms of nature (i.e. animals, trees, etc.). Humans have a right to life which is why children (according to rights theory) have a right to live but not full rights until they are fully adults since it is recognized that parents are their guardians until a certain age. The incapacitated and mentally retarded are in a similar situation as well. Not just in rights theory but in terms of actual conduct seen today. What a murderous view. A defenseless child certainly has rights, and his rights certainly have meaning, regardless of whether other men come to the defense of them. Your view completely eviscerates Rand's moral view of rights. Shayne
  12. The only one acting like a troll is you. You are making these posts because you are obviously upset that I rebutted a claim by you and put ethics and politics in its proper sense in terms of Objectivism. Now after having done so, you act like a three year old and go off on a tangient in order to commence more arguments since you can't argue from your original premise any more in terms of rights. In light of the fact that you are not, I wonder why you are still here. If you want to have the kinds of discussions you have create your own chatroom. Don't ruin ours. Have you even read Ayn Rand or are you just a cheap troll? She clearly states that rights are a link between ethics and politics, hence they go in either category. And quit derailing the thread. Answer the question: Where does Rand claim that "rights are contextual"? If you can't find it, stop claiming that it has anything to do with Objectivism. Shayne
  13. The quotes you cite are talking in terms of ethics. When discussing the view of government it should (and in many cases does to this day) recognizes individual rights as absolutes. Doing this prevents it from flagrantly violating individual rights yet it retains the power to halt someone from knowingly violating the individual rights of others. Yet conduct among people is what ethics are all about. I think the ethics folder is where this discussion belongs and I would also point out that Shayne is (yet again) trying to start trouble by bending and twisting Objectivism because he obviously has nothing better to do with his time. Indeed. And individual rights, properly understood, are an absolute as well. Sounds like the theory that "rights are contextual" to me. Shayne
  14. I don't think so since Rand is not taking the view of consistency for the sake of being consistent. Like I explained to Shayne, the view of rights Robert outlines is how it is among the ethics of others (i.e. how people should live). I think this is much in line with what Ms. Rand had in mind as well. In the Objectivist view of government, it respects (and in many cases does in real life) a person's rights as absolute until and unless some person or group is determined to pose a threat to the individual rights of others. When it is objectively determined by a police agency that a group or person is a threat then it may take action to stop them. That's what we are seeing with the U.S. government's activities to halt terrorism now. Shayne: In your quote above, please clarify for me who, or what, is doing the delegating of that "right?" Thanks. Mike: Heller notes, on page 138 of her book, that: "The first thing right-thinking people must understand , she [Ayn] explained, in the manifesto*, is that man is an independent entity, an end unto himself, and never a means to an end. Since this is so, he has certain inalienable rights. These are not granted by any state, society, or collective, but rather they shield against all governments and societies. They constitute all 'Man's protection against all other men' and are absolute." *from the 33 page, "polemical" essay, The Individualist Manifesto. This appears to be the intrinsicist view. Adam
  15. Shayne, The fact that you are twisting the statement goes to show me that you have only this manner in order to try to argue. It's not my fault that I adequately rebutted your premise and you have nothing to respond to it with except slander. If you read the statement you would see Bidinotto is pointing out: Objectivists uphold a contextualist view of rights, as being an extension of the ethics of rational self-interest into social situations. By the intrinsicist view, rights are something you just have. By the contextualist view, rights are moral principles you recognize and apply. Robert is talking in terms of ethics. When discussing the view of government it should (and in many cases does to this day) recognizes individual rights as absolutes. Doing this prevents it from flagrantly violating individual rights yet it retains the power to halt someone from knowingly violating the individual rights of others. Thanks very much for your concession that I have debunked your view of rights or arguments in contrast to mine. Anything more stated by you will be nothing more than comedy relief from here on out.
  16. I will let Robert Bidinotto do the talking in which an essay/comments he posted on Rebirth of Reason beautifully contrasts/compares the libertarian/anarchist view of rights with the Objectivist: One of the most common differences between (many) libertarians and Objectivists is their commitments to entirely differing conceptions of "rights." Many libertarians (especially anarchists) adhere to an intrinsicist (platonic) conception of rights, as being an essential aspect of human nature. By contrast, Objectivists uphold a contextualist view of rights, as being an xtension of the ethics of rational self-interest into social situations. By the intrinsicist view, rights are something you just have. By the contextualist view, rights are moral principles you recognize and apply. These diverging views of rights and their source explain many of the political arguments we see here on SOLO. If you believe "rights" are essences of individuals, something they just have, then there are no circumstances in which they disappear. From this premise, it's a short step for anarchists to reject such vital governmental powers as arrest, subpoena, emergency curfews or roadblocks or health quarantines, and contextual limitations on weapons of self-defense (e. g., outlawing private possession and/or use of machine guns, bombs and tanks in "self-defense"). Anarchists reject even defensive wars, because innocent civilians (who are analogous to "human shields" or hostages held by aggressor nations) ill likely be harmed during our defensive efforts. They even reject government itself because, being a final arbiter of force, government necessarily compels compliance and/or participation even of unwilling individuals, and thus allegedly "violates their inherent rights" to refuse participation. By contrast, Objectivists see such governmental activities as necessary and proper extensions of the morality of rational self-interest into a social framework, which any valid theory of rights must therefore incorporate and accommodate. Rights are inalienable but not intrinsic? What does that mean? Does that mean that if a cop thinks there are drugs at your house but has the wrong address, that it's OK for him to bust down your door in the middle of the night for the "utilitarian purpose" of making sure you don't flush something down the toilet? And then to shoot you if you mistake him for a criminal? There's a reason the wise founders created the Bill of Rights, and Objectivists who throw them into the trash can are not true Americans, they should hide their heads in shame and move back to England. Leaving aside the issue of cruel and unusual punishments (in a system that routinely convicts innocents and puts them on death row), the question here is whether it is appropriate to apply any sort of punishment to a person who has not been found guilty through due and public process. You say "terrorist" when you see a mere human that the government pointed their finger at. This is a very gullible and dangerous attitude. Shayne
  17. Spare me, Shayne. You hear all about the bad things feds do (which are wrong) but never the good. I will bet you a nickel that there are more instances of the feds halting terrorists from being able to blow up buildings or kill civilians. You never hear about it probably because they want other terrorist cells to think they are still under their radar. So while your concerns for the innocent people listed in the Cato Raid Map are understandable, consider if that map was of terrorist attacks such as shootings or car bombings. I wonder then if you would whistle the same tune.
  18. I understand what you are saying James but (respectfully) disagree. Just because the feds have more powers of surveillance does not mean they will automatically assume you are guilty and then pay you a visit or take you to the slammer. I realize the laws may seem onerous but consider the alternative. Here in the U.S. there were Islamist charity front groups that were raising money for al-Quaeda and Hamas. Thanks to the PATRIOT Act's rules regarding money laundering most (if not all) of them have been shut down and their assets seized. The PATRIOT Act is a very good law that balances liberty with security. I don't like many facets of it, but my greatest fear is another terrorist attack and this law enables federal agents to halt terrorists before they strike again. Soon after the Iraq invasion I remember reading about one Islamist who expressed shock at the ferocious response the U.S. conducted after 9/11. I am sure a part of that was the result of when Bush authorized the warrantless wiretaps and the swiftness with which federal agents acted thanks to the various new powers given to them from the PATRIOT Act to halt other potential terrorist attacks. I realize the fears of freedoms of the innocent being trampled on but there are still safeguards (such as the courts) who can rein in the President and Congress and force them to think twice about doing something that might violate the Constitution. Mike, The PATRIOT act is a severe infringement of freedoms. There is a whole litany of things we cannot do now as a result of the patriot act. The worst part of the act involves mandatory financial reporting. You cannot now open a bank account in excess of $10,000 without being looked over by the feds. Also, the supposed FISA safeguards of warrantless wiretaps were routinely violated by the Bush Administration. There is a good reason for procedural protections in the 4th and 8th amendments. Everyone ambitious enough to run for President is also ambitious enough to walk all over citizens' rights without a second thought. The blunt reality is that our willingness to pour money into endless overseas occupations and a surveillance state will bring the end to freedom in America much more quickly than any group of terrorists. Rome lost its empire trying to govern the ungovernable. America is doing the same. Jim
  19. Agreed. After having switched on the issues of foreign policy and terrorism, everytime I read about Paul or see his videos on the PATRIOT Act or the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. he comes across as the pandering politician he claims to be against. Paul is just like any politician. The only thing that makes him dangerous is that he and the Rockwellians backing him have the platform to pitch Paul as a representative of libertarians and the movement. His articulation of Austrian economics is good but as far as his stances on foreign policy, abortion and immigration he is awful. The last thing libertarians need to be associated with is the paleo-conservatism of Paul. Unfortunately, many in the movement have latched on to him and their credibility will go down with him when his awful and slanderous statements (like the ones you point out) are made public.
  20. Thanks, Ted. I won't and I tend to agree. It seems that the anarcho-capitalists poo-poohing my article have their arguments grounded in Kantian skepticism (i.e. no one can know anything about anything) and not Objectivist or even libertarian philosophy. Let alone reality itself.
  21. I will let this part of my article speak for itself: Don’t get me wrong, individual rights are inalienable and they may not be given or taken away. However, it is a mistake to treat rights as intrinsic. The choice to torture or resort to making it easier for police to do their jobs in order to stop terrorists is not utilitarian. A terrorist has voluntarily chosen to put themselves in a state of war upon countries (like the U.S.) and peaceful citizens. As a result government agents who conduct acts of torture or scrutinize terrorists via warrant-less wiretaps, monitoring bank records or other means of surveillance are doing their job of keeping the peace since terrorists pose a threat to the rights of the innocent. Terrorists are not combatants in the sense of battlefield conflict and to treat them the same as American citizens not only will make their job easier but is also a perversion of what individual rights are all about. Rights apply only to citizens in terms of trade and peaceful conduct among each other in a social context. Those who do not respect the individual rights of others (such as terrorists) do not deserve to have theirs respected by anyone. It's not torture as such--start a torture thread if you like--it's the whole statist ball of wax in which Mike embedded it just like Galt's torture was embedded in the statist matrix he was temporarily trapped in. No wonder Steve choked on it. I'm still coughing myself. --Brant
  22. I still am in terms of believing that, ultimately, people should be left to govern themselves. That much is certain. Yet when it comes to the war on terrorism, here we have an obvious scenario of government actually doing it's job of protecting our rights. This isn't to say government won't make mistakes since government is made up of humans and people make mistakes all the time. If government agents do there are institutions in place for redress. However, the fact remains we are at war and when it comes to terrorists hell-bent on killing, maiming or destroying, the gloves need to be kept off until the threat is eliminated. It's a relief to know you don't think you are a libertarian. --Brant
  23. With responses like this, I am increasingly getting the impression that libertarians are more about not liking to be told what to do than they are about supporting individual rights. Instead of subjecting me to your killfile, Greybird, why not try to take me to task or point out the flaws in my argument? The context of comparing John Galt to fighting terrorists is deeply flawed since (aside from the fact you are comparing a fictional story to what is in reality) John Galt was about producing and creating in defiance of the collective will. Terrorists are about death and destruction and (if the Islamists or Weathermen are any indication) are usually motivated by anti-life philosophies. This is what I meant in my article about treating individual rights as intrinsic since it blurrs the lines between what is an obvious abridgement of a person's rights and what is not. As it would be with a John Galt, right? Yeah, right. * plonk *
  24. With Congress having approved key elements of the USA PATRIOT Act, not surprisingly, the security/liberty debate has been somewhat re-ignited. I think, overall, Americans have become too complacent or lackadaisical in the years since September 11, 2001 and the horror of the terrorist attacks that occurred that day has lapsed in many American’s minds. Despite what Rep. Ron Paul says, the reality is that Americans are safer thanks, in large part, to the new powers federal agents have at their disposal. With the new tools given to them by the USA PATRIOT Act, it is easier for law enforcement to profile, track, and intercept terrorists before they conduct acts of violence and destruction. The powers granted to federal agencies (like the F.B.I.) will not only be used to prevent Islamic terrorism, but can also be used to halt activities on the part of other radical groups too. Extremist groups such as Earth First!, the Animal Liberation Front, Army of God and The Lambs of Christ could be subjected to monitoring as well. Doing so can force anti-abortion and eco-terrorists to think twice about bombing or committing acts of vandalism or violence on medical facilities used for surgeries or research and the people who work for them. There are still numerous legal safeguards in place as well as internal departmental checks on the part of federal law enforcement agencies to ensure they have the right information on a suspect before agents take action. F.B.I. agents can objectively tell the difference between someone peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights and a person that knowingly supports Islamic terrorists in their cause. Such was the case when the F.B.I. raided the homes of antiwar activists in Minnesota and Chicago back in September. The individuals subjected to the raids were the subject of investigations in which there was evidence of potential material support of terrorist groups involved on the part of specific antiwar group members resulting from travel on their part to Columbia, Lebanon, and then the Gaza Strip. Prominent libertarians (like former Judge Andrew Napolitano and Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger) and groups (like the ACLU) criticize the usage of military tribunals to prosecute terrorists, enhanced surveillance powers and torture too, respectfully. They essentially state that not only is the USA PATRIOT Act unconstitutional but that one of the best ways to fight terrorism is to not lower our legal and ethical standards. A civilized country, they argue, that casts off acting civilized in times of conflict becomes no better than the enemy. Being originally from Long Island, New York I distinctly remember while learning about World War II in high school that an unincorporated hamlet named Amagansett was one of two landing areas for a group of Nazi German spies. They had false documents, lots of money and were placed in the United States to conduct acts of sabotage (i.e. terrorism). Not only did a quick-thinking member of the U.S. Coast Guard report their presence but, fortunately, one of the spies ended up getting cold feet down the line and turned himself and his companions in. Members of both spy cells were quickly arrested, tried in military courts and most were executed soon after being found guilty. Unfortunately, the warnings passed on to the Bush administration prior to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were not heeded and the result was death and destruction on a massive scale. The U.S.’s last experience with trying terrorists in civilian courts was in 1993 after the first World Trade Center bombing. In addition to needlessly tying up our legal system, if civilian courts are used much of the activities used to monitor and halt terrorists would be public record. This, in turn, would give other wrong-doers the ability to learn from their predecessor's mistakes and information could be available if criminals wanted to retaliate against witnesses or people who testified for the prosecution. Military tribunals are not subject to public scrutiny, involve less legal procedure, permit more inclusive rules of evidence and, hence, make prosecutions easier. International standards of warfare (like the ones outlined by the Geneva Convention) apply to combatants who play by the rules of war. The U.S. government is in a precarious situation where it is faced with an enemy that has no regard for human life and does not accept the international rules of battlefield conduct. Terrorists will use any means necessary to conduct acts of violence and destruction up to and including sacrificing their own lives in order to accomplish their aims. This being the case, not only is the USA PATRIOT Act an appropriate means to prevent terror, but torture is also a legitimate means of extracting information. While the methods used on enemy combatants may seem heinous, I do not know of anyone who would not resort to some kind of torture on someone who had knowledge of a major terrorist attack and refused to voluntarily disclose when and where it would occur. Especially if it meant the usage of a nuclear device and the lives of family members or friends were at stake. Don’t get me wrong, individual rights are inalienable and they may not be given or taken away. However, it is a mistake to treat rights as intrinsic. The choice to torture or resort to making it easier for police to do their jobs in order to stop terrorists is not utilitarian. A terrorist has voluntarily chosen to put themselves in a state of war upon countries (like the U.S.) and peaceful citizens. As a result government agents who conduct acts of torture or scrutinize terrorists via warrant-less wiretaps, monitoring bank records or other means of surveillance are doing their job of keeping the peace since terrorists pose a threat to the rights of the innocent. Terrorists are not combatants in the sense of battlefield conflict and to treat them the same as American citizens not only will make their job easier but is also a perversion of what individual rights are all about. Rights apply only to citizens in terms of trade and peaceful conduct among each other in a social context. Those who do not respect the individual rights of others (such as terrorists) do not deserve to have theirs respected by anyone. It is unrealistic if not outright madness for the United States government to be bound by rules of warfare or sets of laws that hinder law enforcement from protecting our individual rights while, simultaneously, being expected to combat an enemy that clearly has no regard for human life. This is the blunt reality Americans (especially libertarians) must face up to, Israel has had to deal with almost since its creation, Barack Obama had to learn upon occupying the Oval Office and that President George W. Bush and members of Congress learned in the shadow of the World Trade Center and Pentagon Bombings on September 11th, 2001.