GOP – look deep into your past

Just wrote this to a friend, then I thought it would make a darn good blog entry…

. . . for it is there you will find your future, if you want one. And the key for the future of the GOP, IMHO, is to drop the social issues as a principal means to their political ends. It will be difficult, but it is critical. The party is simply on the wrong side of time by clinging overtly to deeply divisive issues such as an abortion litmus test (all too often manifesting as militantly pro-life), anti-gay marriage, and overt religiosity. If they continue down those premises it will go worse for them as time goes along. Those are the actual core reasons why the GOP has lost ground.. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mitt v. Barack, Marginal Tax Rates, and … Morality!

The first presidential debate of 2012 is over, and it is fair to say Mitt Romney had a very good night, was on the offensive, did not make any meaningful gaffs, and by all reasonable accounts won this debate. Good for Mr. Romney, as far as that goes.

In the debate (focused exclusively on domestic policy), we heard a great deal about taxes. Mitt Romney attempted to make the case for, essentially, reduced marginal tax rates to spur growth. Romney’s plan calls for maintaining the “Bush tax cuts,” which were across the board rate cuts of roughly 20% from prior levels. In addition, Romney’s plan calls for eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions. Romney also mentioned this plan is coupled with eliminations of various deductions, credits, and loopholes. His plan, to the extent we have details, can be (seen here). Obama argued that this was a “$5 trillion dollar tax cut.” Romney then countered: “I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist that can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Ryan: A Walking-Talking Contradiction

Ari Armstrong has a nice blog piece regarding Paul Ryan, highly recommended. In addition to Ari’s points, I would humbly add that in addition to those who were touched by Ayn Rand, but are not avowed Objectivists, you could have added as texture and contrast, for example, George H. Smith. Read the rest of this entry »

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The ACA, Bromides, and 1913: Wax on.

Wax On:

I read the other day a commentary regarding Justice Roberts divining what was overtly intended to be a “penalty,” to actually be a tax. As a result, he found an interpretation for the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s not a mandate, only the tax to pay for it is. So, you’re free to buy private health insurance but you are required to pay for the government plan regardless. Sounds a bit like selecting a non-government school for your children. Which brings up the idea of a universal health care tax credit, but I digress. In the context of the aforementioned commentary, one person vomited up the bromides that all one needs to do in this whole matter is to “follow the money” to find out who “they” are. Ostensibly, a very small cabal of characters responsible for all of our ills (including ACA); if we follow this nondescript long trail of money we will eventually discover who the cabal actually is, and find it was a group of greedy, money hungry, cats who stood to make fortunes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quotes Galore!

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. Lucius Annaeus Seneca,
Roman philosopher and statesman 4 BC – AD 65

There are two classes of men: intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
Abu Ala Al-Ma’arri, Arab philosopher 973 – 1057 AD

“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can also make you commit atrocities.”
Voltaire

“Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.”
Voltaire

“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.”
Voltaire

Read the rest of this entry »

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Giving Back? It’s implicit in the trade.

You hear the refrain all too often: “because we (you) have been so fortunate in life, we (you) are obligated to ‘give back.’” Well, it could be true that your earnings and success in life were purely by chance. That, for the most part, whatever wealth or success you have accumulated/achieved was not gained through trading mutually in beneficial exchanges, nor through incredible hardship, long hours, and really hard work; a lottery winner (or Stephen King) comes to mind. If such were the case, then you might feel compelled to simiply premise your actions upon a “give back” approach to those who were not so fortunate, and obviously did not earn it. What is heinous, and uncalled for, is an admonition from others (especially beneficiaries of the give back, social engineers, collectivist ideologues, and various and sundry promoters of the “give back” rant) that it is a moral imperative to “give back,” without judgment or any particular direction. That merely the idea and act of “giving back” is, in and of itself, a pinnacle of virtue – and in the process create out of whole cloth the obscene notion of unearned guilt.

After a lifetime’s worth of trading value for value, after giving your all, your best efforts, in the production of goods or services that others valued so highly that they were willing to trade with you that which they valued? Yet, you must now give more? After the years upon years of paying taxes, fees, subsidies that were promised to cure all the maladies of society, you are asked to forfeit the fruits of your labor? And how about the soldiers; we can argue about the ridiculous premises upon which they have placed themselves into harm’s way, but must they too “give back?” The list goes on and on. In all likelihood, you have already given to many individuals far more than you know; your honest efforts have enriched the lives of others in many ways. The reality is that you, as a successful human being, “owe” no one anything except your honest measure and judgment of them, and your commitment to respect their individual rights. You’ve done your part, you can walk proudly and fully enjoy the product of your efforts with zero guilt.

What you have earned is yours; others do not have a moral claim on your life, your life’s work, or the fruits thereof. If you decide for reasons wholly and rationally selfish that donating to a person, organization, or cause would make your own life better (all things considered), and above all enhance your own happiness, then by all means you should – but only if you have been able to adequately provide for yourself and those for whom you are directly responsible. True benevolence is a concept devoid of coercion, altruism, or (especially) sacrifice.

What is not needed in this world is a creed of self-sacrifice as suggested by those who advocate “giving back” carte blanche. An ethos that would mandate as a moral precept you give up what you value more for that which you implicitly value less (or for a non-value such as “society”), or somehow be duty bound to simply give. We live on the heels of, and indeed in many ways still in, an era in which the creed of self-sacrifice has been drum-beaten into us by mystics of both muscle and spirit; its effects are all around us. We see that “need knows no end,” and that dependency is institutionalized to the extent where generations are now dependent upon generations yet to be born, where money has to be “created” because earning it is too hard. That those born into this world are, in fact, indentured to some inane notion of “the greater good.” Such is a legacy and world-view that assumes the worst in man, celebrating his vices while demonizing his real virtues.

So, the next time you hear some public service message admonishing you to simply “give back,” take it with a grain of salt. Reflect on the wide ranging and meaningful contributions to your fellow man through the honest trades and service you have provided throughout your life. The role model you set as you merely went about your work, your sports, your relations with others. You will very likely find that over the course of your life you have indeed already given back – it was implicit in the trade.

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The complete idiots guide to atheism

Fabulous.

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