Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Scientific Kind Says "It Wasn't My Fault"

Seeking to get back to the strict subject of naturalism in the Academy Blogger--rather than using naturalism as the theme for the subjects of capitalism, the forthcoming Obama administration, altrusim, socialism, justice, etc.--we are reminded that as far as this Academy is concerned "naturalism" is the metaphysical position that nature is all there is and all basic truths are truths of nature.

However, there are epistemological variations of naturalism which, metaphysically speaking, make a mess of the idea of "basic truths."

"(1) If nature is understood in the restricted sense of physical, or material, nature, naturalism will be the tendency to look upon the material universe as the only reality, to reduce all laws to mechanical uniformities and to deny the dualism of spirit and matter. Mental and moral processes will be but special manifestations of matter rigorously governed by its laws." Catholic Encyclopedia

This "restricted" sense is restricted enough to be called determinism. It is also referred to as scientific naturalism.

The problem with determinism vs. metaphysical naturalism is where determinism gets its descriptive name: everything including human history is determined, not by a pre-determined, planned destiny, but determined by all the causes which have gone into the creation of existence as it is at this moment.

Thus, we are unable to overcome the nurturing we received as an infant, for example, and must abide by the conditioning of the brain by that nurturing. The mind is a fallacy, as is free will.

"[W]e are caused (by our genetic endowment, upbringing, and social environments)..." writes Tom Clark. " Human beings act the way they do because of the various influences that shape them..." [italics added]

On first reading, on first impression, that might sound perfectly natural. But it is not natural to think that to take tychistic* (random) acts of nature and acts of other human beings, as they effect us, is metaphysically the same as being caused by them. So what if they did "cause" us? That is called life; it is called existing. Without nature and other humans to interact with there would be nothing in existence--except you.

Making a big deal out of the idea that our genes, our upbringing, our learned behavior, manners, etiquette, speech patterns, education, memes, and everything that makes living what it is, is to make a big deal out of life as life. Memeing Naturalism Memes.Org

Life and existence are a big deal; but to say we are "fully caused creatures" because we sometimes cannot escape the rain, a family member's death, having the measles or having big feet is to say that everything except our will is the cause of our having to use our will!

It is a tautology. And a ridiculous one at that. Are we supposed to say, "Because things affect us, we must use our will, which is not contra-causally** free of those things which affect us; therefore, since things force us to us our will, those things have fully caused us."

Unfortunately, this epistemology leads to such social policy thinking as this, found on Clark's website along with much more in the same vein:

"Given the circumstances both inside and outside the body, [behavior of individuals] couldn't [be] other than what they [do in response]. Nevertheless, we must still hold individuals responsible, in the sense of applying rewards and sanctions, so that their behavior stays more or less within the range of what we deem acceptable."

So first Clark says we cannot act in any other manner than that which is apparent after we have acted; then he says we must hold people responsible for behavior they could not control, and we know they could not control it because in other places Clark states: "...we can no longer take or assign ultimate credit or blame for what we do. This leads to an ethics of compassion and understanding, both toward ourselves and others. We see that there but for circumstances go I."
Because we cannot change the cosmos, and because we cannot be the director of the world stage and all its actors--because we cannot contra-causally change tychistic and human events--we cannot take either full blame or credit for our actions.
In other words, my life is determined by everything and everyone but my self. It wasn't my fault.

*tychistic: chance as an objective reality, operative in the cosmos, a term derived from the Greek tyche: fortune; chance; employed by Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914)

**contra-causal: the ability to reverse, prevent, or in some way alter tychistic events, and acts of life, e.g., birth and death; violence and pacifism; witnessing a "wardrobe malfunction," etc
P.S. I just found this
"Nicolas Sarkozy, who is about to rotate out of the European Union's presidency, has a reputation for being a little bit daft. Now meet his successor, Czech President Vaclav Klaus. British historian Timothy Garton Ash has called Klaus "one of the rudest men I have ever met." Klaus has called global warming a "myth" and Al Gore an "apostle of arrogance." He blames the world financial crisis on too much, not too little, regulation; is close with Vladimir Putin; and has frequently lambasted the organization he will now head. "Oh God, Vaclav Klaus will come next," read a headline in a recent Austrian paper. "There is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world's biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers," writes The New York Times. Good news: The Czech presidency is largely a ceremonial position, and this fact is expected to limit Klaus's power in the E.U."
No, the good news is that maybe the "rude capitalist" will take some initiative and show the world how to deregulate, begining with his own nation.
But it just goes to show the NYTimes is not pro capitalist, i.e., a supporter of individual sovereignty; nor does it believe the weather is merely changing, as it has every few centuries since it first got an atmosphere with identifiable seasons.

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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Capitalism in Political Space

Why is Capitalism "Natural"?

"You can't have capitalism without a PROPER government," wrote someone in a comment to Gus Van Horn's blog.

"That is a crucial point," continued the writer. "I like to make that point by explaining to people that free market capitalism is not a 'system', it is a space -- a legal space established and maintained by a government in a given geographical area.

"The defining attribute of this particular space (as distinguished from those found in the various non-free societies) is the ban on the initiation of physical force. All the things that we normally mean by 'capitalism', from stock markets and corporations to competition, were freely created by people within this space -- not imposed from the top down by government, as with all other political ideologies which ARE systems in that sense of the word." [italics added]

Now, I must be honest here: I never thought of capitalism existing in a space, yet it clearly is a political space. First, it is located within politically geographical boundaries. Second, it is a metaphoric "space" because we can put it anywhere--in a brick-front store; on the internet; in our pockets; in a briefcase, or in a box of Girl Scout cookies carried door to door throughout neighborhoods.

Admittedly, capitalism is more than a simple and literal space. But without that economic space, created by political means and ends, the other elements of capitalism could not exist.

The political means are not what is important, so long as they are not coercive means. Every so-called capitalist nation has its own rules governing the space. The important element is the ends, the purpose, the motive, the desire--for an economy that offers the freedom of individual sovereignty over the property rights of money.

"Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned," wrote Ayn Rand.

To say the same thing differently: "The legal conception of property is that of a bundle of rights over resources that the owner is free to exercise and whose exercise is protected from interference from others." Cooter and Ulen [1986, p.91]. " The listed control rights are exclusively considered from the owners' point of view. The listing of rights is by no means exhaustive. It is only meant to be illustrative."

How is capital created? By labor upon things. John Locke posited the idea that land and other natural resources are there for the taking, until taken by someone else first. Let us say a man takes newly fallen tree branches. He removes the bark and places it in the sun, in pieces, to dry. He then takes the branches and tying them together at one end, he stands them up, covers them with animal pelts, and in the process has created a portable home.

But it is summer and he prefers sleeping under the sun. Along comes a man with a small flock of sheep. Originally he had only two, but he mated them several times and now has more than two. He does not like sleeping under the moon. He has capital in the form of property--the sheep he raised with his labor.

The first man has capital in the form of a home he created with his labor. He wants sheep to mate with the one he already owns, so he trades his home for two from the shepherd.

The trade is equitable; in other words, each man has agreed that what he has gotten in return for his capital is equal in value to the capital itself.

Along comes another man who is a fisherman. He trades several preserved catches for the dried bark because that species of tree makes a flavorful smoke in his smokehouse.

Capital, therefore, is the valuation of a thing after labor has been applied to it. This is natural.

What is not natural is the power of another human used in force against the three men, in an effort to extract from them their capital, to be used in acts of charity deemed by the tyrant to be worthy of othe men's property.
What is natural is the three men forming a government to protect themselves from coercion and tyrany, by providing the political space in which to work with wood, to herd sheep, and to catch and smoke fish.

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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catholic Insistince on Altruism to 'Spread the Wealth'

The 'Common Good' is Coerced Altruism
I have a list of twenty two blogs I try to scan daily, but the demands of writing my own blog, of trying to get a distance-based academy organized, working a daily job, and attending AA meetings and doing AA service work does not give me much time for the other blogs. I have to pick and choose. Some days I find nothing worthwhile; other days, like today, I found something I like--the blog that teaches me something.

It was on the Acton Institute Power Blog, named after Lord Acton who "made the history of liberty his life's work; indeed, he considered political liberty the essential condition and guardian of religious liberty."

What was it I learned? That Catholics have used the common good "as an excuse for more government involvement in peoples’ lives and the installing of socialistic, 'spread the wealth' programs." Dr. William Luckey

I dashed off a comment at the end of his blog. In the "Academy Blogger" I have debated the issue of "altruism" as being (originally) the Catholic version of the "eradication of self-centered desire, and a life devoted to the good of others; more particularly, selfless love and devotion to Society. In brief, it involved the self-abnegating love of Catholic Christianity redirected towards Humanity conceived as an ideal unity." [emphasis added] see "altruism"

The common good is therefor altruistic, requiring a lowest common denominator of the ego, common from one man to the next, a place where one must relegate his/her ego in order to eradicate self-interest, rational though it may be, or not; and where the common good is attained by devoting one's self selflessly--as if that is not an incomprehensible contradiction--in an act of totally "eradicating" the self.

This is most certainly not the same as what our Founders meant by the "general Welfare," when they wrote that phrase in the Constitution; it is the opposite. The "general Welfare" is the protection of the sovereignty of the individual, sovereignty composed of all the powers not delegated to nor prohibited to the Federal government or the governments of the "several States." Whatever is left over, (and almost everything was "left over" until the administration of FDR's "New Deal",) is necessary for the operation of a free individual.
We no longer retain the right to our individual sovereignty. But I have covered that a dozen times in this Blogger. The Choir Sings the Hymn "Individual Sovereignty" Power Reserved to the People, Respectively Laissez-Fairre: the Economics of Individual Sovere... Tocqueville and Individualism et al.
The "general Welfare" is justice in the political arena, which includes economics. The "common good" has become the language used to hide the injustice of imposed altruism.

Anything imposed against what is just, is coercion; anything imposed to insure justice, is not coerced. Each of these ideas is what it is by definition. You could turn each statement around and make the same arguments: Coercion is that which is unjustly imposed; coercion is not that which is justly imposed.
What is justly imposed must, by the same definition, take only as little from an individual's sovereignty as is needed for the "common sovereignty," i.e., government instituted of, by, and for the governed themselves.

It is true that there must be coerced "common good" among people who are not willing to abnegate their egos to society. The best of the recent examples of an uncoerced person was Mother Theresa, who we now know abnegated her ego to the will of a God who she thought, for twelve years, had deserted her. That, aside from the willingness of Jesus to be crucified for all others in the human race, is as altruistic as one can be and not be coerced.

But going that distance is much more than Dr. Luckey is talking about. "This [coerced] version of the common good is the foundation for some people’s idea of distributive justice, but actually it is based on the 'Robin Hood fallacy' of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor." [emphasis added]
What is distributive justice? "[T]he first relatively simple principle of distributive justice examined is strict egalitarianism, which advocates the allocation of equal material goods to all members of society." [emphasis added] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [see also No Justice in "Luck Egalitarianism" ]

How does Dr. Luckey know it is the Robin Hood syndrome? Merely "by reading Aristotle and St. Thomas. Both of those great thinkers say that government must rule for the common good, but both of them oppose 'common good' to the 'particular' or 'private' good. . . nowhere in Aristotle or St. Thomas does it say that the common good is the exclusive or even main province of the government. They merely give a negative prohibition that the state cannot make laws which are good for only one segment of society." [emphasis added]

One segment of society is exactly what distributive justice is about: the use of coercion to force altruism on those who have, for the benefit of those who have not.

Ayn Rand made an unwitting error in her Playboy interview of 1964. But her error was in not being able to see the future, and the rise of a popular Marxist like Barak Obama.

"Collectivism," she said, "as an intellectual power and a moral ideal, is dead."

But in the very next breath she was absolutely correct, and she is still correct to this day; "But freedom and individualism, and their political expression, capitalism," she continued, "have not yet been discovered."

Forty-eight years later, her second statement is still correct, and that is why collectivism was allowed to remain alive: the world has still not "discovered" the nature and the source of capital.

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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Capitalism, China, and the U.S.

Do Americans Understand the Concept of Capitalism?

Twenty years ago or so products from China started showing up on American shelves. Things like pot holders, and cheap little ceramic statues.

I'm old enough to remember when the same thing happened with Japanese items, but it was cheap transistor radios and other electronics, remarkable in that the Japanese industry would revolutionize the way electronics were designed, manufactured, and marketed. Look at the percentage of the electronics market they own in the U.S.--almost all of it. There are no TVs made in America, the last time I checked.

But it doesn't matter me that the Japanese have done so well. They are our political friends; we helped rebuild their nation after WWII.

But the revolution came to Japan first, not America. Americans refused to listen to W. Edwards Deming, widely credited with improving production in the United States during World War II, but laughed at--by Americans after the wa--because of American egotism: American manufacturing had proven itself during war-time production, and now it was king.

Japanese was not king, it barely existed. The Japanese were hurting economically, and being the smart people they are, they knew that quality goods would sell if they only manufactured them inexpensively enough. America laughed at those early Japanese products because we thought quality meant expensive, but we bought them because they worked--and because they were inexpensive.

As for the Chinese products America began to see two decades ago, I was incensed to see them in our stores, on our shelves, competing with products made in free nations. Anything that had a tag that said "Made in China" I put back, and bought more expensively--when there was a choice.

The world has changed. No longer can you just put back things "Made in China" because so much of what is for sale is made there. Thousands of dogs and cats died a year ago because of tainted food products; the year before that it was children's toys painted with lead. After the pet food scandal, the very same scandal erupted in China itself, with the tainting chemical being in infant formula.
The Chinese industrial revolution is filled with unethical practices, but with fear of the government: the man who owned the toy factory that used lead-based paint committed suicide because it was more honorable to him than being put to death by the Chinese government for his "mistake."

"You may remember when the world was divided between communism and capitalism, and when the Chinese were communists. The Chinese still call themselves communists, but now they’re also capitalists," writes Robert B. Reich, the twenty-second United States Secretary of Labor, serving under President Bill Clinton.

But saying China is capitalist is like saying America is socialist--true, yet not true. The bigger truth is, we are becoming more like a socialist nation than the Pilgrims could have imagined; they gave up communism in the spring of 1623.

Gus Van Horn quoted The New Republic: "It's too bad for many reasons that, 'this nominally communist country now [only] seems more capitalist than Wall Street'" [italic added by Van Horn] He then added his own observation:

"The people [of China] have come to expect the fruits of capitalism (e.g., high wages and a good standard of living) while remaining ignorant of the nature of capitalism. True, they may blame the government when things turn sour, but this will likely be for the wrong reasons. Anyone who expects a government to be able to turn things around by any means other than simply protecting individual rights will be repeatedly disappointed.A blind rebellion is unlikely to result in China ending up free. Worse, capitalism will get the blame for the uneven and unsustainable growth pattern that has resulted from foolhardy attempts at central planning on both sides of the Pacific." [emphasis added]

Unfortunately, what Van Horn forgets to say is that most Americans are ignorant of the nature and the source of capitalism.

"The gap between China’s rich and poor is turning into a chasm," writes Reich. "China’s innovators, investors, and captains of industry are richly rewarded. They live in luxury housing developments whose streets are lined with McMansions. The feed in fancy restaurants, and relax in five-star hotels and resorts. China’s poor live in a different world. Mao Tse Tung would turn in his grave.

"Capitalism has won hands down. The real dividing line is no longer economic. It’s political. And that divide is between democracy and authoritarianism. China is a capitalist economy with an authoritarian government."

In the sense that the use of capital exists in China and that its users are allowed to profit, it may be called capitalist. But in the sense that politics is the dividing line, America is becoming more like a socialist nation every day.

"Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned," wrote Ayn Rand. Private ownership means private decisions about the use of the property, and money is property because it was created by the minds and labor of those who earned it, not by the government that printed it.

But soon we are to see "the shared presumption that the way forward is always through moderation and compromise." And we will see it in the way Americans handle the incoming administration of Barak Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress.

Rights, as in property rights, as in money being property, are not something to compromise on. Compromising on rights turns them into privileges that are "allowed" by the government only to the point that we as Citizens allow; or so we thought. The overwhelming majority of Americans told the Congress not to use our money to bail out Wall Street's economic mess in the mortgage industry. They failed to listen. We did not vote the bums out of office, we increased the majority of the greater of the two sets of bums, the set which is more dangerous because they don't even give lip service to the free market as do the Republicans.

In the November 4th vote, Americans "presumed the way forward" was to compromise on their rights. This demonstrates we, as a nation, no longer understand the nature of how capital is created.

"The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve 'the common good', wrote Rand. "It is true that capitalism does[achieve the "common good"]—if that catch-phrase has any meaning—but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature, that it protects man’s survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice. What Is Capitalism? Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal 20

Americans voted in the most liberal legislator of our times, one who will not even acknowledge that associating with people who hate America and/or committed crimes against it is anything to own up to.

Clearly Americans do not understand the justice in capitalism, or we would not, year after year, treat our right to control our own property as a privilege granted by the government and as something we can allow to be compromised into obscurity.

See also: Obama's Continuing Socialism; Obama and the Fairness Doctrine; Al Gore and Coercion in the Free Market; No Justice in "Luck Egalitarianism"; Distribution of Labor, Capitalism, and Obama; Originalism and Obama; Artificial, Public-Financed, Non-Profiteering Indu...; Economic Freedom Needed in the U.S.

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The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Obama and Detroit; John Kerry; Myths of Health Care

Today I post three articles lifted from other sources. In the sense that Naturalism is about what is natural not only in science, but in all things that are natural to Man qua Man, it is revealing to note some of the things that men do which are not objectively qualified to be of qua Man.

Yes, it is natural for men to make mistakes, even those of a moral nature. But mistakes are not of qua Man, a standard by which men's thoughts and actions may be quantified to determine what is in his best "natural" interests. Each man and woman is free to choose his or her actions, but those based on subjective logic do not meet the standard of qua Man.

Mistakes are of Man; otherwise we would be gods, not Man. But being Man, we can objectively identify what it is to be "Man," and mistakes are of "Man." Mistakes are not Man qua Man.

How Socialism Comes to America
By Myrhaf

In TIA Daily Rob Tracinski writes of Obama's planned $50 billion bailout of the "Big Three" Detroit auto manufacturers:

It is actually a plan for de facto nationalization which will turn the Big Three into permanent wards of the state whose purpose is not to make a profit but to serve the "social goals" set by government.

Obama is backing a plan to pump $50 billion into the big American automakers, while also establishing "a czar or board to oversee the companies"—call it Gosplan—which will supervise "a restructuring of the auto industry." That's exactly what Detroit needs to recover: the benefit of government central planning.

In essence, this is a plan for nationalization of the American auto industry under a new government-appointed board of directors who will supposedly tell the Big Three how to make a profit again.

Blinkered pragmatists will sputter, "But the government is not seizing the property, so it's not socialism!" No, that would be socialism on the communist plan. This is socialism on the fascist plan, in which the property remains nominally in private ownership, but the government dictates what the owner will do with his property. In America the dictation is called "regulation." In this case the dictator will be an "auto czar."

As Tracinski goes on to demonstrate, this is being done to protect a powerful pressure group, the unions. If the Big Three went bankrupt and were bought up by other auto makers, the power of the United Auto Workers would suffer.

American fascism makes corporations bureaucratic managers of the welfare state. Instead of just paying workers, corporations also provide health care and retirement pensions. These functions, along with a sea of regulations, give corporations two missions: make a profit and serve as a mini-welfare state. By passing welfare state functions to the corporations, the government expands the welfare state, but evades any censure for the expansion or any blame for the corporations' failures.

The Democrats are driving this intervention in auto manufacturing, but is there any doubt they were emboldened by the Republicans' bailout of Wall Street? (The Republican led bailout started at $700 million, then was revised to $1 trillion. Now the cost is estimated at $1.8 trillion. The plan has been around less than two months.)

John Kerry, Former Traitor, New Chairman
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Former traitor John Kerry is set to take over the position of chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This announcement should send shudders through the thousands who served during the Vietnam War.

For those who are unfamiliar with the past antics of John Kerry, the Vietnam War is a good place to start: Kerry was infamous as the “spokesperson” for the Winter Soldier “Hearings” held in 1971 at a Congressional Hearing in D.C..
Here’s a little snippet of Kerry’s “testimony”:

“They told their stories. At times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

“They” were the American military who served with Kerry during his stint in Vietnam. The “stories” emerged from an earlier “investigation” held in Detroit with Kerry present. The aftermath of Kerry’s testimony in D.C. was stunning: an entire generation of military men who served in Vietnam were now branded as murderers of women and children, of gross crimes against not only humanity but animals, and of “ravaging the countryside”.

While most took Kerry at his word that the atrocities had occurred, others investigated, including the military. What they found was that those who told their “stories” had never served in Vietnam, or served in capacities different than what they claimed. According to Makubin Thomas Owens, when Kerry returned from his stint in the war, he wasn’t the fired up anti-Vietnam War vet, it wasn’t until he began involved with the group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and has his eye on politics, that he became a critic of the war. [more at] Death by 1000 Papercuts

The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen's Guide

The Pacific Research Institute released The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen's Guide. This is the latest book from PRI President and CEO Sally C. Pipes.

The book's foreword is by Steve Forbes: “For anyone interested in getting to the core of America's health care troubles, this is the perfect book,” he writes. “And for health care policy makers, it should be required reading.”

In her book, Ms. Pipes takes on ten popular myths about the state of health care in America. The final chapter lays out several patient-centered prescriptions for reform. “I wrote this short book as a citizen's guide. Each chapter tackles a complex issue in straight-forward, easy-to-understand language,” said Ms. Pipes. More…

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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Friday, November 21, 2008

California’s Newest Chronic Disease: “Preventionitis”

Another Day Has Arrived
John R. Graham, the director of Health Care Studies for the Pacific Research Institute recently wrote that "Politicians interpret [ ] exercises in crystal-ball gazing as proof that they can never impose too much government control over people for their own good."

Before we get to what they saw in the particular crystal ball Graham is talking about, we must understand several things: 1) crystal balls are the same, in this case, as what is meant by the phrase "counting your chickens before they hatch." Politicians look at scientific data, as we shall see, and being the modern politicians that they are believe they have the right to implement policy and law based on the data.

In fact, they do, and they should. To ignore science would be catastrophic in many cases, not to mention silly and ignorant. But where these modern politicians go wrong is: 2) believing that the Constitution is a "living" document that allows them to ignore the original intent of the powers given to the Federal government, and to ignore that some powers were strictly given to the States, with all the rest of the powers not enumerated given to the individuals, to "the people", not collectively, but individually, making each of us sovereign and able to stand against the un-Constitutional abuses of government.

How can we know that the powers not enumerated as belonging to the Federal or the State governments are "reserved" to individuals? We can know this, because "the people", when not considered at individuals, are either entities of their respective States with Constitutional powers enumerated to them; or entities of the Federal government, with Constitutional powers enumerated to them.

(There is a flaw in that fact, a flaw which became law with the "citizens of the United States" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The States were empowered to protect their citizens from the over-reaching powers of the Federal government; we were never meant to be "citizens of" the Federal government. That clause literally and forever--until it is overturned--eliminated the original nature of the States as individual political entities united under law, and instead created, for the first time in Constitutional history, a single entity called the "United States."

(Before the Fourteenth Amendment we were Citizens with a capital "C" both in written law, and in popular writing such as newspapers. "Citizens" in the Fourteenth is spelled with a lower case "c" and never since have we citizens been Citizens.

(We belong to the Federal Government, which can manipulate us as much as the liberal courts will allow it to go. And if a court strikes down federal legislation or the policy implemented by a bureau, such as Health and Human Services, for example, there is always another day. Don't forget that the income tax was originally declared un-Constitutional, until another day arrived.

("Individual sovereignty was not a peculiar conceit of Thomas Jefferson: It was the common assumption of the day..."

And so, by the powers reserved to the people, we know the Founding Fathers meant, by "the people", to mean the individuals who make up the non-political entity called "the people," which is nothing more than the concept of all individuals considered as a group, e.g., "the people at Fox News," or "the people in prison."

The power to "impose too much government control over people for their own good" was never an original intent of the Founders, who all believed that governments instituted among men ought to be limited.

Now, just what is it that John Graham is talking about, above?

"A major driver of health costs over the last couple of decades is chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease. It's time to add another chronic ailment to the list: 'preventionitis,'" writes Graham.

"Because much chronic disease is associated with bad lifestyle choices, many succumb to the utopian delusion that investment in 'prevention' – eating better, exercising more, and so on – will cut society's health bill.

Exercise and a healthy diet are of course good ideas. The 'investment' that preventionistas advocate, however, is not a personal commitment to oneself, a family member, or a friend. On the contrary, it is massive government intervention to change society's habits, paid for by tax hikes." [emphasis added]

The science that the government of California is taking note of is a report funded by three non-profit groups: the Trust for America's Health, the California Endowment, and the Prevention Institute. "They conclude," Graham continues, "that investing 10 dollars per person annually in 'prevention' in California would result in savings 4.8 times greater than the costs, starting five years out.

Overall, they claim that annual savings would be $1.7 billion, measured in 2004 dollars. Statewide health spending in 2004 was $166 billion, so we are looking at annual savings of one percent. Ten years from now the annual savings would go up to $1.9 billion (2004 dollars), which would be much less than one percent of overall costs, because health costs will be much higher in 2014 than they were in 2004, even after adjusting for inflation.

"Even so, such estimates are fantastically over-precise. Politicians interpret these exercises in crystal-ball gazing as proof that they can never impose too much government control over people for their own good."

Over-estimating is not the Constitutional problem. Neither is the crystal-ball gazing, nor the science. The problem is the corruption of the Constitution.

Certainly, modern society has problems to take care of that the 18th Century could never have imagined, from the kind of road, water and sewer infrastructures we have, to the infrastructures created by the use of electricity and the internet, to name only a few.

But these problems are made worse by assuming that because the Founders could not foresee them, we must ignore their--our--written Constitutional responsibilities. We cannot just willy-nilly do as we please depending on the Congressional, Judicial, and Presidential powers who are in office at the time of the decision making.

The Constitution must be changed as directed within the Constitution itself. Without that guarantee, we might as well quit pretending we rely on the Original Constitution and just admit that we manipulate it like so much Play-Doh.

Modern Americans who are not educated in the history of the Constitution, which is done on purpose by educators who become more left-and-liberal decade by decade, are in pursuit of absolute control over everyone else's lifestyle choices.

And instead of standing up and saying, "I refuse to control anyone's life," we all lie down and understand that we must allow ourselves to be controlled in things we wish we were not controlled, if we are to have the power to contol others where they wish they were not controlled.

That is the insidious and degrading power of modern liberalism. It must stop.

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2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama's Continuing Socialism

How Much Socialist Sympathy Must America Endure
in the Obama Administration?

President-elect Obama continuously made "promises" in the early months of his run for the Democratic candidacy that "change" was the operative word. Yet over and over Mr. Obama keeps hiring old-hands in the Washington circle, from his Chief of Staff, to Hillary Clinton, and now this:

"Among the throng of Clinton regime retreads recruited for the Obama administration we find Gregory Craig. Craig served as Obama's advisor on Latin American (sic) during the campaign, and was appointed last week as chief White House Counsel.

"The MSM has mentioned Craig's role as Bill Clinton's impeachment lawyer, but mostly has omitted mention of Craig's role as chief facilitator for Fidel Castro's shanghaiing of Elian Gonzalez.

"In an interview with Tim Russert on June,6, 2000, Gregory Craig explained his motivation for accepting the case: 'What I want to do is to set Juan Miguel free. I want the father to make a decision uncoerced from Havana, uncoerced from Miami, uncoerced by the press, independently and freely to make a decision where and how he wants to raise his family. That's all I'm concerned about.'

"Unfortunately for Mr. Craig we have an eyewitness to his definition of 'uncoercion.' [ ] During the taping of Dan Rather's 60 Minutes interview with Juan Miguel Gonzalez in April 2000, [ ] Juan Miguel was never completely alone...He never smiled. His eyes kept shifting back and forth. It was obvious [ ] that he was under coercion. He was always surrounded by security agents from the Cuban Interest Section, as they called it. When these agents left him alone for a few seconds, Gregory Craig himself would be hovering over Juan Miguel." American Thinker

On November 15, this blog reported, by quoting Obama's own website, that ""Barack Obama and Joe Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits..."

On November 14 this blog pointed out that "If Obama is as Marxist as he appears to be when he speaks and [when he] has his positions published, e.g., when he talks of 'windfall profits,' and 'redistributing' profits from the capitalists to the consumers, he has no intention of [Constitutional] Originalism in his political philosophy (except perhaps where it may serve his own policies; we shall have to wait to see.)

This blog also pointed out why "Originalism, or original intent reading, of the Constitution is necessary. It is the only objective means of determining the qualities of the written law and the relationships between those qualities and what the Framers intented."

On November 8 I wrote, "But the point is, everything Obama has said he would do with the economy will only make it less free, less capitalistic, and more taxable, speaking in terms of wealth-spreading. (His words.)

"If I understand his ideas of making NAFTA more fair--in other words, removing any incentives government may have previously offered to business who move work out of the U.S.--then I agree whole heartedly. If his idea is to punish businesses who move out, then I disagree."

In several of Obama's campaign ads, and in interviews and debates, did Obama not say in one form or another that businesses who out-source to other nations must pay some form of consequences?

Then there is socialized, nationalized, insurance:

"One of the many challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face is healthcare reform. It was a centerpiece of his campaign, and the American people expect action. Healthcare reform proposals generally fall into two camps: Those that rely on government to expand access and hold prices down, and those that rely on market competition to lower prices and expand consumer choice. Obama resides firmly in the first camp, so government-heavy reform seems inevitable. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said recently the time is right for 'Medicare for All.' But the track record for state-run health care is abysmal." Canadian doctors fled to the U.S. in order to be able to practice freely; where will our doctors go? DC Examiner Op Ed from the Pacific Research Institute

Obama has made plain he even intends to influence the way college football is played.

"Barack Obama has revealed his first major policy initiative: college football reform. In Obama's first televised interview since winning the presidency, he explained what's wrong with the current system, in which computers help determine the two teams that play for the national championship. "I think any sensible person would say that if you've got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses—there's no clear decisive winner—that we should be creating a playoff system," Obama said. "I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I'm gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."

And I just heard him say on TV in a loud, forceful tone of voice over the roar of adoring crowds before his election, that "We're going to change this country and we're going to change this world."

I hope Mr. Obama does not learn to speak softly; I want every idea he espouses to be transparent, though he seems to keep many things to himself and expresses few details as to what he really intends. His slip-of-the-tongue with "Joe the Plumber" about the redistribution of wealth let more of his plans out of the bag then I think he ever intended. And I hope he does not learn to carry a big stick when it comes to domestic issues. That would only make him out to be, at best, a fascist.

Yet on his slip of the tongue, despite capitalists and Originalists and other political pundits who are to the right of Obama pointing out the Marxist origins of the phrase "redistribution of wealth," his adoring fans refused to think their hero could actually mean what he said.

Either that, or they don't care, or it is exactly what they want. I hope for the sake of our Constitutional guarantee of individual sovereignty that Obama's fans don't get what they, and he, desire.

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© 2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama and the Fairness Doctrine; Fellowships in Humane Studies

Obama Will Make End Run Around the Fairness Doctrine

Barack Obama sought to silence his critics during his 2008 campaign. Now, with the ink barely dry on this November's ballots, Obama has begun a war against conservative talk radio.

Obama is on record as saying he does not plan an exhumation of the now-dead "Fairness Doctrine". Instead, Obama's attack on free speech will be far less understood by the general public and accordingly, far more dangerous.

The late community organizer Saul Alinsky taught his followers to strike hard from an unexpected direction, an approach known as Alinsky jujitsu.

Obama himself not only worked as an organizer for an Alinsky offshoot organization, Chicago's Developing Communities Project, but would go on to teach classes in Alinsky's beliefs and methods.

"Alinsky jujitsu" as applied to conservative talk radio means using vague rules already on the books to threaten any station which dares to air conservative programs with the loss of its valuable broadcast license.

Thanks to American Thinker for this insightful information.

Summer Fellowships in Humane Studies

The Koch Summer Fellow Program is a paid, 10 week internship program that offers placements for students and recent graduates interested in federal or state public policy. All internships include participation in the Washington, DC opening and closing workshops, a $1,500 stipend, travel reimbursement, and housing (or a housing allowance). Internships are located both in Washington DC and in 40 different states. Deadline: January 31, 2009. STUDENTS: for more information go to

Also, look at the Humane Studies Fellowships, and the Spring Seminars in California and Georgia at

Cheers, Dr. Nigel Ashford Senior Program Officer Institute for Humane Studies

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Al Gore and Coercion in the Free Market

"When greeting old friends after a period of absence, Ralph Waldo Emerson used to ask: 'What has become clear to you since we last met?'

"What is clear to us and many others is that market capitalism has arrived at a critical juncture. Even beyond the bailouts and recent volatility, the challenges of the climate crisis, water scarcity, income disparity, extreme poverty and disease must command our urgent attention.

"The financial crisis has reinforced our view that sustainable development will be the primary driver of economic and industrial change over the next 25 years. As a result, old patterns and assumptions are now being re-examined in an effort to find new ways to use the strengths of capitalism to address this reality. Indeed, at the Harvard Business School Centennial Global Business Summit held earlier this month, the future of market capitalism was one of the principal themes discussed."

What is very clear in Al Gore's mind is that market capitalism is engineered capitalism and has nothing to do with profit capitalists providing what the market--consumers--want. Rather, it has to do with what political engineers want. It is also very clear that the political engineering comes from the economic engineers who don't know laissez faire from socialism, men such as Henry Paulson and Allen Greenspan.

What form of oligarchy is this? It isn't the form of a democratic-republic, as our Founders invisioned, not when the majority of Americans demand that no bailout be contrived for the mortage industry yet our republic ignores the democratic wishes of free people who wish to remain free and contrive the bailout, anyway.
What form of psychological spin is Gore putting into our heads? Since when did capitalism need to be called market capitalism, and what other form is there, except the managed, mixed-economy we are now prisoners of?

Well, if by market capitalism Gore mean a market economy, he is way off base. A market economy cannot be politically engineered. It is "engineered" by the offerings of the producers in a relationship with consumers, who decide which produced offerings they will give their money to.

"A socialist economy, in contrast [to a market economy], is characterized by [ ] central planning. [G]overnment often is asked to intervene in the economy to correct situations in which the price system does not work. It regulates 'natural monopolies,' for example, and it uses antitrust laws to control or break up other business combinations..." [emphasis added] About.Com

"A 'natural monopoly' is defined in economics as an industry where the fixed cost of the capital goods is so high that it is not profitable for a second firm to enter and compete. There is a 'natural' reason for this industry being a monopoly, namely that the economies of scale require one, rather than several, firms. Small-scale ownership would be less efficient."

"The great evil in economics is not communism, not socialism, not capitalism, not landlords or bosses, not unions, not feudalism or industrialization or automation, not progress or lack of it, and not any scarcity of natural resources. No, the great evil in economics is coercive monopoly." Fred E. Foldvary

But natural monopolies are not coercive. Communism and socialism and feudalism are coercive, and Gore's "market" capitalism is not capitalism because capitalism demands the admission that capital is property of its owner, not of the state. Only capitalists can create capital; government cannot. Gore and Obama treat capital as if it was a coercive monopoly, when in fact anyone can be a capitalist, and three quarters of all the business in this country is conducted by small business, not by natural monopolies nor by coercive monopolies such as first class mail deliverable only by the United States Postal Service.

Once again Gore gets it wrong when he may have valuable contributions to make. He does make people think, and that is a contribution; but he makes them think using the wrong terminology.

On National Public Radio International, I heard an "environmental artist" say--correctly--that we don't have global warming, that, instead, some places are warming, some are getting colder. Some places are getting hotter, and some are becoming wetter, some dryer. The Arctic may be melting, but Antarctica has 17 inches more ice than at any time since that continent's discovery, and from China to Colorado the winter of '07-'08 was the hardest on record. Lower temperatures had never been recorded in China; snow was still on the mountain peaks of Colorado in June. Fires in California, at an all-time high, are fanned by hurricane-strength Santa Anna winds.

The weather is changing, but you wouldn't get that simple message from Gore. And from his lips, and Obama's, to yours ears, you will never get the message that government intervention creates coercive markets, weighting down one part of it so that another must be offset by "redistributive" taxes, which then creates another anomoly in what ought to be a self-correcting market economy, but which has instead become a government-managed capitalism, masked by the word "market."

Government-managed capitalism is a contradiction of terms of the highest order; but to the degree that Marxists and other collectivists can get away with it, they can convince the economically illiterate that government controls are necessary.

And keeping people economically--and politically--illiterate is what the Fairness doctrine is all about, limiting free speech made by opponents of the left. Every Rush Limbaugh would necessarily, by law, be required to be followed by a Gore or an Allen Colmes.

And that would not be natural.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

No Justice in "Luck Egalitarianism"

I heard of a type of collectivist which is new to me, the " "luck egalitarian" [which is the belief that] people with greater-than-average talents and abilities should not in justice receive more wealth and income than others, even if their work is more productive and valuable than their less-fortunately-endowed coworkers. People do not deserve the abilities by which they surpass others..." Ludwig von Mises Institute Daily

In justice people do not deserve the abilities by which they surpass others! That is mind-numbing, to thing that someone can believe it. How is it that such educated people can believe that "luck egalitarianism" is justice? Who is to decide which part of one's ability is "luck" and which parts have to do with education and "practicing till you get to Carnegie Hall"? And will luck and talent become things that are taxed?

What's more, who gives anyone the right to make the jurisprudent decision as to what is luck, what is talent, what is skill, what is derived from years of practice and learning? People with "natural" talents are usually children such as Michael Jackson at age 8, or Celine Dion at age 14; actors like Neil Patrick Harris; or sports whizzes like Michael Phelps who, at the age of 18, swam his way to eight medals (six of them gold) at the summer Olympics in Athens.

Can you or I do what those kids do? Can you or I do what praises author G.A. Cohen for being able to do?

"Cohen's attitude toward [John] Rawls," writes Gordon, about Cohen's book Rescuing Justice and Equality, "[ ] is a major work, the product of a philosophical intelligence of great depth and power. Few if any contemporary thinkers can match Cohen in his ability to grasp what is at stake in an argument and to raise devastating objections."

Cohen is the luck egalitarian in this case. I don't know for certain, but I rather doubt he was a "born philosopher" with all the skills he now seems to have. Yet, he is more successful at what he does than many non-fiction writers, and he is taken seriously. His books sell well, considering the subject matter. Is he going to give all his excessive profits to charity, or perhaps split it with other authors who are not as talented and lucky as he is? And does he attribute his own talent to luck?
As for his book itself, from what is Cohen rescuing justice and equality? He is rescuing them from what he believes are "the false views of John Rawls [in his] famous difference principle [which] allows inequalities that justice properly excludes."

Rawls book "A Theory of Justice" is concerned with distributive justice, i.e., "what is just or right with respect to the allocation of goods in a society."

It is amazing how twisted philosophy can become when a bad idea such as the justice of the allocation of goods is accepted as a proper and sound premise of political science; the twist becomes complete when someone who accepts its premise but not its conclusion then argues against it, compounding the original epistemological mistake.

(It is a proper and sound subject of both epistemology and metaphysics; objectively both disciplines would reject the premise and it would not become a proper and sound subject of political philosophy--except in rejection.)

The only just allocation of goods in a society is to those who have properly, naturally, ethically earned it, and properly does not include having political clout to shut out those who have no such clout; but it certainly does include the talent and luck of people who use talent and luck to their advantage.

It is a travesty of justice to argue that talent and luck are undeserved, especially when the unit of measurement is the lack of talent and luck of others. The common denominator would change by the minute, everytime someone new deomonstrated his growing talent or everytime someone got lucky. It would change everytime someone's luck went from great from zero, and everytime someone's talent failed him.

But as sure as the sun rises tomorrow, someone, perhaps even during the redistributive Obama Presidency, will at least suggest that excessive talent and luck be taxed.

Obama’s Road to Damascus

There is a saying regarding presidential administrations that “personnel is policy.” It’s for this reason that presidential staff and other appointments are watched so closely by political pundits and analysts.

President-elect Obama’s selection of Robert Malley is the kind of appointment that is very, very revealing – and, unfortunately, very troubling. However, it’s not particularly surprising to those of us who researched Obama’s record.

History will record that Barack Obama’s first act of diplomacy as America’s president-elect took place two days after his election victory, when he dispatched his senior foreign-policy adviser, Robert Malley, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—to outline for them the forthcoming administration’s Mideast policy vis-à-vis those nations.

A Harvard-trained lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, Robert Malley is no newcomer to the Obama team. In 2007, Obama selected him as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. At the time, Malley was (and still is today) the Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), which receives funding from the Open Society Institute of George Soros (who, incidentally, serves on the ICG Executive Committee).

Robert Malley was raised in France. His lineage is noteworthy. His father, Simon Malley (1923-2006), was a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. A passionate hater of Israel, the elder Malley was a close friend and confidante of the late PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat...

In a July 2001 op-ed which Malley penned for the New York Times, he alleged that Israeli—not Palestinian—inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fall apart. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written—some he co-authored with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat—blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat (the most prolific Jew-killer since Adolph Hitler) for the failure of the peace process.
Read the entire article here: John Perazzo Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reposted here from
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