Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

Rights

Posted: June 15, 2013 in constitution, freedom, politics
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“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4th Amendment, though not explicitly stating we have a right to privacy, does explicitly affirm it. In recent days, the 4th has been in the spotlight, and rightfully so. However, all of our rights are in danger. We need to stop thinking about rights that come from government or the constitution. Rights are not something someone gives to us. Rights that are given can be taken away, and if they can be taken away they aren’t rights, but privileges.

No, our rights aren’t given to us by anyone. We have these rights the moment we’re born. These rights are innate in each and every one of us and therefore cannot be taken away.

The constitution merely states these rights. It doesn’t grant them. Once we start thinking about our rights as innate and not granted, we’ll finally understand we hold power over the government, not the other way around.

I find it both hilarious and severely disconcerting how the same people who harangued George Bush about his foreign policy and civil liberties records are giving Obama a free pass, even though he exceeds anything Bush did. Now everything’s about the economy, where they offer tenuous evidence at best of how Obama lowered the deficit.

That’s a pretty good misdirection, but there should be an important distinction. Even if he’s lowered the deficit (which is impossible for him to do without the assistance of congress, more importantly the House, where all budgetary matters originate), economic freedom has declined, small businesses have been stifled due to an overburden of regulations that big businesses approve of because they scare off competition, and taxes on the majority of citizens have increased.That’s his economic legacy, along with Bush.

His foreign policy is abysmal. Drone strikes in countries we’re allied with. War or the threat of war with countries who pose no threat to us. Indefinite detention of enemy combatants (a term loosely defined by the administration). Sound familiar?

His domestic policy doesn’t fare any better. Illegal wiretapping of citizens. Illegal GPS surveillance. Indefinite detention of citizens without due process. Raiding legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Deporting more immigrants than Bush ever dreamed of.

And now, thanks to a Glenn Beck tweet, there’s a controversy over the casting of Mendhi Ouazanni as Satan in the Bible miniseries because he bears a passing resemblance to Obama. You know, if he was older, darker, Moroccan, and looked like Emperor Palpatine.

But hey, the economy’s getting better.

How much of my money doesn’t belong to me? How much of the money I earn with my own two hands should be used to fund someone else’s retirement? Or their health care? Or anything for anyone, without my approval?

Has anyone who advocates for any government welfare program ever considered that maybe, just maybe, people would be more charitable if they got to keep more of their money? I bring home $490 out of my check every week. I send $110 every week to the government under the agreement that that money will help pay for the defense of this country, my health care when I’m old, and my retirement.

Instead, that money is used for unconstitutional nation building, other people’s health care, and other people’s retirement. Social Security trust fund? Doesn’t exist. A doctor that accepts Medicare or Medicaid? Fewer every day. Defending the country? Sure, if you count wars against countries which have done nothing to us and assassinating American citizens without a trial defending our country.

The plain truth is that anyone, including the government, that claims a stake on my money without my having voluntarily given it, is claiming a stake on a piece of your life. That equates to slavery. 

Every man is free to pursue his own selfish ends so long as he doesn’t infringe on or impede the right of someone else to do the same.

So, after months of reading (been working A LOT of overtime lately), I’ve finally finished Corey Taylor’s Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good. I’ve gotta say, even after being a fan of Corey’s music for years, I’m stilled awed by his talent…musically and, now, as an author.

He takes on everyone in this book: God, religious fanatics, politicians, bad musicians, etc., in trying to undo the millinia of brainwashing making us believe natural human behavior is a sin. And while I disagree with some of his musings (a diatribe near the end of the book against Republicans deregulating industries while they’re in power is, in my opinion, misguided), he makes you rethink what “sins” really are.

He uses personal experiences- some good, some bad- and his ability to overcome them to prove his point. And while I’ve been leery of the validity of “deadly sins” for years, I now have more ammo in my arsenal while discussing the matter.

If you’re a deeply religious person who is closed-minded to anything athiest related, move along. You won’t find a safe harbor for your beliefs here. If you’re like me, however, and have a thirst to strengthen your knowledge base, no matter the source, you should read this book.

Nothing he wrote shook my faith. For years, I’ve held the belief that since man is fallible and man transcribed the Bible (or whichever religious faith you ascribe to), there’s a good chance much was omitted from the final version, or much was written down incorrectly, so all we really have to go by are our gut feelings and life experiences. I still believe in a Creator. I just don’t believe he wants us to live our lives sheltered from life.

So Corey, I commend your effort to open the minds of the masses. I’ll do my part to help you get your message across.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The very first words of the very first amendment to the US Constitution. These words are very important. The founders understood over 200 years ago that the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, or no religion, is essential to securing all other freedoms.

This is just as true today as it was then. That’s why it bothers me when people from all sides of the political spectrum are calling for the community center (which is mistakenly referred to as a mosque) to not be allowed to be built two blocks away from the former WTC site. These supposed lovers of freedom are calling for two of the most basic freedoms, freedom of religion & the right to private property, to be denied to a select group of people based on what happened nine years ago (yes, it was a tragedy) perpetrated by a small group of terrorists from a country not even remotely like ours.

And it’s not just happening in NYC. Just an hour or so from my house, a community center (also referred to as a mosque) is finding opposition to a planned expansion in Murfreesboro. The kicker? The group has had a community center in the county since 1997. The reason for the epansion is because they’ve outgrown their current facility. Luckily, despite the opposition, the expansion will be allowed.

This battle is being fought all over the country. Newt Gingrich says that we shouldn’t allow mosques in this country until Christian churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia (or something along those lines). Howard Dean says it’s an affront. He also says those doing the project in NYC are doing it in good faith (that’s a little contradictory).

The fact is that none of these projects are in violation of any zoning laws, they’re being built on private property, and are run by those who have proven to be good citizens. Why should we deny them their constitutional right to practice their religion, especially on private property?

Do you disagree with Islam as a religion? If so, why? Are you aware that Islam, Judaism, & Christianity share many of the same tenets? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, & the angel Gabriel all appear in the 3 religions, among other figures.

But Muslims stone people to death, right? Well, it’s allowed under their laws, but the majority of Islamic nations have ceased this practice. And don’t forget, stoning was an acceptable punishment in early Christianity & Judaism. 

Look, we all have our differences. But the fact is they have the right to practice their religion, especially on their own property. We have no right to take that away. And when you insult their religion, you most likely insult your own (unless you’re an atheist).

Isn’t funny how people can figure out what kind of person you are, how you grew up, etc just from one political comment? It’s uncanny how accurate they are!

For example: during the 2008 presidential campaign I made a comment on a blog on Myspace that I didn’t support Obama because I don’t agree with his stance on several issues (for the record I supported Ron Paul. When he didn’t get the nomination, I voted McCain *ugh*). Well this one reader of the blog took it upon herself to call me out. And rightfully so. I never would have seen the light if not for her.

Turns out it wasn’t because I believed in a different political/economic ideology because of all the research I had done up to that point. No, it was because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’m rich, have had everything handed to me on a silver platter, and I don’t care about the little people or those that are suffering.

How very accurate! At that point, I dropped to my knees & prayed for the Lord to forgive me for my sins!

Ok, if you’re not getting the sarcasm by now, seek help. Also, read on to learn about my childhood.

I was born in 1979. If I remember the story correctly, I was 2 or 3 weeks premature (got my picture taken with Miss Tennessee, though, so it was worth it). I spent a couple weeks in an incubator because my lungs were underdeveloped & I would forget to breathe.

My dad, albeit jokingly (I hope), has credited my hospital stay as part of the reason my parents filed bankruptcy (also, the economy sucked back then, too). I vaguely remember living in a trailer in the middle of town, briefly. When I was 4, we (me, Mom, Dad, & my brother) moved in with my grandparents, who lived in a very, very small house. 

There was a living room, kitchen, (I think) 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom…for 6 people (was used for several more when Dad was raised there. Big family). I didn’t care how big it was or the condition it was in (the uneven floor made roller skating, in one room, easy). 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mom & Dad took out loans for a Christmas or two, just so me & my brother would enjoy it (I miss my little yellow 4-wheeler). We never wanted for anything. We had clothes, a roof, loving parents, food…but we were far from well-off.

I made friends at school & little league. I fought with my brother. Got in trouble. Blah blah blah.

Am I leaving some stuff out? Yeah. But you won’t get my life story here.

My point is: don’t think you know someone from one comment they make about anything. I have friends who make racist jokes. Are they racist? No. Insensitive, maybe, but not racist. I have friends/family who are Democrats. Are they facist, socialist, commie pigs? Of course not. Though we disagree politically (which makes for great conversations), we know we are both good people. We’ve just had different life experiences that led to different conclusions.

So obviously I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Things aren’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’m most definitely not rich (I’ve been unemployed for 11 months now). I do care about the poor, which I am, and those that are suffering. I just believe a truly free market is the way to promote income mobility & alleviate suffering. Will there be assholes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in a free economy? Of course. But the market, IMO, would deal with them. 

Yes, Ayn Rand is the source of my main belief that “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” (from The Ayn Rand Institute). This belief fuels my other beliefs.

In conclusion: I am not a Godless heathen who cares only about himself. I am a God-fearing man who believes rational selfishness and adherance to the truth benefits everyone, not just the one. For future personal attacks on me, please refer to this post before being an anonymous hit-and-run commenter.Haters

When did it become wrong to believe in individual people and right to believe in collectivist governments?

I know many people don’t like Ayn Rand or her philosophy (which was partly too difficult for even her to live by), but she had the right idea: keep governments out of private business. That’s the way the country was run for a long time.

Cut to today. Now we have big corporations (not all, but some), lobbyists, & special interests that have politicians in their back pockets. Case in point: the NRA. They recently pledged support for a campaign finance reform bill after being awarded exemption from the new rules through a provision they authored (see my previous post: Special Interest & The Government).

Google & Verizon recently published what they believe should be the guidelines for regulating the internet…rules that would hinder their competitors. Even the FCC, which is in favor of internet regulation, came out against these guidelines, as did a huge swath of the internet community.

This may seem like a rant against business, but it’s not. It’s a rant against government & businesses getting too cozy. When the government picks the winners, the populace loses. Look at the current “Summer of Recovery”: 9.5% unemployment, 131,000 net jobs lost last month (though the private sector has decreasingly added jobs every month this year), GDP growth that gets revised downward more often than not, etc. And this is after the trillions of taxpayer dollars that were pumped into certain companies, banks, and government departments to stop the downward economic spiral.

So where’s the recovery? Most major downturns are followed by quick recoveries. Look at the depression of 1920-1921: tax cuts, spending cuts, and some other noninterventionist policies paved the way for the roaring 20s. By contrast, the Great Depression lasted over a decade despite (because of) government interference, and unemployment didn’t see a sharp decline until America got into WWII & the draft was instituted.

Empirical evidence shows the less government interferes, the faster & more sustainable the recovery. Governments picking winners & losers means everybody loses.

Got off on a tangent there. You’ll see that happens a lot. Anyway, my point is that anybody that believes in giving power to the individual to do what he wants, with the caveat that he harms no one other than himself, is now considered an extremist.

Belief that we are free to live our lives our way, again- harming no one other than ourselves, instead of the government proclaiming how we should live is a crackpot. Not giving us control over our own bodies, what goes in our bodies, what happens in our bedroom, who we take to our bedroom (consensually and both being of legal age), how we spend our money, what we buy…these are a few examples of how government interferes with our lives. And we’re crazy because we want to take responsibility for our own lives & not have that responsibility taken away by government?

Then call me crazy.