Friday, July 17, 2009

May I please have your attention?

Attention, attention...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to address you, those who support a government that does not work for you, those who are lying quietly while being raped...
A man tells you that you should put on these handcuffs, and climb in the back of his van, he promises nothing bad will happen, and that after a little while he will let you go, and he will offer you anything you want, aside from release, while you are cuffed. But he does promise to let you go, after a little while...
A person is sitting in their van on the street corner, offering candy and gifts in his van to all passing children...

Why does this scenario make you think the person offering to be handcuffed is a fool or the child that accepts has bad parents but when it is the government doing the same basic thing it is acceptable?

When the government says give up the right to bear arms, how are they not like the man with the handcuffs, how are they any better, how do they justify the people giving up the right to fight tyranny that would be sourced from them? They do it by telling you that they are our government and these things could never happen in the United States, they tell you that the government is here to help, that they love you, they are your big brother, in quite the Orwellian fashion. They expect you to believe that you must give up this one thing, your ability to fight back against them, in order for them to protect you from bad people, they expect you to believe that if you are stripped of the means to fight tyranny, these same means will vanish from the earth, and not even those that would victimize law abiding citizens would have them. Only the government would have these means, and they love you, so they would never turn them on you, they love you so they would never oppress you, except of course if you view taking the right to bear arms away from individuals as oppression.

When they say give us your tax dollars (economic freedom) and we will offer you health care and cash assistance for free, how exactly is this different from the man with candy? They tell us it is for the greater good, that it is to help so many people, and they love all the people, after all we are one big national family, and everyone is their brother's keeper. They proclaim it is the burden of the rich to pay for the poor, and that individuals cannot be trusted to donate to charity, so the government must take it with guns and threats of prison, or in some cases, death. Every time they utter taxpayers they mean fuel, and every time they say government they mean inefficient machine, government in their eyes is a machine that eats a quarter of the lives of the average taxpaying citizen, for this fuel it puts out maybe 1% of the input as output, the other 99% is eaten by an inefficient machine. Taking candy from a stranger is a bad idea, why is it a good idea for the same mentality when it comes from your government, often, oddly enough, at your own expense?

How do you represent having a line drawn?

There are four ways to draw your line, with your vote, with your voice, with your dollars and finally with your weapons, there are no other ways, all the rest is compliance. In the past decade, and even further if you are astute to this country's history, the vote is a failed tactic, you do not have to fool all the people all the time, just 3% more than the other major party candidate, and either way it does not matter as they are fighting the same war against we the people, the war for power. Next you can vocalize, but as a very close friend said, "when you scream at the deaf, you just lose your voice," and there is no way to make those that must listen hear you, as their ears are full of ash, provided astutely by MSM, or are deliberately ignoring you, in the case of public servants. Tax protest, real protest, which is not paying you taxes on the individual basis is given the consequence of massive fines if not imprisonment, despite being what was supposed to be a completely voluntary program. The only way tax protest will work is if the entire state you reside in refuses to accept dollar one from, or remit dollar one to the federal government. I find this an eloquent plan that will most likely never pan out, because if the precedent is set with the federal government, the state may be subject to it next, and they would not like it too much. It is the idea that one should never make it possible to be shot with ones own gun that will keep this from happening, unless your state legislators are very short sighted. Lastly is violent revolt, a possibility that many are not too happy to consider, but in the sense of realism, even if every other route were possible, violence would always be the defining moment, whenever liberty is at stake, life will have to be lost, this is something Thomas Jefferson understood, and is quoted, "As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also."

So now, what is it, does slavery equal freedom, does freedom equal slavery or is it that freedom equals freedom and slavery equals slavery? There is a well known expression that freedom is not free, this is absolutely true, it comes from many sources but as to its meaning, it does not mean to send your children off to another country to fight and maybe die, it means that you may be inconvenienced in order to preserve the freedom that was offered by the authors of the Constitution. You may be inconvenienced, in order to repay the debt in blood that was paid at the end of the 18th century in order to preserve a nation founded on the principles of liberty and freedom for all. You may be inconvenienced; you may spill your blood to nourish the tree of liberty, forging the same blood debt on future generations to preserve the freedom for their future generations.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guidelines for Responsible Media

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”
Thomas Jefferson

In our day and age we have an incredible amount of information at our fingertips, facts and opinions pour into our heads 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No time in history is the integrity of an honest media and the responsibility of the individual to objectively analyze all information more important. I extend this beyond the main stream media (MSM), to all the independent news feeds and even the “Bloggers,” each commands an implied veracity to their statements based on propaganda. All the more reason for two basic principles of media to be maintained and recognized; firstly the media sources should only report honestly, objectively and with integrity, second the audience should research the reported facts objectively and demand their media be honest. These two principles are the only way media can truly be an instrument for the good of mankind, and the second is integral in securing the first.

“To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”
James Madison

I think we are at a time when these two basic principles of a free and honest press are not well kept. This is not specifically one or the others fault, both media sources and the audience are equally culpable. Media has traded honest integrity for sensationalism and editorials, one specific media source espouses a motto, “Fair and Balanced” and seems completely oblivious to the point of media as an instrument of freedom, which is to say that it should always be “Factual and Objective”. The “Blogosphere” and Independent news sources are no better, they rarely even pretend to be honest media at all, they post unfounded opinions based on personal belief with rarely a fact to back up such claims they report. Most bloggers refuse to or better stated are unable, to refer to sources, either because their source does not report what they did, only led to the conclusion, the source is poor quality or in most cases, there is no source. The audience is just as bad, they rarely if at all check their media beyond the first exposure, in the rare case where works are cited the audience usually does not check these, and will set the claim that the source cited works, so it must be true. The Internet audience is a step worse, posing as both audience and source; they work, probably unwittingly, to proliferate the unfounded opinion articles with the quality cited works, with wonton disregard for fact. The real issue is that since the audience does not recognize the difference in the two types of articles they treat them equally. There is usually no reference to the original article, if there was one and it was not received in an e-mail, nor are there any works cited in the original article included in most reposts. With this phenomenon you have even the best article holding the same value as a work of opinion, with no proof to back up the claims. The audience that takes media at face value presents media at face value, which only serves to make all media worthless.

“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of [achieving] a free society.”
Felix Frankfurter

The only remedy to the situation is an attentive skeptical audience, they should all act as if they were from the Great State of Missouri, the show me state. The audience must be responsible enough to avoid sensationalism, discern opinion from fact and resist the tendency to trust any source without corroboration and factual basis. One cannot trust the media to avoid bias, and must always assume the first principle is broken, as it is not in the direct control of the audience to control the content of the media. The only answer, I repeat myself for emphasis, is the second principle, research the facts reported objectively and demand honesty. A free press is integral to a free society, and a free society is dependent on responsible and attentive populace, this is a logical axiom one cannot escape all rests on the shoulders of a responsible and attentive populace. This is another instance of “freedom is not free,” if you are expecting an honest media without doing your part to ensure it, you do not deserve an honest media, and you directly risk your freedom. Every time you are complacent with your media, of any variety (MSM, Independent News Feed, Blogs), you advocate this:

I cannot force you to be responsible, I cannot force you to look at the disease and treat it, I cannot force you to agree with me and I will not try, I can only bring you the observations I have made over the years and the logical conclusion of them. Though I will be honest, I look with skeptical attention to anyone that is willing to disregard this message; I am forced to question their motives or their sanity.

Liberty, the Moral Choice.

For the premise of my commentary, I must first familiarize everyone that reads further with a quote from Ayn Rand, I am of the knowledge that some people do not like her, but this is the assumption on which the foundation of my commentary sits, and I fully believe this assumption to be true as it is not open to contradiction.

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.

Ayn Rand

As happiness is the moral purpose of your life, happiness is a prime value, not sacrifice, and not mindlessness, this leads to the question of how one stands the best chance to achieve happiness. For the purpose of this proof we are going to examine liberty and its opposite, slavery, logically if I am to prove liberty is the moral choice I must examine slavery as a moral choice and be able to denounce it as false. Slavery offers no happiness, we do not achieve happiness at the sacrificial alter of the looting and mooching people demanding our best effort as their right offering nothing in return. Liberty requires our best effort, our best virtues, as liberty grants all the freedom of existence, but the responsibility to not take the existence from others.

Slavery as a moral choice was defended in the centuries past as the burden of those that have beset on them by their slaves, that the slave is merely a moocher that offers poor and forcefully provoked labor in return for the necessities of life. The slave sees that none of his effort is his own and he is the property of the whip holder, in current times slavery has changed in form but never in function. This is an important truth folks, slavery exists today as it had at this country’s founding, instead of the slaves being brought in on ships from Africa, they are born here, of all races and genders. The only marked difference in this is the hand holding the whip, for now it is the federal government, and it has been since 1865, it started then as a small snowflake sliding down the mountain, now we have a full blown avalanche on our hands. The illusion of freedom has been the subject matter of the public education system for some time, the declining quality in education, force-feeding the new American ideology on the students. Children are being manipulated to accept slavery, this is a key point to the amorality of slavery; if it cannot come natural to a child there is an issue with it, and our schools are demanding children to not question authority, to obey unflinchingly, as one would expect from a slave. One must then ask, is there happiness in this tactic for training the children, does the result produce happy individuals? If a teacher is happy producing a mindless drone, than they are the most evil creature ever to exist on Earth, the kind of sadist that enjoys with glee the handle of the lash as they strip away the minds of the future. There is no joy to be had in slavery, in any form of justification it is a burden, on both the slave and the master, each is forced to produce for the benefit for another, and never truly owns his own production. Slavery is therefore removed from the moral choice and into the realm of the amoral, as it achieves no happiness for any but the most depraved sadists, and it as an institution, past and present, has no value to humanity.

Liberty, in all beliefs that are true and just to humans, is the ideal, some are flawed in their methods, but they do all recognize the benefits of liberty. The religious believe that man is gifted life from a creator, and only reason dictates that if we are all children of a true and just "God" then one must accept, as we are his children, that this creator will want the best for us. What better opportunity than in liberty is presented to reach this goal, and in reaching the best for us, would that also dictate that there is happiness in the result? Atheists believe there is no such creator, and that life is the result of random action, does this deny that liberty is the best option? I would think not, as one's happiness is one's own responsibility, not having to answer to a "higher" being, the atheist should look to all opportunity to achieve happiness. Moral virtue is more than a religion can own, it is a value, and all value has a way to be exchanged, happiness as a moral value is exchanged only by volition. Take the example of the business owner and the employee, the business owner is made happy when his business thrives, and in order for this he requires the effort of men that are motivated to the task. The employer will, in true appreciation of value, reward the diligent and able worker, both are happy, the employer, as his business will prosper through better quality product from his employees, demanding a higher price for his product, and the employees, as they are finely rewarded in a just manner for their best efforts. This is directly opposite of slavery, slavery requires that someone must sacrifice value in order to provide for others, only in liberty can this scenario be made possible.

Logically, if happiness is a value to humanity, and to achieve one's values is a moral virtue, than choosing the best chance to achieve happiness must also be a moral choice. There is little argument that the end of a whip provides happiness, for either participant in the act, the whipped is obviously not in agreement, and the whipper is never pleased with the product. The only conclusion is that liberty is the only moral choice, further the only choice that will achieve any moral value, as any choice that is not liberty must be bought at the price of chains on someone, somewhere.