Religious freedom: a confined policy

Freedom of religion is an established right in the United States; the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees it to every person.  In the U.S., no person may be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.  Equal opportunity is among our most cherished tenets; it is the product of much national soul-searching, and it did not arrive without a struggle.  It has brought tranquility in a diverse nation.  In the U.S. today, it is legally irrelevant whether a person is male, female, Mormon, Jew, Christian, Muslim, White, Black or Asian.

Americans know that a human being is rightly judged on character alone, but they abandon that knowledge when they consider foreigners.  Americans have allied themselves with many governments around the world that hate American rights.  Israel, for instance, would not dream of placing the Arab and the Jew on equal footing.  Many American allies in the Islamic world treat non-Muslims as second-class citizens.  The U.S. has also supported many autocracies that discriminate against (or even exterminate) political dissidents, and it continues to reward the perpetrators of these atrocities with weapons and cash.

When we treat certain people as inferior beings based on religious differences (or condone such treatment), we give credence to the very evil we aim to suppress, and this ignorant practice has brought more wretchedness to humanity than all other evils combined.  It will continue to bring Americans trouble in the forms of anxiety, fear, terror, and war.  U.S. policy is philosophically unsound, for it is a philosophical contradiction to support religious freedom and the establishment of any religious state–Islamic, Christian, or Jewish.

All those who espouse the doctrine of religious statehood, may be included within the following descriptions: the interested, who are not to be trusted; the weak, who cannot see; the prejudiced, who will not see; and a certain set of moderates, who think better of the religious state than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this world than all the other three.

Why the surge is a failure

McCain listening to a National Intelligence Estimate

“Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war.  Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier.  This I hope will be our wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Man will not be brought up with the savage idea of considering his species as his enemy, because the accident of birth gave the individuals existence in countries distinguished by different names.” – Thomas Paine

John McCain likes to let everyone know that he “supported the surge and the surge worked.”  “The surge” refers to increased troop levels in Iraq last year.  Large-scale terrorist attacks in Iraq have decreased since the surge began.  McCain sees this as a great success, and would like voters to see it the same way.  The ploy may work, but if McCain is not out of step with Americans regarding foreign policy goals, he is certainly circumventing logic.

The surge can only be called a success relatively.  There are less Americans dying in Iraq now than there were before the surge, but Americans are still dying in Iraq.  To apply McCain’s logic to a less heated subject: If trees fell through four of McCain’s homes last winter, but with some landscape alterations, only two homes fell victim to timber this winter, McCain will call this winter’s tree-in-home situation a great success.  Relatively, this is true, but anyone with eyes will see idiocy in a man who calls the destruction of his own property a success.  While there is success relatively, we are ultimately still talking about failure.

The Iraq War issue boils down to a couple of questions that the American people must ask themselves.  First, what is the goal of U.S. foreign policy?  If it is national security, then the United States can leave Iraq right away.  We know Iraq was never a threat to U.S. national security, nor was it a sponsor of terrorism against the United States.  Secondly, what is worth the life of an American soldier?  I believe–and I don’t think I’m too presumptuous in saying most Americans would agree–that no American soldier should die in combat unless it is absolutely necessary for the protection of national security.  The knowledge that the Iraq War has nothing to do with our national security, along with my belief that soldiers should not die for reasons unrelated to national security, warrant only one logical conclusion: The death of a single American soldier in Iraq is a tremendous foreign policy failure, outweighing any relative “successes” (i.e., the surge) claimed by Cheney, Bush, McCain, Obama, or anyone else.

To say “the surge worked” with any honesty, our foreign policy goals are necessarily something other than our national security (i.e., nation-building, or resource confiscation).  However, if national security is our foreign policy goal, and one more American soldier dies in Iraq, the surge was a failure.

The Iraq War, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift

Iraqi prisoners

Before reading:

Read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. This will help you understand the title and the tone.
http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/modest.html
Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFptybbietQ
Intellectuals will understand the nature of this piece without explanation, and those readers who do not will find themselves inspired to defend the Iraqi people, which the media has taught them are subhuman.
It is satirical.  It is supposed to be disgusting.  My aim is to help the disgusted American reader, by forcing the reader to view Iraqis as humans, which is what they are.

The fundamentalist factions of Islam and Christianity have such similar social goals regarding women, substances, arts, sciences, and sex, that I have often wondered why the two don’t join forces against socially liberal ideas. These factions are almost invariably better armed and more passionate than liberals, and could together defeat and rule their pusillanimous counterparts within weeks. Instead of joining forces, however, they have become brothers at arms, and because the Christian faction “represents” my nation, I submit a modest proposal, hoping it will teach U.S. rulers how to maximize the economic productivity of their otherwise wasteful war (beyond the apparent strategy of stealing oil).

By some counts, our war has extinguished more than one million souls in Iraq, many of them young and–aside from bullet and/or blast wounds–relatively healthy. A show of hands reveals that many of the million dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) have suffered severed limbs or crushed skulls, but that a large percentage of their torsos remain intact.

Let us modestly assume that–subtracting infants, the aged, and the unusable–we have produced 300,000 employable human torsos in Iraq, and we have let them all decay to waste. This is tragic when we consider that many die on transplant waiting lists in the United States each year, and that there are only 107,213 Americans on all such lists today. To the list registrants and their families, there can be no sufficient reason why the bodies of our enemies should not have been harvested for useful organs. We know our enemies are evil, but we are well aware that the corruption resides in their minds–not in their hearts, livers, lungs or kidneys–so let us use their organs productively.

We know that many of those who die waiting for transplants are waiting for new livers. This is where our habit of killing Islamofascists in defense of freedom will be uniquely helpful. The backward people of the Islamic world are discouraged from consuming alcohol, and have outlawed its use in many places, which makes their livers pristine replacements for those of good, freedom-loving, beer-drinking Americans.

Many liberals–and even some weak-hearted conservative Americans–are saddened by the innocent-looking eyes of Iraqi children, but I assure you, we should feel no remorse for the children we have incidentally killed. First, we must face the reality that the people we are fighting are peculiarly wicked and–even as children–believe that freedom-loving people deserve death. Moreover, I understand that the children will be very useful to us (given that they are dead). There are certain areas of the body in which a transplant from a child is preferable to one from an adult. Corneal transplants are a perfect example.

Given that our toll of useful corpses nearly triples our conventional need for them, and that we have been assured, “my friends, there will be more wars,” it is only appropriate–for the sake of production–that some unconventional uses for dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) be explored.

For example: intestine. Of the 107,213 on the organ transplant waiting list, only 236 are waiting for intestine, which naturally brings us to wonder what is to be done with all of the extra gut. Gut has a variety of productive uses, and its excess promises to be of great use to American society. It can be fashioned into a tough string for musical instruments or tennis racquets. It is a source of rennet, which is used for the production of cheese. It can be used to case sausages. With all the possible uses of gut employed, we will be able to minimize the waste of Islamic intestine.

The use of human remains is not my area of expertise, and I hope and trust it never will be, but I am sure our government’s scientists will find a number of uses–known and yet unknown–for leftover Iraqi flesh. This new resource will be undoubtedly welcomed by the struggling United States economy.

The management of the war has also given us overseas prisons filled with terrorists. Of such prisons and their occupants, we are told, “my friends, there are some bad people down there,” and this is undoubtedly true. If the people in our government’s secret prisons were not obviously guilty terrorists, they would never have been arrested and detained by our benevolent military forces.

Currently, the scoundrels in our overseas prisons are a drain on the American economy, but this effect can be reversed. Because we know that their cases will never be formally tried, and that they will remain in these prisons indefinitely, we are fools to let them age wastefully. They are terrorists. They are guilty. They are fanatics. They cannot be rehabilitated. They are not getting out, ever. They are, for all intents and purposes, already dead. It is torturous beyond measure for a person to live endlessly in confinement this way, so it is with the utmost mercy that we should kill them humanely, and harvest their remains. This is the only way for them to become productive members (or–pardoning the pun–dismembers) of society. Because of their religious beliefs, a number of them are begging for death, so I am merely suggesting that we fulfill their requests.

Given our economic strife, and the necessity for our war despite its hefty price tag (not to mention the irrefutable sense of what I have proposed), there can be little doubt that these suggestions will be taken into serious consideration by our elected deciders in Washington. I believe, through sincere reason and revelation, that the measures I have proposed will help the United States win its war against evil, and thus they will help ensure that good people always prevail.

B.J. Lawson: a common sense conservative

A Congressman who cares

Remember when Republicans were elected to downsize government? In 1994, the American people were inspired by the prospects of economic freedom to vote Republicans into office. In 2001, George W. Bush was expected to come in and aid them in that effort. It did not happen. Under Bush and the Republican Congress from 2001 to 2006, the U.S. federal government grew tremendously, and fiscal conservatives everywhere were left shaking their heads in disdain. What happened to the small government Republican?

Remember when Republicans were elected to end wars? The time may be returning. Democrats were elected to Congress in 2006 to end the war in Iraq, but the war goes on. Now, a new breed of Republican has emerged–or more properly, an old breed of Republican has returned–to end draining wars that are, upon full investigation, little more than a product of power and greed, an excuse for higher taxation, as well as a cause of rising inflation–not to mention the leading cause of brutal death among American youths. When we elect policymakers, we will do well to remember that “the most unprofitable of all commerce is that connected with foreign dominion. To a few individuals it may be beneficial, merely because it is commerce; but to the nation it is a loss. The expense of maintaining dominion more than absorbs the profits of any trade.”

In two paragraphs, I have acknowledged the two most important goals in the minds of American voters over the last 15 years: to decrease the size of government, and to end the war in Iraq. These two goals have been the major deciding factors for the partisan power shifts in Washington in recent decades. Neither has yet been accomplished, and it seems that those who desire one of the two, are willing to concede the public goal for another benefit that is less important to the people. However, there is a new breed of Republican, modeled after the 18th century intellectual, who makes both of these primary intentions of the American people the top priorities in policymaking. Who is this dream candidate? B.J. Lawson of North Carolina’s Fourth District.

Despite his facing a multiple-decade incumbent of Washington’s bureaucratic old guard, there is, in my opinion, little doubt that Lawson will win a seat in Congress this year. If he were to lose, it would be an insult to the intellect of North Carolina’s Fourth District. He is as vivacious as his opponent is ancient, but his energy is not a product of his youth, but of his enlightenment; there is a sense that has been awakened in him, which will soon be awakened in all of us–it is as Paine described it: “a mass sense lying in a dormant state, and which, unless something excites it to action, will descend with us, in that condition, to the grave.”

My advice to the Fourth District of North Carolina is simply this: do not vote again for a ruler; vote instead for a leader. On this, our Independence Day, remember that men who shared David Price’s political philosophy were among those that favored the British Crown in 1776; but men who shared the philosophy of B.J. Lawson, who believed whole-heartedly in liberty, pledged to the American cause their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If the citizens are informed and intelligent, and vote their consciences, B.J. Lawson cannot fail to be elected.

So many reasons to love Thomas Paine

Paine

Thomas Paine was, by some accounts, the most well-read Englishman ever to live. If you are reading this, regardless of who you are, or how many Nobel prizes you have won, you can rest assured that Paine’s education was more complete than your own. When you read his commentaries on money and the role of government, it is difficult to believe that Thomas Paine was one of the most influential members of the liberal movement. I have little doubt that, if Paine were to traverse time and visit America today, and observe the frail philosophy–if it can be called that–which now occupies the title of “liberalism,” he would promptly vomit all over Barack Obama’s shoes.

Here I present Thomas Paine’s wisdom, in so many of his truthful quotes, based on nature and reason. From the spirit of revolution he carried to the American people through Common Sense in 1776, to his unwavering faith in God as expressed in his 1794 work, The Age of Reason, Paine was an indomitable figure in political history, and he would have died for his beliefs (and in many ruling minds of the time should have–he was held or tried for treason in France and England, as well as demonized worldwide for sharing his honest opinions); but Providence, it seemed, would not allow it. He was instrumental in inciting the two greatest revolutions of the Enlightenment (French and American), and worked with all his creative genius to expose both the beauty of Creation and the absurdity of monarchy, hoping through Rights of Man (1791) to incite a third revolution in Great Britain. In his words, which are relative today, as they always will be:

“There are habits of thinking peculiar to different conditions, and to find them out is truly to study mankind.” – Case of the Officers of the Excise

“The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” – Common Sense

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” – Common Sense

“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ingorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.” – Common Sense

“The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.” – Common Sense
“It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all examples from the former ages, to suppose, that this continent can longer remain the subject to any external power.” – Common Sense

“It is not in numbers but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.” – Common Sense

“Can we but leave posterity with a settled form of government, and independent constitution of its own, the purchase at any price will be cheap.” – Common Sense

“Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavored to subdue us, is of all others the most improper to defend us. Conquest may be effected under the pretence of friendship; and ourselves, after a long and brave resistance, be at last cheated into slavery.” – Common Sense

“The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a spaniel.” – Common Sense

“As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensible duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.” – Common Sense

“Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society.” – Common Sense

“Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.” – Common Sense

“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” – Common Sense

“Men read by way of revenge.” – Common Sense

“He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his argument.” – Common Sense

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” – Common Sense

“Peace with trade is preferable to war without it.” – Common Sense

“Our plan is peace for ever.” – Common Sense

“Call not coldness of soul, religion; nor put the Bigot in the place of the Christian.” – Common Sense

“And here without anger or resentment I bid you farewell, sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every individual inhabitant of America.” – Common Sense

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” – American Crisis

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” – American Crisis

“Though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.” – American Crisis

“A right, to be truly so, must be right within itself: yet many things have obtained the name of rights, which are originally founded in wrong. Of this kind are all rights by mere conquest, power or violence.” – Public Good

“It seldom happens that the romantic schemes of extensive dominion are of any service to a government, and never to a people. They assuredly end at last in loss, trouble, division and disappointment.” – Public Good

“Where knowledge is a duty, ignorance is a crime.” – Public Good

“Other revolutions may have originated in caprice, or generated in ambition; but here, the most unoffending humility was tortured into rage, and the infancy of existence made to weep.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“Were it possible we could have known the world when in a state of barbarism, we might have concluded that it never could be brought into the order we now see it.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“The philosopher of one country sees not an enemy in the philosopher of another: he takes his seat in the temple of science, and asks not who sits beside him.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“Our style and manner of thinking have undergone a revolution more extraordinary than the political revolution of our country. We see with other eyes; we hear with other ears; and think with other thoughts, than those we formerly used. We can look back on our own prejudices, as if they had been the prejudices of other people.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“Of more use was one philosopher, though a heathen, to the world, than all the heathen conquerers that ever existed.” – Letter to the Abbe Raynal

“Freedom is destroyed by dependence, and the safety of the state endangered thereby.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“To hold any part of the citizens of the state, as yearly pensioners on the favour of an assembly, is striking at the root of free elections.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“Gold and silver are the emissions of nature: paper is the emission of art. The value of gold and silver is ascertained by the quantity which nature has made in the earth. We cannot make that quantity more or less than it is, and therefore the value being dependent upon the quantity, depends not on man. Man has no share in making gold or silver; all that his labours and ingenuity can accomplish is, to collect it from the mine, refine it for use and give it an impression, or stamp it into coin.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“The only proper use for paper, in the room of money, is to write promissory notes and obligations of payment in specie upon.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“When an assembly undertake to issue paper as money, the whole system of safety and certainty is overturned, and property set afloat. Paper notes given and taken between individuals as a promise of payment is one thing, but paper issued by an assembly as money is another thing. It is like putting an apparition in the place of a man; it vanishes with looking at it, and nothing remains but the air.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“Money, when considered as the fruit of many years’ industry, as the reward for labour, sweat and toil, as the widow’s dowry and children’s portion, and as the means of procuring the necessaries and alleviating the afflictions of life, and making old age a scene of rest, has something in it sacred that is not to be sported with, or trusted to the airy bubble of paper currency.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“The evils of paper have no end. Its uncertain and fluctuating value is continually awakening or creating new schemes of deceit. Every principle of justice is put to the rack, and the bond of society dissolved: the suppression, therefore, of paper money might very properly have been put into the act for preventing vice and immorality.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“As to the assumed authority of any assembly in making paper money, or paper of any kind, a legal tender, or in other language, a compulsive payment, it is a most presumptuous attempt at arbitrary power. There can be no such power in a republican government: the people have no freedom, and property no security where this practice can be acted: and the committee who shall bring in a report for this purpose, or the member who moves for it, and he who seconds it merits impeachment, and sooner or later may expect it.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“Of all the various sorts of base coin, paper money is the basest. It has the least intrinsic value of anything that can be put in the place of gold and silver. A hobnail or a piece of wampum far exceeds it. And there would be more propriety in making those articles a legal tender than to make paper so.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“Nature has provided the proper materials for money, gold and silver, and any attempt of ours to rival her is ridiculous.” – Dissertations on Government, the Affairs of the Bank, and Paper Money

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Rights of Man

“A single expression, boldly conceived and uttered, will sometimes put a whole company into their proper feelings; and whole nations are acted upon in the same manner.” – Rights of Man

“All the great laws of society are laws of nature.” – Rights of Man

“All the great services that are done in the world are performed by volunteer characters, who accept nothing for them.” – Rights of Man

“Are not conquest and defeat each of the same price, and taxes the never-failing consequence?” – Rights of Man

“By the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison.” – Rights of Man

“Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad.” – Rights of Man

“For a nation to love liberty, it is sufficient that she knows it; and to be free, it is sufficient that she wills it.” – Rights of Man

“From a small spark, kindled in America, a flame has arisen, not to be extinguished.” – Rights of Man

“Government is a beast.” – Rights of Man

“Governments now act as if they were afraid to awaken a single reflection in man.” – Rights of Man

“I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points, think alike who think at all. It is only those who have not thought that appear to agree.” – Rights of Man

“If the crimes of men were exhibited with their sufferings, stage effect would sometimes be lost, and the audience would be inclined to approve where it was intended they should commiserate.” – Rights of Man

“If the good to be obtained be worthy of a passive, rational, and costless revolution, it would be bad policy to prefer waiting for the calamity that should force a violent one.” – Rights of Man

“If we examine, with attention, into the composition and constitution of man, the diversity of his wants, and the diversity of talents in different men for reciprocally accommodating the wants of each other, his propensity to society, and consequently to preserve the advantages resulting from it, we shall easily discover, that a great part of what is called government is mere imposition.” – Rights of Man

“In the representative system, the reason for everything must publicly appear. Every man is a proprietor in government, because it affects his property. He examines the cost, and compares it with the advantages; and above all, he does not adopt the slavish custom of following what in other governments are called LEADERS.” – Rights of Man

“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” – Rights of Man

“Instead of seeking to reform the individual, the wisdom of a Nation should apply itself to reform the system.” – Rights of Man

“Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretences for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a tribute.” – Rights of Man

“It can only be by blinding the understanding of man, and making him believe that government is some wonderful mysterious thing, that excessive revenues are obtained.” – Rights of Man

“It is a general idea, that when taxes are once laid on, they are never taken off.” – Rights of Man

“It is time that nations should be rational, and not be governed like animals, for the pleasure of their riders.” – Rights of Man

“Laws difficult to be executed cannot generally be good.” – Rights of Man

“Lay then the axe to the root, and teach governments humanity. It is their sanguinary punishments which corrupt mankind.” – Rights of Man

“Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow.” – Rights of Man

“Man is not the enemy of man, but through the medium of a false system of government.” – Rights of Man

“Man will not be brought up with the savage idea of considering his species as his enemy, because the accident of birth gave the individuals existence in countries distinguished by different names.” – Rights of Man

“Man, were he not corrupted by governments, is naturally the friend of man, and human nature is not of itself vicious.” – Rights of Man

“Nations can have no secrets; and the secrets of courts, like those of individuals, are always their defects.” – Rights of Man

“Nations, like individuals, who have long been enemies, without knowing each other, or knowing why, become the better friends when they discover the errors and impositions under which they had acted.” – Rights of Man

“Nothing is to be looked for but what has already happened; and as to reformation, whenever it come, it must be from the nation, and not from government.” – Rights of Man

“Only partial advantages can flow from partial reforms.” – Rights of Man

“Principles must stand on their own merits, and if they are good they certainly will.” – Rights of Man

“Public money ought to be touched with the most scupulous consciousness of honor. It is not the produce of riches only, but of the hard earnings of labor and poverty.” – Rights of Man

“Reason and discussion will soon bring things right, however wrong they may begin.” – Rights of Man

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.” – Rights of Man

“Taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but wars were raised to carry on taxes.” – Rights of Man

“That there are men in all nations who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.” – Rights of Man

“The American constitutions were to liberty, what a grammar is to language: they define its parts of speech, and practically construct them into syntax.” – Rights of Man

“The greatest of all ridiculous things are acted in governments.” – Rights of Man

” Commerce needs no other protection than the reciprocal interest which every nation feels in supporting it.” – Rights of Man

“The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.” – Rights of Man

“The most unprofitable of all commerce is that connected with foreign dominion. To a few individuals it may be beneficial, merely because it is commerce; but to the nation it is a loss. The expense of maintaining dominion more than absorbs the profits of any trade.” – Rights of Man

“The name of the Creator ought not to be introduced to witness the degradation of his creation.” – Rights of Man

“The probability is always greater against a thing beginning, than of proceeding after it has begun.” – Rights of Man

“The right of war and peace is in the nation. Where else should it reside, but in those who are to pay the expense?” – Rights of Man

“There is existing in man, a mass sense lying in a dormant state, and which, unless something excites it to action, will descend with him, in that condition, to the grave.” – Rights of Man

“What at first was plunder, assumed the foster name of revenue.” – Rights of Man

“What inducement has the farmer, while following the plough, to lay aside his peaceful pursuit, and go to war with the farmer of another country?” – Rights of Man

“Whatever is my right as a man, is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee, as well as possess.” – Rights of Man

“When governments are at war, the attack is made on the common stock of commerce, and the consequence is the same as if each had attacked his own.” – Rights of Man

“Why do men continue to practice themselves the absurdities they see in others?” – Rights of Man

“Wisdom degenerates in governments as governments increase in age.” – Rights of Man

“It is a dangerous attempt in any government to say to a nation, “thou shalt not read.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“The principles of and conduct of any government must be bad, when that government dreads and startles at discussion, and seeks security by a prevention of knowledge.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“Principles have no connection with time, nor characters with names.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“It is only in governments founded on assumption and false principles, that reasoning upon, and investigating systems and principles of government, and showing their several excellencies and defects, are termed libellous and seditious. These terms were made part of the charge brought against Locke, Hampden, and Sydney, and will continue to be brought against all good men, so long as bad governments shall continue.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy, and every species of hereditary government–to lessen the oppression of taxes–to propose plans for the education of helpless infancy, and the comfortable support of the aged and distressed–to endeavour to conciliate nations to each other–to extirpate the horrid practice of war–to promote universal peace, civilization, and commerce–and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank; –if these things be libellous, let me live the life of a libeller, and let the name LIBELLER be engraved on my tomb.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“I have written a book; and if it cannot be refuted, it cannot be condemned. But I do not consider the prosecution as particularly levelled against me, but against the general right, or the right of every man, of investigating systems and principles of government, and showing their several excellencies or defects.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“Whatever the rights of people are, they have a right to them, and none have a right either to withhold them, or to grant them.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“A thing, moderately good, is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is a species of vice.” – Letter Addressed to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation

“If you now enjoy freedom and happiness, you should be conscious of the reasons for your contentment.” – An Essay for the Use of New Republicans in Their Opposition to Monarchy

“A person educated in the belief that he has a right to command others is inevitably bound by his surroundings to lose all sense of reason and justice.” – An Essay for the Use of New Republicans in Their Opposition to Monarcy

“Why assume an evil solely for the purposes of providing a remedy?” – An Essay for the Use of New Republicans in Their Opposition to Monarchy

“It is our duty as legislators not to spill a drop of blood when our purpose may be effectually accomplished without it.” – Reasons for Preserving the Life of Louis Capet

“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Age of Reason

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” – Age of Reason

“It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.” – Age of Reason

“The commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with them; they contain some good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention.” – Age of Reason

“That many good men have believed this strange fable, and lived very good lives under that belief (for credulity is not a crime), is what I have no doubt of. In the first place, they were educated to believe it, and they would have believed anything else in the same manner.” – Age of Reason

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel.” – Age of Reason

“There is not, throughout the whole book called the Bible, any word that describes to us what we call a poet, nor any word which describes what we call poetry. The case is that the word prophet, to which latter times have affixed a new idea, was the Bible word for poet, and the word prophesying meant the art of making poetry. It also meant the art of playing poetry to a tune upon any instrument of music.” – Age of Reason

“Had it been the object of Jesus Christ to establish a new religion, he would undoubtedly have written the system himself, or procured it to be written in his life-time. But there is no publication extant authenticated with his name. All the books called the New Testament were written after his death. He was a Jew by birth and by profession; and he was the Son of God in like manner that every other person is–for the Creator is the Father of All.” – Age of Reason

“Do we want to know that God is? Search not the book called the Scripture, which any human hand might make, but the Scripture called the creation.” – Age of Reason

“As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me a species of Atheism–a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God.” – Age of Reason

“Wealth is no proof of moral character; nor poverty of the want of it.” – Dissertation on First Principles of Government

“When all other rights are taken away the right of rebellion is made perfect.” – Dissertation on First Principles of Government

“The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy.” – Dissertation on First Principles of Government

“There are cases in which silence is a loud language.” – Letter to George Washington

Thank you for displaying true liberalism, Tom–not whatever the modern “liberal” wackos espouse today.

Iran: the bait that could hook the world’s biggest shark

Are these presidents allied?

The rhetoric coming from Tehran, whether it be anti-American, anti-Israeli, Holocaust-denying, or ambiguously nuclear, is accompanied by a confidence that one would not expect from a nation that the United States could crunch like a cockroach. We may call Ahmedinejad evil, unscrupulous, radical, or unreasonable, but it would be a mistake to think of him as a poor politician, or even an irrational leader. As a public figure and ambassador for his nation, he is much more polished than President Bush. It is unlikely that such a figure would make the sort of mistake that Saddam Hussein made, inviting a war without a plan for fighting it. One can’t help speculating that Ahmedinejad must have an ace up his sleeve, or perhaps even two or three aces, China being that of spades.

China rests on the grounded edge of an economic see-saw, using its weight to prop the United States consumers above its own. The weight on the lever, however, is beginning to shift. By simply looking at bond markets, trade imbalances, interest rates, capital flows and production trends, it is evident China’s economy must soon boom and America’s economy is likely to collapse. One event could change the economies of both countries seemingly overnight, and the beneficiary of such an event would be China. Currently, China’s money is backed by productive labor, while the U.S. Dollar is backed by the art of the press.

Since 2000, perhaps no International ties have grown stronger than those between Iran and China. Trade between the two countries has increased astronomically. China has been Iran’s most staunch ally in UN arguments about economic sanctions. If the U.S. were to make the mistake of attacking Iran, it is not inconceivable that China would immediately declare war against the U.S. for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against one of its allies. This would be enough to tip the scales of the U.S. and Chinese economies. The loss of U.S. trade would become negligible to China, as it realized the power of its own currency, and took into account the sudden devaluation of U.S. currency. The dollar collapse that would result from war with China would haunt even some of the most pessimistic economists, as foreign dollar reserves would begin flowing back into the U.S. economy, U.S. Treasury securities would lose their appeal, and in order to support its own massive military and domestic promises, America would be forced to leave the dollar presses running constantly.

It is a pessimistic view, I realize, but it is the nature of arrogant and irresponsible empires, like the one the United States has steadily become since 1913, to fall this way. I take this view not from my own opinion, but from my plain and honest reasoning, propelled by the evidences of history and nature.

Unjust war: are passive Americans responsible?

Feeling guilty forever

“A policy of overthrowing or destabilizing every regime our government dislikes is no strategy at all, unless our goal is international chaos and domestic impoverishment.” – Ron Paul

I received a good question about a post in which I asserted, “those who henceforth perpetuate the lie that the surge is working are war criminals, and perpetrate crimes against humanity, by extending an illegal, unjust, and murderous war through known falsities.” Bold, I know. When I said it, I was thinking of government officials, but a layperson would also take it personally.

The thought-provoking question was essentially this: how can a person be called a war criminal if they have only claimed that “the surge is working”? The following is my attempt to answer that question.

You are not a war criminal in the legal sense, and should certainly not be held accountable as such. But there have certainly been what natural law would consider crimes perpetrated in the war with Iraq. Let us say, hypothetically, that time proves me correct in my belief that this war is unjust. I suggest that we do not have to be prosecuted for a crime to feel guilt for having aided in it. I also suggest that those who support the Iraq war (even passively), may in the future feel some guilt for having done so, assuming they have the capacity for honest reflection. Did passive German citizens not feel guilt after WWII, even though they accepted the Nazi claim that they were fighting to save Western civilization prior to the war’s end? Even some of the finest philosophers and scientists in the world fell for, and sometimes even contributed to, the aggrandizement of Nazi empire. The same could be said of British imperialism. Are not all empires (even unacknowledged ones–in our era no one calls oneself a fascist or imperialist) eventually humiliated, and forced by nature to admit their arrogances and poor judgments?

“We are fighting for freedom against a dangerous enemy”, “the surge is working”, “support our troops”, “let the generals decide”, “it’s a complex region”, “there would be chaos if we leave”, “we are winning”, “let the troops win”, “we are at war with Islamo-fascism”, “be patriotic”, “don’t blame America”–all are comforting phrases intended to stifle dissent against the Executive and destroy critical thinking in America, but when we research them, we find that few of them are backed by substance. Because the war is impossible to justify, the President has bombarded the people with mystery, nationalism, irrationality and fear, because reason cannot argue in favor of falsehood. The American people, starved for leaders and clarity, have been subjected to rulers and ambiguity. They deserve better than the empty slogans that lead this stanza, and, appallingly, no one in the media seems to be taking responsibility for providing them with the truth.

As far as my philosophy on this war is concerned, I agree with what Gandhi wrote: “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

I believe the threat posed to our security by Iraq was certainly overstated, if not fabricated. I am opposed to war without just cause. I consider the acceptance of aggressive war to be an assertion that murder and plunder are legal if a legitimate government commits them. The reality is, any government that engages in aggressive, unjust war becomes illegitimate in doing so. Moreover, I see our presence in the Middle East as only adding to the grievances that terrorists use against us to convince suicide bombers that their mission is worthy. Take away the U.S. presence in the Middle East, and terrorists would likely turn their efforts against the dictators that are the true cause of their wretchedness.