Archive for August 15th, 2011 | Daily archive page

What Is a Right?

Monday, August 15th, 2011

By What Right?

Earlier Monday evening, I posted a short article about how activists are pushing to create “broadband Internet Access as a civil right.”  To a strict constitutional constructionist and ardent advocate of natural law like me, who realizes what a right is and a right isn’t, it seems preposterous to suggest that such a thing could be a right.  I say “seemed” because while I knew that there exist people in whose minds such obnoxious notions flourish, I’d never suspected that one would find his way into my email.  Not very many people come to my blog without some understanding of what I believe or to which principles I generally subscribe.  As if to prove the rule by the exception, despite my preconceived notions about my readers, I nevertheless found the following in my email inbox not more than an hour after publishing the earlier  article:

Subject: who made U God?

From: [Name Withheld]

You dont run sh*%! I gotta right to whatever I can get. it’s my world, bro.  You just some old dude in a fu$%@!-up hat. I’ll take YOUR internet, you whinin b*%(&!  Deal with THAT.  everybody deserves fast web access. its our world now, and your gen has to get out of the way cause were gonna get ours!!!

Yes, I’ve edited out some expletives, but minus a little clean-up, this is the actual text. I’ve kept his name out of this because I don’t want anybody sending him e-mails in response, and I don’t have his permission to release his email address.  Nevertheless, I think he deserves an answer, much of which he will either fail to grasp or simply dismiss as the complaint of an “old dude in a fu$%@!-up hat.”  Apart from the fact that I’m 45, and I like my fedora, I am going to answer him here, and send him a link when I’m finished.  I thought I should share it with you because he seems to represent the precise sort of people we must now confront if we are to restore our nation: Violently ignorant, and seemingly beyond our reach, this man-child is exemplar of why the welfare state must be demolished.

[Man-Child]: I’ll do my best to answer you without over-complicating the matter, knowing that you’ll likely surf out of here before reading my full answer.  After all, you’re born of the drive-thru and drive-by generation, and the accumulation of knowledge among your peers, apparently increasing in number, is frequently left to random chance and what you talk about amongst yourselves.  On the small chance that you wound up on my site wanting actual information, I’m prepared to offer it to you in a way I hope you’ll understand.

I’m betting you own a cell phone.  It’s probably one of those nifty smart-phones with all the latest apps and features.  Your generation seems addicted to the things, but I’d like to ask you some questions about it: Did you buy it?  Do you pay for a monthly plan?  Do you know how it works?  Do you know how your signal finds its way to your friend, either across the street or on the other end of the country?  Do you know how that signal is formatted?  Do you know what a packet is?  Do you understand subnets? Left to you, could you replicate any part of the technology?  Who does know, if you don’t?  What do you suppose would happen to your precious phone if not for the people from whom you now threaten to steal a so-called “right?”

Do you know what a right is?  A right is a natural entitlement of liberty that requires the consent of no others for its exercise, and imposes no positive obligation upon any other.  If what you propose requires the actions or consent of others, it cannot be a “right.”

You have a right to free speech.  You may not require me to purchase a printing press or a television station on which to express it. You can’t force me to do anything.  You can’t even force me to listen.  Your right extends solely to the limits of your own person, and in no way to the persons or properties of others.

You have a right to worship as you please, or not worship at all. You may not demand that I build for you a church in which to practice your religion, nor may you burn mine down if it offends you.  Neither may you compel me to believe as you do, just as I have no right to compel you to my beliefs. There can be no right to violate the rights of others.

Our system of laws is predicated on the notion that these natural rights, codified among many others in our Bill of Rights, must be guaranteed to all people, equally.  You propose to take my highspeed Internet access.  How will you do that?  For what period do you think I or others would willingly pay your bill?

If you want the proof that there can be no such thing as a right to free Internet service, ask yourself this: What will happen if the people who you would compel to provide it simply refused?  Would you beat them all up?  Would you kill them?  Would you threaten all their families?  Even if you wiped all of them out, could you make it work in their absence, or repair it when it inevitably breaks, or otherwise repair the equipment when it simply wears out?  Will you build new equipment?  How? In the factories you’ll seize because you believe you have a right to them too?

All it takes to deny your alleged “right” is that the people who you would coerce to provide it answer you with a single word, and mean it.  That word is: No!

Now consider your right to free speech: Without doing violence to you, or threatening it, how can anybody deny your speech? They cannot.  All they can do is ignore it, or answer it, or urge others to use those same alternatives.  This is how you know it’s a right.

In much the same way, we each have a natural right to self-defense as the first personal guarantee of all our rights.  It is true that if your mob is large enough, you will eventually subdue even that right, but in fairness, I must tell you that you may wish to cower at the rear, because the front ranks of your mob will catch literal hell for at least a little while.

Most of the other people from whom you’ll seek to claim your imagined “right to Internet access” will probably feel approximately the same as me, but the simple fact is that in the end, you can only have such a “right” temporarily at best. Prepare yourself for the day that your bullying attitude no longer holds sway in the public discourse. Many Americans now stand ready to repel you, if need be, although most, myself included, still have some hope that you will amend your ways, and perhaps participate with the rest of us in paying for the things you desire by your own efforts and labors, as we have done.

The choice is ultimately yours, but you have no right to that which is not your own by right, and coercion, theft and extortion don’t make a thing yours by right.  Earning it does. Give it a try.  Generations of Americans have done so, and I think you’ll find it infinitely more pleasing in the long run than the approach you now suggest.

Thank you.

Mark [America]

How to Kill the Internet

Monday, August 15th, 2011

How Many More Freebies Can We Stand?

“There they go again.”  You’d think after more than a century of proof to the contrary, the advocates of unlimited “freebies” would admit that their ideas are failures, and that to give something away is to condemn it to a future of limited innovation and ultimate implosion.  There can be nothing worth having that  everybody is given without charge, but the facts of life and nature have never caused advocates of these ideas to submit to reason.  Now come the geniuses who told us a free education at taxpayers’ expense should be a “right,” and that health-care on the dole should be a “right,” to tell us one more thing that should now be a “right:” High-speed or broadband internet service should be a “right.”

If it’s their intent to make the Internet useless, or to make it unsustainable on the basis of cost, one sure way to do that is to begin giving it away to every person who demands it.  The moment you take a good or a service that others must provide, and give it away, you condemn that service to death.  No good can come of meeting political demands of people who are not making a market demand.  A demand in the market is accompanied by an ability and willingness to pay.  A political demand is accompanied by a gun, usually with the  idea to compel some other people to pay.

While the moral and philosophical premises of this issue should be clear to all right-thinking people, what may be somewhat less obvious is the effects such ideas have on the development of infrastructure and technology.  Companies have spent countless billions, perhaps more than an aggregate trillion dollars to create broadband networks and to make them available to paying customers.  Now that the networks have been built, the moochers and looters will descend upon the market making political demands for free Internet Service.  Yet who pays to make the Internet operate?  Who replaces the billions of miles of fiber and copper?  Who will pay to repair it?  Who will pay the network architects and engineers who maintain it?  Well, of course, initially you, the paying consumer, will continue to do so.

What happens when some business announces it’s giving something away?  Lines form and people devour the “freebies” whether they have the ability to pay or not.  Oh, but we’re told this should be a means-tested “entitlement.” Ladies and gentlemen, are you prepared for more of that?  Are you ready to pay for it?  Are you ready to suffer its many tragic consequences?

Under such a program, you can expect service quality to plummet, and the value of the service delivered to diminish.  This is what has happened each time, in our own naive generosity that we have consented to pay for something people claim to need.  The technology will cease to improve, and in fact, you may see it regress.  Dial-up modems might come back into vogue as they wind up offering more bandwidth than the alleged “broadband” filled up with a glut of traffic for which no payment has been made.  What pushes the technology along at present is the profit to be derived from providing this service at ever greater levels of reliability, speed, and quality.  Under such a system as these moochers propose, just as you’ve been subsidizing medicare patients in the emergency room through your higher and higher tax burdens along with your own growing share of the ballooning national debt, your costs will go up while the quality of that for which you’ve paid so dearly begins to regress.

It’s time to take a stand against more hand-outs.  If you want the Internet to become the electronic version of Section 8 housing, go ahead and support this crass idea.  If you want the Internet to continue to expand and improve, you’re going to need to stand against this, as well as related notions.  It’s simply not possible for some people to pay for the unlimited whims and wishes of a multitude of non-payers.  This movement began almost as soon as broadband first arrived, and it needs to be quashed.  Just as money does not grow on trees, and does not fall in the form of pennies from Heaven, there can be no “freebies” anywhere.  We’re now confronted with a culture that seems hooked on the addictive, dependency-creating hand-outs, but we must put a stop to it somewhere, and eventually, we must walk it back.  We can do it now of our own accord, or the laws of nature will eventually do it for us. It’s your choice.  It’s your Internet.  It is the aggregate of all the dollars you have paid that maintain, grow, and improve it, and you shouldn’t surrender it so easily.

Making One Nation From Two Americas

Monday, August 15th, 2011

It's Not Over!

The sad truth is that we’ve become two distinct Americas.  One is still the land of opportunity, with a strong constitution to restrain its central government, and preserve the liberties of its people, and the other is a nation in which the Constitution means nothing, and the Federal government grows ever-larger and increasingly uncontrollable.  Whether we re-elect Barack Obama, or instead place into that office a person of substantially different character is now the matter at hand.   Looking over the field of officially-entered Republican candidates, it’s difficult to imagine how any of these will make any substantial difference.

We need the sort of leader who understands that  to erase the chasm between the two vastly disparate countries, and to re-unify this country, it is going to require a consistent, driving effort by an honest and trustworthy servant as well as the people of that nation.  At present, we are embarked on a collision course with some sort of civil unrest.  The differences between the two Americas has triggered the acceleration of collapse for one, and ascendancy of the other.  To set this country on its proper course, and to repair the America we had known, it’s going to take a person of courage to say to the American people that the right must be done at the expense of the easy.  At present, there is only one potential candidate for president who has experience in managing such reform, and turning a government away from corruption.  Sarah Palin may represent this country’s last real chance at restorative rather than transformative change for at least a generation.

Barack Obama was elected president in a time when Americans were disgusted with his predecessor, George W. Bush, who gave lip service to our America while servicing the other.  Obama arrived after two years of his own party’s control of Congress, and the usual big spending had become colossal spending in a very short time.  His party’s vision of America is one of a nation in decline, with government waiting to catch everybody who falls, or prop up those who had never stood on their own at all.  History assures us that if government grows in this way, it eventually squeezes dry the heart of the private sector, leaving that engine of our prosperity to feed from an ever-shrinking lifeblood of wealth(formerly born of production,) since they are prevented from creating any anew.  Between Federal, State and local governments, nearly 50% of the amount of the private sector’s annual production is devoured.  Worse, if you consider how much the Federal government spends, that number grows to something near 60% of the GDP.

That’s an unconscionable amount of spending, but the borrowing also has negative effects on the private sector, which is you.  Every dollar borrowed by the Federal government is unavailable for businesses and individuals to finance their own growth.  Worse, since the borrowed dollars are printed into existence, each one created from nothing diminishes the value of all those already in circulation.  This sickening spiral of spending can have only one ultimate result: The complete bankruptcy of the nation.  First, they will cut defense, leaving you open to attack from foreign enemies.  Next, they’ll begin to cut the administration of justice at and the prosecution and incarceration of criminals here at home, leaving you subject to an increasing crime rate that will savage you further.  Eventually, they will have no choice but to begin cutting expenditures to their various constituencies and special interest groups, and this will cause mayhem and rioting as people unaccustomed to being told “No, get a job!” will begin to revolt at the notion that after all these years on some dole or other, they will finally have no choice but join the rest of us at work. When we hit this stage, and make no mistake, we’re nearing it, there will be virtually nothing and no one who will revive the nation’s too-cold corpse.  That is where one of the two Americas exists, and it’s the one on the rise.  The problem is that in destroying the other America, the one we’ve loved, their version also destroys itself.  This is Barack Obama’s America, in vision, and as is becoming all too apparent, quite sadly also in fact.

The other America, the one you had known(and the older you are, the more fully you had known it,) is on a steep decline.  The land of opportunity and production is rapidly being replaced by an all-encompassing welfare state.  You had once known the ability to start a new business, or set out on a new venture, or go for broke and return to the land and try your hand at farming.  There were inventors and innovators in every direction you looked, producing marvelous new things, and more importantly, new ideas on how to improve the lives of not only Americans, but people in all nations.  Some of you may remember the first televised “Superman” and the “Truth, Justice and the American way” for which he nobly stood.  50 years of big government’s Kryptonitic bombardment have reduced that former hero and the country for which he once stood, to a devolving, dilapidated remnant.  It was once said that “In America, anything is possible.”  Now it may be properly stated that anything government permits may be possible, provided one has submitted the proper forms, and greased the right governmental palms.

Now comes an opportunity for restoration under the leadership of a person who has endured the attempts of big government’s minions to destroy her.  Sarah Palin is unlike other politicians precisely because she possesses the strength of character not only to identify these problems, but also to begin doing something about them.  Much of what you’ve come to know about her, that could lead you to doubt her, has been created by the campaign against her.  How is it, you may ask, that one woman from a distant state, remote in nearly all ways, could come to be such a threat that she must be destroyed at any and all costs?  The answer is really quite simple:  It’s a matter of ethics.

Sarah Palin rose to preside over the government of the State of Alaska.  The state’s greatest resource, apart from its people, has been the natural wealth of energy trapped beneath its vast, frozen expanses.  That wealth of resources didn’t attract only those who wished to earn a living, and were willing to do without luxuries to do so, but also a class of people who made their wealth in managing these resources on behalf of well-heeled interests.  The resources of the state were largely at the mercy of these interests until the lady from Wasilla arrived to begin asking some tough questions.  Sarah Palin realized that the state was being stolen from its people, who were suffering at the hands of those who had no real interest in the state or its people, but were instead creatures of Washington DC, and of corporate lobbyists who haunt the corridors of Alaska’s capital, and our Capitol.

She went to war against what had been termed the “Corrupt Bastards Club,” and set out to ruin them.  Her ascendancy as Governor was a victory for Alaskans over those who had come to dominate the state, at one point, prior to her involvement in the McCain campaign, garnering her an almost incomprehensible 88% approval among Alaskans.  Not Republicans. Not Democrats… Alaskans. Period.

After the rough-and-tumble of a national campaign in which she was endlessly restrained by Senator McCain’s campaign team, she went home to Alaska, to return to governing, but she was in for a surprise.  The Washington version of the “CBC” had decided she couldn’t be left to continue her work, and to this very day, they continue to rail against her.  She represents the greatest living threat to the big government paradigm that pervades all of Washington DC, and its slick media packaging.  I believe she saw the hand-writing on the wall, when in July of 2009, she resigned her post, as a matter of tactical retreat, but not surrender, not to leave the field of battle, but to turn and attack in another direction.

One thing I’ve observed about Governor Palin is that she’s always been the sort to run toward danger, and confront it once she sees it.  She’s a natural leader and a disciplined politician, and what guides her is a sense of ethics not normally associated with politicians.  She does things because, well, simply, they’re right.  Most politicians like to tell you that’s how they will behave, but they quickly reveal another side once you’ve rewarded them with high office.  Suddenly, none of their promises to be ‘different’ or to ‘change’ things seem so important.  Instead, they quickly become what you’ve so recently replaced.  Sarah Palin isn’t that kind of politician, and while that’s something that’s been said a thousand times before, in this case, all the evidence demonstrates that it’s true.

Every politician promises that he or she will be different.  It’s almost as certain to be claimed in any campaign as the usual promises to ‘shake up the status quo’ right before adopting it. Very few of them ever mean it.  In stark contrast, none who have known Sarah Palin, in government or out, would tell you that she’s the sort to abandon her principles.  Chief among these is the idea, seemingly lost in American politics, that a leader must serve.  More, she’s an optimist who sees the woes now heaped high upon our nation by big government and its rapidly-building  oppressive burdens on its people, and knows this must be stopped, and it can be stopped. She knows that the two Americas can be one nation, again.  What she also knows is that if the people who see their America fading don’t step up and stay committed to restoration, neither politician nor super hero will be able to mend all that which has been devastated.  She knows that it starts with us.  All of us.

Why do you suppose she loves the Tea Party?  While some call it her natural constituency, it’s more that she’s one of their number.  She doesn’t seek to lead the Tea Party so much as she exhorts them to continue and grow and restore the nation.  She tells them to lead, but also reminds them to serve.   Tea Party patriots are accustomed to serving.  Many of them are veterans, or their spouses, and many of them have simply done what has become almost unnatural in contemporary Obama-America:  Lead clean and ordinary lives, providing for themselves, and their families, without government assistance or intrusion, while contributing time and effort to their communities. It wasn’t so long ago that this was the norm in America.

Governor Palin’s message is one of freedom.  Liberty is under perpetual assault by big government and its flacks in the media, but it’s a salable message now, just as it has been since the first Tea Party.  You may have read recently that the Obama administration wants to require a commercial driver’s license to operate a tractor on your own farm.  How long before they demand a degree in agricultural sciences before you can mow your own lawn or obtain an ASE certification before you can change the wiper blades on your own car?  Hell, how long before they tell you “No cars?”  No.  I’m thoroughly disgusted by big government, and I believe Sarah Palin is too.  It’s clear that she looks at its encroachments on our lives as a source of misery, and for those of us in her America, it most certainly is, and it’s worsening daily.

The coming election will be a competition between two distinct visions of America.  Obama’s version is a land of diminishing wealth and innovation, with constant unemployment in the double digits.  Sarah Palin’s vision is something else entirely, and it’s an America most of us have known, If you want to see it again, you’re going to need to fight for it, and that starts with the task of selecting your champion, to lead the charge, not from the rear, as is now the norm in politics, but at the front, where the battle turns, not around weaponry, but ideas and principles.  After all, both of the Americas I’ve addressed are really only ideas, brought into existence by the efforts of those people committed to them.  Sarah Palin is committed to our America, because it is her America too, but if it’s to prevail, and to become again the “one nation” it had been before, it’s going to take your commitment, and your leadership.  Don’t yield.  Don’t surrender.  She’s not finished, and neither are we.

It’s not over.