“S-Hole” Countries

January 19, 2018

Trump allegedly made some derogatory remarks about “s-hole countries.”  Since then, the press has ran with it like a 10 year-old who has learned a new curse word.  There was even a congress critter who feigned tears in pretend outrage.

You know, if they raised taxes to support acting lessons for politicians, I’d probably agree to it.  At least then they wouldn’t suck at everything.

The news has been screaming that Trump is a racist, and this statement is offered as evidence.  It is a funny argument:

  1.  Trump never said anything about the people or the culture of these countries.  He merely referred to some countries as “s-holes.”  This could be due to pollution, political unrest, or any number of reasons.
  2. If people are leaving these countries, there is something undesirable that is causing people to leave.

Interestingly, nobody bats and eyelash when they show the dreadful conditions of some of these countries on the television.  Nobody seems to consider extreme poverty, war, pollution, and disease part of these cultures, and yet when someone says, “hey, this is an s-hole” he is accused of being racist and attacking a culture.

I’ll address immigration another time.

Thank you for reading my post.

 

*I forgot to hit the ‘Submit’ button on this post yesterday!*

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The Danger of the Psychiatric Evaluation

January 11, 2018

There has been some talk in recent weeks of the 25th amendment and what it might mean to President Trump.  For those of you who are not familiar with the 25th amendment, it states:

“In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.”

There are talking heads on the television that would love to use this amendment as a means of removing Trump from office, stating that his “mental health issues” have made him unfit for the office of president.  Therefore, under the 25th amendment he can be removed.

While I agree that a president should be removed from office if they are incapacitated and unable to perform their duties, I caution against using this amendment lightly.  The liberals, still bitter from their year old election loss, would love to have a psychologist or team of psychologists pronounce Trump mentally incapacitated.

This places far too much power into the hands of “experts” and not enough into the hands of the average person.

This is all a thinly-veiled appeal to authority.   If our presidents can be removed from office by a special interest group (such as a panel of psychologists), why vote?  If the final say rests on “experts” rather than the people, let’s not pretend there’s a republic.  Do away with the vote, and we’ll let the “experts” pick for us.

As is typical with elitist liberals, they declare themselves experts in a field, then try to use it to gain a political advantage.  Rather than allowing for a vote, they would rather place the important decisions of the country into the hands of a few “experts.”

Thanks, but no thanks.  I’d rather have a president with an itchy Twitter finger than to be ruled by “experts.”

Thank you for reading my post.

 

Online Reviews

January 5, 2018

I was sitting in the hotel lobby watching some early-morning talk show.  On this show, there was a panel of four doctors and two hosts.  The topic of discussion was whether or not online review services like Google or Angie’s List should be “allowed” to rate health care professionals.

The doctors on this panel argued that they can get bad reviews from people who did not receive the treatment they wanted, (curing incurable diseases), did not receive the medicine they wanted (not being prescribed drugs), or just receiving an anonymous bad rating from a competitor.  They said that “unqualified” people, meaning people without PhD’s were allowed to write reviews about them, and that only “qualified” people should be able to write reviews, if anyone at all.

There’s a lot happening here.  The obvious problem is that such legislation would limit freedom of speech.  That’s just scratching the surface, however.

In their example, what it takes to be qualified is to possess a government-issued certificate.  It is a simple binary question:  yes or no.  Qualified or unqualified.   They believe that all doctors that have this certificate are equal, and that all people without it are also equal- just not equal to those with the certificate.  This means that you are not qualified to speak about your own experience with a doctor, unless of course, you have that paper!!!  It also means that all doctors are equal, and that there is no such thing as a “good doctor.”

By that logic, doctors, you are not qualified to rate a mechanic or a plumber.  After all, last time I checked, many of you are not also certified mechanics and plumbers, so who are you to say whether a mechanic or a plumber did a good job?

Furthermore, it assumes that a doctor knows all about your body, and that you know nothing.  A person who monitors their health very closely may not know about modern medicine to the degree that a PhD should.  However, that person is perfectly qualified to say that, “doctor x gave me x, and I felt worse.  I went to doctor y and he gave me y, and I felt better.”  Nope, this type of “qualification test” would not allow you to say this.

Ultimately, these doctors would ask you to not make any judgement.  Don’t evaluate them.  Just do as they say.

The real question is, “who would ask you to suspend all judgement?”  Notice that, those who scream “don’t judge me!” the loudest, are the most likely to receive a negative judgement.  Those most afraid of an online review probably should be afraid of it!  A good doctor, a good plumber, a good mechanic:  they won’t be afraid of these things.  If there is a legitimate complaint, they can deal with it.  If it is garbage, they can get enough good reviews to offset it.

Once again, be wary of anyone who asks you not to judge them.  This group actually advocates that you not be allowed to judge them.

I threw up a little bit in my mouth as I watched this show.

Thank you for reading my post.

 

Check Your Privilege

December 15, 2017

If you are straight, white, cis-gender, male, able-bodied or any combination of these, chances are you have heard (or will hear in the future) the phrase, “Check Your Privilege.”

This expression is used when you make an assumption about some social situation and have not, in the eyes of the opponent, properly addressed the plight of those who are marginalized in some way.

The expression can be meant to open up a real discussion, as if to say, “check your premises.”   However, more often than not, it is used to silence you by pointing out past oppression, slavery, or mistreatment by a group of people who look like you.

Embedded in the privilege discussion is that you haven’t worked as hard as someone else, or perhaps you didn’t earn all that you have.  It is implied that if you had been born under different circumstances, you would have not been so fortunate.

You may hang your head.  You don’t know about slavery, having never experienced it.  You may not have escaped the inner city to get your college degree.   You may have never experienced life from a wheel chair.

If you insist that you worked hard for you position and the things you have, you are a racist/homophobic/sexist/ablest jerk.  You may even find yourself with no defense to these statements.

Forget all of it.

The proper response to “Check Your Privilege” is “Or What?”

People don’t run around saying these things to actual Nazis or Klansmen or Terrorists.  Those people don’t care about being called a racist.  They don’t care whether their ancestors had slaves- they would have them today.

You are (hopefully) not one of these people.  You own no slaves, and want none.  You don’t actively say you won’t hire women.  You don’t beat people for being gay or how they dress or what gender they identify.  You don’t actively want life to be difficult for anyone for conditions to which they have no control.

When someone says “Check Your Privilege,” the only weapon they have is your own guilt.  Your own guilt for the very common thought, “I’m not good enough.”

Is it any wonder that these discussions occur in college classes, where most students and faculty suffer from “impostor syndrome”?  Impostor syndrome is when you constantly feel like you have risen above your competence level, and is experienced by practically everyone with an above average IQ.

Is it any wonder that, over the years, I’ve lost more former college students to suicide than car accidents?

But you have a defense.  Their only weapon is your own guilt.  Don’t give it to them.

By replying “Or What?” you acknowledge that their statement is an empty threat.  It is an unbacked attempt to silence you.  There will be no answer, at least no logical one.  They counted on your guilt, and you won’t have given it to them.  The best they can do is to resort to more obvious ad hominem attacks, such as calling you uneducated, backwards, etc.  You know, standard liberal drivel.

In Objectivism, this concept is called, “The Sanction of the Victim.”  It is best demonstrated in Atlas Shrugged, during Hank Reardon’s trial.  He goes before a panel of judges; they expect him to grovel and confess his sin- the sin of being a businessman.  Instead, he refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing.  To paraphrase, “it is bad enough to whip a man, but to force him to first manufacture the whip used against him is a special kind of evil.”

Don’t give it to them.  Don’t deliver them a weapon to use against you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2017

While there are a lot of politics surrounding Thanksgiving, the relations between the Europeans and the Natives, who gets to work on Thanksgiving day and so on, I am going to skip all of that for this blog post.  I will, instead, quote one of my favorite parts of Atlas Shrugged.  The scene is at Hank Rearden’s house during Thanksgiving dinner.  After an awkward family Thanksgiving Dinner, he goes to see Dagny, and while with her, says,

“You know, Dagny, Thanksgiving was a holiday established by productive people to celebrate the success of their work.” (1)

May your Thanksgiving be happy!

Thank you for reading my blog!

  1.  Rand, Ayn.  Atlas Shrugged.  Signet Classic, 1996,  pp. 439.

Catching up On Atlas Shrugged

November 3, 2017

I have not written much about rereading Atlas Shrugged.  It is still my favorite book, and I am glad that The Atlas Project has given me an excuse to read it again.

On schedule, I have finished reading Part I, finishing up with Chapter 10:  Wyatt’s Torch.  (SPOILER ALERT)

When I think about Ellis Wyatt, I can really relate to his character.  I used to think that all Ayn Rand characters had the same personality type (and unfortunately, that did not include me).  Then, after much more careful consideration, I find myself aligning more with Ellis Wyatt than any other character.

Granted, I am not the petroleum genius that Ellis Wyatt was in the novel.  However, he occasionally displays his anger in the same ways that I do.  At one point he smashes a glass when he realizes that his success will be ruined by the government soon enough.  Also, when dealing with the looters (and, Dagny Taggart, who he mistakes as a looter), he delivers ultimatums, rather than conversation, as he recognizes there is nothing to discuss.  Finally, when the government finally loots him, he sets all of his assets on fire to keep them from being destroyed by the government.  I hope that I would have such courage.

Anyway, I have been watching this character, and find him to be probably one of my favorites in the book.

Thank you for reading my post.

Why #MeToo is a Waste of Time

October 20, 2017

Recently, the hashtag #MeToo has been cycling around social media.  The idea behind this hashtag is for women to come forward and discuss their stories of sexual harassment.

The problem is, sexual harassment is pretty vague.  According to The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is stated as,

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

Sounds clear right?  You can’t fire your secretary for turning down your advances, according to the law.

The problem is the package deal that is wrapped up in the sexual harassment.  To be found guilty of sexual harassment, the only proof is that someone else felt uncomfortable.

Obviously, rape, sexual assault, and so on are a violation of individual rights, and the perpetrators should be dealt with harshly by the law.   However, lumped into this same category is everything from rapists to a single catcalling construction worker.

Instead of recognizing that there is a long distance between an unwanted comment and rape, we are expected to swallow, as one package deal, that everyone who has received a catcall or an unwanted comment is a victim equal to a rapist victim.  And, that everyone who has laughed at a sexist joke, or went in for a kiss and got rejected, or whatever is now on par with a rapist.

The end result of this is to treat every man as though he was a rapist.  Furthermore, it is to teach every man that they are no better than a rapist, for every single (straight) man has glanced too long at a woman, or made a stray comment, and are now guilty of rape.

It’s the danger of a package deal.

 

Facebook Anger

October 13, 2017

I have finally started cleaning up my Facebook feed.  I don’t defriend people, but I have started unfollowing people and blocking posts.  After this last shooting, I have become sick of all of the nonsense, and was realizing how much time I waste arguing with walls and reading garbage.

So many of my friends, so many people of my generation have been nursing the government teat for so long that they can’t imagine life without it.  Every problem requires a government solution.  If I dare say that the solution lies within the people, (who supposedly make up the government, in a free society), I get lots of flapping arms, yelling, and ad hominem attacks.

Side Note:  spell check wants to change “ad homiem” to “Eminem.”   That’s what’s wrong.

Another Note:  I posted the above statement on Facebook with an animated GIF.  Perhaps I’m what’s wrong.

Anyway, this week, I skipped out on all of my old friends calling NRA members “racists” and “terrorists” and read exactly no articles about “white privilege” or “male privilege” or any other nonsense.  It’s all gone from my feed.  No more articles from Vox, Upworthy, or Vice.  Good riddance.

For my trouble, I enjoyed a productive, less-stressed week.

Am I avoiding the problem?  Perhaps.  However, there is nothing to do about it on Facebook, so why increase my stress level and fight over stuff that isn’t going to be changed on Facebook anyway?

I’m not engaging any of these folks anymore.  They can treat Facebook as their echo chamber and recite their practiced lines against guns, Trump, God, whomever, if it makes them feel better.  They can beat their chests and declare themselves geniuses of social issues and politics, and the most they’ll get from the likes of me is an uninterested, “that’s nice.”  I just won’t be listening.

 

The NRA Disappoints Me Today

October 6, 2017

I am a lifetime member of the NRA.  I have been for a long time.  I have been a member in one form or another since I was about 12, and used to read Insights Magazine years ago.

Today, the NRA announced that they would support changing the legal status of “bump stocks” after the Las Vegas shooting.

I personally own no bump stocks. I haven’t the resources to feed a rifle with a bump stock, so I don’t have anything to lose by new legislation.

The problem I have is with the philosophy of the antigun crowd, as well as (apparently) the leadership in the NRA.

Guns are just devices.  They are metal, wood and plastic crafted into certain shapes with certain functionality.  They have no morality, they have no feelings or intentions.  They are neither good nor evil.  Because they are a physical item, they are property.

The governnment has no business telling folks what the shape of their property can be.  They have no business telling people that this pile of plastic is somehow allowed, as long as it is not like this other pile of plastic.  They have no business telling an existing business to stop creating, designing, and manufacturing a product.

Rather than stand up to the government, the NRA rushed to the government as fast as it could and begged, “Please sirs, take these away.  We won’t complain.  Just let us keep another hunk of metal and plastic instead.”

No, do not compromise my property rights because you think you are doing me a favor.  No, do not compromise because you are afraid of looking “too extreme.”

When a merchant and a consumer compromise, everyone wins.  The consumer gets the goods and the merchant gets the money, at the agreed rate of exchange.  When rights are compromised away, the individual loses.

So then, I’ve said that they handled it poorly.  How could they have handled it well?  They could have said nothing, for there is nothing to say.  Someone out there used guns to hurt people.  We, the average NRA member, did not.  There is nothing to say. I don’t expect a statement from Ford, UAW or NASCAR for every car accident.  Why would I expect it from the NRA after a shooting?

Thank you for reading my post.

Source:  https://www.nraila.org

 

 

 

NFL and the National Anthem

September 29, 2017

Currently, NFL players are protesting injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem at the beginning of the football games. The football players are claiming that the United States is unjust and that this protests the injustice. Therefore, kneeling at the National Anthem is part of their freedom of speech. Critics say that it is disrespectful to this country and its veterans, and that the football players should stand. President Trump has weighed in as well, stating that the NFL should fire such players.

This issue can (and will) be resolved by the free market and property rights.

First, the right to free speech extends only as far as your property. I may speak my mind, whatever I think, on my own property, using my own paper and my own broadcast equipment. I cannot force someone else to give me a platform from which to speak. I cannot demand a TV network use their property to spread my message. I cannot go to another person’s property and demand they listen to me. In fact, the only way an idea gets past my walls is if someone else allows me to speak in theirs.

Second, I certainly cannot expect my freedom of speech to include going to my place of employment (say my company owner’s property) and demand that he listen to and repeat my message.

The NFL players have signed contracts stating that they will stand for the National Anthem, with their hand over their hearts. If they refuse, their employer has every right to fire them, just like Walmart can fire the cart pusher for not pushing carts. It is not an issue of “freedom of speech” at all.

Personally, I think that a bunch of football players, making a small fortune are interesting folks to talk about “injustice” and “privilege.” They should stand in support of this country, its flag, and its veterans. They, of all people, should recognize the affluence afforded by this society that we can watch them play a game, and willingly throw money at them to do so. A less fortunate country would not have time for such unimportant activities as watching a sport.

Having said that, let’s let the free market decide. Yes, they have their freedom of speech to run their mouths, but the NFL can certainly request their dismissal, and the individual teams can fire the players.

From an informal examination of my Facebook friends, I think keeping these “protesting” players will do more harm than good for the NFL. My friends who have come out in support of the protest never watched football anyhow, and aren’t about to start, regardless of who is protesting. My friends who watch football are the ones who are angry and are boycotting football.

My bet is that the NFL will have a choice: continue to allow the protests, and watch their bottom line sink, or reprimand the players and salvage what will be a dreadful year for the organization. Perhaps baseball will be more popular next spring.

Thank you for reading my post.