INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2B

The post continues where INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2A left off. Please refer to INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 1 for links to the other posts.

Here we will consider the last three of four questions.

When does it become immoral for the government to tax us? That is, where do you draw the line and say no more?

When does it become immoral for the government to tax us? That is, where do you draw the line and say no more? Well, consider what we established as the justification for taxation in INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2A.

Therefore, because some agency has to exercise the force required to maintain order and protect everyone’s rights, forcing everyone to pay taxes to maintain a good government is one of those cases where the means is in accord with the end and therefore justified.

That is, we can justify forcing people to pay taxes because government has an indispensable purpose which requires all of us to pay for it. However, what if government starts doing other things with our tax funds? Then what justification do we have for raising taxes to pay for those additional things?

Consider what we have added. In this country we have various health, education, and welfare programs. Supposedly, because you have a right to:

  • Life = government has to provide our healthcare.
  • An education = government has to educate us.
  • Food, clothing, shelter, a job, and so forth = government has to give whatever it is we can get enough people to vote for.

Does the Constitution authorize Congress to spend our money on health, education, and welfare programs? No. So why does Congress do it? Why do some people rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Congressmen rob the Federal treasury because that’s where the money is that they can use to buy our votes.

The purpose of government is to keep us from infringing upon each others rights, not to give us our neighbor’s property. When government starts taking some people’s property and giving it to other people, we have too much government. The answer to the next question explains why that is a problem.

How do we ensure that a government that runs our lives will exercise its power for our benefit and not someone else’s benefit?

How do we ensure that a government that runs our lives will exercise its power for our benefit and not someone else’s benefit? Well, if the government is running our lives, we already have a big problem. Consider the issue.  Government is supposed to protect the rights of All the People, not skew things to the benefit of special interest groups (We are all members of some special interest group.). Therefore, we have to keep politicians focused on protecting the rights of the People. That is, to make certain our politicians are not tempted to skew things to the benefit of some special interest group, we have to make certain they don’t have a conflict of interest.

The Conflict Of Interest

What usually causes politicians to have a conflict of interest? Instead of just expecting politicians to protect our Rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, we start expecting them to give us so-called “rights” like “free” healthcare, schooling, food, clothing, shelter, job benefits and so forth. Unfortunately, no politician can give us anything unless he starts taking what he gives us from our neighbors, and there lies the conflict of interest. When politicians start giving us stuff for “free”, we make the same people responsible protecting everyone’s Rights also responsible for taking away some people’s Rights. That’s how politicians get the stuff they use to give “other people” their “rights”. Such a system is not charity; it is just thievery on a mass scale that seems okay because everyone is doing it.

So How Should We Help The Needy?

So how should we help the needy? In an old post, THE RIGHT OF FREE ASSOCIATION, I cite what Alexis De Tocqueville observed about 1830’s America in his classic work, Democracy in America. Here is a sample. I suggest reading the entire post.

Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association. I met with several kinds of associations in America, of which I confess I had no previous notion; and I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men, and in getting them voluntarily to pursue it.

What De Tocqueville observed is that when Americans saw a need, they voluntarily banded together and did something about it. If you love your neighbor, that is what you do.

How big and powerful does the government have to be before the people have lost the ability to refuse it anything it wants?

In a constitutional republic the People instill their values into their government. In an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, government seeks to indoctrinate the People in politically correct values. What is the distinction? In a society that operates as a constitutional republic, a limited government, the People disperse control of the educational system and mass media infrastructure among many people who operate independently of each other. An authoritarian or totalitarian regime, however, seeks survival by indoctrinating the People. To that end authoritarian or totalitarian governments monopolize the educational system and the mass media infrastructure.

The Education Problem

We want our children to have a good education, one that helps us as parents to instill the right values, right? What makes us think we can depend upon politicians to help us? Who trusts politicians? Yet that is what we have done. We have put government in charge of our educational system and turned what should be a blessing into a predicament.  Instead parents being in charge of what the children they love learn, children learn whatever the dominant political party thinks important.

The Problem Of A Free Press

We want to find out what is going on in the world, right? Ideally, we would choose from a variety of independent mass media outlets. Then we would compare notes with our family, friends and neighbors and decide which outlets are the most credible and informative. But what if the mass media is dominated by the government or a relatively small number powerful men and women interested in influencing the political system (see section on Crony Capitalism)? What if much of the mass media seems more interested in dispensing propaganda than in being trusted?

An Observation From The Past

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (6 January 1816) ME 14:384.

For the time being control of our educational system and mass media infrastructure is still somewhat dispersed. If we want to remain a free people — if we do not want government lackeys corrupting our children and feeding us falsehoods — we need to support school choice for parents and fight any effort to concentrate the mass media into the hands of a few wealthy men or government official officials.

What Is To Come?

Please refer to INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 1 for links to the other posts.

GOSSIP, FAKE NEWS, OR THE TRUTH?

When we listen to the news, what are we trying to do? Well, supposedly we want someone to communicate to us what has been going on in the world that is “important” while we were sleeping, working, playing, or otherwise preoccupied. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to get an unbiased report. In fact, some people are devious.

Here we will consider an example of the work of the devious. The Washington Post put out this story, Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador, based upon unidentified sources.

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. (continued here)

What is peculiar about the story is how The Washington Post goes on to tell us this:

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities. (from here)

Since when is okay to reveal highly classified information to a reporter? Yet The Washington Post‘s supposedly reliable sources did exactly that, supposedly.

Anyway, the White House emphatically denied the story.

The White House has denied a Washington Post report that Donald Trump revealed classified information when he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak last week.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters this Monday: “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time — at no time — were intelligence sources or methods discussed.”

“The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”

“I was in the room — it didn’t happen.” (continued here)

Nevertheless, news organs such as The Associated Press breathlessly picked up the story.

On Monday, McMaster told reporters: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

The revelations could further damage Trump’s already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies. He’s openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates’ possible ties to Russia.

The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip. The White House was already reeling from its botched handling of Trump’s decision last week to fire James Comey, the FBI director who was overseeing the Russia investigation.

The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday, a conversation that was scheduled last week.

The revelation also prompted cries of hypocrisy. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disputed the report. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including “common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.” The nature of specific threats was discussed, he said, but not sources, methods or military operations. (from here)

The suggestion is that President Trump somehow fouled up and said more than he should have. Yet people whose names we have adamantly insist nothing untoward happen. So who are we supposed to believe?

Here is another report on the denials from the White House: McMaster: WaPo Story About Trump Sharing Classified Materials With Russians Is ‘False’ (freebeacon.com).

When we read stories like this, we need to keep something very basic in mind.  It can be quite difficult to prove nothing wrong happened. Hence, we insist that those charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Has Washington Post provided any proof? Read and decide for yourself.

 

 

NEW MILESTONES IN OPPOSITION RESEARCH

As a nation we are at least halfway to being totally deranged. What this post is about is two examples of our insanity.

The first example is a column by Bill Gertz of The Washington Times, Warfare goes digital in the 21st century. The primary subject of the column is information warfare. What is Gertz’s complaint?

American adversaries have found asymmetric ways to attack and are waging sophisticated information warfare operations — both technical cyber-attacks and soft power influence and disinformation campaigns designed to achieve strategic objectives.

The U.S. government remains completely ignorant of the threat and lacks ways to deal with this new form of warfare. The Cold War-era U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the last semi-autonomous agency used for promoting America was disbanded in 1999. Its functions were folded into the State Department and the result has been diplomacy-impaired information programs. (from here)

That sounds innocuous, but what is odd is that Gertz’s column also included this observation by Matthew Armstrong, a former official involved in government radio broadcasting and associate fellow in King’s College Center for Strategic Communications.

Mr. Armstrong said he was told by a Russian information official that state-run RT broadcasts would have no audience in the United States “if the American media was doing their jobs.”

The failure of America’s news media in this sphere stems of the Balkanization of news outlets. Coverage by mainstream press outlets today is biased by three central liberal narratives of gender identity, racial issues and climate change, while the conservative media outlets are heavily weighted toward opinion and lack a needed hard news focus. (from here)

The news media is not doing its job? The news media is too biased to do its job? What happened to journalistic objectivity?

The second example is about a civil war.

The recent revelation about Susan Rice seems to be causing the war to swing Trump’s way.  That is what this report, Tucker vs Dem who called him Trump ‘smokescreen salesman’, considers. Here we see much of the news media has definite conclusions about the Susan Rice story: Steyn: Media annoyed someone has outfaked their fake news.

So what are we to make of all this? How are these news items related? Gertz’s column points out that the news media is failing to do its job in a very fundamental way. Instead of getting the true story out, the news media is leaving a vacuum that  foreign propagandists have filled. What is the news media doing? Lately the talking heads have argued over two distinctly horrific possibilities.

  • Did the Donald Trump betray America by colluding with a foreign power to steal a win in our last presidential election?
  • Did the Obama administration abuse America’s national intelligence systems by conducting “opposition research” on the Trump campaign and transition team?

Stories like this have not filled the airwaves for decades, but such has been more common in recent years, and the seriousness of the charges keep getting worse. Yet there is almost never any resolution. Apparently, the primary concern of our leaders is spending our money, not honest government.

What does Gertz propose in his column? Is it a fix for America’s news media? No.

The Trump administration urgently needs to recreate a new USIA for the digital age, something I call “Information America.”

This new institution can be established as a government entity similar to the USIA, or a nongovernmental organization funded by philanthropists. A third option would be set up Information America as hybrid government/private-sector organization.

Its mission should be to use truth and facts to counter lies and disinformation. Information America also must begin anew to promote fundamental American ideals and values. (from here)

Good idea? Maybe, but what about the America’s news media? Isn’t there some way we can get the press do its job instead of warring with words, effectively acting as rabid advocates for our two national political parties? I think so. We need to get our government out of the education business. We need to reduce the scope of the Federal Government’s responsibilities so that it is primarily focused national defense.

What is happening is Washington DC looks more and more like war because it is. Listen to different news media sources, and pretty soon it will become apparent the Democrats want Trump gone yesterday. Is he guilty of something?

Listen to different news media sources, and pretty soon it will become apparent that somebody was spying on Trump’s campaign and transition officials. Was that legal?

Unless we the people of America are properly educated, few of us will be able to appropriately review the facts and answer such questions. Instead we will be propagandized.  Unless we the people of America are properly educated, we will not understand how our government is supposed to work, and we will not fulfill our role as good citizens. Instead of electing officials who serve us, we will elect officials who will eventually demand that we serve them.

What the increasing acrimony in Washington DC indicates is that the crisis is coming to a head. When the crisis does come to a head, it is going to be ugly. Because the prize is huge, people will fight over it and not just with words.

If we want our children to be properly educated, we have to get our government out the business and take responsibility ourselves. If we want to understand how our government is supposed to work, we have to ignore news media propagandists and look up what the founders of our country had to say about it. We have to throw out the bums who just think their job is to spend as much of our money as they can.

IT IS DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE CHILDREN

Because some people supposedly care so much, our nation spends hundreds of billions every year, and we have changed longstanding traditions.  What if the people who care so much really only care about themselves? What if we have spent trillions of dollars and departed from fundamentally sound traditions for the sake of lies?

Here are examples of how much people supposedly care.

Are these “news” stories about caring people? No. These are stories brought to us by shameless purveyors of garbage values posing as caring people.

Where did I get this list of stories? I got it from this editorial.

Transgendered child abuse

Last year, NBC News did a two-part series dubbed “transgender kids,” that featured “the stories of 5-year-old Jacob Lemay and 8-year-old Malisa Phillips, two children transitioning to live as their authentic selves.”

In December, Good Housekeeping wrote an essay detailing a family with two transgender children, both a son and a daughter, who swapped roles. And while the parents “didn’t totally understand it, they knew their love was unconditional.”

In January, National Geographic put a photo of a nine-year-old transgender girl on its cover, simply labeled “The Gender Revolution,” and The New York Times did a report on “Raising a Transgender Child.”

Then in February, Katie Couric profiled families with transgender children for a documentary, and the Huffington Post wrote a column on how “Transgender kids are changing the world.”

The Washington Post followed it up, with a personal essay: “My 7-year-old daughter Henry is transgender. She’d change Trump’s mind,” lamenting President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Barack Obama’s bathroom executive order.

And then this month, HBO is ran a special called “Trans Youth” which provided “an inside look at the families of transgender youth and how they are coming to terms with the gender identity of their children,” weeks before the Supreme Court’s decision to send the bathroom case back to the Appeals court. (continued here)

The denizens of the news media make their living by reporting on controversy.  Sometimes, to find something controversial to jabber about, they push the envelope. That sounds brave, but what the news media does is not brave. The talking heads just take some idiotic notion seriously and report on it sympathetically.  They even stage “debates,” giving both the pro and the con sides of a dumb idea equal attention and respect.

What if their dumb idea blows up in their faces.  Well, the “brave” people in the news media don’t take sides.  They are just objective reporters of the “news”. On the other hand, if enough of the public takes the idiotic notion seriously, they are just mainstream or “moderate”.

What has this sort of insanity accomplished? Behavior we would have formerly regarded as foolish, sick, or just unfortunate too many now regard as heroic and worthy of imitation.

Is the news media solely to blame for the degradation of our nation’s values? No. For that we owe much “thanks” to our secularized public education system. Unfortunately, instead of learning about our nation’s religious and political traditions and growing to respect those traditions, too many of our public schools teach our children that God does not matter and that government, not God gives us our rights.

Consider. Think about the way the news media wants us regard two homosexual men holding hands in public. “My oh my! They have come out of the closet! How proud they must be to show their love for each other!” Can you imagine sodomizing someone you love? That is healthy and good behavior? Seriously? Yet the news media wants us to regard two men and adopted children as a normal family.

When we were born, we knew almost nothing.  Boy? Girl? These are concepts and physical realities that slowly matured in us. If we were fortunate, our parents and the other adults around us provided us good role models and guided our behavior. If we were unfortunate, the adults around us confused us.  There is nothing righteous about confusing children, but it happens.

Are there sometimes real biological issues with gender? Yes, but don’t expect anything that deep from the news media. A news story about simply fixing what is physically broken is not spicy enough. No. Talking about feelings is so much easier and fun, and making “other people” — everyone — do what we think they ought to do is such a big ego trip.