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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'GMU goes Dhimmi'

I received the below email yesterday:

Dear Subscribers and Friends of TOS,

George Mason University has abandoned its commitment to freedom of expression on campus. At the last minute, GMU has caved-in to pressure from Muslim groups and has cancelled Dr. Lewis’s talk, which was scheduled for tomorrow night, Wed, Feb 28, 2007. This is all we know right now. We will post details as soon as we have them. Please spread the word.


Craig Biddle, EditorThe Objective Standard

Here is the summary of the talk:

“No Substitute for Victory”: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism

Summary: In the wake of 9/11, and in the face of rising threats to their freedoms and rights, Americans are uncertain about what a proper foreign policy should be. The uncertainty arises from the philosophical influences of pragmatism and altruism, which have misguided Americans and their leaders for decades. Mentally crippled by this uncertainty, America has failed to address the cause of the threats against her and, in so doing, has bolstered it.

This talk consults the historical precedent of American policy towards Shintoism in post-1945 Japan to show that a proper policy today would first identify Islamic Totalitarianism as the cause of the threat facing the West, and then direct American resources toward eliminating the political imposition of Islamic Law. If Americans want to end the threats against their lives and liberty, they must first identify the advocates of political Islam (those who seek to impose Islamic Law by force) as the true enemy, and then destroy that enemy—beginning with the Islamic State of Iran. This is the only way to reestablish American security.


Muslim groups around the country have been trying to stop talks critical of Islam with some success. This happened repeatedly during the talks regarding the Danish Cartoon controversy last fall most notably at NYU. If you have any doubt as to where they really stand on freedom of speech and therefore "freedom" as such keep in mind that these are mostly so-called "moderate" Muslims being educated in the West. Remember the words of the Egyptian lawyer as quoted in a previous post: "there are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics..."

If American universities refuse to uphold free speech it will not be long before we lose our freedom entirely. The concept of free speech does not mean just the freedom to say nice things about people or the freedom to flatter your dictator. Yet, western intellectuals explicitly sanction these student thugs via the multiculturalist precept that Western culture is no better than their own. Therefore, students attempting to thwart anyone critical of Islam are justified since this would be "offensive" to them. Afterall, they are taught, no one can be certain of anything...there is no black and white... who is to say freedom is better than slavery? Who is to say Sharia law is worse than the Declaration of Independence?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

CSI: Iran

There is a scene from a recent "24" episode (my favorite TV show) in which a nuclear bomb is detonated in Los Angeles, and the US President indignantly says something to the effect of "if one more bomb goes off then...." he's really gonna get mad!.

I think if a nuclear bomb were to be detonated in the US today that would be about the response it would receive.

What will it take for the US government and the West to realize that the Islamic fanatics really want to kill us? Apparently, flying planes into buildings in NY, killing American soldiers overseas in Iraq, pursuing WMD's, attacking our allies, and publicly stating that they would like to wipe out the US and our allies is not getting our attention. What does it take for another country to constitute a threat? This is a legitimate question but the answer should not be obtained by pursuing a CSI-like forensic investigation. Foreign policy decisions do certainly require evidence but not the kind necessary to convict a criminal in a court of law.

In the below article, notice the hysterical cautioness of the US intelligence chief in not concluding that Iran's "senior leadership" is "directly linked" to the weapons and Iranians (!) discovered in Iraq. Yeah, I'm sure some kooky Iranians got a few armor piercing munitions at the local market and headed over to Iraq to fight the infidels.

"We know there are Iranian weapons manufactured in Iran. We know that Quds Forces (of Iran's Revolutionary Guards) are bringing them (into Iraq)," McConnell said at a panel hearing on world threats facing the United States.

"Is there a direct link from Quds Forces delivering weapons, to the most senior leadership in Iran?" he said. "I would phrase it as 'probable' but, again, no direct link ... I am comfortable saying it's probable."

Ok, this is a country where if you get caught drinking you get your head chopped off but "Iranian weapons manufactured in Iran" brought to Iraq by Iran's Revolutionary Guards may have been missed by the Imams in charge?

Article citing evidence that Iranians are arming and training the opposition in Iraq

Newsweek article about the possibility of Iran targeting New York.

Chronology of Islamic attacks on the West since 1917. The volume of this chronology shocked even me.

From NPR re Iran's President Ahmadinejad perhaps believing himself to be "the 12th and last Imam of the Shiite branch of Islam.. hidden by God.." which "will reappear at the end of history to lead an era of Islamic justice"

So above are linked just a sampling of the evidence that:
1) Iran openly and publicly states that it wants to destroy the US and Israel
2) Iran funds, supports, and trains terrorists who kill Americans and attack our allies
3) Iran is directly interfering in a US military conflict and has killed US soldiers
4) Iran publicly states that it is pursuing nuclear power
5) Iran has and is obtaining technologically advanced weaponry from Russia among others which it has made available to its proxy army (Hezbollah and others) to fight the Israelis
5) Iran's own president indulges in apocalyptic religious fantasies about himself being anointed by God to lead an era of "Islamic justice" at the "end of history"

Meanwhile, the US is spending billions of dollars and losing soldiers every day to remain militarily engaged in a country (next door to Iran) that barely has a government, little infrastructure, no organized army with which to threaten the US or its allies, all purportedly to police Iraqi's who are in the midst of a religious and ethnic civil war.

Here is a good piece from Elan Jouro titled:
Washington's Make-Believe Policy on Iran
In it he states:
"We, the people of America, have a moral right to pursue our happiness in freedom. We owe it to ourselves to demand that our government actually fulfill its obligation to defend our freedom--not merely pretend to."


Modern Politics as Modern Art

Obama says he wants end to 'tit-for-tat'

Obama told donors at a Houston fundraiser Thursday night that the nation will remain at a standstill "if we continue to engage in small and divisive politics and tit-for-tat."

"Our country is at a crossroads right now," he said, citing problems in Iraq' and domestically with education, energy and health care. "It's not as if we don't know what the solutions are. What's missing is the inability of our leadership to develop consensus."

One of my favorite accusations by politicians is that the other side is "playing politics" with a particular issue and I have always wondered what that means and what could give rise to such an obviously ridiculous allegation, i.e., that it is wrong for a politican to play politics.

I used to think people meant one of two things when they say this:
1) That one side is attacking the other on the basis of something that is unrelated or at best tangentially related to the issue
2) One side is taking a position not because they believe in the position but because they wish to remain loyal to their party's position

These are legitimate concerns, however, I think there is something different being implied especially as it relates to cases where the other side accuses their opponent of "playing politics" for simply disagreeing with them or for hilighting (often in a dramatic way) contradictions in their opponent's position. The mere allegation that the one side is "playing politics" is like a catch-all smear to stop any opposition in its tracks. So, why don't people see through this and what gives such an allegation any weight whatsoever?

Another aspect of this is typified by the proverbial lament "why can't the Republicans and Democrats just get along and get something done". Another is that "partisanship is bad" and "compromise" or "consensus" is necessary. Note the quote above where Obama explicitly states that we know the "solutions" to a host of issues but just need "consensus" to implement them.

Is he implying that the solutions to these issues are self-evident and that what is holding them back from implementing them is simply to put aside arbitrary and meaningless 'tit for tats" and execute the solutions? Is there really complete unanimity on behalf of politicians? Why doesn't he discuss these so-called solutions and what are they? Is consensus necessary and is it necessarily good as he implies?

I believe there are two reasons why Obama would make this claim. One reason ironically is political and one is philosophical.

First, there is the base political reason. If everyone else out there believes something is true then to sound good you must simply rehash what you think will make you popular without committing to anything particular that could be offensive or controversial. So, in other words, politically it makes sense to accuse your opponent of being political.

However, this explanation begs the question of why "everyone else out there" implicitly accepts these claims thus making them a popular rehash in the first place. I submit that the reason has to do with the concept of objectivity.

Modern philosophy generally holds that there are no absolutes, i.e., that reason is invalid or at best a limited means of acquiring knowledge. How often have you heard the claim that "nothing is black or white" or "we can't be certain of anything"? Many would accept the claim that 2+2=4, however, most intellectuals do not accept inductive generalizations especially as they relate to philosophical issues. The history of this is long and complicated but the fact is that most people certainly believe its true that you can't conclude anything is certainly true.

Since philosophy steers society, the rejection of reason and objectivity leads to subjectivism and manifests itself in every area of modern culture. For example, note the absurdity of modern art which stridently asserts that art can not be "defined" and so virtually anything can be considered "art" from arbitrary splotches of paint on a canvas to urine in a bottle (I wish I was making that up). This subjectivism in modern universities has led to so-called multiculturalism which alleges that you can not morally distinguish between a primitive culture and an advanced civilization. In fundamental science, physicists tell us nothing can be known for certain and that the best we can do is assign probabilities. This in turn has led to an upsurge in religious fundamentalism as those seeking answers must choose between the false alternative of the subjectivist secular philosophers (which offer all the grandeur of a hippie) and the absolutism of religious dogma (which at least offers individual salvation and a fancy afterlife depending on the specific religion).

Where does this lead in politics? Well if nothing can really be known for certain then upon what do we base the law? Are there absolute, objective political principles to which we can refer when passing specific legislation or is it all just a matter of opinion? If its just a matter of opinion and there is no right or wrong then what? The most you can do is let all factions fight it out in an effort to reach a "consensus." In both domestic and foreign policy, compromise becomes necessarily virtuous since one could never assert with conviction that his view is absolutely right, right? In this sense, modern politicians are modern art incarnate and they should horrify us for the same reasons.

So in Obama's mind could anyone truly disagree with him or could he truly disagree with anyone else? Does he attempt to cite specific causes of the problems we are facing right now? If there are no causes then how can there be solutions? To him there are no absolutes and no principles and therefore our leaders can only find "consensus."

Is compromise virtuous? If you are negotiating to buy a car and you bid 8 and the seller offers 10 and you settle on 9 then that is a legitimate compromise. If one person offers you food and the other offers you poison could you compromise and just take a little poison? If one government promises to protect your rights and the other promises to enslave you, would you wish to compromise or find consenus on how much slavery you should accept?

I will have more to say on this in future posts.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Global Warming is Science Fiction


"When it comes to global warming, apparently the truth is inconvenient. And it’s not just Gore’s movie that’s fiction. It’s the rhetoric of the Congress and the chief executive, too."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why We Must Fight

Egypt blogger jailed for insulting Islam

"I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence," said lawyer Nizar Habib, who attended the trial as a member of the public. (Bold mine)

Note that this was said not by some maniacal dictator but by a member of the public and a lawyer no less. We are constantly told that militant Islam is the work of "extremists" who have "hijacked a religion of peace", i.e., that mainstream Muslims do not share the ideology of the terrorists. If you study the evidence I believe that is an absolute myth. From recent events such as the Danish cartoon controversy, polls taken throughout the Mid East related to opinions of terrorists or the West, and events like the one cited above which are commonplace, the Middle East today is where the West was ideologically in the Dark Ages, a period when religious theocrats dominated and controlled every aspect of society and mired the West in stagnation and misery for over a thousand years.

Nothing short of a modern Renaissance in the Mid East will suffice. (We could use one in the West too.) As Peter Schwartz points out in his recent piece "Religion vs. Liberty"

When reason is categorically abandoned, people can deal with one another only by force. People who accept reason as their sole means of knowledge can settle differences by persuasion; the one with facts and logic on his side will prevail. But if faith--i.e., the embrace of beliefs contrary to reason--is one's ruling principle, there is no peaceful way to resolve conflicts. There can be no appeal to facts, no logic, no rational arguments--there can be only the insistence that some non-provable belief be accepted. And what could back up that insistence other than fists or guns--or airplanes smashing into buildings?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

End Social Security

Below is a link to an excellent piece by Alex Epstein on the irrationality and injustice of the Social Security system. The economic irrationality and destructiveness of Social Security can be demonstrated logically in less than five minutes (as anyone who has robbed Peter to pay Paul can probably attest). The reason it goes on is that it is perceived as moral and this is the premise that must be challenged and destroyed.


How much, when, and in what form one should provide for retirement is highly individual--and is properly left to the individual's free judgment and action. Social Security deprives the young of this freedom, and thus makes them less able to plan for the future, less able to provide for their retirements, less able to buy homes, less able to enjoy their most vital years, less able to invest in themselves.

And yet Social Security's advocates continue to push it as moral. Why?

The answer lies in the program's ideal of "universal coverage"--the idea that, as a recent New York Times editorial preached, "all old people must have the dignity of financial security"--regardless of how irresponsibly they have acted. On this premise, since some would not save adequately on their own, everyone must be forced into some sort of "guaranteed" collective plan--no matter how irrational. Observe that Social Security's wholesale harm to those who would use their income responsibly is justified in the name of those who would not. The rational and responsible are shackled and throttled for the sake of the irrational and irresponsible.

Those who wish to devote their wealth to saving the irresponsible from the consequences of their own actions should be free to do so through private charity, but to loot the savings of untold millions of innocent, responsible, hard-working young people in the name of such a goal is a monstrous injustice.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hatred of the Good

Here is a link to a piece written by Dr. Edwin A. Locke which through a fictional example demonstrates how envy or "hatred of the good" fuels the attacks on great businessmen. This was written in 1998 in response to the attacks on Microsoft and Bill Gates, but read my post yesterday on Toyota and see for yourself if anything has changed.


"There is only one fundamental reason why great businessmen or great companies are hated, and it has nothing to do with so-called monopolies. They are hated, as Senator Lunt let slip, because they are good, that is, smarter, more visionary, more creative, more tenacious, more action-focused, more ambitious, and more successful than everyone else. Haters of the good do not want the less able to be raised up to the level of the great producers (which is impossible); they want the great producers to be brought down. They want to use government coercion to cripple the greatest minds so that lesser minds will not feel inferior.

Government coercion against the productive is a clear violation of their moral right to trade freely with other men. Furthermore, depriving great minds, such as that of Bill Gates, of their right to economic freedom also deprives the rest of us of what they could produce. The freer such people are to function, the richer we all will be."


Also, here is another link to a piece written by Robert Tracinski, editor of The Intellectual Activist, titled "Martha and the Tall Poppies" which confronts the same issue in principle but as it related to Martha Stewart's trial.

"The basis for this hatred is not mere envy, but a moral code that makes that ugly emotion seem legitimate: the morality of altruism. We have been told for centuries that the weak, the incompetent, the most down-and-out bums on the street are the most worthy objects of our moral concern--while the highest achievers are at best the bum's servants, at worst his exploiters. The result is an upside-down morality, a code in which the better you are, the worse you are. The more you achieve, the more you are hated.

This hatred of the good is not merely ugly; it is destructive. A culture that attacks its highest achievers will mow down its tall poppies--and end up with nothing but weeds."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Sin of Success

Toyota fears U.S. backlash over gains

This is amazing. Let's say a company produces a product that year after year is rated as the best quality product for its price on the market. Its engineers and managers are able to consistently produce it in such a way that high quality variations of the product are available at all levels of the price spectrum. It builds a global distribution network over the course of decades to makes this product available globally to the delight of its customers. Its committment to excellence over a long period enhance its reputation and allows it to surpass the best competition in the world.

Should they be acknowledged, praised and receive an award? If this were a sport wouldn't they be inducted into the hall of fame or given a gold medal if it were The Olympics? Imagine the indignant protests that would be heard if Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods were hated for their achievements and critics were to attribute their success over a career to something banal as "cheating." And then imagine the reaction if the government were to step in and perhaps force Tiger to use a wooden driver or make him play with K-mart golf balls to "level the playing field". Or perhaps they force an increase in rim height when Jordan shoots a jumper.

This seems laughable, right - unless your a business.

Remember the governments case against Microsoft? Well now Toyota has made the cardinal sin of succeeding too much in business and it appears it will meet with a similar fate.

I will have more to say about this in future posts.

Maybe the Glaciers Aren't Melting

Here is a link to an article about a U.S. study that suggests that "glaciers are melting at variable rates and not at an increasing trend" and that "variability during such a short time underlines the problem in assuming glacial melting and sea level rise will necessarily occur at a steady upward trajectory."

Here is another article on experts in India questioning the theory on global warming again based on inconclusive data related to glacial melting.
"Raina told the Hindustan Times that out of 9,575 glaciers in India, till date, research has been conducted only on about 50. Nearly 200 years data has shown that nothing abnormal has occurred in any of these glaciers."

Also, I must mention that I got a kick out these:

"House Hearing on 'Warming of the Planet' canceled after ice storm"

and The Drudge Report notes that:
"Maryville Univ. in St. Louis area cancelling screening of Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' because of a snowstorm... "

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Hero

There is perhaps no better modern writer on the ecology movement than Dr. George Reisman. His book "Capitalism, A Treatise on Economics"(http://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Treatise-Economics-George-Reisman/dp/0915463733/sr=8-1/qid=1171317473/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-1601451-5760036?ie=UTF8&s=books) is a magnum opus in economics and a must read for any serious intellectual. I can't do justice to his full analysis of the ecology movement and its relation to economics and liberty but I can't resist quoting just a small sample.

(note: AdamP writes in:
You can get Capitalism for free from the man himself, no need to go to amazon.Here's the pdf file:
Here's the page:

thanks for the link!)

From p. 88 in "Capitalism":
"Perhaps of even greater significance is the continuous and profound distrust of science and technology that the environmental movement displays. The environmental movement maintains that science and technology cannot be relied upon to build a safe atomic power plant, to produce a pesticide that is safe, or even to bake a loaf of bread that is safe, if that loaf of bread contains chemical preservatives. When it comes to global warming, hower, it turns out that there is one area in which the environmental movement displays the most breathtaking confidence in the reliability of science and technology, an area in which, until recently, no one-not even the staunchest supporters of science and technology-had ever thought to assert very much confidence at all. The one thing, the environmental movement holds, that science and technology can do so well that we are entitled to have unlimited confidence in them is forecast the weather - for the next one hundred years!"

"As we have seen, no matter what the assurances of scientists and engineers, based in every detail on the best established laws of physics-about backup systems, fail-safe systems, containment buildings as strong as U-boat pens, defenses in depth, and so on-when it comes to atomic power, the environmental movement is unwilling to gamble on the unborn children of fifty generations hence being exposed to harmful radiation. But on the strength of a weather forecast, it is willing to wreck the economic system of the modern world-to literally throw away industrial civilization. (Any significant limitatation on carbon dioxide emissions would be utterly devasting, let alone the enormous immediate reduction urged by that U.N. panel.)

"The meaning of this insanity is that industrial civilization is to be wrecked because this is what must be done to avoid bad weather. All right, very bad weather. If we destroy the energy base needed to produce and operate the construction equipment required to build strong, well-made, comfortable houses for hundreds of millions of people, we shall be safer from the wind and rain, the environmental movement alleges, than if we retain and enlarge that energy base. If we destroy our capacity to produce and operate refrigerators and air conditioners, we shall be better protected from hot weather than if we retain and enlarge that capacity , the environmental movement claims. If we destroy our capacity to produce and operate tractors and harvesters, to can and freeze food, to build and operate hospitals and produce medicines, we shall secure our food supply and our health better than if we retain and enlarge that capacity, the environmental movement asserts.

There is actually a remarkable new principle implied here, concerning how man can cope with his environment. Instead of our taking action upon nature, as we have always believed we must do, we shall henceforth control the forces of nature more to our advantge by means of our inaction. Indeed, if we do not act, no significant threatening forces of nature will arise! The threatening forces of nature are not the product of nature, but of us! Thus speaks the environmental movement."

"In answer to this insanity, it must be stressed that even if global warming turned out to be a fact, the free citizens of an industrial civilization would have no great difficulty in coping with it..."

See his linked blog for more references to his work.

Valentine bouquets 'are bad for the planet'


Apparently, sending flowers as a gift is the latest environmental sin.

"Environmentalists warned that 'flower miles' could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes."

"You can argue the planes would be flying anyway but the amount of greenhouse gases pumped out depends on the weight of the cargo."

Vicky Hird, of Friends of the Earth, said: "We don't want to be killjoys because receiving flowers can be lovely but why not grow your own gift?"

Indeed, why not "grow your own gift"? In fact, since virtually everything we consume needs to be delivered somehow and thus will increase "emissions", why not make everything you need? In fact, why not live on self-sustaining farms where you only grow what you need and subsist hand to mouth without the emissions causing conveniences of modern life like automobiles, refrigeration, air conditioning, heat, indoor plumbing, medicine, television, dvds, microwaves, electric ovens, indoor lighting, cell phones, computers, air travel, to name a few?

Well if you want an example of what this lifestyle would be like in reality see the past 10 million years of human existence up until about 100 years ago. Or go to the nearest third world country and see what life is like without modern technology.

It goes without saying that the ease of transportation (along with all the other advances brought by technology) leads to massive productivity increases which lead directly to real purchasing power and thus increased standards of living including life expectancy. We have reached a point where we have so much wealth that flowers can be shipped around the world and given as simple gifts for next to nothing. Shouldn't we be rejoicing? Anyone truly concerned with human life would have almost spiritual level appreciation for modern technology and the quality of life it has brought about.

In fact, ironically, modern technology has resulted in appreciation of nature. It is only from the vantage point of someone who has a home and endless supply of food that you could actually even conceive of "enjoying" nature. If you were left alone in the wilderness to exist like an animal would you value a sunset or would you realize it is the last moment of light to gather food and find protection from the descending darkness of a merciless nature?

Does anyone think the environmentalists are really concerned that global warming will somehow impact our standard of living or life expectancy and that this is what concerns them? What other conveniences would they have us sacrifice? How would they have us live? Will bouquets be on the list of prohibited items under "environmental law"? In principle, wouldn't everything we consume be on that list unless you "grow your own gifts"?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Environmental Police are Coming

There are various efforts under way in Europe to create a global "environmental body" to police and punish "violators" of environmental law. Dr. George Reisman's blog links to an article and discusses this in detail.

Another article discusses the European Court of Justice under the European Commission:
"The Commission's decision this week to create common criminal rules for environmental crimes is seen by some as a sign that Brussels will take full advantage of the court ruling to stealthily advance EU powers."

As Dr. Reisman says:
The meaning of this “effort” is that Chirac is attempting to make an international crime out of attempts to increase production and raise living standards, to the extent that those attempts entail an increase in the discharge of greenhouse gases.This, incidentally, is the same Jacques Chirac who recently announced that he did not consider it particularly dangerous for Iran to have a nuclear bomb or two. (New York Times, Feb. 1, 2007). Nuclear bombs in the hands of lunatics are not a problem for M. Chirac. Sane people, pursuing their material self-interest by means of increasing production—that’s a problem for M. Chirac. That’s what he considers dangerous and needing to be stopped.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Global Warming "Deniers" Equal to Holocaust "Deniers"?


According to Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe: “Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.”

Below is a copy of my email to her. Feel free to write her yourself at goodman@globe.com.

Your attempt to smear rational skeptics of the environmental movement’s doomsday claims as akin to “holocaust deniers” is absolutely unconscionable. Furthermore, it’s amazing that the Left who so disparage the practice of “blacklisting” are so quick to smear their opponents rather than offer rational counterarguments.

How can you compare those that dispute the known, certain death of millions of Jews to those that dispute the uncertain and controversial forecasts of climate computer models?

Whether man is causing an actual warming trend and what if anything will be the consequence to humans is highly speculative and a matter of considerable debate within the scientific community. Even if warming is occurring in the “present” as you state then look around – are you seriously in imminent danger of death? Do you believe that you will wake up one day and be floating in a river with the polar bears? Would that be Armageddon?

Your tactics are not only offensive and irresponsible but remove any shred of analytical or journalistic credibility.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Love vs. Self-Sacrifice

"What is True Love?", by Dr. Gary Hull

Love, we are repeatedly taught, consists of self-sacrifice. Love based on self-interest, we are admonished, is cheap and sordid. True love, we are told, is altruistic. But is it?

Imagine a Valentine's Day card which takes this premise seriously. Imagine receiving a card with the following message: "I get no pleasure from your existence. I obtain no personal enjoyment from the way you look, dress, move, act or think. Our relationship profits me not. You satisfy no sexual, emotional or intellectual needs of mine. You're a charity case, and I'm with you only out of pity. Love, XXX."

Needless to say, you would be indignant to learn that you are being "loved," not for anything positive you offer your lover, but--like any recipient of alms--for what you lack. Yet that is the perverse view of love entailed in the belief that it is self-sacrificial.

Monday, February 5, 2007

"Greatest Deception in the History of Science"


So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Can Evil Knievel Get A Free Lunch?

"The Hartford Financial Services group says it will drop about 38,000 property insurance policies in the next 18 to 30 months, about a third of its business and personal policies in the state."

How much do you think Evil Knievel, the famous daredevil, paid for life insurance at the peak of his "career"? Probably a lot if he could obtain it at all. Now would if the government intervened and put a cap on life insurance premiums in such a way that the risk of paying out to daredevils more than outweighed the profit received from the capped premiums? Wouldn't the life insurance company have to simply stop offering life insurance policies?

This is exactly what is happening in Florida today with respect to homeowners insurance.

The state has endured massive hurricane damage over the past several years. Insurance companies have paid out billions in claims. In response, they have attempted to raise insurance premiums in some cases to extremely high levels relative to what they had been.
What was the government's response? Pass a law.

Governor Crist signed a law that promised magically to reduce premiums. How? Did he allege that he has devised a method to stop hurricanes from hitting the state? No, he simply prevented insurance companies from raising premiums and forced them to "lock in" coverage through the next season.

To the extent that the government simply "caps" premiums it will result in no insurance at all as it makes for an unprofitable bet for any insurance company.

Furthermore, insurance premiums are one of the free market's defenses against irrational behavior. If you build your house on a volcano, it is unlikely anyone will insure you. To the extent that the government underwrites insurance policies that would not otherwise be offered, it encourages people to engage in risky behavior. In economic theory, this is known as "moral hazard" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard). (The most notorious cases are those in which homeowners continually build on ocean frontage and receive a new home from the government every time it washes away.)

The effect of Governor Crist's action as can be seen in the link above should be obvious to anyone who unlike the governor and his supporters does not believe in free lunches.

Michael Chrichton on Environmentalism as Religion


I have claimed in previous posts that Environmentalism has all the hallmarks of a religious movement. Here is a link to a speech given by noted author Michael Chrichton arguing same (thanks to Brad Backes for sending me this link).

"Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe."

couldn't resist one more excerpt:
"With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts."

India Should Protect Pharmaceutical Patents


Sticking with the theme of doctors and drug company rights here is a succint press release related to protecting pharmaceutical company patents.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Follow Up to "Doctors Shrugging"


If you don't believe me that altruism (self-sacrifice) is the dominant morality of our time and want to observe it in its purest most unadulterated form, see the link above and read the "comments" section after the article.

Note the venomous diatribes directed at the "greedy" doctors who dare to not fulfull their "responsibility" to work in the ER (for free), the sarcastic attacks on the so-called doctors' wealth, the calls for outright "socialized medicine", the calls for laws to penalize the doctors, etc. Note the irony of seething hatred being directed at the doctors because of the fact that they are so valuable and so needed. (note my posts under the name "Doug" for a contrast.)

It's as if doctors are simply slaves to be worked like cattle on behalf of anyone who "needs" medical care. To the extent that doctors are to be paid, apparently it is the responsibility of anyone to pay but the recipient of the service which is implicit in the calls for state run medicine.

Doctors are not a special class of slaves and its time they stand up and demand recognition of their right to practice medicine freely and for the rest to appreciate their work and take responsibility for their own health.

Doctors Shrugging

"Thirteen of Palms West Hospital's 16 gastroenterologists quit the medical staff Thursday in a dispute over having to treat emergency patients.

The disagreement started after the Loxahatchee hospital in December required all of the specialists to see emergency patients. Most of the doctors refused unless they were paid to be on call. The physicians, who make an average of about $350,000 annually, wanted the hospital to pay them $1,000 a day to handle emergencies. Palms West denied that request."

"Palm Beach County's medical specialists have increasingly avoided treating emergency patients out of a fear of being sued and not getting paid by an uninsured patient. The perceived threat of a lawsuit has become a bigger fear as most specialists in the county have opted to not buy malpractice insurance because of its high costs."

"The group has been searching for a solution to the ER speciality shortage problem for three years. Last month, it punted the issue to the health care district."

"Any solution would take at least a year to implement because it would require state and federal approvals and the cooperation of dozens of physicians and most hospitals in the county. The Palms West physicians' action makes the shortage even worse."

This last quote is instructive. Note the article says that the "Palms West physicians' action makes the shortage even worse." Referring to this situation as a "shortage" is true in the sense that one usually ends up in a "shortage" of stuff for which he doesn't pay. In other words, if I go to a restaurant and demand a free dinner and they don't feed me, does this constitute a "shortage" of food?

How many people in non-medical areas are willing to work for free? If you need your car repaired would you demand that your mechanic fix it for free? Then why do people demand that doctors act as slaves? Heap on top of this the extraordinary risk posed by malpractice suits and prohibitively expensive malpractice insurance would you work under these conditions much less for free?

Why do people demand that doctors sacrifice themselves by going through school and grueling internships for 10 years, then face the threat of being sued frivolously for any non-miracle all in exchange for FREE? Because the morality of altruism demands such sacrifices.

It is about time that doctors say no more. Doctors should demand to work on their own terms and recognize they have a right to trade their services voluntarily in exchange for what the market will bear. If they want to work for free at times that is their choice. However, those that continue to work under these conditions are sanctioning their own demise.

Those that demand that doctors work for free will ultimately get what they pay for.