Oracle of Reason

Faith's empire is the world; its monarch, God; its ministers the priests; its slaves the people

The Myth of American Empire

A frequent complaint among libertarians and even Leftists is that the United States is an empire. A source that libertarians point to as being the hallmark of the beginnings of the American Empire is the US’s War with Spain in the Philippines. The activities of the Anti-Imperialist League and what the group stood for along with what occurred during the Spanish-American War is looked at by anti-war libertarians as being one of the early indications of the United States devolving into an empire, respectfully.

While this notion is understandable, however, it is not consistent with the facts. Simply put, the United States is not an empire, the United States can never be an empire, and the United States never will be an empire. The best indication as to why this is the case is found in Professor Aaron Friedberg’s book In the Shadow of the Garrison State. Interestingly enough, Freidberg’s book was carried by Laissez Faire Books when the paperback version was released. In chapters one through three, Dr. Friedberg outlines the philosophical and ideological underpinnings among members of Congress and the Executive Branch as to what keeps the notion of the US becoming a garrison state in check.

In Chapter One of Garrison State, Friedberg points out that even though crises can come about where there can be a rush to enact new or enhanced military undertakings including the taxes and spending that come with them, the philosophical underpinnings of the people who make up not only Congress but also other branches of government are such that even though they can or may be enacted, they will not last long. The actual beginnings of American businessmen embracing Thomas Jefferson’s laissez faire, self-governance philosophy actually began during the 1830’s and re-emerged soon after the Civil War. No leader, Dr. Friedberg says, will knowingly choose a path that he regards as impassable, and most will also forgo alternatives that they believe to be morally wrong or not in keeping with what they construe as the nation’s basic ideological principles.

In Chapter Two, despite there being a push by policy makers to enact statist measures resulting from the remnants of the two depressions, two world wars and the outset of the Cold War, there was an even larger push to go in the opposite direction. The best example of this was the Office of Price Administration which, according to Friedberg, not only regulated prices, set wages, rationed goods, and issued regulations dictating not only the design of civilian clothes but also the fat content in a variety of meats. The heavy-handedness of this agency caused a backlash that one newspaper editorial commented at the time that they were tired of being pushed around and told what to do. Dr. Friedberg also cites Friedrich Hayek’s influence as well. His book The Road to Serfdom gave a philosophical justification to opposing central planning on the part of business and anti-New Deal conservatives in which Hayek’s book was quoted frequently by publications like Reader’s Digest and was offered as a Book of the Month Club selection.

In Chapter Three, Professor Friedberg shows the attitude policymakers took toward creating some sort of strategy to address strategic and military challenges in a post-Word War II world and with the threat of Soviet Communism having nuclear weapons too. After the Korean war, for example, President Harry Truman went to great lengths to implement a plan to prepare the United States with an all out war with the Soviet Union. This done in response to the U.S.S.R. since the Soviets were anticipating an all out war with the U.S. Truman encouraged the adoption and execution of a massive industrialization strategy that would promote the expansion of arms production while seeing to it that American industrial facilities were protected from military attacks. However, Truman’s plans were curtailed significantly by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in which pending, taxes and manpower levels used to finance Truman’s ideas were cut drastically. Eisenhower ordered military preparedness for a short conflict as opposed to his predecessor who thought if a US-Soviet armed conflict occurred it would be protracted.

It is not just the three entries of Dr. Aaron Friedberg’s book that demonstrate my point. Every chapter is laden with examples from different aspects of public policy making it crystal clear that American law and policymakers sought to avoid the United States from ever devolving into a garrison state of any kind despite the ominous threat the USSR or any enemy may have posed. Despite the fact that Dr. Friedberg signed the statement of goals for the Project for a New American Century, his neo-conservatism does not blind him to the facts and he maintains a clear sense of objectivity throughout. He states in the introduction section of his book:

A brief word about my own biases: while I have not set out to write a morality tale, I do intend clearly to emphasize the long-term benefits to the health and vitality of the American regime of the anti-statist influences that are so deeply embedded within it. That does not mean, however, that I regard these influences as always and unreservedly positive, or that I intend to treat post-war advocates of anti-statism as unvarnished heroes of my story.

To this, none the less, Dr. Friedberg does state that he is an unrepentant triumphalist when it comes to the overall success of America’s foreign policy accomplishments in terms of the Cold War and the American government’s anti-statist impulses.

While Professor Friedberg’s examples are taken from the Cold War, they are applicable today since there is similar resistance to the war on terrorism as evidenced by opposition to the PATRIOT ACT, the drone program as well as the invasion and occupation of Iraq. President Obama has (for the most part) significantly drawn down US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with a plan for complete withdrawl. Even President George W. Bush reduced the number of American military installations overseas by over thirty percent.

The most popular charge among anti-war libertarians and some Leftists is that because the U.S. has 700 bases in 130 countries. However, the definition of what an empire constitutes is one where a single country asserts political, military, and economic control over other nations. What is not discussed among anti-imperialists is that most of the bases in question are, in reality, minor military installations. If one considers the troop deployments culminated by a Heritage Foundation study of historical troop deployments, the majority of troops stationed overseas is much less than is believed. The places where US troops are largely stationed are in countries of interest who are allies of the United States such as Germany, South Korea, Japan, or Great Britain. These facilities are usually the result of mutual defense agreements the US has with it’s allies and also to project military might in areas of potential conflict such as in Korean peninsula.

The other facilities are much smaller in size and scale. One facility the US has in Kosovo has a few thousand troops. Others can be anything from US embassies and consular offices to military golf courses, post offices, retail and food commissaries along with other recreational establishments. Most of the deployments of US troops are not military in nature and if you take into account the overall deployments as opposed to US troops stationed in problem areas the actual number of US military personnel stationed outside the United States is miniscule. I highly doubt that Marine guards stationed at a US embassy is part of an effort to forcibly subjugate the country the embassy is located.

I will be the first to admit that (despite my switch on the issue of foreign policy) that many U.S. overseas facilities should be subject to scrutiny and closure. However, despite my personal preferences, if taking into account the full context of the evidence at hand (be it past or present) the United States of American is not an empire. An empire is not involved in humanitarian or peacekeeping efforts. it would require the United States to invade, control and administer territories subjugated, running their countries while profiting from subject nation’s economies by forcing them to pay tribute to us. The invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were to take out dictatorial regimes hostile to the United States as demonstrated by their support of terrorism. Both countries resources were extracted to charge them for the cost of the occupation. Not different than what the U.S. did with the occupations of Germany, Italy and Japan at the conclusion of World War II.

If there ever was a time in American history that imperialism was a policy of the US and a war ever started under false pretenses, I would say it was for the purposes of fighting the Spanish-American war. Aside from the obvious example of the United States releasing the Philippines from it’s jurisdiction, Professor Aaron Friedberg’s examples relate to opposition to the United States degenerating into a garrison state distinctly detail, imperialism can never last long nor can the US ever become or remain an empire if it ever did. There are too many internal and external checks and balances that can and will prevent it. If overseas facilities are to be closed or American foreign policy changed to being less active on the international scale, it should be for reasons of true public policy and not some mythological notion that the United States is an empire.

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Why “The Iron Lady” Matters

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away today at the tender age of 87. I consider her one of my heroes and will always remember her blunt, and direct comments when posed questions about her or her policies. The confidence she exhumed was exemplary and it wasn’t until I got involved in politics that I came to understand her as well as Ronald Reagan along with the policies they espoused.

What made Lady Thatcher unique isn’t just that she was a female but because she was so strong-willed similar in many ways to Ayn Rand. Like Ms. Rand, Margaret Thatcher is someone who admired ideas and knew the long-term impact of her actions which is why she was so uncompromising. Thanks to Thatcher’s policies the United Kingdom went from a paternalistic welfare state to a dynamic center of commerce and freedom. Her Tory government sold state-owned industries, brought trade unions under control, slashed taxes and government spending. She also supported the peaceful end of the Soviet Union which helped Britain, the US and western Europe prevail in the Cold War.

Legend has it that when she took the helm of the Conservative Party in 1975, there was a discussion in the party’s caucus about what they believed in. Upon hearing this Margaret Thatcher took a copy of economist Friedrich Hayek’s manifesto The Constitution of Liberty, slammed it down on the meeting’s conference table, pointed to the book and thundered This is what we believe!

In an obvious act of mental daftness or insult to her and her legacy, upon learning of Ms. Thatcher’s passing away, President Obama stated:

Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life — free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.

Obama’s statement is laughable since he has enacted a number of policies that were contrary to her vision. His bailout of the auto and bank sectors of the economy along with his socialized health care plan and pursuit to restrict gun ownership in the United States immediately come to mind.

Despite all of this, Obama and his supporters could take some lessons from Lady Thatcher and her legacy. She became popular and won the ideological battle with the Left because she clung to the right ideas and took the long term view. Despite her untimely political demise, Ms. Thatcher’s legacy is sound. Not only is Margaret Thatcher, rightly, the longest-serving and most popular Prime Minister since William Gladstone and Winston Churchill but her legacy is a great example of how the individual can thrive under freedom.

UPDATE 04/08/2013: The British and American Left show their vile hatred by celebrating and taunting Lady Thatcher’s death.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is the day marked for reflection and memory of those who died tragically in one of the most infamous crimes against humanity: The Holocaust. It did not help that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill refused to lift the U.S. and U.K.’s immigration barriers to allow people, like the Jews in Europe, to escape Adolph Hitler’s Final Solution.

Sadly, the seeds of obliviousness to such moral crimes has taken root in Europe. Anti-Semitism has increased in parts of the continent. Fueled not just by the rise of pro-Nazi groups but also Muslim immigration to the region which has fed the rise of Leftist anti-Semitism. It is my sincere hope that the voice of those who survived this humanitarian tragedy and the truth surrounding it will never be silenced nor forgotten.

Conspiracy theorists wrong about GMO deregulation bill

The Skeptical Libertarian published an excellent post refuting many claims by conspiracy theorists about a recent law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President billed as the Monsanto Protection Act. The law provides common law protections to producers of genetically modified foods.

Critics of the bill aren’t just leftist publications like Democracy Now! but also libertarian-oriented media like Russia Today and Infowars.com.

The Arpaio Recall is Not Over … Yet

During the end of January a group named Respect Arizona filed a petition drive to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Respect Arizona is actually a leftist group hell-bent on taking him down. I admit Sheriff Arpaio has done some stupid things and he should be held accountable for them such as if he or his employees have flagrantly violated the law. For example, with the wrongful deaths that have occurred I have no doubt that he is taking care to prevent them from happening. In terms of the sex crimes cases his office is accused of neglecting that is wrong too. However, I think if the federal government actually did it’s job of securing the border with Mexico then local municipality police agencies (like Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) would not have to take so much time and effort in doing the job the U.S. Border Patrol and National Guard should do.

I am sure there are heavy-handed deputies who seek to skirt the law and hopefully the ones who abuse their powers, prisoners or even civilians are/were disciplined severely. However, there is only so much oversight the head of any agency can do. He is responsible for the people who work for him but you notice, you only read about what Arpaio does wrong and hardly when MCSO actually stops violent criminals? When he is wrong Joe Arpaio is vilified. When he is right he is ignored, condemned for something else or for not doing enough.

I wrote the Sheriff criticizing him for jumping on the birther issue and included evidence that debunks his notion that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen and that his birth certificate is forged. He has obviously dropped the issue because he knows he doesn’t have a case. The fact is that Latino and other Leftist political groups do not like Joe Arpaio because he says what is on his mind when it comes to the border and actually does his job by enforcing immigration laws the Federal government cannot or will not.

The people hired to circulate recall petitions were having anyone sign in which they were getting paid no matter who did. Also, Recall … er … Respect Arizona was hoping to do with Joe Arpaio with what they did with Russell Pearce using a shotgun method of flooding county or state election offices with petitions. I would not be surprised if this included collecting the names and addresses of people they could keep for later projects including get out the vote efforts. Fortunately, the group’s finances appear to be dwindling. According to a recent report one Respect Arizona head confirmed during a press conference his group’s funds were drying up. I hold out hope that the recall effort crashes and burns not just for their alleged lack of funds but due to the hurdle they face just to accomplish their goal. However, what leads me to conclude their financial disclosure maybe a charade is that shortly after beginning, Respect Arizona (yeah, right) stated they had out of money and that their fraudulent sham would instead rely on volunteers. The recall group is now working with like-minded churches which is where they are circulating petitions but they are still using paid signature gatherers.

The people leading this effort are of the purest evil. Unfortunately, there are others who have bought into the lies that Sheriff Arpaio is a racist, extremist and/or a demagogue. The accusations spread about Arpaio were (of course) nothing but lies and it is unfortunate that the information to refute them gets out slower than the spin that has perpetuated the opposition to him. To better understand why this effort began and continues would be to ponder the thoughts of Senator Marco Rubio when he discussed the Left’s demonizing Governor Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential election. Romney was cast by Obama and his backers as an evil capitalist hostile to the middle class and poor in which this fits the situation perfectly with Joe Arpaio:

All they hear is that one side is fighting for the people who have made it and the other side is fighting for those who are struggling.

It is in fact the political groups accusing Joe Arpaio of racism who are the racists themselves. The minority groups screaming racism on the part of Sheriff Arpaio are exploiting their race in order to benefit from the lies they tell about him. Despite claims of racism or racial profiling there has been no official racial profiling of Latinos or any other minority group under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s watch. He has told his deputies point blank that racially-motivated activities will not be tolerated. What the media won’t tell you is that the raids his agency conducts have not and do not specifically target minority groups like Hispanics since Maricopa County SO has conducted them all over the county. I am friends with a Deputy Sheriff who works in Maricopa County Jails in which prior to doing so was a booking officer during most of Arpaio’s raids. He told me that anyone (regardless of their race) was arrested. The US Justice Department recently dropped a criminal case against Arpaio and I have no doubt the other cases against him will be dropped as well. Arpaio is doing what every Sheriff in the country should do: their job.

SCOTUS Hears Gay Marriage Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases related to gay marriage today. One deals with California’s Proposition 8 which prohibits gay marriage in the state, the other with the federally-enacted Defense of Marriage Act (i.e. DOMA). Both bans not only prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying but the statues also give legal recognition to only married heterosexual couples. Already in the circles I peruse the issue of marriage-state separation is coming up, respectfully. As much as I sympathize with the idea of getting government out of marriage, the reality is quite different. A marriage license is the only document governments and many insurance companies will accept for a union of two people to be legitimate.

Presently it is prohibitively expensive for couples (gay or straight) to establish trusts to legally protect their assets, wills or even signed agreements can be contested in a court of law. Oft times gay couples are subject to humongous tax rates in order for their partners to inherit the deceased loved one’s wealth provided that a relative of the deceased does not challenge the inheritance. With the licenses gay couples can meet those requirements in which the pursuit legal recognition of their marriages is being done in addition to challenges to the laws since gay couples legally obtaining marriage licenses can also invalidate bans like Proposition 8 and DOMA. However, because of the broadness or vague manner in which the contested gay marriage laws are written, anything involving relations on the part of gays and lesbians can be subject to legal prohibition or scrutiny. I wish they didn’t have to resort to court challenges but in light of the legal nonsense gays and lesbians have had to endure, who could blame them?

Consider some examples of how difficult it is for same-sex couples due to their relationships being outlawed. A lesbian couple decided to take a cruise with their children to celebrate their eighteen year relationship. The one woman had a stroke as then got on the ship. She was rushed to the hospital where she was dying. Her partner, and their children, were forbidden access to her because the couple was not legally married. A medical power of attorney was shown but the hospital said that since Florida law bans gay relationships they were forbidden to recognize the document as valid. Only at the last second did a priest get the woman’s partner in to see her as she died. The children never got a chance to say good-bye. At the same time the sister of the dying woman was given immediate access since she was recognized as “family” while her partner was not. A private contract was powerless here.

Patrick Atkins met his partner Brett Conrad in college in 1978. Almost 30 years later he was on a business trip when he had a stroke and was incapacitated. Brett rushed to him, but so did Patrick’s anti-gay religious parents who were legally next-of-kin. A legally married spouse supplants parents as next-of-kin, but as per Indiana law Patrick and Brett weren’t allowed to marry. Not only was Brett was banned from seeing Patrick the parents went as far as saying they wanted their son to die, before going back to his gay partner.

The religious mother took control of Patrick’s business because she was next-of-kin. She evicted Brett from the house, though the judge later ruled she had to pay Brett for his half, but she got the other half—something she couldn’t do if they were married. She also had Patrick moved to her home and banned Brett from seeing Patrick. (A judge said Brett could visit in a later court case.) But Brett lost his partner, his home, the income of the business, his bank account, etc. It went to court and the judge said the law specifically said that gay couples may not be treated as married or allowed to marry and about a dozen laws controlled what he was allowed to do. The parents took half of all the furnishings, two-thirds of the bank account during the process. None of this would have been possible if they were allowed to marry.

As to the claim by some libertarians and conservatives that private contracts are all that is needed this is not the case. First, gay couples who go the private contract route incur costs anywhere from $5000 and $10000 per couple and only gets people part of the way there. A gay person can leave his pension to his spouse, that is not a contractual matter (though it should be) but under federal law. The same gay person can leave his property to his partner but the partner is taxed at a higher rate than straight spouses. No private contract changes that.

A straight person can sponsor their spouse for citizenship but gay Americans can not, no matter what private contract they sign. Fortunately, plenty of employers are happy to cover health insurance for spouses of employees, even gay employees. Except the gay employees have to pay extra taxes on that, which straight employees do not–no matter what a private contract says. The examples can on for some time. They are just meant to illustrate that facts get messy while ideology seems so clean–but it always easy to evade reality, but somebody lives with the consequences.

Hopefully, the Justices will not dodge the issue (as some have observed) and take this opportunity to strike down these liberty-destroying laws. A marriage is a contract and, henceforth, one can expect government involvement up to and including a license. I can understand the argument for lack of a license and people just doing marriage based on signed agreements between two parties. Ultimately they would be legally binding and, contrary to what may libertarians assert you cannot enforce contracts without a government. You can arbitrate privately but if there are still 2 or more parties that disagree then the people involved in the dispute will go to court. If neither party agrees under a private arrangement that is essentially a denial of justice and an abridgement of individual rights.

Despite this coming from a parody of the case, I would like this kind of rhetoric if not expressed logic coming from the Supreme Court Justices:

I’m a strict Originalist, Mr. Cooper, and I’m looking at a 14th Amendment that forbids any state from denying any person equal protection of the law,” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said. “So, unless we are the most uncivilized society on the face of God’s green earth, I think we can all agree that a gay person is in fact a person. So what I’m saying is, who the [expletive deleted] are we to tell a person who he or she can get married to? This is dumb. Can we talk about a real case now, please?

PETA Terrorizes Teen For Cow Auction

14 year old Logan Ward wanted to go on a trip to Europe. His family lacked the ability to pay for their son’s trip so Logan came up with the idea of raising the money he needed by conducting an auction of the only thing that could realistically generate enough publicity- a cow. Logan Ward’s fundraiser soon caught the eye of PETA and upon learning of this the human hate group’s activists initiated an intimidation campaign that included sending Logan nasty email messages and racy photos of scantily clad women.

Upon learning that their shenanigans would be featured on Fox News, the group quickly attempted to retract their original action alert email stating:

Mea culpa. We sent the wrong letter – this was a situation of someone moving a bit too fast.

What PETA did was assume that the boy was auctioning off the cow knowing that it would be slaughtered. Logan Ward’s father explained (rightly) that it was never their intent from the start. What the buyer does with the cow is not any of Ward’s concern and they have no control over what the buyer does with it once the cow is purchased anyway. You would think that PETA would issue an apology for getting their facts wrong. For now, I have not seen anything to indicate that they have. What this incident demonstrates is that PETA is not about protecting animals but is really about the animalistic treatment of humans.

The group’s hierarchy has even gone so far as to defend people who commit acts of murder. Back in 1999, while serving as a spokesman for PETA, Dan Matthews (who is gay) joked that he considered Andrew Cunanan an influential gay man because Cunanan murdered Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace which got Gianni Versace to stop using fur. During a 1994 interview when asked if PETA would support medical testing for life threatening diseases, Matthews stated: Don’t get diseases in the first place, schmo, and then later elaborated on his comments by saying: We have a lazy, sick society … People bring diseases on themselves. Now Matthews serves as Senior Vice President for the group and in addition to PETA representatives (like Matthews) making outlandish statements, the organization has even gone so far as to support financially individuals who commit acts of terrorism.

According to a review of PETA’s tax returns obtained by the Center for Consumer Freedom, in 2002, PETA gave a $1500 grant to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) a group known to conduct acts of terrorism against facilities who use animals for medical testing and experimentation and whose members set fire to places being developed for humans to inhabit. The $1500 does not include PETA’s $70,000 funding for the legal defense of a convicted arsonist named Rodney Coronado who fire bombed a Michigan State University research facility.

In 2001, PETA gave $5000 for the legal defense of Animal Liberation Front activist Josh Harper. Harper attacked Native Americans on a whale hunt by throwing smoke bombs, shooting flares, and spraying their faces with chemical fire extinguishers. These activities coming from a group that stresses compassionate treatment of animals but expresses venomous hatred and supports acts of violence against their fellow human beings.

So-called animal rights and like-minded environmentalist groups concerned about the well-being of animals (like Logan Ward’s cow) could easly acquire animal species that they determine could be made extinct or would be subject to harm. Instead, they resort to intimidation campaigns like this, the force of law, and even litigating in court systems which are really attacks on the ability of human beings to survive and prosper.

Respecting the rights of animals above humans to the point of intimidating people who can benefit from the sale of an animal or other uses of them is utterly contemptable and incompatible with human life itself. Animal rights extremists do not have mankind’s well-being in mind but, rather, seek its destruction to the point where people disappear from existence itself.

Either Way It’s Lose-Lose for Cyprus and EU

The events in Cyprus have gotten even more tedious. Russia declined a request to bail Cyprus out so Cypriot politicians went back begging to to the EU. Now the European Union is telling Cyprus take a bank levy as part of a bailout or leave the Euro. If Cyprus takes the bailout there not only will Cypriots and Russians pull their money out, the island will also lose it’s position as a tax haven. If Cyprus refuses the bailout or negotiations break down where there is no resolution then massive bank withdraws will still happen since the result will be the collapse of the country’s economy.

As much as I hate to say it the best scenario is the latter since Cyprus files bankruptcy and the economy and right itself faster like what happened in Iceland. However, whatever happens in Cyprus will result in turmoil if not disintegration of the EU as well.

The next country that will face problems will most likely be Japan. The country’s debt levels dwarf those of Cyprus or even the U.S. and the incoming Prime Minister has decided to inflate the country out of it. If there was going to be a crisis due to Japan’s debt, the incoming government will be putting the country on a quicker path to a more painful outcome.

Instead of stimulus, Estonia curbed spending drastically and is now on a road to recovery. Estonia chose short term pain coupled with long term gain and is in a good position to pull itself up from its bootstraps. A precedent every country considering or using stimulus should replicate.

Celebrate the Light of Reason Instead of Earth Hour

This Saturday is Earth Hour which is an event environmentalists use as a precursor to Earth Day (April 24th). The event is commemorated by people and businesses turning their lights off for one hour in order to symbolically urge politicians to take action on climate change.

The action usually advocated or taken to address this issue are laws and sanctions to prevent human beings from using earth’s resources. To participate or not protest such events can encourage the environmentalist movement to continue to seek ways to limit mankind’s ability to create technologies and products that benefit us now and in the future.

One might say that one hour of leaving a skyscraper, house, or stadium’s lights off will have a minimal effect. Yet Earth Hour organizers point to the event’s symbolic meaning of hopefully achieving the goal of curbing such human activities the result in carbon emissions in order to make a better world for our children and grandchildren.

However, like the movement that perpetuates ideas, such as Earth Hour, the meaning of this event is for participants to symbolically repudiate civilization itself. We used to constantly hear from environmentalists and politicians, like former Vice President Al Gore, that the debate is over and the science is settled about man-made activity is the primary cause of global warming and climate change.

The solutions to the alleged climate problems environmentalists claim are the result of human activity don’t involve voluntary actions such as bicycling to work or to the grocery store when you need to shop. Their proposals are drastic curtails in carbon emissions by legal decree which, in turn, leads to a massive reduction of our quality of life.

Imagine what life would be like without the various luxuries we take for granted. I could not fathom being able to live where I am now and have to endure traveling in my car or sleeping at night without air conditioning during the summer or heat during the winter. I would hate not having to be able to use my personal computer or one that used less energy since it could mean that my computer would not be as fast as it is under normal circumstances.

Taking environmentalism’s logic to its irrational conclusions, in order to curb carbon emissions to the levels needed to adequately combat global warming we would have to sacrifice almost every aspect of our lives and the luxuries we enjoy. If not our entire existence.

The symbolic meaning behind events, like Earth Hour, is not only to urge action by politicians to address the issue of global warming but also shows the moral bankruptcy of this cause since, essentially, Earth Hour romanticizes people living without the luxuries they enjoy.

Throughout human history, the usage of light has not only been to give mankind the ability to see and live in darkness, but is also symbolic of the ability of achievement. We see it in the ancient Greek mythological tale of Prometheus giving the gift of knowledge (symbolized by fire) to mankind in defiance of Zeus and an eternal flame burned by the temple of the goddess Vesta who was the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman mythology.

Earth Hour symbolizes the light of knowledge, wisdom, and progress being extinguished or sacrificed on the altar of sacrifice to nature as furthered by the irrational religious-oriented philosophy of environmentalism. Leave your lights on tomorrow to affirm your appreciation for things like as electricity, restaurants, cooking, transportation, and the numerous other products and achievements the human mind has helped make a reality and makes life on Earth happier while enabling us to live longer.

Cyrpus Bailout Debacle

Cyprus’s parliament has rejected a plan to payback a bailout of the Island’s banks. This coming on the heels of a bank run due to a proposal for Cyprus to pay back a loan given to it by the EU with a special tax levied on people’s savings. Cypriots are not out of the woods yet. Due to the lack of a bailout it could still spell trouble for Cyprus banks. Without monetary backing the result could be many (if not all) of the country’s banks would go bankrupt resulting in a bank run worse than what was seen on Saturday when Cypriots rushed to withdraw their money. Cypriots and even Spaniards are starting to dump the Euro and seek alternate means to protect their money. For example, the value of online-based currency Bitcoin has jumped quite a bit in the past few months since Europe’s banks started to sour.

Cyprus politicians are now in discussions with Russia in which the island is home to a number of wealthy Russians many of whom used to work for the KGB or have connections with Russia’s government. Cyprus has a number of natural gas deposits, and if Russia bails out Cyprus banks I have no doubt one of the conditions for giving money will be for Russia to have access to island ports including being able to tap Cyprus’s natural gas deposits. Since the bailout terms for Cyprus to get money from the EU involved taxing bank deposits, the EU just gave the Russians a prime opportunity to sweep up Cyprus right up from under them. The EU has complained about Gazprom’s natural gas prices in which the Russian monopoly supplies the continent’s natural gas. Cyprus would have given the EU a chance to get out from under Gazprom until Cyprus’ banks went belly up and island politicians went begging for help.

The entire EU and United States would do well to learn from Iceland in which the country faced a banking crisis like Europe is going through not too long ago. Rather than a bail out, Icelanders rejected subsidies for banks in a national referendum. Shortly after the vote, Icelandic banks then filed for bankruptcy in which the country’s banks ended up coming out of the financial mess stronger and in better shape.