Monday, November 30, 2015

World Government, Part 1

(Note: This is mostly a direct quote from Chapter 28 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom?)

In North Korea, the people are held in bondage, not allowed to leave what amounts to a nation-wide prison; and speaking against their “dear leader” can bring a prison sentence or worse. In many Muslim countries women are not allowed to drive cars, or to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. Resource-rich Venezuela has shortages of everything from toilet paper to food. The list of human misery goes on and on. What should we do about it?

One World
Should we create a one-world government, something to overcome all the national differences? Some well-meaning people seriously propose that, claiming it would stop war, poverty and other ills. Even President Harry Truman suggested turning the United Nations into what amounts to a world government.[1] This one doesn't just bump up against the shoals of reality, it crashes full speed onto the reefs of the real world.

The first question to ask about world government is, “Just who is going to run this gargantuan state?” Now the questions integrity and ability of the rulers return – with a vengeance. Why would anyone believe that the rulers of a world-wide government would have any particular wisdom or integrity?

If you want an example, just look at the United Nations. That organization has two authorities, the Security Council and the General Assembly. In neither do free, democratic countries have real power except for vetoes in the Security Council. In fact, third world tyrannies are the major voice in the General Assembly.

The UN Human Rights Council is an example of how a future world government might work. That council, which ostensibly promotes human rights worldwide, instead gives voice to tyrannies including China, Argentina, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.[2] Those tyrannies condemn the U.S. for things like having the death penalty, but give a pass to collectivist governments that imprison their opponents. An example of what UN rule would be like comes from the Convention on Rights of the Child, an international law applicable to every country that signed it. The Roman Catholic Church made the mistake of signing and is now ordered to reconsider its stance on abortion and pre-marital sex.[3] So much for freedom of religion under a world government.

Why would anyone expect a full world government to behave differently? When a tyrant rules in a place like Cuba, there is hope for eventual change, and that tyrant lacks a world-wide monopoly. If tyrants take over a world government, there is little hope that the tyranny will ever change.

The UN has also become a center for corruption, from cheating on Iraqi oil[4] to corruption and rape in peace-keeping operations.[5] Of course government corruption is not unusual in this world, but the difference here is that the UN is world-wide and accountable to no-one. If the corruptocrats gain the total control of a world-wide government, it will be impossible to stop their corruption.

How could we oppose the oppressive measures such a world-wide state would inevitably impose? There will be nowhere to flee, no way to escape. With the technology available today, officials would be able to monitor us nearly everywhere. Even if we disconnect from cell phones and web access, they will have satellites, roadside monitors, and probably other technologies not yet invented. A society such as that described in Orwell's 1984 becomes not only possible bit probable. We can only hope that such a government will be incompetent, incapable of enforcing its oppressive laws.

And, as we shall see in the continuation of this blog, we would lack the advantages of seeing how different systems work.

            m9hXAAAAIBAJ&sjid=efUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4077,4801132 (A link to an article in the Spokane Daily Chronical, Jan 25, 1946)

Friday, November 27, 2015

The First Amendment Under Attack

Does the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution go to far? Depending on which survey you believe, anywhere from 20% to 35% think it does! Perhaps worse, many citizens do not even know what it says. One survey found that 33% had no idea what that amendment protects. Of those who did have some knowledge, 19% did not know that it protects freedom or religion and only 10% knew that it protects freedom of the press. (

Perhaps that ignorance is behind the lack of free speech on many college campuses, and the Democrats in the Senate proposing an amendment to weaken the protections that amendment provides. (cf Both ignorance of and attempts to modify the first amendment threaten our freedom and the right of voters to the information they need to vote wisely.

It is ironic that those wanting to weaken first amendment protections aim mostly at restriction on political speech. Most have no objection to protecting the nastiest sexual films or most violent movies. Most of them even want to continue to protect “gangsta rap” which glorifies street gangs, misogyny, and other anti-social actions. Yet they want to restrict the people's ability to engage in public discussion about the merits or demerits of politicians and political measures – the exact thing the first amendment was designed to protect. Without that protection, rulers can keep the people ignorant of opposing information and viewpoints.

We can, of course, understand why politicians and their fellow travelers want to restrict political speech. It would make their lives so much easier. Every tyrant wants to do that; and even some who consider themselves just smarter than the average citizen prefer not to have to deal with reasons they might be wrong.

Nor is the restriction on free speech limited to politics. The “political correctness” (PC) movement, started with good intent, now attempts to restrict even the discussion of some ideas, or the use of some words not previously thought pejorative. Now many perfectly good words are called “code words for racism.” Failure to enthusiastically support someone's preferred cause can get one labeled as a racist or worse. For example, anyone stating that all lives matter is called racist. In the minds of some, that phrase should be limited to only black lives.

That PC movement is especially strong on many college campuses. Students have been threatened, and professors have lost their jobs for simple lack of enthusiasm for the issue of the day. Professors are prohibited from discussing certain ideas and required to issue “trigger warnings” if they expect to mention any word or idea someone might conceivably find offensive – and their students are experts at finding things offensive.

What will this do to our country? Open discussion and evaluation of ideas has catalyzed tremendous progress, and universities have been the major venue for generating and evaluating information and ideas. In the past, they did that by encouraging open discussion and by checking theory against empirical evidence. Today, too many ideas are not allowed on campus. Meanwhile, other ideas are considered gospel, no discussion or evaluation allowed, they must be considered correct. That narrow-mindedness will block progress, it threatens to plunge us into a dark age.

Anyone who values freedom or real progress must oppose limits on free expression. That means we must not give in to the PC crowd, nor can we afford to support any college or university that restricts free discussion and evaluation of ideas. And of course we must oppose any restriction on political speech.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Huddled Masses, Yearning to Breathe Free?

By now you know if you care. The Muslim fanatics shooting up Paris and threatening other parts of Europe are headquartered in Belgium. You probably do not know why, nor do I for that matter, at least not completely. I do, however, have some information that bears on the question.

Years ago, my then future son-in-law was an LDS (Mormon) missionary assigned to Belgium. His knowledge of the country included an awareness that there were some places controlled, not by the Belgian government, but by Islamic fanatics. It was not safe to enter those areas. The Belgians, like some others in Europe, not only welcomed Muslims into their country, they made two mistakes with that welcome.

First, they were completely non-selective about which Muslims they allowed in.

Second, they allowed those immigrants to set up neighborhoods which the immigrants ruled, outside normal law.

As a result, Europe now has islands of Islamic law, places where fanatics can recruit, train, plan, and launch their attacks on what they regard as violations of God's law. (Remember, Allah is just the Arabic word for God.) Paris paid the price for that mistake.

How does this affect the United States? Are we following behind the Europeans, making the same mistakes and not learning from what has happened there? I fear that we are. Clearly, we are not yet anywhere near their situation, but support of unlimited immigration and acceptance of all refugees threatens to move us in that direction.

Most immigrants and refugees from the Islamic world will probably support our way of life. That is great, but it was not “most” Muslims in Belgium who shot up Paris. We must be concerned with the fanatic minority, those who want to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Unlimited acceptance of people from that part of the world will allow such fanatics free access to our country.

President Obama and others make a big deal about their idea of American values requiring us to accept everybody. That is not an American value, it is stupidity. With that stupidity, some refer to Emma Lazarus' poem, “The New Colossus,” found on the base of the Statue of Liberty, claiming that it requires us to accept all refugees. In that they make two mistakes. First, the poem has no legal authority. It is a good poem but we are not at all bound by its ideas. Second and even worse, they ignore the line "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Yearning to breathe free? Freedom is just about the last thing those fanatics want. They want to force their ideas on the world. Draw a picture of Mohammad or do anything else they regard as offensive? Better protect yourself, they regard that as worthy of death. Freedom of speech or the press is not in their vocabulary. What if you happen to have been born to a Muslim family but decide some other religion, or no religion, is better? Again a capital offense, leaving Islam is forbidden. If they had their way, women would all wear burkas, and fathers would murder daughters (they call it “honor killing”) who do not strictly adhere to their restrictions.

We must not allow that in our country. That means we must insist that all immigrants commit to follow our free way of life. Any who promise to do so and renege must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any who try to institute Sharia law here must be imprisoned. Living here should require obedience to our law and support of freedom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cherries and Refugees

How about a bowl of cherries, maybe some nice, tasty bing or black cherries? It will be delicious – there is only one cockroach there. What? You don't want to eat those cherries? The vast majority of them will be great, surely you won't hold the whole bowl responsible for one little cockroach.

Now something similar. How about if we allow refugees from Syria into our country. They need help, there is no doubt of that, nor can we doubt that we have the resources to help them. The majority will almost certainly be grateful to us and not harm us. I'm sure you see the problem. Like one cockroach among the cherries, a few bad actors can poison the whole. Unlike the cockroach, however, those bad actors are not easily identifiable. The fanatic wing of Islam is very good at deception, and even claims religious grounds for lying and deceit. Any terrorists among the genuine refugees will pretend to be actually fleeing death or persecution in their home country, and we have no records of their previous lives. We cannot know who they are – until they take action against us.

This problem is not confined to France, it has happened right here. Fort Hood, the World Trade Center, the Boston Marathon, all have seen Islamic terror; and the perpetrators at the Boston Marathon were supposedly refugees, here for their own safety. Michele Malkin, in her column of 16 Nov 2015, lists several other refugees who used their status to commit murder and other crimes here.

The sad fact is that there are terrorists in this world, most of them fanatic Muslims. The fact that most Muslims disagree with those terrorists mitigates their danger not at all. Indeed, the more moderate Muslims provide a population wherein the fanatics can hide – and hide they will. The terrorist leaders have both both the motivation and the skill to put “sleepers” among the real refugees.

Can we protect ourselves while helping avoid a humanitarian crisis? Yes! There is no reason refugees have to come to our country. Instead, we can and should find a place closer to their home and provide temporary help there. The mid-east has lots of areas populated lightly if at all. The refugees are already accustomed to the the climate and could survive in temporary housing, or even tents. We could supply them for a limited time, with the understanding that they must, themselves, seek a more permanent solution. We should also pressure governments in the area to help them. That part of the world is occupied by governments that benefit greatly from oil money, there is no reason those rich governments cannot help the people in their area.

We must pursue a solution that does not bring potential terrorists to our shores.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Anybody Out There?

Well, in spite of my request in my last post, nobody has commented to tel me that he is reading my blog. Not being anxious to spend time preaching to a vacuum, I'll not write any more here unless I get some indication that someone is reading.

Last chance, if you read this and want me to continue to post my blogs, tell me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Rule of Law

[Based on Chapter 21 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom? The Case for Limited, Constitutional Government and Against Statism]

Rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one's individual affairs on the basis of that knowledge. (F.A. Hayek)

It was the most boring high school assembly in memory, at least the first part. Our congressman spoke and blew enough hot air to bake Alaska. I don't remember what he said, but I do remember thinking it was about as useful as a snowmobile in the Amazon jungle. It was so bad that the principal had our government teacher speak after the congressman finished. He was much better; he compared the rule of law with the rule of men. He explained that we have fixed laws, established by duly constituted legislative bodies. We can depend on those laws, both to protect us and to allow us freedom to engage in legal activities. No arbitrary authority changes the law on a whim. Violations of law are prosecuted on the basis of evidence.

I found our teacher's comments very impressive; that is the way the law should work. Only later did I see the problem: any government is ultimately a rule of men. It is men and women who make laws. More importantly, it is men and women who enforce them, who decide if the accused is guilty or goes free, who decide if the law shall be enforced on everybody or only on some of the people. In short, it is men and women who decide if the law shall be only so many words, or if we will really abide by the rule of law. And those men and women are subject to temptation. They may apply their own desires and prejudices rather than what the law actually says. Unless restrained, powerful politicians and bureaucrats will create a rule of men. We will have rule of law only if we insist that our officials follow the law and constitution.

As I write this, we have a president who has decided that he can pick and choose which laws he will enforce and which he will ignore. He has unilaterally changed immigration law, the requirements for being on welfare for a limited time, and even parts of his own signature health care reform law. The health care law is especially interesting. That law makes it illegal to sell health insurance policies that do not meet certain requirements.  After many complaints, the president decided, unilaterally, that he would allow the sale of policies that do not meet requirements. Then, when some in Congress suggested officially changing the law to allow what the president was doing, he threatened a veto. That is rule of man, not rule of law.

Did the president help the people with his unilateral decision on which insurance policies can be sold? Maybe, maybe not. It is certain that he created the confusion normally attendant to rule of men rather than of law. Citizens do not know if the president is going to change the law again tomorrow. He could decide that the law applies after all and invalidate all those insurance policies.

Sadly, we have people in positions of power who ignore Constitution and constitutional law, and instead use their power to change the law to their own taste. Those people also often change their rules to fit the situation; citizens cannot know what the rules say at any given time.

Unless we use both our power of the vote and our ability to write our representatives, they will rule as men or women, not rule of law. We must think about our vote and then hold our employees accountable.

[And I have a favor to ask of my readers, if there are any. The frustrating aspect of blogging is that I do not know if anyone is reading. If you do read this, please click the comment block and let me know. Just a couple of words such as "I'm reading" will let me know that I'm not talking to a vacuum. Thanks.]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Rise of the Sour Cream - Part 8 (The final part)

[This concludes the series of blogs quoting Chapter 22 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom.]
Sour Cream in a Free Country
Are free countries immune to sour cream? Would that it were so! Even there the narcissist, the psychopath, the control freak, sees possibilities for power in government; he sees voters as fodder for manipulation. Even the honest politician can become addicted to power. All those try to increase their power at the expense of freedom. The power-hungry exist in free countries as well as in dictatorships.

As described in Chapter 1, freedom is an unstable state. Like a man working on a steep roof, we must fight to keep our balance in a precarious place. Unless we work at it, our home-grown control freaks will lead us to statism. Only constant alertness and effort will restrain their nefarious ambition. And we have reason to remain alert.

Power Seekers in the United States
Much as I wish it were otherwise, deception and demagoguery are alive and well in the U.S.  I must mention the characteristics of some U.S. leaders, including a deception that affected me personally.

In 1969, along with millions of other young men, I received an “invitation from the president,” a draft notice. The Vietnam War raged and the army needed cannon fodder. Though I went to Germany instead of that “tropical paradise,” it took two years of my life. The U.S. got heavily involved in that war because of an event that never happened. Allegedly, North Vietnam twice attacked a U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. The first attack was real, but the second was not and commanders knew it. However some officers twisted the facts and Secretary of Defense McNamara lied to Congress to get the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing the president to do whatever he deemed appropriate.[1]
Would the United States have been as heavily involved in Vietnam without that deception? There is no way of knowing. However, it is certain that our leaders mislead us at the time. And that is not the only lie our leaders told us.

 Sadly, at this writing (2014), we have a president who seems not to hesitate to lie, and some congressional leaders and media people who support him in that. The president knowingly misled the citizens with a claim that, under his proposed health insurance reform, they would be able to keep their insurance and doctor if they wanted. In another case, when an Islamic fanatic murdered our troops in Fort Hood he blamed “workplace violence,” refusing to acknowledge that the murderer was an Islamic fanatic who had openly expressed his desire to aid our enemies. In yet another case, his administration flagrantly and knowingly blamed the murder of our diplomats in Libya on a video that the murderers had probably never seen. Authorities refused to mention the fact that our own intelligence had determined that the killers were Islamic terrorists and that the video in question had nothing to do with the attack. Other examples abound. Our president seems to regard truth as optional at best.

By the time you read this, will we have an honest president, or another liar? That depends on citizens, citizens who either vote wisely or swallow the line of demagogues.

We have not yet descended to the state of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, but it is ominous when our leaders lie so facilely. Their ethics seem to approach those of the statist/collectivist system. The honesty required in a free country is nowhere in sight. How long can we maintain any semblance of freedom if we do not replace such people with leaders whose values are more compatible with a free people?

Innocent until Proven Guilty?
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. (Lord Acton)

I close this chapter debunking another misconception. Politicians accused of misbehavior often claim that they are innocent until proven guilty. For example, some in Congress so defended President Clinton during the latter's impeachment.[2] Utter nonsense! A person is either guilty or not guilty, and no verdict will change that fact. The accused is not innocent until after the trail, he only has a right to be considered innocent in the court of law. An incorrect verdict means a miscarriage of justice, but changes underlying guilt or innocence not at all.

In the second place, the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty applies specifically in courts of law and to those accused of a crime. It does not apply to politics. We must hold our politicians to a higher standard. They come to us seeking our votes, essentially asking for a job. Like any job applicant, it is up to them to show us why we should hire or retain them, and it is up to us to investigate their qualifications. If they are accused of bad behavior, we have no obligation to look at the evidence – and the burden is usually on them to show why the accusations are false. There is one caveat however. Politicians have been known to make false accusations against their opponents. We must be careful about accepting such accusations.

In a democratic system we get the leader we deserve, a George Washington or a Joseph Stalin. Only by actively seeking and supporting candidates of integrity and wisdom, candidates committed to freedom, will we overcome our current problems. We must thoroughly investigate those candidates, their backgrounds and integrity. And we must cut through the fog of mis-communication they so often use to hide their intent. Our freedom depends on it.