Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Overextension of the Media

As a new member of the Commenting Community, I may be contradicting myself in being so critical.

However, someone has to say: Enough is enough!

Really, who cares about the invidious rants of a producer-director-actor who has not produced any significant work in the last five years?

Or the maudlin self-pity of a child-actor now facing a ninety-day jail sentence for breaking the law?

Or even the chronic cyber-stalking of fashions, fads, and frenzies these days? Are the personal tastes and prejudices of these Hollywood types really that important? Who really makes these decisions, or rather, dictates that a viewing public should care?

Turn off the television if you must, but could we spend at least five minutes of our lives pondering more important issues, concerns with global reach and eternal value?:

1. The fate of our soldiers and our nation's ideals as they fight in the fields and mountains of Afghanistan.

2. The growing encroachment of the State into our medical care, our purchases, our financial firms, and even our publishing institutions.

3. The decline--but also possible resurgence-- of quality public education in this country. Despite the overwhelming amount of information burgeoning forth daily, have students learned how to evaluate the quality of all this information?

4. The diminution of our purchasing power in the face of inflation, taxation, and excessive indebtedness which will inflict great harm on future generations in this country.

5. The cannibalization of our children by senior citizens' siphoning away our future from our children and their children through the Welfare State, i. e. Social Security and Medicare.

5. The growing threat of Islamo-fascism, both in the United States, against Israel, and around the world.

These are the issues which viewers, which active citizens, should be caring about, thinking about, discussing, and acting upon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Commentary on the Decriminalization of Drugs

I do not think of myself as a strict libertarian, for I advocate limited government as opposed to no government at all, an extreme which anarcho-libertarians like Murray Rothbard advocated.

However, I am convinced after all the talk and debate, that at long last we should end the War on Drugs in this country.

It does not keep our streets safer.

It does not prevent people from using. In fact, it adds to the allure of the street culture and entices people to get involved.

It fails to protect users, their friends, and their families from the negative effects of drug use.

It merely subsidizes easily corruptible bureaucracies which either infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, or enables the production and sale of the very product which they are trying to destroy.

Just Say No to the War on Drugs!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Conservatism and Death Penalty

As I mentioned in my previous post, two basic elements of the conservative philosophy are:

Individual Liberty


Limited Government.

Within individual liberty is the commit to life, for without life one cannot enjoy the liberty to practice the other natural rights accorded to man by his Creator. Within limited government, not its absence, the rule of law protects liberty and the natural rights therein.

Now that I have clarified these two propositions, I am compelled to make the case for abolishing the death penalty, an institution which runs contrary to the two fundamental tenets of conservatism which I have outlined above.

Individual liberty means recognizing the opportunity for individuals to make choices, not just holding them responsible for making bad choices. Individual liberty contains within itself the opportunity for moral improvement. As Dr. Benjamin Rush noted in the early years of the Republic, many criminals who have committed capital crimes later regret what they have done, not necessarily because they were caught. Individual liberty does not absolve an offender from the consequences of committed a crime, but to end a person's life presumes that the offender cannot exercise his liberty properly in the future, undercutting the basic current of individual liberty: choice.

Some contend, as did John Locke, that a person forfeits his right to life when he takes the life of another. I argue that individual liberty is not compromised when the life of a capital offender is not taken in turn for having taken the life of another. One can very well argue that the civil death which occurs as a result of an offender being locked away for life without the possibility of parole to be just as effective a retribution as putting the offender to death.

Others have even stated, as did Kant, that if a society refuses to end the life of a murderer, the value of life depreciates within that community. However, no matter how ardently one codifies the legal right to take a capital offender's life, some one individual has to strap down the death-row inmate, someone has to press the last button, pull the lever, or shoot the gun that leads kills the capital offender. How then will the executioner appreciate human life in the aftermath of having killed a man, no matter how egregious his crime? Even if the circumstances warrant the legality of taking a life, the moral outcome cannot be compromised: an individual, or a group of individuals hiding behind the mandate of written law have taken a life, and for that reason the value of human life is diminished in that community. In effect, the death penalty compromises the very value it seeks to affirm.

In addition to its inevitable nature to compromise the very value it seeks to maintain, the death penalty accords too much power to the State, an imperfect association in which individuals who have not committed capital offenses are inadvertently convicted of crimes, only to be saved by the resolute action of legal advocates fighting within the appellate process. Certainly because of the potential for miscarriages of justice the State should not decide who lives and who dies within its own bounds. Moreover, the State should take steps to protects all of its members, those who commit crimes as well as those who have not, for therein lies the basis for government: to promote individual liberty, all in respect to the rule of law and the sanctity of life, which makes liberty a reality.

Perhaps my opposition to the Death Penalty on conservative principles is too simplistic or idealistic, since I am basing my arguments on two fundamental propositions. Yet we should not shy away from evaluating whether our current legal system operates within the philosophy which our Founders espoused. Even though the Constitution recognizes the Death Penalty, it does not follow that one should support its practice. I merely wish to contend that, contrary to the current conservative consensus, Capital Punishment is not in sync with conservative principles and should be done away with.

Response To Jonathan Krohn's Definition of Conservatism

Recently, I skimmed Jonathan Krohn's work "Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back"

I found very persuasive the four fundamental tenets of conservatism which Krohn outlined:

1. Respect for the Constitution

2. Respect for Human Life

3. Belief in Minimalist Government

4. Insistence upon Personal Responsibility

I think, however, that the fundamental philosophy of conservatives versus liberals comes down to a simpler statement of fact:

Conservatives, or individuals on the right, emphasize individual and national liberty, as opposed to those on the left, who support group and global equality (See Henry Nau "Tribal Warfare on the Right").


Conservatives want to limit government and emphasize the role of the individual, whereas liberals want to emphasize the role and growth of government, with the individual playing an ancillary role.

Within these two statements one may extract the different trends of conservatism.

More to follow.