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June 30, 2005

Bush's speech

One of my favorite war critics is Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com. I've argued with other bloggers who repeat the spin coming out of Washington without thought. You won't find critiques like this on any of the network news stations. Deception, Denial, and Demagoguery: Bush Speech Sets A Record

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2005

Privacy rights may disappear if a new Senate Intelligence Committee bill passes

On June 6, in a closed-door session, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill that, if Congress and the president agree (and he will), would dramatically expand the FBI's powers under the Patriot Act to issue secret administrative subpoenas for an unprecedented range of personal records—without having to go to a judge.

The FBI will write its own subpoenas—just as British customs officials in the colonies did before the American Revolution—using general search warrants (writs of assistance) to go into homes and offices at will to look for contraband. These raids so inflamed 18th-century Americans that the "general search warrant" was one of the precipitating causes of our revolution. Link

This is very disturbing news. The federal government is stripping away our constitutional protections.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2005

Moral Reasoning

Moral reasoning does not have to be as complicated as it is made to seem; we typically practice it daily in our personal lives. It is on matters outside our local circle where we judge by different standards. This can be explained because conflict on the interpersonal level has emotional costs. As distance increases, emotional risks diminish. And there is probably a tribal instinct built into us from prehistoric times.

The Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them,” as prescribed by Jesus in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, is highly overrated. What it does is allow one to apply his personal values to another. This works when they are in harmony, but when they are not; it allows one to take actions even when they cause conflict. For example, a person who enjoys being a Christian would not object to being forced to be a Christian if he wasn’t. Additionally, the rule can be used to justify benefits on ourselves. Example: One would like to receive welfare when others have the means to contribute. The Marxist Credo “From each according to his means to each according to his needs,” fits the Golden Rule.

An improvement is the negative Golden Rule: “Do not do unto others as you would not like them to do to you.” It is still too subjective and while it doesn’t sanction aggressive behavior, at the other end it can be too ascetic and restrictive. The Ten Commandments is a good case example.

This leads to the moral principle embedded in libertarian philosophy: “Do not initiate aggression against another person or their property.” It is reasonably objective in that it prohibits a specific kind of behavior: initial aggression. Properly interpreted, it makes no difference what race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or whatever characteristics another person or group has. It applies to the country and locality where you live or to any other foreign country. It applies to laws, businesses, religions and every other class of human behavior. In every conflict, there is usually an initial aggressor. That is where we should look before we make judgments. There is more risk of misjudgment from not looking far enough then from looking too far.

One’s inalienable right to self defense is not debatable. The principle of proportionality applies when reacting in a defensive situation and on matters of legal punishment. That is, they should be closely in proportion to the offense. Matters of defense are not always as easy to apply because they require an action. For example, though I personally believe taxes are a form of theft, it would not be practical to blatantly resist. Usually the best defense is to run or hide when confronted by overwhelming force. Owning a gun is perfectly reasonable.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)