Gina Liggett

A Terry Schiavo Case in Italy

 Posted by on 12 February 2009 at 12:01 am  Politics, Religion
Feb 122009

Remember in 2005 when then-President Bush rushed back to Washington to get the Republican-dominated Congress to intervene directly in the Terry Schiavo right-to-die case? Terry Schiavo had been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, alive only because she was receiving nutrition through a feeding tube. Her husband and legal guardian–who knew she would never want to live like that–fought Terry’s staunchly Catholic family in the court system for years over her right to die in such a circumstance. A Florida state appeals court agreed with Terry’s husband and allowed the feeding tube to be removed in spring of 2005.

Out of all legal options, the family went to the top of the political ladder, and got President Bush and his religious-right powerhouse in Congress to counteract that ruling. Congress passed, and Bush signed, emergency legislation, sending the case back to the federal court. But wisely, the federal court did not overrule the previous decision. The feeding tube was not reinserted, and Terry was allowed to die.

The case was a sickening display of not only the breach of the separation of powers as well as the separation of church and state, but also of how quickly and deeply one’s personal life can be penetrated by a government. A federal appeals court judge in Atlanta quite eloquently admonished Congress and the White House for acting “in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers’ blueprint for the governance of a free people — our Constitution.”

Fast forward to 2009, and there is an eerily similar kind of family nightmare in Italy. A 37-year old woman, Eluana Englaro, has been in a coma since a car crash in 1992. Her father, who claims that her daughter would not want to live in such a vegetative state, has spent years petitioning the Italian court system to allow her to die. Finally, doctors were allowed to implement a medical protocol for withdrawing Eluana’s artificial nutrition–that is, until Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, after consulting with the Vatican, issued an emergency decree stating nutrition cannot be withdrawn.

Magnifying the absurdity of the Italian government’s and Vatican’s interference in the private lives of these citizens is the Prime Minister’s justification for his decree: physically at least, Eluana was “in the condition to have babies.”

Allow me to elucidate. Irregardless of the comatose woman’s inability to consent to anything, the Italian Prime Minister and the Vatican are in effect saying that it would be acceptable for someone to impregnate this woman, have her body incubate a fetus, then deliver it; but to allow her to die a natural and dignified death by withdrawing artificial nutrition would be immoral, despite what Eluana would have wanted.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who pleaded with Berlusconi to not permit Eluana to die, told him “We have to stop this crime against humanity.” (I must say, I find it ludicrous and ironic that the religious institution responsible for the horrific crimes of the medieval Crusades and the systematic enabling of pedophilia in the priesthood has the audacity to say anything about crimes against humanity.)

In these two right-to-die cases, Terry and Eluana were young when they suffered their irreversible brain damage and had not made their wishes explicitly known in writing. But those closest to them and legally responsible for making decisions on their behalf have a better idea than the government or the Church about whether or not they would want to linger for decades in an unconscious state.

Even more fundamentally important than the ethics of proxy medical decision-making is the right to die. I think this right is a corollary of Ayn Rand’s concept of the right to life: “There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.”

In their quest to take away the right-to-die, the Vatican and America’s Religious Right are basically taking away the right to life, claiming your life belongs to God, not to you. This religious view is the reason the Schiavo family fought Terry’s right to die; this was the reason they took their case to a President who actively promulgated religious initiatives; and this is what the Italian father is fighting.

Your right to life includes your right to end your life according to your values. If you would not want to be kept alive for decades in a comatose state–and your proxy decision makers know that–then they have the ethical and legal obligation to carry out your wishes. And any governmental or church interference with that right is an immoral and egregious offense to the citizens of a society obligated to uphold their Constitutional rights.

Update: Eluana died Monday Feb 9 as legislators debated her case. The Italian government intends to push for an anti-right-to-die law.

Jan 272009

As I have been learning in a wine certification seminar, Madeira wine, called the “Wine of the Patriots,” played an important part in American colonial rebellion against the British.

For years during the American colonial period, Madeira wine was uniquely exempted from taxation because of the British Navigation laws, and became a symbol of American rebellion against the British. When John Hancock’s sloop, Liberty, was seized in Boston harbor, the stage was set for the Boston Tea Party. George Washington toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with Madeira, and it was used in the christening of the warship Constitution. It was also favored by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.

When the ordinary American colonist walked into a pub and boldly ordered a Madeira rather than a British beverage, the symbolic rebellious gesture was nothing less than piquant.

Madeira is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It is a rich-tasting mélange of the flavors of roasted fruit, burnt oranges, espresso coffee and sugar-coated nuts, as described in the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics by Tara Q. Thomas. (I can attest to that description, having tasted some delicious Madeiras recently.)

Sadly, there are only nine producers of Madeira left in the world, questioning its sustainability as an enduring legacy in wine making. But it’s obsolescence as a symbol also raises the question of what could be our contemporary symbol of rebellion in our fight against the anti-egoism state of our culture. America is morphing every day into ever-greater states of dependency, paternalism, socialism, irrationalism and even nihilism. As Objectivists, we want to create a new American Renaissance through the power of ideas.

The symbol of rebellion that I display in public is the mysterious and foreboding question, “Who Is John Galt?” I display that bumper sticker on my car and wear tee-shirts with that quote. One day, when someone at the gym read my tee-shirt, he looked me straight in the eye and gave me a knowing thumbs up. I felt a camaraderie with that stranger. I wonder if in some small way what I felt was the same kind of pride a colonist felt when he ordered Madeira in a bar full of British soldiers.

I challenge other readers to suggest a new “Madeira” for today. I look forward to your suggestions! Cheers to all!


My following LTE was published in the Rocky Mountain News on January 6th. I responded to the Rocky’s fairly good Editorial concerning Obama’s pick of a humanity-causes-global-warming alarmist to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Dear Editor(s),

I agree with the Rocky’s Dec. 27 editorial “The limits of science/Does Obama advisor respect them?” about President-elect Obama’s choice of Stephen Holdren to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. But I might suggest a different title: “The limits of politics.” Because that’s what Obama’s all about.

Besides lack of any executive experience, he has never actually created wealth in our economy, but only spent someone else’s. And now Obama has selected greenhouse-gas alarmist Holdren who joins the chorus of politicos in blaming global warming on industrialization, and who advocates severe strangulations on our economy as the answer.

Unlike Holdren, there are many scientists who attribute global warming primarily to the formidible forces of nature that have caused drastic climate change in Earth’s past. There is a great deal of scientific debate that has become squashed because of politics.

But despite Obama’s hot air about “free and open inquiry,” it’s clear by his choice of Holdren that he doesn’t care about facts, science or economics, but the world he knows best–politics.

Gina Liggett, Denver

Hamas: The Big Bully on the Playground

 Posted by on 5 January 2009 at 12:03 am  Foreign Policy
Jan 052009

Thirteen-year-old Gaza resident, Yousef Nakhala, called out the equivalent of “the Emperor has no clothes!” in reaction to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas’s rocket attacks from Gaza. He said: “I blame Hamas. It doesn’t want to recognize Israel. If they did so, there could be peace. Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel, and nothing is happening to them.”

The kid clearly gets it. But not the civilized world, which has told Israel to hold back, like the platitudinous let’s-just-all-hold-hands-and-get-along from the E.U. Foreign Policy chief, Javier Solana: “We are very concerned at the events in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge everybody to exert maximum restraint.”

Oh wow, what a clever suggestion.

Not wanting to piss off anyone else on the playground, the U.S.’s policy is just as morally neutral: “Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people. The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.” (White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe)

Just like a spoiled brat, Hamas is getting exactly what it wants — more pity and attention from the Arab and Islamic world:

“Iran strongly condemns the Zionist regime’s [Israel's] wide-ranging attacks against the civilians in Gaza. The raids against innocent people are unforgivable and unacceptable.” (Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi)

“Egypt condemns the Israeli attacks.” (Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak)

“We are facing a continuing spectacle which has been carefully planned. We face a major humanitarian catastrophe.” (Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa)

Oh, give me a break. Hamas doesn’t have anything to offer the world — or the Palestinians for that matter — except the perpetual state of hate and poverty of its population. But what else could you possibly expect from the efforts of an avowed terrorist organization?

When Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, won the majority in the Palestinian Authority’s parliamentary elections in 2006, the governing Fatah party and the world wondered what this would mean for future peace negotiations with Israel, a two-state solution called the “road map” which would create an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

Hamas wants to kick Israel off the playground. It explicitly does not recognize the right of Israel to exist, and it has carried out terrorist attacks against Israel for decades.

Even though the Middle East quartet’s (U.N., E.U., Russia, U.S.) price for bankrolling the Palestinian government is peaceful behavior towards Israel, Hamas leaders couldn’t care less. Hamas attacked Israel and forcibly seized control of Gaza in a very undemocratic fashion within a year after its election victory, leading to an economic blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

A bully is still a bully if it behaves like one, even though he gets elected to student council. Now maybe Israel can put the bully in his place, having learned lessons from its anemic response to Hezbollah’s repeated aggression in Lebanon in 2006 which only emboldened that Islamic fundamentalist organization.

In the whole long-running and complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict, why is it in America’s best interest to condemn an organization like Hamas and support Israel? The principle is that the only moral government is one that upholds individual rights.

In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights applies this principle well:

We recognize that those who attack Israel are not seeking to establish an even freer nation: they are seeking to wipe out the only outpost of freedom in the Middle East. We support Israel not for its failings but for its virtues, and we understand that those who threaten Israel’s freedom also threaten America’s. If they succeed in destroying Israel, they will turn their full attention to the United States.

The bully Hamas has no intention of playing nice, and should be expelled. Israel ought to continue fighting hard and eliminate Hamas. And instead of cowardly giving in to intimidation from the U.N. and Arab/Islamic countries by calling for yet another cease-fire, the civilized world should give unqualified support for Israel in the face of this chronic Islamic threat. Hamas, and the civilian population who elects and supports it, should suffer the painful consequences of their ongoing war against freedom — and peace.

’Twas the Night After Single Payer

 Posted by on 16 December 2008 at 12:01 am  Health Care, Humor
Dec 162008

‘Twas the night after Single Payer, when all through the land
Not a creature had health care that could be called grand;

The ERs were stuffed with those seeking care,
In hopes Dr. Daschle soon would be there;

The patients were all nestled sick in their beds,
Hallucinating that sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And doctors at their post, and nurses at their station,
Had just hunkered down for a long Administration,

When on the Rose Garden lawn there arose such a clatter,
I turned on CNN to see what was the matter.

Away to the screen it flew like a flash,
Camera shutters were clicking, Dr. Daschle with his sash.

TV lights shined in faces hailing the plan
Gave the lustre of “quality” for each woman and man,

When, what to my wondering eyes be endured,
But a huge new department, and forty-eight million more insured,

With a powerful new driver, two roles to fulfill,
I knew in a moment it would be government overkill.

Regulations not treatments his ideas they came,
New restrictions, new rules, and he called them by name;

“Now, Daschle! now, Dollar! now, Payer and Taxin’!
On, Common! on Cure-all! on, Daunting and Blighted!

To the top of the White House! it will hit the wall!
Now cash away! cash away! cash away all!”

As dry heaves that before an intestinal flare,
With patients on the wait list, what do they care?

So up in the bureaucracy the coursers they flew,
Through the cabinets of paperwork, and Dr. Daschle too.

And then, in a news conference, I heard more restrictions
The limits and taxing and fewer prescriptions.

As I called 911, one day writhing in pain,
The response that I got could only be called insane.

He was dressed in his scrubs, and checked my citizen’s ID,
And the equipment malfunctioned, but the diagnosis was free;

A bundle of supplies, the treatment room disordered,
But they lacked what was needed, what the Dr. had ordered.

His eyes–how they glazed! dark circles how weary!
His cheeks were so sallow, his job was so dreary!

Another patient in line dehydrated like wheat,
Uncontrolled diabetes, his blood sugar too sweet;

The stump of a leg infected for weeks,
It was surgical care that this patient seeks;

He had Universal Insurance and a sad-looking face,
Because it only covered some gauze and an Ace.

He was pale and sweaty, a sickly young man,
And I cried when I saw him, in spite of his free-coverage plan.

A wink of the bureaucrat and a nod of her head,
Said, with Single Payer I had nothing to dread;

She spoke no more words, but took her first break,
Civil servants remember their rules are at stake.

And the Doctor came back, his fingers rubbing his eyes,
And he gave me a med and some vague replies;

He sprang to his computer, the new high-tech efficiency
Sent my records to D.C. for some clerk to see.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he walked out of sight,

“Single Payer for all has become a nightmarish fright!”

WAAA!!!! Take Care of Me!

 Posted by on 10 December 2008 at 12:11 am  Ethics, Government, Politics
Dec 102008

When I hear of some new government program that’s made available courtesy of working, tax-paying citizens and businesses, I’m left stunned in a state of resentful disbelief. But our government — of the free and brave — provides benefits in the areas of career development, child care, counseling, disability, disaster relief, education and training, food and nutrition, energy assistance, scholarships and grants, health care, housing, insurance, living assistance, loans, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and tax assistance.

Well, that pretty much covers food, clothing, and shelter… wait a minute, no mention of clothing. Oh well.

Since I currently receive no welfare benefits because I work for a living and buy everything I need and then also pay taxes (like millions of other Americans), I wondered what governmental benefits I could receive anyway. So I took a little on-line quiz at

After answering questions about my age, profession, education, veteran status, disabilities, needs I have, etc., I discovered that I would be potentially eligible for 17 government programs! Most of these were for the opportunity to use my educational and professional background to do research in the biological sciences. But I also might qualify for some HUD (Housing and Urban Development) benefits. My favorites, though, were two exciting opportunities, the Prose and Poetry Fellowship and the National Ocean Service Intern Program. Maybe I could combine the two somehow by taking a government-sponsored cruise and write a novel!

It was a dreary and foreboding moment for Juliet as she pondered tearfully with heaving and panting breaths, her longing for Sven, her long-lost beau of an era swept away by the wind which whipped the willows in a wild winter when wondrous wanderings of the heart did happen.

Hey, I could dig it.

Then I wondered what I could get if I decided to quit working, quit paying for health insurance and had $45 dollars in my savings account. I would quality for 32 government programs in my state! Not only would I potentially quality for the Special Milk Program but also the Colorado Summer Food Service program. I’m not sure how as a middle-aged woman those school-based programs would apply to me, but maybe it’s because women are recommended to get lots of calcium in their diet.

But certainly I could qualify for more than that. So I re-took the quiz and claimed to be a “practicing artist.” Hey! I practice my dance steps everyday! I also added that I have an Injury or Illness because the other day I got this nasty hamstring pull from practicing so much. And I also put in my claim to have a “difference of limb length” because I’m pretty sure that my right leg is 1/17th millimeter longer than the left. I added that I would like Mental Health Services because I’ve been so distraught over the U.S. socialist revolution that happened on November 4. I would also like some Women’s Health Care. Oh, also, I answered “yes” to the question, “Do you feel that you’ve been denied housing or financial assistance due to discrimination.” I’m awfully sure that I feel that somewhere along the line I been discriminated against.

Guest what? 37 programs! Oh my gosh! Lots of housing assistance. Food stamps. Health care. Architectural Barrier Act Enforcement (that’s probably because of my limb length difference). Energy assistance. Short-term lending. Job opportunities for low-income persons (hey! I don’t want a job!). Weatherization Assistance for Low-income persons (now, THAT, I could use).

And I would only have to jettison maybe that one Objectivist virtue of “independence” to get my goodies. But hey, as our presidential candidates reminded us, this is the country of sacrifice, right?

Tara Smith in her book, “Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist,” presents Ayn Rand’s definition of the virtue of independence: “one’s acceptance of the responsibility of forming one’s own judgements and living by the work of one’s own mind.” Tara Smith adds,

More colloquially, it is a matter of making one’s own way in the world. The independent person supports himself both intellectually and materially, thinking for himself and taking productive action to sustain himself.

As an individual becomes an adult, a psychological milestone of independence is supposed to occur. This is a time when children separate from their parents who cared and provided for them; they strike out their own, choose a career or job, form new social relationships, and pursue their values. Our welfare-minded society enables the dependency of many of its adult citizens, leaving them in a perpetual state of adolescence, unable to survive without sacrificing others to meet their endless needs.

I’ve decided after all not to apply for that government-sponsored cruise to become a novelist (although, I hate to deprive the world of my prose). But a society that sacrifices its citizens so that others don’t have to grow up is an immoral society.

And despite the so-called good intentions of politicians and interest groups who come up with these care-taking programs, they are no different than the parents who enable their unemployed 30-year-old offspring to live at home for free and play video games all day long.

The virtue of independence is a requirement for survival as a moral being. Only in an individual-rights-respecting society, where there is no sacrifice of some to pay for the dependency of others, can the virtue of independence manifest to its fullest potential — a benevolent society of individuals left free to pursue their happiness.

So for now I’ll keep my job and work on that novel on my free time. (I know you can hardly wait for me to finish it!)

Deals With the Devil

 Posted by on 8 December 2008 at 12:01 am  Business, Ethics, Politics
Dec 082008

This month, the Chief Executives of Chrysler, General Motors and Ford grovelled back to Washington, tails between their legs, chastised by Congress for their display of capitalist excess when they arrived to their November begging session aboard separate corporate jets. This time, their humble 520-mile road trip in hybrid cars was just so Green and so Special that I bet it moved even Al Gore (also known as “The Inventor”). Speaking of invention, getting the Big 3 automakers to make hybrid cars is part of the grand scheme Gore has invented to save the planet.

Well, what about saving the country from economic ruin? The auto leaders warned that American families and the very soundness of our economy would be disastrously affected if a bailout is rejected by Congress. And the Big Three have a lot of support in their appeal to Santa as other major companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor unions, and other interest groups hunker down for a major lobbying effort.

If saving the planet and saving the economy are the very raisons d’etre of a business enterprise, where does this duty come from? As many Objectivists know, it is the pernicious and ubiquitous moral standard of altruism. And its modern manifestation is the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement which has placed tremendous pressure on companies to cast aside the very notion of profit-making as their primary goal and legitimate purpose.

This movement pushes businesses to “behave responsibly,” by demonstrating environmental awareness, concern for human rights, and giving money for community development. The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government explains it very well:

Throughout the industrialized world and in many developed countries there has been a sharp escalation in the social roles corporations are expected to play. Companies are facing new demands to engage in public-private partnerships and are under growing pressure to be accountable not only to shareholders, but also to stakeholders such as employees, consumers, suppliers, local communities, policymakers, and society-at-large.

While the moral foundation for capitalism identified by Ayn Rand is largely unknown today, there is no such lack of awareness of the moral rationale for Corporate Responsibility. We find its specific ideas in the popular notion of “economic and social justice.” The Center for Economic and Social Justice defines that principle in what I describe as a stew of the best original ideals of America’s Founding Fathers, seasoned with a religious-based identity of the nature of man, and congealed in the view that man’s highest moral purpose is a duty to the social justice of others — in other words, the incompatible combining of liberty and property rights with religion and altruism:

There is a Source of all creation and of all universal and absolute values such as Truth, Love and Justice, which represent the ultimate ends of human actions. Many people call this Source, God. … The essential means to achieve the sovereignty of the person include such inalienable human rights as the right to life, liberty, and access to productive property and free markets, equality of opportunity, and the secret ballot. These rights–including the rights of property–are not ultimate ends in themselves, but they are intermediate ends or fundamental means to enable each person to pursue Truth, Love and Justice. … The highest responsibility of each person is to pursue absolute values and to promote economic and social justice in his or her personal life and all associations with others.

To enlighten us as to the social system consistent with these “core values,” the Center offers a side-by-side comparison of what it considers two “unjust” models, capitalism and socialism, with the ideal “just third way” of economic and social justice. I have provided a link to the entire comparison; but in summary, the Center views capitalism as literally a “dog-eat-dog” kind of system that is morally and practically no better than “scarcity”-causing socialism.

The Big Three arrived in Washington not only in a hybrid car, they arrived with a hybrid morality. The ever-growing and widely-embraced partnerships of government and business is the natural consequence of these moral contradictions. In such a union of social purpose, government and business desperately need each other to survive. But the price is paid by the American heart and soul, and the individuals who must set aside their pursuit of happiness for social goals defined by think tanks and politicians.

But what if there were a non-contradictory view of the nature of man, his requirements for survival and a non-sacrificial moral purpose in life? Such a system would be opposite of the deal-with-the-devil mixed economy we have now, where the main moral and practical purpose of business is to serve the welfare of society. Such a system would be laissez-faire capitalism, a society of real economic and social justice for individuals who create wealth and prosper because of it.

Absent a Moral Defense of Capitalism

 Posted by on 25 November 2008 at 12:01 am  Economics, Finance, Politics
Nov 252008

On a Nov. 20th NPR radio interview, David Wessel, Pulitzer-prize-winning Economics Editor of the Wall Street Journal sounded rather optimistic. Despite calling our present economy “as fragile as at anytime since Roosevelt took over,” he predicted that the Obama team would get right to work even before inauguration to hold off another Great Depression.

He said the challenge for Obama will be basically threefold: 1. like Roosevelt during the Depression, Obama will have to reassure the American people, that is “make us feel better,” by whom he appoints and how he describes the economic situation; 2. put together a huge fiscal stimulus package consisting of tax cuts and increase in government spending; and 3. deal directly with the housing crisis by helping people whose mortgages are worth more than the value of their home.

He summed up his personal reaction to the economic crisis by saying he was “quite impressed by the diligence of the people in the government who are charged with this and how creative they’ve been and inventive in trying to respond to it.”

In an October panel discussion at his alma mater Haverford College he explained the causes of the present crisis — that complicated interplay of Federal Reserve interest rates, the across-the-spectrum failure of economic checks and balances by rating agencies and regulators, the “democratization of credit” for homeownership, the “morally criminal” predatory lending practices, faulty assumptions about ever-increasing housing prices and unsecured lending by investment banks, and the under-appreciated connection between the housing market and banking system.

He then describes the timeline of the government’s reaction to each emerging crisis: a huge Fed rate cut in January, the historic loan to Bear Stearns (a non-Federal Reserve bank), the quick and efficient nationalization of Freddie and Fannie, Treasury Secretary Paulson’s sweeping authority granted by Congress, the $700 billion bailout legislated by Congress in a 400-page bill, Barney Frank, Democrat chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, being unable to refute the argument that “if you help Wall Street, why can’t you help Main Street,” and the spill-over protectionist reaction by central governments in Europe and Asia.

Mr. Wessel’s comment about the historic economic crisis: “I don’t think this was a problem caused by government, but government permitted it to happen.”

Despite a couple of disparaging remarks Mr. Wessel made about businessmen and choosing a career on Wall Street, maybe I can’t explain Mr. Wessel’s reaction to the crisis on the fact that he’s worked his entire career as a journalist and never as a businessman who has had to meet payroll, answer to shareholders, negotiate with unions, comply with regulations, pay ever-rising costs of employee health care, pay taxes, pay Worker’s Compensation taxes, hold the line on production costs, etc. etc. … and still survive.

I also can’t necessarily explain it by the fact that the college economics department co-sponsored the talk with the college’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, which:

“…exists to expose all members of the Haverford community, but especially students, to the key global issues of the day so that they can better equip themselves to help solve these problems after they leave Haverford’s campus. In this regard, the CPGC is one of the most visible examples of the College’s Quaker ethos, grounded in testimonies of peace, lives of service, and a concern for the world at large.” (emphasis mine)

Regardless, what I can say is that one of society’s best-recognized experts on the American economy makes absolutely no defense of capitalism in anyway whatsoever. He not only credits government in “creatively” tackling the crisis, he tacitly accepts the premise that government bureaucrats, regulators and legislators should play a fundamental and sweeping role in managing the economy. Furthermore, he flagrantly denies that government is the problem.

Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, has spoken a lot about the economic crisis lately. He correctly explains that if capitalism is to survive, it needs moral sanction to counter the altruist ethics that infects our society today. As Objectivists know, Ayn Rand provided that philosophic moral justification for the total separation of state and economics: the morality of rational egoism.

We have a separation of church and state that is explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, and yet we still are fighting tooth-and-nail against the Religious Right to uphold it.

And we don’t even have that much of an explicit defense of capitalism. How then is capitalism to survive in an environment when leading knowledgeable and educated intellectuals like Wessel can look the facts straight in the eye, and be blind to the conclusions?

As Dr. Brook states in his talks, obviously the fact about capitalism’s success is simply not enough; the fact that government interference in the economy wrecks havoc is simply not enough. We must make the moral argument that laissez-faire capitalism is not only practical, it is morally right.

"And Now, Let Us Pra….GLOAT!"

 Posted by on 19 November 2008 at 12:07 am  Politics, Religion
Nov 192008

The Religious Right has been driving a sledgehammer into the wall of separation of church and state for 30 years, and has enjoyed an especially-intimate relationship with the politically powerful for eight years running. They have achieved significant successes: Bush’s faith-based initiatives, the partial-birth abortion ban, the passage of parental-notification laws, the Bush appointments of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and the constitutional amendments against gay marriage just passed in Florida, Arizona and California. There are doubtlessly many other successes I’ve left out, especially at the state and local level.

Now, bow your heads and let us gloat. Because the Religious Right had some significant defeats this election, and I think its time to celebrate!

First and foremost, let’s sing a hallelujah to the crushing, sweeping, stunning blow to Amendment 48 in Colorado. Hip-hip-horrrahhhh!! Your possibility of getting sued in court by a fertilized egg claiming its right to your body and property is just not gonna happen!

Washington state passed the nation’s second assisted suicide law in the country! Now individuals who are suffering and who rationally decide to end their life with dignity have more opportunity to do so humanely. This is a “right-to-life” issue: the right to choose to control your life, and that includes ending interminable suffering, even if evangelical Christians don’t want you to.

Another attempt to severely ban abortion in South Dakota failed! Hurrah!! Proponents tried to make a previous draconian abortion bill more palatable by allowing rape and incest victims or women in danger for their health to have an abortion if necessary. Oh, gee, thanks for the crumb, but all women in South Dakota will get to retain at least most of their right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy according to their decision.

And candidates favored by the Religious Right suffered some losses at the polls. Hurrah!! In five of eight Senate races, the Religious Right’s favorite candidate lost (Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Dakota); and two races are in a run-off (Georgia and Minnesota). In eleven races for the House, six incumbent Representatives favored by the Religious Right were ousted (Colorado, Florida, Idaho, North Carolina, Michigan and Virginia). And three incumbents held off religious challengers (Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania). This means that it will be more difficult for evangelicals to forcibly decide for all of us that we should abide by a biblical morality.


Cheers to us all! The Wall of Separation of Church and State is still there. It’s big!!! It won’t come down… for the time being, at least!

LTE: The Republican Party Has Gone Bankrupt

 Posted by on 18 November 2008 at 11:38 am  Election, Politics
Nov 182008

My following letter to the editor was published in the Denver Post Editorial page of November 15 in response to David Harsanyi’s column, “Getting out of the Republican coma.”

I would like to add to David Harsanyi’s comments about Republicans needing renewed idealism and intellectualism. To put it bluntly, the Republican Party is bankrupt. Their “statism-lite” support of the massive growth in government is a pathetic imitation of the sacred policies of the left. And their hijacking by the religious right has turned them into “theocrat-lite.” There is nothing of the idealism of limited government and individual liberty — policies they give only lip service to. They deserve the whooping they got; and as an advocate of reason, individual liberty and laissez-faire capitalism, I’m hoping that out of the ashes will emerge a leader who won’t let America go down in flames.

Gina Liggett, Denver

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha