Gina Liggett

Anyone Got an Aspirin?

 Posted by on 9 June 2008 at 11:53 pm  Election, Politics
Jun 092008

We now have our two major-party presidential candidates. I think I’m going to be sick.

I’ve been reading about John McCain’s philosophy: “To sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and to sacrifice your life to the eminence of that cause, is the noblest activity of all.” Here’s Barack Obama’s ethic: “…we have an individual responsibility to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. Each of us will have to accept responsibility…(for) sharing some measure of sacrifice.”

Excuse me while I get an antacid.

Obama plans a “new course for America,” where “fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity go hand in hand;” and the “chance to get a college education should… be the birthright of every American.” McCain wants to “help Americans hurting from high gasoline and food costs” and “provide help to those hurt by the housing crisis.” And they both want to set limits on so-called greenhouse gas emissions.

Oh, my pounding headache!

There are more–many more–platitudes on each candidate’s list for saving America from itself. How is it that we have two opposing presidential candidates who are fundamentally indistinguishable?

Both McCain and Obama came of political age in a legislature where
business-as-usual is exemplified by the porkfat feeding frenzy upon American wealth and individual rights.

These politicians arrogantly believe that good government has the compassion and wisdom of a good parent. Both believe good citizens faithfully accept whatever sacrifices are extorted from them. Both believe that government has the right to meddle in every conceivable aspect of our lives.

McCain and Obama believe in the process they practice.

Neither candidate advocates anything close to the principle Ayn Rand identified as the correct role of government in a free society:

“The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence..The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.”

As America moves closer to more statism, at least we can get some symptom relief by promoting rational ideas…. and by taking a whole lot of antacid.

Jun 062008

CNN Headline News commentator, Mike Galanos, was outraged that the majority will of Californians had been trounced by that state’s recent state Supreme Court ruling reversing an unconstitutional law against gay marriage.

“Personhood” proponents in several states want voters to decide whether one’s reproductive rights and right-to-life can be squashed by a biblically-inspired law redefining the human being.

The cornerstone of President Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East is to “spread democracy.” Never mind that democratically-elected Islamist governments in Gaza and Iraq have no intention of embracing Western ideals of liberty.

Democracy at its best? As a matter of fact, yes!

See any problem with that? I sure hope so! Because if you don’t, then you will fall into the trap of equating “democracy” with “freedom.”

The philosopher and novelist, Ayn Rand, couldn’t have clarified it better:”‘Democracy’ in its original meaning [refers to] unlimited majority rule…a social system in which one’s work, one’s property, one’s mind, and one’s life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority at any moment for any purpose.”

Here is majority rule: it is illegal for gay adults to marry their life partner because most voters think it’s an abomination to God. Majority rule: lawyers on behalf of fertilized eggs can sue you in court when a doctor prescribes birth control that prevents implantation. Majority rule: women in Islamic democracies are treated like cattle because most blindly condone oppressive Islamic traditions from the Dark Ages.

By definition and by design, democracy must lead to tyranny.

The only model that promotes freedom, respects individual citizens, and leads to a thriving civilization is the original United States of America: a constitutional republic that is “restricted to the protection of individual rights.”

In a constitutional republic: gay adults can marry the partner they love because this does not violate anyone else’s marriage rights and does not lead to the breakdown of society (a ridiculous allegation by Christian fundamentalists). A fertilized egg is a fertilized egg and has no rights, and therefore cannot make any claims on a woman’s life. Men and women have equal opportunity to pursue their own rational self-interest without stopping anyone else from doing the same, because the society’s laws are not defined by the arbitrary and ever-changing whims of some majority.

In a free society–that is, a constitutional republic, not a democracy–people are free to thrive….by definition and by design.

May 302008
A new threat to a woman’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness has arrived out here in the West. And it’s going straight for the jugular. Groups in Colorado and Montana believe they’re on a mission from God: to get voters to pass state Constitutional amendments defining “personhood” as beginning with fertilization. Under these amendments, full rights and equal protection under the law would be granted–not to a human being from the moment of birth–but to a fertilized egg.

But the country shouldn’t dismiss this lunacy as a bunch of “wild west hooey.” While similar efforts since 2005 in Georgia, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin and Mississippi have fizzled, advocates vow to not give up on redefining “personhood” in their image.

This utter perversion of the “right to life” is a mockery of the principle of liberty established by our Founding Fathers. It will create an inherent and irreconcilable conflict between the individual rights of a living person and a single-celled product of conception.

Groups pursuing “personhood” amendments use a simplistic combination of religious belief and scientific fact to advance their agenda. The Thomas More Law Center, which provides legal support for these organizations, calls itself “the sword and shield for people of (Christian) faith” to fight for Christian values, which it claims is the foundation of our nation. Kristi Burton, the founder of Colorado’s group (which just succeeded in being first in the country to get the proposal on the November ballot), was quoted as “….we have God. And he is all we need.” A religious supporter of Montana’s initiative finds her “proof” in Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

These groups conveniently usurp the facts of human embryology in making their case for “personhood.” But the biological reality that life begins developing at conception is totally irrelevant in terms of rights.

Our Constitutional rights as citizens apply only once we are born as separate entities. To quote Ayn Rand, a 20th century novelist and philosopher, “Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).”

If a barbaric “personhood” amendment passes in some state, whose rights will prevail when a woman has a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy? Will a girl who’s been raped be compelled against her will to carry a pregnancy resulting from that brutality? Will lawyers defending fertilized eggs argue that a miscarriage is a violation of an embryo’s right to life, making a woman and her physician legally negligent?

Our hard-fought scientific and political achievements in controlling fertility will revert back to the horse-and-buggy era. Many reliable birth control methods would have to be outlawed because they interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. Couples unable to conceive would be forbidden to try in-vitro fertilization because some of the lab-created fertilized eggs are not used.

“Personhood” advocates brag about going for the gold: the outright overturn of Roe v Wade. They think they are being clever by passing in just one state a “personhood” amendment that will ultimately challenge the “loophole” in the 1973 majority opinion of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. He wrote: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed…”

Traditional religious-right groups have tried for decades to outlaw abortion by the piecemeal evisceration of that fundamental right. But if a tyrannical majority of voters in Colorado or Montana approves a Constitutional amendment redefining the human being according to particular religious beliefs, it will be a milestone in tearing down the wall of separation between church and state.

Our freedoms, based fundamentally on the right to life, mean that we as individuals have the right to pursue life-sustaining goals–including decisions about pregnancy. But the particular freedom of religion does not mean the right to pass laws forcing citizens to live by biblical values.

“Personhood” advocates have corrupted the principle, “right to life,” and they’re exploiting their freedom of religion do it. Constitutional rights protect all of our liberties from the moment we’re born as separate individuals. And this is what we must zealously fight to preserve.

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