Buying Time?

 Posted by on 17 October 2012 at 10:00 am  Election, Politics
Oct 172012

In the middle of last night’s debate, Paul said to me:

“For those who advocate voting for Romney to buy time… well, we’re now seeing how little time he’ll buy us.”

Too true.

Politics Corrupts Money

 Posted by on 12 October 2012 at 10:00 am  Campaign Finance, Election, Free Speech
Oct 122012

Dirty MoneyIn this blog post for The Objective Standard, Ari Armstrong explains that money doesn’t corrupt politics, as advocates of campaign finance laws claim. Instead, politics corrupts money: “Although the source of money is virtuous because it is production, money is corrupted when it is used to buy political favors.” Indeed, and such political favors can only be bought in a mixed economy in which some people’s rights may be violated for the right price.

So if you think that campaign finance laws can keep politics pure, think again… and go read the whole post!

Be sure to consider what he says about Colorado’s Amendment 65:

Amendment 65 is a futile attempt by the left to solve the problems created by leftist policies. As I argued in my debate with Gordon, the censorship of political speech that Amendment 65 advocates will not solve the problem of influence peddling; it will only make that problem worse. As I pointed out, under Amendment 65, the proposed censorship laws would themselves be crafted by the influence peddlers.

Demanding that the foxes guard the henhouse is not wise politics: it’s a power-grab by the foxes and their allies in the henhouse.


Ari Armstrong published an excellent op-ed in Sunday’s Denver Post against the campaign finance measure on Colorado’s ballot, Amendment 65. The whole op-ed is worth reading, but I particularly enjoyed his argument that restrictions on campaign spending are restrictions on speech. He writes:

Voters must observe that limiting campaign spending means limiting spending on speech.

You have no right of free speech if you cannot spend your resources how you want on speech. With the possible exception of shouting over panhandlers on a street corner, every form of speech requires the expenditure of resources.

To write for an audience, you need computers, Internet connections, copy machines, books, or newspapers. To speak, you need microphones, podcasts, film equipment, radio signals, or television transmissions. Spending money on speech is part of speaking. Controlling spending on speech is controlling speech itself.

Yes! That’s exactly why free speech depends on property rights — and the “dictators of the proletariat” understood that. The Soviet Union didn’t ban the free press directly in its early years: it simply nationalized all printing presses.

Ari then observes:

The very idea that government should attempt, through force, to “level the playing field” in the realm of communication and ideas is pernicious. It is the government’s proper job to protect each individual’s right to speak freely, whether alone or as part of a group, not to forcibly silence some voices so that others face less competition.

Certainly, I’ve felt that heavy burden in speaking against Colorado’s “personhood” amendments in 2008 and 2010, as I described in detail in my December 2011 testimony. No advocate of campaign finance regulations has ever directly addressed the huge contradiction between their stated goals with campaign finance regulations and my experience as an ordinary citizen attempting to speak out. It’s infuriating.

In addition to this excellent op-ed, Ari gave this short speech on Amendment 65 at a local forum on the election:

Ari deserves the thanks of every Colorado resident for his work advocating our rights to speak freely!

Sep 262012

Some people say, “How can you post on silly stuff like liquid nitrogen and ping-pong balls when we’re facing global economic collapse and the prospect of concentration camps if Obama is re-elected?!?” (#WAKEUP #ROMEISBURNING, and all that.)

I say, “Why work yourself up about silly stuff like the politics and the election when there’s awesome videos involving liquid nitrogen and ping-pong balls to watch on the internet?!?”

Wasn’t that so much better than watching some ridiculously infuriating interview with Mittens or Obummer?

Update: The video was removed by the user for some reason, but I just found this version.

The Disaster of Mittens

 Posted by on 26 September 2012 at 10:00 am  Election, Mitt Romney, Religious Right
Sep 262012

As folks know, I’m very ho-hum about this election for reasons that I explained in this radio segment. I despise OBummer and Mittens. In fact, the only thing that irritates me more than those statist jackasses are the blowhards who toss off moral condemnations based on nothing more than a person’s planned vote for president. (Undoubtedly, that is the least significant political action that a person can take all year. No wait, posting rants to Facebook is even less significant.)

Nonetheless, I loosely follow the election news, and I was interested to read this analysis by the insightful Doug Mataconis about the flailing of Mittens’ campaign. After talking about how Ann Romney is upset that conservatives are criticizing the campaign, he writes:

The Romney campaign has been blundering its way through the General Election in a manner that seems rather bizarre given the manner in which they operated during the Republican primaries. Granted, running against Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich is in no way like running against a professional campaign organization like Obama For America, but at least in those days people supportive of Romney’s candidacy could point to a campaign that seemed to be operating the way a campaign that wants to win an election operates. Then, something happened after Romney won the election and, for some reason, the Romney campaign seemed wholly unable to either respond to the Obama campaign’s attacks against it and now seems as gaffe prone [as] Rick Perry was a [year] ago.

Is it really any wonder that some of Romney’s fellow Republicans aren’t very happy with the situation right now? While some of them are no doubt acting out of self-interest (and what’s wrong with that?), there are others who are just clearly frustrated by watching yet another Republican campaign blunder its way through an election.

Since the very outset, this election has been the Republican’s to lose. That’s what they seem to be doing — in their usual style. That doesn’t make me happy. I don’t look forward to another four years of Obama. Even worse, I suspect that the GOP will run an even worse crop of candidates in 2016 — meaning, more theocratic and more statist. That seems impossible, I know, but Republicans are capable of amazing feats of idiocy.

Aug 302012

Colorado Personhood Measure Falls Short Of Ballot:

Backers of a controversial fetal personhood measure in Colorado have failed to gather enough signatures to get the proposal on the November ballot, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced on Wednesday.

The measure, which would define a fertilized egg as a person, fell nearly 4,000 short of the 86,105 signatures it needed to qualify for the ballot. The proposal has appeared on statewide ballots in Colorado twice before, in 2008 and 2010, and was soundly rejected by the voters both times.

A spokeswoman for Personhood USA, the anti-abortion group behind the nationwide push for fetal personhood laws, contended that the Secretary of State’s office had made a mistake in counting the ballots. “We have more than enough valid signatures that were discounted by the Secretary of State’s office,” Jennifer Mason told The Huffington Post.

It sounds like Personhood USA will appeal Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s ruling, so for now, we just have to wait and see.

Colorado’s Republicans must be (secretly) cheering and hoping, because personhood did them a lot of harm in the 2008 and 2010 elections.

GOP and Voting Strategy

 Posted by on 28 August 2012 at 9:00 am  Activism, Election, Politics, Religious Right
Aug 282012

Wow, this essay — It Is Infuriating That I Can’t Vote For A Fiscal Conservative Without Also Supporting Religious Aggressives — was a huge breath of fresh air for me. Here’s a few quotes:

At some point, I actually would like to vote for a Presidential candidate who has the balls to really tackle our budget problem. Because, as a country, we really do have hard choices to make. And now is the time to have leaders who are actually willing to lead (read: make unpopular decisions), instead of spineless yes-men who quake at the thought of saying or doing things that most people don’t want to hear.

And given that the folks who say they will take a hard line on those sorts of fiscal decisions tend to be Republicans, I assume that to vote for such a fiscal conservative, I would probably be voting for a Republican.

And I would would be fine with that.

Except for one thing…

Thanks to the radicalization of today’s Republican party, voting for a Republican fiscal conservative would also mean supporting Republican Religious Aggressives who want to expand the scope of government to such an extent that the government will be telling me what I can and can’t think and do on certain subjective moral and cultural issues–and enforcing this legally.

And that’s a non-starter.


In short, I support freedom.

The Republicans do not.

The Republicans support increasing the size and scope of government to such an extent that it strips away freedom and limits the choices Americans can make because some people believe these choices are “just wrong.”

And that’s a bummer.

Because I would like to support a true fiscal conservative at some point–our budget mess is a real problem.

But unless the Republican party returns to what it used to be, or a Democrat who is also a true fiscal conservative comes along, I fear that I am not going to be able to vote for one.

Because I just can’t support what today’s Republican Party supports:

Stripping away freedom and increasing the scope of government to the point where America won’t be America anymore.

Hear, hear! (Please read the whole thing.)

In my view, the only way that the GOP will ever listen to the many, many Americans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal is if those people stop reflexively voting for the GOP simply because the Democrats are marginally worse on some (but not all) key issues.

The GOP knows that evangelicals will sit home rather than vote for a candidate not to their liking; they know that they have to earn the vote of the religious right. As a result, the GOP has become increasingly unprincipled and compromising on every issue — except its (utterly wrong) opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

In contrast, GOP politicians know that fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters will hold their nose and vote GOP just this once… and then again… and again… and again. Hence, GOP politicians don’t even need to pander to those voters while campaigning, let alone actually satisfy them once in office.

The only way to crush the GOP’s love affair with the religious right, in my view, is to punish the GOP at the polls by refusing to vote for their big-spending theocratic candidates. We must say, loud and clear, that we’ll only vote for candidates who are genuinely committed to cutting spending, welfare programs, regulations, and more — while not push any social conservative agenda either. Yes, that will entail some more pain from the Democrats — perhaps very serious pain — in the short term. Alas, I think that’s the only way to turn around the GOP’s ever-growing commitment to spending like mad while imposing biblical law.

I discussed these ideas about voting strategy in greater depth in Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio Show. (In fact, I wrote this post before Sunday’s broadcast.) You can listen to that segment here:

Links and other details can be found on the web page for the question.

My basic points were:

(1) The Founders did not create a two-party system by design.

(2) Voting is the least significant political act you can do, albeit still worthwhile.

(3) Fiscal conservatives need to be willing to refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils if they want better candidates.

(4) A good candidate from a third party is often a worthwhile protest vote.

(5) I don’t yet know how I’ll vote, although I’m most likely to vote for Gary Johnson.

(6) Acrimony over voting is wrong, pointless, and destructive.

I’m not too concerned with how anyone votes in this presidential election. I’m definitely not demanding that people vote in some particular way. The process of demanding better candidates from the GOP needed to start long before now… and it can only really begin after R&R either win or lose.

Two Inanities

 Posted by on 23 May 2012 at 1:00 pm  Election, Politics
May 232012

“Two inanities don’t make a sanity.”

I made up that pithy phrase in response to the idiotic “Obama Eats Dog!” flap, but really, it’s suitable for almost every dispute between Democrats and Republicans in America today. I’m sure that you can find lots of uses for it as the election draws near.

Partisan Politics of Hate

 Posted by on 21 May 2012 at 3:00 pm  Election, Politics
May 212012

A thought of Saturday evening:

Many progressives had a free-floating, unprincipled, pathological hatred of George W. Bush. Increasingly, as the 2012 election approaches, I see the same damn thing from conservatives: a free-floating, unprincipled, pathological hatred of Barack Obama. These men could smile at a puppy, and their haters would go ballistic. As a result, the genuine and serious evils of these men are lost in a frothy sea of overpowering vitriol. That’s not good. So I urge you… be discriminating!

Funny Versus Offensive

 Posted by on 15 May 2012 at 8:00 am  Communication, Conservatism, Election, Politics
May 152012

As a follow-up to my recent webcast discussion on poking fun of friends’ ideas online, I’d say that this kind of image is objectively offensive:

It’s not just partisan tripe. It’s collectivist tripe. It’s totally unjustifiable tripe.

People deserve to be judged as individuals. Many liberals are thoughtful people, while many conservatives are flatly dishonest. Liberals tend to be better than conservatives on many important issues: separation of church and state, abortion rights, drug legalization, immigration, limiting police power, and so on. Most conservatives are utterly wrong on those issues, and many will not listen to reason.

When I saw that image in my Facebook feed, I reposted it with the following snippy remark:

I’m pretty sure that such partisan crowing and sniping never convinced anyone of anything. Also, I’m quite sure that people of every political persuasion are enamored of their own set of myths and dogmas. How about working on being more persuasive? It’s harder than you think.

More than anything else in politics, I loathe unprincipled partisan bickering. “My team is GREAT! Your team SUCKS!” is harmless enough in sports. But in politics, people’s rights — and hence, people’s lives and values — are at stake. Is it too much to ask for some concern for principle, i.e. individual rights? Alas, based on the 2012 election so far, we have every reason to expect nothing but unprincipled partisan bickering.

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