The Good Thing About the Donald Sterling Incident by Michael Nolan

The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers have become relevant for the first time in decades. They came to dominate the news, however, because their long-reviled owner’s stark racism finally handed a smoking gun to somebody. It figures that, just as they got a taste of the on-court success Donald Sterling never seemed all that concerned with bringing to them, he one-upped them off the court.

In case you don’t know, a tape of Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to his games or to advertise that she associates with them was leaked to TMZ last weekend.

This page will give you all the detail you want on the case. Or type “Sterling Clippers” into Google and buckle in.

Of course Sterling’s comments are despicable. They’re so blatant and blunt, I admit my first reaction was astonishment that anyone holding such racist thoughts would say them out loud. I thought they had to be fakes. But they didn’t leave any room for doubt.

Heck, I wondered how anyone could get up in arms about Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson? I’m from the land of Larry Bird (that’s “Larry Legend” to you) and I still love Magic.

Well, the tape wasn’t a fake. So this is one of the rare, cut-and-dried instances where it’s easy to call “racism.” There’s nothing else to call it. High-profile racial controversies are rarely so simply a matter of good guys/bad guys. That doesn’t stop people from coming out of the woodwork to portray them as such and, in the process, try to spread guilt far and wide.

So it’s kind of a relief that, in this case, there’s no real danger of that. There’s still a difficult question: How do you deal with a racist? It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds; front-office employees might have had a lot fewer options than the players. Sterling might have been little more than a tyrannical boss—everyone, sooner or later, has to learn to put up with one of those—about whom nasty rumors floated. Now they aren’t rumors.

The key is that now we can prove he acted on his racism. It wouldn’t be totally okay if he just harbored these feelings. But at least keeping them inside constrains action to some degree. That doesn’t apply here. This case is, if anything, actually encouraging.

Here’s why: Within hours, the people who do business with Sterling—starting with the players and coach who sell tickets and jerseys and stake him to a slice of the ever-more-lucrative broadcast rights pie—brought the full weight of their social power to bear against him.

Around here, we tend to like spontaneous action. Well, here it is.

The labor-vs.-management framework sportswriters like to apply to collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations usually rings a little hollow. We’re not talking about miners asking not to be killed at work only to see Pinkerton agents set loose on them with clubs and guns.

But in this case, the labor side (well, the one that anyone notices, and the one with leverage) took control of the situation. Active and former players took their protests directly to the public—in interviews, via Twitter and other social media outlets—and made it clear they could and would inflict massive damage on the NBA if management got away with this behavior.

Even former players, like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson (Jordan is part owner of another NBA team, Johnson part owner of baseball’s L.A. Dodgers)—two media-savvy guys if ever there were any—used their platforms to bring pressure. LeBron James took the gloves off, and he’s still playing.

Other owners also got into the act, only hedging a little about the authenticity of the tape—Sterling’s a litigious sort and likely to start filing lawsuits if there’s even a whiff of defamation.

Sponsors moved away as quickly as they could, too.

More to the point, the Clippers were set to boycott their Monday-night playoff game. Apparently all the other teams playing that night were ready also. I don’t know what U.S. labor laws—which tend to have a lot of strict, complex rules about strikes—would say about this. I don’t know if the players even cared about that. It doesn’t look like they did, and that’s how it should be.

Then, of course, NBA commissioner Adam Silver dropped the hammer. I didn’t know until this story broke that there was such a thing as an NBA Constitution; apparently it’s a secret document only the owners get to see. But it does allow them to force an owner out of the league.

I’m among those who’d like to see racism completely eradicated from human society. I doubt that’s a realistic goal, but then neither is permanent peace, justice, and prosperity, and yet I still want those things.

But the approach to that eradication is everything. Consider some extreme scenarios: If mind-control chips could be installed in every potential bigot, the monetary costs would amount to nothing next to all the others (social, psychological, you name it). A couple steps back from that extreme, maybe allowing the State to execute, immediately, anyone who could be shown to have the “wrong” opinions (bigotry, homophobia, violent religious extremism, approval of the New England Patriots) would at least make everyone clam up about it. But then the fights over who got to be in charge would be even more vicious and divisive than U.S. politics are already. You think arguments over school curricula or who gets to say what a marriage is are nasty?

I don’t think outcomes such as these are very likely, and I doubt anyone else does, either. But informal mechanisms of imposing costs on these kinds of attitudes tend to get short shrift. After all, if there’s a controversy big enough to break out of the sports pages, politicians are going to get a whiff of it and elbow their way to the front of the pack in responding to it.

I’m aware that a politician was involved here; the players turned to former NBA player and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson for some advice and leadership. That’s a far different scenario. Johnson, after all, was a former player. And he has a lot more experience in crisis management, negotiation, leadership, and a host of other skills than NBA players—who’ve spend most of their lives honing their playing abilities and anyway still have work to do—are likely to have.

Maybe someone would want to mount some kind of First Amendment argument here. But that’s bogus: The NBA’s relationship to the State is, like that of every other sports league in the United States, pretty murky and distasteful. It still remains a private organization. Private organizations should get a very wide berth to choose the people with whom they’ll do business, and who gets let in. That should include giving the boot to a guy this far beyond the pale. Those fleeing sponsors? Well, they were exercising their First Amendment rights, too.

But the point is, this isn’t an issue of the State punishing or restricting anyone’s speech. The First Amendment protects people who object as much as it does people saying objectionable things. The only meaningful constraints there have to do with matters of civility and etiquette—which the league values—and Sterling had already placed himself well outside of that kind of consideration.

I know there are people who are frustrated—at the very least—that when Sterling sells, he’s going to make a huge profit on the purchase, aside from whatever he’s pocketed since he bought the team in 1982. I’d bet there are plenty of people who want the team simply taken from him, along with the $2.5 million fine.

And it’s galling that he’s still going to be rich—and probably still a cro-magnon bigot—after all of this shakes out. It’s galling whenever lousy people get rich. This is why it was so easy to pass off the narrative that 2008 was only about Wall Street sleazeballs, and why, even though I don’t buy that narrative, I don’t sympathize with those Wall Street sleazeballs. It takes an effort to remind myself that “Wall Street” and “sleazeballs” aren’t actually 100 percent synonymous. That’s bias on my part.

The NBA can’t address the infuriating fact that bad people prosper sometimes. But the important point is that they shouldn’t. Because rules matter, and the more freedom people have to draw up the rules by which they’ll associate, the more flexibility societies have to address both desires and problems on whatever scale they occur. On the one hand, this is why it’s good to be able to move to another state if you don’t like the regime in your current one. On the other, it’s why the feds are maybe the worst people to, say, weigh in on the proper interpretation of the bylaws of a local Masonic Lodge.

It’s reassuring that the NBA has rules in place that do not restrain it from doing something in a case like this. And, as bad a name as profit has, it’s also doing its backstopping work: If the rules hadn’t allowed the NBA to address this situation this way, well, the players could have hit the owners and the league right where it hurts and walked off the court. There’s no telling if they would have been able to recoup any losses they might have incurred that way. I’m not clear what the rules are on that point. But kudos to every player willing to go to the wall about that; I’d bet they didn’t spend a ton of time reading bylaws and contract clauses, and that’s as it should be.

As a final note, I thought Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, showed a lot of guts. I can see why people in the league (and fans of the rival San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets) might find the guy obnoxious, and I don’t know enough about him to give him any sort of blanket endorsement. But I do like his willingness to go out in public and poke the NBA (and the NFL, even, which I think was recently granted its own SWAT team) when he thinks something stinks. He doesn’t seem intimidated by the imperious, authoritarian air that pro sports league offices tend to cultivate.

But he aired a concern that, in its complexity, is probably familiar to every libertarian who’s ever so much as thought about states’ rights and had to confront the very real likelihood that, in response, people will accuse him of being pro-slavery and worse. Here’s his statement:

“What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent,” Cuban said. “There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with. But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.”

There’s always a danger—and it’s heightened in a case like this one, where the person in question was so blatantly, despicably clear about it—in letting the emotional reaction carry the day and calling for someone’s head. I can imagine someone wanting that literally to be taken from Sterling. I can’t blame them. And I don’t see any problem at all with emotions getting involved here. But Cuban’s exactly the sort of guy who, if the NBA is given blanket permission to punish at will for whatever they don’t like about an owner, would be . . . well, he’d still be doing other stuff, a lot of which at least sounds cool. But he’d be kicked out of the league faster than you can say “Mavericks’ maverick owner.”

So I give him credit here for making this point, even at the risk of some opportunist jumping on his statement as evidence that he doesn’t really hate racism—and therefore is probably a racist himself. Or that he actually defended Sterling, which . . . well, go reread that quote.

But he makes a point about rules and the importance of people being able to form and change them in private groups, and hopefully to serve all members of those groups. I hope this topic comes up more in the following weeks, as the NBA maneuvers to rid itself of Sterling and avoid an avalanche of lawsuits.

But for now, this story is the main headline (warning: Maybe Not Safe for Work). And the secondary header is that nobody was just going to submit to whatever solution their “leaders” or our rulers came up with.

Utterly eliminating racism—like, even in its faintest shades, from the innermost hearts of everyone—isn’t easy; it might not be possible. But bigotry can be made a lot more expensive. Too expensive, even, for a guy who hands out Bentleys like other people bum cigarettes.

ABOUT MICHAEL NOLAN

Michael Nolan is the managing editor of The Freeman.

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The Catholic Cemetery: Is your final resting place based on convenience or Catholicism?

20130527-IMG_0515Nobody gets out of here alive…so, one needs to make plans on a final resting place before you go meet the One who created you in the first place. How does one go about selecting that “final resting place”? Does one go to the neighborhood, secular cemetery, where it is so convenient to get to? If one happens to be Catholic, does he or she consider being buried in a Catholic Cemetery or is your family OK with a secular cemetery? How strong does one’s faith come into play in selecting that cemetery in which one will be buried in? What if that person served our country in the military? Does he or she elect to be buried in that Veteran’s cemetery because it reflects that this person served in our armed forces? Does that person elect to be buried in that same cemetery because it is free of cost? How does one put a price tag on eternal life?

This is a critical topic that can truly create some serious heated discussion because not many people (especially when they are young and healthy), give it much thought as so many of us almost feel like we are immortal. After all, who likes to talk about their death? Who is ever in the mood to talk about his own funeral arrangements? Specially when you are 56 years old and full of life and energy. But, it is a reality – a part of life that every single person has to deal with, sooner or later. And, it is a very important decision – a life-long decision, an eternal decision. Only one person in the history of the world has ever risen from the dead, and because of that incredible feat on Easter Sunday 2,000 years ago, Christians believe in the Resurrection, life everlasting…And, because of what Jesus did three days after His death, Christians – specifically Catholics – place tremendous importance on that final resting place…or, at least they should. Hold on to that thought. Don’t change the channel. Don’t change your major…major?

20130527-IMG_8267A Catholic Cemetery is more than a place for the burial of the dead. It represents the continuation, even in death of the harmony and spiritual alliance which makes the Catholic members of one great family, thereby constituting it an actual family plot. A Catholic Cemetery exists because of our belief in the resurrection of the body at the end of time here on earth. It is truly sacred ground and hold the bodies, once temples of the Holy Spirit, until the Lord comes again in glory. It serves as a symbol of the extended community of believers – a community broken by death. Catholic Cemeteries serve as a constant reminder that death is just a part of the journey that leads to new life. By dying, Jesus destroyed our death. By rising, He restored our life…

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will never die” – John 11:25-26

Christians are citizens of two cities: Heaven and Earth. The Catholic Cemetery helps to illuminate the path from Earth to Heaven. The Catholic Cemetery, as a tangible witness to faith in the resurrection, provides a visible reminder that our loved ones are at rest in the peace of Christ. Our faith tells us that those who have gone before us in death are “asleep”, awaiting the final resurrection when all will be joined together – body and soul. The Catholic Cemetery marks the place where those who have worshiped together in life in this world await life with Christ in the next. They remind us that life is not ended, but changed. By burying the remains of our loved ones in Catholic Cemeteries, and by continued prayer for them, we fulfill both, a Spiritual and Corporal Work of Mercy.

There are only two places in the Catholic Faith that are consecrated – The Church and the Cemetery.

With all this being said, and knowing that Catholic Cemeteries are unique and are considered “consecrated” ground – why is it that the majority of Catholics in this country still end up being buried in the neighborhood, secular cemetery? If a “cradle” Catholic was baptized in a Catholic Church; was confirmed in a Catholic Church; and was married in a Catholic Church – why “on earth” (pardon the pun), would he or she not elect to be buried in a Catholic Cemetery, representing the Catholic Church?

Friends: Acknowledging the fact that secular and Catholic Cemeteries are about the same in price, it comes down to the focus of this much argued debate: “Convenience vs. Catholicism”

Being buried in a convenient, secular cemetery that has not been consecrated
versus
Being buried in a Catholic Cemetery that has been consecrated

and is in tune with what the Holy Catholic Church teaches.

20130527-IMG_8311Knowing that a cemetery will be your final resting place – for eternity – and knowing that you are 4th generation Catholic (baptized, confirmed, married in a Catholic Church, just like everybody in your family for decades) – what would behoove that serious “cradle” Catholic to change his major right at the end of life – just before he was to be awarded his degree in “Catholicism”? The key to the Kingdom. A place of eternal rest with his Heavenly Father.

I view life on earth as if we were all going through college for an entire lifetime. We are constantly studying, always learning, always growing. There are no semesters off. When a Catholic picks his “major” for life – Catholicism – he or she should stay focused on that major throughout his or her entire life. He or she should take courses that are in line with that degree – being baptized, confirmed and married in a Catholic Church; attending Mass a few times per week (every Sunday, without fail); going to confession a few times per year; visiting the sick at hospitals; ministering to the poor and the homeless; being involved with “Pro-Life” events & protecting the unborn 24/7; going on mission trips to Third World countries; protecting the Catholic Church from any and every intrinsic evil that attacks her; attending church events such as priest & diaconate ordinations, fundraising events for the church and the other countless events and activities that take place in all our parishes throughout the year. You get the point. These are the “courses” that all Catholics need to take – the “Requirements” they need to pass in order to receive that diploma at the end of life – a P.H.D. in Catholicism, where P.H.D. stands for: Praising His Divinity.

If this “dedicated” Catholic who has taken all of these courses and requirements throughout his entire lifetime in order to get that P.H.D. in Catholicism and has passed all of these courses with flying colors – decides to change his major at the very last moment – what do you think is going to happen? Will he receive his degree and enter into the Kingdom with his Heavenly Father as a Catholic in good standing? In other words – after going through his entire life as a devout, practicing Catholic – he decides to change course at the last minute and elects to be buried in the neighborhood, secular cemetery as opposed to the Catholic Cemetery (which is part of his requirements in order to receive his P.H.D. in his major, Catholicism) – what do you think will happen? The better question is:

Why in GOD’S name would a Catholic in good standing for all of his life on earth even think of being buried in a “non-Catholic” Cemetery when he has fulfilled every single requirement he needed for his P.H.D. in Catholicism to enter into the Kingdom – by changing his major at the last moment – opening up the risk of not entering the Kingdom because he did not fulfill his requirements as a good and faithful Catholic servant? Why would a Catholic even chance it and challenge GOD by disobeying Him and not following His Way, Truth & Life all the way through until death due us part?

20130527-IMG_8279Only our Creator knows the answer to those questions and I, for one, would never even want to question GOD Almighty when it comes to my salvation. It’s all about Faith and believing in our Heavenly Father. In a nutshell, I would rather live my entire life believing that there is a GOD and finding out at the end of my life that there is no GOD – as opposed to living my entire life believing that there is no GOD and at the end of my life find out that there is a GOD…Read that 3 times and just let that statement sink in for one moment.

GOD is watching it all, folks. Stick with your major. See you at Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery.

New Florida School District Policy: Spy on Students’ Behavior when Off Campus

Sarasota County School Board Members

Sarasota County School Board members: Back row – Dr. Todd (resigned), Goodwin, Kovach. Front row – Zucker and Chair Brown.

The School Board of Sarasota County, Florida will vote to adopt a revised bullying and harassment policy at the June 17, 2014 board meeting. According to Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist Sarasota County Schools, “The changes to the bullying and harassment policy were recommended by staff based on a state Department of Education requirement that Florida School Board bullying/harassment policies include staff members in addition to students. Staff also recommended clarification about cyber-bullying.” [Emphasis added]

Paragraph I-B-5 is new and covers cyber-bullying. The Bullying and Harassment 2.70 revised policy states:

B. The District upholds that bullying or harassment of any student or school employee is prohibited

1. During any education program or activity conducted by a public K-12 educational institution;
2. During any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity;
3. On a school bus of a public K-12 educational institution; or
4. Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network of a public K- 12 education institution; or
5. Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed at a non-school–related location, activity, function, or program or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the bullying substantially interferes with or limits the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school or substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of a school or department. This paragraph does not require a school to staff or monitor any non-school-related activity, function, or program.

Parents and concerned citizens are questioning the Sarasota County School Boards authority to prohibit or be involved in the “monitoring” of  student activities while off campus. Many find this a clear over reach in authority and can place students, and others, in a position to “monitor” (spy on) fellow students. The broad language, while “not requiring” it, can allow schools and staff to monitor students’ non-related activities, functions and programs.

Paragraph II-B defines cyber-bullying as:

Cyberbullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which includes, but is not limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photooptical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying includes the creation of a webpage or webblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person, or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying. [My emphasis]

Is this a fix to a problem that does not exist? There are approximately 40,000 students in Sarasota County district schools. According to Ferguson:

Regarding data on bullying, here are the responses to questions posed to high school students in our district in a recent survey:

During the past 12 months, have you ever been bullied on school property?

(3,408 respondents)

a. Yes

22.3

b. No

77.7

During the past 12 months, have you ever been electronically bullied, such as through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, Web sites, or text messaging?

(3409 respondents)

a. Yes

18.9

b. No

81.1

From the start of the current school year through May 7, there have been 16 expulsions for bullying and 34 expulsions for threats/intimidation.

According to the districts 2014 data .0004 percent of students have been expelled for bullying. The number is so small, yet the policy revisions are so broad. Is the intent to stop bullying or something more nefarious?

Is the Sarasota County School Board using cyber-bullying to infringe on the First Amendment rights of students to freely express themselves on and off campus? Is this school board becoming the NSA of education monitoring of all digital communications? Is this policy a bridge too far in trying to control the behavior of children beyond the school grounds? Is this policy an attempt to stifle students from speaking out based on their beliefs?

Is this policy using a sledge hammer to pound down a ten penny nail?

Children will be children. Peer pressure is both part of growing up and part of life.  It is not the role of this or any other school board to decide what is proper behavior and what is not in the cyber world. That is best left up to parents.

Peter Baklinski writes on a different twist to anti-bulling campaigns, like that in Sarasota County:

While much of the past 15 years has left the goals of the gay ant-bullying scheme carefully unspoken, a recent article in an online homosexual publication let the cat out of the bag.

“Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?,” wrote Daniel Villarreal on Queerty.com, a website that promotes the gay agenda.

“We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it. Recruiting children? You bet we are,” he added.

“I for one,” continued Villarreal, “certainly want tons of school children to learn that it’s OK to be gay, that people of the same sex should be allowed to legally marry each other, and that anyone can kiss a person of the same sex without feeling like a freak. And I would very much like for many of these young boys to grow up and start f**ing men.”

For a fuller description please see the special report on Jennings by Mass Resistance.

For those who wish to contact the Sarasota County School Board and District staff about the new policy:

To email all School Board members:
boardmembers@sarasotacountyschools.net

Jane Goodwin Chair
jane.goodwin@sarasotacountyschools.net

Frank Kovach Vice Chair 
frank.kovach@sarasotacountyschools.net

Shirley Brown
shirley.brown@sarasotacountyschools.net

Caroline Zucker 
caroline.zucker@sarasotacountyschools.net

District 1: To be announced

Zoe Marshall,
Administrative Assistant
zoe.marshall@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: (941) 927-9000 ext. 31147

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Are Liberal Democrats Slaves to their Muslim Masters?

My columns and newsletter are read by many Muslims and Liberal Democrats, as well as those from the right of the political spectrum.  For the sake of my liberal Democrat readers who have a limited knowledge of Islam, I will keep this article simple and to the point. My intent is to educate about how the liberal Democratic world views are similar to and differ from Islam. The following table provides twenty categories for comparison of key policies liberal Democrats hold and compares them to Islamic laws and policy:

Liberal Democrats    Islam     
Pro-Homosexuality and same sex marriage Punishment is death for homosexuals and Lesbians
Women are equal or superior to Men It takes 4 Women to make 1 Man
Do not advocate marriage and Sex to Children Islam/Shariah allow marrying infants to aged men and allow the girl to be ‘raped’ at age 9
Abortions is allowed Abortions are allowed
Advocate for big Government Big Government only in Non-Muslim Countries
Advocate against First Amendment for ALL First Amendment for Muslims only
Anti-Guns and Second Amendment Pro Guns, Chemical, Nuclear and Biological weapons for Muslims
Haters for all things ‘Right Sided’ Haters of all non-Muslims: Specifically Jews and Christians
Separation of Church and State Allah above any form of man-made Government
Do not advocate Freedom of Religion (aside from Islam) Does not advocate ANY Freedoms of Religion (aside from Islam)
Anti-War Strong Advocates for war (jihad) anytime and anywhere
Anti-Christian & Jewish: Lovers of Islam Anti Any Religion Except For Islam
Strong Haters of Jesus Strong Haters of Christians and the Jewish Jesus
Against the Death Penalty for felons Advocates for killing and executions of anyone (without trial)
Anti-Big Oil Companies Strong Advocates of Big Oil
Very Hypocritical Very Hypocritical
Haters of America Haters of America
Haters of Israel Haters of Israel
Pro-Obama Pro-Obama until a Stronger Muslim becomes President
Anti-U.S. Constitution Anti-U.S. Constitution
Animal Rights Advocates Haters of all things with 2 or more legs

The above is just a sampling of Liberal Democrat and Islamic views.  Of the twenty-one issues, the liberal Democrat and the Islamic ideology align together on just eight of the twenty, or 40%.  

Why then do liberals support an ideology that is so different from their own core values?

This phenomenon is known as rational irrationality. Rational irrationality is not double-think — it does not state that the individual deliberately chooses to believe something he or she knows to be false. Rather, the theory is that, when the costs of having erroneous beliefs are low, people relax their intellectual standards and allow themselves to be more easily influenced by fallacious reasoning, cognitive biases and emotional appeals. In other words, people do not deliberately seek to believe false things but rather stop putting in the intellectual effort to be open to evidence that may contradict their beliefs.

My analysis is that for liberal Democrats the Islamic ideology frightens them so much, that it is easier to align themselves with ideologies that are over 60% contrary to their own.  They do not fear conservatives because they realize Christians are a God loving people and will not intentionally harm them.

In a prison you have the weak and the strong.  The strong always prey upon the weak.  The weak will always align themselves with their enemies because it is easier to kneel than to fight.

Our U.S. military has always had the reputation of being strong, therefor the majority of military personnel traditionally have conservative values.  They do not run or kneel to the enemy.  They fight the enemy even if it means their own death is certain.

With a weak Commander in Chief we have seen our military deteriorate. There are still many more brave heroes than there are liberal Democrats, but the gap is closing. It will not be long before same sex marriages in the military will be the norm, instead of abnormal.

There is nothing that can change a liberal Democrat into a strong fighting machine.  One has to have a love for their country that only the strong can appreciate and respect.

Leftists Cancel School Honors Night — Too “Exclusive”

It’s increasingly the case in America that the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. A case in point is Archie R. Cole Middle School in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Writes East Greenwich Patch:

Citing concerns about the “exclusive nature” of the annual honors night at Archie R. Cole Middle School, school officials have decided to scrap the tradition.

Instead, students who would normally be recognized at the annual spring tradition will be honored during team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation.

The notice was sent to parents over the weekend in an e-mail signed by School Principal Alexis Meyer and Assistant Principal Dan Seger.

Certainly, we must battle feelings-bruising exclusivity. Thus do I have a question: Will Principal Meyer and Assistant Principal Seger now also lobby to eliminate the position of “principal” or at least for the elimination of the term? After all, as Dictionary.com informs, the word means, “1.first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.” And the Online Etymology Dictionary states, “c.1300, ‘main, principal, chief, dominant, most important;’ also ‘great, large,’ from Old French principal ‘main, most important,’ of persons, ‘princely, high-ranking’ (11c.), from Latin principalis ‘first in importance; original, primitive,’ from princeps (see prince).”

That sounds awfully excusive to me. Note that “Princeps” was an official title of Roman Emperors that translated into “First Citizen.” And I can’t imagine that these egalitarian educators could tolerate such anti-egalitarian positions and titles. Or do I have it wrong?

Is it that refusal to recognize achievement is only to be applied to other people’s achievement?

This much reminds me of Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren, now senator from Taxachusetts. She not only supported affirmative action while saying nothing about the remarkably un-diverse faculty she was part of at Harvard Law School, but then — despite being white enough for two people — claimed Cherokee heritage, presumably to benefit from the Affirmative Action Daily Double: being female and minority. (Give her credit, though, as she could have gone for the Trifecta and claimed lesbian status, too.)

So I guess it’s poor blue-collar guys, such as the firemen in New Haven, Connecticut, who have to maintain Warren’s principles. Meanwhile, education’s other elitists will maintain their principals and whatever other exclusiveness benefits them. As with the Marxists in the former USSR, North Korea and elsewhere — who had/ have the best residences, cars, vacations and other free-market fruits — leftist policies are for the little people.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com.

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From The “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department: The Rise of Polyamorous Relationships

Unbeknownst to the general public, freshman composition has become the point of attack by all those who would like to tear down the superstructure of our civilization.  In the 1990s we had the attack by the maternalists on the thesis statement for its “phallologocentrism” (i.e., logic).  They argued that the five-paragraph essay replicated the thinking of the patriarchy, so should be replaced.

Patriarchal monogamous heterosexual marriage is being challenged by single-sexed, but now polyamorous relationships. One newly minted Ph.D. is on her way to spreading this thinking as a professor as she celebrates the successful defense of her dissertation on “The Rhetoric and Composition of Polyamory,” or the love of everything, including all of nature.  For those of us not up on the latest in composition studies, she builds on previous scholarship:

As a quick review, I offer this definition by ecosexualities scholar Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio: “Polyamory is a state of being, an awareness, and/or a lifestyle that involves mutually acknowledged, simultaneous relationships of a romantic and/or sexual nature between more than two persons. . . . Polyamorous people erode the myth that being part of a closed dyad is the only authentic form of love” (2004, p. 165)

Open-Relationship-Continuum

I didn’t know that one could be an “ecosexualities scholar.”

This all fits into the race-class-gender attack on Western civilization in this way:

While the language of polyamory is a language of equality,  monormativity is that of hierarchy where relationships become a strategic game, where the goal is to become the “best” or “only” or “most” in a partner’s eyes, to the exclusion of all others.

Researchers in rhetoric and composition can analyze these new words that the polyamorous are creating, asking how this rhetoric is changing the cultural paradigm for relating.

Now I’d like to discuss the glue that holds my whole project together: “relationship literacy.” Relationship literacy refers to the reflexive, critical fluency with which learners can understand, analyze, discuss, and reflect upon their own as well as others’ relationship styles, choices, practices, values, and ethics. People who have made a commitment to acquire relationship literacy understand more clearly than most how relationships, particularly romantic or intimate relationships, are constrained or supported by cultural norms.

Nigeria: Two Kidnapped Christian Girls Escape from Boko Haram

According to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), “Two sisters, Kamka, 19, and Naya, 16, were sleeping when radical Muslims invaded their home. The armed terrorists entered their brother’s room and shot him in the hand before demanding to know where the girls’ father was. When they realized the two sisters were not married and their father was not home, they took the girls by force.”

VOM is providing assistance to these two sisters who recently escaped captivity from Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has declared war on Christians in Nigeria, frequently attacking Christian villages, burning Christians’ houses and murdering indiscriminately. They also kidnap teenage girls and force them to convert and marry Boko Haram members.

After forcing Kamka and Naya to walk through the woods at gunpoint, the terrorists immediately put them to work fetching water and cooking. A few days later, the girls were told that both of them were to be married. “We’re too young,” Naya protested. But the leader then showed them his daughter, a girl of 7 or 8, who was already married.

“If we refused to cooperate, we would be killed,” Naya told a VOM worker. “The man whom I was forced to marry took me. He picked up his gun and a knife and threatened to murder me if I continued to resist.”

The sisters cried and prayed together, unsure of what would become of them. But after two weeks, a Muslim woman took pity on them. While fetching water with the girls, she showed them an escape route and told them to run away.

The girls escaped under cover of darkness. They knocked on the door of the first house they came to, praying the owner would be friendly. Although he was Muslim, the man took pity on the girls. He allowed them to bathe and eat, and then had his sister take them to a nearby Christian village.

The girls were traumatized by their experience but are now doing reasonably well. Since it is unsafe for them to return to their home, VOM is providing care for them at a safe house through one of our project partners.

“I thank God that He has saved us from the hands of these bad people,” Naya said. “Everything is now behind me and I’m not afraid anymore. I only want to look forward now.”

And Kamka is also thankful for God’s protection. “I am very grateful that many Christians pray for me,” she said. “Despite what I’ve been through, I still have faith in God.”

The Voice of the Martyrs invites you to support our work in Nigeria. Your contributions help believers like Naya and Kamka as well as providing support to families of martyrs and medical assistance to victims of extremist attacks.

ABOUT VOM

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To order your copy of Tortured for Christ click on the image.

The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organization dedicated to assisting the persecuted church worldwide. VOM was founded in 1967 by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who was imprisoned 14 years in Communist Romania for his faith in Christ. His wife, Sabina, was imprisoned for three years. In the 1960s, Richard, Sabina, and their son, Mihai, were ransomed out of Romania and came to the United States. Through their travels, the Wurmbrands spread the message of the atrocities that Christians face in restricted nations, while establishing a network of offices dedicated to assisting the persecuted church. The Voice of the Martyrs continues in this mission around the world today.  To learn more about the VOM mission click here.

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For Equality — Against Privilege: Reclaiming a lost ideal by Sheldon Richman

This TGIF originally ran July 7, 2006.

The freedom philosophy can be boiled down to two phrases: for equality, against privilege.

Intuitively, this should sound uncontroversial. We just finished celebrating the Fourth of July, which commemorates the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson’s elegant statement of the freedom philosophy proclaims: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. But since then the idea of equality has acquired many meanings that either work against the freedom philosophy or give it weak support. So how can it be a pillar of liberty?

As Auburn University philosopher Roderick T. Long wrote in The Freeman (“Liberty: The Other Equality”), notions such as equality under the law and equality of freedom fall short as libertarian ideals. After all, we could be equal under unlibertarian law (everyone gets drafted) or we could all have an equally small area of freedom (everyone may do whatever he wants between noon and three on alternate Wednesdays). That would be equality of a sort but not liberty.

Economic Equality

The objections to economic equality are well known. Since in the free market unequal incomes are to be expected as a result of variations in talent, ambition, energy, health, luck, perception of consumer preferences, and so on, economic equality could be attempted (but not achieved) only through monstrous and continuing aggression by government officers. Something approaching equal poverty might be achieved (the political elite would no doubt be more equal than others), but equality at a decent level of prosperity is beyond the State’s ability, as Cuba and North Korea illustrate.

This would seem to leave little content for Jefferson’s ringing phrase. But Long shows that this is not the case. There is a significant sense of equality that gets short shrift in political philosophy, most likely because it is the libertarian sense. We do our cause an injustice by neglecting it.

The best-known formulation of this sense is from John Locke, Jefferson’s inspiration for the Declaration. Long writes:

Locke defines a state . . . of equality as one wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another, there being nothing more evident than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another, without subordination or subjection. . . . [Emphasis added.]

In short, by the equality of men Locke and Jefferson meant not that all men are or ought to be equal in material advantages, but that all men (today it would be all persons, regardless of gender) are equal in authority. To subject an unconsenting person to one’s own will is to treat that person as one’s subordinate — illegitimately so, if we are all naturally equal.

Locke reinforced his thought thus:

[B]eing all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. . . . And, being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us that may authorise us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for ours.

Long goes on to say that this Lockean equality (it can also be found in earlier writers, such as the Levellers, a group of English laissez-faire radicals) provides a powerful underpinning for the freedom philosophy:

The upshot of libertarian equality, equality in authority, is that government can possess no rights that its subjects lack–unless they freely surrender such rights by “deputation, commission, and free consent.” Since I have no right over anyone else’s person or property, I cannot delegate to government a right over anyone else’s person or property. . . . Libertarian equality . . . involves not merely equality before those who administer the law, but equality with them. Government must be restrained within the moral bounds applicable to private citizens. If I may not take your property without your consent, neither may the state.

Frederic Bastiat made the same argument in his great work The Law.

Anti-Privilege

Opposition to privilege is simply the corollary of libertarian equality. If all are equal in authority, then no one may live at the expense of others without their consent. The word privilege is often used equivocally, but it has its roots in the idea of legal favoritism. It is composed of privus, meaning single, and lex or lege, meaning law. Thus a privilege is a government act that (forcibly) bestows favors on one person, or the few.

Historically, government’s primary function has been to exploit the industrious–anyone who works and trades in the market–for the sake of the political class, which prefers collecting subsidies to earning wages or profits. (This original class analysis was formulated by the laissez-faire theorists Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer, students of the economist J. B. Say, in the first half of the nineteenth century). The privileges take the form of tariffs, licenses, monopolies, land grants, [patents], and other subsidies. These enable favored interests to increase their incomes beyond what the market would provide, either by forcibly extracting wealth from producers or by barring them from competitively serving consumers. The name for this privilege-based system is mercantilism, and in many ways it lives on today even in market-oriented economies, which is why they are often called mixed economies.

The privilege part of the mix is a rank injustice against all honest industrious people and a violation of the principle of equal authority that animated so many early Americans.

Champions of liberty have a constant challenge in finding fresh and compelling ways to teach their philosophy to people with different perspectives. I have a hunch there is an audience looking for a philosophy that embraces equality of authority and opposes privilege.

ABOUT SHELDON RICHMAN

Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and TheFreemanOnline.org, and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #3 – Equality Serves the Common Good by Lawrence W. Reed

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

Leaders and experts who support free enterprise and who understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurship will author the pieces. A book will be released in 2015 featuring the best editorials in the series. The opinion editorials and columns will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org.

See the index of the published chapters here.

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#3 – Equality Serves the Common Good

“Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.”

I wish I could remember who first said that. It ought to rank as one of the great truths of all time, and one that is fraught with profound meaning.

Equality before the law—for instance, being judged innocent or guilty based on whether you committed the crime, not on what color, sex, or creed you represent—is a noble ideal and not at issue here. The “equalness” to which the statement above refers pertains to economic income or material wealth.

Put another way, then, the statement might read, “Free people will earn different incomes. Where people have the same income, they cannot be free.”

Economic equality in a free society is a mirage that redistributionists envision—and too often are willing to shed both blood and treasure to accomplish. But free people are different people, so it should not come as a surprise that they earn different incomes. Our talents and abilities are not identical. We don’t all work as hard. And even if we all were magically made equal in wealth tonight, we’d be unequal in the morning because some of us would spend it and some of us would save it.

To produce even a rough measure of economic equality, governments must issue the following orders and back them up with firing squads and prisons: “Don’t excel or work harder than the next guy, don’t come up with any new ideas, don’t take any risks, and don’t do anything differently from what you did yesterday.” In other words, don’t be human.

The fact that free people are not equal in economic terms is not to be lamented. It is, rather, a cause for rejoicing. Economic inequality, when it derives from the voluntary interaction of creative individuals and not from political power, testifies to the fact that people are being themselves, each putting his uniqueness to work in ways that are fulfilling to himself and of value to others. As the French would say in a different context, Vive la difference!

People obsessed with economic equality—egalitarianism, to employ the more clinical term—do strange things. They become envious of others. They covet. They divide society into two piles: villains and victims. They spend far more time dragging someone else down than they do pulling themselves up. They’re not fun to be around. And if they make it to a legislature, they can do real harm. Then they not only call the cops, they are the cops.

Examples of injurious laws motivated by egalitarian sentiments are, of course, legion. They form the blueprint of the modern welfare state’s redistributive apparatus. A particularly classic case was the 1990 hike in excise taxes on boats, aircraft, and jewelry. The sponsors of the bill in Congress presumed that only rich people buy boats, aircraft, and jewelry. Taxing those objects would teach the rich a lesson, help narrow the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” and raise a projected $31 million in new revenues for the federal Treasury in 1991.

What really occurred was much different. A subsequent study by economists for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress showed that the rich did not line up by the flock to be sheared: Total revenue from the new taxes in 1991 was only $16.6 million. Especially hard-hit was the boating industry, where a total of 7,600 jobs were wiped out. In the aircraft industry, 1,470 people were pink-slipped. And in jewelry manufacturing, 330 joined the jobless ranks just so congressmen could salve their egalitarian consciences.

Those lost jobs, the study revealed, prompted a $24.2 million outlay for unemployment benefits. That’s right—$16.6 million came in, $24.2 million went out, for a net loss to the deficit-ridden Treasury of $7.6 million. To advance the cause of economic equality by a punitive measure, Congress succeeded in nothing more than making almost all of us a little bit poorer.

To the rabid egalitarian, however, intentions count for everything and consequences mean little. It’s more important to pontificate and assail than it is to produce results that are constructive or that even live up to the stated objective. Getting Congress to undo the damage it does with bad ideas like this is always a daunting challenge.

In July 1995 economic inequality made headlines with the publication of a study by New York University economist Edward Wolff. The latest in a long line of screeds that purport to show that free markets are making the rich richer and the poor poorer, Wolff’s work was celebrated in the mainstream media. “The most telling finding,” the author wrote, “is that the share of marketable net worth held by the top 1 percent, which had fallen by 10 percentage points between 1945 and 1976, rose to 39 percent in 1989, compared with 34 percent in 1983.” Those at the bottom end of the income scale, meanwhile, saw their wealth erode over the period—if the Wolff study is to be believed.

On close and dispassionate inspection, however, it turns out that the study didn’t tell the whole story, if indeed it told any of it. Not only did Wolff employ a very narrow measure that inherently exaggerates wealth disparity, he also ignored the mobility of individuals up and down the income scale. An editorial in the August 28, 1995, Investor’s Business Daily laid it out straight: “Different people make up ‘the wealthy’ from year to year. The latest data from income-tax returns . . . show that most of 1979’s top-earning 20 percent had fallen to a lower income bracket by 1988.”

Of those who made up the bottom 20 percent in 1979, just 14.2 percent were still there in 1988. Some 20.7 percent had moved up one bracket, while 35 percent had moved up two, 25.3 percent had moved up three, and 14.7 percent had joined the top-earning 20 percent.

If economic inequality is an ailment, punishing effort and success is no cure in any event. Coercive measures that aim to redistribute wealth prompt the smart or politically well-connected “haves” to seek refuge in havens here or abroad, while the hapless “have-nots” bear the full brunt of economic decline. A more productive expenditure of time would be to work to erase the mass of intrusive government that ensures that the “have-nots” are also the “cannots.”

This economic equality thing is not compassion. When it’s just an idea, it’s bunk. When it’s public policy, it’s illogic writ large.

 

Lawrence W. Reed
President
Foundation for Economic Education

 

Summary

  • If people are free, they will be different. That reflects their individuality and their contributions to others in the marketplace. It requires force to make them the same.
  • Talents, industriousness, and savings are three of many reasons why we earn different incomes in a free society.
  • Forcing people to be equal economically may make misguided egalitarians feel better, but it does real harm to real people.
  • For further information, see http://tinyurl.com/m4rwevwhttp://tinyurl.com/k9mpesc, and http://tinyurl.com/lk6avaw.

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Brandeis Unbecoming: A New Student Video Defending Hirsi Ali

Brandeis University’s 2014 commencement ceremony was marred by Brandeis President Fred Lawrence’s disgraceful decision to deny Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born fearless champion of Muslim women’s rights an honorary degree. Hirsi Ali is one of the most prominent fighters against forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honor killings in the Muslim world.

Student activist Chloe Valdary expresses her outrage at Brandeis President Lawrence’s hypocritical decision in a short video produced by Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

Brandeis President Lawrence gave in to radical faculty who insisted that: “We cannot accept Ms. Hirsi Ali’s triumphalist narrative of western civilization, rooted in a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples.”

Lawrence has been severely criticized in the press and by Brandeis graduates and students for this decision. Chloe’s powerful indictment provides the clearest contrast yet between Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s moral courage and Fred Lawrence’s lack of it.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/P5oLXb9FtLA[/youtube]

 

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The “Children of War: Nine Months to Freedom” Movie Serves as a Timely Reminder of Islamist War Crimes

BRUSSELS, May 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –The 1971 War of Liberation in Bangladesh remains the template for many of the conflicts that define the late 20th century. At a time when many defenders of human rights were apprehensive that this template was fast being forgotten, the release of the Indian movie Children of War recalls the horrific massacre and genocide and once again reminds the world of the brutalities committed by the Pakistani army in collusion with the Jamaat-e-Islami and its associated organisation. The movie, whose promos had been available for quite some time on YouTube, depicts the dark times in the nine-month-long Bangladeshi struggle for freedom, and shows how the Pakistani army instigated massacres against millions of people, especially crimes against women.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/oGfh5Vwa83A[/youtube]

Planned and calculated killing of intellectuals throughout the nine months of atrocities, the vigilante groups- led by Al-Badr and Al-Shams-who were radical collaborators recruited by the Pakistani Army-played an important role in the genocide. Most of those collaborators belonged to the political parties Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim League, who were convinced by the West Pakistanis that as pure Muslims they had a duty to save the integrity of the largest Muslim country (Pakistan) and  destroy those who were enemies of Islam. The movie recalls these horrors in an appealing manner.

The movie touches a subject that has been brushed aside for long because of the vested interests of previous governments in Bangladesh. At a time when vested interests in the West have questioned the very legitimacy of the 1971 War Crimes Tribunal, the events depicted in this movie come as a strong rebuff to such apologists. Not surprising, therefore, that this movie has been banned in Pakistan!

A leading critic has very aptly described this movie as “a true blue epic of mind-numbing intensity, a kind of cinema that David Lean would have attempted were he a witness to the barbarism that went into the formation ofBangladesh… This isn’t really a film. It’s a work of art, tempestuous and terrific. Yes, this is a masterpiece,” meant to shake up the international community that genocide is not only history, but what a country gets when fundamentalist intolerance is encouraged by political vendetta to inflict the rape of a generational civilisation.

As a conscientious Member of European Parliament, I consider it as my responsibility to strongly recommended to the European Parliament and other European institutions – committed to the principles of secularism, democracy and tolerance – to promote this movie in order to witness the realist depiction of events of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh perpetrated by the Pakistani army and the Jamaat. ‘Children of War’ is not just a movie, it is also a plea for justice, to continue the noble struggle, not between two religions, but between extremists and liberals, of every religio-cultural denominations.

Pope to visit PA Mufti who called Jews enemies of Allah destined to be exterminated by Muslims

Maybe Pope Francis will have an opportunity to explain to Muhammad Hussein how he is misunderstanding Islam, and how “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/sHhG1IyfqXg[/youtube]

“Pope to visit PA Mufti who preached Jews are enemies of Allah destined to be exterminated by Muslims,” by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, May 19, 2014:

In the course of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority next week, as a matter of protocol, Pope Francis, the most senior figure in the Catholic Church, is scheduled to meet with Israel’s two chief rabbis as well as the most senior religious figure in the PA, the Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. What Pope Francis may not be aware of is that the Mufti has an ongoing record of vicious Antisemitic hate speech, which has been condemned internationally. In 2012, the Mufti preached that it is Muslim destiny to kill the Jews. On a different occasion, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he taught that Jews were “enemies of Allah,” and in another speech he said that the souls of suicide bombers “tell us to follow in their path.”

In his 2012 speech at a Fatah celebration in East Jerusalem, the Mufti linked the extermination of Jews to “Palestine,” and claimed that Israelis know this religious war, “Jihad,” is coming and are trying to protect themselves by planting a special tree that will hide them from Muslims when they come to kill them.

Moderator at Fatah ceremony: “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith.
Long Live Fatah! [I invite you,] our honorable Sheikh.”
Palestinian Authority Mufti Muhammad Hussein: “47 years ago the [Fatah] revolution started. Which revolution? The modern revolution
of the Palestinian people’s history.
In fact, Palestine in its entirety is a revolution,
since [Caliph] Umar came [to conquer Jerusalem, 637 CE],
and continuing today, and until the End of Days.
The reliableHadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad),
in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:
‘The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
“Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent].’
Therefore, it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees]
surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies.
[Gharqad trees] surrounding, surrounding and surrounding.
That’s the Palestine we are talking about,
with the beginning of the Jihad and the continuation of the Jihad,
with the struggle and the procession of the Martyrs.”
[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2012]

It is unknown whether the Mufti knew in advance that the moderator would refer to the Jews as “descendants of monkeys and pigs,” and that Islam is at war with the Jews. However – as can be seen in the video – he did not hesitate, retract or condemn these statements, asserting instead that Palestinians are destined to exterminate the Jews.

When Palestinian Media Watch publicized this hate speech, the Mufti’s words were condemned by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, the British Foreign Office, the European Union and many others….

Michelle Obama Tearing Down the White Man the Old Fashioned Way

Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco — and Michelle Obama left her brain in 1954.

Addressing graduating high-school students the other day in the Topeka, Kansas, school district, the federal lunch lady said, referring to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, “[Y]our experience here in Topeka would have been unimaginable back in 1954….” And perhaps this is true.

It also would have been unimaginable back in 1554 or 954. After all, the institutions making that experience possible hadn’t been birthed yet.

You know, those institutions created by European/European-descent civilization.

That civilization that Darth Vegan is tacitly impugning with her racial agitation.

The point is that if you’re going to talk about the past, don’t tendentiously cherry-pick it for destructive ideological purposes. It’s as much as a discussion about slavery. Not only is the focus always on the less than one percent of the history of slavery that was written in the United States (it’s one of the world’s oldest institutions), but the most significant point is missed: Whites were not the first to practice slavery.

But they were the first to abolish it.

If some take offense at this, they can pound sand. I take offense at the constant derision aimed at my civilization by critics who should get down on their knees, kiss the ground trod by our ancestors and thank God for our civilization’s existence. Where else could effete ne’er do wells complain about injustice while living a life of silk, satin and Sidwell Friends and dining on Kobe beef?

Really, this all reminds me of how no good deed goes unpunished. This focus on a group’s sins to the exclusion of its triumphs is much like trying to epitomize a cracker-jack golfer by some of his three-putts while ignoring his many championships; it’s like condemning a great rocket engineer over a few failed trial launches and ignoring that he got you to the moon.

M. Obama also said to the students, “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin….” This is absolutely true. Just this past Mother’s Day weekend a white family was stopped and beaten by a black mob because of the color of their skin.

Of course, these black-on-white racial attacks — already a frequent but largely unreported phenomenon — will only worsen with racial hustlers such as the Obamas peddling their “series of agreed-upon myths,” to use Napoleon’s characterization of history.

jfk quote

For a larger view click on the image.

And this agitation has its effect. Just consider the testimonial Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND), gave about how race-hustling affected his attitude prior to his religious conversion. He said in a 2013 Los Angeles Times interview, “I believed the lie that because I was black, I wasn’t going to be able to make it because of the white man… I was listening to people like Jackson and Louis Farrakhan…. He talked about the blue-eyed devil, and I believed him. I started hating white people.” And since most people don’t experience religious conversions, what’s the result of this brainwashing?

It’s that now, “not all but most black people are so racist toward white people,” Peterson explained.

And this explains the Obamas. They are obsessed with race.

Obsessed.

And what, America, did you expect when electing a far-left, radical, black-liberation-theology-church-attending, Marxist-leaning, terrorist-consorting ex-socialist-party member who cut his political teeth in the Chicago machine? Mr. Smith goes to Washington?

Well, it was actually Uncle Sam goes to Hell.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Do Markets Promote Immoral Behavior? by Fred E. Foldvary

Pure markets enhance good behavior, because in such arrangements, voluntary acts are rewarded and involuntary acts are punished. A pure market, as we define it, consists only of voluntary human action. That’s because a truly free market includes governance structures that penalize coercive harm, and such pure markets do not impose any restrictions or costs on honest and peaceful human activity.

Critics of markets think otherwise. They point to slave markets or a market for stolen goods as examples of market immorality.

More recently, Professor Dr. Armin Falk (University of Bonn) and Professor Dr. Nora Szech (University of Bamberg) conducted experiments in which people were offered a choice between receiving 10 euros versus letting a laboratory mouse get killed. If a subject decided to save a mouse, the experimenters bought the animal, according to the study authors writing in the journal Science.

But in the experimental market with buyers and sellers, more people were willing to accept the killing of a mouse than when individuals were simply offered an isolated choice. Therefore, the researchers concluded, markets erode moral values. Guilt is shared with other traders who are also involved in transactions that kill mice. If a person refused a transaction to save a mouse, somebody else would step in, so the mouse would be killed anyway.

Do Falk and Szech’s analysis prove that markets erode morals?

Pure Markets or Coercion-Infected Bazaars

The term “market” can refer to any bazaar or system of transactions, and also to pure free markets in which action is voluntary. Thus the buying and selling of slaves falls outside a voluntary market, but it is a bazaar or trade “market” in the sense that it includes buying and selling. When discussing the morality or failures of “markets,” we need to distinguish between voluntary transactions and those that involve coercive harm. Hence I will use the term “bazaar” to refer to trade that may involve coercion, while using “market” to mean a nexus of trade free of coercion.

In his paper “Is Economics Independent of Ethics?” economist Jack High examined the term “market economy,” in contrast to “government activity.” The market, writes High, “is defined as a system of voluntary exchange.” A deep understanding of the concept of the pure market requires an analysis of the meaning of the term “voluntary.” It will not do to simply state that “voluntary” means “not coercive,” since “coercive” is equivalent to the term “not voluntary.”

“Voluntary” action implies an ethical rule by which some acts are morally permitted and other acts, the involuntary ones, are prohibited. To have a universal meaning of voluntary action, and thus of the market, this moral standard must itself be universally applicable to humanity. This universal ethic is the expression of natural moral law, based on human nature rather than any cultural practice or personal viewpoint.

The Universal Ethic

John Locke (1690) described the moral “law of nature” or natural moral law as being derived from two premises: biological independence and human equality. Independence is the biological fact that human beings think and feel as individuals. Equality is the proposition that there is nothing in human biology that entitles one set of human beings to be masters over another set which are slaves.

A unique universal ethic can be derived from these Lockean premises. The universal ethic has three basic rules:

1. Acts that have welcomed benefits are good.

2. Acts that coercively harm others, by initiating an invasion, are evil.

3. All other acts are neutral.

The term “harm” is distinguished from a mere offense. In an offense, the distress is due solely to the beliefs and values of the person affected. In contrast, coercive harm involves an invasion, an unwelcome penetration into the legitimate domain of the victim. So if a person is offended by what someone says, this is due to his beliefs and values; this act is not coercively harmful, and is designated as morally neutral by the universal ethic.

The universal ethic also provides a meaning for moral rights and liberty. A moral right to X means that the negation of X is morally evil. For example, a person has a moral right to possess a car because the negation of that possession, i.e., theft, is morally evil. Since the universal ethic is the expression of natural moral law, the moral rights based on that ethic can be called “natural rights.” Society has complete liberty when its laws are based solely on the universal ethic, with legal rights congruent with natural rights.

The pure market is inherently ethical because the same universal ethic that provides the meaning of “market” is also the natural-law ethic used to judge policy and human action. Involuntary action is both evil and outside the market. There are slave bazaars, but there cannot be a free market in buying and selling slaves, because slavery is involuntary and, thus, evil.

Although the pure market is ethical in excluding evil acts, it is a separate issue whether a free marketenhances or hinders ethical behavior by minimizing evil action. Since the governance of a pure market penalizes acts that coercively harm others, the ideal governance of a free society will have optimal penalties for wrongful acts.

By deterring coercive acts, rehabilitating criminals, and providing restitution for victims, the free society steers human action toward those acts that are good or neutral. Adam Smith, who popularized the concept of the invisible hand of the market, also wrote in his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, that people have a natural fellow-feeling or sympathy for others. Social entrepreneurs can promote sympathy for communities and benevolent causes, which promotes morally good behavior.

Relative to today’s interventionist economies, the free market promotes good behavior by avoiding the imposition of costs and restrictions. In today’s world, even when good acts are not prohibited, they are impeded with costs such as taxes, licenses, and permit requirements. Even when an organization is tax exempt, it must today fill out forms and report on its activities. The free market promotes good behavior more than today’s interventionist economy by avoiding barriers that make goodness more costly.

Critics of markets claim that when people search for the cheapest goods, moral concern takes a back seat. But in a truly free market, the products offered are produced by moral means, by a process that does not involve coercive harm. Therefore searching for the lowest-cost goods is not evil. Only when goods are produced by immoral means, such as with slave labor, is the product morally tainted, but that, by definition, could not occur within a voluntary market.

Of Mice and Men

Unfortunately, some behavioral economists—those who conduct experiments on human behavior—leap to incorrect conclusions about markets because they use the term “market” for any system of transactions—even those involving non-voluntary aspects.

Recall that in the Falk and Szech experiments cited above, subjects were offered a choice between receiving money versus letting a laboratory mouse get killed. If a subject decided to save a mouse, the experimenters bought the animal and allowed it to live. In the experimental bazaar, however, more people were willing to accept the killing of a mouse than when individuals were simply offered an isolated choice. The researchers concluded that markets erode moral values as guilt is shared with other traders who are also involved in transactions that kill mice. If a person refused a transaction to save a mouse, somebody else would step in, so the mouse would be killed anyway.

The first trouble is that no conclusion about markets and morals can be derived without first analyzing the morality of the particular act, killing a mouse. There is no consensus among ethicists on the issue of mouse (animal) rights, but with respect to the issue of how markets affect moral behavior, we can analyze two possibilities: First, if killing a mouse is not evil, then accepting a choice that kills a mouse is not promoting evil behavior. Second, if the non-utilitarian killing of a mouse (i.e., killing for reasons other than for food, useful materials, or self-defense) is indeed evil, then it is prohibited by the laws of the market and is thus penalized, which minimizes such acts and avoids eroding moral values.

Another problem with the Falk and Szech approach is that the study turns on the condition that people violate their own “individual moral standards,” which to some individuals may, indeed, include mouse killing. I have tried above to show that, in order for an ethic to be universal, it must satisfy certain criteria. Individual moral standards are not morals per se, but rather personal values. Violation of these would be offenses. It may be interesting to some that markets—even pure ones—tend to make people overlook offenses, due to the distance the transactional nature of the arrangement creates between the actor and the original evil, or due to the perceived amorality of fellow actors in the bazaar. For example, “If I don’t buy or sell, someone else will” can creep into a market actor’s rationale. But this rationale has no bearing on a universal moral ethic, which would proscribe harmful actions ex ante—that is, before they infect the market.

In other words, concern about the tendency of market forces to reinforce perceived evils confuses the body and its symptoms with the pathology. The blood stream can carry a pathogen around to various part of one’s body, for example, hastening disease. That doesn’t mean that the bloodstream is somehow evil or undesirable by extension. It’s simply that the pathogen must be eliminated.

Evils of Intervention

Another (perhaps more familiar) approach is to blame markets for outcomes that are actually the result of state intervention rather than voluntary action. Even economists have made a cottage industry out of blaming the market for problems such as recessions and unemployment. These critics fail to distinguish between today’s mixed economies (bazaars replete with governmental interventions) and an arrangement that is much closer to a pure market. Any outcome, however, such as an economic crisis or depression, has to be analyzed sufficiently to determine whether the causes are the interventions or the markets.

Failure to appreciate the concept of a pure market is on display in the article “Markets Erode Morals, Let People Do Horrible Things: Study” by Mark Gongloff in the Huffington Post.  The author states, “The devastating collapses of the dot-com and housing bubbles in recent years have finally led us to start questioning the value of unfettered markets.”

If markets are unfettered, the Federal Reserve does not exist, there are no income and sales taxes; no asset forfeitures; no government subsidies; no federal regulatory agencies such as the SEC, FDA, FHA, and Fannie Mae; and no state and local interventions. The author presumes, with no analysis, that the housing bubble was caused by the market. There is good reason to conclude that massive monetary and fiscal subsidies to real estate—intervention—were primary causes of the crash of 2008, and that the cheap credit provided by money expansions skewed interest rates away from their natural rates, promoting previous bubbles. In these cases, the evils of those impure markets were the consequences of interventions whose intentions may arguably have been good.

The purpose of economic theory is to enable people to understand the implicit economic reality beneath superficial appearances. Critics of free markets observe the superficial appearances of the bazaar without delving into the ethical foundations of the free market and the economic causes of outcomes such as the boom-bust cycle. The ethical and economic reality is that markets are inherently ethical, and they promote ethical behavior.

ABOUT FRED E. FOLDVARY

Fred Foldvary teaches economics at San Jose State University.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Make It Rain: A hot new game gives players mixed messages about markets and cronyism by Thomas Bogle

I recently returned from a school-related trip to Atlanta to discover that a new mobile app had claimed my students’ attention.

“Check it out, Mr. Bogle! I’m making it rain!”

They were excited to show me this new game, knowing full well that I would turn it into a lesson in economics.

And I have to admit that my opinion of this game is mixed. On one hand, the Public Choice analysis of our current economic system as presented in the game is not too far from reality and it would be a great starting point for many classroom discussions.

On the other hand, this is what the company’s website says the game is about:

Make It Rain isn’t just a game. It’s a satire about wealth obsession and what it takes to become obscenely rich. Players manipulate business, political, and financial institutions to generate incredible fortunes. It’s striking a nerve in political discussions of wealth inequality and political corruption in the U.S.

If you have not seen it, “Make It Rain: The Love of Money” is played on a mobile device by swiping your finger across a stack of bills as though you are throwing them out one at a time. The faster you swipe, the more money you make. But don’t just work harder, work smarter! You can increase the value of each swipe by investing in different categories. You might invest in various business ventures such as paper routes and lemonade stands. If that isn’t sufficient, you can also make financial investments into savings accounts and stocks. There is even an option for a bitcoin investment account.

Those traditional routes to wealth creation may seem all well and good, but if you want to get really rich—I mean “one percenter” rich—you will need to start investing in your political cronies. Yes, there is an entire section for political investments, where you can hire lobbyists, form a super PAC, and even start building voting machines. The more “investments” you make, the greater your wealth-earning potential. That part sounds like an engaging way to discuss Public Choice analysis.

As you make business investments (which become progressively more “evil” the higher you advance), your ability to make money is still limited by your finger-swiping speed. However, both your financial investments and your political investments are passive income and require no effort on your part. That’s where the game’s message becomes mixed.

To add an element of risk to the game, The FBI might put you under investigation, whether you engage in illegal activities or not. The outcome of the investigation is determined by the spin of a wheel, not the facts of the manner in which you have played the game. Rule of law be damned! Besides, even if you lose the case, you can always bribe the judge.

Did I mention that the only way to bribe a judge is by using a special card, available only as an in-app purchase? Yes, the profitability of this game in the real world is actually determined by your willingness to spend real money to bribe a fake judge in order to keep your fake money.

Should I even be surprised that my students have already found a way to cheat in a game about cheating?

But don’t worry; if you do lose your shirt to a corrupt judge, you can always double your current cash holding by simply reading a news article. Click on that button in the game and you will be redirected to the website of The New York Times to read “For the Love of Money” by Sam Polk. In other words, a game structured entirely around you making as much money as possible, by whatever means possible, is now going to reward you with even more money for reading an article that tries to convince you that the pursuit of money is an illness and an addiction. How ironic.

So it seems that the underlying message of the game is that the very pursuit of money itself is evil. When the game is opened, a variety of biblical sayings decrying wealth are often splashed across the screen. The creators of the game seem oblivious to the fact that self-interested business and financial investments that create wealth in a free-market economy do so because they improve the quality of life of real people, including those who often seem far removed from the activity in question. The money that is made is simply a response to the value creation that precedes it.

The despicable aspect of money is not that it is made, but that it can be transferred—at the barrel of a an agent’s gun if necessary—through backroom political deals. That is not the fault of money. It is the result of creating political institutions that wield the sword and are willing to sell that power to the highest bidder. But good luck finding anything about that in this game.

Young people, the world around you is a beautiful and fascinating place, thanks in large part to the entrepreneurs and innovators who develop new products and services—even mobile games with a political agenda. Please do not let the cynicism of others tear down your enthusiasm for making the world a better place. Improve the lives of those around you. Allow them to express their gratitude by returning the favor. The money you use is simply a means to those ends, not the end itself.

Instead of a focus on “making it rain,” I encourage you to try and make a difference. You just might be surprised at how the market responds, especially when political investments are taken off the table.

ABOUT THOMAS BOGLE

Thomas Bogle teaches business-related courses to high school students in Tempe, Arizona. He and his wife also operate The Ice Box, a mobile shaved ice vending business (well, they will once the city gets out of their way) and he blogs at www.thingstoact.wordpress.com.