25 January 2009

A Letter Against the Stimulus Trillion

The following is an email I sent to my elected representatives in Washington regarding the "stimulus" spending spree.

As the Congress makes its way through constructing an economic "stimulus" bill, I would like to voice my disapproval of extending and expanding the spending begun under the Bush administration. As we close out the month of January, there are apparently many unanswered questions as to where TARP funds are and what they are being used for. That's somewhere around $350 billion dollars - and rising - in lost tax-payer dollars. Or rather borrowed dollars which tax-payers will have to repay at some point. Soon, we can expect another $350 billion in TARP funds to go down the memory hole. And we stand on the verge of dumping close to (or more than) $1 trillion on "stimulus".

As a relatively young American (37 years old), I already understand that Social Security will be bled dry long before I reach retirement age. I also understand that Medicare will also not be around by the time I get to the age where it may be available to me. Both programs, I feel, will render themselves bankrupt. And while I believe they will have a detrimental effect on the country as a whole, there is still time to lessen their effects. There is time to deal with the all-too-clear consequences of over-promised benefits.

Therefore, it bears considering if the massive spending which Congress and the new President have claimed is essential to our economic survival will really and truly have the needed effect, or if it is a $1 trillion pork barrel designed to make the populace more dependent on government largesse. While it may be a cynical way to view the latest GAO report on the timing of overall "stimulus" spending, the GAO report clearly shows that the "stimulus" money will still be driving pork-dollars into the next presidential election cycle. Thus, the "stimulus" spending is in reality a government IV-drip of borrowed spending on pork projects and bailouts designed to keep those currently in power firmly in place.

That this latest government intrusion on tax-payer dollars - future tax-payer dollars, in this case - follows on the heels of what some regard as the nationalization of the banking industry is worrying to those who believe that, as President Reagan so aptly put it, "government is the problem." President Obama, in his inaugural address, claimed that the question is not about big government or small government, but rather about working government. But the only thing that government seems to be able to do well is to get bigger and more intrusive; the only thing that power-holders seem to do well is to solidify their own places in power, regardless of the fiscal cost to those they represent.

In preparing for the new administration - regardless of who won the presidential election in November - I began to read F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. The socialistic path down which our country is headed is unmistakable. It runs across both political parties; President Bush's "compassionate conservatism" and bank bailouts has prepared the way for President Obama's Left agenda. It appears to me that both sides - Republican and Democrat - have capitulated to the idea that only the government can "fix" things.

But it is precisely for this reason that I urge you, my elected representative, to fight for limiting government, lowering tax rates as much as possible, and stripping the federal government of extraneous and harmful appendages of domestic influence (which it has no business in anyway, as they interfere with things which belong to the realm of the various states).

Thank you for your time, attention, and service.

24 January 2009

Concerning Chesterton's Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the most interesting, convincing cases made for orthodox Christian theology, but made in a distinctly non-dogmatic way. Though the text is 100 years old (I believe it was published in 1908), the arguments still make sense - indeed, perhaps make more sense - today. Mr. Chesterton uses logic to show just how illogical rationalist beliefs are, and then links his own ideas (and ideals) gained over time to orthodox Christian beliefs.

While some may think that this text is too difficult to tackle, I would say that it is deceptively difficult. Mr. Chesterton's style seems simple enough, and his turn of phrase can sometimes lead to a chuckle. And then one sinks his mental teeth into the words and finds them quite chewy, in a good way. So while it may take time and effort to dig into Mr. Chesterton's deeper meaning, the work is quite rewarding, especially in the early parts of the text.

This book is a must-read for folks who like to think and who perhaps wonder if logical arguments can be made for Christian orthodoxy. Mr. Chesterton shows that this is possible; his arguments are convincing.

One further thought is that, like all writers, Mr. Chesterton puts forward some views which just don't hold much water. After completing this book, I read Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationalism" (text at http://orwell.ru/library/essays/national... where Orwell claims - rightly, I think - that Chesterton's "romantic" view of the French revolution is detrimental to his argument because if someone else else had written the same things about Britain, Chesterton "would have been the first to jeer". (Orwell also makes other remarks on Chesterton, but I leave those aside at the moment.) This critique does not, however, negate the whole of Chesterton's argument in my eyes; it only stands to prove that all of us, even the most readable and reasonable, are subject to the pitfalls of our own proclivities.

View all my reviews.

19 January 2009

Asylum from Martyrdom

From Fox News:

A Swiss lawyer working on behalf of the Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday his client will seek political asylum in Switzerland.

Geneva-based lawyer Mauro Poggia said Muntadhar al-Zeidi's life is in danger if he stays in Iraq.

Al-Zeidi has been detained in an Iraqi jail awaiting trial since he was seized by guards after his Dec. 14 outburst at a joint news conference in Baghdad by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"He is in danger over there," Poggia told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. "He's also in danger in other Muslim countries because people who support his action could try to make him a martyr."

This is rich! Chuck two shoes at an outgoing US president, and you're the hero of the Muslim world (or the Muslim street…or the Arab street…or one of those. What the hell do all of those tropes thrown around by the media mean, anyway?) And what would they choose to do with such a hero?

Kill him, of course. You're not a true hero to the Islamo-fascist wing unless you're dead. That says a lot about the world view of the Islamo-fascist.

And where to keep your warm body if you're a reluctant Islamo-fascist "hero" waiting for someone to finish the coronation? In a Western country, of course. And Switzerland, no less. A quick Google search shows that Switzerland has been criticized for its immigration laws being "racist" (see here and here). What better place for the unwilling Islamo-fascist hero to hide from his martyr-making brethren?

This is how the West will lose itself. In trying to save parts of the world from its own hate of it, it will invite the hate into its home, feed it, clothe it, give it "asylum", and call it its own. Never mind that the wolf was witness donning sheep's clothing on the doorstep. It'll be ok, as long as we're nice to it.

12 January 2009

The Lesson of Prince Harry

The lesson is simple, but one needed in today's hyper-media driven culture: never videotape anything. This might be extended to picture taking, emailing, and audio recording. No record of anything, because there is a high probability that our "lesser" moments, attempts at humor, or otherwise private musings will come back to haunt. This is the price of living in a largely humorless society.

God save the Prince and his desire to be a soldier; who would have thought that such an aspiration would come at the cost of letting off a little steam with his brethren?