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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Amend the Constitution But Hold the Mayo

Stephen Macklin at Hold the Mayo is on his 4th revision of a proposed Constitutional amendment with the aim of ending eminent domain abuse. I also sent him my proposed amendment for consideration. He has been discussing the merits of the various elements which should or should not be included in the amendment. There are some good discussions on this issue so why not go on over, order yourself a big hoagie and say ‘hold the mayo.’ Could I also get some chili cheese fries and a large cherry Dr. Pepper with that?
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Letter to Congressman Shadegg

Dear Congressman Shadegg,

As you are aware, the United States Supreme Court ruled against private property rights in the Kelo vs. New London case. This ruling is very troubling to myself as well as many other Americans. The right to own property is the cornerstone of this great Republic. In one 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court has all but taken this fundamental right away. In my opinion, the only way to reverse this trend is to amend the Constitution. This is the amendment which I propose:

Section 1: Eminent domain shall not be construed to allow any government within the United States to take property from one private citizen, corporation, or organization to be given or sold to any other citizen, corporation, or organization for any reason. The Federal government shall only invoke eminent domain in order to carry out the necessary functions of government as enumerated in this Constitution.

Section 2: ‘Just compensation’ shall be defined as no less than double the fair market value of the property being taken for local, State, and Federal governments to carry out their legally prescribed functions.

Section 3: No government within the jurisdiction of the United States shall invoke eminent domain with the purpose of generating additional revenue.

Congressman, I have every reason to believe that you will lead the charge to amend the Constitution of the United States to reaffirm private property rights for all Americans. As your constituent, I am aware of your ‘Enumerated Powers’ and ‘Health Care Choice’ proposals (both of which I fully support). I am also aware that you received the highest grade in the last term of the U.S. House from Citizens Against Government Waste honoring you as a ‘Taxpayer Hero.’
I am confident that if you are willing to take up the cause of property owners, you will receive overwhelming support throughout the state and the country. I would be most proud to see this leadership come from my representative from my home state of Arizona. Congressman, this is your opportunity to carry on the tradition of Barry Goldwater, Mat Sammon and other Arizonans who dared to buck the trends of Washington D.C. The time to begin this revolution is now.

Stephen Littau
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


The baby alert awareness advisory system has moved up from code yellow (elevated) to code orange (high). Our doctor told us that if the baby does not arrive by July 6th, she will be induced on that day (which would move the alert to red, the highest level of awareness). With this in mind, posting will be slow to non-existent for the next couple of weeks.

You may have noticed some changes to the site. I am pleased to announce that I have joined the upstart blogging community in the TTLB called: Life, Liberty, Property. The community is an alliance of bloggers who advocate individual liberty. The group was created and administered by Eric Cowperthwaite of Eric’s Grumbles Before the Grave. This alliance was created in the wake of the Kelo ruling; a ruling which galvanized many of us on the Libertarian, Neolibertarian, Miniarchist, and Rational Anarchist side of the political spectrum. Though there are significant differences which defines each of these philosophies (for lack of a better term), we are all united in the cause of individual liberty (a concept which is foreign to both the Democrat and the Republican Parties). Anyone who shares the ideals of Life, Liberty, and Property who is interested in joining the community should contact Eric (click here) and he will make others within the community aware of your interest in joining. The community members will then review the prospective blog and give it an up or down vote (no filibusters here) to keep the overall quality of the community at a high standard. If you have not taken the time to surf around the Life, Liberty, Property blogging community, I highly encourage you to do so!

In a related effort, the folks responsible for Life, Liberty, Property are putting together the first Carnival of Liberty. I have submitted my last post to be included in this first carnival hosted by Brad Warbainy of The Unrepentant Individual. If you would like to submit a post, email it to by 3:00 pm July 3rd. I am not very familiar with the concept of ‘carnivals’ but from what Eric tells me, they are a great way to promote your blog. He should know, he is currently a Large Mammal in the TTLB Ecosystem (he gets over 1000 hits to each of my 1).

I hope to see all of you at the carnival and in the Life, Liberty, Property community soon!
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Monday, June 27, 2005

A Couple of Half-Assed SCOTUS Decisions and the Future of Liberty

SCOTUS’s rulings on two separate Ten Commandments cases could not have come at a worse time. Passions run high regarding the whole Ten Commandments issue and when and how the Commandments should or should not be displayed on government property. Rather than legally clarifying this contentious church/state issue, the high court instead muddied the waters even further. As much as I am opposed to the Kelo decision, at least the court made a clear decision. In today’s Ten Commandments rulings, however; neither side can truthfully declare victory.

I fear these passions will overtake those of the reaction to the Kelo case. Whether or not the Ten Commandments are displayed inside or outside a government building in no way violates anyone’s right to practice his or her religion as he or she sees fit. This view is in no way exclusively held by secular humanists, atheists, and agnostics. In fact, if you take a look at my links on the right-hand side of this page, you will find a link to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church State Council. This is a religious group which recognizes the importance of church/state separation. On the council’s ‘about’ page, the group states the following:

We believe in and promote the historical separation of church and state, a principle understood by the founders of this nation, and we work to ensure that in matters of faith, the majority has no power. We believe that each person is directly responsible to God in matters of faith, and that religious groups should not invite the state to become involved…

I do not think the council is too far from the mainstream among Christian Americans today. I recently visited with my brother who is an ordained minister in the First Assembly of God Church. I discussed the Ten Commandments issue with him and I was very surprised by his response: “Keep church and state separate.” He went on to say: “If we [Christians] need to depend on the government to erect a monument for the Ten Commandments to get our message out, we aren’t doing our job.”

While this sentiment may or may not be growing among Christians, I fear that the ones who have the megaphone right now are more concerned with the future of their religious displays than with their own property rights. Consider this: churches and religious organizations enjoy a tax-exempt status (which I strongly oppose, for what its worth). What would stop a local government from seizing the church’s property in favor of a development or some kind of strip mall? “The new tax revenue could better serve the community,” the city council would reason. The only thing that might stop such a move by the city council would be the negative press that such a move would trigger. Though church property may be safe in theory, absolutely nothing would stop eminent domain abuse from taking the property of the church’s congregants.

We must continue to focus our energy on this fight to protect property rights. There will no doubt be many other distractions in the coming months. I hope the American public will wake up and realize what is happening to our country at the hands of Republicans and Democrats. I hope that in the next election, more Americans will vote in favor of candidates who respect individual liberty from the city, county, state, and federal level. For our Republic to survive, we must focus on guarding our liberty rather than some of the less important social issues which dominate the national debate.
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Friday, June 24, 2005

A Call to Action

“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” -Karl Marx

Maybe we are not quite to this point yet but surely we are a lot closer to realizing Karl Marx’s dream in America with the Kelo decision that SCOTUS handed down yesterday. The significance of this decision to the future of this country cannot be overstated, but what more can I possibly say that has not already been said?

In my last post, I advocated the need for an amendment to the Constitution to clarify and restrict the use of eminent domain to legitimate functions of government. I am well aware that amending the Constitution is a very difficult process (as it should be). There have been around 10,000 attempts to amend the Constitution since its adoption but only 27 been adopted.

Even with these odds, I believe that the outrage from the American public will continue to grow. The solution is not to elect more Republicrats, the solution is to take action now. This issue is not one in which I am content in merely writing another post for my blog. Brad Warbainy asked me if there was anything more he could do to push this movement to amend the Constitution. For the time being, I’m not exactly sure what avenue we should take but I am open to suggestion.

In the mean time, I want everyone who reads these words to please call or write their representative and their senators and put them on notice. This is not the time to support politicians based on political affiliation; this issue is one that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be an American.

Also, Eric Cowperthwaite and NZ Bear are putting together a movement of sorts to deal with this issue and I have offered to help. There will be undoubtedly other efforts in the works. I will link any resources I find to my site and pass on whatever information that I think will be of value. With the brain trust of all our readers and our collective efforts, perhaps we can make a difference. It’s worth a try right?

Note to readers: As I mentioned in my best of post, my availability will be limited in the weeks ahead but I will be back. Until that time comes, I will continue to update the content on this site.
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

So Much for the Ownership Society

Eric Cowperthwaite is compiling responses from other blogs (click here and here) regarding today’s disturbing Supreme Court Ruling. It seems like we are all on the same page on this issue; with the death of property rights, it is indeed a very dark day in the history of this great Republic.

I want to stress the word Republic one more time. The founders intended the government to be based on a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. Unfortunately, far too many people believe we do live in a Democracy. What does this have to do with eminent domain? In a Democracy rights (in this case, property rights) can be voted away with a majority vote. In a Republic such as ours, our rights are supposed to be protected by the Constitution (the Rule of Law).

Perhaps the Republic is dead. We have degenerated from a Republic which respects the Rule of Law to a Democracy which respects the Rule of Men. Maybe it is something even more sinister than that. If one has enough money, he can buy influence in the political arena. This is why there is so much concern with Tom DeLay’s alleged activities. Unfortunately, Tom DeLay is not the exception but the rule. I am surprised DeLay’s activities even raised an eyebrow much less an investigation because the Democrats are every bit as guilty.

Besides this whole Democracy trap and influence-buying trap we have fallen into, it also seems we have lost focus on our priorities. It is absolutely dumbfounding to me that there are enough citizens in this country who have the attention of our politicians to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage or ban desecrating the flag (I suppose nobody cares if the Constitution is desecrated by either of these ridiculous proposed amendments) but apparently, there is no such enthusiasm to amend the Constitution to protect private property rights.

With the SCOTUS using their current interpretation of eminent domain, I think amending the constitution is the only answer to reverse this atrocious decision. The language must be clear enough that even Stevens, Ginsberg, and Kennedy can understand; here is my proposed amendment:

Section 1: Eminent domain shall not be construed to allow any government within the United States to take property from one private citizen, corporation, or organization to be given or sold to any other citizen, corporation, or organization for any reason. The Federal government shall only invoke eminent domain in order to carry out the necessary functions of government as enumerated in this Constitution.

Section 2: ‘Just compensation’ shall be defined as no less than double the fair market value of the property being taken for local, State, and Federal governments to carry out their legally prescribed functions.

Section 3: No government within the jurisdiction of the United States shall invoke eminent domain with the purpose of generating additional revenue.
Anyone else with me on this?
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Very Best of Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

On the very day that I decided to create this blogsite, my wife and I found out that we were going to have a baby. The due date is July 4th (appropriate huh?) but our baby girl could arrive at any moment. Obviously, once she decides to enter the world and our lives, I’ll be a bit preoccupied for a few weeks or so (I’ll continue to write additional posts until then).

With this in mind, I thought I would allow some of you who are new to my blog to read a few of my favorite posts from the first nine months of Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds. If you would like to better acquaint yourself with what this blog is all about, please read my first post. Feel free to comment on any of the posts, but I cannot make any promises about promptly responding to your comments.

These are my favorite posts so far:

Anyone Who Believes America is Winning the Drug War Must Be High – A persuasive essay I originally wrote for my college writing class backed up by my research on the topic.

Appointing Qualified Judges – My thoughts on the criteria which should be met to wear the robe and wield the gavel.

The Battle for Young Minds – The desire to indoctrinate the minds of the young by both the Left and the Right and its consequences for the future of this great Republic. The fact that there have been no comments on this post to date is a little mystifying to me.

The First Amendment Explained: Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses (Part 1) and The First Amendment Explained: Free Speech (Part 2) – This two-part series struck a nerve with a few of my readers. In part 1 I was introduced to Gary Borque and his blog Both Worlds. The exchange I had with Gary on church/state separation was very spirited yet respectful. If only our leaders could learn to debate and discuss ideas in this manner. (Hey Gary, where have you been?)

Life, Death, & Political Hypocrisy – A post about my disgust with how the Republicans (among others) were exploiting the Terri Schiavo tragedy for political gain.

The Virtue of Selfishness – My thoughts on Ayn Rand’s controversial philosophy.

Personal Responsibility – Who knew such a post would be so controversial?

OK, I’ve given you all plenty of targets; fire when ready.
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Monday, June 20, 2005

What Made America Great?

Edwin A. Locke of The Ayn Rand Institute wrote an excellent article for Capitalism Magazine, originally published July 4, 2004 and republished for this year’s observance of Independence Day. The article is titled "July Fourth Celebrates America's and the West's Core Values: Reason, Rights, and Science Are What Made America Great."

Far too many people have either forgotten or do not know what made the dream of America possible. According to Locke the founders based their philosophy on reason, individual rights, and the pursuit of science and technology. Here is an excerpt of how these three pillars of American philosophy made America great:

The result of these core achievements was an increase in freedom, wealth, health, comfort, and life expectancy unprecedented in the history of the world. These Western achievements were greatest in the country where the principles of reason and rights were implemented most consistently -- the United States of America. In contrast, it was precisely in those (third-world) countries which did not embrace reason, rights, and technology where people suffered (and still suffer) …


Despite its undeniable triumphs, America is by no means secure. Its core principles are under attack from every direction -- by religious zealots who want to undermine the separation of church and state, and by its own intellectuals, who are denouncing reason in the name of skepticism, rights in the name of special entitlements, and progress in the name of environmentalism.

As Locke points out, we have strayed too far from the ideals that made this country what it is today. When we take our Independence Day holiday in a few weeks, let us all spend at least a moment to reflect on the wisdom of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and all of the brave men who dared to declare independence from the paternalistic, tyrannical policies of King George. After taking the time to ponder that, ask yourself the question: “What can I do to bring reason, individual liberty, and the pursuit of science and technology back to the forefront of the American debate?”
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Friday, June 17, 2005

Reckless Comparisons

The rancorous language in our public discourse is continuing to sink to new lows. Some of President Bush’s opponents have likened him to every villain from to Adolph Hitler to Darth Vader. Amnesty International has told the world that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is the new Gulag. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin agreed with Amnesty International’s assessment but took it one step further comparing the U.S. soldiers guarding Gitmo to Nazi concentration camp prison guards.

These kinds of reckless comparisons do not only come from those on the political Left, however. I have heard similar extreme language from pundits on the Right referring to Hillary Clinton as ‘Hitlery’ and likening the Florida court’s decision to allow the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube, pursuant to Florida law, to the Nazi government’s policies toward disabled people.

The icing on the cake came when Michael Jackson compared the historical relevance of his acquittal to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

What’s the harm in making such outlandish comparisons? Comparisons such as these trivialize the importance of all these people, places, and events. Let’s take a closer look at these comparisons.

People of all political stripes should be very cautious when drawing comparisons between Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Adolph Hitler rounded up and exterminated 6 million Jews. Jews under Nazi occupation were subject to scientific experiments, burning alive, starvation, poison gasses, and many other methods of torture and execution. Once the executions were complete, the bodies were buried in mass graves. Hitler’s goal was to weed out the ‘inferior’ races and create a master race. This master race would of course be under his control and would ultimately dominate the entire planet.

Can anyone honestly name one person in government today who can honestly be compared to Hitler? People who make these kinds of comparisons to the Nazis either do not have an understanding of what the Nazis did or they disregard the horror the Nazis inflicted on the world. I don’t care what president you want to use as an example of a bad or tyrannical leader, no president in our history should ever be compared to Adolph Hitler. Certainly, we have had presidents who have made some grave mistakes affecting lives at home and abroad. Not one president I can think of ever attempted to exterminate an entire class of people.

As to comparing Guantanamo Bay to the Gulag, I fail to see the comparison. Let’s begin comparing the prison populations of each prison. Guantanamo Bay’s inmate population is made up of al quadea terrorists and enemy combatants captured on the battlefields in the war on terror. These are the people who have no problem strapping bombs to themselves, women, and children. These are the same people who execute women who are raped while the rapists go virtually unpunished. These are not pleasant or reasonable people to be around.

The Gulag’s prison population? Gulag prisoners were common criminals that every society has plus political prisoners, rebels, "wifes of traitors of Motherland,” and even children of traitors.

When we consider the conditions of the prisons, the makeup of the prison population is very important. Political dissenters and their wives and children are very different from terrorists who themselves do not value life.

The conditions? Gulag prisoners were sent to Siberia and forced to do hard labor in the harshest of conditions imaginable. The prisoners were not clothed to suit the harsh arctic climate and were underfed for the type of work which was required to be performed.

The terrorists jailed at Guantanamo Bay, by contrast are in a tropical climate where prisoners are issued a prayer rug and a Quran at taxpayer expense (I would argue that this is a blatant violation of church/state seperation). The cuisine of the prisoners is, by some accounts, better than the cuisine of our soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The so-called hash treatment of these prisoners consists of playing rap music at a high volume, women interrogating prisoners while violating the prisoner’s ‘personal space’ (how dare we subject these terrorists to be interrogated by second class citizens), sleep deprivation, and possibly abusing the Quran. Yes, the wonderful book that influenced their despicable behavior to begin with.

With all of this in perspective, Senator Durbin has no shame in comparing our soldiers to Nazi prison guards. Blasting rap music – Nazis! Forcing prisoners to go without sleep – torture! Yeah, Guantanamo Bay is JUST LIKE the Gulag and our service men and women are JUST LIKE the Nazis. I hope you Democrats out there are proud. And where’s the condemnation of Senator Durbin from Senate and House Republicans?

As far as Michael Jackson is concerned, is there anything I really need to say? How do we compare the likes of Michael Jackson with Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.? Both these men advocated important social causes to change the world for the better. Michael Jackson? He can do the moonwalk, while grabbing his crotch. OK, I guess that’s a fair comparison. Michael Jackson’s acquittal and the fall of the Berlin Wall? I guess those events are similar. The prosecution failed to prove that MJ had molested a child (which is not the same thing as proving he didn’t molest children, by the way) and the Berlin Wall fell signaling the fall of the USSR. I guess I failed to realize what an important figure Michael Jackson is in the history of our world. Maybe we should make Jacko’s acquittal a national holiday!

There are so many other inappropriate comparisons in our public debate. When we make comparisons, we should really consider what we are saying. We are so ignorant of history as it is. To make flippant comparisons with the Nazis, for example, does not allow a person to truly appreciate what they did. I would like to think that we can make our points without dishonoring the past. Maybe we can’t expect too much of Michael Jackson, but surely we should demand more from our leaders.

Related Posts:
Cox & Forkum: Durbin Warfare (Political Cartoon & Blogpost)
T.F. Stern: In Time of War...
Dean Esmay: Appropriate Comparisons And Obvious Responses (Hat tip: Eric Cowperthwaite)
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

State, Economic, and Individual Rights Up in Smoke

I cannot say that I was surprised with the unfortunate 6-3 Supreme Court ruling (Gonzales vs. Raich) in which the court determined using marijuana for medicinal purposes violates federal law. In the process of fighting the war on drugs, civil liberties of this great country have been compromised over and over again from courts all across the land. My interest in this case initially was due to my opposition to the war on drugs. The reasoning this court used to justify the ruling, however; should disturb every capitalist, supporter of states’ rights, fiscal conservative, constructionist, and those who value limited government, irrespective of how each views the war on drugs.

In the majority opinion delivered by Justice Stevens (joined by Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg and Breyer; Scalia wrote his own opinion concurrent with the ruling), the ruling recognized that Respondents Raich and Monson may indeed benefit from using marijuana for their conditions, written as follows:

They [Raich and Monson] are being treated by licensed, board-certified family practitioners, who have concluded, after prescribing a host of conventional medicines to treat respondents’ conditions and to alleviate their associated symptoms, that marijuana is the only drug available that provides effective treatment. Both women have been using marijuana as a medication for several years pursuant to their doctors’ recommendation, both rely heavily on cannabis to function on a daily basis. Indeed Raich’s physician believes that forgoing cannabis treatments would certainly cause Raich excruciating pain and could very well prove fatal. (p. 3, paragraph 2)
So what’s the problem then? If Raich’s condition could become fatal because she stops using marijuana, she now has to risk arrest by federal agents or chose to die by following the law? What happened to this ‘culture of life’conservatives like to talk about?

Despite the benefits as determined by the court’s majority, the court still managed to find reason to rule against a law passed by the people of California. As disturbing as denying medication to those who truly need it is, the reasoning is even more cause for alarm. The ruling reads:

Our case law firmly establishes Congress’ power to regulated purely local activities that are part of an economic “class of activities” that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce…As we stated in Wickard, “even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce…When Congress decides that “’total incidence’” of a practice poses a threat to a national market, it may regulate the entire class. (p.13-14, paragraph 3)

What kind of flawed reasoning is this? This so-called interstate commerce is grown, sold, and used locally. How does this local activity affect commerce in other states? It appears that this bad court decision is based on a few other bad court decisions, loosely interpreting the ‘commerce clause’ (Section 8; Clauses 3 and 18) of the U.S. Constitution. The obvious problem is that the court is granting power to the congress to manipulate the economy however it sees fit regardless of if the commerce is interstate or not. This is frightening. Using this line of reasoning, any activity one could choose to participate in or not participate in could be considered an ‘economic activity,’ subject to the will of the U.S. Congress!

If you think I am being an alarmist, read Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent. Thomas gets straight to the point writing:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything-and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers. (Justice Thomas Dissenting, p.1 paragraph 1 or p.62 paragraph 1 in the pdf. format)

What does Thomas mean when he states that “…under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything…” ? Thomas continues:

If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined,” while those of the States are “numerouse and indefinite.” (Justice Thomas Dissenting, p.13 paragraph 1 or p.74 paragraph 1 in the pdf. format)
It is truly amazing the lengths our Federal Government will go to continue fighting the war on drugs. The casualties in this battle are people such as Diane Monson and Angel Raich who must find an alternative treatment for their conditions (though by the court’s own admission, marijuana is probably the best treatment available for these women), the California voters who passed the proposition, the free market, the States, the Constitution, and ultimately, everyone who believes in limited government.
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Friday, June 03, 2005

Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month (May 2005)

It’s that time again. Time to reveal the Fearless Philosophy Blogpost of the Month. For those of you who are new to my blog, click here for the criteria I’m looking for in a winning post. These posts and more met the criteria, however; as with all contests, there can be only one winner. After doing some trolling along the blogosphere, these are the top three posts I found:

Third place goes to Apesnake for his post “They Violated Saddam’s Privacy. Um…So?.” When this outpouring of sympathy came pouring out from the MSM for Saddam Hussein, I could not believe it. Apesanke does a great job in his article reminding us of what a monster the Butcher of Baghdad was while in power. Say whatever you want about the war in Iraq but to say we are somehow torturing this evil man by taking photos of him in his skivvies? I don’t think so!

Apesnake summarizes his thoughts on this undeserved sympathy:

“It always seems that people have so much sympathy and mercy and compassion for the bullies and thugs of the world and such contempt for the weak the meek and the innocent. Perhaps there is such a limited supply of compassion in the world that if we spared it for those who deserve it it will be spread.”

So where should Saddam go to find sympathy for his humilaiting treatment? I have a suggestion: Sympathy…it’s in the dictionary located somewhere between shit and syphilis. No such sympathy will be found from me!

Second place goes to Mathew of Fresh Tasty Ideas for his post titled “Seeing it from Both Sides.” Mathew’s honesty in his approach in formulating his opinions is very refreshing:

“The point is that we all filter the things we read, hear and see so that we give more attention to the things we believe…I think this is a natural reaction. No one wants to hear that they have been believing something which isn't true. It makes you feel stupid and betrayed. However, it feels good to learn that you were right. 'How smart am I?' you think. It might be a bit different from person to person, but we all have to work on seeking out the other sides of the story.”

Mathew goes on to challenge his readers to read/listen to oppinions contrary to one’s own views:

“If you can read about the many sides of a particular issue and still be comfortable with your own opinion, chances are you have made the best decision possible with the information you had. However, if you ignore and avoid information that challenges you to rethink your opinions, it is to your own detriment.”

I certainly agree with you there Mathew. You may notice my blogroll is quite diverse (though admittadly wieghted more to the Libertarian/Classical Liberal philosophy); I try my deadlevel best to encourage everyone to read my blog and challenge my opinions and try to represent the arguments of the other side fairly. Check out the series I wrote about Air America and you’ll see what I mean. While you are there, leave a comment or two.

And the winner is…

The Fearless Philosophy Blog Post of the Month of May goes to Dadahead for his post titled “Defending Socialism.” You may ask me why I selected Dadahead as the winner for this month because he advocates the exact opposite of my philosophy of individual, property, and economic rights. As I stated in my criteria for the winning posts, the post does not have to agree with my opinions; the post simply has to challenge the readers to think. Dadahead’s post does just that. Also, I have to respect for Dadahead’s honesty. He does not hide behind the ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ label; he’s defending socialism with no pretense or apologies.

The main reason why I chose this post is because of the amount of discussion that followed his post both on and off his site. Dada’s post inspired some other great posts by Eric Cowperthwaite, Robert Bell, Brad Warbainy, and T.F. Stern. Any post with that big of a response deserves recognition.

On to the substance of Dadahead’ defense of socialism…

“Let's say that you and I, and a hundred or so other people find ourselves for whatever reason on an uninhabited island. We have no hope at all of being rescued, so we begin to make plans to simply live out the rest of our lives on the island.”

I find it amusing that the defenders of socialism have to resort to this type of expaination. Are their any examples of this type of situation happening in history that Dadahead can cite for us?

“The island is small, but it looks like it will provide more than enough resources to support all of us. The next question, then, is how to divide up the resources.”

How often does this happen when a socialist regime gains power? If this has happened, this would be the exception, not the rule. History shows that when a socialist government comes to power, the resouces are taken from those who have the most and then redistributed to everyone. How is this fair?

“There are numerous options. A seemingly fair way to do this would be to simply figure out how big the island is, and divide the area by 100 (or however many people are there), so that each person gets an equal share and can use it to support herself (let's assume for the sake of simplicity that resources are distributed equally across the island, so that any plot is as good as any other).”

That would be one heck of an assumption. Maybe in a perfect world.

“Another prima facie fair way to do it would be not to divide it up at all, but to own it collectively and all work the land together, equally sharing whatever we reap.”

I’m not going to argue the ‘inherent’ vs. ‘constructed’ rights here as others have done but what I do want to point out is that for socialism to work, the system has to work against human nature. What I mean is what is the motivation for one individual to work harder than the next if his reward is going to be the same no matter what? What happens when some of the islanders refuse to do their share of the work? This certainly wouldn’t sit well with me if I’m doing the heavy lifting while my neibor does little or no work but receiving the same amount of food, water, shelter, and other nessesities of life.

My final question is for Dadahead is this: “When has socialism ever lived up to its intended promises; do you have an example?”

Once again, congradulations to all of May’s winners! Look out for next month’s award because you never know… the next Fearless Philosophy Blogpost of the Month could be your’s!

Past Winners:
March 2005
April 2005
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