Enlightened ramblings of a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Censorship

With the likes of Elton John, Whoopie Goldberg, The Dixie Chicks and half of the "entertainers" in Hollywood screaming about censorship, I decided to take a look at what censorship is and is not. More bloggers than can be counted have chimed in on this, but I felt it important that I present my beliefs.

First, lets take a look at the definition of censorship.  I chose the Wikipedia definition because it is fairly broad.

Censorship is the use of state or group power to control freedom of expression.


OK, let's look at the two groups that can censor freedom of expression. First we have the State power, i.e. government. They do this through the use of such tools as Prior Restraint, that is, making something illegal before it actually happens. An example would be the Federal Government passing a law that makes it illegal to say anything negative about the President. Obviously here in the US that would be a blatant violation of the First Amendment, though some agencies (rightfully or not) such as the FCC have latitude in this area.

The second part of the Wikipedia definition is a bit more vague. It involves group power. But, what is group power? I would say that group power would belong to some person or group with direct power to prevent someone from freely expressing themselves, though I would not place employers in this category as they should be fully free to set conditions for employment, including prohibition of public expressions of opinion by its employees that may result in financial damage to the employer. In addition, consumers boycotting some product would not fall into this group since they could not directly prevent the expression and fully have the right to choose which products they will or will not consume based on any reason they
choose.

Now that we understand what censorship is and is not, let's take a look at a few of the claims of censorship.

Recently Whoopie Goldberg chose to make some drunken remarks at a Kerry fundraiser. As a result, she was summarily dismissed from her job as spokesperson for SlimFast. She blamed this censorship on the "Republican election committee." Was it censorship? No, there was no action by either the state or a group meeting the above criteria.

Last year, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." As a result, there was a mass boycott of the Dixie Chicks albums. Of course, they too yelled censorship. Again, there was no action that met the above criteria.

So, if not censorship, what did these celebs experience? They experienced what Alexis de Tocqueville called social pressure. As celebrities, they live and die by public opinion. For some reason, they expect the public to only look at their work and not at their publicly stated opinions. However, that is not how humans work. We generally look at all known aspects of a person to determine if we like someone or not. While celebrities enjoy the fame and fortune that comes from a positive public opinion of them, they don't want to be held accountable when they say or do something that elicits a negative response. While words may be freely spoken, you must understand that those words are likely to have consequences.

Well if those two examples aren't censorship, what is? A good example is China blocking websites or running down students in Tiananmen Square. Another would be the burning of 20,000 books deemed offensive by the Nazi regime in 1933.

Censorship is a strong claim and like racism, is a term used far too frequently. It is time for people to start using the language in a responsible manner, lest these words lose their strength and just become everyday words.


Update: I posted this at Blogcritics.org.

Extra Super Way Cool Thanks

A big Thank You goes out to Tom over at  The Nomad Tavern for hooking me up with the Fuki Blog kanji I requested earlier.

You really need to stop by  The Nomad Tavern and check those guys out. How else are you going to hear about the exploits of a couple of English ESL teachers in Japan?

I will be incorporating the kanji into my site in some form or fashion pretty soon.

Update:  The Fuki Blog Kanji can now be seen at the top of the lefthand column.


Cowardly Bastards

I just read the most disgraceful and disturbing story I've read in some time. Apparently, there was a huge fire at a school in India.

About 84 children died with another 22 injured. Of course, a fire could happen anywhere. Here is the sad part:

No teachers died, and a senior fire officer said it was because they abandoned the children and ran from the burning school.


Rather than help the children, between the ages of 6-13, these jackasses cut dust and saved themselves. Now, dying in a fire is probably the most painful and gruesome way you can die, but as a responsible adult, you have to do everything you can to help out those kids.

Friday, July 16, 2004

We're a team!

Dick Cheney announced today that he will be on the ticket come November. He indicated that Bush didn't want to "break up the team."

Of course, we are still a long way out from the convention and anything could happen between now and then. I, of course, think Bush is doing his re-election bid a disservice, but at least he seems to be holding to his principles at this point.

I pointed out earlier that I thought Bush would dump Cheney for "health" reasons. I stand by this prediction. However, if I turn out to be correct, Bush and Cheney have done themselves harm my making this proclamation.

As noted in the article, Kerry is just looking for a chance to portray Bush as a Flipflopper, so the ol' switcheroo just became much more difficult.

All political reasoning aside, I have a rather nasty bet with my brother over this issue. The prize for the loser is not pretty and something I will not look forward to.

Dumbest Man Ever?

This guy may well be the the most idiotic jackass to walk the face of the Earth. That is saying a lot because there is stiff competition the world over.

How proud their parents must be!

Request

I have a request for my readers in Japan (you know who you are).

I would very much like to have "Fuki Blog" written in Kanji and/or Katakana/Hiragana. I know there is probably no Kanji for blog.

It would be great if I could get these as a vector graphic, but would happily accept anything you can get me.

There will be a glowing plug of your generosity in it for you.


Girl Friday

Well, it is that time again.  Here is the latest lovely in this ongoing series:
 

 
As always, female readers are encouraged to send in their own photos for posting.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Labor of Love

Call me a freak, but every day I visit 20-30 of the sites listed under my Alliance blogroll. I do this to 1) support my fellow Alliance members and 2) to see if any of them might be interesting. This is in addition to my regular daily reads.

The first thing I do after a cursory glance of the site is to find the Sitemeter on the site and check their average daily visits and their traffic for the last year. Then I read a little closer to see why the site gets the amount of hits is does.

I have to say that for many, blogging must just be a labor of love. I say this because their site traffic really sucks. Many in the order of 15 or less visits a day. Often times this is after blogging for several months or more.

I lament the fact that I only average between 45-50 visits a day. I console myself with the fact that I have only been blogging for about 3 weeks. Once word gets out of just how I much I rule, then the masses are sure to flock here. I blog because my opinion could be the crucial link that improves the lives of countless others and dammit who am I to deprive the proletariat of my thoughts.

I don't want to be that poor bastard that gets 5 visits a day, 4 of which are him checking to see if anyone else has visited.

Second Black President

John Kerry, who is perhaps the most whitebread candidate to ever run for President, spoke at the NAACP National Convention today. What did the man who earlier in the year declared his wish to be the second black President have to say?

Nothing new. He just spouted the same old tired race politics. You know, the kind that basically asserts that if you are not a member of the Democratic Party and do not kowtow to the will of the NAACP or Rainbow Push you are on the same level as the Grand Wizard of the KKK.

I will pose a similar question to my friends and readers of color that I did to my gay friends and readers. Why do you continually kiss the ass of the Democrats and follow lock step to vote for them?

They couldn't possibly care any less about Blacks as a whole, than they do now. The relationship reminds me of that of a battered wife or girlfriend that refuses to press charges against her mate. How much abuse is the Black community willing to take from the Democrats before they will admit that they are being abused?

It is time for the African American citizenry to take off the blinders and start thinking for yourselves. If Bush was really the Hitleresque racist that he is made out to be, then all of you would be standing in line for your visit to the "showers".

I am not saying walk blindly to the Republican side of the street either. Just step back, think of yourself as an individual, and do what is in your best interest. Learn about the ideas of libertarianism and I believe you will find ideals that are much more closely aligned with your own beliefs. Become Independents and make the politicians actually earn your votes.

LAPD = Thieving Jackasses

Apparently not content with just beating the hell out of you, now the LAPD wants to steal your shit.

How can they get away with such an injustice? Easy, they just resort to the old tried and true technique of forfeiture. Though the Fox article does not make it clear, I would bet they are using the uglier of the two, In Rem forfeiture.

This is a Civil forfeiture levied against property, not a person. That is right, rather than having to go through the burdensome procedures of Criminal forfeiture, which generally involves a trial, they just say the property is "guilty" and take it on the spot. The burden is then on property owner to prove the property was unjustly stolen. This process can sometimes take years and cost more than the asset is worth.

Just to prove how cavalier the LAPD has become with individual rights, here is their response to the increased use of this technique:

"This is one more tool that the police can use to try and dissuade the people from engaging in conduct," said LAPD Cpt. Greg Myer. "And we're going to keep it up until some judge tells us we can't."


For any of you interested in the ongoing battle for property rights, I suggest you visit FEAR.org.

Ethical Philosophy

SelectSmart.com has an Ethical Philosophy Quiz.


    1. Ayn Rand (100%)
    2. Nietzsche (83%)
    3. Aristotle (77%)
    4. Stoics (72%)
    5. David Hume (68%)
    6. Cynics (66%)
    7. Aquinas (61%)
    8. Thomas Hobbes (57%)
    9. Kant (57%)
    10. Spinoza (56%)
    11. Jean-Paul Sartre (53%)
    12. Epicureans (50%)
    13. John Stuart Mill (47%)
    14. Plato (46%)
    15. St. Augustine (45%)
    16. Jeremy Bentham (45%)
    17. Ockham (38%)
    18. Prescriptivism (24%)
    19. Nel Noddings (21%)


While it was no surprise to see Rand and Aristotle where they are, I was surprised to see the placement of Nietzsche. I haven't read any of his work since high school, but it looks like I need to refresh my knowledge of what he believed.

(via The Gweilo Diaries)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

LA Experience

Congratulations go out to my brother in LA, Mitchell Moore, who has just landed a gig on his first TV show.

He will appear on LA Experience, a local version of Saturday Night Live. If things go well, he will get a recurring role.

Way to go bro. Hurry up and make it big so I can turn Socialist and sponge off of you.

Can Killington Succeed at Seceding?

In what is undoubtedly one of the coolest yet most under-reported stories happening in our great nation these days, the citizens of Killington, VT continue their struggle to become Killington, NH.

What has the town up in arms is Vermont's state property tax which is used to fund education in the Green Mountain State. Implemented in 1997 via a state supreme court ruling, it pulls considerably more from town coffers in "property rich" towns such as Killington, than it sends back.

Killington finally declared enough is enough during a town meeting back in early March when they decided overwhelmingly to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire 25 miles to the east.

Amazingly, NH Governor Craig Benson has shown his support of the plan up to this point and has indicated a willingness to present the proposal to the NH Legislature.

Of course the hard part lies ahead. Both the NH and VT legislatures must approve of the proposal. Approval on the NH side is uncertain at the moment and down in Montpelier, the idea is looked upon with disdain at best.

I for one applaud the efforts of the people of Killington. They have shown that they are willing to expend both time and treasure in their efforts to free themselves of Robin Hoodesque tax policies of VT.

(via The New American Revolutionist)

Thumbs Up

I give a big thumbs up to Blogger for the 2 hours of scheduled downtime they took last night.

They seem to have resolved the publishing problem that myself and many others were experiencing. The spellcheck seems to work better as well.

You should thank them as well because now there it is even easier for me to bring the truth to the masses.

Now if they will only start supporting trackback.

EU Taking the Wrong Road

The other day I mentioned that the EU was at the crossroads. Two days later the court has made its decision and both sides are claiming victory.

I really hate to see this kind of spin from the losing side, which the member states clearly are. Yes, they were tossed a small bone, but clearly did not get the decision they were hoping for.

This is a great achievement for the bureaucrats in Brussels looking to micro-manage every aspect of the member states existence. As I said, hopefully this will help hasten the fall of the EU. On the up side however, Germany and France could now be held liable for fines of €10 billion and €7 billion, respectively.

Fuki Buttons

Since I created three buttons for Simon over at Showcase, I decided that I should create some for my 3 readers to use. You can find them at the top of the left column (hold out your hands if your not sure).

Please do not hotlink them since I have no idea how much bandwidth I am allowed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Calculus of the 4-Way Stop

I love to drive. Generally speaking there isn't much that is more relaxing than jumping in my little convertible sports car and just driving. However, all the joy and relaxation is out the window anytime that I happen across the inexplicably most perplexing situation known to driving: the 4-way stop.

I say this not because I am an idiot, but because most other people seem to lose all faculties when they arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time as me. Unless they happen to be directly across from me (and even then at times), I can see this glazed over look in their eyes. It is almost as if someone just asked them to solve this:



Honestly, it isn't that complicated. For those who need a refresher check here.

I can only imagine the utter terror that a roundabout would bring to these poor souls lives.


Update: I just used this as my first post to Blog Critics.

Sinister Cabal

I am always looking to critique someone or something. This desire should prove useful now that your not so humble host has been accepted into the ranks of the Blog Critics.

I have no idea what my first post will be, but expect it within the next 24 hours.

Got Milk?

I don't really know what milk costs in your neck of the woods, but around here it runs between $3.25 - $4.25 a gallon depending on the brand. I find this to be absolutely retarded so I decided to do a little research about how government interference causes artificially high milk prices.

The first thing I run across here at the USDA site is really quite disturbing. There are federal employees whose purpose in life is to collect data on milk prices for internal USDA use. They are called Federal milk order market administrators (MA's). These clowns came into existence back in 1937 to ensure a "sufficient quantity of pure and wholesome milk." Estimates are that this adds 30 to 35 cents per gallon for people like me and costs consumers $1.5 billion annually.

Of course this is no surprise coming from a government that actually has a $1 billion stash of powdered milk buried under Kansas City.

What can we expect when several members of the Agriculture Committee are busy sucking the taxpayer dry?

Monday, July 12, 2004

EU at the Crossroads

In what could be one of the most important decisions ever decided by the European Court of Justice, the power over control of the EU economy hangs in the balance.

This is hugely important because if the European Commission wins, then control of the economy is effectively removed from the hands of the individual member states and placed in Brussels.

I am torn between the two side because I firmly believe that the member states should control their own destiny, but centralized control in Brussels could help hasten the fall of the EU and return the member states to a state of increased sovereignty.

Stupidity Reigns in Hollywood

In case you were somehow questioning the validity of the above statement, please allow me to refresh your memory:


"[My time with Castro] was the eight most important hours of my life." -- Steven Spielberg

"He [Castro] is a genius. We spoke about everything." -- Jack Nicholson

"[Castro is] a source of inspiration to the world." -- Naomi Campbell

"Socialism works ... [and] Cuba might prove that. I think it's conclusive that there have been areas where socialism has helped to keep people at least stabilized at a certain level." -- Chevy Chase

"It was an experience of a lifetime to sit only a few feet away from him [Castro] and watch him relive an experience he lived as a very young man." -- Kevin Costner

"I am opposed to capital punishment by any country, by any persons. I disapprove of Mr. Castro's executing. I understand that the trial was very fair, that the death penalty is exercised in Cuba and therefore, by Cuban standards, the trial was fair and judicious even though I abhor the death penalty." -- Ed Asner on the kangaroo trial and execution of three men who attempted to come to America by hijacking a boat.

"We should look to (Castro) as one of the Earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult." -- Oliver Stone

"For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent." -- Barbara Walters

"The worst that could be said is that, in Cuba, you were in jeopardy of receiving free health care whenever you needed it, an excellent education in one of the few countries that has 100% literacy, and a better chance of your baby sister being born and making it to her first birthday than if she had been born in Washington, DC." -- Michael Moore in an Open Letter to Elian Gonzales on the virtues of going back to Cuba.

"[Castro] has brought a greater equality in terms of wealth distribution than I guess any country in the world today." -- Saul Landau, filmmaker


(via Capitalism Magazine)

I Like Bacon, but....

Congratulations go out to Michael K Powell, Kathleen Q Abernathy, Michael J Copps, Jonathan S Edelstein, and Kevin J Martin. They are the recipiants of this month's CAGW Porker of the Month award.

Jackassess!

Stop the Corporate Welfare! It only serves to fuel the nonsense of the anti-capitalist!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Psycho Bitch Gear

Since I am already too busy with work and this blog, I decided to start another side project:





I am going to start a site where guys can send in stories/pictures of things that some psycho chick they were dating did. Don't worry girls, you'll get your shot too!

For now, I have just set up a store, Psycho Bitch Gear, to plug some merchandise. Hope you enjoy it.

Girls, don't be afraid to let the world know that you are a Psycho Bitch!

A Word to My Gay Friends and Readers

Let me ask you a question? Why is it that so many of you continue to support and kiss the ass of the Democrats? They couldn't give a rat's ass about you. Hell most of them (including Kerry) don't even support your right to get married. They are only interested in using you as political pawns in order to further their own careers.

When will you realize that it is not in your best interest to beg the government for the right to get married? Once upon a time, marriage had absolutely nothing at all to do with government. It is just one more example of government usurping a power that is not rightfully theirs.

Do you not see the how ridiculous it is to tell the government to stay out of your bedroom in one breath only to invite them in with the next?

If you truly want to be treated as equals as you deserve, it is time to move away from the democrats and step towards the ideas of libertarianism. Only there will you find people that look at you as an individual and not a member of some lesser group. Only there will you find people that are not interested in controlling your lives, sexual or otherwise. Only there will you find the acceptance that you both crave and deserve.

What any of us do with other consenting adults is our own business. Why fight to win the approval of government, when you should be fighting to take back a power that does not belong to government in the first place. Everything you want and desire for yourself and your loved ones can be handled via contracts in a free society.

It is time to stop allowing yourselves to be pawns in the battle between liberals and conservatives and to become individual members in a free society.

Design

A reader suggested the other day that it is difficult to read my gray text on a black background. He also said that the blue color of the links is hard to read.

I don't personally have any problems reading these.

Do any of you have problems reading my blog (other than the crappy content, that is)?
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