Coming off an historic wave of incumbent-ousting in yesterday’s midterm elections, a look back on Congress, and a look forward.
As I was (surprisedly) glad to hear Boehner, McCain, and others recognize, this election was a repudiation of the Democrats, NOT an endorsement of the Republicans.
Main Street Republicans must remain vigilant. Far too often, when “their party” wins, the people become complacent and fail to hold their own elected officials’ feet to the fire throughout the upcoming term. Remember, the Republicans’ “Pledge to America” consists not of a proper healthcare repeal, but a “repeal and replace” – or put simply, “their version”, still complete with illogical preexisting conditions verbiage.
Nancy Pelosi (aka NoPelosi, DoPelosi, or Pelosi-Doh!) is relegated to the backseat. There is even talk of her resigning in the near future, which, I promise, would make my day. Nothing would make me happier than to never, ever have to see the bumbling, elitist, flailing-hand-gesture lady again.
Rand Paul’s victory was the most exciting news of the election. I’m calling it now: the start of a great, chamber-spanning relationship now known as “The Paul Caucus”. Can’t wait to see what kind of knowledge-bombs this guy will drop on DC.
Tom Perriello, one of the Obama/Pelosi machine’s chief enablers/rubber stampers in the House, was ousted. This after Obama made his only solo campaign endorsement for the guy (did he WANT the guy knocked off?). Or, poetically: “All King Obama’s horses and all of his henchmen, couldn’t put Tom Perriello back in Congress again!”
Alan Grayson’s fall from grace. I was a big fan of Grayson when he was one of only a few who stood up to the Federal Reserver and asked the tough questions. I then started to become wary of him when he began grandstanding against the Republicans on the healthcare issue, saying that they had no real solutions but to “let people die” (patently false). When he ran the sickeningly slanderous “Taliban Dan” ads, it was all over for the one-and-done-er. At least it was a good lesson on how NOT to run a campaign.
Lastly, South Carolinian Democrats should be entirely embarrassed at themselves. That Alvin Greene, the alleged sex offender with no platform or even capable dialogue other than robotically repeating “It’s all Jim Demint’s fault”, would carry 1/3 of the vote – shocking.
With the November midterm elections right around the corner, the political discourse – as much as ever – is rampant. One timeless phrase heard and concern held in a perhaps higher-than-usual frequency this election is “splitting the vote” – with the growth of libertarianism and the onset of a new political movement, the Tea Party, one can see why. But, frustratingly, the concern in the conservative movement remains, as it has for years; if I vote for the libertarian or the independent more closely aligned with “my” views, surely my guy AND the “lesser-of-two-evils” Republican will split the vote, and the evil Democrat will win!
As a member of the libertarian (or the “true” conservative) movement, I must posit the question: what’s the difference? That is, what’s the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats anyways, especially in this new millennium? What good has either party done in the last 20 years to make them worthy of your recurring vote?
The Republicans claim they will put an end to the spending and return to limited government. Why now? Why, when they had the majority under Bush, did they expand the size of the federal government the most since the socialist FDR and his cronies at the beginning of last century?
Many conservatives claim they are tired of the pragmatism, the compromise, and yearn for a man of principle to represent them in Congress. How can they then, in the same breath, abandon their own principles and claim that the possibility of splitting the vote is too dangerous, and that they must therefore compromise?
As for the possibility of splitting the vote: does it really matter? Most Republicans in DC voted for legislation that most real conservatives are against: TARP bailouts, Medicare, the Patriot Act, and a myriad of other spending bills. In their “Pledge to America”, they admit they don’t even want to repeal Obamacare; they simply want to replace it with their own version. The Democrats and the majority of the Republicans in Washington are going down the same road – the road towards big government. Whether or not you split the vote, if you get a Democrat or an establishment Republican, there is one thing you are sure to get: more of the same.
As for me, as a resident of VA-7 district, I will be voting for Floyd Bayne (floydbayne.com). Cantor, his establishment Republican minority whip opponent, has shown his true colors by casting his vote in favor of the aforementioned big-government bills. I urge you to cast off your paradigm, cast off your ingrained party affiliation, and vote for the independent, the libertarian, the challenger – ANYONE but the incumbent – because the time is long past due for REAL change. Find your candidates here.
Category: politics |
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The following is a first stab at my definitions of ideological/political views in the United States today. I will probably update this with more information soon, or as I think of it. When debating on ideological/political issues, it is important to define your terms, which is why I’ve done so here.
conservatism: from the word “conserve”, meaning to keep to the self, the belief that government should be extremely limited and non-interventionist regarding both foreign policy and civil liberties, and if absolutely necessary, only to defend the individual’s rights from others; Austrian economy; a rebellion against statism. true conservatism in the modern age is represented as libertarianism, and historically as classical liberalism (“liberalism” being derived from “liberty”, which in this instance is a meaningful derivation). in its purest form, manifested as anarcho-capitalism or minarchy, depending on adherence to Lockean principles (ie social contract, or statism).
Conservatism: the general, modern-day majoritarian view of “conservatism”; currently, Republicanism, “the Right”, or neoconservatism. see also: Fox News
republicanism: of a republican form of government, or, defending the right of the minority from the will of the majority
Republicanism: see: neoconservatism
neoconservatism: a principally inconsistent jungle of legacied conservative rhetoric mixed with unfounded corporatism, warmongering, expedient welfare, general acceptance of established social programs i.e. public education, public transportation, etc., discrimination against harmless, non-aggressionist (but usually sinful) individuals (such as gays or drug users) based on dogmatic or sometimes skewed Christianity, and blind nationalism.
liberalism: from the word “liberal”, meaning radical (opposite conservative), the belief that government should help all of its citizens; a focus on social responsibility; Keynesian economy. liberalism in the modern age is also represented as progressivism, and historically as social liberalism and Fabian socialism. in its purest form, manifested as socialism or communism.
Liberalism: the general, modern-day majoritarian view of “liberalism”; currently, Democratism, “the Left”, or progressivism. see also: all mainstream media networks except Fox News
democratism: of a democratic form of government, or, forcing the will of the majority on the minority
Democratism: see: progressivism
progressivism: a principally inconsistent blend of liberal ideas warped with verbal environmentalism, atheism and evolution, feminism and anti-non-feminism/minoritism and anti-non-minoritism/nonconformity, absurd adherence to “political correctness”, and heavy push towards extreme statism.
popular politics: political views of the typical “Main Street” (everyday working-class people and small business owners), typically varied although most identify themselves with either the Republicans/Conservatives/Right or the Democrats/Liberals/Left, even if many of their views run independent of strict party affiliation
politician politics: political views of the typical Washington politician, mostly similar, just dramatized/accelerated at different lengths. politician Conservatism and politician Liberalism are parallel streets towards the East and West Ends of the city of Big Government.
populism: the political ideology that would help “Main Streeters” the most. most people would tend to think their own stance is the most populist, but the truth is, the most populist stance is MINE :)
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lying in his bed at night, Lux listened to the sound he had heard all his life – the deep, intermittent rumbling, far off in the distance. as a child, he did not think much of the sound – it was second nature to him, and most of the time he didn’t even notice it. but as he got older, he started questioning the sound – what was it? his friends, his family, never had noticed the sound – eventually, he decided it was a problem with his own ears. the doctor agreed with him – although, Lux could have sworn he saw a peculiar look of understanding in the doctor’s eyes that day, many years ago. but as he fell asleep between the walls of the cave he called home, he was always grateful for the sound, for it always helped him to drift away into the darkness.
he has grown up in this cave, it is all he has ever known. it is a huge cave; thousands of families live here, all descendants of the families Oriens or Occasus. the Oriens mine the materials; the Occasus refine those materials into usable goods. disputes arise here and there, but for the majority, everyone gets along. there are only a few rules here: do not hurt anybody; do not get near the fires, for they are easily extinguished but wearisome to reignite; and do not talk to
the deceivers, for their lies poison the mind, and if subjugated to for more than a brief moment, one would go into a catatonic nightmare state, a personal hell, for which death is a better option. for this reason, these evil demons are shunned, and without question they are to be instantly attacked and killed by anyone, by any means available, if they break their code of silence. it is said that the deceivers – men who wear black eye paint and masks over their faces – are only able to speak to you if you speak to them first. they are ugly, dangerous men who must be avoided at all costs.
swinging away with his pickaxe the next day, the lunch whistle blows. Lux runs out of the section of tunnel he’s assigned to that day, looking forward to his favorite time of day – mealtime – and hoping, as he always did, that they would be lucky enough to receive a bit of the special meal today. his father Orbis, his mother, brother, sister – the Oriens Orbis – sit beside him at the table which spans as far as the eye can see, running down the center of the huge cave, dividing it by family into two halves. all the other inhabitants of the cave are also in attendance; mealtime is the highlight of the day for most of the others as well. as the elder Oriens rises to say the prayer, everyone joins hands and shuts their eyes. the elder Oriens and the elder Occasus take turns praying for the good fortune of the families at every meal.
but as the elder is finishing up the blessing, a fly lands on Lux’s nose, and instinctively, he opens his eyes. out of the corner of his eye Lux notices someone walking away from the table. at first, he notices because this is not a fellow citizen – this is a deceiver, wearing a dark, hooded cloak, a black mask over its nose and mouth. but then, Lux notices something particularly odd about this person’s figure and air: this is not a man! though she wears a hood and a mask, there can be no doubt about it; in a glimmer of fire light, he sees in her eyes a beauty only found in a woman. when the prayer ends, Lux quickly excuses himself from the table, indicating that he does not feel well and trying to conceal his astonishment. out of curiosity and fascination, he wanders towards the woman as she turns a corner and slithers away. he knows that he cannot talk to this woman, but she has caught his eye. there are times in a man’s life when he must go against everything he knows to be right, and for Lux, this is one.
he trails the woman into the darkness, making sure not to be seen, by her or by anyone else. at the edge of the cave, there is a fire. the woman walks towards the fire; Lux becomes nervous. he knows that no one is to be in proximity of the fire, but this woman seems not to care of any such rule. as she nears the fire, she stops, looking back to make sure nobody is watching. Lux ducks behind the corner for a second, and then peeks out again, just in time to see the woman walk around the fire – into the corner – and disappear. dumbfounded, Lux approaches the fire. when he reaches it, he notices something he had never noticed before – a hole in the floor of the cave – the fire, its sole guardian and protector, betraying one of its duties to nature, its duty to illuminate that which otherwise cannot be seen. after imitating the woman with a quick look back, Lux jumps past the fire and into the hole, throwing caution to the wind. and like a leaf in the wind, he has no control over his next destination, falling down a stone chasm and into the darkness.
Lux awakens outside on his back, gasping in a huge breath of the exotic, oxygen-rich air, his head pounding with pain – putting his hand to his temple, he feels a bloody gash. “The fall must have knocked me unconscious”, he realizes. he tries to open his eyes, but the light is blinding, and his eyes have grown accustomed to decades of the dim fire light. but this… this is no fire. he sits, patiently but bewildered, in a patch of sand below the wall of the cave, surrounded by a field of oats. the minutes seem like hours as he rests there, listening to the cyclical, rumbling sound – louder now, more real. slowly, slowly, he is able to open his eyes. as he starts to focus on his surroundings, he notices a pair of objects coming towards him, animate lifeforms which he has never seen before. the animals, alien creatures to a caveman, frighten Lux more than he has ever been – he runs, in no particular direction except away, his eyes fixed behind him – hoping the creatures, now trotting along behind him, aren’t looking for an easy dinner.
running up the face of a mound of sand, he stumbles and falls. as he tries to scramble to his feet, face full of sand, he hears a voice: “Do not be afraid.” he looks up to see the girl he had followed standing at the top of the hill. “They won’t hurt you. They’re only dogs; they’re my friends. I’m Zandra”, she says. though she speaks comforting words, they only serve to scare him more, as she is a deceiver.
“Shut your mouth!” he screams as he instinctively lunges towards her, intent on doing whatever must be done to silence her poisonous words at once. but predicting his advance, she grabs a dagger from her waistband, holding it to his chest, forcing him to stop in his tracks. “Wait”, she instructs him. “Think about what you’re doing. Take a deep breath and think.” with no other option, Lux stands still, carefully considering his options and the situation. after a few moments, he backs down.
“You… you spoke to me. They said you couldn’t speak to us unless we spoke to you first. How?”, he sputters. “Yes, we were always able to speak to you”, she explains. “But if they saw us talk to you, they’d kill us. You know that.” a million thoughts run through his mind at once.
continuing her elucidation with an understanding empathy, she explains to him. “The food they give you is not good for you. It is deprived of nutrients; it is made to keep both your body and mind under their command. Out here is the good food. It is harder to find, of course, but it is much, much better than the meals you are fed in that cave. Every so often, when we have more than we can eat, we bring some in for you – the ‘special meal’, as you call it. We’ve been trying to give you all a taste of truth, to give you a hunger for reality, hoping that the more open-minded among you would come to enlightenment; anything to break this spell they keep you under. It’s why I was in the cave today.”
“We?” Lux asks. “Yes”, she answers, “there are many of us. My friends took some of our food to the people in the other caves…”
“There are other caves?” he interjects. “Many, many of them”, she replies. “There is a whole world out here that you’ve never been told of. There are hundreds of other civilizations that we know of, and probably thousands more beyond that – all enslaved, as you have been, as I once was.”
“You still haven’t told me ‘who’. Who is ‘they’?” he asks again.
Not sure how to answer, she does her best. “Well… the elders, in a sense. But they too are controlled. You see, there are bad people out here – they call themselves ‘The Summus’ – much less of them, but they are clever, powerful, and have more riches than you or I can even dream of. They use these assets to manipulate people like the elders into doing what they want, promising them great wealth and a luxurious lifestyle if they agree to comply – and great harm to themselves and their family if they do not. THEY are the true ‘Deceivers’. Didn’t you ever find it odd that you’ve never seen the elder Oriens or the elder Occasus until they came to those positions? Or, like the others in that cave, did you never even think twice? They are outsiders, but your people are so repressed, they don’t even notice, or care. While you slave away in there, The Summus out here reap the benefits of your labor, half of everything your people produce. Didn’t you wonder where it all went?”
disregarding her question, he continues his inquisition. “Why the painted eyelids? Why the mask? If what you say is true, why maintain this dark image of yourself and your people on the outside?”
“We don’t do it on purpose”, she replies. “It’s not what it seems. The masks feed us oxygen. From birth, your body has been able to function with low amounts of it, but once you’ve lived out here for a few days, your lungs expand and if you go back into the cave you will suffocate in a matter of minutes. As for our eyelids, they have been painted as a matter of necessity as well. Without doing this, the sunlight will burn through your paper-thin eyelids in a matter of minutes. My mother, sadly, learned this the hard way – she is blind now. In order to save your vision, I did it to you too, before you awoke from your unconsciousness. I had to – I’m sorry. We always wait a few minutes after we leave the cave, in case there are any unseen followers, such as yourself.”
wiping his eyelids in disbelief, Lux confirms what she has said; a dab of the dark ink stains his fingertips. things had been so crazy, he hadn’t even noticed. “Liar! I don’t believe you! I want to go back!”, he shouts in denial, starting to hyperventilate, panicking that the life he had known was gone forever, wishing for a moment that he could return to his life of blissful ignorance, instinctively wanting to believe his life in the cave was all that mattered.
solemnly, Zandra tells him what he wished he didn’t already know. “You can’t go back to your former life. You can’t cast aside what you now know. Once you went down that hole, there was no turning back. I’m sorry. It’s the only way, or you would have gone blind, or worse. If you’d gone back, if you’d spoken to anyone, if you’d been spotted, you would be killed. Don’t you remember the pact?”
Lux hangs his head, unable to reconcile the existence he had known for decades with the revelations which had just been disclosed to him. he lets his head fall backwards into the sand, dizzy from mental and physical overload. he lies there for a while, the thoughts rolling around in his brain. finally, reason trumps emotion; he realizes that the things he has known all his years – ideas ingrained in his mind since birth – are lies, circumventions of reality. there are times in a man’s life when he must go against everything he knows to be right, and for Lux, this is one. all of a sudden, he realizes the sound now roaring in his ears, more lucid than ever before. he sits up.
“Come here”, she says, noticing the change in his aura. like a child listening to his mother, he obeys. as he reaches the top of the mound, he sees it – the blinding, sparkling light forming the horizon behind her – and instantly he understands. understands the source of the sound that had chased him all his life, but also, understands that this whole new world, full of curiosities and vulnerabilities, is not just the story that she is trying to tell – it is reality.
as he ran towards the ocean, watching the waves roll in and crash, he was not afraid. as he dove headlong into the surf, he barely minded its freezing temperature. as it slammed him into the bed of the sea, he was only in awe of its power. Lux thrashed around in the cold water, learning how the waves moved, awed by its vastness, marveling at its infinite movement, until he was drained of every ounce of energy his repressed body possessed. he stumbled out of the ocean, exhausted, and collapsed next to Zandra, who had watched the scene unfold with a smile on her face. she could already tell Lux would like it out here.
Category: philosophy |
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Okay, okay. So Wal-Mart doesn’t really need my defense. And to be honest, defending Wal-Mart doesn’t exactly give me butterflies. However, so often we are reminded of the evils of big corporations, and many times Wal-Mart is used as a prime example. Here’s why you’re wrong, Wal-Mart haters.
1. Wal-Mart uses foreign slave labor
We’ve all heard the horrible stories of people in foreign countries, including children, slaving away for peanuts. But on this issue, we must ask the question: is Wal-Mart forcing its workers to labor – be it long hours, or poor conditions, or low wages – at the point of a gun? Or are its workers choosing to continue their employment, whatever the terms may be, voluntarily? The truth is, these workers are voluntarily choosing to work these jobs because they are better than the alternative. The alternative may be even lower-paying jobs, even poorer conditions, even longer hours, or maybe even lack of employment altogether, leading to starvation.
2. Wal-Mart kills small business
When Wal-Mart infiltrates a new area, the trend seems to be that smaller “mom and pop” stores offering the same products are slowly run out of town because they can’t compete. There is a key phrase in that sentence: they can’t compete. Wal-Mart has found ways to offer its products cheaper, more efficiently, and more extensively. But if the people of that area truly care about small business, they always retain the strongest economic weapon: they can vote with their dollar. Many times communities will attempt to legislate against construction of a new Wal-Mart. Besides being blatantly un-Constitutional, this is among the highest forms of elitism, as it is a blatant snub against the voice of the people; that is, it is an attempt to say that a small group of people should overrule the voice (or the dollar) of the many.
As you can see, Wal-Mart is no Mother Teresa. So what is the resolution? See #1 and #2. The employees have willingly agreed to work there, and the patrons have willingly agreed to shop there. If you Google “anti-walmart legislation“, you will find millions of hits, covering numerous attempts to legislate against this thing or that thing that the evil Wal-Mart has (or has not) done. The fact is, corporations like Wal-Mart should not be dealt with by legislation; they should be dealt with by the market.
Again, all of these points can be applied to [pick your corporation]. One interesting/popular qualm is that Wal-Mart seems to be “above the law” sometimes. However, this is not so much a failure of Wal-Mart as it is a case of government nepotism (or at least government incompetence), curable by a heavy dose of voter enlightenment/understanding/responsibility, which in turn forces accountability.