November 3

midterm reflections 2010

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.
October 22

ideological definitions

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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August 26

in defense of… Wal-Mart?

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.

3. Wal-Mart treats their employees badly

Okay, so, there is a laundry list of accusations against Wal-Mart and its treatment of employees. This includes:

  • Low Wages
  • Lack of Healthcare Benefit
  • The Dead Peasant Policy
  • Anti-Unionism
  • Gender Discrimination

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.

July 17

The Village: a metaphor

NOTE: this post contains spoilers about the M. Night Shyamalan movie “The Village”. If you have not yet seen this movie, I highly recommend that you watch it before reading further. Go watch now!

When I watched The Village about 5 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed, after some friends who had also watched it came out disappointed. At the time I took it for an interesting mystery/thriller with a classic Shyamalan twist, but upon watching again, I picked up on some interesting – perhaps unintentional – metaphors. According to IMDB, the plot is “The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.” Allow me to explain.

The Village is actually an 1800s-era village on a present day nature preserve. The elders of The Village were once everyday members of the modern-day society, but because of evils they had experienced in the real world, banded together and agreed to start a new life with a vision of hope, peace, and purity. There is a catch, though: in order to preserve their new way of life, they must somehow hide the real world from their progeny. Their solution to this problem is to perpetrate antiquated myths that there are violent creatures in the woods around them, and that anyone who would venture into these woods would surely die and bring the creatures’ wrath upon them all.

The comparison between this plot and the actual modus operandi of governments throughout history is striking. This is a classic example of what is known as a false-flag attack; that is, the powers that be create a problem that threatens the peoples’ way of life, the people clamor for security in reaction, then the governors provide a solution that is beneficial to their means. Problem-Reaction-Solution, aka, The Hegelian Dialectic – a paradigm known since the days of Roman Emperor Diocletian, millenia ago.

There have been many instances of this throughout history, and an exponential amount of alleged occurrences in recent history. Adolf Hitler and the Reichstag Fire. The Stock Market Crash of 1929. Operation Northwoods. Oklahoma City. 7/7 London. 9/11? Many would say it’s one for the ages. But these are only a select few instances out of a litany over the ages. Many times they are used as pretexts for war or for stealing of civil liberties, and most of the time welcomed by the general populace as a response to perceived threats. Sometimes they are even “well-intentioned” under perverse, utilitarian ideologies – an unwelcome reminder of the elitist, “we know what’s best for you” creed of a majority of those in power. For an example of this type, look no further than our own US government’s intentional failure to protect our own border – as even Barack Obama himself has implied recently, it provides easy ammunition to carry into battles of ideological compromise.

The moral which I took away from the story is to always question your surroundings and the fundamental circumstances of things, because sometimes they are not exactly as they seem. The Village: a metaphor that should pique the interests of us all.

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August 19

Health Care: Right or Privilege?

the following is a letter of opinion written by my father today in response to a letter of opinion in the local paper: Is universal health care a right or a privilege for Americans?

I read with interest the letter from Mr. John Murphy of Franklin, and would like to share some thoughts on this subject. On many of the points raised, Mr. Murphy and I would agree: the populace is very anxious and untrusting of our government, and rightly so. It does seem that our country has been slowly strolling toward Socialism for decades, and now we are at a full sprint. Policies that would have been unthinkable to our founding fathers have been slowly but surely by small increments passed into law, and today the concepts of individualism have given way to a victim mentality, where even those who know and understand the history of our country, as well as the history of Socialism, have a sense that it is permissible to take “from each according to his ability” and give the product of his time and effort “to each according to his need”.

Our Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This indicates that rights are given by our Creator, not by our governing officials. If our representatives are elected by us, and are conceptually our paid employees, then how on earth does it fall to them to “allow” us to have certain rights or not, as they might deem appropriate? How are we to know what the “unalienable rights” are? I would submit that they include but are definitely not limited to things like the right to bear and raise children, own property, eat as we please, and worship God. Does this sound ridiculous? Are there countries where these rights are suppressed by governments? Absolutely! Which countries are these? Countries ruled by Socialism, Fascism, and Communism. Given to men by the Creator, these rights still exist in those countries, but are suppressed, and acting on those rights is punishable.

As Americans we also have specific rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, including the rights to free speech, to keep and bear arms, to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure, and to trial by jury, among others. Note that the Ninth Amendment mentions other rights “retained by the people”. While these rights are intentionally not specified, they are generally assumed to include such ideas as the right to travel, and the right to presumption of innocence, and similar ideas that seem to fit in well with the “unalienable rights” discussed above.

How then is a privilege defined? “A special advantage, immunity, or benefit not enjoyed by all, or that may be enjoyed only under special conditions.” Who determines societal privileges? We, the people do this, en masse, by setting up powers and authorities who we hope will represent our best interests as a group, in other words, government. As they should, governing bodies grant privileges to law-abiding citizens, and deny privileges (and even some rights) to those who are found by their peers not to have conformed to our laws. The privilege of driving a vehicle can be restricted by a finding of unlawful behavior. Nationally, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions. The worst offenders among us may even be denied the right to Life by our penal system, and many would agree that our government has an obligation to the law-abiding to deny some privileges and some rights to some who violate our laws. So, privileges are granted by the people to the people.

Where does health care fall in this continuum? It does not enter this arena at all, whatsoever. Why? Because the health care industry is just that, an industry, comprised of thousands of independent businesses, large and small. Does your neighbor have the authority to force you to give to him the property which you own? Absolutely not. Does the government have the authority to force any private business, owned by people like ourselves, to now operate in a way dictated by another who has no ownership of that business? Absolutely not, and if you disagree, please show me the Constitutional article, section, or amendment from which that authority derives. Health care is neither a right nor a privilege, but a commodity which is able to be purchased from a business entity, in the same way that one would purchase a loaf of bread or an automobile. What gives our government the authority to dictate to the seller of bread to whom he must sell and for what price? If we can’t afford the bread, we can make our own bread, but we can’t ask the government to force the baker to give us the bread! Like it or not, health care is exactly identical. If we can’t afford it (or just don’t care to buy it!), then we go without it, just as we would do without anything else we can’t afford. There are faith-based organizations and benevolent charities who can and will help those who need care, and if the people of this country were not so incredibly overtaxed, we would have more disposable income with which to help our own family members and to give to those charities as well.

I could continue indefinitely, but I believe that this is where we should begin. Primarily and immediately, keep the government out of our business and our businesses, including health care. Get them out of the businesses they’re already in which can be done by private enterprise. Lower our taxes so we the people can help our families and friends in need. Anytime the government, on any level, attempts to pass a bill into law, require a reference to the Constitutional article or amendment which would give them the authority to pass that bill into law. Finally, free enterprise and the capitalistic system always work to provide the best product for the best price, anytime and anywhere, without exception, when that system is allowed to operate free of government intervention, and especially so when done under the influence of Christian Scriptural principles. These facts are what made our country the strongest and most vibrant economy in the world in an amazingly short span of time. If we continue to walk away from these ideals, there is no doubt but that our freedoms and liberties, as well as our rights and privileges, will soon be nonexistent.

Yours truly,

Tom Fretts