Sunday, August 29, 2010

Talking Points

I want to be up front about a series of tweets I sent to a, well, how should I put this, this, less than informed young Obama supporter Mr. Gibson. I have found that over the years, having some educational background in philosophy has been very helpful because it helps me to see where ideas come from. I have watched with almost disbelief lately at how political discussions have been either mud slinging sessions or "talking points" slinging sessions. Politics has is no longer about reasoned discussion about the validity of ideas and their effectiveness in government and the private sectors but rather an angry exchange of the same old talking points expressed again and again.

The truth is that many of the ideas we find in the political arena or elsewhere, have come from philosophical systems. If this nation is to have true political debate then we must find out where these ideas come from and what assumptions they are based on.

Barack Obama did not grow up learning how to be resourceful in a business environment. He grew up in a very strongly politically charged world and the world of ideas devoid of a sense of history, of where those ideas came from. Many of these ideas he learned in the university. Allan Bloom wrote a very popular book titled "The Closing of the American Mind". If a person truly wants to understand the philosophical roots of many of the political ideologies that are so much part of the "talking points" that are bantered about almost like weapons today, then reading this book is a good place to start.

I also posted in my series of tweets a biography of a Mr. Peter Singer. You can see in Singer's ideas much of what is driving Obama's positions on the current health care debate. I am not saying that Obama's positions are coming necessarily from Singer, but many of the poltical ideas that are to be found in the university are driven by a strong "ultilitarian" perspective.

The roots of Singers philosophy go back much further to the enlightenment which Bloom also talks about. I would take this a step furtther and state the they are rooted in the dualism and idealism of Descartes or even the philosophical nominalism that came before him. Such philosophies in many ways attempt to remove the existence of a creator and any sense of ethical absolutes. They also deny any sense of absolute truth but rather express that all things are relative. This moral relativism can be traced all the way from a period 500 years ago to our current times and the "talking points' that are now bantered about.

So when I get accused of being a spokesperson for conservative talking points I have to laugh. No Mr. Gibson (yes you), my believe system is rooted in much deeper things.

The truth is that our founding fathers (and no, this has nothing to do with Glen Beck) understood and discussed philosophy. When they founded our nation they understood the influence and importance of having a firm philosophical foundation for our nations constitution. In our current times, this is lost. People are lost in a world of ideas and buzz worlds that have lost any firm philosophical basis even though they are rooted in it. The problem is that those who use them really don't understand the basis for what they are saying. There ideas, being based only in their mind, become a kind of prison because they don't believe there is any firm foundation to root them in other than their feelings. Politics then is based more on the cult of personality and in the US, the Messianic figure of Barack Obama who is certainly no Messiah. We also listen more to entertainers like Oprah Winfrey than to those to have studied the great philosophies of the world and understand their basis.

Those like Mr. Gibson have been sold a product that like any other product that the television sells based on nothing more than an appeal to the senses. The promise of a world in which pain is minimized and pleasure is maximized. That is classic Peter Singer but of course, My Gibson would rather spend his time attacking people rather than really learning what he is being sold. If you eat a lot of sugar Mr. Gibson, you get diabetes and in time, if that is not taken care of then your organs die. That is what is happening to our nation. Those foundations most importantly the constitution, care dying under the corruptive influence of relativistic poltiical ideologies.

Believe it or not, people like me are not part of some Republican conspiracy. To be honest, I don't like either party. Tea party is also a term invented by the left. I don't even vow any ties to the tea parties but I do think that the people who go to these rallies are just ordinary Americans who grew up in a country that they loved and want that country and its values to remain. I to love this country and it deeply pains me that people have been sold a product that will in the end destroy this country. Call me whatever you want but at least I know the basis for my beliefs and you Mr. Gibson, can go on believing the lie but don't be surprised when the bill collector comes to your door and there will be no one to save you, because the nation that gave you freedom and liberty has been "fundamentally transformed".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On Hypocrisy

Lately, I have noticed an incredible degree of hypocrisy from those trying to defend the building of a mosque near ground zero. I realize that this post, and others like it, are met with the accusation that I, and others like me making similar arguments, am far right bigots. Call me what you want. That is just a label and means nothing without the facts to back it up. Here are a few.

First, I accept the right of any religion to build a house of worship on private property. As far as I can see no one is arguing that mosques should not be built in NYC. In fact, there are many of them. I am looking at a map of Manhattan that shows 8 of them right now

Obama ran his campaign based on the phrase "yes we can". The problem with this phrase, and I would argue that in many ways it is the problem with his whole political philosophy is just because we can do something does not mean we should.

The Imam for this mosque, or at least those defending his decision to built on that property, have said that he is trying to promote understanding. Well, if that is what he is trying to do, building near ground zero is not a good way to start. In many ways, I see it much like the yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Are ones first amendment rights absolute? Does this imam not see that the building of this mosque might incite tension more than peace between the Islamic community and the rest of Manhattan?

I very much believe that for all faiths to be respectful of one another, it is necessary to be open. The last thing that this Imam has been is open about his positions. Two concerns that have been raised about the mosque is why it had to be built at this location and also, who is going to fund it. When asked about funding from countries like Iran, the Imam refused to answer. Clearly this does not create the kind of open, respectful environment that is necessary for peace between this potential mosque and it's neighbors.

I also love some of the invective that has been used against those who oppose this mosque. Here is one of the latest:

The argument is because Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic that no Catholic Churches should be built in the area. This argument is faulty to the point of absurdity. I don't want to give this much credence since it's not even worthy of a response but I will provide one. The Imam is not someone who grew up a Muslim, rather, he represents what would be a very large Islamic community in lower Manhattan, a community that has been secretive and unwilling to come to the table about alternative locations.

What really amazes me is that the Greek Orthodox Church has been trying to rebuild
St. Nicholas Church, destroyed on 9/11 and yet, the city has put up many roadblocks and seemingly is resisting it's construction. Odd that the mayor of NYC has bend over backwards for Islam to the point of making a statement on national TV as has the president of the United States but the Greek Orthodox Church that only wants to build a small church is being denied. Here is an article:

The latest bit of political irony in the extreme is Nancy Pelosi who now vows to investigate the finances of those who oppose the building of this mosque. I guess I better have my bank statements and tax returns ready for her when the government comes knocking on my door for this blog. The irony is, that funds for this mosque may very well come from Iran or Saudi Arabia or at least, the Imam has made to assurances that they will not. He has called for Sharia law in the United States (or at least laws that are more compatible with it). So there is some cause for concern that there may be some very questionable things about moderate he really is.

My point here is simple. Many of the arguments made in favor of this mosque are mere attacks against those who oppose it and none of the concerns that I hope I have expressed here in a rational, reasoned way, have really been addressed. When Nancy Pelosi assures me, in a transparent and honest way, that the funding of this mosque is not going to come from Iran or Saudi Arabia and that there is a reason why it has to be built on this location, then I will support the building of this mosque as well. Until that happens, I guess I am going to have to be investigated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Flip Side of the Coin

I read a quote this morning about how even Google and Apple are evil and how Microsoft is an underdog. I have been rather surprised lately by the demonization of companies. The funny thing about companies is that there is a mechanism in capitalism that insures that if a company stops making what the people want, they will not survive.

The government is not like this. Sure, in the United States we elect people to our government but not until they have been vetted by a political system which involves funding for campaigns and that involves making decisions that help a minority of people such as corporations and special interests. The Obama administration is epitome of this. Unlike for example, the Carter administration who realized that the American people did not want government run health care, the Obama administration simply, and arrogantly, ignored the American people who have been publicly berated like little children told that they don't know what is best for them. I beg to differ.

Perhaps some of the anger that people feel about companies that make the things that they want like IPads and IPhones, is that they are not part of the decision making process. The funny thing is that in a way they are. Whenever I go to a store and buy something, I vote for that product. The capitalist system is, while slow to react at times, the most democratic system of all.

For those products that we all need, there is not that much differentiation. A rich person probably is not going to have that many more I phones than a person with less money. So their vote for that product is about the same. Now a poor person or even a middle class person can't buy a Lear jet or a yacht so his/her vote for these products, is no vote. But this makes sense. Those people who can afford to buy certain things, get the votes because they are the ones that use them.

Why should we not all have the same amount of money and spread the wealth as Obama puts it? Truth is that it's human nature to become lazy without some impetus to be successful in life. In a capitalist economy, the individual is motivated to help other people. To make things and do things that others want. You don't have to legislate this, it happens naturally.

Now the government wants to step in and say, you, evil and bad company, I don't like you and then proceed to take control. GM is a classic example. What happens here is that money has to keep being pumped into the company on a regular basis because it can't run at a proit. What happens is that there is no motivation any more to make products that the people want. Rather, the motivation is to make products that the government wants like golf carts (sorry, I meant electric cars). By the way, oil has to be burned to make the electricity to charge those cars right? Just saying. Must be some kind of Obamanomics that lowers the carbon $s here. Never did understand the economics of green.

So, are Apple and Google evil? I don't know but I tell you this. If they don't make what people want they will not be in business long. Perhaps that is not as idealistic as wanting to save the planet from the evil companies but in the end, I think it works a lot better for our nation. But perhaps, I just don't understand and like a child, I need to be educated by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, govern nanni. Of course that would give me nightmares. How about you?