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Emotional handcuffs

I recently heard it said that liberals base their arguments on emotion while conservatives rely on reason. While I think it is true that modern liberals often appeal to emotion in order to advance their agenda (welfare, radical environmentalism, and such), they by no means hold a monopoly on the played-up emotional appeal. As with almost all examples of the liberal/conservative dichotomy, the two philosophies are remarkably similar in their use of this technique; they are the two sides of the same coin. A glaring use of emotion over reason is currently on display in the curious case of the Ground Zero Mosque.

It seems that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, has purchased the Burlington Coat Factory building near the 9/11 Ground Zero site for $4.85 million, and intends to turn the property into a new 13 story mosque and Islamic center. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the project.

Outrage over the Ground Zero Mosque has poured forth from the conservative movement. The main points of their argument can be summed up in the online petition located at stopthemosquenow.com. The petition originated with the editors of the conservative organizations Human Events and Redstate.com. As you read the petition, notice the strong negative emotional language:

…the building, with its towering design, “triumphantlyā€¯ peering down on the hallowed ground…

…constructed with questionable funding on a deliberately insensitive location…

…not an issue of religious tolerance but of common decency…

…to build a mosque at Ground Zero is to stab at the hearts of those who lost loved ones…

…we sincerely request that you do everything in your power to put a halt to this outrage…

Notably missing from this petition and almost all conversations about the Ground Zero Mosque is the fundamental issue of property rights. A secure system of property rights is what has allowed the United States to become the most wealthy and prosperous nation on Earth. The simple fact that American citizens are allowed to earn, possess, and improve their personal property is the cornerstone of our economic prosperity. Conservatives currently claim to champion the cause of liberty, specifically economic liberty, yet, in this case, they allow their strong emotions of hatred and fear for Muslims to handcuff their reason.

There may be other factors involved, including where Imam Rauf obtained the funding to purchase and build his project, but the fundamental issue in the case of the Ground Zero Mosque is simple: the owner of the property, operating within the law, can build what he pleases, be it mosque, mall, or monument. That’s property rights; that’s liberty; that’s America.

This week President Barack Obama ordered the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The Obama government has “linked” al-Awlaki to Ft. Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and considers him an “imminent threat to national security”. Al-Awlaki is believed to be hiding in Yemen.

Pay attention here, people. A very important line has been crossed. Not even King George W. Bush ever ordered the assassination of an American citizen. Not even FDR, when putting thousands of Japanese-Americans in prison camps, publicly proclaimed that one of them be speedily executed without a trial. With this order, Barack Obama has chosen not only to violate the Ford/Carter/Reagan ban on political assassinations, but also the 5th and 6th amendments to the United States Constitution. In case you don’t recall those, I’ll post them here:

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

[The “time of war or public danger” argument won’t work here; the United States Congress has not declared war on any one, nor have they declared us to be in a time of public danger.]

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

We have crossed over into uncharted territory. From this point forward, American citizenship no longer protects said citizens from assassination by their own government. The Constitution has again been reduced to so much toilet paper, and all in the name of “keeping us safe”. Do you feel safer?

I don’t.

Long time….no write

Wow. It’s been almost 3 months since I have posted anything on the old bloggeroo. I have been somewhat idle, but not completely so. I have had several pieces published on another blog, The Arkansas Patriot. Here are some links to a few of those thoughts:

Searcy A&P Tax: What are our Rights?

The Beginning of the End of Private Healthcare

Fight to Keep Washington Style Politics Out of Searcy

I am also very active on Twitter; I usually post between 5 and 5,000 short thoughts and links per day. If you are into the Twitter thing, you can follow me by going here. My Twitter feed is also displayed on the bottom right corner of this blog page.

I will try my best to start updating this blog again on a regular basis. We have our 4th baby due in the next couple of weeks, so don’t expect a lot until that big event has transpired, but I fully intend to pick this thing up again. The times are too interesting to abandon commentary.

See you soon…

Reading list: 2009

Books I read in 2009:

The Literature of C.S. Lewis by Timothy B. Shutt
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life by F. Batmanghelidj
The Enlightenment: Reason, Tolerance, and Humanity by James Schmidt
Bias by Bernard Goldberg
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods Jr.
The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan
Civil War Two by Thomas W. Chittum
No Debt, No Sweat! by Steve Diggs
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Domestic Enemies by Matthew Bracken
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Emergency by Neil Strauss
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Currency Trading for Dummies by Mark Galant & Brian Dolan
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
Economics, 3rd Edition by Timothy Taylor
The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Great War: American Front by Harry Turtledove
The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl
Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The Great War: Walk in Hell by Harry Turtledove
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Operation Health Freedom

As the House of Representatives and the Senate debate how to governmentalize our health care system, voices of private experts are arguing for a move in the opposite direction. The following 4 videos were put together by the Campaign for Liberty and feature Peter Schiff, Dr. Rand Paul, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Shaving as a metaphor for life

shavingI have recently taken up traditional wetshaving as a hobby of sorts. Many of you say, “Shaving? Why shaving? That’s just a boring chore we have to do every day.” I used to feel that way, too. In fact, I used to hate shaving so much that I would only do it about two or three times a week, giving me the look of a borderline hobo and thoroughly annoying my wife and my employer. Then, while mindlessly wasting time on YouTube one afternoon, I stumbled on a video that changed the way I felt about shaving. Suddenly a whole new world opened up before me. I discovered that there are groups of men that get together online to talk about shaving (shaving forums). I found out that what I was using to shave was probably just about the worst thing possible for my skin and beard. I also learned that the number of alternative and vastly superior products available for shaving was nearly infinite.

So I got some inexpensive (but high quality) traditional wetshaving soaps and creams, a new double-edged safety razor (a gift from my wife) and a introductory level boar hair shaving brush. I watched every single one of mantic59‘s shaving videos (famous clear across the shaving universe) and read hours worth of forum posts at Badger & Blade. Finally I felt ready. I installed a fresh new razor blade in my Merkur HD, lathered up my face, and…shaved. The result? Well I won’t lie to you; it wasn’t pretty. Not only did I still have itchy patches of facial hair, but now I had large amounts of blood oozing from my face as well.

The thing is, you can’t approach traditional wetshaving like you approached what I call “mass-market quickshaving”, using a Mach 3 and a can of goo. There is technique involved. There is skill. And there is something spiritual you can’t quite explain…I’ll call it, shavatation. As my technique improved, I began to get the best shaves of my life while immensely enjoying myself. Suddenly the first half hour after waking up in the morning became one of the favorite parts of my day. I loved the smell and feel of the shaving cream, the song of the steel blade, and the cool burn of the aftershave. The more I learned about wetshaving, the more I realized that the process of daily shaving is a lot like life, a perfect metaphor if you will.

We are born with a smooth face: a fresh, clean slate. As we grow, we begin to acquire peach fuzz experiences; nothing especially disturbing or distracting, just enough so that you know it’s there. As the years go by, the real growth and life experiences come in: worry, sorrow, tragedy. For some it is thick and heavy, for others thin and light, but we all get the inevitable beard of life. Trouble is, if we let the beard grow and grow without thinning it out, our countenance is soon covered with a heavy, scraggly burden. We need a way to remove the troublesome beard that distracts us from what is deep below the surface, the true, genuine face we want to present to the world. We have to rediscover that fresh face again. We have to SHAVE.

We need something special with which to remove the beard of life, and, like I discovered in traditional shaving, the options are almost limitless. Your cream and razor of choice may be different than mine. We all have that someone or something that we turn to for help, rest, and rejuvenation. For many it is family, or faith, or friends. Some turn to recreation, travel, or hobbies. Whatever it may be, we all search for that special shaving kit that will help us remove the scratchy stubble of life. If you have taken the time to learn the technique, skill, and shavatation required, you can feel brand new again, almost like you were just reborn. Because we know that there ain’t nothing like a baby’s butt shave to make you look and feel a little better. And don’t worry about losing that beard, it will always grow back.

So there you have it, shaving as a metaphor for life. Search out the smoothest face you know and find out what they are shaving with, literally and metaphorically. You’ll be glad you did.

I dedicate this post to Josh, who seems to have it very together, even with the biggest, craziest beard on Planet Earth. And to Mark, who continues to show us the way.

Last night President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on the topic of healthcare. It was supposed to be a historic speech, but today no one seems to be discussing healthcare much. They’re all too busy talking about what Joe Wilson did.

Wilson, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina, shouted, yes, actually shouted “YOU LIE!” at the President of the United States during the address. Everybody heard it; Nancy Pelosi’s head almost exploded. Immediately the liberals in Congress starting clamoring, but not about what you would think. In fact, if you do an online search on the subject, you will find a multitude of stories about how inappropriate and boorish Joe Wilson is, but only a few stories about the main point that should concern us all: Is Barack Obama telling the truth?

When you come right down to it, I think the Democrats are mad that someone, especially a Congressman, would dare to yell in verbal protest at President Obama during an important speech. They can’t fathom it. This, like most partisan issues, is a double standard. When George Bush discussed Social Security in the 2005 State of the Union Address, the Democrats booed him. For crying out loud, the liberals literally bubbled with glee when an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference. Heckling Presidents is nothing new or unusual. It just wasn’t supposed to happen to Barack Obama.

In the end Joe Wilson succumbed to the pressure of the gutless GOP and the Obama machine and called to grovel out an apology to Rahm Emanuel for his outburst. He said his emotion got the better of him. Too bad it turned out this way. Had Congressman Wilson played his cards right, he might have been able to shut the speech down, or at least make the President find a quieter spot to speak. Kind of like this: