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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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:

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obama-at-law-schoolToday President Obama delivered his much anticipated first-day-of-school speech to America’s public school children. If you believe the mainstream media (depending on your network of choice), everyone who lauded the speech is a wacko socialist while those who opposed it are crazy glue-sniffers. But what about those who don’t place themselves on the far right or left? From a limited government, independent standpoint, was the speech good or bad for America’s children?

In order to answer this question, let’s look at the major talking points from both left and right.

Left:
1. We won the election, so shut it you crazy conservative right-wing psychopaths. This is pretty much the left’s current battle cry. They feel that the President has a voter-bestowed mandate to do most anything he wants. There is some truth to this. The voters did elect the Democratic Party pretty much across the board. However, as has been seen during the Congressional recess, there is still a vocal-if-not-large portion of the public that doesn’t care for this argument.
2. The speech was so benign, uplifting, and conservative, it sounded like a Republican speech anyway. True to an extent, but, as shall be demonstrated, the President wove some subtle statist mumbo jumbo into his “don’t give up, stay in school” message.
3. The right will oppose anything Obama does, no matter what it is. I have to say that this is probably true. He has become the anti-right, even if some of his anti-rightness is purely imaginary.

Right:
1. Obama is indoctrinating the children. He’s trying to turn my kid into a socialist. OK people, I read and watched the speech. There were a few little things, but for the most part the speech was apolitical. Most of the kids weren’t paying attention anyway. In fact, if you ask them tomorrow morning what the message of the speech was, most likely they would reply, “Study hard, stay in school.” That is, those who remembered that they watched a speech at all would say that. I doubt any of them were convicted to mark “D” on their first ballot in 2-10 years purely on the merits of this talk.
2. Obama is trying to teach my kid values I don’t agree with. Really? Like what? Work hard, do your best, finish school? Those are pretty darn good suggestions regardless of where they come from. Again, the speech was not controversial in this respect. There was nothing about abortion, gun control, or homosexuality, although the President did encourage students to stand up for kids who are different and are being bullied. I don’t think a million newly minted school age liberal socialists spilled out of America’s schools today at 3 pm. The speech was just not that value laden.
3. I just don’t like the guy and he shouldn’t be talking to my kids. Fair enough. Many school districts didn’t show the speech, and many more parents kept their kids home today. When it came right down to it, parents who felt strongly that their children should not hear what the President had to say found a way to keep them from hearing it. Was it a big loss? Probably not.

Sadly, the above points are about as deeply as most liberals and conservatives are looking at the issue. From my standpoint, though, there are a few other things to consider, some pro-speech and some con. For instance:

1. Why are we so afraid that our children hear a speech from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES? Haven’t we taught our kids to think critically about an argument before they accept it wholesale? Don’t we have any confidence at all that we have bestowed our cherished values in them? We send them off to public school every day to be molded by state employed teachers and other kids, yet we are afraid for them to hear the President, the holder of an office we should teach them to respect?
2. On the other hand, the federal government is not supposed to interfere in public school curriculum. That realm is reserved for the States. The White House provided a much edited study guide to go along with the Obama speech. This should not have been done. Speech OK. Assignments related to the speech, not OK.
3. Get a load of the ego on this guy. One of the things that amazed me about the speech was how Barack Obama turned the first day of school into Obama Appreciation Day. I mean, shouldn’t the first day of school be about students, teachers, and the excitement of a new school year? Instead the day was completely disrupted all for the sake of a 15 minute story about how young Barry became a success against all odds. I hope the kids loved him because he sure loves himself.
4. Perhaps most disturbingly, the theme of the speech, while hiding behind a mask of determination and perseverance, was really about dependence and malleability. Consider the following quote:
“So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country? Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn.”
Do our kids need the government in order to learn, make discoveries, solve problems, or make a contribution? It seems to me that these great things most often occur when government influence is absent. We all know that actions speak louder than words. What will our kids think when their President tells them:
“You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.”
“We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.”
“Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.”

and then they see the same President’s government taking the fruit of their talent and hard work and handing it to dropouts and quitters? That doesn’t sound like writing your own destiny. That sounds like signing your own indenture.

So will President Obama’s speech make that much of a difference? Probably not. Like most speeches, it will likely be thrown into the dustbin of history. Was it good or bad for the kids? Probably neither. Most of the kids won’t remember it anyway. On the other hand, I was a public school student in October 1991 when George H.W. Bush delivered his (much maligned by the left) public school speech, and I still remember that. Yes indeed. I explicitly remember thinking, “Man…that dude is old.”

Read the speech here.

Watch the speech here.

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Dear Mr. President,

I just watched your “I Pledge…” video. I am now 100% unable to take you seriously. Next time you want to indoctrinate me, get somebody besides the host of Punk’d to deliver your message. Now if you need me, I’ll be off flushing twice after each pee.

Sincerely,
Garret

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