Monday, December 20, 2010

George Ought to Help

While you might think George "ought" to help his friend, is it moral to force him to help?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Bill of Rights Day

On December 15, 1791, the U.S. Constitution was amended to include the Bill of Rights.  George Mason, a delegate from Virginia, had refused to vote for the Constitution at the Philadelphia convention because it did not include a bill of rights.  Afterwards, he and his fellow Anti-Federalists fought against ratification of the Constitution unless a bill of rights was added.   Fearing ratification was going to fail, the Federalists agreed to add a bill of rights once the new government was established.

While the Bill of Rights has not always been able to stop the government from abusing the rights of Americans, it has served at times as a break to slow down the abuses.  So for that, thank you Mr. Mason.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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.

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.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Great New Site for Historical Documents - The Patriot Post

The Patriot Post has done a yoeman's job in putting together a comprehensive list of historical documents that any student of liberty should have bookmarked.    

Here is a list of the Founding Documents:

But there is much more than that.  Check it out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Constitution Day

I am guessing many of today's students wouldn't do as well as Barney.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The reason you can't yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater

I am a little tired of hearing that "you can't yell 'FIRE' in a crowded theater" as an example of where the First Amendment does not apply.  A theater is privately owned and the owner CAN limit speech if he so chooses . . . and probably would. Congress, on the other hand, cannot limit speech.  Period. But what if it is a government-owned theater?  Government-owned theaters are not authorized by the Constitution and, therefore, are unconstitutional.  See how easy that is.  Who needs a law degree?  But I am not a Supreme Court Justice, apparently this is how a Supreme Court Justice thinks:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I hope these people don't vote

Apparently 22% of those responding to a CNN poll on whether the Florida pastor has the First Amendment right to burn the Quran should not ever vote.  To be blunt, they are ignorant.  The First Amendment protects unpopular speech.  While I am not supportive of this guy's publicity stunt, he without question has the right to do it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Commerce Clause Video

I have posted a lot of very good videos but this one is a must watch.  Reason TV talks to two law professors  - one an originalist and the other a statist - to explain their positions on the applicability of the US Constitution's Commerce Clause.  It is this clause that allowed the camel to get its nose into the tent and its broad interpretation has allowed the entire Constitution to be subverted.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thomas Jefferson and Logic

Too often political discourse today is nothing more than a string of political talking points which are themselves nothing more than political catch phrases.  But that wasn't always the case, many of the founders were well versed in logic.   John Rappoport lays out the logical arguments Jefferson made in the Declaration of Independence.  Go read how the Declaration of Independence uses logic to make the case for independence and liberty.

"I point this out to show that the Founders were not only acquainted with the use of logic, they wanted to make their great case for freedom and independence by using its power.
"In their minds, freedom and logic were connected. 
If in our schools, in 2010, logic as a distinct subject has been reduced to paltry terms, how are students able to grasp the majestic nature of freedom, as expressed in the Declaration?  How are they able to understand that living in freedom is more than vaguely drifting from one slogan to another, one addled piece of political rhetoric to another?"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Objectivist Toddler

I laughed out loud at this story . . .

When little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact words were, "Have a ball, peas [sic]?" And I'm sure you were very proud of him for using his manners.

To be sure, I was equally proud when Johanna yelled, "No! Looter!" right in his looter face, and then only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him.
The thing is, in this family we take the philosophies of Ayn Rand seriously. We conspicuously reward ourselves for our own hard work, we never give to charity, and we only pay our taxes very, very begrudgingly.
Since the day Johanna was born, we've worked to indoctrinate her into the truth of Objectivism. Every night we read to her from the illustrated, unabridged edition of Atlas Shrugged--glossing over all the hardcore sex parts, mind you, but dwelling pretty thoroughly on the stuff about being proud of what you've earned and not letting James Taggart-types bring you down. For a long time we were convinced that our efforts to free her mind were for naught, but recently, as we've started socializing her a little bit, we've been delighted to find that she is completely antipathetic to the concept of sharing. As parents, we couldn't have asked for a better daughter.

That's why, when Johanna then began berating your son, accusing him of trying to coerce from her a moral sanction of his theft of the fruit of her labor, in as many words, I kind of egged her on. Even when Aiden started crying.  

Read the rest

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Success by Berton Braley

If you want a thing bad enough To go out and fight for it...
If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it

If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it, Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you'll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get it!


With doubt and dismay your are smitten
You think there’s no chance for you, son?
Why, the best books haven’t been written
The best race hasn’t been run,
The best score hasn’t been made yet,
The best song hasn’t been sung,
The best tune hasn’t been played yet,
Cheer up, for the world is young!
No chance? Why the world is just eager
For things that you ought to create.
Its store of true wealth is still meager
Its needs are incessant and great,
It yearns for more power and beauty
More laughter and love and romance,
More loyalty, labor and duty,
No chance–why there’s nothing but chance!
For the best verse hasn’t been rhymed yet,
The best house hasn’t been planned,
The highest peak hasn’t been climbed yet,
The mightiest rivers aren’t spanned,
Don’t worry and fret, faint hearted,
The chances have just begun,
For the Best jobs haven’t been started,
The Best work hasn’t been done.
-Berton Braley
HT: RationalMind

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quotes from the Framers of the Constitution and Others

Economist Walter Williams has a really nice page of quotes from the framers of the Constitution and others.

Here is an example:  

"Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
-- John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Minnema in 2044

Devon Minnema is a 14 year old tea party organizer who is very well spoken and, based on this brief interview, I would say well read.  However, I will confess that I normally have a negative reaction when kids proclaim they want to be president.  Therefore I would have liked for him to have ended the interview by saying he has no interest in running for president in the future but instead would like to do something more productive like becoming an entrepreneur or an engineer or maybe even a professional wrestler.

He said that some of his government school teachers were not so receptive to the ideas of liberty but he explained his Young Americans for Liberty group were about "Peace, prosperity and freedom.  How can you argue with that?"  Good answer but I am surprised that that silenced the typical lefty teacher.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fatherly Advice

The Frugal Dad has some good advice for his son.  It is too good not to share.  The post is actually longer, but here is the main points of the advice:

"My son, there are so many things left for me to teach you about the real world. Much more than I could write in a single letter. But above all else, remember that no one owes you a thing. You are responsible for taking care of yourself, and one day, your own family.
You will be tested, by our culture, by our government, by bad examples, and by a lazy streak that attempts to attach itself to all of us at some point in our lives. You must ignore these influences, and remember that your goal is to grow to be as self-reliant as possible.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you grow older:
  • Do not depend on government for your well-being. In an emergency, don’t be too proud to accept help, but do not make it a way of life.
  • Do not depend on banks for financial security. The best credit line available is the one attached to your emergency savings fund. Remember, the borrower is slave to the lender, and you don’t want to be a slave to big banks. Take my word for it!
  • Do not depend on schools to provide 100% of your education. You must self-educate beyond the lessons taught in school. Challenge your educators, and challenge your own thoughts. Read books. Read books contrary to your own opinion, so that you may learn another point of view. Read books on subjects you don’t think you care about and you just may discover your passion.
  • There’s no such thing as get rich quick. Building wealth takes time, and a lot of hard work. If you want to be successful in anything, you must work at it for hours every day – sometimes late into the night, and early in the morning. If you are happy with mediocrity, punch the clock after 8 hours, plop down in front of a television and waste valuable time until you fall asleep. Repeat this process until the weekends when you can do even more of the same.
  • Be skeptical. Don’t believe anything you read, most things you hear, and even a few things you see with your own eyes. Question everything. Nothing in life is black and white.
  • Choose your spouse carefully – it is the most important decision you will ever make. Love has a way of robbing us of our intellect, and in many cases leads to irrational decisions based solely on emotions. Choosing someone to spend the rest of your life with is far too important for that. Look for someone that shares your hopes and dreams. Someone who is ambitious, but not too much. Someone who has the same values and beliefs as you do. Like you’ve heard your dad say before, opposites do attract, but they rarely stay together forever.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Music Video: Too Late to Apologize

A history lesson music video. It was just okay for me.

Halfway across the globe
And we're standing on new ground
Screaming 'cross the waves
You can't hear a sound
There's no fair trials, no trade, no liberties
No tea
We've colonized America; we won't stand for tyranny,
Oh king
And it's too late to apologize
It's too late
We've paid your foolish tax, read the acts
And they just won't do
We want to make it clear, we believe this much is true
All men were created with certain
Unalienable rights
Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
Of happines

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Original Hide The Decline Video

YouTube had taken down the original "Hide the Decline" global warming satire video, but it is back up . . for now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

Today is the 235th anniversary of Patrick Henry's famous Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech before a meeting of the colony's delegates held in St. John's church in Richmond.

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
- Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

In honor of Patrick Henry, I encourage you to join the peaceful fight to reclaim our God-given liberties. Your brothers (and sisters) in liberty are already in the streets protesting the government's power grab. Will you join them or continue to sit on your couch talking back to the TV?

How a Bill Really Becomes a Law

The old Schoolhouse Rock video "How a Bill Becomes a Law" is educational and totally appropriate for elementary school age children. However, cynical middle schoolers are ready for the ugly truth of politics.

and the original -

Monday, March 15, 2010

Essay Contest on Ayn Rand's Anthem

The Ayn Rand Institute has an annual essay contest for 8th, 9th and 10th graders on Rand's novel Anthem. The winner gets $2,000 but 235 runner ups will receive some level of cash award.

Select ONE of the following three topics:
  1. Why do you think the Council of Vocations assigns Equality the job of Street Sweeper? Is it due to error, incompetence or a more sinister motivation? Explain.

  2. The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners never try to escape. Why do you think they do not? Explain.

  3. In a single, unified essay, explain the meaning and wider significance of EACH of the following quotes in the story:

    1. “To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.” (Ch. 12)
    2. “It is the mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth.” (Ch. 11)
    3. “And we thought that we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being.” (Ch. 8)

The Great Lie of the Nanny State

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Visualize Fake Budget Cuts

Making fun of Obama's fake budget cuts is apparently like shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone is getting in on the act. See more here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Music Video: Liberty

"They keep telling me it is a sin to be free
and that is more than I am willing to stand."

Jordan Page

How many songs do you know that rhyme hyper inflation with bad legislation?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Video: The Importance of Profit

Is profit necessary or is it the reason products are so expensive? In this video on The Importance of Profit from the "purveyor and causer of awesome" Sean Malone, a proper understanding of profit is explained. So next time someone says the word "profit" with contempt in their voice, maybe you can enlighten them as to the role profits play in seeing that the products they like get produced.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jerry Seinfeld on Parenting and the Three Poison Ps

In this Sunday's Parade magazine, comedian Jerry Seinfeld gives some pretty good parenting advice and one excellent observation on why parents make a common mistake. He calls his rules of parenting "the poison Ps." The first P is for too much praise. Parents today tend to over praise their children. Kids are not stupid, they realize they don't deserve praise all the time and that not everyone on the team deserves a trophy. The second poisonous P is for problem solving. Today's helicopter parents are all too ready to jump in with a solution to a problem without letting a child find the solution himself. Jerry thinks this is stunting their ability to develop effective problem solving skills. I have observed children who just wait for their parents to tell them what to do instead of attempting to fix a problem on their own. The third P is for giving your child too much pleasure. Parents constantly give their children stuff. They are unwilling to say "no" to most requests. Does a 4th grader really need a cell phone?

This last P leads to Jerry's observation on why today's parents spoil their children. He says, "We feel so guilty for destroying their innocence - which is what we did - so we're now trying to repair that by creating perfect childhoods for our children." So parents attempt to buy that perfect childhood with stuff. Buying stuff is so much easier than actually being a good parent. A good parent knows that delaying gratification teaches a valuable lesson, that is, stuff is only possible and satisfying through hard work.

I probably shouldn't make this post about politics, but I have to wonder if one reason politicians try to "give" voters unlimited goodies is because they feel guilty for destroying our country? Just like with today's parents, today's politicians are trying to create the "perfect" society and, in the process, are creating many messed up voters. Voters have come to expect government will solve their every problem. And it does not matter if the cost is passed down to future generations. Parents today should be ashamed of what they have done to their children by ignoring timeless principles such as hard work and delayed gratification and trying to create an illusion of a perfect childhood or society without sacrifice.

“The problem with trying to child-proof the world, is that it makes people neglect the far more important task of world-proofing the child.” Hugh Daniel

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Groucho Marx Quote on Politics

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies” -- comedian Groucho Marx

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freedom Channel

I just stumbled upon a blog called Freedom Channel where you will find a collection of great pro-liberty/anti-statist videos. There are videos with Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, Ron Paul, Walter Williams, John Stossel, and others. I suggest you check out the Freedom Channel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fear the Boom and Bust - an Economics Rap Video

When I first heard about this video, I thought it was going to be really lame. I imagined it was going to be like a bad Saturday Night Live skit where uncool white people try to look cool by rapping. It isn't as bad as I imagined. It is actually quite good. But what do I know, I am an uncool white person.

In Fear the Boom and Bust, two famous economists from the Great Depression years - John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek - come back to life to attend an economics conference on the current economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and rap about why there's a "boom and bust" cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.

Peace out

Addendum: Professor Roberts has developed a lesson plan for teachers. For instructions on how to get the lesson plan, click here.