Archive | February, 2014

Just What Is Tolerance?

26 Feb

The following is an excerpt from a recent column by Edward Morrissey, giving his perspective on what the word “tolerance” has come to mean – and what it should mean.  The entire column can be found at

http://theweek.com/article/index/256865/on-wedding-cakes-gay-marriage-and-our-growing-inability-to-tolerate-one-another

Excerpt:

Judging by the latest skirmishes in the battle over gay marriage, perhaps everyone could use a refresher course on the meaning of “tolerance.”

The locus of the debate has shifted to the wedding industry itself. Until recently, the industry didn’t need to concern itself over heterodox forms of the ceremony and celebration, but the passage of same-sex marriage laws (or judicial rulings imposing them) have put the focus on commercial enterprises such as bakers, florists, and photographers. Do these merchants have the right to refuse service in order to avoid participating in an event that might violate their religious beliefs?

In Colorado, at least, the answer is no.

A judge in Denver ruled in December that Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips, had illegally discriminated against Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who wanted a wedding cake for their nuptials. Phillips, a Christian, refused to participate in the event, but he won’t have that option in the future. No damages were assessed in the case, but Judge Robert Spencer informed Phillips that he could not refuse service on the basis of his religious beliefs if it meant discriminating against gays. Phillips, for his part, says he’ll close his business before being forced to participate in a same-sex wedding.

Left unspoken is why anyone would want a baker for their wedding who didn’t want to participate — or a florist for that matter, or a photographer. Weddings are traumatic enough for all concerned without deliberately boosting the tension levels to a Spinal Tap-esque 11. Leaving the issue of religious belief aside for a moment, Phillips cannot possibly be the only baker in Denver capable of producing a wedding cake. Why not take Phillips at his word, tolerate his religious beliefs, and find a baker with more enthusiasm for the event? . . . .

Tolerance does not mean acceptance or participation. It means allowing people to make their own choices about what they choose to do, and to respect the ability of their fellow citizens to do the same as long as it does no injury to them. What this contretemps shows is that America is getting a lot more intolerant the more “tolerant” we become.

[End of excerpt]

Liberals’ unsettling distrust of honest elections

22 Feb

A Heapin' Plate of Conservative Politics & Religion

By Tom Quiner

corner post.2.10.14.LZ2_

Comedian Al Franken won his Senatorial race by 312 votes out of over 2.8 million votes cast.

That 2008 election proved that every single vote counts.

The 2000 presidential election came down to the state of Florida. Whoever won the Sunshine State’s 25 electoral votes would become president.

Out of nearly six million votes cast, George W. Bush won by only 537 hotly-contested votes. The vote was so tight, and the recounts so inconclusive, that legal challenges were filed by the Gore campaign. It went all the way to the Supreme Court who decided on the slim tally that favored Bush.

More than any election, the 2000 presidential election proved that every single vote counts.

In a country that is pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, the power of a single vote looms large. That is why a vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws…

View original post 525 more words

On Mixing War and Politics

19 Feb

From the pen of Dr. Thomas Sowell, my favorite writer – an excerpt from a recent column of his titled “Another Galling Betrayal”.  The entire column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/another-galling-betrayal.html

Excerpt:

. . . .

If we learn nothing else from the bitter tragedy of the war in Afghanistan, it should be that we should put an end forever to the self-indulgence of thinking that we can engage in “nation-building” and creating “democracy” in countries where nothing resembling democracy has ever existed. . . .

F.A. Hayek said, “We shall not grow wiser until we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.

That started long before the war in Afghanistan. Vietnam was a classic example. Years after that war was over, the Communist victors themselves admitted that they lost militarily in Vietnam, as they knew they would. But they won politically in America, with the help of Americans, including the media — as they also knew they would.

The war in Iraq was more of the same. American troops won that war but our politicians lost the peace. Terrorists have now taken over, and raised Al Qaeda flags, in some Iraqi towns that American troops liberated at the cost of many lives.

How did this happen? It happened much the same way it happened in Afghanistan. We insisted on trying to create a “democracy” in the Middle East — a place with a history going back thousands of years, without a single democracy.

[End of excerpt]

Liberal Sensibilities — a Definition

8 Feb

From Mark Levy, in a recent “Ask Mark” column:

“[L]iberal sensibilities are far different from the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. For instance, we’ve been told by liberals how great Obamacare would be, yet this week the CBO reported that 30 million people will remain uninsured after Obamacare is fully implemented.

“So after all this economic upheaval, we’re left with the same number of uninsured we began with. That is like cutting off the end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and claiming that it’s a larger blanket. That, my friend, is an example of sensible as defined by liberals.”

This complete column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/mark-levy/obamacare-job-loss-liberal-sensibilities-and-jay-leno.html

Questions on Immigration Reform — Sowell

4 Feb

Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover institution, offers a perspective in immigration reform in a recent column titled “Republicans to the Rescue?”  I have included an excerpt below – the full piece can be read at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/republicans-to-the-rescue.html

Excerpt:

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now “living in the shadows” as a result.

What about embezzlers or burglars who are “living in the shadows” in fear that someone will discover their crimes? Why not “reform” the laws against embezzlement or burglary, so that such people can also come out of the shadows?

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants, because these children are here “through no fault of their own.” Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places “through no fault of their own,” and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?

More fundamentally, why do the American people not have a right to the protection that immigration laws provide people in other countries around the world — including Mexico, where illegal immigrants from other countries get no such special treatment as Mexico and its American supporters are demanding for illegal immigrants in the United States?

[End of excerpt]

Personally, although Dr. Sowell may seem a little over the top on this issue, he raises some interesting questions that Americans ought to consider before accepting comprehensive immigration reform that includes broad acceptance of those who broke laws to get into this country.

Mainstream Media Bias Peeking Through?

3 Feb

From PA Pundits International Blog:  [Bolding is mine]

[Begin quote]

ABC’s Deceiving Gun Report

The propagandists over at ABC are out with a new investigative report on the dangers of firearms inside the home: “7,391 children [are] rushed to the hospital every year with … gun injuries,” mused anchor Diane Sawyer, citing a new study from the journal Pediatrics, and “453 of those children die at the hospital.”

As usual, however, the report leaves out some important disclaimers: The study’s definition of “children” includes anyone under the age of 20. Apparently when it comes to exploiting the dangers of gun ownership, you’re considered a child halfway through college. (Yet those in puberty are considered “adult” enough to make coherent decisions regarding sex, birth control and sexual orientation?) Secondly, Sawyer failed to mention that 2,149 of the incidents were from accidental or negligent discharges, 270 were attempted suicides, and the remaining 4,559 were criminal assaults (gangs, anyone?). Talk about a gross distortion of the facts.

[End of quote]

Diane Sawyer should be real proud of her tough, objective journalism.

“The Inequality Bogeyman”

2 Feb

Thomas Sowell, the well-known black conservative economist at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, had the words below to say about economic inequality.  The full column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/the-inequality-bogeyman.html

Excerpt:   [Bracketed material is mine – so is the bolding]

. . . . [D]ifferences in capabilities are inescapable, and they make a big difference in what and how much we can contribute to each other’s economic and other well-being. If we all had the same capabilities and the same limitations, one individual’s limitations would be the same as the limitations of the entire human species.

We are lucky that we are so different, so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations.

One of the problems with so many discussions of income and wealth is that the intelligentsia are so obsessed with the money that people receive that they give little or no attention to what causes money to be paid to them, in the first place.

. . . . From the standpoint of a society as a whole, money is just an artificial device to give us incentives to produce real things — goods and services.

Those goods and services are the real “wealth of nations,” as Adam Smith titled his treatise on economics in the 18th century.

[A few paragraphs follow about John D. Rockefeller, his contributions to U.S. economic growth and his resultant fortune, with shout-out to Edison, the Wright brothers, and Henry Ford.]

Too many discussions of large fortunes attribute them to “greed” — as if wanting a lot of money is enough to cause other people to hand it over to you. It is a childish idea, when you stop and think about it — but who stops and thinks these days?

Edison, Ford, the Wright brothers, and innumerable others also created unprecedented expansions of the lives of ordinary people. The individual fortunes represented a fraction of the wealth created. . . .

Intellectuals’ obsession with income statistics — calling envy “social justice” — ignores vast differences in productivity that are far more fundamental to everyone’s well-being. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg has ruined many economies.

[End of excerpt]