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Author: scott lazarowitz

Separation of Marriage and State

June 2009

Recently the California State Supreme Court upheld a referendum to ban same-sex marriage, and New Hampshire’s governor signed a bill into law legalizing it. I’m so tired of hearing about “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage,” and every time a talk show is discussing it I change the station. First, why are we still debating this issue in the 21st Century? And what business is it of the state who is married and who isn’t? And who is the state to allow or forbid any kind of private relationship or contract? One would think that conservatives would want homosexuals to be in a monogamous commitment, rather than living a promiscuous, multi-partner lifestyle. I personally favor traditional marriage, but there should be no laws addressing the issue altogether.

The Declaration of Independence states that, among our natural Rights are the “Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” And that implies that an individual’s pursuit of happiness may not include any violation of any other individual’s life, liberty or property.  People have a  right to be involved in a marriage, whether or not it’s in line with  society’s common description of “marriage,” as long as they don’t violate anyone else’s life, liberty or property.

I’m no expert on contract law, but a marriage contract is a contract, and people have a right to establish voluntary contracts, with the terms of those contracts being the private business of those involved, and it’s really no one else’s business. People’s private contracts certainly are none of their neighbors’ business, so they ought not be any of the state’s business. Who is the state to determine which contracts are valid and which aren’t, based on some arbitrary rules that have nothing to do with the protection of life, liberty and property? If a party in a contract has some dispute with another, or wants to sue for “breach of contract,” then the state gets involved to help settle the disagreement or suit.

Some people are just so worried that same-sex marriages will lead to some kind of “degradation of society.” Well, what do you think we have now, for crying out loud? Our society has degraded not because of homosexuals being married, but because of many other factors, including the ever-increasing dependence on government to do things it has no business doing, the ever-increasing intrusion of government into our private lives in general, and the influence of the sickos of pop culture on our society. Other factors of societal degradation include bad parenting, and allowing people to get away with actual crimes, such as child-molesters, tax-cheating Treasury Secretaries and the incestuously extortionist relationship between Big Business and Big Government. The moralists should stick with these problems of actual immorality.

And some people are worried that allowing same-sex marriage will “negatively affect our population growth.” Just what percentage of the population is homosexual, anyway? Various sources on the Internet give figures ranging from 2-15%. I’ll go with roughly 10%. And what percentage of that 10% consists of those in actual homosexual relationships? And what percentage of that is in long-term relationships who actually want to be married? It can’t be that much. If you’re worried about the society’s future, then enacting laws banning same-sex marriage to promote opposite-sex marriage for “population growth” would then be in the category of “social engineering.”

Conservatives usually speak of the “right to be left alone,” and believe in “small government,” and are critical of the Left for using the state for forced social engineering.  If traditional marriage really needs to be protected, then let our cultural institutions such as churches and families, and other social organizations promote it. And let people in the “bully pulpit” such as Rush Limbaugh or Phyllis Schlafly  be vocal advocates of traditional, opposite-sex marriage. But don’t use the armed force of government to ban same-sex marriage. Laws should exist to protect people and property, not to engage in social engineering or society planning.

Businesses Have Every Right to “Collude” With Each Other, But Not With Government

The Justice Department is looking into whether some Big Tech companies are agreeing not to hire each other’s employees and executives. They’re worried about big companies in “collusion.” Here’s what I think about this. In a free society under the rule of law, all companies would have the right to employ whomever they want, and if some companies want to have agreements with each other addressing hiring practices, as a legal contract or as informal verbal agreements, that’s their own business, as long as there’s no fraud or theft involved.  Why is the DOJ wasting time and money investigating these non-issues? What business is it of government what agreements Dell or HP or IBM might have?

I’m no expert on “anti-trust” laws, but the actual immoral “collusions” are between businesses and governments. While not related to the aforementioned issue, if a business has a “monopoly” in some industry, any other business has every right to get into that line of production to compete. The problem is when government regulations, taxes, fees and arbitrary restrictions legally prevent  smaller businesses or investors from getting in to compete.

Empathy

Is Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s empathy reserved only for those who belong to a race or national origin whose past members were victims of discrimination or abuse, whether or not the individual oneself was a victim? Will she have more empathy for a minority homeowner facing eviction because of loan defaults than she would for a white homeowner facing eviction because of loan defaults? Or empathy for a white victim of violent crime as much as for a minority victim? Or as much empathy for a white male being harassed by police as for a minority?

Will Sotomayor have as much empathy for people in Arizona who are victims of the increasingly rampant violent crimes brought about by the invasion of Mexican drug gangs, as much as she might have for “illegal immigrants” of Mexican or other Latin American origin?

In Massachusetts, because of the unwillingness of Gov. Deval Patrick and state legislators to cut excess offices and jobs created by the Patrick Administration and get rid of the criminal double-dipping and triple-dipping of state pensions, we now have more state and local police than ever before, out there catching motorists in speed traps and handing out otherwise tickets for the sole purpose of revenue collection. Where is the empathy for average citizens who are just trying to make an honest living and going about their business only to get harassed and robbed like this? It was the same kind of arrogance with state bureaucrats and police during the 1980s under Gov. Michael Stanley Dukakis who was busy running for president and just slightly out of touch with things. Then we had Gov. Willard Mitt Romney, himself busy running for president, and because he had so much empathy for people without health insurance,  he had to push through his Mandatory Health Insurance Law–”You must, MUST have health insurance,” he said in his bill-signing speech that day, with his detectable Locust Valley Lockjaw accent. (He repeated the word, “must.”) His empathy certainly wasn’t available for the many residents and businesses who wanted to opt out of the program, and many of whom had fled or will flee the state. What business is it of the government whether someone has health insurance? How will it be enforced? If someone doesn’t participate, fine them. What if they don’t pay the fine? Jail them. With more and more police. Wait, they’re still busy collecting taxes on the highways.

The purpose of the police is not to act as zealous tax collectors, but to prevent actual crimes, by…”policing” the streets. That’s why they’re called that. My empathy is for victims of crimes, Black or White, Hispanic or Asian, and for victims of police and state intrusions. I really hope we’ll get an equal distribution of empathy from a Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Walter E. Williams on “Empathy Versus Law”

President Obama has chosen Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be our next Supreme Court Justice. Judge Sotomayor agrees with Obama that Justices should have “empathy” for either the underprivileged or people who belong to races or national origins, etc. that have histories of discrimination. She believes that a “Latina” would be more qualified than a “white male” to judge based on empathy. This means that she does NOT believe that Justice is “blind” or “objective,” which is what actual justice really is, and is what our laws really should be based on.

George Mason University Economics professor Walter E. Williams explains it here in his recent column, Empathy Versus Law.

Michael Savage Banned from United Kingdom

Michael Savage is suing the United Kingdom for banning him from entering their country. Their reason is because of his “hate speech” that could incite violence or terrorism, and his reason for suing is that they’re violating his First Amendment rights to free speech. Well, he has a First Amendment right to free speech here in the US, which is the only place the US Constitution applies. Also, the UK has the right of national sovereignty to ban anyone, any non-UK citizen from entering their country, and for whatever reason, just as does our country. In my view, Michael Savage is now a huge hypocrite, given he has constantly and for years been arguing for our right to ban anyone from entering our country, including illegal immigrants, based on that right of national sovereignty. His main slogan is “Borders, Language, Culture.”

Another thing that’s questionable about Savage is his legal fund for this matter and for his past legal fiasco with CAIR, in which this highly rated, multi-millionaire syndicated talk host, asks his listeners, many who are of modest means, to donate to the fund. Can you imagine Rush Limbaugh doing that? I can’t. And Limbaugh would probably just tell England to go to Hell and forget about it.

Another Reminder of Why I Stopped Getting the NY Times

Maureen Dowd is in the news, herself accused of plagiarism. I stopped getting the NY Times in October 1987 after that Biden-Kinnock speech-plagiarizing fiasco, because of Dowd’s direct involvement in it. Accoding to Boston Globe stories by Joan Vennochi, Stephen Kurkjian, and Chris Black at that time, Dowd called then-Dukakis for President campaign manager John Sasso regarding an unrelated story about Joe Biden, and Sasso told Dowd about the particular Iowa debate in which Biden quoted British politician Neil Kinnock without attribution, even though Biden gave Kinnock credit the previous times he used the quote. Dowd asked Sasso to make a tape of the Biden and Kinnock speeches for her as long as she didn’t identify its source. In her page one story Dowd paired the Biden Iowa debate speech with the Kinnock speech, but didn’t mention Biden’s previous attribution of that quote to Kinnock.

So, Dowd knew that Biden had previously attributed that quote but only on this one occasion forgot to make the attribution. My conclusion at that time with these articles was that Dowd was “in cahoots” with Sasso to sink the Biden campaign. And that wasn’t the first time I’d seen “biased” reporting with the NY Times.

Evolution vs. Creation

Recently, there have been criticisms by people in the news media of conservatives’ “listening tour,” with the pundits bringing up the old creation vs. evolution debate. They are constantly labeling those who believe in God or a creator as knuckle-dragging, flat-Earth-thinking Neanderthals. Most people who believe that we were created by a superior being or beings also believe that we were products of evolution from earlier life forms, and gradually over a period of centuries, millennia, etc. It’s just as each individual evolves from conception to birth to adulthood to death.

One may ask the critics of creationism how exactly humans formed, with the heart the way that works and the brain and how it functions, and so on. Is their answer that it all came about by total randomness, with particles and matter and chemicals coming together and developing the means of life on their own? What are the chances of our heart and entire circulatory system being the results of spontaneous events and randomness? Just look at how every part of us works, and how everything functions, and all working together. Look at the eyes and how complex the optic nerve is, communicating visual messages to the brain. It’s all coincidental?

All these biological facts of existence and their complexity really should be seen as evidence that we were created, because the odds of being the results of such randomness are so great, you’d have to believe in that randomness as a matter of faith.

Rush Limbaugh Is a Liberal

April, 2009

It’s too bad that people such as Rush Limbaugh, who believe in free market capitalism,  individualism and individual rights, which is advocated by “liberalism,” refer to modern day socialism and fascism as “liberalism.” That term really refers to the advocacy of freedom of the individual from authority, specifically arbitrary governmental or state authority. The Left hijacked that word a century ago to cover up  their anti-liberty views and policies. That is why FDR, LBJ and other fascists have gotten away with their fascism. Another distortion of the words “liberalism” and “liberal” is in describing a “cultural permissiveness” that excuses irresponsibility, recklessness and even social aggression, and by law. In the old days, “responsibility” meant that an individual was responsible for the consequences of one’s own actions. Now it means, as President Barack Obama has stated, “I am my brother’s keeper,” or words to that effect. In other words,  we all have “shared guilt or blame” for what other individuals do. Obama and his ilk also mean “responsibility” as “obligation.”  We have an obligation of self-sacrifice, not really as much to “serve others,” but sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, like there’s some kind of inherent duty of self-denial in living within a community.

In this new age of increasing government fascism, socialist redistribution of wealth schemes and politically correct dictates, we need to recognize the intrusions by government into our private lives and property from which the American Founders fought so hard to protect us. The public discourse of today’s important issues deserve clarity. Rush Limbaugh is a “social conservative,” but does he really want the government to dictate particular “conservative” ways of life that everyone must follow? If so, then he would be a fascist. But I doubt that. He probably believes that those things should be encouraged by cultural institutions such as families, churches and other social organizations, but not forced by government.   Limbaugh is really a  “liberal” in that he probably believes that the individual’s right to live freely, as long as one does not interfere with another individual’s same right, should be protected by the government, not violated by it. Instead of referring to “liberalism,” Limbaugh ought to use the terms “socialism” and “fascism.” And perhaps Michael Savage’s book Liberalism is a Mental Disorder ought to be called The Mental Disorder of Extreme Social Abnormality and Cultural Permissiveness. And in the discussion of ultra-authoritarian government’s redistribution of wealth schemes, Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism should be called Robin Hood Fascism or Do-Gooder Fascism.

ObamaCorps vs the Voluntaryism of Free Markets

May, 2009

President Obama’s revival of President Clinton’s AmeriCorps program, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, now called the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, aims at America’s youth. Now a voluntary program but originally mandatory, it will probably go back to being mandatory, given how fascist in nature most of Obama’s acts of governance have been so far. Even if it remains voluntary, it will no doubt be coercive.

There are plenty of young people of high school or college age who do volunteer work, some of whose purpose is to accumulate experience towards future work in the “social services” sector, such as caring for the elderly or working with disabled people,  and some of whom just enjoy helping others. These young volunteers are genuinely motivated to help others and aren’t forced nor coerced into these activities. And there are plenty of adults who also do volunteer work.There are also many teens who are very achievement-minded, who excel in their academic work as well as have part-time jobs, either out of self-motivation or from their parents’ pressure. And there are those who are not motivated, and some of those are “troubled” teens. It seems to me that these groups are the ones the AmeriCorps proponents are after, these more “impressionable,” non-future-oriented youths who may be more likely to fall into the trap of submission to the state.

Here are some examples of how people serve others: steel workers and carpenters in the manufacturing sector serve the companies they work for, but are really serving the actual consumers who need the items they produce, such as computers, trucks and office buildings. There are people in the service sector who serve people who need groceries, get coffee at the local diner and clothes at the department store. And of course there are charities who serve the needs of those who can’t afford the daily necessities. And there are professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants who serve many people’s needs.The people in the “social services” sector such as nurses and nurses’ aides serve the needs of medical patients and teachers serve the needs  of children and young adults who need to be educated.

Now, the people in all these groups are not forced nor coerced to serve others; they do it voluntarily, and yes, most of them are paid for their work. They receive a financial compensation which is in their self-interest and they do a service to others, and their work is not planned or mandated by state authority with the armed force of legal compulsion. At the same time, there are many, many people throughout the population who do volunteer work, also in absence of government mandates or coercion–they do it out of their own genuine concern for others. People who lack that concern will probably not do volunteer work even if it’s mandated by government. You would have to have state-imposed conscription to force them to do such “involuntary servitude.” However, their sacrifice is not needed.

Perhaps what AmeriCorps supporters like Obama and Kennedy are really talking about is not just sacrificing time and effort to serve others, but sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, that comes from the belief that people inherently “owe” something to the society.There seems to be more of an authoritarianism behind those who want the federal government to administer a very large social program of “volunteers” to serve their fellow citizens. It creates more of a “servant to the state” than serving one’s fellow citizens. The real priority of people for these big-government programs seems to be more government, more powerful state, and less freedom. Evidence of this can be seen in the amount of money the pro-higher taxes groups spent on the recent campaign in California, outspending by 10-1 the anti-tax groups. The pro-taxers could’ve spent those millions directly on programs for the elderly and disabled.

There is just something about a population of citizens engaged in labor and trade that effects in serving others, freely and without state mandates or control, that authoritarian control-freaks just don’t like. The randomness of free markets in the human services sector, as well as in business, produces better and more efficient service to others right at the level of those areas because the actual people involved know best what’s needed, certainly better than some centralized bureaucrat does.

Selfishness of Socialism

April 2009

People accuse capitalism of promoting selfishness, but socialism is worse. Capitalism is a system of voluntary trade between and among individuals with respect for private property rights and freedom of association under the rule of law. The only reason for any government involvement is to settle disputes of contract, and to prosecute acts of theft, fraud, or physical violence. Also, in capitalism there is a “presumption of innocence” that socialism does not have, in which each individual, regardless of one’s wealth or poverty, is presumed innocent and otherwise left alone by the government unless and until the government suspects someone of actual theft or fraud, or of having violated someone else’s life, liberty or property. Throughout the 19th Century, the USA was mostly a capitalist society, but after implementing the income tax, the creation of the Federal Reserve and especially FDR’s “New Deal,” the USA has been  a “mixed economy,” a combination of capitalist policies allowing some freedom and socialist or fascist policies with arbitrary state controls. Actual progress in human rights and prosperity occurred throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, but after the huge expansion of the Federal government (and growth of the states’ governments), there now seems to be a decline in human progress.

Those who say that capitalism caused the 1929 Stock Market Crash and The Great Depression do not know that these situations were the results of government interventions and interferences in private economic activities, particularly by President Hoover—the results of  pathological control freaks needing to intrude in other people’s private lives and businesses. These kinds of ultra-authoritarian government policies that restrict freedom are actually much more out of the selfishness of socialism than are the policies of capitalism that respect the freedom to be creative and productive. The selfishness of the Left who use the official, legal police power of  government to act out their fantasies of helping people, with policies that have done nothing but hurt people, is far worse than the achievements of private citizens acting in their own self-interests which more often result in serving the needs of others.

The entire financial system is in collapse now because of the abuse of power and influence of government officials and their politically connected pals and supporters. And now people call for not only more government controls over private business, but government seizures of private businesses for government bureaucrats to run these businesses. Some examples of such successful endeavors include government’s participation in the home ownership and mortgage industries, via “government sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and government-run schools. And now the Left will run the entire health care system—into the ground. If only the multi-billionaires of the left would set up their own privately-run research programs, schools or medical facilities, rather than wasting all the billions on political campaigns, expecting someone else with the officialdom of the state to do it.

All people have to do is study the old Soviet Union, which had been a complete state-owned economy that ended in total collapse. That’s because not only does socialism not respect the rights of individuals to life, liberty and property, but because, in practical terms, it just doesn’t work. Note how as the Soviet Union collapsed, its individual state members declared independence, with each becoming an independent state. Of course, they aren’t perfect, but their citizens are probably freer and more prosperous than they were under Soviet rule. (And note, too, how, as government expands we have seen calls for a merger with the other two North American countries to form a “North American Union” with a single state-issued currency,  the “Amero.” It’s like people will never learn from history that the bigger the state the less free and less prosperous the people are. And this might say something also about whether the state of California, whose government is now on its knees begging for mercy, ought to split into two separate states, a “North California” and a “South California,” each with its own separate state capital and possibly more efficient state government.)

Unfortunately, the concept of “rights” as the American founders intended, that “the individual has a right to one’s own life, liberty and property,” has been reversed by the Left to mean not only does an individual  not have a right to one’s own life, liberty and property, but  has a right to someone else’s life, liberty and property: the right of some people to enslave others, via government force, to serve their own needs—which eventually develops, as we see now, into the needs of politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and Big Business to be served by everyone else. That’s not selfish? Now the Federal government’s current actions are adding trillions to the National Debt, which will further burden future generations of Americans and is literally stealing from our grandchildren’s piggy banks. Now that’s the selfishness of socialism.

Talk Radio and the Fairness Doctrine

April 2009

For some reason,  many talk radio hosts fear return of the Fairness Doctrine, which requires radio and TV broadcast stations to allow opposing or different points of view on the public airwaves. It wouldn’t force Rush Limbaugh to have a Leftist on half his show. Stations that air Limbaugh or other conservatives could include talk hosts of the Left on their station. Currently on WABC in New York, for example, Don Imus’s own show includes diverse points of view, as he frequently interviews conservatives Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and Monica Crowley, as well as Lefties John Kerry and Doris Kearns Goodwin. And conservative Sean Hannity allows people of the Left plenty of time on his show. Imus is also on WTKK in Boston, as are conservatives Michael Graham and Jay Severin who surround Lefties Margery Eagan and Jim Braude. And Michele McPhee herself is a balanced “fiscal conservative, social Liberal.”

I’ve been listeneing to talk radio for 30 years, starting with WOR’s Arlene Francis and Bernard Meltzer, and continuing with WBZ’s Larry Glick. And then in Boston, WRKO’s Jerry Williams, whose show was constantly #1 in the ratings, was my favorite. His show was successful while the Fairness Doctrine was still in place, even though he was very one-sided to the left and always critical of then-President Ronald Reagan. And since most talk radio listeners and callers are generally conservative, he received mostly conservative callers. Jerry lost his temper much of the time because he was very passionate in his left-wing views, and, because he had such a great sense of humor mixed in, he had no problem with calling annoying callers “biddies” and “Nazis.” And when Jerry became more of a “populist” and turned against left-wing then-Governor Michael Dukakis and Massachusetts state government, his ratings continued to be #1, and he was the anchor for the all-#1 WRKO along with Janet Jeghelian and Ted O’Brien, and Gene Burns (now on KGO in San Francisco).

Talk radio is generally not as interesting now as it was in the 1980s, when hosts would include interviews with people outside of politics, such as show-biz celebrities and scientists. Now, while it’s a bit overkill with the politics,  it is still somewhat informative and entertaining. I see Michael Graham as a potential Jerry Williams-like talk host, because he’s similarly passionate in his views and articulate, and has a lot of talent. They both have a similar performance background, with Jerry having been an actor and a singer, and Michael Graham a stand-up comedian. Jim Braude has similar passion in his left-wing views as Jerry Williams, has a background as a lobbyist, and he also seems like someone who doesn’t take any crap from callers. And, if Jim could let his hair down a little, he also can get away with calling a caller a “biddy,” or a “Nazi.”

However, President Obama says he opposes the Fairness Doctrine and calls for “diversity in ownership” of broadcast stations. Does that mean forcing owners such as Entercom and Greater Media to sell a certain number of their stations even if they don’t want to? If so, that kind of policy goes with Obama’s other generally fascist economic proposals. Jerry Williams was very “anti-Establishment,” especially in his anti-Vietnam War, anti-Reagan and anti-Dukakis views. Now, the same anti-Big Government Establishment label can be given to Limbaugh, Graham, and Severin, whether it be Bush’s Big Government or Obama’s Big Government. If Obama wants to take over broadcast stations to use them as White House or Congressional mouthpieces, who will then be advocates for the average citizens? Certainly not government. The Establishment already has most newspapers in its back pocket (That’s why they’re going bankrupt.), much like the old Soviet Union’s Pravda.

I’m glad WBZ had the good sense to bring back Steve LeVeille. Now if we could only bring back Jerry Williams.