Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Taking a Decision to Have a Problem With Issues

January 31st, 2008

There are a couple of fairly recent changes in the language usage that trouble me. It’s not that I’m a grammar nit-picker, but that language telegraphs attitude. It’s the attitude I find troubling, not the strictness of grammar or corruption of word meanings, per se.

First is the substitution of “issue” for “problem.” When my internet service breaks down they announce that there is an “issue” with the server. Now, while I understand what they are saying, the server is kaput and that is the problem, I wonder why it is described as an “issue”? On further reflection, we see “problem” used in the form of: “Do you have a problem with that?” No, I don’t have a problem, my ISP has a problem. The “issue” is whether the problem will be solved and by whom? So now I realize that, by calling the problem an “issue” this absolves anyone from admitting that it has to be fixed. Issues are subjects of discussion. Problems are situations that must be resolved. By asking if “you have a problem with that?” the responsibility of the problem is deflected to the person who perceives the problem, not the one responsible for fixing it.

The second change I’ve observed is the transition from “make a decision” to “take a decision.” The latter has been the British habit for some time, but why has it caught on in U.S. popular (maybe journalistic) usage? Let’s look at the difference. If you “make” a decision, you take responsibility for it, after all, you’ve made it. If you “take” a decision, someone else has made it, you are just adopting it — hence no responsibility.

We have only issues and we take decisions. How convenient. And how politically correct. Nobody is offended, nobody is responsible. Bureaucracy reins supreme.

As for me, I’ll define and fix problems and make my own decisions.

Concealed Weapons = Political Correctness

January 31st, 2008

This past week a friend and I attended a concealed weapon’s class required to obtain a concealed weapons permit. As a gun owner but not a great enthusiast, I thought the class might provide some useful training and a little practice at the range.

During the class I asked the instructor the following question: “In a state that allows open carry without any permit, why should one need a concealed weapons permit? Why not just carry openly?” The answer was really stunning. Paraphrasing the instructor’s response, “There are a lot of people out there who hate guns. If you carry openly you may be accused of aggravated assault by one of these hysterical people. They’ll say you scared and intimidated them with your pistol, although it may have remained solidly in its holster and you may have said nothing to them nor even looked them in the eye. And then you’ll have to face a judge and jury, and opposing lawyers, who may decide that the plaintif was, indeed, assaulted by your mere armed presence.”

“But if you carry concealed, nobody has grounds to complain.”

So there you have it. Political correctness – the doctrine of “never offend anyone” requires concealment of weapons. Odder still, some laws and courts tend to back it up.

Environmental Nuts Developing Nuclear Weapon

January 28th, 2008

A recent article:
Livescience – Humans Force Earth Into New Geologic Epoch” says that mankind has so changed the earth that a New Epoch needs to be declared. All these changes, are of course, deemed to be harmful.

And you thought global warming hysteria was creating excuses to regulate everything and everyone? This is potentially the environmental whackos’ equivalent to nuclear weapons! With the right hype this could lead to governmental regulation of everything left over from the Gore’ey hysteria produced by the global warming alarmists. Soon all scientists will be able to unanimously agree that humans, are, after all the problem. So Nukem!

Clinton’s $20 Mil. Windfall

January 22nd, 2008

We congratulate former president Clinton for his business acumen. Can’t argue with success! We just hope that Uncle Sam takes the bulk of it in taxes, or alternatively, that we get a peek at Bill’s maneuvers to avoid the tax bite.

See: Wall Street Journal Article

Important Affairs of State — Baseball?

January 16th, 2008

Has anyone realized how absurd it is for the Congress of the United States and the President of the United States of America (TATA!!!) to be using up the public’s time and the public’s treasury on the regulation of baseball? Where in the constitution is it written that the U.S. Government should regulate sports? Or steroids for that matter? The business of the U.S. Government is conducted by a bunch of schoolyard brats with their childish games. Send Mitchell, Waxman and playmates back to the sand box to play with plastic buckets and shovels.

Tyranny’s Tools

January 14th, 2008

The jack-boots are clicking on the cobblestones, and congress is providing them with tools.

“Your paper’s please! I said, present your ID papers!!!” BAM! “Must have been a filthy terrorist. Have to remember to clean my pistol tonight. Damn, I wish he didn’t splatter so much.”

The “Real ID” act has passed the senate. What are these people thinking? The Real ID act presumes that the federal government somehow has the right to license every citizen. Chips in the ear are too expensive, so they’ve decided to pervert the driver’s license just like they’ve perverted the Social Security number. Quoting an article in c/Net News:

“If the act’s mandates take effect in May 2008, as expected, Americans will be required to obtain federally approved ID cards with “machine readable technology” that abides by Department of Homeland Security specifications. Anyone without such an ID card will be effectively prohibited from traveling by air or Amtrak, opening a bank account, or entering federal buildings.”

So if we can’t travel, open a bank account or enter federal buildings without government issued ID, what can we do? Pretty much requires government approval to live, doesn’t it? So what will the free market do? It will do what it always does, provide alternatives such as counterfeit ID’s, black markets, etc. Which will result in more government oppression, until if we still have any courage left the whole thing will blow up. As it should.

This is really ugly. Some states are resisting the move on the grounds of compliance costs. All should resist on the basis of constitutional freedoms — in the spirit of “The government shall make no law ….” This all came from the Department of Homeland Insanity, but Congress is fully to blame.

And if you think this isn’t serious, look at what the new labour government of Australia has decided to impose, national censorship of the internet, China style. I wonder when that wonderful idea will trickle into the Washington crowd’s agenda? They’ll need to add censorship to finish the job started with the Real ID! Just revoke the ID and that will really shut you up, won’t it?

Muscular Libertarianism

January 5th, 2008

At heart I’m a libertarian. The concept of “less government, more freedom” sums up my overall political outlook.

But there’s something wrong with the current, raw libertarian doctrine as espoused by, among others, Ron Paul. What’s wrong is an isolationist, pacifist view of the world we live in, a world that is, and will probably continue to be, absolutely un-libertarian. By that I mean that the libertarian principle of tolerance is completely absent in most of the world. So even if we Americans build a libertarian society based on tolerance, responsibility and not stepping on one-another’s toes, the rest of the world doesn’t work that way, and probably never will.

As long as there are nations with diverse systems of tribe and government, there will be leaders who use their powers to do dirty deeds such as oppressing their own citizens, attacking their neighbors, restricting trade, infiltrating instigators into neighboring countries, behaving as obstructionists in international bodies, and generally being bad neighbors. Pacifism simply won’t work against these threatening neighbors, who will consider it an invitation to attack. Isolationism might keep the bad guys at bay for a while, but at the expense of limiting our freedom to trade and travel the world, i.e., losing a freedom we should have and protect.

Libertarians believe that a strong economy based on principles of individual freedom will be such an example to the world that we’ll gain respect, even love, sufficient to protect our interests. Oh that it could be true! But it’s a completely idealistic and naive assumption.

In recent history we’ve faced true threats from communism and fascism. The libertarians preach that the fascists could have been beaten by volunteers and the communists simply ran out of steam economically. But isolationism and pacifism in either case would probably have led to an unimaginably ugly outcome for America. Had Hitler conquered all of Europe and Japan all of Asia, and then combined to invade America, we’d truly have had the rest of the world to fight. And had we not been muscular when confronting the communist nations the same fate might have befallen us — the rest of the world to fight.

As a nation, America does, indeed have international interests, both economic and political. Currently, oil is a concern we can’t deny or hide from. How would it be for us if the majority of the world’s oil were controlled by Islamic extremists? It’s bad enough for much of it to be controlled by OPEC. Sure, we could say the Arabs have a right to their beliefs or their religious folly, or whatever. But we do have an interest in this, and turning our backs on that interest simply insures that we’ll get the worst of it. So involvement, including some muscle, makes a lot more sense than isolationism.

Another little matter we need to contend with currently is Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Again, we could assume that by turning our backs, checking out from participation in the world’s politics and commerce, and becoming an “example of tolerance” we might avoid exposure to terrorist acts. An assumption based on what? But that’s not really the nut of the problem. The problem here is that no individual can protect himself from a terrorist with a bomb strapped around his waist or control of an airliner. Further, no police force can defend against such attacks. The only way to eliminate terrorism is to eliminate the terrorists, and that means by international actions of one kind or another. It includes measures from pressuring foreign governments to going out and killing the terrorists where they live. Nothing less will solve the threat of terrorism. Those measures take international diplomatic and military capability on a national level.

So what do these examples, world war, cold war, terrorism tell us? They tell us that a mighty military is necessary for the survival of a free and prosperous America. And in my opinion, a necessary component of a mighty military is a citizenry that considers it the patriotic duty of every male citizen to at least train for possible military service and to serve if called. This individual responsibility should be embedded into the libertarian doctrine. So, to “less government, more freedom ” should be added ” more responsibility.” I’d call this muscular libertarianism and would support it wholeheartedly.