"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-Samuel Adams

the Misanthropic Humanist:


29 April 2009


The last traffic counter I had seems to have quit working, so I've switched to Sitemeter. It's a much better known site, and the free version provides more stats. I don't know what my total was before the reset, but it was around one thousand, one hundred and... something. So I just set the "starting number" at 1,100 to guess on the cautious side.

27 April 2009

Mock Ignorance

I've noticed a trend in relation to the TEA parties. It's not a new technique, but one that's becoming more painfully obvious as I pick up bits of news here and there, be it that painful video on New American's website, callers to Rush Limbaugh, or random statements from "administration officials". That trend is intentional ignorance about the movement. Now, don't get me wrong, there is plenty of normal ignorance to go around, but the particular subject that's vexing me right now is people who pretend not to understand that these protests and the organizing impulse behind them aren't about MY taxes. It is a flat out lie that everybody who makes less than $250,000 is going to get a tax cut, but even if it wasn't, I wouldn't care. Because I do not look at the government as a sugar-daddy. I don't view all taxes through the lens of what exactly it will do to my personal return, I look at fairness and any tax's effect on the entire economy. I am a huge fan of either a flat tax, or even better the Fair national sales tax, but the reality is that BOTH of those methods would raise my personal contribution. I don't care. That doesn't make me any less aware that they are more equitable and it doesn't make it any less true that they would help the country as a whole. Beyond any of that, it also neglects my personal financial benefits in a strong economy, and that I truly hope to someday make more than $250,000!

Never trust a liberal with your freedom, and never let the main stream media guide your thoughts on anything. They are pretending that they can't understand what those of us making less than a quarter of a million dollars are complaining about so that the less informed or thoughtful will think, "yeah!" right along with them. The protests are about right and wrong. They are about the size of government. They are about impending massive inflation. They are about the debt we're sinking our children with. They are about so much more than what's on my personal 1040 come next April 15th.

25 April 2009

A "Daily" Short

By saving bad banks and "spreading the impact", or misery, responsibility, burden, or however else you want to put it, we have also spread the lack of market confidence. Six months ago we had good banks and bad banks. We had justifiably lost confidence is some (CITI), but maintained our faith in others (Wells Fargo). Now that the government has stepped in to "help" the banks all look weak, and the DOW is around 8,000. Why be different and responsible if there is nothing to be gained?

Things to come

So I've started working on two separate posts that are currently looking monstrous and not yet ready for publishing. One is an essay on the great Liberal/Libertarian/Conservative contest that we having going right now while these disparate views (or are they all?) slug it out for the spirit of the country. The second should be less sweeping, but just my two cents on original health care (ie insurance and regulatory) reform. And now that I've told you about it, I have to finish them. So there's my motivation.

In the meantime, however, I'll try to supply some more frequent shorts to keep you sated!

18 April 2009


Luckily for us, not everybody who goes phishing for your personal information is very good at it. This elegant example arrived in my in-box just today:

we wishes to inform you that your E-mail id have won you a lump sum pay
out of Eight hundred and ninty-one thousand,nine hundred and thirty-four
Great Britain pounds £891,934.00 pounds sterlings)you are to contact our

Mr Phil Herald.
TEL: +447031907814

He will brief you on steps to be taken for due processing and remittance
of your prize money.

6. SEX:

Mrs. Dianne Thompson
Online Coordinator,
CAMELOT GROUP,Operators of The National Lottery.

My email address, by nature of being so danged long, used to be nearly spam-proof. Starting a blog and publishing it seems to have weakened its resistance. Lesson? If you're going to start a blog, make sure you create a NEW email address for it. I should have thought of that before hand, but this site started as sort of a test... I didn't realize that I'd keep it or enjoy writing so much!

-The Misanthrope

11 April 2009


It always happens that just when I start to think that I'm pretty smart, I read a book by somebody who is (or was) a whole lot smarter than I am. It happened again today, as it has nearly every day in which I've picked up The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. I started reading it in my quest to learn all of the stuff that neither high school nor college even pretended to teach me. I'm compiling a list that I'll get to another time. Anyway, this book is amazing. Just about everything a libertarian-leaning conservative might think about the relationship of economics, citizens, and government is in this book. He predicts behavior that we're seeing today, and it does so with astounding accuracy because he saw exactly the same things in his lifetime. At the risk of violating Godwin's Law, a great majority of his writing was based on being raised in Germany as it worked its way down the path to socialism. In the forward to the definitive edition (edited by Bruce Caldwell) Hayek states that he would have loved to have make more direct comparissons to the Soviet Union as well, but they were a putative ally at the time the book was written, and hammering them too hard would have been impolitic.

In the end, however, I believe that this post will be innocent of violating Godwin's law, because I am not actually comparing anybody to Hitler or the Nazis. There are actions they took that led to certain results. Not everything that they did was related to the evil part of their existence. If that was the case, then Liberals could never push gun control, and conservatives could never support hard work. But I digress...

Reading a book as thorough and clearly thought out as this is tough, because I want to copy every page to this blog and add, "What he said!" Of course that would be pretty inefficient. But I've got to include at least a few excerpts that seem more than appropriate in today's world, if only to convince you to buy the book for yourself. Here's the first, which discusses how totalitarian regimes convince people to follow them (I've edited for brevity):

The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognized before... ...And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of meaning of the words by which the ideals of the new regimes are expressed.

The worst sufferer in this respect is, of course, the word "Liberty". It is a word used as freely in totalitarian states as elsewhere. Indeed, it could almost be said... ...that wherever liberty as we understand it has been destroyed, this has almost always been done in the name of some new freedom promised to the people. [such as -ed] ...the "collective freedom" [...] is not the freedom of members of the society, but the unlimited freedom of the planner to do with society what he pleases. It is the confusion of freedom with power carried to the extreme.

...But "Freedom" or "Liberty" are by no means the only words whose meaning has been changed into their opposites to make them serve as instruments of totalitarian propaganda. We have already seen how the same happens to "justice" and "law," "right" and "equality." The list could be extended until it includes almost all moral and political terms in general use.

Like I said, he was a genius. Obviously not for this one observation, but because the entire book is filled with things like this that describe the difficulty of teaching and preserving true political freedom. Try explaining to somebody why they are less free today than they were six months ago, and only about a fifth of the population will actually understand you. The people who vote for government bailouts, government control of private companies, government supply of healthcare and confiscatory taxes to pay for it all think that they are every bit (or more) in favor of freedom, justice, and equality as you are, because they no longer - or never have - understood what those words really mean.

Hope and Change are harkening back to an era they'd probably rather we not associate them with. Let's make the association obvious.

09 April 2009

Short: Charity

Charity is efficient welfare. Because charity is freely given, it can include the concept of deserving where government welfare never can. When only deserving folks get help, more people will make themselves worthy, and some will end up no longer needing the charity. This is a solution to - among others - the problem I personally saw working at Safeway when somebody would come to the register with a pile of food to be purchased with the WIC (women, infants, and children) program and food stamps, then finish up with a separate purchase of alcohol and cigarettes. If they can afford $60.00 in alcohol and cigarettes, then they can afford that $40.00 worth of food that I just paid for. I don't give a hoot if adults choose to drink and smoke, but it's not my job to fund their party. This problem is a small, perfect example of social welfare's utterly unsolvable problem. There is literally no possible way to stop this without extreme limits on personal freedom. It is the flaw of all social programs distilled into a common, ubiquitous example. The answer to all of them is that there is no answer so long as collective largess is distributed through the government or, in fact, any "program" at all. The answer is personal, private charity. Americans are the most charitable people on the planet. Allow us to keep our money, and we will give charitably as we see fit. If nobody sees fit, the recipient is likely not deserving.

Short: A hidden cost

The more health insurance we provide, the less we will have. As always, the trump card for statists is children; that if you are against socialized medicine, then you want poor children to go without healthcare. The math is wrong. Every dollar forceably taken to be spent on an "uninsured child" is a dollar not available to spend on a different child. If my taxes go up to pay for somebody else's kid, then I have less available to care for my own son. The end result of providing health insurance for all is an overall loss of healthcare for children and adults alike. If you think that we "should" provide free healthcare to people who need it, you must realize that we cannot. Try to understand that no matter how much it makes you feel good, in the end you are hurting more people than you are helping.

05 April 2009

Short: The Cost of Socialism

Socialism always appeals to the dim and uneducated because they cannot see the cost. What is lost through socialist policies is opportunity. The food that wasn't purchased, the business that wasn't started, the investments that never happened: these are the costs of socialism. When your taxes are taken from you and used to pay rent for somebody else, the cost is not only what you did not get to buy, but what you did not get to create. And if your money had not been taken would the rent you supplied go unpaid and the tenant put out on the street? Maybe. Or maybe, if there was no other option available, he would work to keep his home, feed his kids, and live his life. In the process, he would inadvertently create his own wealth and send it on down the line. He would be teach his children to do the same. ALL of that is lost in redistribution. ALL of that is the cost of socialism. Capitalism isn't politics, it's math.

02 April 2009

"Daily" short - Central Planning

"Central planning for an economy works only in a war, because the price of failure is death. The image of one's child incinerated by an enemy will get a man early to work and keep him on task all day. In the absence of war, the consequences are the still death: his family will eventually die of starvation if people don't do work in the socialist utopia. But that's further off and fuzzier and besides he's sure that somebody will do get it done. He'll work a little when forced, but not very hard. Only an immediate threat from above can motivate him, but only for a while. This is why socialism leads inexorably to totalitarianism, and this is why both of them always fail in the end."

Benevolent Society of Angry Misanthropes

I only wish I'd thought of it first!

The comic is free here.


Well, I finally hit 1000 views. Unfortunately, 300 of them were probably me. But it's still a cool mile-marker. I've decided that if I want more readers, I should post more often, and some shorter things. Sometimes an opinion as long as the ones I offer is a bit too daunting for a casual browser to read. So I think I'll start today. First off a link. P.J. O'Rourke, always an excellent humoristic writer (he's like Dave Barry with an economic fetish), he has a great article here in the Weekly Standard about how we're paying for everything twice. It's to the point, and funnier than anything I could ever write.

01 April 2009



The abortion argument is constantly getting bogged down in legal arguments that don't matter. People who I otherwise respect, such as Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, see the argument in strictly legal terms that tend to ignore the basic morality of the question. It seems that we have gotten so caught up in the propriety of the Roe vs Wade decision that we frequently fail to make the clear moral argument. In posing the argument that I am about to make, the issue - societally and legally speaking - is greatly simplified. The whole kit and kaboodle comes down to one very simple question.

Is an unborn child a person?

That's it. Honestly answer that question, and all the rest logically flows from it. Now, while I know what I believe - that a baby is a baby from the moment of conception - it is not always an easy position to defend. And yet, once that question is answered, all of the "tricky" legal questions are no longer so tricky at all.

Roe was decided on a constitutionally undefined right to privacy. Some folks on our side attack the decision from that point of view: that there isn't a specific right to privacy in the constitution, so the whole thing is bogus. As somebody who loves my freedom, my privacy, and my constitution, I'm not quite on board with that. The constitution is pretty specific about how any power not given to the federal government is left to the states and to the people. So let's take it as a given - even if it isn't - that we have a right to privacy. Doesn't matter. If the unborn child is a person, no right to privacy supersedes the right to life. I can't kill you in my house and get away with it because there was nobody else around in my basement. Private murder is still murder, and still punishable under the law.

Don't let the straw man of "you can't legislate morality" get in your way. That's bumpkis. We can, do, and must legislate morality. What do you think the laws against stealing are, if not morality put into legal code? The idea that abortion is somehow different from all the rest of our laws - every last one of which is codifying morality - is one of the most facile and easily destroyed arguments I've ever heard, and yet I hear it constantly! It's stupid. When you hear somebody say it, tell them so.

When does a baby become a person? Here is where judgement comes into play. Few would argue that a child that is "to term" is a person, President Obama being one of the obvious exceptions since he thinks even newborn babies can be killed! What about a child who is not quite able to live on his own? Perhaps he needs an incubator and intense medical treatment. Is he not a person? The same thing might be asked about someone in intensive care. Does the ventilator and feeding tube make him an un-person? Can we kill him even if he's conscious and will heal? Would we leave an injured soldier to die on the road in Iraq because he "can't live on his own"? Of course not. His survivability without treatment in no way lessens his humanity. Why it should be different for a child, I cannot tell. Oh, but what if the child is so small that consciousness is in doubt? If there's no self-awareness, then it can't be a person, right? Do you remember your first birthday? No? Perhaps you weren't self aware. Do we kill people with Alzheimer's disease? What kind of consciousness and self-awareness do they have? Some perhaps, but it's certainly not complete.

The difference between all of these unborn examples and their adult counterparts is that we can see and know the adults. The difference is in our experience of them, not in the humanity of the people themselves. Perhaps this difference is answered psychologically: we evolved to feel the death of unborn babies less acutely as a defense mechanism because so many are miscarried and lost unwillingly. It makes sense that the loss of a 1st trimester pregnancy doesn't affect us the way the loss of a toddler does because too many people would cease to function. The difference is that we do know the toddler. We do have shared experiences and will feel a greater loss. But that does not make the younger child dispensable.

The final place they get you - the argument that takes it to it's logical conclusion where only "religious zealots" could care - is with the morning after pill. At this stage, a baby is merely a couple of cells bound together. It has no recognizable human form, no organs, and no thoughts. I admit that I myself do not feel the attachment or horror at this stage that I do for babies that are further developed. My gut reaction is different, and I'm tempted to accept it. So is it OK? And if it is, where is the cut off? Do my other arguments not apply here?

They do. The problem is that we cannot prove when a baby becomes a person. When defining personhood, religion and spirituality are necessarily part of the question, and that's where a liberal's rejection of morality becomes so harmful. Birth is a nice, clean-cut place to define personhood legally, but it doesn't really account for the whole truth of the matter and, well, truth matters. Just because the law says that a person is a person on the day that he is born doesn't mean that morally or realistically he is not a person the day before that. At the instant an egg is fertilized, the genetic combination is unique to that person. It is an individual that is distinct from others and will develop specific traits throughout life. It is not an it, but a He or a She. But does she have a soul? I don't know. Being a-religious, I can't even clearly define for you what a soul is, but I know that live exists, and that human life has value.

So babies are people. Nearly everybody - even those who support abortion but choose not to think about it too hard - will agree that a baby is a person at some point before he is born. What people don't want to do, is admit that they don't know when. Everybody wants to pick a time or stage of development where he declares that the baby deserves protection, be it at the start of a heartbeat, full "viability" on his own, or even at birth. If you say viability and you're wrong, every baby with a heartbeat that's killed is a murder. If you say heartbeat, but humanity starts at conception, they every "morning after" pill is an intentional violation of morality, God's will, or "natural law", whichever you choose to recognize.

We cannot be so bold. Admit that you do not know, and you are left with only one option: to err on the side of caution. To err on the side of life. To say that since you cannot show that a child of any certain stage is not a person, you must allow that it may be murder. No killing past conception. We do not shoot randomly into crowds, and we should not allow the abortion of innocent people. Privacy has nothing to do with it.

If you are pro-life already, do not follow this link. The photographs will ruin your whole day. But if you are one of the people who thinks that a baby you don't see can't possibly be a person, then you need to see what abortion is. Go to Priestsforlife.org