The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: July 2017

Resurrecting an Essential Right

Here is a top-notch article by Tom McCaffrey, originally published by Canada Free Press.


The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of the Colorado baker who
was forced, in

violation of his Christian beliefs, to bake a wedding cake for a
homosexual couple. The baker will argue that the state’s public accommodations
law violates his freedom of religion and his right to “free expression.” The
State of Colorado will argue that the baker’s refusal to accommodate the couple
because of their homosexuality constitutes a violation of the couples’ rights.

If someone went about hitting people over the head for religious reasons, he
would certainly be violating their rights. But anything less than the use of
physical force infringes no one’s rights. A baker’s refusal to make a wedding
cake for a couple, whatever his reason, is no more a violation of their rights
than if he refused to attend their wedding.

A statute like Colorado’s that requires a person to act contrary to his
religious beliefs does indeed violate his religious freedom. But freedom of
religion is not the proper grounds for the Supreme Court to disallow the
statute in question, because it is too narrow. An atheist might also find the
idea of homosexual marriage morally offensive, but the First Amendment’s
religious freedom clause would not be available to him.

Nor does it make sense to try to construe this case as a violation of the
baker’s “freedom of expression,” when there is a much more natural and logical
argument to be made that it is his property rights that have been violated. The
baker owns the bakery where he bakes his cakes. How he uses his property—and
whom he serves there—should be his business and no one else’s.

The problem with this argument, of course, and the reason the baker and his
lawyers are not employing it, is that it would upset a half century of civil
rights legislation and jurisprudence. Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 because its Title II, which prohibited business owners from
discriminating against customers on the basis of “race, color, religion, or
national origin,” and its Title VII, which prohibited discrimination by
employers on the basis of “race, color, sex, religion, or national origin,”
constituted violations of the property rights of business owners and employers.
Goldwater was right, but he paid a price for it. The baseball player, Jackie
Robinson, called him “a hopeless captive of the lunatic, calculating right-wing
extremists.” Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide that November.

It is not hard to see the roots of today’s political correctness in the
Goldwater episode. No politician today would dare question the rightness of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. But our failure to defend the institution of private
property will be our undoing.

Property rights are the quintessential American right.

Property rights are the quintessential American right. More than freedom of
speech or freedom of religion, property rights are what made America the
country of individualism. All human endeavor requires land. All land is either
publicly owned or privately owned. On public land, what an individual may or
may not do must be decided collectively—by society or by the government. Only
when land is privately owned may the individual decide for himself how to use
it. Private land ownership is the foundation of individual rights.

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are individual rights. The first
says the individual’s right to think as he chooses takes precedence over
whatever “the people” may want. The second does the same for his right to
communicate his thoughts. But both depend on the existence of property rights.
Try to imagine freedom of religion in a country where all the land and
buildings were publicly owned—this as America goes about banning religion from
public places; or imagine freedom of speech in a country in which the
government owned all the means of communication.

Property rights secure the individual’s freedom to act according to the
dictates of his own mind. Yet today we find ourselves in the curious position
of defending the individual’s rights to think for himself and to communicate
his thoughts freely, but of denying his right to act as wants. Instead, we
subordinate the individual’s right to use his property as he chooses to the
needs of society. We are losing touch with our individualist roots. We risk
losing a great deal more in the bargain.

America’s foundational principles of the rule of law and equality before the
law are premised on the primacy of the individual. Both embody the idea that
one’s family background, one’s race, one’s religion, or any other such
affiliations are irrelevant where the law is concerned; one stands before the
law not as a member of a group, but as an individual.

The NSA’s spying on Americans, although widely criticized as a violation of
their rights of privacy, was actually a violation of the property rights

The NSA’s spying on Americans, although widely criticized as a violation of
their rights of privacy, was actually a violation of the property rights of the
cell phone carriers who owned the phone records that the government was, in
effect, confiscating.

But nothing illustrates so clearly the precarious state of our freedom as
does the government’s takeover of one seventh of the private economy under the
aegis of Obamacare. Such an annihilation of the individual’s rights to look
after his own health, to contract with any doctor he chooses, or to forego the
purchase of health insurance altogether, would be unthinkable in a country with
a proper respect for property rights. (President Obama’s closing down of the
coal industry by executive fiat ranks a close second. And Attorney General Jeff
Sessions’s recent decision to expand the use of civil asset forfeiture, which
often involves confiscation of the property of persons convicted of no crime,
reminds us that the Democrats have no monopoly on the dismantling of our
property rights regime.)

Since the the 1960s, Americans have fought a losing battle to protect their
liberties from a burgeoning welfare state and an ever more intrusive regulatory
state. One reason we have been losing is that we have chosen to forego an
indispensable weapon in this battle, property rights. We cannot save this
republic without restoring the right of private property to its proper place in
our Constitution.

Tom McCaffrey is the author of Radical
by Nature: The Green Assault on Liberty, Property, and Prosperity

The Fake News of Faith

“Faith, as such, is
extremely detrimental to human life.” – Ayn Rand
An
agnostic is an atheist who shrinks from the intellectual task of proving that
God or Allah as deities do not exist and never have existed. God did not “die.”
He simply never was. The task is both a simple and a difficult one. The absence
of God’s meddling into man’s affairs does not constitute proof of God’s
non-existence in human affairs or in temporal matters, such as in science. This
was the frequent position taken by our country’s Founders, most notably by
Thomas Jefferson. One can’t “prove” the non-existence of something that isn’t
there and never was here or anywhere. Deists believed that God the Creator of
man and the universe retreated from human affairs, and then left the scene to
reside for eternity shielded from human sight on his throne somewhere behind
the Crab Nebula.
God’s
purported existence is analogous to a child’s believing in the tooth fairy. The
child falls asleep after losing a tooth, and is assured by a parent that if she
is a good girl and goes to sleep, in the morning when she wakes up she will find
a tooth, or a candy, or a silver dollar under her pillow. The parent will not
divulge that she will be the “miracle
worker.” I was often subjected to this species of duplicitous folderol. I suspected
it was duplicity, and resented it, but as a child I did not have enough
knowledge to contest it.
However,
this has been and continues to be the epistemological and metaphysical state of
mind of adults. Most atheists fail to convince believers of the non-existence
of a “supreme being.” Although dedicated atheists, agnostics, and other doubters,
such as Robert
Ingersoll
, and for a time Mark
Twain
, together with a host of contemporary atheists, argued often persuasively
against the organized churches of virtually every denomination, highlighting
their hypocrisies, persecutions, crimes, and lapses, but they were  invariably confronted and stymied by some form
of the “I just feel that God exists and so it is true” argument, and so they ultimately
failed to burst the fanciful bubble of a “First Cause” (a.k.a. the “Big Bang”
hypothesis) because they neglected to point out the primacy of existence. With
the believers, they took existence for granted, except that the reality they
perceived was not an extraneous, subjective phenomenon, as it was to the
believers. They did not know how to refute or answer an argument from feeling
or from the argument from innate knowledge. They could not grasp how much believers
were in denial of existence and closed to reason.
For
a discussion of the primacy of existence, see Ayn Rand.
The
basic metaphysical issue
that lies at the root of any system of philosophy
[is] the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness.
The primacy of
existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the
universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness),
that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity.
The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of
perceiving that which exists—and that man gains knowledge of reality by looking
outward. The rejection of these axioms represents a reversal: the primacy of
consciousness—the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that
it is the product of a consciousness (either human or divine or both). The
epistemological corollary is the notion that man gains knowledge of reality by
looking inward (either at his own consciousness or at the revelations it
receives from another, superior consciousness).
From
my observations, believers of all types – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. – do not
even bother to “look inward” in search of the “truth.” They simply accept the
existence of God as received wisdom not to be questioned. They’ve believed it
for most of their adult lives and largely cannot or will not allow their faith
to be shaken.
Every
argument for God
and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false
metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics.. .
Existence exists, and only existence exists. Existence
is a primary: it is uncreated, indestructible, eternal. So if you are to
postulate something beyond existence—some supernatural realm—you must do it by
openly denying reason, dispensing with definitions, proofs, arguments, and
saying flatly, “To Hell with argument, I have faith.” That, of course, is a
willful rejection of reason.
Furthermore:
Existence
exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms:
that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing
consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.
If nothing
exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be
conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing
but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as
consciousness, it had to be conscious of something.
If that which
you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.
If you claim knowledge of that which does not exist but which nevertheless
has a tenacious hold on
Occasionally, a
believer will have this thought.

your consciousness in the face of the evidence of your
senses and in defiance of reason, we can say that you are claiming “fake news.”
It is, as a CNN reporter said of the network’s obsessing over President Trump’s
alleged Russian connections, a big “nothing
burger
,” a multi-millennia old “nothing burger,” responsible over eons for
incalculable lives lost or lives lived in misery and in vain and trapped in fathomless
troughs of hope and wishes, all vacuums of unrealizable fantasies.

CNN and its allies on the Left in and out of politics (such as Special
Counsel Robert Mueller
) have faith
that Trump committed a crime, so they are in search of one; it doesn’t even
have to have anything to do with Russia. Their hatred of Trump is an
all-consuming kind of religion, and they will not let it go. Other than Islam, Trumpaphobia
is the only other faith I know of that is based on sheer, naked, unadulterated
malice for the man and his policies, a hatred of the good for being the good.
CNN, Mueller, and the rest of the whole fake news gang
are in
pursuit of their own unrealizable fantasies.they adhere to a creed that
does not even have a dogma. They all believe in “what ain’t
so.”

The Fraud of Faith


Recently, a leading, pro-Brexit, and articulate critic of the European
Union confessed that he has “faith”: Faith in what? In the existence of an
all-knowing, all-powerful Deity. To judge by the encounters I’ve had with
Christians (I do not have many discussions with Jews or  Muslims on the subject of God), faith for people
is a form of unquestionable certitude
– almost synonymous with certainty
as an emotional means of knowing the
truth about God etc. thanks to their unexamined feelings. Too likely their faith in the existence or condition of
something not in the real world
undercuts their profession of being reality-oriented. “I know that capitalism works and sets men free and that Britain can
only become stronger if it leaves the EU.”  How does he know that? Is his epistemology and metaphysics poisoned by faith?  The mental compartmentalization of his faith
and the real, of the provable or demonstratable of the real versus the
unprovable, makes his fealty to reality untenable.
The position of most people is: “What else is there but faith in the
Almighty, in miracles, in God’s goodness, and the sublime imperative handed
down by God to treat all men as brothers? God created the universe, and
everything. Sure, reason has its place in man’s existence but it must keep to
its place – we’re not saying that doing the Hokey Pokey will start a car’s
engine, in lieu of simply turning the ignition key – however , that is the
limit of reason, logic, and of what we call cause and effect. Reason and
reality are not substitutes for faith,” they aver with fervor. “The evidence of
the senses and reason should not be the paramount measures of authentic
knowledge.” So, they say; if the emotion is real and strong enough, so must be
the object of that emotion.
An unexamined, spontaneous emotional appraisal is a dangerous thing. If
one feels that something is true or right, then it must be true or right. What
often stuns me is to meet someone who is otherwise completely rational and
reality-oriented and then to hear him admit, in passing or unintentionally,
that he believes in a Deity, or in a lucky rabbit’s foot. Faith in the reality
of the non-existent and unprovable, to say nothing of the acceptance as
“divine” handwork of the contradictory a (such as the destructive handiwork of
earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions), becomes a substitute for
knowledge.
Emotions are
not causeless, rootless, or inexplicable. Love is not blind. Nor is hate. Even indifference
to an artwork, a person, or thing, as a pre-conceptual appraisal, has an
emotional base. An emotion is partly a physiological response to one’s values, or
to non-values, to likes or dislikes, to attractions or fear. It is closely
linked to the excitation of the nervous system, in various states and
strengths, depending on the appraisal of the value seen and responded to; but
it is a value one is responding to. It just does not well up within one,
causelessly; the cause must be discovered and examined because it always has
one. Rational introspection is a key to “knowing” whether or not one’s
appraisal of a person or thing is correct or anchored in reality.
Hoping such earnest wishing will make something so
The response can be positive, such
as at the sight of Michelangelo’s “David,” which would be a value because it
depicts man as he can and ought to be; or to its opposite, such as the sight of
a Muslim bowing to Mecca and banging his forehead on the ground until it’s black
and blue in obsequious, abject submission to an ethereal entity he has never
seen and never will and could never prove exists; to question the existence of
Allah or the morality of Sharia is to commit the Islamic equivalent of “thoughtcrime”;
one’s response to such a sight can be contempt for the person or pity or some
other negative emotion, and not complimentary. Yet an emotion is governed by
one’s responses to values affirmed or newly created, or to values denied,
attacked, or destroyed. One must exert mental effort to discover why.
Emotions are not a sure-fire “touchstone”
means to knowledge, nor should they be regarded as reliable tools to knowledge.
Emotions can indicate or signal a previously unconscious appraisal of a person
or a thing, but they are not by themselves knowledge. Just because one may
“feel” good or bad about a person or a thing does not tell one if it is good or
bad; it can only alert one to a thing’s potential, or unexamined goodness or
badness. Whether or not it is one or the other will require one’s volition; it
requires the initiation of thought.

Wishing in earnest for something to come true.


Ostensibly many otherwise
rational individuals are guilty of compartmentalizing their rational response
to values and divorcing them from their paramount values, such as “faith” in a
supreme being.  They resort to
compartmentalizing because they cannot let go of the mystical element of faith.
Belief in a supreme being is to them an unaccountable means of adopting a moral
code from somewhere. Because it has
no demonstrable origin, eluding the evidence of the senses, they do not feel
obligated to attempt to prove it.
In her Hoover
paper, The
Challenge of Dawa
, Ayaan Hirsi Ali goes into detail about the differences
between the Medina and Mecca Muslims, and why only the Mecca Muslims could
salvage and reform Islam as a “great” faith. The “Mecca” Muslims are basically
peaceful. The “Medina” Muslims are warlike and bent on conquest.  Hirsi Ali’s introduction of this analogy begins
on  page 11.
The main question here should be: Given Islam’s 14 00 year, rapacious,
murderous rampage among Muslims themselves (the Sunnis vs. the Shi’ites and
various Islamic sub-groups)  and against
the West, why would anyone want to save it as a “great” faith? Given Islam’s
sociopathic and nihilist nature, how can it be called “great”?
Islam is a more fundamental, more primitive religion. Period. Not so
ironically, Christianity, although older than Islam, but with its own centuries
of horrors, is less consistent in its dogma and practice; Islam is the more
consistent religion, given its anti-life, anti-man, anti-individual premise.
Per Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam teaches you to put
yourself last, and only by putting yourself last will Allah reward you at the
end. Selfishness is a great sin in Christianity, but in Islam it is the
greatest, unforgiveable sin, because selfishness in oneself explicitly denies
Allah. One is expected to consciously efface oneself in deference to Allah’s
pleasure. One’s sole “selfish” value must be Allah and obeying him.

Praying to Jesus or to Allah? Does it
make a
difference? God is not
even a ghost.

As
a “faith,” Islam is nihilist in nature. It is programmed or designed to erase
all affirmative, pro-living-on-earth values. But, on an individual basis, is
not the “reward” a promise of an eternity in “Paradise for having obeyed
Allah’s every command? Isn’t that, for an individual Muslim, a selfish value or
motivation? As a “faith,” Christianity at least stresses the importance of individual
salvation, even if one is not a conscientious practitioner of the faith. However,
when Christians pray, the praying is a form of focused wishful thinking; it is
centered on the values of an individual, whether or not they are real of
fanciful. When a Muslim prays, it is a form of utter abnegation of the self in
obsequious deference to the non-existent.

Faith in a supreme being is a belief that the shapes
of tall cumulonimbiform clouds
actually mean something more than being collections of water vapor or frozen
crystals. To read meaning into a cotton candy cloud, if it happens to resemble
a face or a thing, is to engage in a hallucination or wishful thinking. Faith
is a fraud.

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