Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Dearth Of Reason

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
-H.L. Mencken

I’ve long been of the opinion that a critical flaw in our society, likely foisted over several generations though I haven’t been alive long enough to see that many, is that we have spent far too much time teaching one what to think, and far too little teaching how. If I were in charge of education, I would make a requirement of high schools that economics and logic were required courses — economics of the behavioral sort and logic courses with a heavy emphasis on logical fallacies.

But I’m not in charge, and in my experience very few students are exposed to either in their formative years. Sadly, a new study suggests that they’re not offered all that much better in college.

An unprecedented study that followed several thousand undergraduates through four years of college found that large numbers didn’t learn the critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills that are widely assumed to be at the core of a college education.

Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn’t determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin.

Possibly the best teacher I’ve ever had, my AP US History teacher in high school, started the semester by giving us conflicting accounts of the battle of Lexington & Concord. Our first assignment was to write a paper justifying which side fired the first shot — the “shot heard round the world” — based SOLELY on those accounts. Not all people in the class came to the same conclusion, but the lesson wasn’t about providing us with the correct historical answer. It was about teaching us how to determine the answer based on that evidence. The lesson, one I remember vividly 17 years later, was that one does not “learn” history, one “does” history. Implicit in the lesson is that you cannot accept written, even eyewitness, accounts without evaluating the credibility of the source of those accounts.

To place nothing — nothing — above the verdict of my own mind.
-Dagny Taggart’s rule, Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

It goes without saying that such a lesson makes one inherently a skeptic. That poor word, too often used pejoratively, denigrates those who are unwilling to take revealed information as fact without self-confirmation. But skepticism is a healthy part of critical thinking. It is what instructs to ask whether a speaker’s own interests might cloud their ability or desire to present an unbiased viewpoint. It is what instructs us to ask whether a political policy’s actual results will in any way resemble its stated objectives. In short, skepticism and critical thinking is man’s only defense against snake oil and bullshit — in other words, the only defense against politics.

Very few people I’ve ever spoken to had such opportunities in their high school curriculum. Most were taught facts, not processes. And thus many come into their collegiate experience without these skills. Sadly, too many also leave after four years without those skills.

Forty-five percent of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college, according to the study. After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in these so-called “higher order” thinking skills.

If you’re not going to college to learn, exactly why are you there?

Oh, wait, it’s because you have no clue what you want to do with your life, you’re terrified of actually entering the real world, and because your parents and your previous schooling have prepared you for absolutely nothing other than classwork [this of course discounts those who went to school to obtain their Mrs. degree — not an inconsequential number]. So you do something silly like majoring in “Communications”, which offers no particularly employable skill set.

Students who majored in the traditional liberal arts — including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics — showed significantly greater gains over time than other students in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.

Students majoring in business, education, social work and communications showed the least gains in learning. However, the authors note that their findings don’t preclude the possibility that such students “are developing subject-specific or occupationally relevant skills.”

While I don’t particularly consider natural sciences or mathematics to be “liberal arts” disciplines, and am surprised by the grouping of business students in the group showing little gains, I think the keys are simple. The natural sciences and mathematics demand rigorous adherence to logical thinking. Even in the social sciences, it is expected that you justify an idea with some sort of argument. It’s no surprise that math students are better at thinking than communications majors — they’ve spent the last four years practicing.

But it’s good to know that denial of reality hasn’t been impacted!

The study used data from the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a 90-minute essay-type test that attempts to measure what liberal arts colleges teach and that more than 400 colleges and universities have used since 2002. The test is voluntary and includes real world problem-solving tasks, such as determining the cause of an airplane crash, that require reading and analyzing documents from newspaper articles to government reports.

Christine Walker, a senior at DePauw who’s also student body president, said the study doesn’t reflect her own experience: She studies upwards of 30 hours a week and is confident she’s learning plenty. Walker said she and her classmates are juggling multiple non-academic demands, including jobs, to help pay for their education and that in today’s economy, top grades aren’t enough.

“If you don’t have a good resume,” Walker said, “the fact that you can say, ‘I wrote this really good paper that helped my critical thinking’ is going to be irrelevant.”

Yeah, those “real world problem-solving” skills are going to be completely useless to an employer.

You wouldn’t be aiming for government work, would you Christine? Oh, “student body president”? Yeah, you’ll fit in well in DC…

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The State of the Union: the Liberty Movement Responds

Executive Director of the Libertarian Party Wes Benedict:

President Obama says he wants a freeze in non-security, discretionary spending. In the unlikely event that happens, it won’t really matter, because to make a real dent in the deficit, it’s necessary to cut spending on the military and entitlements. The president promised big government in the past, and he delivered. I expect more of the same.
However, Obama has truly been a hypocrite on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a candidate, he promised to end them. Tonight we heard more hollow promises. The fact is, as president, he has kept those wars going, and has greatly escalated the war in Afghanistan. As a percentage of GDP, military spending is higher now than it was during any year of the George W. Bush administration.

Unlike President Obama, Libertarians would bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and reduce the military budget.

Benedict also saved some much needed criticism for Paul Ryan’s Republican response

On the Republican side, I found Congressman Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy appalling. He claims to want big cuts in government spending. But he didn’t seem to be too worried about cutting spending when Republicans were in charge. He supported the huge Medicare expansion in 2003, and the expensive No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. He supports the expensive War on Drugs. In 2008, he put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk by voting for the massive TARP bailout, and he even voted to spend billions on the GM and Chrysler bailout.

Just one month ago, Congressman Ryan voted for the tax compromise that included a big increase in unemployment spending, and even extensions of government spending on ethanol.

Republicans don’t want to cut spending — they want to talk about cutting spending.

At Reason.com Veronique de Rugy and Nick Gillespie responded with a post “We Can’t Win the Future By Repeating the Past”

How can we “win the future,” as President Barack Obama exhorted us to do in his 2011 State of the Union address, when our top elected official remains so drearily stuck in the past? And despite the commanding role of what can only be called Sputnik nostalgia in his speech, Obama was not even channeling the distant past in his remarks.

Instead, he served up the equivalent of a microwaved reheating of the sentiments of his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush. That’s some sort of groovy, space-age technological feat, for sure, but we shouldn’t confuse left-over platitudes about cutting wasteful spending on the one hand while ramping up publicly funded “investment” on the other for a healthy meal.

Neal Boortz:

Sure enough, as I told you, Obama replaced the word “spending” with the word “investing”. I’ve gone through this routine with you before, people just react better to the word investing than they do the word spending. Investing good, spending bad. What Barack Obama proposed last night was not investing at all, it was pure stimulus spending. Space and we all know how well the last stimulus plan worked. Where’s the unemployment rate now? About 9.5%? Yeah, that worked. One of the mainstays oval bomb his new stimulus program is this high speed rail boondoggle. Obama said “Within 25 years our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail.” Space you do know, don’t you, that Amtrak has never made money. Amtrak is a constant drain on taxpayer dollars were ever those trains run. And how is it going to be any different with high-speed rail lines. Experts not working for the government or not working for the building trades unions, are pretty much unanimous in their opinions that high-speed rail in our widely disseminated population simply will not work. It high-speed rail doesn’t work between New York and Philadelphia, or New York and Washington DC without losing money, how in the world isn’t going to work between Orlando and Tampa or any other two urban areas in this country. Space the fact is that this whole dream about high-speed rail is nothing but a payoff to unions in order to put construction workers to work building rail lines, joining unions, paying union dues, and allowing unions to make massive political contributions to candidates. Democrat candidates.

Gene Healy at Cato says the problem with the SOTU isn’t the seating:

Bipartisan symbolism’s all the rage on Capitol Hill right now, with members scrambling for a cross-aisle BFF to sit with at the State of the Union (SOTU). Tonight, the lion will lie down with the lamb — or at least Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will sit elbow to elbow and try not to bite each other.

Maybe these gestures will lead to a nationwide surge of oxytocin — the togetherness hormone — healing partisan rancor across the fruited plain. But that’s highly unlikely, given how polarizing the modern SOTU and the modern presidency have become.

Over at United Liberty, former Liberty Papers contributor Jason Pye warns readers to not be fooled by the president’s favorite buzzword from the SOTU: “investing”

Consider this, in the same speech President Obama was pitching a paltry speeding freeze, he spoke often of investment. Of course, since “stimulus” has become a political non-starter; thanks largely to his behemoth spending bill passed shortly after he took office two years ago, “investment” is the new buzz word for statists to push their wasteful pet spending.

Among these “investments” will be more spending for high-speed rail projects, high-speed internet, tax credits, more education spending, energy subsidies, and more spending for our seemingly endless operations in Afghanistan – although he promises that we will soon begin withdrawal from the country, don’t believe it; we’re going to be there for years to come. Obama claims to want a spending freeze, but he also wants to spend more money. On what planet does that make sense?

Former Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr called the speech a “yawn”

A little bit of something for everybody; but a really big something for government. This was the essential thrust of this 44th President’s second — and longest, state-of-the-union speech last night. While Barack Obama did not include quite as lengthy a shopping list in his state of the union speech as did his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, his list was long nonetheless.

Even though Obama paid lip service to regulatory reform, community-based education, tax reform, and reform of last year’s health care reform (among many other tid-bits), in virtually every instance, the ultimate solution to which he kept returning was more government spending and increased government prioritization.

Finally, John Stossel offers a State of the Union address of his own (to which I won’t excerpt because the whole thing should be read; I’ll post the video if I can find it).

***UPDATE*** Cato offers a more complete response to the SOTU by getting into some of the details of the speech and other observations.

Now this is a call to violence

Even with all the crowing from the authoritarian left about violent rhetoric, I have yet to see a call to violence as clear as this one from leftist Sociologist Frances Fox Piven:

So where are the angry crowds, the demonstrations, sit-ins and unruly mobs?

[…]

Second, before people can mobilize for collective action, they have to develop a proud and angry identity and a set of claims that go with that identity. They have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant.

[…]

Third, protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones capable of making some kind of response to angry demands.

[…]

An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.

Piven is calling for the types of protests where rocks are hurled and molotov cocktails are thrown. She wants protests where property is destroyed and people are killed. She hopes that such moves will intimidate government at all levels in this nation into further forced redistribution of wealth.

As commenter Florida pointed out over at Althouse:

They [the leftists] want violence … as long as it’s THEIR violence.

As long as they are the ones bringing the thugs to the town hall meetings.

As long as they are the ones telling US what we must buy and who we can watch and what they can say.

That’s all they want.

Yeah, that’s all they want. Remember, Piven and her ilk are the kind who claim moral superiority to the rest of us. They arrogate to themselves the moral authority to regulate any aspect of our lives they choose. If we don’t cooperate with them, they are willing to intimidate us, hurt us, and kill us. The thought of a free society of equals is simply beyond their comprehension.

To the left, words in opposition to their cause are more violent than assault and murder in support of it. Never forget that.

Use “YouCut” to Encourage Fiscal Sanity and Restore Liberty

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has set up a website called YouCut to solicit ideas from regular people for suggestions on specific programs and policies that should be cut or eliminated.

From the website:

YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project – is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. It allows you to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House enact. Each week that the House is in session, we will take the winning item and offer it to the full House for an up-or-down vote, so that you can see where your representative stands on your priorities. Vote on this page today for your priorities and together we can begin to change Washington’s culture of spending into a culture of savings.

YouCut appears to be similar to President Obama’s Change.org site – hardly “first-of-its-kind” as boasted in the paragraph above. And like Change.org I doubt any suggestions like “legalize marijuana” (which was the top suggestion at Change.org but I’m not sure if this is still the case) will be taken all that seriously by House Republicans. Even if more “libertarian” suggestions are discarded, however; the way I see it, if they ask for our input we should give it to them rather than simply bitching and moaning on blogs about how nothing ever changes.

I haven’t taken the opportunity to offer any suggestions so far but I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a few ideas. Any policy or program that takes liberty away from the individual would be an ideal place to start. Even such “pipe dreams” as ending the war on (some) drugs, ending the TSA, DEA, ATF, and various other alphabet agencies that do essentially the same redundant things*, bringing all the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan (and most of the rest of the world for that matter), phasing out Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, cut defense spending, selling federal land to private entities, and other policies that the Republicans may or may not be in favor of should be at least suggested. All these actions would result in significant savings for the taxpayer as well as restore lost liberties.

There have already been some interesting suggestions on the site. If you do make any suggestions to YouCut, be sure to post them here as well.

» Read more

Quote of the Day: Why We Should be Skeptical About the Tea Party’s Commitment to Liberty Edition

Alex Pareene writing for Salon.com in an article entitled: Tea Partyers don’t actually care about “liberty” :

[V]arious New Mexico Tea Partyers booed one of the movement’s superstars [Former New Mexico Governor and potential 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson] for daring to suggest that a wasteful and — let’s just say it –tyrannical government campaign [the war on drugs] be ended.

[…]

If ending the disastrous, expensive, immoral and racist drug war gets booed at a Tea Party rally in liberty-loving New Mexico, there is absolutely nothing remotely libertarian about the movement besides a visceral hatred of taxes and the conviction that undeserving Others are benefiting from them.

When people ask me what I think about the Tea Party generally, my response is that I’m glad it’s out there shaking things up and challenging the establishment, but I keep them at arm’s length (where were these people during the Bush years?). This article not only deals about Tea Partier attitudes about the war on (some) drugs but also other liberty issues such as gay marriage and free trade (among many other issues not mentioned in the article).

I have been skeptical about the Tea Party’s commitment to liberty all along but the 2012 presidential primary will provide an opportunity to prove me wrong. If the Tea Party overall supports Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, then I would be happy to admit I was wrong. If, however; the Tea Party backs someone like “Tax Hike” Mike Huckabee, Sarah “the Quitter” Palin, or “Mandate” Mitt Romney I can safely say my skepticism was validated.

I so hope to be proven wrong but if the response from the New Mexico Tea Party is any indication…

R.I.P. Royal Marshall

Long time producer of The Neal Boortz Show, Royal Marshall died this past Saturday at the age of 43.

From Nealz Nuze:

From Neal: There are no words available to express my personal sense of loss at the passing of Royal Marshall. It’s no stretch to say that I loved that man like he was my own brother. Royal had an unmatched sense of humor and a quick mind that made him a natural for radio, and his dedication to his colleagues and friends was only exceeded by his intense dedication to his family. Our program, WSB Radio and the entire Cox family has lost part of its very soul this day. I ask that you keep Royal, his wife Annette and his two precious and much-loved little girls, Amira and Ava, in your prayers.

Update: Funeral arrangements have been set for Royal. The funeral will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Royal’s church, Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur. Visitation will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Murray Brothers Funeral Home in Atlanta. Both the funeral and the viewing are open to the public.

Also, for those that have been asking, there is a plan to set up a scholarship trust for his girls as soon as banks reopen. We will keep you posted.

[…]

Marshall was a military kid who, while born in St. Louis, Missouri, lived all over the world. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1992 with a degree in speech communications.

Since this posting, WSB has reported that the cause of death was a heart attack. It’s my understanding that he died almost instantly.

This is certainly sad news for Boortz listeners like myself. Marshall often disagreed with Neal and the on-air banter back and forth was almost always fun to listen to.

In addition to being a producer to Boortz show, Marshall was also a standup comic. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of hearing his stand up routine but he certainly added some humor to the talk show.

In honor of Royal Marshall, here is one of his classic bits from The Neal Boortz Show entitled “Boo Got Shot”

Quote Of The Day

The “Wild Bird” estate off Hwy 1 near Big Sur, CA.

Owings built ”Wild Bird” as a permanent home at Big Sur in 1958. In the early 1960s, he and his wife joined neighbors in organizing to limit development along the scenic highway of California Route 1. This small step into the world of political activism led to Owings further involvement in conversation and preservation campaigns.

“I got mine; the rest of you can go screw yourselves. I don’t want you encroaching on my view.”

Pretty well sums up the preservationist movement, doesn’t it?

H/T: Jim the Realtor

Gov. Pat Quinn to Decide Fate of the Death Penalty in Illinois

Both houses of the Illinois legislature passed a bill which would end the death penalty in the state. However, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has reportedly stated he wants to “reflect” on the issue before deciding whether or not he will sign the bill into law.

(Reuters) – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said on Wednesday he would “reflect” on the death penalty ban passed by the state legislature before deciding whether to sign it.

“Anyone in Illinois who has an opinion, I’m happy to listen and reflect and I’ll follow my conscience,” Quinn told reporters. If he agrees to the ban, Illinois will be the first state since 2009 to abolish executions.

The Illinois Senate voted for the ban Tuesday afternoon. The House had approved it last week. Quinn said the opinion of the members of the legislature is “very serious indeed.”

Illinois has not executed anyone for more than a decade after former Republican Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in January 2000. This followed a series of revelations that more than a dozen people had been sent to Death Row who were later found to be innocent.

Quinn, a Democrat, has said in the past that he approved of the death penalty for the most heinous crimes, but wanted to continue the moratorium.

I can certainly respect Gov. Quinn’s honesty here. This is an issue that does deserve some reflection but unfortunately for many death penalty advocates, there seems to be a lack of reflection. Admittedly there are pros as well as cons with the death penalty and Gov. Quinn is going to have to weigh these carefully.

Considering that, as mentioned in the article, more than a dozen individuals were wrongfully convicted and put on death row, and considering that former Gov. George Ryan took 167 prisoners off death row and pardoned 4 others (mentioned elsewhere in the article), I would like to think that upon this reflection, Gov. Quinn will determine that the risk of wrongful execution is too great. The question then becomes: “How many innocent individuals am I willing to sacrifice in order to execute those who have truly committed the most heinous of crimes?”

The fact that there are very bad people who do very evil, heinous things (Jared Lee Loughner comes to mind) is the reason why most death penalty supporters support the death penalty.

With this in mind, the article continues:

Lawrence Marshall, a Stanford Law School professor who had represented several freed Illinois Death Row inmates, said the problem with trying to limit the death penalty to “heinous” crimes is that the emotion surrounding those crimes can lead to errors.

“It’s the very kind of passion that triggers the desire for the death penalty in a particular case that does have the potential to be blinding,” said Marshall, who co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.

Among Marshall’s clients was Rolando Cruz, who was on Death Row for years for the 1983 murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico, even though another man, Brian Dugan, admitted to the crime. After Cruz was freed, Dugan was convicted and is now on Death Row.

Personally, I think even one wrongful execution is too many and Illinois has demonstrated far too high of an error rate (and these of course are only the errors we know about). Illinois is in no way special in this regard. We have to remember that our criminal justice systems at each level are in fact human systems subject to human error. When the question is a matter of life and death as is the case here, I would urge Gov. Quinn to err on the side of life.

Why Public Sector Unions Are Worse Than Private Sector Unions

Kevin Drum, as usual, gets it wrong on public sector unions:

Public sector unions are a lot like that: conservatives don’t like them in the first place, and crippling them would also seriously cut into a major funding source for the Democratic Party. It’s another twofer. And as Surowiecki notes, they’re a ripe target right now.

I left the below comment over there:

I’m as free-market libertarian as they come, but yet I understand the potential benefits of private sector unions. If a union is smart, they position themselves as creating value both for workers and for the employer — i.e. a union can take the place of eseentially an outsourced HR division from the employer. By doing so, the union through collective bargaining can take the responsibility to negotiate individual salaries (obviously this is most important in jobs where individual workers have low differentiation) and work conditions. Collective bargaining has a place.

But there’s a key — in the private sector, there is always a profit/loss number. The employer has a constraint on behavior in that if he cannot generate enough revenue to pay his workers and still make a profit, he must either cut costs or go out of business. Thus, sometimes he has a responsibility to the company to tell the union “No” with regards to a request. A union that understands this and works with an employer (i.e. the exact opposite of UAW behavior) to find solutions that protect the workers and helps the employer stay in business adds value. A union that won’t acknowledge a symbiotic relationship with the employer, or an employer who fails to say “No” when necessary will be punished by the market — and the Big Three & UAW are perfect examples of both.

The problem with public-sector unions is that there is no profit/loss. The unions are in a position of power because “management” (i.e. politicians) are not punished for their failure to say “No”. In fact, the story of politics is promising the moon and figuring out a way to deliver later, whether it be a promise to the voters or a promise to the unions. Coupled with a media that is typically pro-unionization (after all, what reporter wants to be seen as “anti-worker”), and the politician WILL be punished by public opinion for standing up to the union and saying no. All the incentives align not to have a union and politicians form a symbiotic relationship to be both efficient and responsible, the incentives align for the union & politician to push for the most lavish benefits possible, and put the taxpayer on the hook. Then, when the excrement hits the air circulation device, they scream about cuts to pension programs and fall back on their tried-and-true response, raising taxes.

The reason that “the Right” is so against public sector unions may partially be due to an overall anti-union sentiment. However, they’ve got ample reasons to be especially critical of public sector unions, as the natural check on their outrageous demands (i.e. the market) doesn’t exist for government.

Back to First Principles: An Excellent Primer on the Rights of Life, Liberty, and Property

In beginning the 112th Congress, House members took turns reading the Constitution aloud to a nearly empty chamber. While I in some ways appreciate members at least uttering the words, I believe that the members would have been better served not by merely reciting the words but by studying the philosophical roots of the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. This two part video does an excellent job explaining the meaning of the Bill of Rights as the document related to the times it was written as well as how it continues to aid us in the difficult times we currently live.

Part 1 deals with the philosophical foundations that came out of the Age of Enlightenment.

Part 2 explains the reasoning behind each of the ten amendments we call the Bill of Rights

As the narrator went through each of the amendments, I couldn’t help but think of the many instances where these very rights have been violated and continue to be violated by federal, state, and local governments throughout the country. For those of you who want to really know what we are about and the larger liberty/small government movement is all about, these are the very principles we are trying to restore. These are our guiding principles.

If ever you are perplexed by a position that we write about be it our opposition to the war on (some) drugs, opposition to conscription, support for sound money, support for the right to bear arms, opposition to ObamaCare, opposition to the so-called Patriot Act, etc. , you might find it helpful to refer back to these first principles.

I would like to encourage others to share these videos because I would like to see these videos go viral to remind our friends on the Left, the Right, and the middle about why these rights are so important and worth fighting for.

Related: The Philosophy of Life, Liberty, and Property Explained

No Apologies for “Heated Political Rhetoric” Here

Like many Americans following Saturday’s senseless murders and attempted murders in Tucson, AZ I am very angry. In fact, I probably haven’t felt so angry following a national tragedy/attack since September 11, 2001. I must acknowledge, however; that most of my anger is directed at Left wing pundits and politicians who have decided to turn these despicable acts into political fodder to attack those who “mistrust” or “want to tear down government.” Neal Boortz put it quite nicely (I recommend everyone read the whole article) in his response to this tragedy:

What SHOULD we be talking about in the aftermath of the horrible shooting in Tucson? We should be praying for the complete recovery of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. We should be expressing our sympathy of the families of the other victims. We should be discussing the irony of a little girl born on September 11, 2001 being killed in a senseless act of violence nine years later. There should be discussions on failures in our system that permits mentally deranged people access to weapons and political leaders. Discussion on security for our elected officials would also be appropriate. Though these items were included in the conversation over the weekend .. they all took a back seat to talk driven by the left and the ObamaMedia over the supposed role that evil right wingers, Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties in particular, played in this situation.

We all remember Rahm Emmanuel’s comment at the beginning of the Obama reign: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” We only need to change one word there. “Crisis” to “tragedy.”

The “ObamaMedia” as Boortz put it was very quick to blame “heated political rhetoric” and “hate speech” on the part of those of us who dare to criticize our government (though when Bush was president, criticizing the government was a very patriotic thing. I say it was and still is and always will be patriotic to criticize government). Somehow, when sick individuals take someone’s words and uses them as an excuse to commit violence, the person who said or wrote the words are somehow supposed to be “held responsible.”

What exactly does this mean? Are those on the Left suggesting that Sarah Palin should be held criminally liable for something she put on her PAC website? This reminds me about how metal groups in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s such as Judas Priest and Ozzy Osborne were blamed for their music influencing teenagers to commit suicide. I’m also reminded of when the role playing game “Dungeons & Dragons” was blamed for young people joining the Occult and even committing murder. As a teenager I listened to Judas Priest and Ozzy (and still do to this day) and played D&D and I can tell you that none of these things ever encouraged me to harm myself or others.

But in listening to the media, they seem to acknowledge that most individuals won’t respond violently to such messages; only a small minority of individuals would respond this way. If I am understanding correctly then, we should illuminate eliminate any rhetoric that might encourage an unstable person to respond violently even though most people are right thinking and reasonable.

So what might the MSM consider “overheated” because we need to know lest we be “responsible” for someone else’s actions. Might this be considered overheated:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Oh no, that’s a call to overthrow separate from the government and form a new independent government! Surely this is overheated rhetoric.

How about this:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Or maybe this:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

These are all quotes from the founding fathers of this country (The Declaration of Independence, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson respectively). Merely reposting these words could reasonably inspire someone to take violent action against the government.

Perhaps I should apologize for reposting this as well as other content found on this site?

Well if this is what you are hoping for, hoping that we will “tone it down” at The Liberty Papers you will be very disappointed. I make no apologies for any content I or others have written on this site. We cannot nor will not be held responsible for any acts of violence that some might try to hold us responsible for.

We do not believe in initiating violence to further our political agenda. We all grieve for those who were harmed in this attack, hope that justice will be swift, and hope the perpetrator will be punished to the full extent of the law.

For anyone who would read this blog and believe that something we have written has inspired you to commit an act of violence, you clearly do not understand what we are all about.