Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, October 11, 2009 5:29 pm

They write letters

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 5:29 pm
Tags:

I actually got the following e-mail. This is hilarious.

* * *

[Note:  The following letter went out to Tea Party Organizers.  You are
receiving this mailing because you were listed on one of the Tea Party
sites as a contact for news items.  This is a one-time mailing regarding
this issue.  However, if you would like to be removed permanently from
the mailing list regarding any future initiatives, please mail me at
jeff@go-galt.org expressing your wishes.  To avoid problem, please include
your email address from the header of this message, as I have no other
conclusive way of identifying you.  Regards, [name withheld to prevent undue embarrassment of the sender -- Lex]

10-10-09

Dear Tea Party Members:

First, I want to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who has been
involved in all aspects of organizing, promoting and participating in the
Tea Party events.  The willingness of people to devote so much time and
energy in the name of preserving liberty and restoring our lost rights is
amazing, and inspiring.  Just when despair sets in and you begin to think
that the United States might be down for the count, the American people do
what they have always done -- fight back for their independence!  But this
time, instead of a waging a physical battle with guns, we are engaged in a
battle of ideology.  Ideas are our weapon, with truth and principles as our
ammunition.

I am impressed at how well the organizers have done at keeping up the
momentum by staging a continuing series of creative events.  The town hall
protests over the summer were a staggering success and the 9/12 march on
Washington, although minimized, misrepresented or ignored by the main
stream media, still had tremendous impact on the politicians, no matter how
much they denied it.  Let's go back to Washington, this time two or three
million strong, but with a well defined and financed advertising campaign
that does not rely upon the moribund media.  This campaign should be
designed to insure that our message is conveyed accurately to the rest of
the country.  And then we will keep returning in ever-growing numbers until
our government finally acknowledges that we too are American citizens!

During the month of October we are all working diligently to keep the
cowards in Congress from sneaking a health care bill through the back
door after discovering that they could not do it honestly, in the bright
light of day.  We must also stop the disastrous cap-and-trade legislation
that would certainly destroy our economy.  Once again, the President has
demonstrated his utter contempt for the American people by completely
bypassing the normal legislative process and having the EPA, a regulatory
agency under his purview, declare CO2 as a "pollutant", so that his
draconian policies can be implemented without the need for scientific
scrutiny or public review and debate.  My hope is that the October Surprise
will be a trick for Congress and a treat for the the rest of us!

The reason I am writing is that I want to bring another important issue
to everyone's attention.  During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama
repeatedly spoke about his deep commitment to national service.  In our
President's view, we are not sovereign individuals possessing unalienable
rights protected by the Constitution.  Instead, as a thoroughgoing
collectivist, he views "society" as the fundamental political unit and
the sole repository of rights, with people as merely the raw material of
that society -- a natural resource to be applied by the collective's whim
and will to those societal issues and problems deemed by the controlling
elite (i.e., by him) to be worth addressing.  If you think about this for
a moment, I believe that you will see that this perspective makes sense of
every one of his subsequent actions, from his calmly believing that he can
make all of our personal decision for us, whether in the realm of executive
pay or health care, to his belief that he has the power and authority to
control every aspects of our economy.  And as we are the clay in his hands,
he intends to shape us as required to achieving his purpose, by instituting
mandatory service requirements for every citizen, effectively making us
all slaves of the state.  Here is what Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had to
say:

    "Citizenship is not an entitlement program.  It comes with
    responsibilities.... Everybody--somewhere between the ages 18 and
    25--will serve three months of basic training and understanding in
    a kind of civil defense.  That universal sense of service--somewhere
    between the ages of 18 and 25--will give Americans, once again, a sense
    of what they are to be American and their contribution to a country and
    a common experience."

Get that?  Rahm knows that you don't have any idea what it means to be
an American, so he plans to place you and everyone in your family into
a re-education program that will ensure that you learn what a "proper
American" is and how they act!

Barack has been a little busy lately with some of his other plans for us,
so he hasn't gotten around to trying to implement this national service
requirement -- yet.  But that doesn't mean that this program lies dormant.
On the contrary!  And just like all of his other schemes, this one is
being snuck in under the radar in a truly despicable manner.  You might
remember that earlier this year that the "Serve America Act" was passed,
transferring an additional $6,000,000,000 (yes, that's 6 billion) of
taxpayer money to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

And what is this organization doing with all those additional funds.  Well,
a good chunk of it is being funneled into the National Service-Learning
Partnership, which is working very diligently to get every school in this
country to institute "service-learning" programs, which is just a fancy bit
of double-speak for "mandatory community service" programs for all students
from Kindergarten up, with rigid service requirement on all high school
students which must be met in order for them to graduate.  In other words,
every child in this country is being forced into indentured servitude,
in direct violation of the 5th and 13th amendments of our Constitution.
According to reports I have read, over half of the public schools across
the country have already instituted these mandatory requirements.

Channeling Rahm Emanuel, Ron Waldman, the Head of the Meridian School in
Seattle, WA, stated it this way:

    "Service is the rent you pay for living on earth, and it starts in
    elementary school.  By the time they leave 5th grade, we want our kids
    to feel that this is part of the fabric of who they are.  It's not
    whether I should or shouldn't serve the community, but how.  That's
    just what we do."

And this is very representative of statements made by teachers and school
administrators across the country.  Our public schools are rapidly being
transformed into indoctrination camps, brainwashing the youth to see the
social philosophy promoted by Obama and the progressives as simply the
unquestioned norm.  They are being taught that they must suppress their
own dreams and plans, placing the needs of society or the community above
their own.  And in this way, their enthusiasm and independence is slowly
crushed.

There is much more to be said on this subject, and I have created a website
which analyzes the philosophical and moral underpinnings of this movement.
I have also created a running blog which track ongoing developments in
the arena of mandatory service.  Please take a look and read all the
gory details.  I would appreciate it if you could also make all of your
organization's members aware of this site.  It is extremely important that
we get the word out to as many people as possible about this action which
is not being reported on in the main stream press.  It would be of great
help if you could also announce the site at your October rallies, and I
would also encourage you to write about this issue on your own websites,
blogs or newsletters, and to send letters to the editor or write articles
for your local papers expressing your outrage at what is being done to our
children.

The assault on our freedoms is pervasive, and it may seem difficult to
focus on yet another area of attack, but I believe that this issue is one
of the most important to our future.  While health care and cap-and-trade
will have devastating economic consequences, we could shoulder those
burdens as we continued to work for a better future.  But if mandatory
national service becomes the law of the land, then we will have, once
and for all, abandoned the fundamental principle of individualism at
the core of our Constitution, which is the underpinning of all of our
rights and freedoms.  We will have truly become servants to the state,
with the fundamental relationship between the government and its citizens
permanently inverted.  Please work with me to stop that from becoming a
reality.

At my site you will also find an initiative called the John Galt Pledge.
As most readers of this letter will probably already be aware, this pledge
was the concise summation of Ayn Rand's moral philosophy outlined in her
novel Atlas Shrugged.  In conjunction with that pledge, I have written a
"Personal Declaration of Independence" as follows:

     "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the
     sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

     I take this pledge as a personal Declaration of Independence.  As a
     sovereign individual, I assert the exclusive right to my life, my
     liberty and my property, as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.  As
     government is properly instituted to protect my rights, I oppose, and
     declare as unconstitutional, all actions taken by government that
     violate the very rights it is charged with defending.  I support a
     return to the principle of individualism upon which this country was
     founded.  And rejecting any initiation of the use of force as being
     wholy inappropriate, I support a society based strictly upon voluntary
     association and free trade among its people.

This is the pledge that I make to myself, as a personal commitment to
proudly stand in the face of opposition and defend my rights and my freedom.
I ask anyone else who understands these words and wished to also publically
proclaim it to the world, to add their voice to a movement for a return to
the principle upon which this country was founded.  And they can start by
adding their name to the growing list at this site.

Thank you for your time and attention.

In Liberty,

[Name withheld to prevent undue embarrassment -- Lex]

* * *

If you’re still reading at this point, you’re doing better than I did, at least the first time around.

I was gonna just ignore it, but then I decided that perhaps this was what the liberals call a teachable moment. So, whacked up on anti-allergens and cold medicine, I penned a reply:

* * *

Dear (name withheld to prevent undue embarrassment):

I’m flattered to be listed on a Tea Party site as a contact for news items. But you need to know the following things:

1) Ayn Rand badly needed an editor.

2) No, she REALLY needed an editor.

3) Objectivism is a pseudo-intellectual attempt to justify selfishness in moral terms. It fails because five thousand years of philosophy and moral inquiry have pretty well determined that there’s no way to justify selfishness in moral terms and ten thousand years of civilization has determined that pure selfishness is a drag on, not an impetus toward, improved quality of life.

4) For the overwhelming majority of people, “Going Galt” is a masturbatory fantasy. Are you capable of safely and effectively obtaining/providing clean and safe air, food and water; practical and sufficient clothing and shelter against the elements; adequate health care; and satisfactory outlets for productivity and creativity for yourself and those you love, all on your own? If so, great, go knock yourself out. If not, shut up.

5) “Going Galt” also is based upon the notion that some people are parasites. It’s true. Some are, but not all parasites are parasites in the ways that Ayn Rand thinks. Some people really are welfare cheats. But a significant number of corporate and investment-bank executives also are parasites, and on a far larger scale than the welfare cheats. (As a former musician, I have first-hand exposure to this phenomenon, and I am laughing my ASS off at the implosion of the record industry.) Moreover, they have a vested interest in maintaining a system that denies millions of people the opportunity to develop their full potentials — that is, to move closer to the Randian ideal you espouse — because maintaining that system makes it easier for them to denounce those millions as parasites, thus deflecting attention from their use of the system to steal from the very people they denounce.

6) Our large, complex society has evolved the way it has for a reason: The most important milestones and achievements we reach today are almost uniformly the result of collective effort not because of any conscious choice but because it’s the ONLY way those achievements can be brought about. Breakthroughs are the result, most often, of incremental advances, not quantum leaps, and the most effective way to achieve incrementalism is to have lots of people working on lots of different increments at once.

7) The American people do NOT always fight back for their independence. If they did, George Bush and his minions would be in prison for crimes including but not limited to murder, illegal military invasion, illegal and unconstitutional domestic wiretapping and fraud. And this isn’t just about Bush. We have been watching our rights erode for decades, typically under the rubric of “national defense” in response to “the Communist threat,” and not lifting a damn finger.

8) What is the “ideology” of the Tea Party movement? Lower taxes? Our taxes already are among the lowest of any Western industrialized democracy. Less federal spending? Knock yourself out, dude, but in an era of shrinking GDP, federal spending, though distasteful, is essential to prevent further erosion of employment. In fact, although it’s not politically popular to say so, a bulletproof macroeconomic case can be made for far more federal spending, appropriately targeted, than is going on right now.

9) The town hall protests over the summer were a “staggering success” if, by “staggering success,” you mean a) a corroder of civil discourse, and b) an actual booster of public approval of Democratic health-care reform proposals. Yeah, approval rates are up. Go look it up. Pollingreport.com is your friend.

10) The town hall protests could not be MISrepresented because the protesters themselves offered such diffuse, varied and even contradictory messages. In fact, when one compares their significance with the tens of thousands of Americans who die annually as the direct result of lack of adequate health insurance, a strong if not bulletproof case can be made that those protests were OVERcovered and that the true “silent majority” in America favors the kind of reform that health-care insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and their lobbyists and Congressional whores definitely do not want.

11) It is delusional to suggest that a health care bill is being sneaked through the back door in Congress. No fewer than three House and two Senate committees have held open, public hearings and votes on health care. Mainstream media coverage, although too often focused on the politics rather than the substance and too often assuming as given some anti-reform assertions that in fact are not true, has been substantially deeper on this issue than on such other recent, major issues as Medicare Part D, torture, wiretapping and the decision on invading Iraq.

12) Although the merits of cap-and-trade are debatable, particularly with respect to any other specific policy proposal, it is by no means clear that the measure would be “disastrous,” particularly given our inclination to privatize benefits and socialize costs of … well, just about everything we do.

13) It is ludicrous, in the aftermath of the most anti-science administration in American history, to hear anyone suggest that this administration is attempting to proceed “without the need for scientific scrutiny.” Tell it, just for starters, to the brave volunteers to whom our government lied about the effects on their health of working at Ground Zero after 9/11.

14) Show me anything in President Obama’s public or private statements, pronouncements or actions that provides any support whatever for the notion that he views “society” as “the sole repository of rights.” Go on. I’ll wait.

15) Still waiting.

16) While you’re looking, show me anything in that same realm that indicates he believes he can “make all of our personal decisions for us, whether in the realm of executive pay and health care.” Again, go on. I’ll wait.

17) Still waiting.

18) While you’re looking, listen: What he ACTUALLY believes is that a) executives of a private concern that has survived to this point only because of massive infusions of public money (the merits of those infusions side; I happen to believe most if not all were unwarranted) should in fact be answerable to taxpayers for their compensation (and, even in corporations that haven’t gotten tax money, should be answerable to THE CORPORATION’S OWNERS in a way they simply are not right now because of a system rigged to the benefit of corporate officers), and b) the private health-care system has become so monopolistic on a state-to-state level (and this fact is borne out by objective market-share data) that something must re-introduce competition to the marketplace and the only entity big enough to do that is government.

19) Here’s something else to look for: anything in Obama’s public or private pronouncements that we must be slaves of the state. Being a citizen of this country involves certain obligations as well as certain rights; the one is the price we pay for the benefit of the other. It’s a free exchange. If you don’t like it, leave. We pay taxes, we serve on juries, because doing so is an essential part of the framework by which our rights are guaranteed. It’s not a contradiction; it’s a real-world acknowledgment that complex organizations function in complex ways through complex arrangements.

20) Rahm Emanuel can say whatever he likes. It’s a free country. But Rahm Emanuel has a big mouth, as even the president has acknowledged. We have seen in the health-care debate that, although his position should, in effect, make him a channel of the president’s thoughts, Emanuel is perfectly capable of going off the reservation.

21) Even if Obama believed in mandatory national service, so what? a) Many other democracies, such as Switzerland and Israel, have mandatory national service, and no one considers them tyrannies in that regard; b) mandatory national service is favored by a number in Congress; and c) the number in Congress who favor it is nowhere close to the majorities required for it to become reality in this country.

22) We educate children at no direct cost to them, because we believe doing so benefits society in the long term. Do you oppose the notion of implementing a mechanism by which society gets a faster return on its investment? If so, fine — at least that’s a consistent, logical policy position. If not, what do you oppose about this particular mechanism and what would you do differently?

23) At various times in our country’s history, we have required our children to pray in school to a Christian God and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to a piece of cloth (as well as to the intangible but highly desirable values that cloth symbolizes). How, in nature, is what Emanuel proposes any different?

24) Your “pledge” of autonomy is a cheap and meaningless gesture, given that whether you like it or not, there are police officers, firefighters, teachers, docs, nurses, paramedics, public-health professionals, military-service members and others who will act on your behalf, for your benefit, whether you like it or not without, in certain circumstances, your even being aware of it.

Son, lots of people read Ayn Rand at 17 and are impressed. Those still impressed 10 years later typically have little experience of how the country works in and of itself, how it works in comparison and relationship to other countries, and what our real-world alternatives are.

My ancestors fought honorably for this country in locales stretching from Korea back to Kings Mountain and Cowpens. I take a back seat to no one in my love for it. But I’ve also spent 50 years watching how things work, and don’t work, in the real world, and one of the things I learned is that Ayn Rand was a novelist, not a social scientist, for a reason.

If you would, please remove me from your mailing list.

All best,

Lex Alexander
www.lexalexander.net

* * *

This story actually has a happy ending, perhaps because, uncharacteristically, I managed to say that everything he was claiming was silly without actually using the word “silly.” At any rate, he wrote back:

Hi Lex:

As requested, you have been removed from the mailing list. I am sorry to have disturbed you.

I did get a kick out of your message and may have to frame it for my wall. I think my initiative and your message neatly sum up the division in our country today. We certainly have different ways of looking at these important issues!

Regards,

(name withheld to prevent undue embarrassment)

There. See? People can disagree without being disagreeable. As long as he’s not putting my message up on the wall for a darts target, I think he and I are good now.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:47 am

Going Galt

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:47 am
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