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Friday, September 04, 2015
  • Thursday, September 03, 2015 12:48 AM

    No need to keep readers in suspense – the fallacy is to aim for certainty beyond the shadow of doubt! It is very costly because by holding on to the belief that if one lacks such certainty, it’s OK to believe this or that and to do this or that, one is wasting enormous resources. And this is the basis of much public policy – especially, since the funds to engage in such fruitless pursuits can be obtained via the extortionist methods of taxation which creates the illusion of no limits. It is no accident that President Obama, for example, has linked his own public philosophy to the idea of hope – as seen in the title and theme of his famous book, The Audacity of Hope (Canongate, 2007). Pursuing what one can only hope for, mostly against all reason, is just how one produces enormous debts, especially when one doesn’t need to worry about who will have to foot the expense of such pursuits.

     
  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015 7:55 PM

    At the outset it needs to be noted that whatever is called the social contract, it is not actually a contract which is “an agreement entered into by two or more parties with the serious intention of creating a legal obligation or obligations, which may or may not have elements in writing. Contracts can also be formed orally (parole contracts). The remedy at law for breach of contract is usually ‘damages’ or monetary compensation. In equity, the remedy can be specific performance of the contract or an injunction.”

    So then, contracts are legal instruments, means by which legally backed agreements are recorded and used to settle disputes about the parties’ obligations. The idea of a so called social contract is, actually, an oxymoron since most social acts aren’t legal ones. A better term for what is usually meant by “social contract” would be social compact, a plain agreement of some kind.

     
  • Wednesday, August 19, 2015 11:11 PM

    The policy of imposing liberal regimes around the globe has proven to be a disaster and no wonder. It is simply not feasible to coerce people to be free–the idea is an oxymoron.

    It doesn’t follow, however, that countries that are largely committed, even if only rhetorically, to a regime of human liberty–one that follows the political principles of the Declaration of Independence–can do nothing to advance freedom outside their borders. Sure, this is nearly impossible if they are themselves only so-so committed to a free system, if their own legal order is a mixture between tyranny and liberty.

     
  • Wednesday, August 12, 2015 9:13 PM

    For most of human history it used to be standard practice for parents to insist that their children not only live by principles the parents have found to be sound but also to adopt all sorts of practices of dress, play, work, taste and so forth that they approve of. Father was a barber so son, too, had to be; mother raised four children, so daughter, too, must bear the same number. Parents liked living by the sea, so the kids too must follow suite. Indeed, if a child had another idea, all hell tended to break loose. And those around the family who didn’t conform were deemed to be weird or inferior or just plain different in that sort of way that’s quite intolerant of such a thing.

     
  • Wednesday, August 05, 2015 10:31 PM

    In this short essay I address an argument concerning welfare rights made against the late Robert Nozick by Adrian Bardon a while back.

    Bardon brings up an issue that’s central concerning the nature of basic individual rights that the American founders proposed as the foundations of a constitutional government (and were, in fact, partly incorporated and elaborated in the Bill of Rights).

     
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015 11:22 PM

    When taxation is part of government, wealth redistribution goes hand in hand with it. Taxation was what feudal systems used so as to pay rent to the monarchy. The monarch, after all, used to own the realm. All of it. So just as owners of apartment houses, monarchs collect rent from those living in there.

    The meaning of this is that members of the population got to live in the country by permission of the government, be that a tzar, king, pharaoh, caesar or some other ruler who had nearly absolute power to run the place. It is still so in many regions of the globe. The people aren’t deemed to have rights, including private property rights. That emerged late in the history of Western politics, mainly within the philosophy of the Englishman John Locke and his followers. They defended the idea of natural rights against those who championed the divine right of monarchs.

     
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:30 PM

    Over the years, especially since the Internet became prominent and widely used, my own ideas have received a lot of challenges. Some of these come from people with different positions on this or that but quite a few actually come from people who find advancing theories to be mistaken. They often just wish to pick and choose from among the innumerable ideas circulating and find fault with formulating a system or general position. They champion adopting the smorgasbord as the model for how one ought to think about the world. Rhyme or reason are shunned as somehow obsolete, old fashioned and instead a hodgepodge of ideas is favored, never mind internal contradictions, inconsistencies, etc.

     
  • Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9:06 PM

    So many people who try to justify coercing others to part with their lives, time, resources and so forth claim that the goals to be served justify the coercion. Indeed, one hears it said often that we must realize there are greater goals than our own ones that need to be served by us. Anything else is greedy or selfish or some such thing or other. So don’t fret about your liberty, you selfish monster you. (And by what moral right do slaves and serfs insist that they be set free? Go figure.)

     
  • Wednesday, July 08, 2015 9:26 PM

    At times libertarian or classical liberal – or, in yet other words, pure laissez faire capitalist – ideas are dismissed as part of a misguided modernity that’s lacking proper pedigree. But this is all wrong. Already back in circa 600 B.C.E. the Chinese sage Lao Tzu had weighed in with libertarian ideas, writing,

    “Why are people starving?

    Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.

    Therefore the people are starving.

    “Why are the people rebellious?

    “Because the rulers interfere too much.

    Therefore they are rebellious . . . ”

     
  • Wednesday, July 01, 2015 7:39 PM

    Should aiding suicide be illegal? That is the question which faces legislators who are being urged to repeal statutes which state, basically, “Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony.” I will argue, ever so briefly, that not all cases should aiding suicide be illegal, although the severest onus of proof of justification would be required in such cases.

     

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