I expect few would call me outspoken, but I am a man of many convictions. I will share my opinions freely when appropriate, but out of courtesy, I try not to beat people over the head with them. No amount of argumentation or explanation can convince someone of the validity of a given idea unless he is ready and willing to learn its value for himself.

A Question of Failure
Mar. 15, A.D. 2009

The Inconvenient Truth about Climatic Change
Feb. 26, A.D. 2007

Death of a Bad “Law”
Oct. 31, A.D. 2004

Six Questions about War with Iraq
Mar. 8, A.D. 2003

Debunking “Grandma”
Feb. 12, A.D. 2003

2009.04.06 This commentary page has been superseded by Loyal Sedition, my web log.

President B. H. Obama was already well regarded as a public speaker (at least when his teleprompter works properly), but his inaugural address was certainly as masterful a speech as we have seen in recent decades. One passage near the middle of his address caught my attention immediately. It cut right to the heart of the American experience and the struggle for human freedom.

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man—a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

As a confirmed cynic, I have to wonder if the President and his Congress will abide by these words. Given their collective political histories, that would be quite remarkable. For now, though, I’ll hope for change and accept the new President’s words on their face.

The “most important election in our lifetime”™ is over, but it was indeed historic. The people of the United States have elected their first “black” President. While I didn’t vote for B. H. Obama myself, I can still celebrate the moment for another reason.

That distant pounding you hear is less Republicans banging their heads against the wall for almost completely squandering the last eight years than it is the triumphant sound of Americans collectively hammering the last nails into the coffin of “racism.” Oh, “racism” is not dead by any means, but we have succeeded in burying it alive.
It’s best to ignore the whining and scratching you will hear from its grave, lest undue attention lets “racism” slip free again.

That said, I feel terribly bad for President Obama. Expectations of him are so high that he almost can’t fail to disappoint. I have little doubt that the Democrats will squander their time and burn their political capital as recklessly as the Republicans so recently did.

At long last, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense and other lawful purposes, striking down the District of Columbia’s 30-year-old ban on private handguns. Unfortunately, the court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller was not the sweeping, revolutionary opinion that might have spared Americans from many more years of political theater and emotional litigation. Civil libertarians still face a long and torturous path to create a working freedom from the Constitutional right.

Indeed, the court was almost evenly split on the matter. In a disappointing display of intellectual dishonesty and contradictory reasoning, four justices dissented from the majority, favoring their personal opinions over nearly self-evident constitutional law. Tonight, however, the way is ever so much clearer, so I raise my glass in thanks to the five justices who finally ended 216 years of uncertainty.

2008.01.05 The election of 2008 will feature one of the most interesting Presidential contests in recent history. A white woman and a black man lead the Democratic field. Among the Republican candidates, there are an aristocrat, a fascist, an evangelical, a libertarian, and even one or two “conservatives.”

I will temporarily change my registration so that I can vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary. Rep. Paul is the only libertarian on the ballot from either of the two ruling parties, so I urge all freedom-loving citizens to do likewise. Even if he doesn’t win the nomination, we can show both parties that we value freedom and peace over militarism and “security.”

2007.04.29 In all the discussion of gun control and the right to bear arms that has been generated by the Virginia Tech massacre, probably none has been more eloquent or courageous than the
commentary by F. D. Thompson. Though I may disagree with Mr. Thompson on a number of other political issues, he is right on the mark in this case. I’ve quoted a particularly insightful passage below.

“Still, there are a lot of people who are just offended by the notion that people can carry guns around. They view everybody … as potential murderers prevented only by the lack of a convenient weapon.…”

2007.04.17 I was both saddened and disgusted by yesterday’s terrible events at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg. I was saddened that so many innocent lives were taken and saddened too that political opportunists would lay part of the blame for this atrocity upon law-abiding gun owners. I was disgusted that one troubled young man saw mass murder as the solution to his personal problems and disgusted too that the very institutions charged with protecting his victims had unwittingly helped him to kill so many.

Yet it could have been so much worse. Had the murderer used a can of gasoline and a box of matches, hundreds might be dead rather than only dozens. Thankfully, he chose to express his rage and hatred with handguns,
weapons normally ineffective for mass slaughter. The death toll was so high only because his victims were unarmed and even more unaware, but I imagine this fact provides precious little solace to the victims and their families.

2007.02.26 I have finally written a new essay. You could say it was thanks to a “sudden burst of inspiration.” I also recently had a letter on the history of the gun-control movement published in
The Chronicle of Higher Education.

So I find myself warming up to President G. W. Bush’s guest-worker amnesty proposal. Once every couple years, he seems to stumble upon a good idea, if for the wrong reasons. Of course, the anti-immigration xenophobes are quick to accuse the two major parties of tripping over themselves to see who can offer the best deal to the “illegal aliens.”

I have to admit that they’re not altogether wrong. The Republicans need poor workers to exploit, and the Democrats need poor voters to exploit.

2005.11.09 Despite or perhaps because of months and months of transparent propaganda, Californians rejected even incremental political reform yesterday. I am very disappointed but only a little surprised.

2005.11.03 The special elections in California are just a few days away. Though not without flaws, I think Gov. Schwarzenegger’s reform package (especially Props. 75, 76, and 77) should be approved. It is a small step toward preventing a long-term fiscal and political disaster in the state.

2005.11.01 Writing the “well-crafted, thought-provoking” essays to the left of this sidebar takes a lot of my time and energy. I have lots of ideas for more of this fine work, but actual writing tends to distract me from playing with my daughter and from other amusing diversions, so I thought I would try something quicker and more immediate in this space—not that anyone other than a few of my family members actually reads this stuff.

For example, today I can comment on the usual Internet idiots who think the news media’s reporting on American casualties in Iraq is tantamount to treason. Yes, that’s right. These monkeys think that reporting simple, if unpleasant facts provides “aid and comfort” to the enemy. Now, I always thought treason involved something like giving the enemy a bomb and telling him when and where he could use it on American troops … or even enacting, approving, and upholding unconstitutional legislation.

Or I can retroactively add comments.…

2004.10.25 The site has been gradually evolving over the last several years, as history has carried us into a new century filled with old tricks. In these troubling times, my thoughts have turned more and more toward politics, and the site will follow.

Despite my unofficial motto, I continue to struggle against the current of despair. I cannot shirk my duty, though instinct tells me to keep my head down and simply survive. The United States seems balanced on the edge of a knife, with an electorate almost evenly divided between the petty fascism of one major political party and the casual socialism of the other—but this is a false dilemma, presented more by inertia and electoral ignorance than anything else.

Dancing Giant
“Don’t want to be an American idiot …”