Know Thy Enemy

I’m still buzzing from what I believe to have been a truly sensational Republican National Convention.  No, it wasn’t all perfect, but the planners did a phenomenal job (a) staying on message (b) blasting the President without spending all of their energy being negative (c) introducing Mitt Romney and giving us a detailed biography of the man and (d) presenting the prominent leaders of Conservatism speaking in one clear voice- never clearer than when uttered by Mitt Romney himself.  Mitt is a lot of things, but a vampire or a robot he is not.  Nor is particularly thrilling.  I get that too…he’s not the sensationally masterful speech-giver than Reagan was, nor does have have the magnetism and charm of Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio.  What he does have is the look and sound of uber-competence and the street cred of an American President.  Do you love the guy?  Maybe you don’t think of him as someone you could connect with personally, but at least you can be assured that he does have passion and he does care for all of the people in his life – and that would include all of us if he were elected.  That is what he had to accomplish – he had to appear presidential and he had to be reassuring and basically solid – like your construction-working grandfather or the Priest in your church in a time of Crisis or FDR over the radio in his fireside chats.  I think he was able to get across that he loved his fellow men, that he was a diligent, competent, hard-working man of principle, and that he could get things done in Washington.  He sold me, and anyone reading this blog knows that I was a tough sell all through the primaries.

I won’t give a blow-by-blow of convention events – our blogroll is exploding with good commentary on the RNC – all of it better than anything I can say.  Instead…I’m going to reduce my thoughts to a bit of common sense.  Liberals, conservatives, moderates of limited or mixed convictions – they all coexist in America – not often easily, but always peacefully.  Politically motivated violence is astonishingly rare here.  The reason should be obvious – we can coexist because we all have an equal right to speak…we share the bullhorn, and the guns don’t point at the side opposed to the commander in chief.  It gives us all purpose – we know that we can make a difference here if we work hard enough, care deeply enough, and hone talents that can make our voices heard by a big enough audience.  Even now – for all the talk of how the flow of money corrupts the ability of politicians to speak freely in a fair and equal exchange of ideas, hopes and dreams – the farthest left progressive and the farthest right tea-partier still has hope that their cause can be advanced and that they can change the country for the better.  That principle – the freedom to speak and to be heard, the freedom to believe and to live your beliefs, the freedom to build a life and to keep that life without interference – must still be alive if the debate is this energized and the candidates this sharp in the delivery of their talking points and the elections this contentious.  Neither side would fight this hard and expend this much capital and sweat and tears on advancing their causes if the battle of the free could not be joined.

So let me ask you folks this?  Is that fight still important to us?  I think it is.  So do all of you, no matter your party affiliation.  If something is important to you, you fight to defend it or you shy away and relinquish your desire to fight, knowing that such an action is a risk to that thing you hold precious.  Americans by the millions have died because the basic principles of America were worth literally fighting and dying to defend in the minds of courageous soldiers in engagements major and minor throughout our history.  So let me ask you…if you care about the freedom to join in the political squabbles of our time…who are the voices within our borders who are asking that those freedoms be curtailed?  Who are the ones saying that certain forms of speech must be prohibited in the name of “fairness?”  Such limitations on free speech and free practice of faith include:

  • Speech codes and regulations on political activities on college campuses
  • The abolition of any symbols or expressions of faith on public grounds
  • The creation of “hate crime” legislation, designed to punish offenders differently if their motivations for committing a crime are ones we find distasteful
  • The banning of businesses from towns and colleges whose owners and charitable foundations author political speech with which said towns disagree
  • The censoring of journalism, imagery and inconvenient facts about a certain group of religious fundamentalists who – I believe it is still legal to point out – killed 3,000 US Citizens in an unprovoked and brutal attack on a clear September morning 11 years ago
  • The attempted quashing of open debate regarding the nature and severity of man’s impact on global climate and other large-scale environmental causes
  • The rewriting of Presidential histories, childhood text books and Hollywood movies in the name of sensitivity and multiculturalism
  • The attempted outlawing of political speech by third party corporations and political action committees (thankfully struck down by the Supreme Court)
  • The passage of campaign finance laws that make it illegal for candidates to speak for themselves within six weeks of an election without the help of a major news outlet
  • The denial and cover-up of rampant one-sided media reporting in an attempt to control the narrative during key political debates
Who are those people who do things like this?  They are your enemies, America!  You want to speak freely – even if you’re a liberal and happen to agree with those people perpetrating and end to truly free speech in America, I have only this to say to you – when they came for the devoutly religious, it wasn’t me and I said nothing…when they came for the bigots and the hateful remnants of bygone eras, I was grateful not to hear their horrible speech and I said nothing, when they came for those who dared disagree with a black President and declared them racist, I supported the President and did not notice…and then it was left to me and there was no one to come to my aid when I, too, found that I could not agree with the official ‘truth.’  The moment that first step is taken to curtail our liberty and our freedom to speak and to believe and to live as we choose, it becomes a link in a chain that binds us all.  Do you want to be free or not?  If you can’t stand to hear someone who believes differently than you, then you are my enemy, because I am an American.
Freedom is never free – and the first step in defending that thing we all hold most dear…our freedom…is knowing your enemy.  Democrats are preparing their convention in Charlotte next week, and they are going to focus heavily on the role of women in society and our choice about their rights.  That is a discussion I relish as an American who believes deeply that all people are created equally and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.  I want women to be free and prosperous, but let me ask you once again.  Who is your enemy in this fight?  Is it the person who believes in the sanctity of life – including the lives of the unborn?  Or is it, perhaps one of these groups:
  • The group of active feminists who routinely denigrate and disrespect housewives, declaring that they never worked a day in their lives and have nothing to contribute regarding gender relations
  • The group of radical Islamists who will be attending the DNC in droves (20,000 strong!) in support of Obama with informative lectures about the need for Sharia law (you know, the doctrine that gives men the right to murder their wives if they commit adultery and treats women as property to be hidden from view and enjoyed as slaves by men of privilege) and the excesses of modern Christianity (you know…the faith that preaches respect for mothers, daughters and wives and protects women from being treated as property)
  • The group that convenes in the Oval Office each week to discuss their next steps in the fight to stop mothers from having a choice in where their children go to school
  • Or perhaps the group that came up with the brilliant lie that abortion, sex without commitment, lipstick feminism and single motherhood were liberating for women without any regard for the ever-increasing rate of female poverty, emotional wreckage and unhappiness (both in relationships and in the bedroom) experienced by today’s ‘liberated’ woman
Know your enemy, ladies!  Are you really, as a gender, happier now than you were before Roe vs. Wade and birth control?  Is your sex life thriving without the spiritual bond of marriage and the support of a loving family?  Or…let’s talk about abroad.  Who is threatening US interests?  Obama is cold and distant with Poland after turning his back on our commitments to missile defense, he ignores Great Britain and turns a blind eye to rebels fighting and dying in the streets of Tehran for their freedom…all while cozying up to Vladimir Putin and to China and to Ahmadinejad.  So who can we count on and who should we fear?  Know your enemies abroad, America!  They’re entrenched in the Middle East and in Cuba and China and Russia – the ones who back big-state downward control and centralized authority – not democratic and free nations like Poland, Israel and Great Britain.
Say you’re worried about the long term safety of our natural resources and health of the planet.  Listen up, environmentalists!  Which nation, the world over, has done the most to protect planetary resources?  I’m sure this will shock you, but the United States, with all of its’ resources, is the primary source of funding for the International Panel on Climate Change.  The US brings the cheddar and the clout to make the international protocol on sulfur dioxide and other aerosols possible.  The US has done more to clean up the oceans, protect fishery stocks, train the world in how to plant forests to make lumber sustainable, make our global fresh water supply cleaner, advance the cause of defending endangered species, and champion the idea of national parks than any other nation on the planet.  Do you know why?  Because we CAN!  Our economy is so robust that we have the power to spend some dough working on problems OTHER than feeding and clothing ourselves, building infrastructure and funding our national defenses.  It turns out that the very capitalism reviled by most environmentalists is what makes their work even remotely possible.
That’s what I tell my fiance when she talks about the GOP’s supposedly bad record on the environment.  The GOP is trying to keep America a shining city on a hill.  We MUST do that or the human race will fall into chaos and despair and poverty, and there will be no will left in men to save the planet from our industry.  Don’t believe me?  Let me ask you this: how good is Russia for the environment now that Communism has failed?  How helpful are African farmers and ranchers chiseling away at the rain forests to survive?  No!  We save the rain forest and fight pollution and clean the water and the air, and we protect all of God’s creatures because we have the financial wherewithall to do it.  And all because our economy empowers us to think about something OTHER than eating and having a roof over our heads.  Just take a look at the photos of villages in any third world country – garbage…everywhere, homes falling apart, human waste mixing with drinking water, and what industry does exist left to inefficient, wasteful, and downright dangerous practices in the absence of knowledge and financial resources needed to do better.  That’s what awaits you if you abandon American capitalism in your fight to save the environment.
The bottom line – we need to be clear who the enemies really are.  The democrats have lost sight of some of the most obvious and tangible truths regarding what makes this country thrive.  Radical Islam is the enemy – not democratic and inclusive Israel.  Russia and Putin are the enemies, not freedom-loving Poles.  The enemy of women isn’t Todd Akin, for all of his ignorance about female anatomy.  The enemy of women is the Mullah who would have their entire gender broken and beaten at the feet of men and then burned alive when they dared think for themselves.  The enemy of the planet is CHINA and its’ aggressive destruction of the environment…not the US and its’ desperate attempts to save it.  The enemy of peace is Communism, totalitarianism, and big state governance, not America.  And the enemy of the American economy is regulation and non-competitive taxation, not the supposed 1%.  Mitt Romney seems to have a clear sense for who threatens America – the entire line-up at the RNC shared this clarity of cause – the same could not be said for the 2008 RNC or even the 2004 RNC.  I think we’re in good hands.

Protein Wisdom Blog is Filled With Morons.

Just a quick note: I have removed the Protein Wisdom Blog from our link list, as its comments section (and its lead blogger) have lost their collective minds. Every article is filled with senseless vitriol aimed at a basically solid Republican Party. They’re being utterly childish and I’m tired of it.

Not worth anyone’s time to read that crap.

Moving on.

Three Cheers for Cardinal Dolan!

In recent months, Dolan has been remarkably clear-headed regarding the HHS contraception/abortifacient mandate and the church’s necessary role in defending religious liberty.  Not only has he actively defended the Catholic position that abortion and birth control are harmful to women and that the government has no right to interfere with religious expression (that is just as much a piece of the freedom of speech as it is expressly protected by the banning of an established religion), but he appears to be a full-grown adult when it comes to arguing with a man who would normally be considered his political opponent.  Read these statements back and forth between Congressman Ryan and Dolan – who met and became friends when Ryan spoke at a Lutheran college in his home district – and you immediately get the impression that if Dolan were seriously probed on what he thought we should do to fix the deficit and tend to the needy, he would have different ideas than Ryan.  It does not sound like Dolan would vote yea on Ryan’s budget plan if he were in Congress (of course, Dolan is quick to point out that he’s not in Congress and for a good reason – it isn’t in his nature to go down that road when he’s got a higher calling).  BUT…what you also quickly realize is that he would be faster, even, than Ron Wyden to sit in with Ryan and try to work together on a solution with which both men would be happy.

You see…unlike the modern Progressive Democrat party, Dolan isn’t obsessed with proving that he’s absolutely right and the other side is absolutely wrong, and he isn’t motivated by power.  He appears to honestly want a serious debate and he appears to deeply admire men who have taken the big issues facing our nation seriously and put the interests of the American people ahead of political ambition.  Even the most aggressive of Democrat attacks on Ryan must concede that he’s a well-meaning, likable, hard-working guy with a lot of intelligence and no ulterior motives.  No matter how badly they want to see him as an evil genius, it just isn’t in him and they know it.  He really believes that what he’s doing will help the poor (and, FWIW, so do I, but that’s neither here nor there).  And so Dolan, who is not a petulant, overgrown baby, finds himself in heated debates with Ryan that both men truly enjoy and at the end of the day, he calls Ryan a refreshing figure with which to converse and heaps praise on him for taking his faith seriously and defending the core teachings of the Catholic Church in public, often at great political risk.

Dolan did once grace Stony Brook for a visit and delivered a crisp (and very concise) homily to a packed ballroom at the so-called “interfaith center” here – and his friend Father Jerry (as we call him) is obviously an admirer, since his own homilies have been filled with the same philosophical and political clarity and he, himself, has a similarly patient and loving temperament that’s ideal for working with a diverse student body like the one we have at Stony Brook.  Dolan and the hierarchy of priests he’s assembled in the NYC area have obviously taken John Paul the Great’s teachings to heart – and when you pair that with true open-mindedness and an earnest desire to work with your friends and your adversaries alike to find real solutions and do right by the people, you get something inspiring to behold.

Now…if Dolan would just sit down in a room with Pelosi and Kerry and their ilk and make them go through a retraining session…politely but firmly correcting them for daring to speak in the name of their faith and espouse ideals that are very much at war with those of the Church…perhaps we could make some real progress.

What Does the Center Believe?

I work side by side with people ranging on the political spectrum from far left Progressives to moderate Republicans (the latter is rare in an academic setting…I know two people of this persuasion and I count myself lucky to know that many).  I find myself much better off trying to forge relationships with the sporadic conservatives and with the more populous squishy moderates – my best friend on Long Island is definitely a moderate – a conservative pragmatist tempered by the crucible of modern social liberalism.  When you ask him what he really believes, he stutters, struggles and generally appears unnerved by the slightest chance of confrontation – what he does do that I appreciate is listen to all viewpoints.  But he seems to think that carving out an identity is a private battle (I’ll respect this, though I was like that at one time and it did no good for me or the world around me) and something he wishes not to deeply contemplate on the basis that once he chooses what to believe, he will become less open-minded.

If you wanted a snapshot of what centrists and swing voters in America look like – this is the optimistic image.  A man who is intelligent, pays attention to the news, doesn’t like to be confrontational, and doesn’t want to choose sides because he views such an action as tribalist and unproductive.  There are also a number of centrists who are in the center because they wish to claim the moral high ground and have spent too much time ignoring conservative instincts in favor of liberal media condemnations of conservatives as amoral.  And another sizeable subset who just don’t care one iota about politics and would love it if everyone shut the hell up and stopped fighting over every detail of public policy and let them get back to watching reality TV and playing Halo IV.  But let’s deal with each of these pieces one at a time and talk about how to convince these people to vote for you.

First we’ll tackle the apathetic apolitical types who just want to live in the now and don’t like thinking about the future other than their own personal hopes and dreams.  These folks don’t turn out much to vote.  BUT…when they DO turn out to vote, it’s usually something they do because they believe it will be fun, help them fit in, or cause political consequences that will immediately influence their freedoms.

Liberals get people like this to vote a bit more by convincing them that the liberal candidate is the latest new cool thing – a rockstar – a part of history.  Obama actually drew a ton of these college-aged and recently-graduated kids out to vote.  Hollywood does its part by continually portraying Conservative figures as out of touch, antequated, or uncool.  Give these guys a “Maaaaaaan” to fight…and a few of them might.

Conservatives approach this group (the few who are successful at this) by convincing them that voting for the other guy or staying home could make them less free.  Apolitical types only stay apolitical as long as they’re being left alone, but if they’re about to hammer you with a huge middle-class tax hike (Obamacare) or take away your big gulp sodas (Bloomberg)…woe betide the liberal that sticks to their guns and doesn’t count on some payback.  Of course, they also don’t want to have to think about moral consequences – they are libertine and want birth control and condoms and such.  So conservatives have to either punt this group entirely or try to avoid social issues.

Now, let’s talk about folks like my friend and office-mate.  The folks who wish to avoid confrontation and prefer not to be forced to “choose sides”.  There is a certain subset of Myers/Briggs personalities that I would call “doormat” types – who will go out of their way to make everyone happy, who feel uncomfortable standing up for their beliefs, and who don’t want political candidates to make them imagine what the other side is thinking and picture rage.  My very socially conservative mother avoided voting for a long time because she disliked the idea of picking someone and imagining her friends or family disapprove and because she was tired of the constant bickering and disgusted with the unethical tactics used by both sides.  So how do you win these guys over?

Simple – no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on – you must convince these guys that your opponent is the one making this an ugly fight and that you wish to lead from above.  These people want leaders who appear to want peace and prosperity – they won’t vote if both candidates go negative unless one side is clearly more negative than the other.  In short, they like people who look “presidential.”

The third group – those who watch Jon Stewart and call that enlightened?  Well they are largely voting Democrat right now because the media has done a good job convincing them that their better judgment is backward.  What can be done to win them back to the conservative side?  Nothing right now…but they do tend to follow “movements” – when given moral license to vote their conscience, they will.  They vote GOP when the Democrat is caught in a really bad scandal and they’ll vote GOP again when Conservatives can compete with Hollywood messaging.  So there’s hope for the future.

Now, we have to ask, which strategies were employed by McCain and Obama in 2008, and which strategies are in play in 2012?

Obama turned a lot of moderates Democratic for a year by convincing them that he wanted to claim the moral high ground and end bickering and do-nothingism in DC.  McCain answered by trying to be a gentleman – but came across as lacking vision and looking tired (and you can’t out-maneuver a shark like Obama by being perfectly nice at all times – especially when he’s winning on general likability).  That card is now out of play because, if anything, he made the bickering far worse by flaunting his authority and by savagely raping the Constitution on multiple occasions – enough to cause a furious uproar from conservatives and start a war with a newly resolved Tea Party movement in 2010.  He also managed to get the “in-crowd” trend-followers from the squishy center by being enshrouded in a cloud of “cool” like no other candidate before him.  People voted Obama and literally admitted in exit polling tha they did so because they wanted to be a part of history.  That card is gone too – Obama looks much older, much smaller, and much less appealing these days since he’s had to go negative to avoid talking about the lack of progress in the economy.  And the bottom line is…even if he’d done a better job, psychologists have shown that fads never last.  Movements do, but Obama wasn’t propelled forward due to a movement – it was a reactionarry fad in response to general dissatisfaction with the mushy Bush administration and the floundering economy.

So…Obama can’t play the cool card.  He can’t play the righteous peacemaker card, and he can’t play the freedom card (to get apathetic voters to support him) since his policies are doing more to hurt the post-graduate crowd than help them.  What IS he doing then?  He’s playing every other trump card he has – invoking the war on women to convince swing women that Romney will be bad for them, offering amnesty to illegal immigrants to convince Latino voters to continue their support, etc.  And…he can try to make every attack by the republicans seem like an egregious negative folly – he gets help from the press on this score.  He isn’t claiming to be a positive uniter anymore, but he sure is trying to convince the center that Romney is much more divisive, especially now that he’s chosen Ryan as his running mate.

Meanwhile, Conservatives have 4 years of actual “leadership” at which to point, demonstrating that Obama has been unfair, dishonest, unduly negative, etc. for a long time now.  At best, Obama’s claims that Ryan is a polarizing figure will take the conflict avoiders out of the election entirely – they certainly won’t be voting for Obama this year.  And some of them may vote for Romney in response to Obama appearing for the longest part of this campaign to be the one starting most of the trouble.  The apathetic crowd is heavily disillusioned and now extremely tired of fighting about politics.  They want peace and quiet and the best way to do that is to avoid politics entirely.  They’re staying home this year, for the most part.   The amoral centrists who just want to fit in and go with the crowd?  They’re probably not going to come out with nearly as much enthusiasm for Obama this time around…but they won’t support Romney either, as he is the very definition of uncool. 🙂

Romney’s camp has made a calculated gamble that conservative rebel yells for liberty and individual responsibility and fiscal sanity will sound optimistic and sway a few conflict-avoiders despite the fire-and-brimstone rhetoric they’re using regarding the coming end to medicare and Obama’s terrible behavior.  They’re doing as good a job as you could imagine when it comes to avoiding discussion of social issues while letting the base know that they are pro-life, anti-PP, anti-gay-marriage, etc.  The Ryan pick has revved up the rhetoric and may scare off some conflict avoiders…it certainly ruined any chance Romney had of swaying moderate democrats – many of whom may just stay home or very grudgingly vote for Obama this time around.  But, by the very nature of his leadership style, Obama has taken away pretty all of his inherent advantages for 2008 and even handed Romney a few of them.  It’s hard to be optimistic and upbeat and to feel like you’re a part of something big when you’ve been running the country through four of the longest and most painful years of its existence.  And it’s even harder to convince people you’re above the frey when you’ve lowered and debased yourself so often that you now reside in the Mariannas Trench.

Romney has consistently polled slightly ahead of or slightly behind Obama, depending on whether the sample was accurate or wildly left-biased, but the most important observation is that even in the most optimistic of polls, Obama never draws more than 50% of support from the voters.  You have to win 50.1% of the vote…Obama isn’t going to do that unless something big happens to change the equation between now and November.

The Righteous Swiftboating of Barack Obama

Please watch this video:

It describes the negative impact that Obama’s little-discussed but crucial leaks of classified information could have on military personnel and their families, not to mention our National Security.  This would be a HUUUGE deal in any other election…it’s overshadowed by the economy this year…and that’s sad.

Romney/RYAN! 2012

Well… for all the complaining and concern on the far-right about Romney being bland, generic and moderate in the same way that John McCain was in 2008, he’s been running a very professional, very efficient campaign. Still, we were all a tad worried about the lack of an answer to Obama’s charges that Romney was a mystery candidate whose views depend on the people (a silly charge, since Obama is that very candidate). Conservatives want a leader who will offer America a real choice… and today’s official announcement that the VP selection is Paul Ryan guarantees that we will get that choice. This is no John McCain selection. Romney has chosen a man who is the nation’s leading voice for cut/cap/balance legislation, for healthcare reform centered on the patient, for rational, pragmatic government planning, and for a stronger foreign policy as well.

Romney/Ryan 2012 has officially begun. Let the left try to break the newcomer. They won’t succeed.

We Conservatives Will Not Take Away Your Precious Contraception

All along, the Obama campaign has been trying to frighten women away from Mitt Romney by claiming that he will take away a woman’s “right to control her body.” This ad – which, to my very great annoyance, has been played in Virginia – is one example. A speech Obama delivered at a campaign stop in Colorado is another. In the latter, Obama claims that conservative health care policies would leave decisions regarding female reproductive health care in the hands of employers, insurance companies and politicians. But of course, as in all things, he is wrong.

First point: Insurance companies and employers may indeed have inordinate power over each American’s health care decisions at the present time — but that is precisely because of our third-party dominated system. If employers didn’t have to be health care providers – if, instead, they could just give their employees pre-tax dollars to purchase their own health care in the individual market – the issues of employer control and lack of portability would go away. (And by the way, Catholic employers would no longer have to worry about violating the creeds of the Church; according to the Church’s principles of moral philosophy, they would not be held responsible for what their employees might do with their health care stipends because those consequences are unpredictable.) Likewise, if patients had more opportunity to work directly with their doctors instead of going through their insurance companies, the power of those insurance companies would also diminish.

The question is, does Obama’s approach to health care policy come close to this genuine solution? H-E-double-hockey-sticks no. Instead, ACA doubles down on the failed policies of the past. It still requires employers to be health care providers. It still hands power to the insurance companies. It simply adds another layer of bureaucracy and regulations in a futile attempt to control the perverse incentives that plague our health care institutions. It does nothing to actually remove those incentives.

Obama feels the contraception mandate is necessary to prevent employers and health insurance companies from denying coverage for the birth control pill — but Obama’s policies embrace the system that made this a potential problem in the first place. Conservative health care policy, on the other hand, is designed to give the power back to the patient. If patients were in control of their health care dollars (via an HSA or something of that sort), then they – and only they – could decide what to spend their money on. On the basic things, they could completely bypass the bureaucracy — and the supply side of the market would respond by – gasp! – advertising prices to attract more customers and developing new ways to keep said prices appealing. And no — this isn’t just theory. This is what’s already happening in the fields of cosmetic and Lasik surgery.

Second point: There are many birth control options out there that are wholly affordable. Except for the initial class, charting methods are free. The condom is either free or dirt cheap and can be found at any local drug store or student health center. Generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen is available for $9 a month at Walmart. And finally, there are patient assistance programs available for the pricier birth control methods. Bottom line, there is no birth control access problem. There is, instead, an education problem; people simply don’t know that there are cheaper options out there because certain folks have a vested interest in keeping us helpless.

Final point: I would like to invite all the ladies out there to consider the possibility that handing a girl the birth control pill is not the same thing as providing holistic health care. Because in reality, the pill is merely convenient. The birth control pill does nothing to address the emotional consequences of our post-modern sexual landscape and only covers up the hormonal imbalances that result in many female complaints. Its existence also encourages a persistent ignorance regarding how our bodies actually work. Personally, I believe women deserve something better. They deserve a shot at genuine cures; they don’t deserve to be brushed aside by an expedient “panacea.”

But hey — if you, as a woman, like being dependent on a paternalistic government, vote for Obama. I won’t stop you. I do reserve the right, however, to question your commitment to authentic feminism.

Another Quick Reply to the Roanoke Argument

I know: I’m obsessing. But leftists really think they’ve hit upon a genius line of reasoning here, and they need to be told ad infinitum that they are wrong.

This time around, I’m going to use moral philosophy to refute the Roanoke argument. Alas, I can’t claim that the theme of this post is a Stephanie original; I’m actually pulling these ideas from a recent article Ismael Hernandez wrote in the Catholic Crisis Magazine. However, I’m going to try to simplify Hernandez’ argument as much as possible so that anyone can understand it.

Consider the following situation: Tom works at an auto parts store. On a typical business day, he sells a woman a bottle of antifreeze. Unfortunately, said woman has a nefarious goal in mind: She plans to poison her husband by mixing the antifreeze into his favorite jello. Days later, Tom reads in the paper that a neighbor has died unexpectedly, and the local Dr. G has found evidence of antifreeze poisoning in his kidneys. Question: Should we accuse Tom of being an accessory to murder? After all, his antifreeze was the murder weapon.

The obvious answer to that query, of course, is no. Tom had no way of knowing how his product was going to be used. Similarly, while the government does maintain the roads, the postal service, the Patent Office, the international ports, etc., it has no earthly way of knowing what each American citizen will do with those resources; therefore, we cannot hold it responsible for the remote effects of its activity. If we’re going to credit the government for a man’s prosperous business, shouldn’t we also credit the government for the Unabomber? After all, Ted Kaczynski used the postal service to kill his victims.

No — the only person responsible for the actions of Ted Kaczynski is Ted Kaczynski. It doesn’t matter which government services he used to perpetrate his crimes. In like fashion, the most morally relevant cause of a business owner’s success is the initiative and hard work of the business owner.

A Quick Comment on a Certain Pro-Obama Super PAC Ad

So — it has been discovered that this ad, in which Mitt Romney is accused of contributing to a cancer patient’s death, is a steaming pile of horse dung. But even if it were absolutely true that the woman in question lost her health insurance coverage after Bain shut down her husband’s steel mill, the left would still have been wrong to launch that attack.

Why are certain people uninsured? Well, first of all, young and healthy customers have been priced out of the market due to state mandates that force them to buy coverage for medical care they don’t really need. Secondly, no one has thought to make employer-provided plans portable; thus, if you lose or change your job, you also lose your health plan. (This is the primary reason why we have people with “pre-existing conditions” who are having trouble finding plans that are affordable.) Third, people – like me – who buy plans in the individual market have to use after-tax dollars while people who get their insurance through their employer are using before-tax dollars. In other words, we suckers in the individual market don’t get cut the same breaks.

And you know what? All of these problems are addressed by conservative health care policy proposals. We want to offer healthy people low cost, high-deductible plans with health savings accounts that will allow them to budget and save for standard health care. We want to decouple health insurance from employment so people can change jobs without worrying that they will lose their current coverage. And we want to give people in the individual market the same tax breaks that are given to those who receive employer-provided insurance. So if you want to prevent people from prematurely dying of undetected cancer (or diabetes, heart disease, etc.), you need to vote for us. Obama? He doesn’t have the right answer.