I am a classic Reagan/Goldwater Conservative. I am careful to keep myself informed on every important socio-political issue, because I’m responsible that way. I find that almost has to include watching/reading Al Jazeera, and I challenge you to do the same…and this article will let you know why you want to.
Let’s start with this:
I’m about as strong an advocate of the free market as you can get. So why do I watch CCTV, Communist China’s truly evil state news network? It’s more chock-full of tyrannical socialist propaganda than two Obama press secretaries times NPR cubed.
But I want to be certain I understand it and am opposing it from an informed position. Know Your Enemy, as they say.
If some gullibly loyal Chinese prole criticized American freedom, you’d demand that they at least take the time to understand it, or else they’re really a hypocrite and a fraud.
- Hypocrite because they are (presumably) wanting to tell you why their system is better, but aren’t bothering to understand ours.
- Fraud, because if they don’t bother to learn the internal arguments and claims, they can’t really know for certain what they’re talking about.
In case it’s not obvious, this applies to us, as well. I know far more about exactly how evil and wrong the Communist Chinese government is, exactly what kind of lies it tells, et cetera, from watching CCTV. I even know of things that I assumed were one way, but after seeing (and distrusting) CCTV, I’ve done research on my own and found out they really are another way. Without watching their network, I wouldn’t have even known what to find out.
I did the same thing with AllAfrica.com, and learned that sub-Saharan Africa is far different, and worse, than I actually thought. I can now see the sparse information I get, now, from the mainstream media on that region in an entirely different light. Almost every government in that area is a joke. They usually don’t even have market economies in the sense socialist Europe does, but something even closer to Marxism. Almost all of the poverty of the region comes from the intrusiveness and corruption of their governments, in ways more ridiculous than you’re imagining. “Banana Republic” doesn’t convey it to you adequately.
I’ll take some time to write about it, another day.
Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya
So, naturally, I started reading Al Arabiya and watching Al Jazeera, with the intention of learning about the spin that Doha and Dubai put on news, to see exactly how people were being fooled with lies about American mass murder and plots to destroy Muslims, find out if they were teaching potentially good people that Jews are red-eyed, baby-eating demons, learn whether they were cheering terrorists, explaining the values of Al Qaeda screeds, et cetera.
And that’s sufficient reason to watch it. In fact, it’s a region whose attitudes and perspective is even more important to understand in America than China and Africa.
What I found, though, astonished me to the almost to the point of confusion:
Unlike CCTV’s lies, or AllAfrica’s unintentional revelation of government’s destruction of sub-Saharan Africa, Al Jazeera was packed with actual, solid information and reporting, presented with slightly more objectivity than American mainstream news (though that isn’t saying much).
I’m not exaggerating.
For example, Al Jazeera frequently covers Israel-Palestinian incidents from the Israeli perspective, as well as other ways. They show commentary by Israeli government officials I barely knew existed, Israeli and Jewish people you’ll not otherwise hear from, Israeli issues you never hear about, et cetera. Not only does the American Liberal media drop the ball on this, but so does the Neocon media like Fox News, and radio talk show hosts.
I actually have a better, and more sympathetic, understanding of Israeli perspective on events, thanks to Al Jazeera.
In fact, does a better job of revealing the flaws of every one of the Arab/Islamic states (that I expected it to sell to me as virtuous) than American or other foreign media.
The same is true of Al Jazeera’s coverage of other regions. I watched NHK (Japanese News) for a while, but Al Jazeera’s coverage of Japan is actually better, more objective.
No other network — and I watch news from all over the world — covered the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions from both perspectives, government and protester, as objectively and calmly as Al Jazeera. The second best was the BBC, but it paled by comparison.
More importantly, Al Jazeera cover the protests in Bahrain and Yemen, and the brutal crackdowns by the Saudi government that rules over them, with the same clarity and detail as Syria (and covers Syria better than anyone else)…and yet you, probably, had no idea that the “Arab League” member states were ignoring vicious crackdowns in their membership just as bad as there.
And, of course, they also cover Arab perspectives. If you depend on Mainstream Media, including Fox and neocon talk shows, you have no idea what the actual Arab or Muslim perspectives are. They simply don’t present such things, at all. They don’t even really pretend to.
You, especially if you’re a Conservative or another ideology that values self-responsibility, need to have a source of perspective outside of the two party-Establishment media cliques here in the US.
Of the options, Al Jazeera is the time-saver; more objective, detailed, and wide-ranging than even the BBC. Watch them for the information, or if you’re determined to believe they’re evil, the way I still think of CCTV, then at least watch them to Know Your Enemy.
But DO NOT trust them…because you should not trust any external source. Always verify things for yourself. But if you don’t have a source like Al Jazeera, you don’t even know much of what you could be checking out.
Where do you find Al Jazeera? PBS has it, but if you have a distaste for networks coercively funded by your tax dollars, a far better alternative is the cable network Link TV. They not only broadcast the full Al Jazeera half hour in English, but better still; they have a show they put together themselves, called Mosaic, that includes news broadcast from many foreign sources, including Al Jazeera, and Israel’s own nationalized television news (never forget that Israel’s government, including Likud, is socialist), IBA.
23 minutes a day, watching (or listening to, while doing other things) Al Jazeera or Mosaic, will double your ability to defend and advocate your own foreign policy beliefs, as well as making them better informed…because none of us has perfect knowledge, already.
The 4th Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Your prudism about being ogled by minimum wage goons who share pics and stories of your genitals with each other and post them on the Internet is not the biggest reason why the nude scanners and crotch gropings cannot be allowed.
It’s that they also violate your Constitutional rights. And that kind of violation, you must never tolerate.
The Fourth Amendment secures not only our external property, but especially our bodies against unreasonable search and seizure.
By “reasonable” the amendment says it means “with probable cause”, and this means government agents must suspect you, personally, of a crime or else they are not allowed to search you, no matter what.
The police are not legally allowed to search random the houses on your block, just in case they might find something illegal, and even the most law-abiding of us is glad our privacy is protected this way. And they cannot, for the same reason, search all people passing through the gates at the airport, just in case they might find something illegal.
Appeal to Cowardice
Big Brotherment tries to justify this violation of the Bill of Rights with Appeal to Cowardice:
“But aren’t you willing to put up with a little inconvenience, to be safer?”
But real Americans aren’t cowards. Even if the violation of your body were improving safety — and in real life, it does NOTHING for your safety — it would not be a tolerable reason.
The government could judge who seemed a threat, and search those people. That would be “probable cause”, valid under the Constitution.
Searching people at random, instead, violates the Bill of Rights, and helps the actually-suspicious people get through the line. If the searches could actually stop terrorists, the random nature of the searches keep that from happening.
They who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
— Ben Franklin
Nobody honest, not even on the pro-TSA side, denies that these random searches violate the fourth amendment…they just claim that you should surrender this Essential Liberty, to try to gain a little temporary safety.
But real Americans aren’t cowards. This expansion of the Police State ends, here and now.
Remember, remember, the 2nd of November, when Ron Paul took back the House, as the next step in the movement that exploded on Guy Fawkes Day, 2007.
With all the hubbub about this election, there hasn’t been enough talk about how it happened:
How Ron Paul Restored Republican Principles (and/or Power)
Remember, the Republicans were stripped of power by the very same voters, just four years ago. What changed isn’t trust in that party’s old guard leadership, but the restoration of that party’s roots by the TEA Party.
The reason they’re getting it back started three years ago today, when Ron Paul stunned the political world with the massive success of the Money Bomb his grass-roots supporters spontaneously organized.
The Money Bomb
In a single day, these TEA Party predecessors raised $4,700,000 dollars for Ron Paul…more than any other Republican candidate. They chose Guy Fawke’s Day to symbolically represent how Ron Paul was to metaphorically blow up the corrupt, establishment government…probably inspired in part by the movie V, where the hero re-enacts that historic event in his fight against a repressive, tyrannical government.
This brought the liberty movement of Ron Paul to the attention of the “mainstream”, touching off a snowball of support for his campaign that, while not getting him nominated against the will of the establishment Republicans in Name Only (RiNOs), left him with a huge “war chest” after the primaries were over. He used this money to found the Campaign for Liberty, supporting the general liberty movement he had empowered.
During his campaign, even before the Money Bomb, supporters started referring to their rallies as “Tea Parties”, some creating the backronym “Taxed Enough Already” to refer to their libertarian economic theme.
By 2009, these TEA Parties, with the support of Ron Paul-supporting groups like Young Americans for Liberty and his own Campaign for Liberty, had taken on a life of their own. As you know, that grew into the movement that people rallied around, and when that movement chose Ron Paul’s party for its candidates, the Republicans finally had an opportunity to return their party to its libertarian base.
They started as a fight against Democratic talk of raising taxes, fighting bailouts and “stimulus” spending, but got their greatest momentum fighting the socialized health care bill, which Ron Paul had opposed even back in 2003 when the Republicans were pushing socialized medicine.
Will It Stay True?
In 2010, of course, the neocons and other RiNOs saw the success of Paul’s movement, and started trying to hijack the TEA Party. They attempted to insert divisive social issues, like anti-Muslim fearmongering and hate, promotion of the drug war, et cetera…but it has not worked: This election was about the economy, smaller government, and other libertarian ideas that the Republican leadership has been forced to parrot, although their history is of doing even more harm to that cause than the Democrats.
The Tea Party movement started with Ron Paul, who is recognized even by his opponents as the most principled, honest man in Congress. It has overcome attacks by Big Government advocates on the “Right”, supposed leaders of the Republican Party and others, but has not lost its way, and almost singlehandedly won this election (except for help by the Democrats, in their own self-destruction).
Hopefully, it can continue to police the Republican party to stick to its base’s principles…or, almost everyone outside the Political Class agrees, the Republicans will have blown their last chance, and TEA will take its party elsewhere.
“Freedom is all fine and good,” they say,” until someone gets hurt. Then you realize it’s time to let Big Brotherment protect us.” Of course this is what Liberals say in general. But the neocons, unlike other Liberals, are pretending to be Conservative, discrediting our movement with their cowardice.
These timorous beasties claim that we should only believe in liberty when it’s convenient. After 9-11, for example, pretty much every American principle of freedom and justice should be out the window. Don’t we have a right to privacy? “We have a right to not be killed by terrorists”, they respond. Freedom of speech? ”You can’t place freedom above safety!”
Well, as an actual American, and Conservative, I say:
They who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Ben Franklin, classic liberal and therefore modern Conservative, had it right.
It’s ironic to watch faint-hearted neocon pundits claim that Americans should be too afraid to put terrorists on trial in New York, giving otherwise-scared-of-everything Liberal New Yorkers the chance to say “bah, I lived through 9-11, and I say bring ‘em on: Justice will be served!”
This very exchange, almost to the word, occurred on The Daily Show recently, Jon Stewart playing the part of justice-defending American, Newt Gingrich pretending to be a Conservative, yet advocating the philosophy of trembling terror.
Likewise, the neocons oppose the closing of the Guantanamo prison camp, or the opening of a prison for foreign terrorists in America…Gitmo North, they call it. Instead of supporting the principles of justice and natural rights the Founders recognized, we should be too afraid of terrorists to hold them on our soil, where those principles must legally be upheld.
These neocons fought against Reagan tooth and nail during his administration. They ran a Nixonian Republican, John Anderson, against Reagan as a vote-splitter in1980; they literally preferred that Carter win. More recently, they wasted eight years of Republican presidency violating every Conservative principle Reagan upheld, during the Bush administration. They are the opposite of anything we actually believe in. Remember, the bank bailouts, stimulus packages, and American automaker takeovers were all started by the neocons. Obama is only following their example.
It’s time we stood up and rejected their pusillanimous assault on our natural rights. Next time someone says “it’s a different world, since 9-11″, say “but the same principles of liberty and justice hold true”.
We are Conservatives, not cowards.
But, unlike neocons at Fox and on the radio, and other advocates of Big Brothernment, true Conservatives have no problem at all with this, for two reasons:
First) It’s true. Bush governed like a Liberal, spending money, increasing regulations, and dragging us into a trillion dollars in wars, and then mismanaged them abysmally. Even if it is embarrassing to ”our side”, we believe in supporting the truth, taking responsibility for mistakes (something Bush rarely did), and fixing problems.
Second) It’s not a condemnation of Conservatism, anyway, because Bush was so Liberal. Like neocons in general, he only talked Conservative, but when the chips were down he always turned to huge government solutions, more squandering of taxpayer money, et cetera.
It’s no surprise that we had economic and political trauma, when Bush violated Conservative principles in these ways:
- He had claimed the economy needed to be deregulated, yet he rolled out more huge regulatory schemes, even counting only his first two years in office, than Clinton did in eight…hundreds of billions of dollars in new regulations on insurance, shipping, health care, and many other industries.
- Even his “tax cuts” were mostly semi-annual welfare checks disguised as “refunds”, along with “tax credits” that are literally welfare, plus a maze of new exemptions that truly increased tax compliance cost just as much as any actual tax savings. Compare this to Reagan simplifying the tax code so much that people saved as much in compliance costs as they saved in taxes.
- His “solution” to the failure of socialized education was to break his School Choice promise and set up a massive Federal bureaucracy called No Child Left Behind.
- His response to 9-11 was to set up a police state in violation of the Constitution, to refuse Afghanistan’s offer to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial in order to invade, and to attack Al Qaeda’s mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein.
- His promise to make Socialist Security more privatized and voluntary was abandoned because he was spending all of his political capital on a voluntary trillion-dollar set of wars.
- Speaking of socialism, until Obama’s health care plan passes (shudder), Bush’s prescription drug plan stands as the largest socialized medicine expansion in US history.
- Speaking of being more Liberal than Clinton, in EVERY SINGLE YEAR, of his eight years in office, Bush increased domestic spending more than Clinton did in his entire second term.
- His answer to Katrina was to throw $87,000,000,000 dollars at the region, that had already squandered more than the rest of the nation’s combined Army Corps of Engineers budget at NOT fixing its levees.
- His response to the economic decline was to not only increase spending above his super-Clinton levels, but to bail out companies and squander hundreds of billions on “stimulus” packages that actually depress the economy more.
Who’s seriously surprised that this kind of socialism caused an economic depression? Hoover’s big-government approach helped cause the Great Depression, and Bush’s similar approach did the same.
Real Conservatives don’t try to defend this. Instead, we say:
Yes, that’s right, Bush’s domestic policies cause economic catastrophe…so stop doing exactly the same stuff, Obama!
Little Old Lady: [Long Island Accent] This tiger repellent is so expensive, I may have to cut back on my groceries to keep getting it!
Sane Person: But…tiger repellent is a scam! Why would you buy such a thing? It’s a waste of money!
Little Old Lady: Well, I started buying it when that magician got mauled. And obviously it works; I haven’t been attacked by a tiger, since!
No matter whether Bush’s policies violated every American principle or not, one thing you can definitely say is that we haven’t had a terrorist attack on US soil in the seven years since he started them.
Nor have we been attacked by tigers.
In fact, we did not have a terrorist attack on US soil for almost ten years BEFORE 9-11. Crediting Bush’s violation of every American and Conservative principle with this “safety” is actually somewhat more foolish than the little old lady buying tiger repellent.
Unless it actually attracts tigers.
Because Bush’s evils, committed in our name, like:
- Torturing now-helpless captives
- Attacking countries without provocation
- Rounding up people at random from suspected areas and keeping them for months, or years, without outside contact or even determining which ones, if any, are actually the targets
- Handing out billions in cash and military supplies to top state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
All have increased likelihood of attacks against America.
It is no coincidence that terrorist attacks worldwide increased with each implementation of these policies. That they didn’t happen in the US is because zero times some amount is still zero.
These evils are a perfect recruitment system for terrorism. What other way do these people have to stop us? Would YOU not fight back, if these things were being done to your family?
Evils we would not normally commit, we should not commit just to gain some benefit…but especially when the benefit is imaginary. “We haven’t been attacked since 9-11″ is as ridiculous as “I haven’t been attacked by a tiger since Siegfried and Roy were attacked”.
Anyone puzzled by how some Americans don’t take science seriously need look no farther than how few scientists, themselves, take the scientific method seriously.
There is no better example of that credibility gap than the Big Bang Theory.
And this is the worst possible place for the flaw to occur, because the Big Bang has become the poster child for “science is smart, religion is stupid”…yet it’s not actually science.
Even my favorite sitcom, wherein some producer had the crazy nerve to try to create a show around the situation of INTELLIGENT people, The Big Bang Theory, assumes its name (apparently) as an attempt to show intellectual, potential viewers that it’s for them, not the common proles.
But the Big Bang Theory is pseudoscience, at best.
By the rules of hard science, it’s not even a theory. A theory can be tested in a way that would be sure to fail if it were wrong. This, with the Big Bang, is impossible so far. So it doesn’t qualify. It is a hypothesis.
For supposed scientists to refer to it as a theory is akin to Catholic priests and bishops referring to a contemporary televangelist as a Saint. There are strict rules for sainthood, and for scientific theoryhood, and if you just go tossing either word around you discredit the whole genre. Saint Tammy Fae Baker would undermine the concept of Christian sainthood exactly the way the Big Bang Theory undermines the concept of cosmogony as a science.
But it’s worse than that; the Big Bang Hypothesis is not just treated with the unearned dignity of being a “theory”, but even like a fact, despite having failed even the basic test of prediction.
Original big bang-based predictions of the temperature of the universe, its expansion, and the even-ness of background radiation all failed…but, in violation of the principles of science, bureaucrats just turned around and reverse-engineered new predictions that matched the existing observations.
But even if they had not, no theory EVER rises to the level of fact, based solely on its matching of predictions.
To quote Stephen Hawking:
Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.
You don’t have to go as far as Anthropogenic Global Warming, to find scientists treating failed hypotheses as Settled Science, which is denied by not only Stephen Hawking above, but the Fallibilist roots of hard science.
But it gets worse, still, when extreme atheists try to trot out The Big Bang as a solution for the Prime Mover paradox.
See, one of the arguments used by Creationists is that everything in the universe apparently needs to be caused by something else. Things don’t just happen out of nothing, there’s always a “cause and effect”. This means that, if the universe ever had a start at all, HOW it could start seems impossible to explain. There has to have been to be a First Event, that was not caused by anything at all, and that should be impossible.
“Science has solved that with the Big Bang”, the claim is made.
But it’s untrue.
In fact, the Big Bang hypothesis brings focus on the very power of the Prime Mover paradox. It appears to have the whole universe go back to a single point, but then does nothing to explain why it was AT that point in the first place. There is no way to explain why the potential for the vacuum fluctuation that (maybe) produced the Big Bang existed in the first place.
If the Creator of the universe were a timeless Christian god, perhaps that’s what caused the Big Bang. Sadly for science, this makes as much sense as anything the mainstream cosmologists have proposed to start it, so far*.
When people stick to the rules of hard science, they have an absolute right to say “see, this produces sounder results and more verifiable Truth than religion”, when it does. The problem is that modern “scientists” quite often are NOT. They don’t stick by those rules, and therefore earn the disdain that people heap on them.
Oh, and let’s not forget that I’m using the criteria of real science to argue this. Among the people who agree with me are Einstein, a Scientific Realist who opposed the instrumentalist pseudoscience of modern quantum physics, Schroedinger, whose famous cat experiment was intended to mock unscientific physics, and the father of modern hard science, Karl Popper whom Stephen Hawking is paraphrasing in his quote, above.
Next time some horrified Discovery Channel /NPR pundit moans quaveringly that “a majority of Americans don’t even believe in science over religion”, or the downright sneering at global warming claims, remember that this is as much the fault of the supposed scientists breaking their own rules, as anything else.
Superstring hypotheses say the Big Bang is just the collision of “branes” (think membranes) in a much larger, more complex 10+ dimensional universe. But, while this provides the closest thing to a Unified Theory, it’s mostly ignored by the mainstream cosmologists. And, anyway, it does nothing to explain why the whole multiverse exists in the first place.