American Elephants

Let’s have a conversation about freedom. by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Sowell wrote a rousing column today, as he usually does.

Most people on the Left are not opposed to freedom.  They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.

Freedom ultimately means the right of other people to do things that you do not approve of.  Nazis were free to be Nazis under Hitler.  It is only when you are able to do things that other people don’t approve that you are free.

One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the Left’s many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement  by schools and by college-admissions committees that students do “community service.”

There are high schools across the country from which you cannot graduate, and colleges where your application for admission will not be accepted, unless you have engaged in activities arbitrarily defined as “community service.”

The arrogance of commandeering young people’s time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as “community service” — as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

Obama has mentioned that college kids working in the college library or hashing in a dining room are not considered community service, while dishing up food in a cafeteria for vagrants is.  Explain that one.

According to campaign promises and statements, by 2012, four years from now, over one half of the population will pay no taxes, and be supported by the other half who work.  This is not freedom.

Dr. Sowell goes on:

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others.  But this all depends on who defines compassion.  In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the Left’s vision of the world.

I am sure those who favor “community service” requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high-school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory “community service” activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others — a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.

I think we are in need of an ongoing conversation about what is meant by “freedom”, how we preserve it, and how we lose it.  And how we go about regaining our freedom if it is lost.

Here Come the Carbon Police! by The Elephant's Child

A British jurist wants to create an international court for the environment which would have the power to punish states and businesses. The court would have the ability to sanction and punish those who violate or fail to obey  such as the Kyoto Protocols. The body would be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.

Stephen Hockman, the former head of the British Bar Council and a deputy High Court judge, has had a bright idea about why Kyoto failed to meet its emission goals in Europe.  It would be easy to dismiss this as the rantings of an environmental nutcase (who also favors bringing Sharia law to Britain). But the idea that reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be enforced by legal means has been heard before.  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed that the idea of such a court should be considered when considering ways to make such international agreements binding on everyone.

James Hansen, global warming alarmist, Al Gore’s favorite scientist, and head of NASAs Goddard institute for Space Studies has said in the past that heads of major fossil-fuel companies who “spread disinformation” about global warming (claim that global warming is not dangerous) should be “tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Warmists claim that the internal combustion engine was the greatest threat to mankind in history (Al Gore in “Earth in the Balance”).  Time magazine compared global warming to the fight against Nazism and fascism, in their April 21 issue.  Many warmists consider the Industrial Revolution a crime against humanity, and are sure that we would be much better off if we just eliminated all corporations and capitalism.

Europeans are more favorable towards “international courts”, because in general they don’t take laws very seriously, and ignore them entirely if they get in the way.

Here at home, in the meantime, the EPA is planning to regulate 1/5 of all food service businesses, 1/2 of all health care businesses, 1/2 of the entire lodging industry, and even 10% of all buildings used for worship, all in the name of controlling carbon dioxide  This is to be done in order to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide, however, is only a trace gas in the atmosphere.  The major greenhouse gas is water vapor.  Do you suppose they will attempt to stamp out humidity?

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