Monday, March 31, 2014

How Language Works (Rule #1)

Blaming the listener will never make the listener look dumb. 
It will never make the speaker look smarter. 
It will never make the meaning clearer.
It will never communicate the intended message.

So own the message. Rephrase it and try again.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Constitution Doesn't Grant You Rights

The phrase "inalienable rights" doesn't appear in the Constitution. It's in the Declaration of Independence. Nevertheless, the concept was well-accepted by the Founding Fathers. So much so that they didn't bother to list these rights in the Constitution. The first 10 Amendments were added in as the "Bill of Rights" under a bit of controversy.

How could there be controversy?

For one, the enumeration of certain rights may be taken to imply that other rights do not exist. This conclusion would be in error, which was addressed by the Ninth Amendment, which has since been largely forgotten and marginalized.

But also, the enumeration of certain rights may be taken to men that those rights are granted by the Constitution. This interpretation is as wrong as it possibly could be. Let's make it clear

The Constitution Doesn't Grant You Rights

Rather, it enumerates rights that you already have. These are the ones alluded to in this passage of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
Not only does the Constitution not grant you rights, but no man is empowered to do so, for that would violate the principle of equality. Your rights came to you from God, or Divine Providence, or they are Natural Rights, or however it is you choose to phrase such things. But one thing is certain: they are not made by superior men, to be granted or revoked at their pleasure.

Note the following carefully:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
That's the First Amendment. It doesn't grant freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, or assembly, or petition. It doesn't . It merely takes for granted the fact that you have those rights, and they may not be abridged by the government. That last bit is important, too. It says nothing about how people privately behave, but specifically and pointedly limits itself to what Congress does.

Likewise, the Second Amendment is commonly mangled:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
A common argument is that this right is "connected" to the Militia. That is bullshit (to put it mildly). At no point does this Amendment grant you the right to bear arms. Rather it acknowledges that the right you already have shall not be infringed. It does state a reason that the State should support that right, but that is in no way, shape or form a stated purpose for the 'grant' of a right.

The plain fact of the the matter is that every human being has an absolute right to self-defense. By absolute, I mean it trumps literally everything. Self-defense is a reason to kill another human being with legal impunity. And there is zero restriction on the weaponry I am "allowed" to bring to bear to further that aim. That's not to say I can employ that weaponry in any way I want. If I'm a danger to others, then they can take me out for the same reason. But the mere ownership of a weapon does not make me a danger.

The Third through Eighth Amendments deal with legalities:
My home is to be free from invasion and usurpation; especially, so is my person, and my stuff. I have a right to due process in the courts. Once acquitted of a crime I have the right to consider the matter settled: I need not fear the same charges again.. I have a right to my property. I have the right to refuse to testify against myself. I have a right to a speedy trial. I have a right to be judged by a jury of my peers. I have the right to know the charges against me. I have a right to face my accuser. I have the right to compel witnesses in my defense. I have a right to legal counsel. I have a right to expect bail and fines to be reasonable, and I have a right to be free from torture.

The Ninth (mentioned above) makes clear that it is not this Constitution that grants your rights, and that you are not limited to the ones above:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
 And the Tenth reminds us that it is not "the State" that owns the Government of the United States. There is no "Crown" here:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people
ALL powers exercised by our government are delegated to it, by the people, via the Constitution. To the extent that a government exercises powers that are not enumerated in the Constitution, that government action is illegal. "The United States" as mentioned here consists of all branches, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. When a Judge legislates from the bench, it's illegal. When a President ignores laws by selectively enforcing them, that's illegal. When Congress passes laws that infringe our rights, that's illegal. It does not matter whether a branch of government does so in collusion with another branch. The Tenth Amendment is there for a reason.

There is also a reason the Tenth Amendment has been marginalized and ignored by Progressives. It's damned inconvenient to tyrants to be shown up as the tyrants and usurpers that they are. Your knowledge and understanding of the limits of government makes it ever so much more difficult for bureaucrats to stifle your rights and exercise control over things that are flatly none of their business, ever.

When our government gets to the point where they do all of these things, it is the right and duty of its citizens to recall that government. This becomes problematic when the government has been given the privilege of educating our youth, and have abused that privilege to strip a generation of the knowledge of their sovereignty, ownership, and individual power.

It's starts with this: Your rights are yours. The government is yours.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Nazis, Cake, and Gay Pride

WARNING: Strong language appears in this post. If strong language and strong opinions offend you, do not read it. Please watch some Muppets instead. Muppets are fun.

A Facebook friend shared an image and caption

@Dave Someone took your idea, Dave...
Should a Jewish baker be forced by the State to bake THIS cake
for a White Supremist's birthday? According to gay Rights activist...
Of course the cake metaphor is in response to stories like this one reported on

Although we had a prior discussion of Nazis and cake, the Nazi cake above does NOT illustrate my idea at all. My observation is entirely different. I'm not talking about a Nazi forcing a Jew to make an offensive Nazi cake, full of Nazi, with Nazi all over it (to paraphrase another friend).

Reverse the roles. Would a Jew sue a Nazi baker for refusing to bake him a cake? No Magen David, no weirdness... just a plain old ordinary cake. What if the story were exactly as depicted in the charges in Oregon... just flat-out discriminatory business practices based on nothing but hatred with no religious dogma to use as a shield?  Would the Jew sue?

Hell no.
HELL no.

And do you know why? Because the Jew's got integrity, and he's not going to do business with a FUCKING NAZI.

He's certainly not to cast himself as some weak-assed narcissistic co-dependent emotional basket case by running to Mommy and Daddy and pathetically crying that the mean old man down the street "doesn't love me... MAKE him love me!"

After centuries of persecution and pogroms... after the wholesale slaughter of six million of his family in a World War... and despite all the Woody Allen Jewish psychiatrist stereotypes... the Jew isn't that fucked in the head.

The Nazi has every right to be a dick, but the Jew isn't going to give his valuable custom to a dick. He'll take it somewhere else, or bake his own damned cake and serve it with his head held high. He's certainly not going to beg a court: "Please make them take my money... I have a right to pay their bills!"


Now, my metaphor isn't nearly as sympathetic to the Christian baker... let's face it, it's not at all sympathetic. The Christians can take care of themselves... but I'm speaking of the point of view of the gay plaintiffs.

Guys, gals, and pronouns of your own devising... I know you think you're being really clever, but you're not. You're just being a bunch of monumentally oppressive jerks on your own behalf. And having a pet bully in the courts doesn't make you right.

When the baker doesn't make your cake, He's the jerk, but that's all he is. But he has a right to be a jerk and hold whatever beliefs he has. And he didn't force you to walk in the door. But the court errs egregiously when they claim that the First Amendment doesn't apply because the bakery is "not a religious institution". The freedom of religion isn't about "religious institutions", and I congratulate you on finding a judge so astoundingly stupid and uneducated that he thinks it does. The freedom of religion is about your individual right to worship God -- or not -- as you personally see fit. And that applies to the business owner whether he puts a cross on the building or not.

And when he doesn't make your cake you're offended and disappointed, but that's all you are. So buy a different fucking cake from a nicer guy, and then get online, talk up the good guy and blast the bigot. Convince his customers to go elsewhere... Don't beg to feed his fucking family. What the fuck is wrong with you? You call that gay pride? Because it looks a lot different.

By employing force to get your way, you've become bigger dicks than the dicks you oppose ever hoped to be. You're more oppressive than they are. And you've managed to convince a court to violate the First Amendment of the Constitution so that you can have not just cake, but a specific cake baked by a personal slave... a slave who still doesn't love your despotic ass. Congrats, on that, too. Maybe you can force a trophy-shop slave to provide you a little something for the mantle in celebration of the achievement.


BTW, if you can comprehend that the Jew has a right not to do business with the Nazi, and you comprehend that you have a right not to do business with the bigot, then there's something seriously wrong with you if you don't comprehend the bigot's right not to do business with you. Rights apply equally... even the people you completely disagree with have the same rights you do.

Now, personally, I don't like bigots. I think it's a great idea for as many people as possible not to do business with bigots. If they want your money they'll start treating you better. You lose the contest to see which of you is the bigger shithead the moment you decide to play that stupid, stupid game.