Sunday, May 31, 2009

Issues of life

I have often spoke about how I believe some things should not be compromised on. Among those things, I feel there is no compromise on matters of life or death. Either one is alive, or not; either one advocates life, or denies it. The affirmation of life versus its denial is the most succint definition of good versus evil that anyone has been able to come up with in thousands of years of human philosophy.

George Tiller was killed on Sunday morning in the foyer of his church. A suspect is in custody, and motive will be divined through the investigations that are a fundamental part of American due process. Fortunately, since I am a pundit and not a news journalist, I am free to opine.

I believe that the primacy of life starts in the womb and ends in the tomb, to use an old pro-life saw. I do not advocate killing, certainly not the type of vigilante killing absent due process, that resulted in the death of George Tiller.

By the same token, to even call Tiller a "doctor" seems to me a perversion in itself. For almost 26 years, Tiller made a career out of repeatedly violating the hippocratic oath, which reads in part:

"I will not give a lethal drug if asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion."
Pretty plain language, no?

The hippocratic oath presupposes an inherent value in human life. Oddly enough, Tiller's death mirrors exactly what is wrong with pro-abortion philosophy. Whoever shot Tiller, regardless of the noble-mindedness of the act, placed some lives above others. That person made a conscious choice to play God in deciding that Tiller should die.

I'm sure there are those among my listeners who would ask how an anti-abortion stance could be reconciled with the traditionally-conservative pro-death penalty stance. I would remind those people that the issue is moot, as Tiller was not afforded the due process of a trial-by-jury of his peers. Tiller may not have been an innocent, but we have a system for deciding such issues. George Tiller and his opponents were all denied the use of that system.

Tiller's shooter has harmed the cause he claimed to care so much about. The harm will continue, and may intensify. For my part, I distance myself from those who claim to be "pro-life" while in reality being "pro-fetus." The distinction is profound, and it is worth thinking about for all pro-life activists.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Exceedingly careful?" Or else...what?!

Gibbsy, you fool! You brought a knife to a gunfight against a Republican caucus that has very little left to lose...

Says Robert Gibbs:

“I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they’ve decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation,”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Korean "Diplomacy"

Now that North Korea has detonated a fission bomb, Kim Jong Il has laid his intentions bare for the entire world to take note of. Without a doubt, this will be a defining moment in President Obama's administration. The media characterization of this moment as a "challenge to President Obama's diplomacy," however, is flawed. It is, in fact, a stark repudiation of a failed policy that Obama has adhered to since the 2008 campaign trail.

Diplomacy is what happens when two parties each have things the other wants. Negotiation is the process of discovering how far your opponent is willing to go in achieving what he wants. Not every individual can be negotiated with; there is a point at which a diplomatic sparring partner ceases to be an opponent, and starts to be an enemy. From that point on, negotiation simply means appeasement, and negotiation with Kim Jong Il is nothing less than appeasing a madman.

It's time for President Obama to stop negotiating from a position of weakness, and start from a position of strength. Unfortunately, this borders on the impossible while he seeks to apologize for America's numerous illusory transgressions. Until President Obama can prepare to treat America like the superpower it is, his diplomatic efforts will only give aid and comfort to America's enemies. We know what the United States Constitution has to say about that. . .

Fait Accompli

It has now been definitively reported that Sonia Sotomayor will be David Souter's replacement, nominated by President Obama to serve on the Supreme Court. If ever there was a clear case of doubtful qualification, this is it; but will the Republican congressional minority have the guts to stand up to President Obama now?

Says the presumptive apointee:
I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male...
This alone should be enough to disqualify Sotomayor from any serious consideration as a judicial official, but her record is replete with such stark examples of race baiting and sexism, the likes of which would infuriate liberals if it came from the opposite side of the aisle. Sotomayor has not stopped there, however. She has spoken of The Supreme Court as "...the place where policy is made" and her opinions over the years have been rife with sympathy for victimhood, real or imagined.

The fact remains that Sotomayor is still of Puerto Rican extraction, and race is one of many third rails of politics that Republicans are rather loathe to approach. There may not even be much that Republicans can do in the face of an overwhelming Democratic majority.

A filibuster in this instance would certainly be politically explosive, but if Republicans don't even have the will to vote "no" in a simple floor vote, they will ultimately render the whole concept of "advice and consent" meaningless, a process which they started with the near-unanimous confirmation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Sonia Sotomayor makes Justice Ginsberg look like a piker by comparison.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Obamanomics (and the problem of the two-dollar hamburger)

Barack Obama unfortunately suffers a basic misunderstanding of economics endemic to socialists the world-over. In today's show, I hope to be able to remedy some fundamental misunderstandings about a terribly inexact statistical science.

Before I go too much further, I'd like to thank Walter E. Williams of George Mason University for my admittedly scant economic education. I read his columns most often at, and his knowledge of practical economics is unrivalled.

"Economics" comes from the Greek word "oikonomia," which in-turn comes from the words "oikos" and "nomos," which roughly translates into "household administration." Economics is the predictive science which involves the distribution of resources which are limited, or "scarce," in relation to needs and desires, which are virtually limitless.

Economics education is in a rather sad state-of-affairs today. A large reason for this is that the rudiments of "price," "cost," and "worth" are misunderstood. At first blush, they seem to be different words for the same thing. In terms of economic science, though they are closely related, they are three different things. In order to delve a little deeper, we'll use a hamburger as our metaphor.

For the sake of argument, you are at your favorite burger joint. Your favorite hamburger happens to cost you two dollars everytime you go there. The price of the hamburger is, obviously two dollars, but what is it really worth? Most people's instinct would be to say that the hamburger is worth two dollars, but that's not really true.

Arguably, you wanted your hamburger worse than you wanted your two dollars. From an economical standpoint, that hamburger is worth more than two dollars to you. Conversely, the proprietor of the establishment selling you that hamburger wants the two dollars worse than they want their hamburger (made up of its component parts). To them, that hamburger could be said to be worse less than two dollars. This is how people generate wealth in pursuing capitalist interests.

Obviously that hamburger's price to you is two dollars. What is that hamburger's price to the proprietor of the establishement? Ah hah! A trick question, you see; to the establishment selling the hamburger, there is no price, because they are not the end-consumers. Rather, the hamburger has a "cost," which is the cost of the products used in making it.

All of this is well-and-good, but how does government louse it up? Tune in to Gryph's Gripes to find out.