The non-Howard Manifesto

Ron Howard By RodneyPike | Famous People Cartoon | TOONPOOL

By Mike Cronin

There is a piece making the rounds on Facebook, supposedly authored by Ron Howard, that gives a rundown of the liberal platform.  I’ve pasted it below, with my own critiques and comments added in bold text.

Ron Howard Right off the bat we’re subjected to the celebrity fallacy: If a liberal celebrity, like “Mr. Motherhood-and-apple-pie” Opie Taylor/Richie Cunningham himself says it, it must be correct, no? Well, Ron Howard didn’t write this.   

January 24 at 5:41 AM

I’m a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. After reading the post: Yes, it actually does.

Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines: Yep. We know.

  • I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. PERIOD. You might get me to go along if you could narrow that down. 10% or 15% of the population might reasonably be called “the weakest members.” 50% or 60% is ludicrous!
  • I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. It’s neither. Healthcare is a SERVICE, which is offered by businesses employing highly educated and trained professionals. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” No, Obamacare was/is interpreted by “liberals” as “taking care of ___” when in actual fact it is the government issuing commands to the healthcare industry. That is fascist by definition. This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. Then unshackle it completely from government intervention. You can’t make anything cheaper by adding government bureaucracy to it! And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. We don’t care what you are willing to pay for; we object mightily that you use the coercive power of government to make everyone else do the same to assuage your conscience.
  • I believe education should be affordable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. College was more affordable before liberals got it into their heads that everyone has to have a degree and a government grant or loan to pay for it. Colleges keep raising the price of education because liberals keep rewarding them with more money when they do! And college students are adults with other options. If they choose to saddle themselves with student loan debt, then they should be required to complete the life lesson in personal responsibility and pay back the loan!
  • I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I have met two families where the adults don’t work at all, or work below their potential, in order to keep Uncle Sugar sending the benies their way. One was doing it so their kid could keep qualifying for a Pell Grant to pay for college (see #3). I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Abject poverty has been our natural state since we descended from the trees. In every society and every form of government a few get extremely rich and/or powerful. The best feature of capitalism, which is what we are SUPPOSED to have here, is that it makes it possible for anyone to create wealth, and competition in the free market makes prices of goods and services drop low enough for even poor people to afford the necessities (as long as they choose not to squander what they do have). Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. No, what makes you a statist (whether communist, socialist, or fascist doesn’t matter) is feeling that achieving the goals of fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, and affordable education requires government intervention and massive wealth “redistribution,” even as you ignore the fact that you can’t make anything cheaper by adding massive government bureaucracy to it. You also evade the fact that the only place wealth is “distributed” is in graphs from economists, because in the real-world there’s no magic wealth distribution fairy. Wealth is created, and it belongs to those who create it. One other thing: What is a fair share? The only answer liberals ever seem to have to that question is: More.
  • I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare. Virtue signal received. Don’t think you can compel the rest of us to do the same.
  • I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. No, it simply reveals that you don’t understand economics, rights, how business works, or the effects of government intrusion into the market. Like any other thing a business has to pay for, labor is a cost. When business has to pay more for labor than it is worth because the government compels them to, they must buy less labor, or produce less product/service, or raise prices to compensate – or go out of business. Any way you slice it, that means fewer jobs and/or lower pay, increasing the number of people who need the benefits you so “generously” want the government to compel everyone else to pay for! What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. How about instead of commanding businesses to pay minimum wages or “livable” wages, we encourage people to not adopt lifestyles that exceed their means?
  • I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. Agreed!
  • I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you. Agreed. But consider: the battle for gay marriage wasn’t about rights, it was about permissions. The battle should not have been for the “right” (aka permission) to marry, it should have been to bar the state from having any say in the domestic partnerships between competent, consenting adults, except as regards fraud and contract enforcement.
  • I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). Perhaps you feel this way, and we aren’t far off. However, your political masters want easy immigration and illegal immigration for another reason entirely: to turn red states blue.
  • I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. The Constitution made law-making the purview of Congress. We need laws to prohibit/prosecute fraud, endangerment/wrongful death, and enforce contracts. The Constitution doesn’t give unaccountable bureaucrats authority to create regulations that carry the force of law – and that vastly over-complicate modern economic life.
  • I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. Guess what? Both parties have saddled our once capitalist republic, ostensibly under the rule of law, with fascism, socialism, and communism. We now have a mixed economy under the rule of influence.
  • I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized. I think you’ve been listening to too many race-baiters and intersectionality theorists. On the whole, things have been getting better, not worse. Yes, racism and misogyny still exist. But we ended slavery, then we ended segregation, and now we have a society where non-white/non-males have reached or can reach the pinnacle in virtually every high office and field of achievement, including CEO, Astronaut, Doctor, Professor, Special Operations, Cabinet Secretary, or even President of the United States.
  • I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. Wrong. You are utterly misinformed:
  • “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke
  •  “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.” President Barack Obama, during conversation with economist and author John Lott Jr. at the University of Chicago Law School in the 1990s
  •  “If I could have gotten…an outright ban – ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn in your guns’ – I would have!” Senator Diane Feinstein, author of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban
  •  “Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein
  •  “When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly…When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it.” Bill Clinton
  • “If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government’s ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees.” President Bill Clinton, August 12, 1993

What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine. Where is the “common sense” in proscribing the rights of every American in order to make the already-illegal even more “illegal-er?”

  1. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? I don’t go out of my way to hurt others. Neither will I be shoved out of my path because someone who is desperate to earn victim sympathy points actively seeks to be offended by something I am, say, or do – or because facts are inconvenient.

“Political correctness is America’s newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people’s language with strict codes and rigid rules. I’m not sure that’s the way to fight discrimination. I’m not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.” ― George Carlin,

  1. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. “I believe in funding” = “I believe the government should make you pay for__.” One of those huge “windfarm” windmills costs more to make and maintain than the value of the electricity it will produce in its lifetime. That is not sustainable. Solar only makes sense in sunny places. Sustainable, but not widely available. Nuclear fission is the only viable sustainable option with current tech, but the waste and supposed danger terrifies greenies. We need fusion.
  2. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. Agreed. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work Individually, they are. As a group, they don’t choose to do the same work. should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Agreed. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? Then why on earth would you not want them to be able to carry a gun, or vote for politicians who don’t?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. No, you’re a liberal because you FEEL so strongly that “we” should “take care of each other,” that you use the government to compel others to “care” the same way you do WITHOUT doing the required CRITICAL THINKING. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved. What if some of that preventable suffering has nothing to do with who has a given amount of money, but instead is an outcome that will always be with us because some individuals make choices that lead them to suffer?

Copy & paste if you want.

Dressing Down the Hypocrites and Haters

By Mike Cronin

One of the latest weapons in the lefticle arsenal is to accuse someone of “cultural appropriation.”  Of course, this weapon is used inconsistently and hypocritically. The latest public exhibition of this nonsense comes to us from Utah, where 18-year-old Keziah Daum (shown above) posted photographs of herself and friends in their prom outfits.  Ms. Daum was wearing a red dress commonly referred to as a “cheongsam,” or “qipao,” or “Chinese dress.”

We were supposed to be outraged that a white girl from Utah would dare to “appropriate” “traditional” Chinese culture.

There were a few problems.  First, Chinese people were not offended.  Why would they be? Someone else appreciated a bit of Chinese culture and adopted it.  Isn’t that the best way to find common ground between peoples?

Second, I took 30 seconds to Google “history of cheongsam.”  Turns out that the design in question became popular in China in the 1920s, but was repressed under Mao, and has made a comeback since his demise.  The fashion incorporates traditional Chinese designs and fabrics, but it also incorporates western elements.

That’s right, folks, the idiots hating on MS. Daum for “appropriating” Chinese culture didn’t realize that the bit they think has been stolen actually has a history of Western influence!

Lastly, where were these complainers when certain other white girls wore Chinese dresses, such as:

Tea Leoni

Kelly Preston

Kirsten Dunst

Anne Hathaway

Jodie Foster

Emma Watson


So it’s OK for celebrities, but not a Utah teen?  Hypocrites.


Five Ideas to Reduce School Massacres


By Mike Cronin

Here are five ideas to reduce or stop school attacks without infringing on anyone’s rights:

  1. If teachers are willing and able, allow them to carry firearms (but don’t mandate it). Arming teachers has worked quite well in Israel and in US districts where it is already allowed. If you allow teachers to be armed, and/or you have armed security or police on campus, DO loudly proclaim your school has armed faculty and staff authorized to defend themselves and others from attack.
  2. These predators aren’t shooting up police stations, gun shows, or biker bars; they are generally attacking places full of unarmed women (mostly) and children – so stop telling them where the prey is! Even if your jurisdiction prohibits teachers from carrying firearms, you don’t need to advertise that fact to potential murderers by virtue signaling (i.e., bleating) that your school is a gun-free zone! Instead, harden your facilities. For instance: Install mechanisms to simultaneously lock all the doors and lower steel shutters. Install bullet-resistant glass and furnishings. Install “active shooter” alarms (Like fire alarms, but they sound at the police station).
  3. Stop giving publicity to the perpetrators. Some of them are after notoriety; don’t encourage them by offering it.
  4. Conduct well-designed research into mass murderers and antidepressants or other psychotropic medications. If a genuine link is found, take appropriate action to curtail their use.
  5.  Restrict dangerously incompetent people from un-escorted access to the public.


On Guard on Memorial Day

By Mike Cronin

Social media is rife today with reminders about the reasons for Memorial Day.  Yet, we are ever in the presence of people who, through ignorance or malice or both, would have us worsen the wars we are in, or get into all new wars.

We have the witch hunt against the Trump administration seeking its purported ties to Russia – as if ties to Russia are a crime, instead of prudent diplomacy.  Consider: Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal AND is involved in Syria in ways often antithetical to our own involvement (Russia is pro-Assad, the US is against him, but our primary fight in Syria is against ISIS). Should we cut off all relations and communications and let the fate of humanity rest on the chance US and Russian forces won’t have an “incident?”

We have the “Antifa” crowd waging its little war against what it perceives to be a Fascist “altRight” movement in general, and the Trump administration in particular. They believe Trump will turn the US into a Nationalist Socialist regime a la Hitler’s Nazi Germany (you know, an industrialized, powerful nation under the control of a charismatic dictator bent on world conquest, which scapegoats some section of its own people, rounds them up, and kills them). What would they replace it with? A Communist Socialist regime, a la Joseph Stalin’s USSR (you know, an industrialized, powerful nation under the control of a charismatic dictator bent on world conquest, which scapegoats some section of its own people, rounds them up, and kills them).

We have the people advocating for registration of females with the Selective Service, so that, if needs be, we could draft women into military service as well as men and send them both off to war against their will – as if that represents a great stride forward in the cause of gender equality, instead of a great leap backward in the cause of liberty and freedom.  Gender equality in the context of a “free country means ending Selective Service registration altogether.  This would finish the work begun in 1975 of ending the draft and give citizens far more say in when, why, and with what level of commitment this nation sends its sons and daughters off to war.

We have the engineers of envy – the race baiters, the privilege pimps, the income inequality whiners, the gender benders, the identity politicos, tearing this country apart with their ever-more divisive drive for “diversity.” They would have us fight a second Civil War over playground complaints.

We have the fakirs of finance, who wave their wands to “inject liquidity” into the money supply. In other words, they steal value from our existing money by magically making (AKA “quantitative easing”) more money pop into the accounts of the big investment banks.  The idea is to get borrowing and spending moving. If spending takes off, prices go up. Stock market bubbles, or home mortgage bubbles, or ___bubbles form, then they pop, and we get Great Recessions.  What’s a favorite way governments use to recover from economic collapse?  War.

Speaking of government: A professor lectured a class I was in that once an organization reaches a given critical mass, it starts behaving like an organism.  It does whatever it takes to, 1. Survive and, 2. Propagate. That describes our own government to a “T.” If it takes war to survive and propagate, war is what we’ll get – and we have been continuously in shooting wars since at least 1991. Even when we are not in shooting wars, the mere trappings of war feed the beast: The Cold War, The War on Poverty, The War on Drugs, The War on Obesity.  We have let our government become the most dangerous organism on the planet. Left unchecked, it will consume everything and everyone in its path – and there is nowhere on, or even near, earth that is not within its field of view.

Hate Speech and Hate Crime: Weasel Words


By Mike Cronin

It’s been awhile since we translated any weasel-ese, but two related terms have been prominent recently, so let’s have a go.  This past week, four Chicago young adults, aged 18-24, allegedly kidnapped an 18 year-old special-needs man and tortured him (by beating him and forcing him to drink toilet water, among other things). The suspects “broadcast” at least a portion of their acts “live” on Facebook. The alleged perpetrators are black; the victim is white.  The pundit class is convulsing about whether the incident is a hate crime.

The term “hate crime,” and its close relative, “hate speech,” are weasel words.

Kidnapping is a crime. Torturing someone is a crime.  In the Chicago case, barring a revelation that the entire thing was a hoax or prank, or some other dramatic “plot twist” in the case, it will take some extremely deft legal defense to get the four suspects acquitted of the basic charges of kidnapping, assault, and aggravated assault.

When a prosecutor tries to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” to a jury that a suspect is guilty of a crime, he or she often must show that the suspect had the opportunity, capability, and intent (or motivation) to commit the crime.  Hate can certainly serve to motivate someone to commit a crime, but hatred is not a crime in itself, since it is simply an emotion.  If one commits a crime driven by hate, the crime is the crime and hate is the motivation.

By creating a special treatment category for offenses motivated by hatred, i.e. “hate crimes,” the weasels are trying to criminalize hatred itself.  (Interestingly, the tables have been turned, in that some of the opinion-aters who are usually the first to allege a hate crime are going through all manner of rhetorical gyrations to prevent that label from sticking to the Chicago case.)

Similarly, by categorizing offensive rhetoric, racial slurs, and other venomous utterances as “hate speech,” the weasels are again trying to criminalize an emotion. The concepts of banning hate speech and prosecuting hate crimes are being promoted by people who themselves hate opposition. They would repeal the First Amendment if they could, then they would make it a crime to dissent.

Think I’m off my rocker?  Observe the rise of the campus speech code and its ever-increasing (and ever-more-ludicrous) list of things one cannot say.  University campuses have become minefields for the unwary orator who opines outside the designated “free speech zone.”

In a rational academic setting, students must be exposed to schools of thought different than their own in order to learn and grow – the whole point of a “higher” education!  Sometimes different ideologies are offensive or difficult to accept…until one hears them presented and discussed in the academic setting and has a change of opinion.  Banning the mere potential giving of offense is banning the opportunity for growth and learning.

Are you a hater?  Probably not, but you have probably experienced the emotion of hatred once or twice in your life.  If the weasels who are currently trying to make hatred a crime have their way; someday in the not-too-distant future, you will be guilty of a crime merely for thinking your own thoughts.

Random Matter 2


By Mike Cronin

The tidal wave of angst unleashed by the election of Donald Trump is not wholly explainable by his crudity, political outsider status, media and polling industry failures, hacked emails, possible election tampering, or Hillary Clinton’s campaign style.

For too long, the beltway establishment has been driving this country down a two-lane country road that ends at a cliff: tyranny. When the liberals where at the wheel, the conservatives would call the cliff “socialism” and say the Democrats were racing us towards it, while the liberals would say that conservatives were steering us headlong towards the “fascism” cliff when Republicans had the wheel.

It was always the same cliff.


Now the liberals are howling that Trump will stomp on the accelerator, and the “Never Trump” branch of the conservative establishment isn’t sure that he won’t do just that.  Nor am I.

What I am more confident of is that for perhaps only a brief moment, by electing Trump, the passengers have made ALL of the drivers slow down and take notice of the impending danger. Even if Trump turns out to be wise at the wheel, we may be in for a period of painful adjustment.



Have you ever been irritated by Pecksniffian pipsqueaks who take any statement that does not absolutely validate or corroborate what they say and allege it means exactly the opposite?

Pipsqueak: We have to raise the minimum wage for the poor. (Sips his latte.)

Host: But won’t that mean there will be fewer jobs?

Pipsqueak: Hate speech! What do you have against poor people?  Are you a one-percenter? I can’t believe we still have troglodytes like you in this country!

Host:  But I was just-

Pipsqueak: I have to go. My limo is double parked, and I’m late for therapy.



Congress is now considering bills that would make it mandatory for females to register for the draft with Selective Service.  In my opinion, obligatory service of any kind is anathema to freedom.  You cannot protect freedom by taking it away. It is also not very effective to staff a high-tech, professional military with conscripts. It takes an inordinate amount of effort to train, motivate, and discipline people who are potentially there against their will…though it can, and has, been done.

It is far more efficient, effective, and easier to train qualified and self-motivated volunteers.

Wisely, the US stopped the draft in 1973…but unwisely kept the Selective Service, and is now taking a step in the wrong direction, IMO.  Instead of making females register, it should stop requiring anyone to register!

On the other hand, I would be in favor of examining the idea that we stop automatically conferring citizenship by birthright.  The idea that one should have to earn citizenship, with public service being one avenue to that end, has some interesting potential.

Weasel Words: Ethics and Morality


By Mike Cronin

I was raised and educated to believe that the basis  of moral conduct was dictated to man by God through the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus, and the precepts of the Catholic Church.  I was also given to understand that “ethics” were more about the rules humans applied to themselves. Regardless of what religious or secular tradition you were raised under, chances are the distinction between morality and ethics has not always been made clear.

What if that is on purpose?  What if politicians, philosophers, spiritual leaders and other demagogues have twisted the meaning of these words?

Richard Maybury, author of 22 books and monographs and the Early Warning Report newsletter and website, focuses on economics, law and history. According to him:

“Ethics is from the Greek word ethos, which means the essential nature or character of something. Four legs, a head and a tail are part of the essential nature of a cat. The cat cannot change this.

Morals is from the Latin word mos, meaning mores, customs, habits. These can and do change. Rosie the Riveter in World War II made it okay for women to work outside the home in jobs that formerly went only to men.

Ethics refers to a higher law than any human law. To be ethical is to be in sync with the principles of right and wrong built in to human nature.

Morals are not built in. They are the result of opinion, which can change with the wind.

We are born with limits based on ethics. If we choose to be ethical, life gets better, and if we don’t, life gets worse; it’s automatic.

Morals, again, are just opinions.

Ethics is doing what is right even if every other person on earth is doing what is wrong.

To be moral, on the other hand, is to behave in ways that are popular, customary or in sync with the behavior of the majority. If most others do it, it’s okay.”

What insights can we glean by applying these original meanings to ethics and morals?  For a start, is it ethical for a lawmaker to ban conditions, possessions, or behavior just because some constituents find it immoral (e.g. mixed–race or same-sex marriage, drug use, pornography, prostitution)?

To borrow from an internet meme: Knowledge accepts that a cherry tomato is a red fruit similar in size, shape, and color to a cherry, but one demonstrates wisdom by not putting a cherry tomato on top of an ice-cream sundae.  Similarly, it is one thing to know the meaning of ethics and morality, it is another to apply those meanings wisely.

For example: if knowledge tells us it is unethical for the government to ban pornography merely because some sector of society finds it immoral, is it not also unethical for the government to ban child-pornography for the same reason? Don’t child pornographers have as much right under the First Amendment as adult pornographers?

No. We have to apply wisdom: children, especially young children, are not capable of providing informed consent, so they cannot reasonably permit themselves to be the subject of pornographic materials; ergo such materials are unethical to produce in addition to (or despite) being immoral to possess. The rights of the would-be child pornographer end where the rights of the child begins – he (or she) has no right to employ the child in such a manner, whether the child might have seemed to agree to it or not, because the child is not competent to make such a decision yet.

How can we get this wisdom ourselves?  It helps to simplify, or reduce things to a principle, then apply it.  To my way of thinking, virtually every unethical act reduces, in principle, to some form of theft:

Murder (as opposed to killing in self-defense) is the unethical taking (i.e. theft) of someone else’s life.

Rape, assault, and enslavement are unethically taking a large portion, but perhaps not all, of someone else’s life.

So-called “white collar” crime, fraud, lying, and other unethical forms of misleading conduct are attempts to hide reality from those entitled to it.  They are the theft of the truth.

By the same token, many so-called immoral acts are ethically neutral: e.g. eating meat on Friday, not going to church on the Sabbath, using foul language, wearing provocative clothing, or having homosexual or premarital sex.

So: Is it ethical for a lawmaker to enact, obligate, or promote acts that take property from citizens without due process (e.g. confiscatory income taxation, eminent domain, or civil asset forfeiture)?

The Founders established that the only valid purpose of government is to protect citizens’ rights. Government cannot succeed in that purpose if it is routinely, systematically, and unethically violating the rights of those very citizens!

To paraphrase Maybury: Life continuously gets better in civilizations that make the correct distinction between ethics and morality and enforce ethical conduct; civilization itself fails in places where ethics and morality have been twisted into weasel-words.

Kipling’s Own Filter


Long before Filter the Feed came to be, the famous poet Rudyard Kipling captured some lightning  in a bottle with his poem “If.” I can only hope my scribbles might one day provide such clarity:



(accessed from

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!