After a long hiatus of in-box checking, due to work, family and weather, I discovered some really interesting stuff waiting in there for me. Sadly, I opened so many of these, I can no longer remember who sent me what (which gives you a pretty good idea about what happens to my memory during holiday weeks. I’ll have to limit myself to saying thank you to all of you who sent me things — and you know who you are.
So, a few quick picks for the rest of you:
1. Here’s something that might affect Huck’s chances nationwide. While large numbers of American’s believe in the Biblical story of creation, and are skeptical about evolution, it turns out that those people are not voting. It’s the evolutionists who are more likely to vote.
2. Blogger Andrew Olmsted died recently in Iraq. I never read his blog, but I’ve been privileged to read the post he left at his death. Although he was a sometime critic of the war, he was a soldier through and through, and left this lasting testament to an American soldier’s duties, purpose, and privileges, in time of war:
Those who know me through my writings on the Internet over the past five-plus years probably have wondered at times about my chosen profession. While I am not a Libertarian, I certainly hold strongly individualistic beliefs. Yet I have spent my life in a profession that is not generally known for rugged individualism. Worse, I volunteered to return to active duty knowing that the choice would almost certainly lead me to Iraq. The simple explanation might be that I was simply stupid, and certainly I make no bones about having done some dumb things in my life, but I don’t think this can be chalked up to stupidity. Maybe I was inconsistent in my beliefs; there are few people who adhere religiously to the doctrines of their chosen philosophy, whatever that may be. But I don’t think that was the case in this instance either.
As passionate as I am about personal freedom, I don’t buy the claims of anarchists that humanity would be just fine without any government at all. There are too many people in the world who believe that they know best how people should live their lives, and many of them are more than willing to use force to impose those beliefs on others. A world without government simply wouldn’t last very long; as soon as it was established, strongmen would immediately spring up to establish their fiefdoms. So there is a need for government to protect the people’s rights. And one of the fundamental tools to do that is an army that can prevent outside agencies from imposing their rules on a society. A lot of people will protest that argument by noting that the people we are fighting in Iraq are unlikely to threaten the rights of the average American. That’s certainly true; while our enemies would certainly like to wreak great levels of havoc on our society, the fact is they’re not likely to succeed. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a need for an army (setting aside debates regarding whether ours is the right size at the moment). Americans are fortunate that we don’t have to worry too much about people coming to try and overthrow us, but part of the reason we don’t have to worry about that is because we have an army that is stopping anyone who would try.
Soldiers cannot have the option of opting out of missions because they don’t agree with them: that violates the social contract. The duly-elected American government decided to go to war in Iraq. (Even if you maintain President Bush was not properly elected, Congress voted for war as well.) As a soldier, I have a duty to obey the orders of the President of the United States as long as they are Constitutional. I can no more opt out of missions I disagree with than I can ignore laws I think are improper. I do not consider it a violation of my individual rights to have gone to Iraq on orders because I raised my right hand and volunteered to join the army. Whether or not this mission was a good one, my participation in it was an affirmation of something I consider quite necessary to society. So if nothing else, I gave my life for a pretty important principle; I can (if you’ll pardon the pun) live with that.
R.I.P., Andrew Olmsted
3. Democrats, in their ongoing efforts to get the public out of public elections, are now proposing that we go to a European style model in which the government funds elections entirely. Paul Belien explains why that move would be the death of democracy as we know it.
4. At JunkScience.com, read all about the top 10 climate myths spread out manure-like during 2007.
5. The world collected at the UN, over US protests, voted to increase the UN’s budget by 10%. This not only constitutes a massive increase in funding for the world’s largest criminal enterprise, it’s also a huge gouge in your pockets — because while the UN is spending, the US does most of the paying. Read it and weep.