Friday, December 02, 2011
A Response to Oregon's Governor on Capital Punishment
The governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, announced last week that he would not allow any more executions in his state during his time in office.
Kitzhaber, a Democrat, gave five reasons for his decision. My response follows each one.
1. "I refuse to be part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer."
This has become one of the most frequently offered reasons for objecting to capital punishment -- that because the system is not equitable, no murderer should be put to death.
This is a reason that is devoid of reason. If a system is not equitable, you don't end the system, you try to end what is not equitable. This is classic left-wing thinking -- destroy what is good if it is imperfect. Documentary-maker Michael Moore was recently on CNN with Anderson Cooper and provided a perfect example of this way of thinking.
Moore: "2011 capitalism is an evil system set up to benefit the few at the expense of the many."
Cooper: "So, what system do you want?"
Moore: "Well, there's no system right now that exists. We're going to create that system."
The utopian streak that is an essential part of the left-wing mind is puerile and destructive: "If it isn't perfect, eliminate it."
2. "I do not believe that those executions (the two that the governor allowed) made us safer."
We all acknowledge that two executions do not make us safer (though they do make it safer for prison guards and for other inmates). Who ever said two executions would make us safer? Overwhelmingly, the reason people give for supporting the death penalty is justice. It is indescribably unjust to allow everyone who deliberately takes a human life to keep his own.
But if you want to talk safety, then yes, we who support the death penalty are certain that, applied with any consistency, it is a deterrent. The late sociologist Ernest van den Haag had an interesting thought experiment. Suppose that murders committed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays carried a death sentence, while those committed on the other days were punishable by a prison sentence. On which days do you suppose more murders would be committed?
The notion that parking tickets deter illegal parking but that death does not deter murder is truly irrational. It shows what happens when people put ideology over common sense.
3. "Certainly I don't believe (the executions of murderers) made us more noble as a society."
Why is it noble to keep all murderers alive? Was Israel less noble for executing Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust? When two men enter the home of a family of four; rape the wife and two young daughters; beat all four nearly to death, leaving them in the agony of crushed bones and skulls; and then tie them up and burn the three females to death, why is it "noble" to keep the men who did that alive?
4. Oregon has an "unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice."
Opponents of the death penalty make it virtually impossible to execute murderers. They then lament how long and laborious the effort is to execute a murderer.
5. "... And I simply cannot participate in something I believe morally wrong."
Opponents of the death penalty simply assert the death penalty is immoral. That is their prerogative. But "morally wrong" in this context means nothing more than "I don't like it." Indeed, as reported in the The New York Times, "Asked with whom (Kitzhaber) had consulted, he said, 'Mostly myself.'"
Kitzhaber's moratorium delays the execution of a murderer who had raped and brutally beaten to death a woman named Mary Archer. Needless to say, the family and friends of Mary Archer disagree with the governor's action.
"We are just plain devastated," said the man who had been Mary Archer's husband. "This is such a miscarriage of justice."
Indeed it is. And worse. Societies that allow all murderers to live have lost some of their hunger for justice and certainly lost their hatred of evil. They also cheapen the crime of murder. Punishment is society's way of communicating how serious it views a crime, and there is all the difference in the world between the death penalty and life (not to mention less time) in prison.
When all murderers are allowed to live, the evil exult while the victims weep. Why is that noble?
The British private sector can no longer afford to indulge state workers who, for too long, have got away with murder
Few more unpalatable tasks face a minister than having to tell the electorate there is no Santa Claus. It is almost indispensable to the political art that Governments should be able to offer voters the prospect that even if they are briefly feeling the pinch, good times are round the corner.
Yesterday, however, George Osborne promised the British people pain today, tomorrow and the day after. In his autumn statement — which sounded more like a crisis budget — the Chancellor acknowledged that we face historic economic difficulties from which there can be no early escape.
More ‘quantitative easing’ (the printing of more money) means that the money already in circulation will become worth less; savers and pensioners face years of wretched returns on their investments; pay increases, if any, will make Scrooge look kindly.
If we are to become once more a solvent society, we shall need to become a less ‘compassionate’ one, and to hell with the victimhood lobby.
Osborne yesterday displayed grim determination, saying: ‘We are going to see Britain through the debt storm.’ He asserted that he will do whatever it takes to demonstrate that ‘this country has the will to live within its means’.
But he is a prisoner of forces, most of which are beyond his control. For example, no responsible politician or pundit can predict where the euro horror story will end.
The truth is that most of the world has been living beyond its means for decades.
If the eurozone collapses, almost every economy will reel before the shock. Even if it survives its current crisis, prolonged austerity will still be essential to stabilise its members’ finances. Serious social unrest, and thus more economic disruption, is highly likely.
Even beyond these immediate problems, we face a further fundamental one — our lagging competitiveness in the face of Asia. The Chancellor recognised this, saying: ‘The entire European continent is pricing itself out of the world economy.’
We have created a social model for ourselves that is no longer affordable, when workers on the far side of the world produce goods for a fraction of the Western price. The only remedies are to improve our own workers’ education and skills, promote innovation and cut costs.
Osborne recognises all these challenges. He aimed a well-judged thrust at the green fanatics (some of them Coalition ministers), whose excesses are drastically increasing manufacturers’ energy costs. ‘We aren’t going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills,’ he said.
But solutions to our troubles will take years to implement — even if Osborne and David Cameron can reconcile the public to the necessary sacrifices.
The unions’ state of denial is illustrated by today’s strikes, which their leaders claim as the start of a long campaign to protect their privileges. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, supposedly sensible and educated men and women, will be on the streets clamouring for preservation of inflated earnings and insupportable pension rights.
They seem oblivious of what is happening in the outside world, where economies are tottering. They aspire to become merely the last survivors standing in the rubble, an idiotic as well as shockingly selfish ambition.
Osborne and Cameron need to raise their game in the battle of words, the struggle to promote public understanding. They must keep reciting critical facts.
Even if the Office for Budget Responsibility is correct in predicting 710,000 public sector jobs will disappear in the years ahead, this is only the same number of posts invented by Gordon Brown during his spending rampage.
Of course, Britain should value its nurses, teachers, policemen and infrastructure workers, but a host of unnecessary jobs must go.
The Government faces a long struggle to persuade the British people to accept that, in future, most of us will have somewhat less than we have had in the past. The Age of Abundance is over.
How can we expect our lifestyles to be unaffected when the world price of oil has risen 40 per cent in the past year, and when international prices of commodities and especially foodstuffs are soaring?
Newly prosperous Chinese want to eat more meat, so British supermarkets must compete with Chinese ones for lamb, beef and pork.
Natural resources are becoming scarcer — water prominent among them — and thus more expensive. No British government can cushion its citizens from such realities.
Muhammad Hates Diversity
This week, in Oakland, Calif., America saw yet another stellar example of the glories of diversity. At a taping of a rap music video in that fair city, eight people, including a one-year-old child, were shot. When a classical music video goes wrong, somebody busts a string. When a rap music video goes wrong, somebody busts a cap.
Such observations, however, are now taboo. We're not supposed to suggest that the rap culture is any different from the classical music culture or that one is better than another. As white guy John Kerry put it, "I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important ... it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life."
You see, we recognize the value of diversity. And what's more, we think everyone else does, too. Hence the left's certainty that the election of President Barack Obama would win over the Muslim world -- his very ascendance would show the rest of the world that we find their cultures charming, praiseworthy and delightfully fascinating. "It's November 2008," wrote formerly-sane Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic. "A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees this man -- Barack Hussein Obama -- is the new face of America. In one simple image, America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm."
There's only one problem: The Muslim world isn't hung up on skin color the way we are. Which isn't to say they're not racist -- they're busily snatching up black children for use as slaves or murdering them in Sudan, even as the BBC blithely claims, in the name of diversity, that "While Islamic law does allow slavery under certain conditions, it's almost inconceivable that those conditions could ever occur in today's world, and so slavery is effectively illegal in modern Islam." In point of fact, Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East lead the world in human trafficking.
The Muslim world just doesn't believe that skin color is all that important. Obama may be half-black, but he's still all-Western, according to them. It doesn't matter whether you're black, white or green -- if you're not a devotee of Muhammad, you don't matter. While the West tries to turn its civilization into cultural variety hour, Islam tries to turn Muslim lands into a cultural monolith. The same West that justifies the rap culture thinks that every Muslim terrorist bombing is an expression of economic angst or social alienation. Muslims recognize that terrorist bombings are expressions of a completely different worldview.
In other words, Muslims aren't stupid. They won't be wooed by a West headed by a man rich in melanin any more than a West headed by a Caucasian dude who enjoys the artistic stylings of Bjork would. When President Obama offers Iran an open hand, they slap it away, even though his hand is a different color than President Bush's was.
And the left is stumped. Obama's entire foreign policy was predicated on the notion that by existing, he would bridge all gaps and bury all hatchets. Instead, the Muslim world burns his picture even as he tells them he respects their radicalism. It turns out that diversity is a one-way street for the devotees of global Islam.
What of the West? We have been enervated by our confident feeling that if we could all just respect each other's cultures -- no matter how perverse -- we could beat missiles into plowshares. And if we could show the rest of the world just how much we respect other cultures by electing an emissary of foreign cultures, they would have to love us. We've turned into the world's Sally Field: "You like us! You really like us!" To which the Muslim world says, "No. We really don't."
But, like an obsessive, abused ex-girlfriend, we keep coming back for more. We beg for the beating. We plead for it. We are Keira Knightley's character in "A Dangerous Method" -- the beating excites us. For with every beating, we feel the open hand we seek. "At least they're reaching out to us ... with bombs! If we could only understand this unique form of communication, we'd finally be able to come to some sort of agreement!"
The Muslim world understands that it has us by the ideological throat. They will continue to preach the value of diversity from their outposts in the West, while wiping away any semblance of it across their own lands. And we will buy into it. This is how the West dies: not by being defeated in all-out civilizational battle, but by walking into the hail of bullets, arms outstretched.
An Australian State Parliament passes same-sex civil unions bill
I would have thought that sticking your dick up some other guy's behind was an uncivil union
QUEENSLAND MPs have voted in favour of legalising same-sex civil unions during an historic night in Parliament. After almost four hours of debate Andrew Fraser's private member's bill was passed by a vote of 47 to 40
The bill, introduced by Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser, enables same-sex couples to register their union with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
The bill will grant same-sex couples the right to enter in to legally recognised civil unions. It prompted a strong reaction from gay rights, religious and family groups.
Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote, but the Liberal National Party indicated it would vote en bloc against the bill.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Fraser said it was 21 years to the day that Labor decriminalised homosexual activities in Queensland. And now he said, Labor could make history again to progress the rights of homosexuals.
"This bill merely but not meekly seeks to formally recognise relationships which have existed in Queensland for centuries," he told Parliament.
"It provides them with the opportunity to celebrate their commitment and their love for one another in a ceremony in front of friends and family, perhaps this is its most important feature."
Opposition legal affairs spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said Mr Fraser only introduced the bill to shore up the left vote and was rushing it through parliament before the election, due early next year.
He said the bill was only introduced on October 25 and there has not been enough time for community consultation.
"He (Mr Fraser) did it to stich up a Green preference deal," Mr Bleijie told Parliament. "This bill is nothing more than a stunt."
Mr Bleijie said more than 54 per cent of the final number of submissions to a legislative committee that examined the bill were received 17 days after the cut-off date. "That goes to the heart of the lack of consultation," he said. "We do not believe the people of Queensland have had the appropriate opportunities to raise their concerns."
He also said the bill was not a priority for Queenslanders, who are more concerned about cost of living pressures. "Civil partnerships is not on a priority list in the minds of Queenslanders," he said....
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.