Saturday, April 9, 2011


In the month of February, the Boehner/Obama/Reid Axis Of Weevils spent $223 billion that they didn't have.  Multiply that by 12 months with plenty of ups and downs, and you get a really, really big number.  Something like 1.5 trillion last year. 

Last night, in an episode that both factions called "historic" and "unprecedented, Congress hacked $38 billion from the budget. 

$38 billion.  That's all we got from about 4 months of Kabuki Theatre. 

That's nothing but the interest on the current debt level for just 11 days. 

If you vote for members of the Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party will show you the government spending that is "non-essential". 

The Department of Education does nothing but take tribute money from the states, swipe some off the top, and then send a portion of it back to the states with rules and regulations attached. 

The Department of Energy was created by Jimmy Carter to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  They've spent billions, and the "dependence" hasn't budged, but DOE employees have increased their incomes nicely. 

We have more troops in Germany than in Iraq. 

We have more troops in England than we have defending the Texas border. 

And it goes on and on and on and on. 

Please consider the Libertarian Party.  We want to march on Washington and demand.....nothing.  We want less. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

We're 14 trillion in debt and still have Non-Essential employees on the books?

We are 14 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt.  This is the largest debt ever known in this or any other universe. 
Our "leaders" have shown no interest in spending less. 

If you are an American, your share of this is around $50,000.00. 
Discount the retirees, the ill, the lame, and the tax-dodgers, and your share is probably 3 times that much. 

If Congress can't find a compromise between the Republican's pitiful $60 billion in cuts and the Democrats equally pitiful 30 billion, there will be a government shutdown.  All "non-essential" government employees will be sent home. 

Are they trying to tell me that they are still paying "non-essential" employees?  How long have these "non-essential" people been on the payroll? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is a libertarian?

I found this on Eric Raymond's website, and will probably dive into it off and on for the next few months.  It's as good a starting point as any for what the LP is about. 

A. Definitions, Principles and History:
A1. What is a libertarian?
The word means approximately "believer in liberty". Libertarians believe in individual conscience and individual choice, and reject the use of force or fraud to compel others except in response to force or fraud. (This latter is called the "Non-Coercion Principle" and is the one thing all libertarians agree on.)

A2. What do libertarians want to do?
Help individuals take more control over their own lives. Take the state (and other self-appointed representatives of "society") out of private decisions. Abolish both halves of the welfare/warfare bureaucracy (privatizing real services) and liberate the 7/8ths of our wealth that's now soaked up by the costs of a bloated and ineffective government, to make us all richer and freer. Oppose tyranny everywhere, whether it's the obvious variety driven by greed and power-lust or the subtler, well-intentioned kinds that coerce people "for their own good" but against their wills.

A3. Where does libertarianism come from?
Modern libertarianism has multiple roots. Perhaps the oldest is the minimal-government republicanism of the U.S.'s founding revolutionaries, especially Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the "classical liberals" of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were another key influence. More recently, Ayn Rand's philosophy of "ethical egoism" and the Austrian School of free-market capitalist economics have both contributed important ideas. Libertarianism is alone among 20th-century secular radicalisms in owing virtually nothing to Marxism.

A4. How do libertarians differ from "liberals"?
Once upon a time (in the 1800s), "liberal" and "libertarian" meant the same thing; "liberals" were individualist, distrustful of state power, pro-free- market, and opposed to the entrenched privilege of the feudal and mercantilist system. After 1870, the "liberals" were gradually seduced (primarily by the Fabian socialists) into believing that the state could and should be used to guarantee "social justice". They largely forgot about individual freedom, especially economic freedom, and nowadays spend most of their time justifying higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation. Libertarians call this socialism without the brand label and want no part of it.

A5. How do libertarians differ from "conservatives"?
For starters, by not being conservative. Most libertarians have no interest in returning to an idealized past. More generally, libertarians hold no brief for the right wing's rather overt militarist, racist, sexist, and authoritarian tendencies and reject conservative attempts to "legislate morality" with censorship, drug laws, and obnoxious Bible-thumping. Though libertarians believe in free-enterprise capitalism, we also refuse to stooge for the military-industrial complex as conservatives are wont to do.

A6. Do libertarians want to abolish the government?
Libertarians want to abolish as much government as they practically can. About 3/4 are "minarchists" who favor stripping government of most of its accumulated power to meddle, leaving only the police and courts for law enforcement and a sharply reduced military for national defense (nowadays some might also leave special powers for environmental enforcement). The other 1/4 (including the author of this FAQ) are out-and-out anarchists who believe that "limited government" is a delusion and the free market can provide better law, order, and security than any goverment monopoly.

Also, current libertarian political candidates recognize that you can't demolish a government as large as ours overnight, and that great care must be taken in dismantling it carefully. For example, libertarians believe in open borders, but unrestricted immigration now would attract in a huge mass of welfare clients, so most libertarians would start by abolishing welfare programs before opening the borders. Libertarians don't believe in tax-funded education, but most favor the current "parental choice" laws and voucher systems as a step in the right direction.

Progress in freedom and prosperity is made in steps. The Magna Carta, which for the first time put limits on a monarchy, was a great step forward in human rights. The parliamentary system was another great step. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which affirmed that even a democratically-elected government couldn't take away certain inalienable rights of individuals, was probably the single most important advance so far. But the journey isn't over.

A7. What's the difference between small-l libertarian and big-l Libertarian?
All Libertarians are libertarians, but not the reverse. A libertarian is a person who believes in the Non-Coercion Principle and the libertarian program. A Libertarian is a person who believes the existing political system is a proper and effective means of implementing those principles; specifically, "Libertarian" usually means a member of the Libertarian Party, the U.S.'s largest and most successful third party. Small-ell libertarians are those who consider the Libertarian Party tactically ineffective, or who reject the political system generally and view democracy as "the tyranny of the majority".

A8. How would libertarians fund vital public services?
By privatizing them. Taxation is theft -- if we must have a government, it should live on user fees, lotteries, and endowments. A government that's too big to function without resorting to extortion is a government that's too big, period. Insurance companies (stripped of the state-conferred immunities that make them arrogant) could use the free market to spread most of the risks we now "socialize" through government, and make a profit doing so.

A9. What would a libertarian "government" do and how would it work?
Enforce contracts. Anarcho-libertarians believe the "government" in this sense can be a loose network of rent-a-cops, insurance companies, and for-profit arbitration boards operating under a shared legal code; minarchists believe more centralization would be necessary and envision something much like a Jeffersonian constitional government. All libertarians want to live in a society based (far more than ours now is) on free trade and mutual voluntary contract; the government's job would be strictly to referee, and use the absolute minimum of force necessary to keep the peace.

B. Politics and Consequences:
B1. What is the libertarian position on abortion?
Most libertarians are strongly in favor of abortion rights (the Libertarian Party often shows up at pro-rights rallies with banners that say "We're Pro-Choice on Everything!"). Many libertarians are personally opposed to abortion, but reject governmental meddling in a decision that should be private between a woman and her physician. Most libertarians also oppose government funding of abortions, on the grounds that "pro-lifers" should not have to subsidize with their money behavior they consider to be murder.

B2. What is the libertarian position on minority, gay & women's rights?
Libertarians believe that every human being is entitled to equality before the law and fair treatment as an individual responsible for his or her own actions. We oppose racism, sexism, and sexual-preference bigotry, whether perpetrated by private individuals or (especially) by government. We reject racial discrimination, whether in its ugly traditional forms or in its newer guises as Affirmative Action quotas and "diversity" rules.

We recognize that there will always be bigotry and hatred in the world, just as there will always be fear and stupidity; but one cannot use laws to force understanding any more than one can use laws to force courage or intelligence. The only fair laws are those that never mention the words "black" or "white"; "man" or "woman"; "gay" or "straight". When people use bigotry as an excuse to commit force or fraud, it is the act itself which is the crime, and deserves punishment, not the motive behind it.

B3. What is the libertarian position on gun control?
Consistently opposed. The revolutionaries who kicked out King George based their call for insurrection on the idea that Americans have not only the right but the duty to oppose a tyrannical government with force -- and that duty implies readiness to use force. This is why Thomas Jefferson said that "Firearms are the American yeoman's liberty teeth" and, in common with many of the Founding Fathers, asserted that an armed citizenry is the securest guarantee of freedom. Libertarians assert that "gun control" is a propagandist's lie for "people control", and even if it worked for reducing crime and violence (which it does not; when it's a crime to own guns, only criminals own them) it would be a fatally bad bargain.

B4. What is the libertarian position on art, pornography and censorship?
Libertarians are opposed to any government-enforced limits on free expression whatsoever; we take an absolutist line on the First Amendment. On the other hand, we reject the "liberal" idea that refusing to subsidize a controversial artist is censorship. Thus, we would strike down all anti-pornography laws as unwarranted interference with private and voluntary acts (leaving in place laws punishing, for example, coercion of minors for the production of pornography). We would also end all government funding of art; the label of "artist" confers no special right to a living at public expense.

B5. What is the libertarian position on the draft?
We believe the draft is slavery, pure and simple, and ought to be prohibited as "involuntary servitude" by the 13th Amendment. Any nation that cannot find enough volunteers to defend it among its citizenry does not deserve to survive.

B6. What is the libertarian position on the "drug war"?
That all drugs should be legalized. Drug-related crime (which is over 85% of all crime) is caused not by drugs but by drug laws that make the stuff expensive and a monopoly of criminals. This stance isn't "approving" of drugs any more than defending free speech is "approving" of Nazi propaganda; it's just realism -- prohibition doesn't work. And the very worst hazard of the drug war may be the expansion of police powers through confiscation laws, "no-knock" warrants and other "anti-drug" measures. These tactics can't stop the drug trade, but they are making a mockery of our supposed Constitutional freedoms.

Libertarians would leave in place laws against actions which directly endanger the physical safety of others, like driving under the influence of drugs, or carrying a firearm under the influence.

B7. What would libertarians do about concentrations of corporate power?
First of all, stop creating them as our government does with military contractors and government-subsidized industries. Second, create a more fluid economic environment in which they'd break up. This happens naturally in a free market; even in ours, with taxes and regulatory policies that encourage gigantism, it's quite rare for a company to stay in the biggest 500 for longer than twenty years. We'd abolish the limited-liability shield laws to make corporate officers and stockholders fully responsible for a corporation's actions. We'd make it impossible for corporations to grow fat on "sweetheart deals" paid for with taxpayers' money; we'd lower the cost of capital (by cutting taxes) and regulatory compliance (by repealing regulations that presume guilt until you prove your innocence), encouraging entrepreneurship and letting economic conditions (rather than government favoritism) determine the optimum size of the business unit.

C. Standard Criticisms
C1. But what about the environment? Who speaks for the trees?
Who owns the trees? The disastrous state of the environment in what was formerly the Soviet Union illustrates the truism that a resource theoretically "owned" by everyone is valued by no one. Ecological awareness is a fine thing, but without strong private-property rights no one can afford to care enough to conserve. Libertarians believe that the only effective way to save the Earth is to give everyone economic incentives to save their little bit of it.

C2. Don't strong property rights just favor the rich?
No. What favors the rich is the system we have now -- a fiction of strong property rights covering a reality of property by government fiat; the government can take away your "rights" by eminent domain, condemnation, taxation, regulation and a thousand other means. Because the rich have more money and time to spend on influencing and subverting government, such a system inevitably means they gain at others' expense. A strong government always becomes the tool of privilege. Stronger property rights and a smaller government would weaken the power elite that inevitably seeks to seduce government and bend it to their own self-serving purposes --- an elite far more dangerous than any ordinary criminal class.

C3. Would libertarians just abandon the poor?
No, though abandoning the poor might be merciful compared to what government has done to them. As the level of "anti-poverty" spending in this country has risen, so has poverty. Government bureaucracies have no incentive to lift people out of dependency and every incentive to keep them in it; after all, more poverty means a bigger budget and more power for the bureaucrats. Libertarians want to break this cycle by abolishing all income-transfer programs and allowing people to keep what they earn instead of taxing it away from them. The wealth freed up would go directly to the private sector, creating jobs for the poor, decreasing the demand on private charity, and increasing charitable giving. The results might diminish poverty or they might leave it at today's levels -- but it's hard to see how they could be any less effective than the present wretched system.

C4. What about national defense?
This issue makes minarchists out of a lot of would-be anarchists. One view is that in a libertarian society everyone would be heavily armed, making invasion or usurpation by a domestic tyrant excessively risky. This is what the Founding Fathers clearly intended for the U.S. (the Constitution made no provision for a standing army, entrusting defense primarily to a militia consisting of the entirety of the armed citizenry). It works today in Switzerland (also furnishing one of the strongest anti-gun-control arguments). The key elements in libertarian-anarchist defense against an invader would be: a widespread ideology (libertarianism) that encourages resistance; ready availability of deadly weapons; and no structures of government that an invader can take over and use to rule indirectly. Think about the Afghans, the Viet Cong, the Minutemen -- would you want to invade a country full of dedicated, heavily armed libertarians? :-)

Minarchist libertarians are less radical, observe that U.S. territory could certainly be protected effectively with a military costing less than half of the bloated U.S. military budget.

C5. Don't you believe in cooperating? Shouldn't people help each other?
Voluntary cooperation is a wonderful thing, and we encourage it whenever we can. Despite the tired old tag line about "dog-eat-dog competition" and the presence of government intervention, the relatively free market of today's capitalism is the most spectacular argument for voluntary cooperation in history; millions, even billions of people coordinating with each other every day to satisfy each others' needs and create untold wealth.

What we oppose is the mockeries politicians and other criminals call cooperation but impose by force; there is no "cooperation" in taxation or the draft or censorship any more than you and I are "cooperating" when I put a gun to your head and steal your wallet.

D. Prospects
D1. How can I get involved?
Think about freedom, and act on your thoughts. Spend your dollars wisely. Oppose the expansion of state power. Promote "bottom-up" solutions to public problems, solutions that empower individuals rather than demanding intervention by force of government. Give to private charity. Join a libertarian organization; the Libertarian Party, or the Advocates for Self-Government, or the Reason Foundation. Start your own business; create wealth and celebrate others who create wealth. Support voluntary cooperation.

D2. Is libertarianism likely to get a practical test in my lifetime?
No one knows. Your author thinks libertarianism is about where constitutional republicanism was in 1750 -- a solution waiting for its moment, a toy of political theorists and a few visionaries waiting for the people and leaders who can actualize it. The collapse of Communism and the triumph of capitalist economics will certainly help, by throwing central planning and the "nanny state" into a disrepute that may be permanent. Some libertarians believe we are headed for technological and economic changes so shattering that no statist ideology can possibly survive them (in particular, most of the nanotechnology "underground" is hard-core libertarian). Only time will tell.

E. Resources
E1. Online
There's an excellent FAQ on anarchist theory and history at with links to many other Web documents.

Peter McWilliams's wise and funny book Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do is worth a read.

E2. Books
Friedman, Milton and Friedman, Rose, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980).

Hayek, Friedrich A. The Constitution of Liberty (Henry Regnery Company, 1960).

Hayek, Friedrich A. The Road to Serfdom (University of Chicago Press, 1944).

Lomasky, Loren, Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community (Oxford University Press, 1987).

Machan, Tibor, Individuals and Their Rights (Open Court, 1989).

Murray, Charles A. In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government (Simon and Schuster, 1988).

Rasmussen, Douglas B. and Den Uyl, Douglas J., Liberty and Nature (Open Court, 1991).

Rothbard, Murray N. For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd ed (Macmillan, 1978).

E3. Magazines:
Reason. Editorial contact: 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Subscriptions: PO Box 526, Mt. Morris, IL 61054

Liberty. PO Box 1167, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

E4. Libertarian political and service organizations
Libertarian Party
2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Suite 100, Washington, DC 20037
202-333-0008 (Voice); 202-333-0072 (Fax); 1-800-682-1776 (Information)

For a hard-copy information packet, telephone 800-682-1776; for an e-mail information packet, send your request to
1202 N. Tenn. St., Suite 202 Cartersville, GA 30120
3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034
1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001-5403
938 Howard St. San Francisco, Suite 202, CA 94103

Customer Service: (415) 541-9780
Orders: (800) 326-0996
818 S. Grand Ave., Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA 90017


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

But the government looks after the little guy !!!

From The Agitator:

There’s a lot going on in this video. But first and foremost it’s a lesson in public choice theory, or the misconception that appointed experts and regulators always act in the interest of the public, or in the interests of science. Self-interest is just as prevalent in the public sector as it is in the private sector.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You don't believe that you cause global warming

Several years ago I wrote a post claiming that I've only known two people who believe in a Hell. 
Yes, only two of them. 
I wasn't talking about answering "yes" to a survey, but acting as if people who don't hold the correct opinions about the divinity and mission of Jesus are going to burn forever. 

At least there are two of them. 

I've never met anyone who believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming.  Nobody believes it is happening.  No one acts as if he or she is the cause of it, and then repents of those actions. 

Al Gore doesn't believe it, Obama sure doesn't believe it, and the scientists who are devoting their careers to proving that they are the cause of the warming - they don't believe it.  P.Z. Myers doesn't believe it.  My dedicated warmista friend Cedric Katesby doesn't believe it. 

They all fly.  They drive.  They use air conditioning and heaters in their homes. 

They can drag out charts and graphs and thermometers all day, and they won't convince a soul.  As long as they fly, drive, heat and compute, they're not going to convince anyone. 

Don't tell me that you believe the gods are all-knowing, and then sin when you think people aren't watching.  Please don't bother me with hells and demons, and then go shopping at the mall instead of trying to convert the "lost". 

The Global Warming scare was fund-raising and taxation by other means.  So please, not another word about my carbon footprint.  It's over. 

Barack Obama could mess up a two-car funeral

Go here.  Now he's lost the New York Holy Times. 

I apologize for the blurry poster. 
I'm not particularly good at posting these, and I know it. 
That's why I don't try to force this site on other people, but prefer that they have a choice in reading matter, employment, hiring, importing, exporting, drugs, guns, educating their children, and of course, healthcare. 

Top US Political Donors from the last 20 years. Damn those greedy corporations !!!

Top US political donors from the last 20 years, from

I found this list here, via a link from Instapundit. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

First, they came for the Interior Decorators. And then they came for me.

If you have ever doubted whether businesses LOVE being regulated by friends in government, doubt no more.  If you're lucky enough to have Uncle Sam keeping out competitors, you are very fortunate indeed. 
So who is now fighting against going out into the cold, cruel world of the unregulated marketplace, a marketplace that sometimes wears plaid slacks with a patterned shirt? 
Interior designers.  And they don't like it one bit. 

Tears and cheers have punctuated hours of testimony as licensed interior designers warn lawmakers that lives will be lost to flammable fabrics and paints if they don't keep regulation of the profession in place.

"Buildings do not burn. Interiors do," Gail Griffin, a professor at Miami Dade College's School of Architecture and Interior Design, told the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

She scolded the (budget cutting) panel for their ignorance.

"Do you know the color schemes that affect your salivation, your autonomic nervous system?" she said. "You don't even have correct seating. And somebody chose that for you."

Yes, your autonomic nervous system could send you into a state of mis-matched shock, and cause you to lose your salvation.  And if you were to ascend to heaven to take your place at the right hand of The Father, it could happen again because God doesn't have a liscenced interior designer in charge of his seating arrangements. 

The thinking is that getting rid of regulations will save business owners money on fees and make it easier for new people to set up shop. It's part of the end-job-killing-regulations mantra from Republicans.

But no deregulation proposal has generated more controversy in Florida than the one targeting interior design.

....Unlicensed designers argue that regulations stifle competition and keep the industry in the hands of a greedy cartel.

Pat Levenson of Lake Worth said she wanted to be an interior designer her whole life and returned to school to earn a degree in the field.

"I had no idea that Florida required a government license just to call yourself an interior designer," she said. "I came to realize that the licensing scheme had nothing to do with protecting the public and everything to do with protecting the industry and designers from fair competition from people like me."

Florida is one of only three states that requires a license to practice commercial interior design. Currently, 4,203 individuals and businesses hold such licenses. Getting one requires six years of education and experience, passing a national exam, a $30 application fee and biennial $125 licensing fee.

High-powered lobbyists have been hired on both sides, but the appeals of licensed designers appear to be gaining traction.

Several representatives, including two Republicans, have said they want designers out of the proposal.

Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said he has been surprised by the intense passion and it has convinced him the profession needs to remain regulated.

"Interior design is more than just selecting a color and a piece of furniture," he said.

Saying that the profession needs to remain regulated is another way of saying that Darryl Rousen has been bought and paid for.  Regulation, like interior design, is more than just creating rules.  It's about keeping out competitors. 

"It's knowing the psychological impact of carpeting, and how carpeting affects the work environment and the living environment. There's something to be said when you walk into a doctor's office and the environment puts you at ease in your moment of illness and discomfort. It's not fun when people get sick because of selection," Rouson said.

Yeah.  One time I went to the doctor with a cold, and the doctor had a Thomas Kincaide (Painter Of Light) picture in the waiting room.  My fever went through the roof. 

Edward Nagorsky, director of legislative affairs for the National Kitchen and Bath Association, said those concerns are unfounded.

"They make it sound like it's so difficult, it's so complicated and it takes years of experience. It doesn't," he said, noting retailers sell products specifically designed for commercial spaces.

"It's a cartel because these licensed designers are fighting for regulations to keep other people from entering the field," Nagorsky said.

The next stop for the bill is the House floor, which one expects is covered in flame-resistant carpet.

The pics of bad interior design came from here.  I'm willing to bet that the designs were created by a licensed pro. 

P.Z. Myers and Matt Welch on Koran burnings and free speech in a time of war....and it looks like we'll always be at war

From P.Z. Myers, of the Pharyngula blog:

Sometimes, issues demand nuance. This is a complicated world and there are a great many subjects that simply aren't reducible to binaries — we do a disservice to the subtleties when we discard them in favor of absolutes. And often I can agree that we need depth and breadth of understanding if we're to navigate a difficult situation.

But sometimes the issues are black and white. Sometimes the answers are clear and absolute. And in those cases, attempts to bring out the watercolors and soften the story by blurring the edges do a disservice to reality. There are places where there are no ambiguities, and the only appropriate response is flat condemnation. And we witness them every day.

....I know what it is like to lose someone you love, and it's a pain so great that I can't imagine reaching out to cause that pain in anyone else; what killers must do is blind themselves to the enormity of their act and wall themselves off from the empathy that all human beings should have. They also must bury that portion of their mind that can sympathize with their victims in an avalanche of pretexts, these excuses that later apologists will call "nuance", or "shades of gray", or "complications". And they will dredge up the familiar roll call of empty ghosts to water down the evil of what is done. They will call it God. Country. Honor. Justice. Revenge. The priests and the mullahs and the politicians and the generals are experts at softening the contrast and blurring the edges and persuading one person that that other person over there, so much like you in every way that matters, deserves to have everything important extinguished and brutalized and disregarded.

They are so damned good at it that they can stir up the killing frenzy over anything at all. A gang of fanatics, driven by superstition and ethnic bigotry, kill thousands in a terrorist attack in one country. So zealots stir up their own froth of superstition and ethnic bigotry, and convince the targeted country to attack and kill people of yet another country that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. What a waste of lives, yet everyone on both sides is smug and confident that the deaths on the other side were warranted.

Or even more ridiculously remote: one side takes such extreme offense at the lack of reverence shown by a few people on the other side towards some copy of a sacred object, that they then slaughter unrelated targets.
Stirred up by three angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters on Friday overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.

Unable to find Americans on whom to vent their anger, the mob turned instead on the next-best symbol of Western intrusion — the nearby United Nations headquarters. "Some of our colleagues were just hunted down," said a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, in confirming the attack.
These twelve people were human beings, reduced to a statistic in a newspaper article, and dehumanized and exterminated by a mindless mob, inflamed by religious fanatics. Similarly, the hundred thousand or more killed in Iraq, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, all of these are also genuine, thinking, feeling human beings, wiped out in a cold-hearted calculus of delusion and greed. There is no justification sufficient for these acts.

Yet somehow we get lost in the wrong questions. Do we have the right to burn the Koran? Is it unreasonable to think that Afghans might have cause to be angry? Should we not defend the right of fascist politicians to live, and perhaps it is OK to grant a limited license to murder to certain people if they are of the correct political stripe or the appropriate faith? Shall we weigh the sins of a Florida preacher against those of three Afghan clerics, and come up with a number that will tell us which is the greater offender, and by how much?

I'm an extremist in this debate, I will freely confess. I hold an absolute view that no killing is ever justified, that individuals have the necessity to defend themselves against assailants, but that even that does not grant moral approval to snuffing out the life of another. Don't even try to pull out a scale and toss a copy of the Koran on one side and the life of a single human being on the other — the comparison is obscene. Do not try to tell me that some people are 'moderates' when they tolerate or even support and applaud war and death and murder for any cause, whether it is oil, or getting even, or defending the honor of wood pulp and ink.

The bone is bleached white. The flesh is burnt black. The blood splashes scarlet. You can't render it in grays and pastels without losing sight of the truth.

Hit the link to read the whole thing.  One of the best he's ever written. 

And now for something completely different....Here's the ultra libertarian Reason magazine's Matt Welch, hammering away at the same subject, but from a totally different worldview. 

Let me describe the lengths of my appreciation for the First Amendment

Here's what Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-S.C.) said today about Florida pastor Terry Jones' burning of a
Koran, which has been used an excuse by Afghanis to murder 22 people, including seven United Nations workers:
I wish we could find some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.
More politician condemnations of Jones here.
You know what? We're always going to be in a war, thanks in no small part to the Lindsey Grahams of the world. Which means if we truly value our free speech, we're gonna have to bounce out every politician who subjects American expression to a wartime litmus test. Better yet, maybe start electing some who at least
occasionally refrain from supporting new wars against majority-Muslim countries that have yet to make it through a Reformation.
Because when we have a political class as routinely venal as Lindsey Graham—or Time's Joe Klein, who really did write that "Jones's act was murderous as any suicide bomber's"—that means that war-inspired censorship is always just a shout away.