Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Learning the Lessons of Stalin
By Alexander Marriott 12/22/2003


The Bush Administration is declaring victory now that the dictator (or for the BBC, ALeader@) of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, has agreed to let in United Nations Weapons Inspectors and to dismantle all Weapons of Mass Destruction programs. To Areward@ Gadhafi for his Acompliance@ there is already talk of taking Libya off of the State Department=s list of state sponsors of terror and easing the economic sanctions that were imposed by much of the western world in the 1980's after a series of heinous acts of war and terror that culminated with the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. This deal that has been struck with Gadhafi is a sign of one of three things, 1) Gadhafi has been frightened by our actions towards and against Iraq and has decided to give up his weapons programs, 2) He is attempting to pretend that he is giving up his weapons programs to get the economic restrictions lifted, hoping that the UN Weapons Inspectors won't figure out what's really going on, or 3) he has learned the lessons of Joseph Stalin and Communist China and has realized that the west will fund and supply their enemies if they give up totally non-essential things like weapons programs.

If it is the first or the second then this victory is hollow and Pyrrhic in the truest sense. First of all, Gadhafi is hardly what I would call trustworthy and UN Weapons Inspectors aren=t nearly enough to assuage what is only my highly reasonable caution and distrust of the Libyan dictator.

If it is the third scenario then Gadhafi isn=t as crazy and idiotic as has been supposed. He has finally learned a crucial lesson of history that Saddam Hussein was too daft to figure out. The United States and the rest of industrial world are perfectly willing to buy peace with dictators, even if it means the dictators continue to pose a threat and hold their peoples in perpetual slavery. This lesson Gadhafi could have learned from the despicable example set by the West as it concerned the greatest butcher in history of the world, Joseph Stalin.

While England and the United States waged war on Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan they gave weapons, food, and industrial capital to the Soviet Union under the far more brutal and ultimately more dangerous, Joseph Stalin. The Trials at Nuremberg were farces for the simple fact that criminals of equal evil who had exterminated far greater numbers of people were not only safe in Moscow, but had been allied with the United States and England and were hailed as a vital part of the victorious alliance.

Even when the United States and Great Britain realized that Stalin and the Soviet Union were enemies, shipments of “humanitarian” aid (things such as wheat) still flowed in from the West. It is obvious that having nuclear weapons will intimidate western countries, but now that developing them may precipitate a war it is easier to just threaten to develop them and then promise to not do so and achieve the same results.

What does the West gain from this dubious deal? Clearly the West gains nothing. How does anyone ever know Gadhafi was anywhere near producing a nuclear weapon? Even if he did develop one, Libya lacks the missile technology to send it anywhere other than to the rest of Arab North Africa.

Gadhafi has never had to pay for his crimes beyond the absurd “justice” of financial payment and a few bombs back in the 1980’s. The fact that he is a terrorist, tyrant, and murderer isn’t changed by the fact that he is twenty years older or a few billion dollars poorer. Would we allow men like Jeffrey Dahmer and Gary Ridgway to buy their way out of prison to “make up” for their murders (even if the families of the victims thought it was ok)? Hopefully not, because the Justice system is not in place to extract money for crimes like rape and murder or to appease the families of the victims, it is in place to exact Justice on criminals in the form of imprisonment and/or death in the name of the victims and in the name of civil society which these men have violated so heinously.

Gadhafi is no different; he just runs a country and can therefore kill more people than a man like Ridgway could hope to kill in a lifetime. Yet we are following the same disastrous pattern of Franklin Roosevelt, not only in the domestic sphere but in the foreign policy sphere as well. And it is to our detriment and the detriment of the Libyan people (though they could end their own misery by revolting) and to the benefit only of the Libyan dictator and his cronies. Ayn Rand pointed out that when good and evil compromise the only one who benefits is evil, good can gain nothing from evil, but evil prospers by the sanction of good. We shall see this proved yet again, despite the numerous historical warnings, by our compromising with Libya.
Judeo-Christian Philosophy and the Founding of America
By Michael Marriott


A curious notion is mushrooming lately on programs such as “The O’Reilly Factor” and other current events shows. Certain commentators claim that the United States of America owes its existence to what is termed “Judeo-Christian” philosophy. Now I will not dispute that such a philosophy exists or that it has proved influential for the past two millennia. I will further stipulate that many persons subscribe to this philosophy’s doctrines, both now and back in the 1700s. What cannot be accepted, either on a philosophical or historical basis, is that such a philosophy could, or in fact did, lead to the creation of the United States. This is because the political theory underpinning the creation of America is contradictory to every religious philosophy on earth. Thus Judeo-Christian philosophy is incapable of creating a country such as the United States. America exists in spite of Judeo-Christian philosophy, not because of it.

Others disagree. Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly argued that America would not exist or have developed as a country save for Judeo-Christian philosophy. On September 10, 2003, O’Reilly discussed this point with failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork:


O'REILLY: Now, I have always based my determination that the Ten Commandments and the Pledge of Allegiance and all this nonsense about the Boy Scouts are definitely wrong by saying that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy. All right? Philosophy. And that if you strike that philosophy from the public discourse, from the public discourse, you are basically turning your back on how the country was developed. Am I wrong?

BORK: No, you're right. On the other hand if legislatures decided to turn their back on it, and the public approved of it, that would be one thing. But what is quite wrong is to have judges who are not elected, who are not accountable, decide to knock out these traditional values.



A few days earlier on September 3, 2003 O’Reilly argued with a guest, Professor Marcy Hamilton of Cardoza Law School, regarding the same point. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News analyst, supports O’Reilly’s thesis. The topic under discussion is the removal of a Ten Commandments display in an Alabama state building being fought by Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore.


O'REILLY: They believe that there was no -- and I believe this as well -- that there was no imposition of religion by having a symbol of the 10 commandments, which is what Judeo-Christian philosophy is based on and vis a vis our laws are based on Judeo-Christian philosophy.

Discussion follows

O'REILLY: He (Judge Moore) says it was a reminder of what our law system is based upon.

HAMILTON: Well, he's -- actually, that's factually wrong.

NAPOLITANO: That's factually correct.

HAMILTON: No.

NAPOLITANO: It's historically accurate. Everybody who wrote the constitution believes in the 10 commandments and they stated...

O'REILLY: Hold it. What do you think our criminal justice is based upon? Why don't we have Islamic law here?

HAMILTON: It's based upon the Magna Carta, the common law of England, the code of Hammurabi (ph) and a lot of other sources.

NAPOLITANO: One of which is the 10 commandments.

O'REILLY: Wait.

NAPOLITANO: No, the framers did not intend to impose any particular religion on this country because they...

O'REILLY: But it isn't an imposition of religion to put in a plaque. All right now I don't believe that our law system was based on the magna carta. Okay, I don't believe that for one second. Not one second.

And I think your interpretation of that is crazy...

HAMILTON: Well, and you are...

O'REILLY: And I'll tell you why.

HAMILTON: Well, and you are too.

O'REILLY: We fought a war against those people. No, I'm not. I'm right. We fought a war against those people because the magna carta was instituted in a hierarchical way. Our law is based on all men are created and have inalienable rights, not that the king can impose what he
wants.

HAMILTON: No. No. No.

O'REILLY: So you're wrong on that, professor.


What exactly is Judeo-Christian philosophy? What are its basic tenets and principles and how do they apply to the founding of the United States? O’Reilly never provides a definition. This is a crucial omission as religions contain diverse strains of philosophical thought. For instance, within the Catholic religion one can find differing, even contradictory, philosophical elements. St. Augustine decried reason except when it was used to illuminate the word of God. St. Thomas Aquinas recognized the majesty of human reason to the point of again establishing philosophy as the proper tool for human study of the natural world. Outside of Catholicism one finds the teachings of Protestants as Martin Luther and John Calvin. To what version of Judeo-Christian philosophy does O’Reilly refer when he makes his assertions?

O’Reilly often refers to the central characters of the Bible as philosophers. Yet it is a stretch to consider two such characters, Jesus and Moses, as philosophers using any standard definition of the term. The Oxford Dictionary definition for philosopher is “one versed in philosophy or engaged in its study.” Neither Moses nor Jesus was a philosopher in this sense. Neither worked out (nor even attempted) a completely integrated philosophical system. Neither used reason to discover natural, or fundamental, truth. Moses presented the revealed word of God as contained in the Ten Commandments; Jesus was an itinerant preacher whose primary concerns were the impending end of the world and personal ethics. As Frederick Copleston wrote, “He (Jesus) sent His Apostles to preach, not to occupy professors’ chairs. Christianity was ‘the Way’, a road to God to be trodden in practice, not one more philosophical system added to the systems and schools of antiquity.” The philosophic aspects of both Judaism and Christianity were actually developed hundreds of years after the appearance of the central characters.

The argument that America was founded due to Judeo-Christian philosophy therefore reduces to two primary points. First, many of the founding fathers were nominally Jewish or Christian. This being true, O’Reilly is led to the conclusion that religious philosophy played a central role in their political theory and by implication the creation of the country. Second, the Declaration of Independence contains references to God and a Creator, to wit, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This passage illustrates the founders’ belief that political power flows from God directly to the people. This is offered as further proof that America was the result of Judeo-Christian philosophy.

Let us consider each point in turn. Without question a number of the founding fathers subscribed to either the Jewish or Christian religions. Some of the them were deists, some agnostics, others true believers while still others free thinkers. Then as now a wide range of religious thought existed. Yet even if every signer of the Declaration of Independence was steeped in piety and possessed in-depth knowledge of Judeo-Christian philosophy one cannot then declare the United States founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Thus the first weakness of this argument is that of fallacy of composition. This fallacy occurs when one finds a characteristic true of each member of a group (in this case a particular religious belief) and proceeds to the conclusion that the characteristic is true of the whole (America was founded on the philosophy of that religious belief).

But a more serious flaw exists. To blindly emphasize only the religious alignment of the founders fails to take into account other influences that had a much greater impact on eighteenth century political thought. Of particular import is that all the founding fathers lived in the age of the Enlightenment, a humanist (or secular) intellectual movement. One source comments, “Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.” This philosophy stands in total contrast to Judeo-Christian thought. Thus secular philosophers exerted more influence in the formation of American than O’Reilly cares to admit. John Locke’s political theory permeates the Declaration of Independence. Montesquieu’s ideas concerning separation of powers were a crucial theoretical construct within the Constitution.

The model of ancient Rome’s republic had considerable impact as well. The institution of the Senate, Latin for council of old men, is one example of borrowing from Rome. Indeed, American governmental concepts based on the Roman model are too numerous to be coincidental: the rule of law, representative assemblies, courts, term limits, civilian control of the military, election of government officials and so on. Further, the very words conveying these concepts betray their Latin/Roman origins: constitution, federal, republic, representative, vote, president, magistrate, congress, veto, quorum and statute suffice as examples. Even the architecture of our nation’s capitol reflects Greco-Roman influences and values. Lest we forget, Anglo-Saxons contributed to the future United States with concepts such as common law, trial by jury and yes, the Magna Carta.

Clearly more was involved intellectually regarding the formation of the United States than Judeo-Christian philosophy, however one chooses to define it. A fallacy where the speaker asserts a conclusion that seems reasonable but has left out a relevant fact(s) that would change the conclusion if it were known is called the fallacy of neglected aspect. Thus O’Reilly commits this fallacy when he focuses solely on Judeo-Christian philosophy as central to the founding of America.

The second point regarding the use of the words God and creator in the Declaration of Independence may be answered more quickly. Essentially, the use of these words proves absolutely nothing. Taken in context the founders were expressing their belief in the natural rights of man. Their point is valid regardless of who or what created human beings. Man qua nature values liberty so that he may pursue those ends necessary to sustain life. That the founding fathers believed in God as the creator of man is not the point. Man created by God, evolution, Martians or an assembly line still leaves us with man’s nature as it exists in reality.

But there is an overarching issue that O’Reilly, et. al., fail to consider. If Judeo-Christian philosophy was the essential ingredient in creation of the United States one would expect such a country to have arisen hundreds of years before 1776 when religion, specifically the Catholic Church, was at the zenith of its power and influence. That such a country did not materialize is because philosophically it could not have; more precisely the Judeo-Christian philosophy prevented it absolutely. Why should this so? It is instructive to briefly review how religious leaders ruled when they had the opportunity to implement this philosophy to create political states.

For the better part of its history prior to the eighteenth century the Catholic Church functioned in a manner antithetical to all the United States of America represents. The Church is neither democratic nor representative in governance. It was (and is) hierarchical in organization with the pope at the apex ruling in a manner envied by his fellow monarchs. As one who speaks the word of God there were few real checks on the pope’s power. Dictatorial power led to abuses; elements within the church at one time employed torture to prod unbelievers and heretics. Fantastic schemes were devised to sell indulgences to the ignorant so that a soul could get to heaven in a timely manner. Free and independent inquiry was suppressed, as one would expect when inmates run the asylum. Debate was not tolerated, due process unknown.

Church leaders were an elite that could not be tried in secular courts. Priests jealously guarded their privileges, including the secret of literacy and interpretation of the Bible. The Church of the Middle Ages conspired endlessly with governments of the time to suppress human freedom. The idea that church and state should be separate would have provoked howls of laughter from any self-respecting medieval tyrant. Human slavery was neither eradicated nor strenuously condemned by church leaders. While some church philosophers did believe in the metaphysical equality of men (particularly during the Renaissance) the idea was never fully developed or acted upon. The common people were regarded as “sheep” and lived lives of drudgery while top Church leaders lived in palaces, dined exquisitely and enjoyed the company of concubines.

Protestant faiths did little better when given free reign. While power was more diffuse and the organization chart flatter within Protestant sects, torture could still be trotted out for the edification of those pesky heretics. No American founding fathers here, theocracy rather than republic was the preferred government when Protestant leaders had the chance to nation build. John Calvin’s Geneva experiment was marked by tyranny, intolerance, strict conformity and terror. One source comments, “In addition it (Calvin’s Church) set up a consistory of pastors and elders to make all aspects of Genevan life conform to God's law. It undertook a wide range of disciplinary actions covering everything from the abolition of Roman Catholic “superstition” to the enforcement of sexual morality, the regulation of taverns, and measures against dancing, gambling, and swearing.” Puritan Oliver Cromwell grabbed power in England quickly (declaring Providence chose him) at the end of the civil war in the 1640s. Like Calvin, he became a dictator whose rule was characterized by religious conformity and suppression of individual expression. The Puritans sent packing to the New World tolerated individual freedom for as long as it took to light a fire beneath a suspected witch’s feet.

The idea that America owes its existence to Judeo-Christian philosophy is an insult to the intellect. This notion gives religion an achievement it never earned and indeed never wanted. Judeo-Christian philosophy by definition is unconcerned with earthly existence. Its focus is on another world attainable only through death. While men lived under the sway of Judeo-Christian thought in the Dark and Middle Ages, the consistent outcome was misery, poverty, disease, exploitation and starvation within a milieu of deep intellectual stagnation. Only when the power of the Church was broken— first by the Reformation, second by the Renaissance and third by the Enlightenment — did the lot of the common man begin to improve. Only when secular philosophers devised theories concentrating on existence in this world did mankind advance. Only when a group of talented, intelligent, secular humanists saw the possibility of forging these theories into a governmental entity was hope kindled. At that moment in time the United States became possible. The result was a country unknown to history: a government founded on the idea that the proper object of man is furtherance of life on Earth. This is the true meaning of the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. I challenge O’Reilly or anyone else to demonstrate where any religion, at any time or any place, has made this idea a tenet of its philosophy.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Environmentalists Kill Whale Actor
By Alexander Marriott

The star of the environmentalist trilogy “Free Willy” movies, Keiko (Japanese for “Lucky One”), the Orca “Killer” Whale, has died in the misguided and costly attempt to put him back into the open oceans.

This is just the latest in failed and idiotic projects pursued by people that the mass division of labor under capitalism has given the free time and twenty million dollars to pursue. Twenty million dollars, presumably raised privately, spent by the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation for nothing more than trying to put a pampered whale back into the harsh and brutal world of the oceans.

I don’t want to tell these people how to do their jobs, but they could have spent twenty million dollars to keep this whale alive in captivity for forty years, which is longer than the expected age of these whales both in the ocean and it captivity. When they shipped Keiko to Iceland and then released him into the ocean he swam to Norway were he immediately came to shallow waters to interact with humans and was a big attraction until the local Gestapo of “animal rights” police banned getting near the animal.

Also, it is a relatively widely known fact, at least if you watch a good amount of Discovery Channel programming, that Orca Whales travel in pods which are like familial clans and aren’t known for letting in outside whales who weren’t born into the pod originally. This is somewhat similar to the practice of Elephants who spurn “rogue” bulls from their clans. Yet, despite all of the known facts of whale “culture,” the environmentalists blew millions on it anyway.

This is typical of all environmentalist efforts, ignoring reality and spending huge fortunes anyway. One need only look to the misguided efforts to “save” the ivory laden animals of the world. By declaring these animals, mainly Elephants and Rhinos, as endangered and declaring the lands these animals roam as protected animal habitats and illegalizing the killing of these animals the governments of Sub-Saharan Africa (backed by the United Nations and other International Wildlife Organizations) have made a black market of the activity, thus introducing all of the undesirable elements and people a black market entails. Merely looking to the black market of illegal narcotics should give some idea of the people involved in the international ivory trade.

Of course the proper response for saving these animals is the same one that saved the American Buffalo. Not only has private ownership and herding of these animals and their roaming lands reinvigorated their numbers, it has also led to the wide scale, at least in the Northern Midwest, sale of Buffalo meat and other Buffalo products. There is no reason, other than the socialistic governments of Sub-Saharan Africa and the corruption of the Wildlife Wardens charged to protect the Elephants and Rhinos, that these private property solutions can’t be introduced to really save these animals and supply the market for ivory.

Will it happen? Only if people turn away from “leaders” like Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe and institute real constitutional reform that enshrines private property rights among all other true individual rights. Otherwise, like the Buffalo, the presence of public lands will lead to the extinction of the great beasts of Africa, at least the ones that happen to be stuck on the Dark Continent.
FINALS ARE OVER!!!!

Yay! Finals are over. This semester is over, thank god. It's been crummy both on the class level and in terms of that month of hell that ensued the printing of my Columbus article. But on both counts I battled through and won with what I expect to be straight A's and victory in the paper scandal.

Merry Christmas to every one and a Happy New Year.

Alexander Marriott

Monday, December 08, 2003

This is a slight deviation from what I usually post, namely my own essays and musings, but I thought this was a particularly well written and thoughtful piece so I decided to post it. You may also notice that it is by a person of the same last name as myself. This is no coincidence, he is my father, but I'm sure you won't hold that against him! Enjoy.

AN OBJECTIVIST ANALYSIS OF DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
by Michael Marriott, November, 2003


Of all the works written about Christmas, perhaps the most influential, save Clement Moore’s poem, The Night Before Christmas, is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Published in 1843, the story of the curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge has entertained millions with its altruistic message of Christmas giving by the rich to those unable to buy their Christmas goose. In Dickens’ time the holiday was undergoing a metamorphosis, from a day of benign neglect to one of family celebration, feasting, gift giving and guilt. In other words, Christmas was becoming a true religious experience. As a popular magazine of the time chided: “What have you done, this 'merry Christmas', for the happiness of those about, below you? Nothing? Do you dare, with those sirloin cheeks and that port-wine nose, to answer - Nothing?”

The growing Victorian awareness of the poor was made possible by the success of the Industrial Revolution begun one hundred years earlier. Back then society was emerging from a world of agrarianism and individual craftsmen; the poor were copious, the Scrooges few. By the mid-nineteenth century people were in general wealthy enough to notice the poor and feel guilty about them. Enter the first great writer to cash in on the new sensibility, Charles Dickens. His story was an immediate and overwhelming success.

The plot is a wondrous account of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve. His greatest desires are to make money and to be left alone. Dickens, who had a flair for characterization, played these traits to the hilt.

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas

The Dickensian universe could not long tolerate such a being as this. During the course of the night Scrooge is visited by three spirits, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, of Christmas Present and of Christmas Yet To Come. These spirits transcend time and space to show Scrooge the error of his parsimonious ways. They know the key threads comprising what was, is and will be his life’s tapestry. Through the cunning use of regret, guilt and fear the ghostly trio bully Scrooge into loosening his tightly bound purse strings. By story’s end, after a night of continual fright and emotional body blows, Scrooge awakens on Christmas day, gleeful for his chance at redemption. He begins his penance by thankfully flinging guineas to any and everyone. The moral of the story: the primary value of Christmas is altruism. Those who have “more” than they “need” are expected to share their wealth in order to know true happiness.

How can one possibly fault such a message? Is it not clear that Scrooge is a better, happier person after his night time revelations? Is not Christmas about giving to others? Given the influence of A Christmas Carol over the past one hundred sixty years it is time to analyze this work to determine if Dickens’ view of the holiday is logically correct. A work of art, even one employing imagination to the degree this story does, must still be consistent within itself if we are to learn from it and apply its lessons. This is so as art results from individual human philosophies that are clothed as such by the skillful construction of a story plot, a painting composition or whatever the medium happens to be. And it is philosophy, as demonstrated by Objectivism, that guides human action.

The metaphysical setting of A Christmas Carol is that of the Christian universe. Earth exists in reality as does an unseen heaven and hell. One source described the story as “... the one great Christmas myth of modern literature”. Given this metaphysical foundation one might expect contradictions galore. Dickens does not disappoint. Of numerous logical flaws the greatest is Scrooge’s transformation from selfish miser to cheerful altruist by the intervention of Christmas ghosts . A literal interpretation of this transformation is impossible to believe. The premises are hopelessly flawed. No proof(s) exist to verify Christian metaphysics. Likewise the notion of Christmas ghosts is logically challenged. Since this is true Scrooge has no reason to change his way of living. Without such an impetus the story is an artful contrivance, simply Dickens’ well written, albeit poorly reasoned, statement of personal ethics. With no coherent argument offered to the reader he has no obligation to take Dickens’ conclusion seriously, let alone act on it.

Putting this fatal criticism aside, even those who believe such ghosts are possible cannot ignore the implications of the metaphysics that permit ghosts to exist. First the reader must believe that the spirit world is the exclusive province of representatives of the poor. Dickens seemed to recognize this objection in the following exchange between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present:


‘Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?’ asked Scrooge.
‘There is. My own.’
‘Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?’ asked Scrooge.
‘To any kindly given. To a poor one most.’
‘Why to a poor one most?’ asked Scrooge.
‘Because it needs it most.’



The universe is configured in such a manner that an all knowing, omnipresent being will meddle in human affairs using one’s material possessions as criteria to determine punishment or reward. Need is a crucial indicator. One can imagine Karl Marx reading this passage and running to the British Museum to write his famous tome.

Further, only Scrooge must account for his behavior while Cratchit and others are never responsible for what they do. Of course Cratchit is poor, apparently a key attribute if one wishes to avoid incessant nagging by disgruntled ghosts. Scrooge possesses means (i.e., money wealth) so he automatically shoulders responsibility for the actions of others. This view of man is twisted, unfair and evil.

Dickens does not stop there. His characterization of Scrooge as a heartless businessman, flawed in part because he is successful in business, created an archetype that survives to the present day. Scrooge is a gross caricature, a malevolent cartoon figure existing in the heart of Victorian London. Other than the author’s philosophical predilections there is no reason that he should have been portrayed in such a diabolical manner. No mention is made of his business (what is it that he does exactly?), his creation of wealth, his employment of others or any other positive aspect of his life. Further, those with less material wealth --- Scrooge’s nephew, Cratchit, et al — are happy while Scrooge himself wallows in misery. Again note that life is divided between rich and poor, the productive and those less so. Using this standard, we can now divine who may rightly expect happiness. A more Christian theme cannot be conjured.

As noted, altruism is the way to true happiness. Self sacrifice is good in the Dickensian universe. Dickens constantly harps on the niggardliness of Scrooge but then abruptly contradicts himself when the Ghost of Christmas Past examines Scrooge’s life. Scrooge has indeed sacrificed in his pursuit of self-sufficiency and business success. In a poignant scene Scrooge is reminded of the loss of his betrothed:


‘It matters little,’ she said softly. ‘To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and, if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.’
‘What Idol has displaced you?’ he rejoined.
‘A golden one.’
‘This is the evenhanded dealing of the world!’ he said. ‘There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!’
‘You fear the world too much,’ she answered gently. ‘All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?’
‘What then?’ he retorted. ‘Even if I have grown so much wiser, what then? I am not changed towards you.’
She shook her head.
‘Am I?’
‘Our contract is an old one. It was made when we were both poor, and content to be so, until, in good season, we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. You are changed. When it was made you were another man.’


A heartbroken Scrooge sacrifices potential happiness to pursue a career. In his hierarchy of values self-sufficiency wins over poverty and, by implication, a family of his own. Clearly Dickens cannot stay coherent even concerning his most important theme.

Contrast the preceding point with the life of Bob Cratchit. Scrooge made a choice and chose self-sufficiency; Cratchit chose a wife and a family over the “pursuit of wealth”. Yet somehow Dickens twists these life choices as the responsibility solely of Scrooge. It is not enough that Scrooge is a grumpy, lonely bachelor; he is descended upon by cosmic forces to come to the aid of the Cratchits. His frugality is his downfall (had he spent every last farthing he made he too would be poor!). As Dickens might have phrased it: “Alas, poor Scrooge had the misfortune to pursue his nature by making a living! He compounded his crime by success. For all his business acumen, unbeknownst he lived in a world that disparaged and condemned those who create wealth for their own selfish ends”.

The ghosts keep a close eye on Scrooge as they did with another business miscreant, his late partner Jacob Marley. For his crime of making a living without giving alms, the dead Marley is cast in chains to forlornly wander spirit land until he atones for his sins. The question therefore arises why the spirits themselves do not take matters into hand and help the poor directly. Why do they require a middleman? Why do they waste effort doggedly pursuing and reproving businessmen? To engage in these pointless actions only serves to punish unsuspecting people while the poor remain poor. Scrooge’s new found altruism will help only marginally in any case; Tiny Tim Cratchit, Scrooge’s nephew and a few charities will be the beneficiaries. Spirits that are capable of flying to-and-fro across time and space to interfere in the lives of men would surely be able to provide sustenance to a great many poor folks. Thus they are guilty of what they accuse Scrooge; they can make a difference but refuse to do so. Perhaps the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future need to be visited by higher ranking ghosts to illustrate their respective failings. These higher spirits, who possess the same or greater power as our original trio, must then submit to visits from higher ranking ghosts since they too are guilty of indifference to the poor. And so on ad infinitum.

There exist other flaws in this narrative. Why do these spirits appear when man’s prosperity is rising (did they appear when most men were poor as dirt, say in Charlemagne’s era)? Were the spirits working their magic in places like mid-nineteenth century Africa or was this strictly a capitalist country phenomenon? Did a rich person such as Queen Victoria receive a nocturnal visit urging her to open up a palace or two to the homeless? Why would a benevolent deity cripple Tiny Tim in the first place? How is justice served by divine punishment of those who employ others, create wealth, increase prosperity and reduce poverty through a true miracle, the free market? I think you get the idea. Those who accept Dickens’ metaphysics and subsequent conclusions do so at their own intellectual peril. Those who act upon them may end up with a ghost as their representative.

I end this essay with a brief dialogue that Dickens should have employed that is somewhat more consistent with reality. Rather than Scrooge being visited by ghosts Bob Cratchit receives the dubious honor. The Ghost of Christmas Past whisks him off and chastises him:


Bob Cratchit! Look how you spent the years of your youth! You who have assumed to sire a family yet wasted this precious time on idle amusements. Your training was not sufficient to provide you with adequate employment; your marriage I declare premature though based upon true affection. Your desire for a family did not equal your need to provide for them. Endless struggle was the result. A string of children increased your burdens. A sick child, Tiny Tim, must suffer needlessly due to your lack of foresight. Look, Bob Cratchit, look and see! You and others like you must beg your fellow man to come to your aid. You eye enviously the wealth of others when the eye of suspicion must focus only upon yourself. It is not Mr. Scrooge you must blame; if you desire more wealth you must prove yourself of more value to him. Or offer your talents to another employer more in need of your services. Use your mind to improve your condition. This Sir is the state of reality; this Sir is what you must comprehend and act upon! Make haste to correct the suffering you have created. Inflame your sense of self interest and prosper before life passes you and yours!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Master and Commander

What an absolutely terrific movie. Not only is it historically (though the story is fictitious) great, but it is a very herioc picture as well. I haven't seen a movie as unabashedly happy to play classical music for its theme as this one in quite some time. Also happy that it was more than two hours, though you really don't notice it. I've seen it twice already and could probably end up seeing it again shortly.

It is movies like this, not the Matrix Revolutions (which stunk), that the movie theatre is meant for. It's great to see a return to heroic epics, like Gladiator, the upcoming Troy, and this film that once dominated Hollywood. Like Charles Krauthammer, who recently wrote about this film as well, I only hope it can succeed for it is really wonderful and intelligent and action filled.

I have never read these particular novels, written by Patrick O'Brien, but I have read most of the Hornblower series by C.S. Forrester. I'm definantly planning to start reading the O'Brien books though. And so, if you haven't seen this picture yet, go and see it and then tell everyone you know to go and see it, it's that good.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Thanks for the Good Times
Alexander Marriott

This semester was to be my last working for the Rebel Yell simply because I will be entering my final year of undergraduate studies in the Spring and will be very busy working towards Graduate School. This will still be my last semester at the Yell, I’m just glad that it’s still my idea rather than someone else’s.

I’d like to thank everyone who made my employment at the Rebel Yell a fun experience for me, even recently. First of all, the man who hired me in the first place, Nick Mojave. Without him noticing and appreciating the points I made in a class he and I had together in the Fall of ’02, I might never have written for the Rebel Yell. He was also a great boss to work under, never giving me any problems about what I wrote and printing most of my articles, except for a piece I did on Jimmy Carter, but that was a little outdated so I won’t hold it against him.

Everyone who worked for the Yell during the Fall of ’02 and Spring of ’03 who I came in contact with was nothing but incredibly nice and gracious, even though I’m sure most of them disagreed with just about everything I wrote about.

This brings me to the transition between that administration to the new administration that took over in the Summer and Fall of ’03. One person who has always been a good friend between those two different “regimes” is Angela Flores, the webmaster, payroll chief, and part-time writer for the Yell. She is someone who certainly disagrees with most of my opinions but she has still been a good person to talk to about anything and usually sees through most of the crap that happens around here, especially in recent weeks.

Nick’s successor, Irene Marquette, was also a great boss and has become a good friend as well. Her defense of me in my recent situation was very greatly appreciated; I only hope I can return the favor someday. She was also good at going to bat for her writers in other situations as well though. A good example was the over-editing of columns at the beginning of the semester which she handled very well, as the practice was seemingly abandoned. It’s too bad the situation at the paper of late has made it so that opinion writers won’t be able to enjoy working under her tutelage any more.

There are others on the staff that have been nothing but kind and respectful including Justin Chomintra, Hubert Hensen, and Jeff Hoyt among others. Thank you all for the good times and supporting me in the not-so-good times. A very special thanks to Megan Lee who wrote an extremely beautiful and well reasoned article entitled, "UNLV Does Not Encourage Conflict," in the October 29th edition of the Rebel Yell which I advise all who haven't read it yet to get online and read immediately.

Of course there are also the readers of the Yell and my columns in particular. Most of the people who wrote Letters to the Editor did so in an immature fashion, but to everyone who took time to think out an argument, whether you agreed with me or not, thanks. I think anyone who appreciates reasoned debate can appreciate those who at least try to proffer logical arguments.

What farewell message would be complete without addressing the scandal that embroiled the Rebel Yell and I for a couple of weeks at the end of October? Not everyone who helped me that I’m about to thank agreed with my original article, in fact many of them explicitly disagreed with it, but the printing of my article wasn’t what went wrong at the Yell. Almost everyone quickly realized that no plagiarism took place and confronted the real issue, which was my unjust and fallacious firing and the continual drumbeat of totally bogus charges by the Yell against me (which the Yell has since apologized for).

Thanks are due to Brooke Ross of the Review-Journal and Jennifer Knight of the Las Vegas Sun for fairly covering the story as it developed.

More thanks to Thomas Mitchell, Editor of the Review-Journal, for defending me publicly and going through nasty and unfair attacks within the pages of the Rebel Yell.

I must thank Mary Hausch, the Rebel Yell’s faculty advisor, as well as the entire Rebel Yell Advisory Board for injecting some reason into this mess and trying to put the breaks on what seemed like a runaway train.

Of course, thanks are more than due to Dr. Michael Berliner for stepping in on my behalf even though some, like Cathy Scott, seemed to think (ridiculously) that someone would be “flattered” that their intellectual property was stolen. A related thank you is due to Sonya Healy, who was very helpful in getting me in contact with Dr. Berliner on extremely short notice.

How could I not thank Gary Peck and the Nevada ACLU for seeing an obvious attempt to stifle free speech and disregard any semblance of fairness and due process? His tireless efforts working on my behalf were very welcome and I’m indebted to him for that.

Dr. David Fott also needs to be thanked for going out of his way to offer me advice, suggesting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) which, although they didn’t get directly involved since the ACLU was already working on it, was very interested to see that my situation was resolved successfully.

And I couldn’t forget Alan Stock and Heidi Harris, whose efforts in this entire mess were nothing short of heroic. Their radio program was greatly responsible for the immediate publicity of my firing, and the subsequent contact I was able to make with the ACLU. They are just two more people I can’t thank enough, but I can at least try.

And so, now that my run with the Yell is coming to a natural conclusion all I can say is that it was an overwhelmingly positive experience that provided me with all sorts of opportunities and a chance to develop my writing skills. I can only hope that it was a good experience for almost everyone else who was involved, either at the paper or among the student body. Thanks. If you still want to read my writing you’ll be able to see more articles in Capitalism Magazine (www.capmag.com). Goodbye.
Liking Us When We’re Dead
Alexander Marriott November 15, 2003

In the days immediately following September 11, 2001 the outpouring of support from the governments and people of Europe was overwhelming. Americans living in or visiting Europe at the time remember the various Europeans hugging them on the streets and offering them whatever help they could.

Today, a little more than two years later, the situation over almost all of Europe is markedly different. Europeans and their governments are now hostile, not to Americans they say, but to President Bush and his “cowboy” attitude. What’s different?

On September 11, 2001 the United States of America were suddenly attacked by Islamist terrorists who were funded and harbored by certain governments in the Middle East and had managed to move through the Western world without getting caught. Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in those attacks, and it was their deaths that caused the outpouring of “support” from the people of Europe.

What were the countries of Europe and the people living in them expecting us to do after such an attack? Given the last fifty years of constant appeasement and meaningless bombings and missile strikes and the even more pathetic non-responses from the countries of Europe, notably Italy and France, they probably expected more of the same. Like the Rothbardian “Anarcho-Capitalists” and other like minded Libertarians and Communists in this country, it was generally thought that we, not the terrorists, were responsible for the attacks because of some perceived “meddling” we had done in the past.

I remember the Latin American history teacher I had saying on the morning of the attacks that we should expect nothing else than these attacks when we “terrorize” the rest of the world. So what did they expect and want us to do? Simply, to admit our fault and makes “amends” by withdrawing from world affairs, and in the case of the Rothbardians, dismantle the government, but in the case of the statists, they wanted us to hand over all of our wealth to the people killing us.

Enter the evil “cowboy” George W. Bush. In some of the most inspiring moments of his presidency, from the days after the attacks up to and including the “Axis of Evil” speech, he laid out the case for defending ourselves in a way that has been lacking since our problems in the Arab world began. Not giving the terrorists money or sending them aid workers, but killing them was to be the goal. When this was expressed for a change the opinion in Europe became alarmist and hostile.

The sophist philosophers residing in Europe and the United States scoffed at the “simplistic” notions of good and evil that the American President spoke of. People who were on the brink of total nuclear annihilation by the Soviet Union not more than fifteen years ago suddenly thought wars of self-defense were no longer justifiable. Gore Vidal wrote a book claiming the whole Afghanistan war, and even the September 11 attacks, were part of larger conspiracy to get the oil in the Caspian Sea.

There were a few standout leaders like Tony Blair in England, Berlusconi in Italy, and many of the smaller Eastern European former Warsaw Pact countries. But the majority of countries in Europe and, at least according to polls, the majority of Europeans have been opposed to American attempts to defend herself from her enemies. Luckily their opinions are irrelevant in the determination of American policies (at least they should be), not only because these Europeans and their governments are wrong, but because they only like us when we’re dead.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

“The Reagans” Gets Moved from TV to Cable
Alexander Marriott November 9, 2003

Now that the made for TV miniseries about Ronald Reagan’s presidency called The Reagans has been moved from CBS to Showtime the rewriting of history about the controversy has already begun. According to the left, the fact that CBS moved the miniseries to Showtime is the result of a right wing censoring effort to stifle free expression and artistic effort. What?

Apparently it’s lost upon certain leftist pundits that only the government can censor people. But beyond that, the objections raised by many people, not just right wingers, but historians and others who have studied the Reagan presidency, is that the people who produced the movie made up things about Ronald Reagan to portray him as negatively as possible. The objection was that a man’s character was being defamed; it was not simply that people who didn’t like Reagan were making a movie about him.

Certainly very few, if any, of the people who make movies about Adolf Hitler like the
man. But what purpose is served by making things up about him and in his case why would you have to? If you disapprove of the subject of your historical film it is because you’ve made value judgments about that character’s actions and beliefs. The truth is what you based your judgments on so why alter reality when presenting the truth to everyone else? Perhaps the producers of this film aren’t confident that simply dramatizing the truth will create the anti-Reagan feelings they are seemingly desirous of.

One need not be a fan of Ronald Reagan to see the problem in what CBS was doing. Just because you are guaranteed a fundamental right to free speech doesn’t mean you have the right to libel and slander people or make up new historical information. None of the people who worked in the White House with Reagan seems to have been contacted for research purposes or for getting some idea of what the dialogue of the President was like. Instead we hear that in the miniseries the former President curses quite a bit, refers to himself as the Anti-Christ, and is highly indifferent in the Old Testament sense to the people suffering from AIDS in Africa.

Wait! The arguments from the left continue. Former President Kennedy is unfairly “demonized” all the time in movies, why do these movies get to air and the Reagan picture does not? Perhaps, before they get on TV and jabber, these pundits should research a little on Kennedy. In his excellent biography of the former President, A Question of Character, historian Thomas Reeves documents all sorts of indecent and impeachable offenses committed by President Kennedy that range from drug use to sleeping with dozens of different women including a Soviet spy. These actions made him susceptible not only to being an unwitting ally of the Soviet Union, but making him beholden to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who knew of all these events and used that knowledge to make himself untouchable.

These are documented facts of history; the dialogue of The Reagans is just made up. But wait, yet another argument. Dialogue in any historical drama has to be made up because there is no stenographer present to transcribe the exact words of the many conversations the President has. This is certainly true, but does this give the writers of movies license to just make up anything they want? If this is true then they could just write in dialogue for Ronald Reagan to the effect of, “I hate black people and I wish we could just have them all killed.” Even if you think Reagan was a racist you can’t just attribute statements and ideas to him that aren’t backed up by some sort of evidence. Either go by the historical record, which is very rich considering most of the people who served in the two Reagan administrations are still alive, or keep your opinions to yourself.

The way this story has played out is really telling of the left and how they view the world. Because CBS realized they weren’t going to get away with making things up and moved the movie from TV to Cable (apparently it’s ok to lie about people if you have to pay to watch it) it is called “censorship.” They utter absurdities like, “If the speech in the movie is false then the way to combat it is more speech.” This effectively gives license to everyone to say or print whatever they want about anyone with nothing to worry about. It’s one thing to call someone an idiot because as an unsupported statement it is just a hollow ad hominem attack that anybody would recognize as such. But when people fabricate “facts” to support their assertions and there is no consequence, then the onus is effectively put on the victim of the lie to defend himself from any made up absurdity.

The fact that CBS was caught in the act is promising, but the fact that the miniseries is still being aired is troubling. It’s indicative of not only how liberal CBS is, but how little they care for reality. Hopefully, since President Reagan is still alive, someone will file a lawsuit on his behalf against Showtime when the movie airs (assuming there is no disclaimer stating that the movie is a fictitious account of Reagan’s Presidency) to show these people that smearing someone’s character and lying about them is unacceptable and will be punished. However, given what happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency, lying doesn’t seem to be a big deal anymore.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Perversion of Justice
Alexander Marriott November 8, 2003

Gary Ridgway has pled guilty to the murder of forty-eight women, making him the worst serial killer in American history. His expected punishment? Life in prison without the possibility of parole.

What kind of justice is this? What is the point of the State of Washington having a death penalty if a man like this doesn’t get it? According to the Associated Press Tony McNabb, a detective working the case said of the plea deal, “We're just glad to have played a part in this and to answer some of the questions for victims' families.”

So this is what justice comes down to, answering the questions (i.e. what happened to my relative?) of the families as opposed to ridding mankind of this monster. It seems odd that some of the relatives of victims are perfectly comfortable paying taxes to make sure Mr. Ridgway lives out the rest of his life in relative comfort compared to the poverty many around the world live in for doing nothing other than being born in crummy countries.

What is the meaning of this policy of giving lighter sentences to those who admit they are guilty as opposed to those who maintain their innocence? It is said sometimes that it is the money; guilty pleas are cheaper than trials. This is undoubtedly true, but who cares? It should be up to a jury or judge to decide if this admission of guilt deserves any leniency, rather than accepting any cop outs by prosecutors. The whole point governments are set up in the first place is to deal properly with human waste like Ridgway, not worry about the potential costs of doing their jobs. Vigilante justice would do a better job at this point and if that’s the case, what’s the point of even having a government?

Why not divert some of the ridiculous spending jails do, like providing cable, exercise yards, libraries, etc. and redirecting it to prosecutors so they don’t worry about how much doing the right thing might cost? This would probably be construed as cruel and unusual punishment though.

The Founding Fathers messed up on that point, they said there shall be no cruel and unusual punishments, but they didn’t define what that meant, assuming everyone already knew. Obviously they didn’t consider the death penalty cruel or unusual or they would have gotten rid of it when the country started.

But one can almost guarantee they would have thought that putting rapists and murderers up in comfortable lodgings at the expense of the victims or their families to be cruel and unusual.
Prisons should be returned to the model of the 19th century, let the prisoners build the prison, let them make their own clothes, let them grow their own food, let them break rock, let them be miserable.

Of course there is another fallacy involved here, wherein defendants have an unlimited “right” to an attorney at taxpayer expense. Again, if that is what was meant by the Founding Fathers, why didn’t they ever uphold this “right?” Simply because it isn’t a right at all. Legal services don’t float in the air, they must be provided by other men, and if you can’t pay for them someone else must. To say such a thing as legal services is a right is to ignore or be ignorant of what individual rights are.

It is due to this misunderstanding that endless appeals have become commonplace. Hence the dumb statistic always pointed to be death penalty opponents showing that giving the death penalty costs more than locking people up for life. The thing that is ignored is the incredible expense that both of these propositions cost.

Back to Gary Ridgway, a man who, according to the Associated Press, stopped by the gravesites of his victims to have sex with their bodies. His case presents a dilemma to death penalty advocates all over the country, for when prosecutors argue that John X, who killed one person, should be given the death penalty the taxpayer funded defense lawyer can point to Gary Ridgway who killed forty-eight women and got life in prison. If Ridgway isn’t given the death penalty, they will argue, why should anyone else?

Of course they are putting a quantifiable value on killing people, the more you kill the worse you are, whereas all murderers are violating the same principles and are all equally evil. But what does this matter anymore? The Justice system seems too worried about perverting itself at this point.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Ethics in College
Alexander Marriott November 3, 2003

Now that I am back on the job I have a few things I would like to say.

Unlike some, I will not name people in connection to what I intend to charge given that I have no direct evidence tying particular individuals to it.

What has taken place over the last few weeks was partly the doing of certain professors and authors who thought it would be fun to try to ruin the career of a student opinion writer, namely me, because they didn’t agree with his views and were apparently unable to rationally argue why. Fortunately for me they failed for a rather obvious and simple reason, they were wrong.

But what are the broader implications of what happened to me? Well, it means that some of UNLV’s professors are so unethical and irrational that they are willing to personally go after you and attempt to destroy your reputation whenever they see you have disagreed with them.

It means that instead of arguing the points you believe are correct, you must always worry that your professors will not miss the opportunity to disagree with you through your grades. Because if they were willing to try to ruin my chances of going to graduate school and pursuing a career as a historian then messing with grades based on subjective whim is not out of their range of unethical behavior.

It is sad that some professors think they have the right and the duty to smother debate through any means available. It is even sadder that they will not admit who they are so that everyone can know exactly who thinks it is perfectly good and moral to attack students and conspire to ruin them.

My case was just one that was public, think of all the students over the years who have probably been given lower grades merely for having different opinions. These types of actions are disgraceful and only create an atmosphere of stifling fear for anyone who may dare to think for themselves and not accept some of the garbage they are taught in certain classes.

There are great teachers at UNLV. Some truly fantastic people teach here, it is true. But the mere fact that the teachers who were partly responsible for the debacle that befell the Rebel Yell do not step forward only ruins it for the rest of the teachers here as well as the students.

All students have to be on alert now. In any class they take their teacher may be an unethical opportunist who is only out to stifle thought and persecute those they do not agree with. In that environment students will only do what they think their professors want them to do and say what they think their professors want to hear. This does not constitute a learning environment; it is approaching the level of a gulag. But instead of physical labor that means nothing the students must perform mental labor that means nothing.

Ethics are lost in college. People don’t think they should defend their opinions or engage professors in argument on interpretation, theory, or anything else. The reason is because of things like what happened to me, the students are afraid. Learning by intimidation doesn’t work and only destroys the desire to learn, and that may actually be the goal of those who tried to ruin me.

It is no surprise most colleges have no classes in Ethics anymore. Not too many professors seem to have any these days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Well I guess the board asked Renae for this mysterious original version of my article. Thank God (forgive the phrase) I can prove that my original, both on this blog, and on my laptop, is indeed the original. If I couldn't do that there is no telling what might happen. Guess it would be funny if this "original" is any different than my actual original, also quite sad.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Rebel Yell advisory board will meet tomorrow morning, presumably to discuss the mess the people who run the Rebel Yell have gotten themselves into.

I was not invited to attend this meeting by anyone on the advisory board so I therefore don't intend to, they know who I am and how to contact me. I have no idea what they will decide, but I can't imagine they will be too pleased by a weeks worth of publicity, nearly all of which has been negative.

Hopefully they will have the good judgment and foresight to end this matter in a just and proper way as it concerns me, i.e. having the paper apologize and retract it's charges prominently and publicily and to at least offer me my job back (which I don't plan to accept). As to what happens to the people working at the paper who are responsible for this, the advisory board can decide if any of this was necessary and go from there. In terms of the English professor who was the intial source of all of this, she will be dealt with separtely, presumably by her department, for purposely and falsely targeting a student, putting his future school and career hopes in jeopardy rather than mustering her reasoning faculties and making an argument.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Berliner weighs in. It seems the person I've apparently robbed of ideas doesn't see it that way. Dr. Berliner has written to the paper, and if they print it all of the world will be able to see that this plagiarism charge is nothing but baloney.

Plagiarism is the theft of the words and ideas of another. No one is in a better position to tell if plagiarism has occured than the guy who is supposedly being plagiarized. In his opinion, no plagiarism ever took place and since he thinks so, the charge is effectively worthless.

The question now is what will the paper do? I don't know. Should they reinstate me I will gladly accept and then quit. Should they leave me fired they will never be able to say why because there is no reason other than some people didn't like what I had to say.

We shall soon see.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Did he plagiarize or didn't he?

I was fired for supposedly plagiarizing this piece, did I? You decide.


The following appeared on Capitalism Magazine
Did Christopher Columbus "Discover" America?
by Michael Berliner (October 10, 2002)


[www.CapitalismMagazine.com] Columbus Day approaches and this year has a special meaning. Christopher Columbus is a carrier of Western Civilization and the very values attacked by terrorists on September 11. To the "politically correct," Columbus Day is an occasion to be mourned. They have mourned, they have attacked, and they have intimidated schools across the country into replacing Columbus Day celebrations with "ethnic diversity" days.


The politically correct view is that Columbus did not discover America, because people had lived here for thousands of years. Worse yet, it's claimed, the main legacy of Columbus is death and destruction. Columbus is routinely vilified as a symbol of slavery and genocide, and the celebration of his arrival likened to a celebration of Hitler and the Holocaust. The attacks on Columbus are ominous, because the actual target is Western civilization.

Did Columbus "discover" America? Yes--in every important respect. This does not mean that no human eye had been cast on America before Columbus arrived. It does mean that Columbus brought America to the attention of the civilized world, i.e., to the growing, scientific civilizations of Western Europe. The result, ultimately, was the United States of America. It was Columbus' discovery for Western Europe that led to the influx of ideas and people on which this nation was founded--and on which it still rests. The opening of America brought the ideas and achievements of Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, and the thousands of thinkers, writers, and inventors who followed.

Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely inhabited, unused, and undeveloped. The inhabitants were primarily hunter-gatherers, wandering across the land, living from hand-to-mouth and from day-to-day. There was virtually no change, no growth for thousands of years. With rare exception, life was nasty, brutish, and short: there was no wheel, no written language, no division of labor, little agriculture and scant permanent settlement; but there were endless, bloody wars. Whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today's Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive.

Columbus should be honored, for in so doing, we honor Western civilization. But the critics do not want to bestow such honor, because their real goal is to denigrate the values of Western civilization and to glorify the primitivism, mysticism, and collectivism embodied in the tribal cultures of American Indians. They decry the glorification of the West as "cultural imperialism" and "Eurocentrism." We should, they claim, replace our reverence for Western civilization with multi-culturalism, which regards all cultures (including vicious tyrannies) as morally equal. In fact, they aren't. Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than slavery; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men; productivity is better than stagnation. In fact, Western civilization stands for man at his best. It stands for the values that make human life possible: reason, science, self-reliance, individualism, ambition, productive achievement. The values of Western civilization are values for all men; they cut across gender, ethnicity, and geography. We should honor Western civilization not for the ethnocentric reason that some of us happen to have European ancestors but because it is the objectively superior culture.

Underlying the political collectivism of the anti-Columbus crowd is a racist view of human nature. They claim that one's identity is primarily ethnic: if one thinks his ancestors were good, he will supposedly feel good about himself; if he thinks his ancestors were bad, he will supposedly feel self-loathing. But it doesn't work; the achievements or failures of one's ancestors are monumentally irrelevant to one's actual worth as a person. Only the lack of a sense of self leads one to look to others to provide what passes for a sense of identity. Neither the deeds nor misdeeds of others are his own; he can take neither credit nor blame for what someone else chose to do. There are no racial achievements or racial failures, only individual achievements and individual failures. One cannot inherit moral worth or moral vice. "Self-esteem through others" is a self-contradiction.

Thus the sham of "preserving one's heritage" as a rational life goal. Thus the cruel hoax of "multicultural education" as an antidote to racism: it will continue to create more racism. Individualism is the only alternative to the racism of political correctness. We must recognize that everyone is a sovereign entity, with the power of choice and independent judgment. That is the ultimate value of Western civilization, and it should be proudly proclaimed.


This is my article

Thank You Christopher Columbus
Alexander Marriott 9/20/2003

Most Columbus Days are marked by rabid condemnations of the explorer as a genocidal maniac bent on destroying the peaceful and innocent native peoples who populated the Caribbean islands which Columbus discovered. These condemnations are not only unwarranted but indicative of the hatred those delivering them have for all that Columbus stood for and brought to the primitive New World.

Two myths regarding Columbus to dispel quickly are 1) that everyone thought the world was flat while he thought it was round and 2) that the legacy of Columbus was one of death and destruction.

Columbus and everyone else who was educated in Europe knew the Earth was round, a fact which had been proven by the Ancient Greeks. What Columbus got wrong was the circumference of the Earth, causing him to think he could sail from Europe to Asia going west, which of course you can, but luckily enough for him the Americas were in his way or he would have ended up starving.

The legacy of Columbus was not death and destruction. Most Indian deaths were caused by the introduction of diseases that the Europeans brought with them unwittingly. It must also be remembered that the Indians living in the Americas were largely primitive Stone Age level savages who advanced virtually very little in the thousands of years they inhabited North and South America. The two built up “civilizations” of the Americas, those of the Incas and the Aztecs, were hardly much better, being built upon irrationality, human sacrifice, and brutal primitivism.

Contrary to the myth of the peaceful natives who Europe unleashed war upon warfare existed in plenty before Columbus arrived and it continued as the Indians clashed with the European explorers and each other.

It’s always asserted that we, like Columbus, stole the land of the Indians. Could Columbus be responsible for stealing anyone’s land, let alone that of the Indians? This seems dubious considering the nomadic nature of many of the peoples he encountered and their lack of any private property or organized settlements. What was there to steal? The land was not in use, evidenced by the pathetic level of any kind of progress, intellectual or material, on the part of nearly all Indian tribes despite thousands of years in lands of great plenty and separated from the other people of the world who could have potentially meddled with them.

So what is the true legacy of Columbus? We are. The Discovery of the New World allowed people to start anew away from the growingly absolutist and mercantilist kingdoms of Europe. As a result the ideas that could not be put into action easily in Europe, those of individual rights, individualism, capitalism, limited republican government, in short all the ideas upon which our country was predicated were allowed to flourish in an environment far away from the Kings and aristocrats of the Old World.

The Indians, forced either to join civilization or cling to their primitive savagery, became as the nomadic barbarians of the Old World. But unlike their Old World counterparts, the ridiculously low development of Indian “civilization” in comparison to that of the Europeans and the later colonists didn’t allow them to have the same devastating effects the Huns, Mongols, Vikings, Vandals, and others had had. As a result their tribal primitivism and mystical world view was supplanted by the budding fruits of human reason which eventually led to the foundation of the American Republic.

Finally, why are the condemnations of Columbus so visceral and continual year after year? We’re told in college that all cultures are equal and that to prefer our culture over any other is ethnocentrism. Of course this is absolutely absurd. If all cultures are equal then why do people move? Or why do people move, predominantly, to prospering societies as opposed to tribal primitive Indian-type societies? The answer is simply that not all societies are equal. Some are, indeed, better than others.

But the goal of such bromides as “All cultures are equal,” is to tear down cultures like ours which are, by every objective standard, far better than the savage primitives out in the middle of forests and oceans who eat other people or sacrifice them to the sun or volcanoes or practice any other such absurdity.

Humans, having the ability to reason, are in a unique position to prosper far more successfully than any other animal. Columbus was the harbinger of reason for the New World which was shockingly devoid of it, a situation which was entirely inexcusable. Similarly, any defense of the pre-Columbus condition is glorifying perpetual irrational primitivism and death while condemning the introduction of reason and the ideas that flowed from it. Columbus is thus cursed when in fact he should be thanked, not only by us, but by the descendents of the Indians who escaped conditions barely better than death that their ancestors experienced millennia after millennia.

Thank you Christopher Columbus.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Pamela Anderson and PETA Terrorize Companies
Alexander Marriott October 18, 2003

Kentucky Fried Chicken is in the crosshairs of many “animal rights” activists this week, including former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson. According to the actress, “I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kindler in your practices.” Can anyone say “puppet?”

Like a typical corporation, Kentucky Fried Chicken doesn’t defend itself. They have posted on their website the following lie, “[KFC is] committed to the humane treatment of animals.” Really? Then why are you killing them? There is nothing humane about killing something and then eating it.

But then, we’re not talking about your next door neighbor, we’re talking about chickens. NEWSFLASH! Chickens aren’t humans!

The chicken is an anomaly in the animal kingdom. Without men breeding them in extraordinarily high numbers, and protecting them, could a chicken survive in the wild? No, it doesn’t fly, can’t run fast, is very small, has no real defense ability, and is entirely delicious; the chicken would be wiped out by non-human predators almost immediately. Evolution couldn’t work fast enough to save them.

The chicken has no ability to think about anything. Its brain is far too small for any reasoning abilities, like all of the animals, except for primates. Chickens didn’t formulate the concept of “rights,” man did. What rights do chickens have other than those we feel inclined to give them as our individual property? Nature would wipe the species off the planet tomorrow without man breeding and protecting them. It is by the grace of man that chickens exist at all.

PETA wants the chickens to be treated “humanely” before they are butchered and consumed. What for? Will the chicken really give a damn if you treat is nice or badly before you slit is throat, tear out its feathers, and make a KFC chicken bucket out of it? No, because chickens don’t give a damn about anything as they are incapable of such value judgments.

This would seem elementary, but some people seem to think that all non-human animals are humans and are therefore entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well. This is just silly and degrading to those concepts that man discovered for all individual humans, not chickens.

Other restaurants, like Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s have all been shamed by PETA into compliance with their kindler, gentler treatment of the chickens they kill for food. Why? I doubt there was a great public outcry over the treatment of a bunch of chickens that are about to killed anyway. So how can such an issue, which the vast majority of people rightly don’t care about, come to force companies into compliance?

Just look at PETA’s methods in the past. PETA has funded all sorts of violent fanatics in their quest of lunacy. TheCenterforConsumerFreedom.com has documented all sorts of connections both to known Marxist-Leninist Terror groups like ALF and ELF (Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts respectively), but also to individual nuts like Kevin Jonas. For those of you who don’t know of Mr. Jonas’s exploits here is a selection: issuing death threats, attacking people at their homes with baseball bats, firebombing cars in driveways, and spraying people in the face with chemicals.

Even a PETA Vegan Campaign Coordinator back in 2001, Bruce Friedrich, said, “it would be great if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow.” As a caveat he added, “Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”

Now one might see why companies are afraid. And since these groups promote property destruction and personal violence and fund these activities with no governmental response, companies are in a situation where they either accommodate or face a full fledged terrorist boycott of their restaurants.

It is only under freedom and capitalism, where there is so much extra food that idiots like Jonas and Friedrich can run about doing nothing but complain and harass people. If they lived a thousand years ago they would either die of starvation because they weren’t producing anything, or they would have to butcher animals and “rape” the environment to stay alive. But staying alive, either personally, or as a species, doesn’t seem to be their goal.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Fee Hikes Again
Alexander Marriott October 8, 2003

A continual theme, it seems, is the ever continuing spate of fee hikes that students at this University pay year after year for many so-called “improvements.” The supporters of these fee hikes claim that a majority of the students want these improvements and are willing to pay the extra money. If this is so then why impose a fee? Why not just ask for voluntary donations from the willing and desirous students?

I’ve never seen this proposed before, which makes these claims that students are gung-ho about the “improvements” seem somewhat dubious. What are these “improvements” that are currently being used to justify our particular fee hikes?

Well there is the proposed doubling of space for the Moyer Student Union, which, we all know, needs to be done.

There is a new dorm being built. Not sure why this necessitates a fee hike, but since the wise ones in student government seem to think it’s important, I’ll go along with it.

There is a Student Recreation Center in the works which I’m sure will be nice for all those students who won’t have had to pay for it. But, it seems this is a direly needed building, so I won’t oppose that either.

All of these buildings sound interesting and will probably be fun to hang out in or use in the future. My question is why isn’t the expected cost of future constructions figured into tuition costs? It isn’t as if any of these constructions are incredibly vital. It’s not as if the University will have to close down without them tomorrow morning.

To always have continual fees and new fees imposed gives the impression that the University has realized it has a ready revenue stream they never thought about before and want to keep exploiting it until people really start getting mad.
It is not the case, that if fees aren’t imposed, that these buildings won’t get built. If there is a real demand for such facilities one can ask for donations or get a loan by presenting a viable business model to a lender. If demand for these services is as high as the fee hikers say it is then user fees should be able to cover the costs after a while and then the University can turn a profit and fund future projects more easily.

Just because this is a University doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be run as efficiently as possible and making money. The fact that fees keep going up tells me that this is not being done and that the students are the ones expected to make up for this administrative deficiency.

It is nice to see Regent Steve Sisolak pointing some of these things and trying to get people to be more involved in this process. One of the things he has brought up that is important is parking.

Anyone who commutes to school knows that parking can be problematic at certain times during the day. These projects all seem inconveniently placed within the bounds of the parking lot, eating up spaces as they progress.

Why might this be? The only thing that comes to mind, other than the paranoid fear that they are trying to inconvenience me, is that with a reduction of parking lot spaces people will be increasingly forced to consider parking at the parking complex, which is far more expensive. Also, the constriction in the supply of parking spaces, while the demand for them keeps growing with ever increasing enrollment, means that the price for parking permits will end up rising as well.

Ultimately, this represents a serious problem that is endemic to public universities. They cannot stop taking qualified students and they aren’t really worried about finances because the public wallet is always open. So there is a situation of never-ending growth in enrollment and the inability to construct buildings fast enough to accommodate the new students. This differs from the private university because they generally construct the new buildings first and then increase the numbers of people who can enroll.

This would seem to be an unsolvable dilemma, the solution to which is radical and painful, but hey, I just want these fees to stop first.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Response
Alexander Marriott October 7, 2003

When I wrote, “Christopher Columbus, We Salute You,” my intent was not to create controversy, as that already existed in respect to Columbus, but to defend a man who has been unfairly demonized by politically correct and Marxist historians like Howard Zinn and others.

The response that my article generated was what I expected it to be, not because I wanted such a response, but because I recognized that I’m in a small minority on this subject, especially among college students. To clear up any misunderstanding let me state once and for all, I stand by what I wrote and I believe the conclusions I drew were accurate, I was not writing simply to create a fuss.

As for the four Letters to the Editor that appeared in the October 6 edition of the Rebel Yell, I will answer as many of their points as I can now.

Rebeca Ramirez equated reading my article to me beating her up and then spitting in her face, which is an odd thing to feel when one reads opinions you don’t agree with. If I responded in this way I’d feel run over by a freight train all day long. She then says that I claimed “that Columbus didn’t do anything wrong.” I never said that, I merely said that those things that Columbus is usually accused of, like stealing land, or committing genocide, are entirely false. Columbus, like most of the men of his day, accepted the idea of slavery and so he did enslave Indians, but I never said I agreed with this or thought it wasn’t wrong. On the contrary, it was highly immoral and is a blight upon his record, but, to be fair, the Indians themselves took slaves amongst their various tribes, usually in the form of tributes.

She also goes on to compare me to Adolf Hitler and refers to my piece as a “Nazi article.” This is just a pathetic and unsupported smear against me. The only thing she uses as proof is that I think American culture is better than others, and Hitler thought his culture was better too, therefore I’m Hitler.

Also, I’m supposedly hateful, and by implication, a racist. I invite Ms. Ramirez to go through every article I’ve ever written and compare my ideas to those of Adolf Hitler, who claimed that races were inherently different by blood, something I neither believe nor have ever asserted. Then, please, show how Adolf and I are similar ideologically. Hitler was a socialist and a nature loving environmentalist which puts him closer ideologically to the Indians than to me.

Brian Broekemeier invokes a similar theme by terming my article an “Illusion of Bigotry.” He then goes on to sing the praises of Aztec and Inca culture, referring to them as “thriving civilization[s].” He also pleads, “Why is an empire reflecting the architectural, religious, and overall greatness of the Egyptians not good enough for you?!”

Here is the answer. First of all, being an atheist, “religious greatness” isn’t an achievement in my view, but a serious error that stymies civilization and caused the Aztecs to sacrifice hundreds upon hundreds of innocent people to the Sun. Sure that’s great assuming you aren’t the one being killed. Plus, I never said this was only an Indian mistake, Europeans and Americans have been hampered and stymied by the exact same phenomenon.

I also find nothing particularly special about Incan, Aztec, or Egyptian architecture. The Egyptians ran a slave system through which they directed the entire productive energy of their country towards the building of giant tombs to their god-kings. This isn’t an achievement, but a travesty and a sure sign of a tyrannical and backward society. Why do you think, aside from constructing giant stone pyramids, the Egyptians contributed nothing to philosophy or general knowledge? The whole culture was devoted towards death, how to care for the dead, house the dead, dress the dead, please the dead, etc. If cultures like this are a standard for greatness Hitler’s Nazis and the Soviet Communists must be viewed very favorably as well.

Gordon Ison kindly wished that I commit suicide and then derided me for not having any Indians in my family line or acknowledging them. I never brought that up, because any such comment would have been very racist indeed. What would it matter if I had Indians in my family tree or not? Individuals think or don’t, regardless of their superficial skin pigments or bone structures.

Christine Brown did a beautiful job critiquing my article except that she cited no examples, brought up no points, compared me to Tariq Aziz (Hitler-lite), and used clichés like “used stereotypes that are so yesterday.” This latter example isn’t even an argument. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but at least have the courtesy to form some sort of cogent argument, rather than a jumble of clichés, insults, and unsupported statements.

I see several problems recurring throughout the critiques I’ve read and heard. First of all, the unsubstantiated and illegitimate attempts to compare me to Hitler, a fact that tells me that you’ve never read any of my previous work, nor did you read the Columbus article very well.
Another problem is the glorification of the Incas and Aztecs in the face of simple historical fact. Brian made both of these cultures sound like some sort of Utopian ideal, but when Cortes and Pizzaro arrived there were tribes, held in tributary bondage to both the Aztec and Incas, that were more than willing to help in toppling theses “thriving civilization[s].”

There is an invalid perception, which cannot be drawn from my article, that I have condemned the Indians, not because they were savages, but because they weren’t white. So as to prevent this argument from coming back let me give a few other examples of savages throughout history.
Christian Europe after the fall of Rome until Thomas Aquinas was populated almost exclusively by savages, most of whom were white. They were entirely mystical and backward, much like the Indians of North and South America. Vikings, Huns, and the Germanic tribes that invaded the western half of the Roman Empire were all savages also and they were mostly or entirely white as well.

Savagery is the result of persistent individual choice to do nothing and refusing to think. It is caused by the constant individual acceptance of irrationalism and mysticism that has absolutely nothing to do with skin color, location, or ancestry. It was the state of all humans, white, black, brown, and red, for most of human history. It took the actions of individuals to reason things out consistently from one generation to the next, bringing themselves out of stone-age primitivism.

Finally, if any of the four who were printed or anyone else who think I am entirely nuts wishes to go live in these great savage cultures there are still a few left, and it requires only the cost of transportation to go and live with them. The Aborigines will welcome you, Polynesia has many primitives with open arms and for a culture of white savages, the French are looking for saps to move in with them as well.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Paying the Cost
Alexander Marriott October 4, 2003

With a near one billion dollar tax increase now coming into effect, the businessmen of the state are now computing what they will have to pay to the state for nothing other than making money. One of these businessmen is my dad, and it is to him and all the other small businessmen who are being forced to hand over their money to the state of Nevada that I dedicate this article.

I remember that fateful day in August when, after such a valiant effort to halt the push towards more taxes, Assemblyman John Marvel switched his vote from no taxes to more taxes, thus given the two-thirds legitimacy needed to legally pass them. I wish to include here a letter my dad sent our Assemblyman, Mr. Conklin, because it says, more eloquently than I could, what all businessmen ought to have said in this fight, but were either too scared or unable to say,


“Dear Mr. Conklin:

I received something in the mail yesterday that compels me to thank you and colleagues personally. Sent from the Nevada Department of Taxation, it is an explanation of the Modified Business Tax due to go into effect tomorrow [October 1st]. Based upon our payroll for 2002 we anticipate a tax bill of $20,000. This represents a $17,000 increase from the head tax we previously paid. I am so glad the legislature stood on principle as I am a greedy businessman whose own needs are of no consequence compared to the poor, old and children of irresponsible parents. My own children are especially pleased that their father went into business, not to serve the needs of his customers, but to be a fount of money for others he does not even know. I just have one request from you: since you (or your colleagues) believe that need is the sole criteria for public money, I too will need money (est. $20,000) shortly. Will you represent my company to the legislature to help me? Thanks again.

Michael Marriott”



What kind of world are we living in when we penalize the people who produce the way of life we all take for granted so that we can give money to all the dregs or unfortunates in society? If you tie your happiness into giving and making sure unfortunates and bums are better off then give your own money to them. You have no moral right to use the gun of the state to expropriate the money of businesses and individuals who have nothing to do with you or your happiness.

Of course, children and old people were only a convenient excuse to try to raise taxes. The real reason why taxes “had” to be raised was because Senator Titus, Mr. Conklin, the KenGuinn, and all of the other geniuses in Carson City didn’t know how to stay within their means and therefore considered it the fault of everyone else. Thus we all have to pay for their failure and shortsightedness.

Just because I and most of you reading this don’t own businesses and don’t have to pay this particular tax doesn’t mean it won’t affect us. Hiring an employee is suddenly a very expensive proposition; both benefits and raises will be curtailed or businesses will choose not to hire nearly as many people as they would have without the taxes.

Surprisingly, not all businesses were against these anti-business punitive actions. The Casino Industry seemed to think that screwing over the other businesses in the state would somehow save it from taxation. Though the taxes they are paying have increased drastically as well, they are betting that somehow, they’ll be safe from future taxation because the rest of the businesses in the state will shoulder the burden of ever-increasing welfare roles and entitlement programs.

The Casino Industry is like the magicians Siegfried and Roy; they are both dealing with very dangerous things, the Casino Industry with the government, the magicians with giant tigers. Recently, Roy was attacked and very nearly killed when one of these tigers attacked him on stage. The only problem in the analogy though is that the Casino Industry won’t just be very nearly killed, it will be entirely destroyed along with the rest of the businesses in this state if this Soviet style tax and spend political philosophy continues unabated and unchallenged by its victims.
Black Lists as American as Apple Pie
Alexander Marriott September 29, 2003

It is always interesting when people from the “McCarthy Era” die and then the media starts in with how utterly horrible and scary that time in our country’s history was. The death of famous director Elia Kazan, who directed such films as On the Waterfront, Gentlemen’s Agreement, and A Streetcar Named Desire, is such a situation.

You see, in this period, when the House Un-American Activities Committee was in full swing trying to root out communists, Kazan, a one time member of the communist party voluntarily testified and named off other communists that he knew in the industry. Of course the popular myth is that the government, under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, began harassing people who were named and forced them into giving up acting. This is not the case.

The importance of getting the names of communist party members, which was a very secretive organization after the Cold War started, was to make sure none of these people were spies. The black list that arose from these names was an initiative on the part of filmmakers and studios to not work with any known communists.

But, it is said, “This is not American and is one of the greatest evils of the twentieth century.” Why? The Soviet Union and the communist philosophy it was based on preached world revolution and, as we now know, after the release of many secret Soviet documents, there were many paid spies in the country. Among these were Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, and even Democratic New York Congressman Samuel Dickstein.

For a free country to be overthrown and replaced with a Soviet Union style dictatorship, which had been heralded in the 1930’s as a worker’s paradise, should have been of paramount importance to the American government and the American people. This is especially so after the theft of nuclear technology which Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were involved in and executed for. Their actions, in concert with those of other spies, prolonged the terror and mass slavery of the Soviet Union for nearly fifty years.

However, there is a fundamental blurring of issues on this point. The government cannot bar people from working here unless they are criminals (by imprisoning them) or persona non gratta diplomats. Private companies, such as movie studios, can bar whomever they want for whatever they want. If that happens to be for political views then so be it.
Part of being free is living with whatever consequences your physical and intellectual actions cause. If people don’t want to work with you when they find out you hate and despise individual rights and private property then that is your problem, not theirs.

No one restricted, by law, the ability of communists to start a movie company of their own, although given the tenets of communist philosophy this would have been highly hypocritical. No one said, “These people may never ever work anywhere or with anyone ever again!” People merely said, “I will never work with Actor/Director/Writer X ever again!” This is the right of everyone in this country to freely associate with whomever they choose.

Many of the named communists went on to friendlier climates in New York and some came back to Hollywood when the intellectual climate there became highly leftist. There were no mass killings or roundups of communists. The worst that HUAC could ever do was hold people in contempt of congress for not testifying which in the case of innocent people was unfortunate, just as it is unfortunate whenever innocent people are held in contempt of court.

HUAC’s holding people in contempt of congress garnered the everlasting anger of liberals, but the great socialistic liberal president Franklin Roosevelt had thousands of perfectly innocent people locked up for no reason whatsoever. Where was the outcry over that when it happened? Now it is recognized as a great error but no New Dealers were condemning Roosevelt when he did it, but these same people thought it utterly unacceptable to try to dismantle a network of spies who were selling or giving away vital secrets to the greatest foreign threat the United States has ever faced.

The ultimate aim of revisionist historians and actors, like most of the people in both political parties and most modern actors, is to prop up the idea that everyone should be hired no matter what, even if their employer despises them. Perhaps this explains why untalented hacks like Kevin Costner and Sean Penn keep getting roles in movies, which, SURPRISE!, fail to make money again and again.

Here we run into another myth, that filmmaking shouldn’t be about making money but about art. Perhaps before guys like Penn say such things they should try making some good art for once instead of unmitigated garbage like I Am Sam and Dead Man Walking.

Or we could just bring back the black list.