Thursday, February 27, 2003

Republic? Democracy? What's the Difference?
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 27, 2003

It has become annoyingly commonplace for republics, whether they are the United States or the State of Nevada, to be referred to as democracies, without regard to the meaning of the word or the implications it brings with it.

What is a republic? What is a democracy? And why am I so angered that people use the words interchangeably? I'll answer the last question first. It is illogical to use two words that mean two different things to mean the same thing. This would be like me using the words orange and apple to mean the same physical object. I would be derided as an idiot and rightly so. This situation is the same in principle to the republic/democracy problem, but the importance of the orange and apple comparison is infinitely smaller.

A republic is a government in which a restricted group of citizens form a political unit, usually under the auspice of a charter, which directs them to elect representatives who will govern the state. Republics, by their very nature, tend to be free polities, not because they are elected by the citizens of the polity, but because they are bound by charters, which limit the responsibilities and powers of the state. The fact that people vote for representatives has nothing to do with making anything free. The logical consistency and rationality of the charter, as well as the willingness of the people to live by it, is what keeps people free.

A democracy is government by the majority. There is still a restricted group of citizens in a democracy, but this group rules directly and personally runs the state. The group may delegate specific tasks to individuals, such as generalships and governorships, but there is no question that the ruling force in a democracy is not a charter (if there even is a charter), but the vote of the majority. Democracies are free only if the people know what freedom is and are consistent in their application of it. If they don't know this, or more appropriately, if a majority of the people don't know this, then a democracy could be just as tyrannical as the worst dictator (see Socrates' forced suicide by the Athenian democracy.)

As should be plain, there is a giant difference between the two systems of government. One of the main fears at the Constitutional Convention of the United States was that the government they created would be too democratic (causing Alexander Hamilton to suggest a restricted monarchy), because it was quite obvious, then and now, that any majority could vote itself anything it wanted, be it property or executions. That is why it irks me so much when politicians (who have no excuse not knowing what kind of government they serve in) and ignorant people say that this country is a democracy; it does a tremendous disservice to all of the people whose thought went into creating our republic.

But the more pernicious effect is that people actually begin to attribute and incorporate tenants of democracies into our republican structure. Things like referendums and ballot initiatives. These are not only irresponsible but entirely illogical. Why should we be making decisions we elect people to make? What legitimacy is gained from getting a majority of voters to pass anything? If 70% of voters vote to ban gay marriage, does that make it right? If 51% of voters vote to ban smoking, does that make it right? If 99.99% vote to redistribute property, does that make it right? The answer to all of these is "NO!" absolutely not. Truth isn't determined by how many adherents one can get to go along with you. This is why democracy should be fought off wherever it shows its ugly face, it can and will be used to justify anything a majority of voters wants. Theoretically, a majority could vote for selective free speech, or to have certain unpopular people thrown out of the country or killed. There is no law in a democracy except whatever the majority of people say is the law.

Why is it so popular then? Because idiots think they will benefit from having "more of a say in how things work." True, if you're in the majority that is. Advocates of democracy are either those who are really advocates of republics and are ignorant of the difference, or they are those who think they will be in the majority and will be able to vote themselves benefits. A quick example would be wealth. Those who admire people like Michael Moore and Ralph Nader would advocate a democracy because then they could steal the money of the rich and give it to themselves (Moore and Nader wouldn't support such a scheme, because then they would no longer be rich.)

In the long run though, a democracy will always become a tyranny, either by majority, or if the majority screw things up so badly and a tyrant seizes power from the ensuing chaos. The overriding characteristic of democracy is subjectivism and that is its fatal flaw. In other words, reason is irrelevant, whatever the majority wants, it gets and regardless of how unprincipled or objectionable it may be. Rights cannot exist in such a system in the long run because they can be voted away on a whim at any time. So if you're interested in freedom at all you must cast away an ugly term like democracy and accept that freedom requires reason, objectivity, and law, which can only be satisfied by a republican government.
Who Needs the French, Anyway?
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 24, 2003

American foreign policy. Ponder the words involved in this term. It doesn't say "American foreign policy as approved by the world," nor does it say "American foreign policy as approved by Mr. Chirac." Yet we are hearing, from all quarters, be it Scott Ritter, or communists in the streets of London, Paris, or San Francisco, that American foreign policy is to be determined, not by the government of America under the rule of its Constitution, but according to the dictates of foreign countries, international organizations not recognized by our ruling charter; or, even more odious, the will of an international public majority, a concept foreign to the spirit of our laws.

Leading the way in this foreign power struggle are the French, our old buddies right? Historically they were essential to victory in the American Revolution, displayed most obviously at the Battle of Yorktown. But soon afterwards the French Revolution occurred, in part due to the financial ruin of the French monarchy, brought on by the world war it had fought with Great Britain, of which our revolution was only a part.

The ideology of the French took a different course after their revolution. In contrast to our relatively bloodless break with England, the French engaged in the wholesale slaughter of innocent thousands. Americans were split on these occurrences at first, John Adams and the Federalists condemning the revolution as an act of barbarism that replaced a bad system with a worse system. Thomas Jefferson initially lauded the French Revolution as a moral triumph similar to the American Revolution. But reports from Jeffersonians in France, James Monroe among them, painted a much different picture of people frightened by ruthless dictators ruling and killing in the name of liberty. When Napoleon came to power the nature of what had happened became crystal clear to all rational onlookers, the pernicious ramblings of Jean Jacques Rousseau had led to murder not only within France but also on the international stage.

Now, I'm not going through all of this to provide you with a history lesson, but to provide a context for why the French are the nominal friends we see today. Since Waterloo the French have been attempting to establish a nationalist socialist country, sometimes swaying to the nationalist side and sometimes to the socialist side. But now it is clear that the French, after 200 years opportunity haven't learned anything from their own lessons. It is no accident that socialists and communists from all over the world have used Paris as a gathering point to talk about whatever non-ideas they think they have for over a hundred years. It is no accident that the Ayatollah Khomeini chose France as his home whilst in exile from Iran. This is a country that didn't allow the United States to use its airspace for a bombing raid on Libya after the Libyan government blew up a passenger airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Pan Am 103 bombing still remains one of the worst acts of international terrorism in history, but the French were more concerned with appearing to condone war against a ruthless murdering tyrant, so they refused us the use of their airspace. They certainly are excellent friends though.

Why does France even matter anymore? Answer: Because in the founding of the United Nations, France was given a permanent position on the Security Council with a veto power and they were helped out in gaining nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the Soviet Union. They received such an eminent spot in international relations even though the French did nothing to win World War II. If anything, they helped cause it by insisting upon gigantic reparations from Germany for World War I, in which the French were just as responsible for as the Germans.

Whilst it must be acknowledged that without the French there might not be an America, the French government that helped us out has been gone since 1789. It was replaced by a collection of non-rational pseudo-intellectuals like Rousseau, Sartre, and Foucault who wanted nothing more than for men to give up living and disappear. The French philosophical attack on the minds of men over the last two centuries is unparalleled in all of intellectual history except for their German counterparts, Immanuel Kant especially.

At the rate France is going it will collapse within the next fifty years; simply because any producers who are still in France, will leave and go to their freer neighbor, England, or more likely, to the United States. But the French are willingly destroying themselves in front of us. They long ago gave up on reality, substituting for it a Bizarro World where they matter, not for any stands they take or anything they do, but simply because they are French. Perhaps they matter, as French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said, "because they are an old country that has stayed true to its values."

However, pesky reality shows us that France hasn't mattered in any meaningful way for years. They've provided no moral leadership on anything for such a long time that when they talk about values that they've supposedly lived up to I'm troubled to find any examples of it. France isn't needed for a war in Iraq, or for much else. Who needs France besides Frenchmen? They can have it.
A Tribute to Our Great Presidents
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 20, 2003

It's time now to appreciate the greatest presidents of the United States and depending on one's philosophy, the presidents each individual appreciates will be quite different. I'm no Marxist/socialist/fascist apologist, nor am I a cultural relativist, I think that quite simply this country is the greatest to have ever been created, it's not perfect, but in terms of world history there is no question in my mind which one is unequivocally the best.

Therefore, this country's greatest presidents must necessarily rank in the top echelons of the world's greatest people. Yet we cram them into one day of celebration with all of the sub-par and worthless presidents that have also held the office. Ridiculous? You bet, but that's an article for another day.

My criterion for a good president starts with the oath of office he swears upon his inauguration in which he pormises to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. With this being the main criteria I must regrettfully eliminate all the presidents of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as all of them have failed in this task, except William McKinley, who didn't really have much of a chance, though he did a pretty lackluster job in the nineteenth century. I say regrettfully because there were some really amicable people holding the job in this time period, such as Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, and Calvin Coolidge. But they failed in their primary task and are therefore cut.

Next, since I'm put in the ninteenth and eighteenth centuries I'm must ferret out all the presidents in this era who also failed in their primary job. They list as follows, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant, Rutherford B Hayes, Chester A Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley. Of the remaining presidents I will eliminate William Henry Harrison and James Garfield because they died early in office and had no chance to do anything. Zachary Taylor was ok, but he also died in midterm so therefore I can't call him "great." John Tyler was a morally abhorrent individual whom I will discard. Martin Van Buren, James K Polk, Milliard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and Andrew Johnson were basically inoffensible, though Polk did conquer Mexico, which is a plus on his side, but as a one termer I'm reluctant to call him "great." James Buchanan let Lincoln get elected by not unifying the democratic party behind a single candidate, not to mention his presidency was one of little to no accomplishment. Grover Cleveland was a break in Republican tyranny, but he did little to stem the tide of a corrupt and growing government while in office.

Those of you who know your presidential history know I'm now down to the first five presidents, who are the only presidents I can call great, and now here is why in order of greatness, from least great to most great:

John Adams, a one term president whose greatness had more to do with his actions outside the presidency, had intellectual brilliance that was quite marvelling, few in his own day matched it, and none today even come close (in the political realm anyway.) Of course his two biggest mistakes were passing the Alien and Sedition acts, acting on a precedent of George Washington not to veto bills unless truly henious, but these acts were truly heinous and out of keeping with the doctrine of individual rights upon which our government is based. His adament opposition to slavery and his great defense of the rule of law are two valuable legacies he left with the country. The latter though has been neglected by some of his more recent colleagues in office. Also, after the first (and coincidentally most) bitter and contentious election in history in which Adams lost, he stepped down and eventually reconciled with his rival, Thomas Jefferson.

James Monroe, the only Anti-Federalist elected to the office, was a perfect candidate, an Anti-Federalist would be even more diligent in making sure unconstitutional laws weren't passed. This is exemplified by the fact that he once vetoed a road bill, as his predecessor had done, as roads were not the responsibility of the federal government. The Monroe doctrince was his one failure, but it was crafted by the nationalist John Quincy Adams and I can therefore forgive him for it.

Thomas Jefferson- A truly great leader, in a time when the United States had to fight a war against Barbary Pirates and a quasi naval war with France, one could always look to Thomas Jefferson for principled leadership. Also the man who penned the Decalration of Independence as well as being quite possibly the single most important thinker in American history would have to be on any respectable list of great presidents. I disagree with some of his views on farmers and such, but overall, the purchase of Louisiana and his other dealings internationally were appropriate and constitutionally sound.

James Madison- His crafting of the constitution and the Bill of Rights earns him the distinction of greatness no matter any deficiency he may have had as president. Personally, I find his handling of the War of 1812 quite remarkable as he was able to effectively beat a much stronger country and secure the rights of American ships at sea from being stopped and looted of both cargo and personnel. And he faught this quite dangerous war without giving himself any extra-constitutional powers or violating the rights of any Americans in the process.

George Washington- The father of this country is still its greatest president for two reasons. His personal courage and integrity have never been matched by any president after him, and only the previous four I've listed come anywhere near to him in that respect. His moral courage and ideological greatness are proven time and again when one reads of the American Revolution, how he kept the American army alive during its darkest days and eventually ended the war at Yorktown in 1781. Then quelling a potential officer rebellion by the sheer force of his character and then, when he could have followed so many victorious generals before him and taken the dictatorial reigns of the country he surrendered his command to the continental congress instead. After a short retirement he came back to public life to chair the constitutional convention because his presence alone would grant the body unquestionable legitimacy. After another short retirement he came back after a unanimous election in the electoral college to lead his country in two terms of office, a precedent follwed up by his predecessors until one of the great villains of American history, a person with not even half the moral integirty or a third of the brains as Washington, broke it. There is no question in my mind that with his track record, no other American leader has since come to do as much for their country, or do it in such a moral and courageous way.

I salute these, the greatest American presidents. This country surely could use men of their calibre now, with all the crises we are facing, but unfortunately they are gone and if we still appreciate liberty and individual rights then we ought to elect people who are more like them in the future.
UNLV Abounds in Economic Fallacies
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 13, 2003

A little over a hundred and fifty years ago in France, Fredric Bastiat wrote a book called Economic Fallacies, which systematically went through commonly held notions of economics and showed how ridiculous they were. Unfortunately his work is unfinished and in most cases, forgotten. The UNLV campus is a great place to soak up some great economic fallacies which I will, in homage to this great Frenchman (they are few and far between), proceed forthwith to dismantle.

Fallacy the first: Businessmen can pass costs onto the consumer. This widely held notion is quite pernicious as tyrannical types like Kenny Guinn use it to justify higher taxes. But knowledge of simple economics reveals that this is impossible. Any time the price of a product increases the amount sold will be reduced, and for a small company with marginal profits unable to bear the loss in sales this can be devastating. This is why we often see large companies supporting taxation because they can absorb the costs for whatever benefits they think they can glean with politicians. Also, if this theory is true, then businessmen would charge millions of dollars for their products as the underlying premise of the theory is that one could pass along costs indefinitely.

Fallacy the second: Trading, the cornerstone of a free market, is exploitive. The common way this theory is presented is as follows; you pay a dollar for a can of coke, which didn't cost a dollar to make, therefore you've been exploited. This however is based on a labor theory of value; the amount of work and resources that goes into a product sets that product's value. If this is true, then pencils should cost a fortune. If you think about how much labor goes into the manufacture of a pencil, from the chopping down of the trees, the manufacture of graphite, the crafting of the metal ring at the top and however they make the rubber eraser.

Not to mention the labor of all the people involved in these tasks, and the transportation costs to get all of these pencils to market, a single pencil should cost much more than a dollar if we accept this labor theory of value. Prices are based, not on the labor theory of value, but upon the willingness and ability of the consumer to pay a given price for a given item. So if you trade a dollar for a coke, you're not being exploited because you obviously thought the coke was more valuable than the dollar, otherwise you would have had no motivation to trade the dollar in the first place. In other words, trading in mutually beneficial, the company values your dollar more than the coke and you valued the coke more than your dollar.

Fallacy the third: Licensing laws increase safety. "If we didn't license doctors then we'd be subject to bad or dangerous treatment." This is somewhat amusing with the current malpractice crisis facing most of the country. All states license doctors, yet malpractice suits run rampant. So are they really having any positive effects? To the doctors, "yes." With licensing laws, doctors have a convenient excuse to restrict the labor supply in the medical profession, much like a labor union does by restricting employment. With licensing doctors can drive up their own salaries, and with such a limited supply of doctors and a virtually guaranteed big salary competition in the field falls off. This will actually cause the exact opposite effect the laws were supposedly meant to prevent. If the profession were open to everyone, doctors would be forced to compete with one another and point out the deficiencies of their inept colleagues and trumpet their own ability. But with the current system they can do average and sub-par work without having to worry about competing doctors pointing it out to the consumers.

These are just a few of the many fallacies floating around campus, and like Bastiat, my pointing these ones out will probably not stop them from being used. But if even one of those who has used these in arguments, whether student or professor, realize their error and corrects it then I will consider the effort a success.
Space Exploration Belongs in Private Hands
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 10, 2003

The tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia shocked the nation that had forgotten about its space explorers, whom it sends into space to conduct science experiments at the average cost of half a billion dollars per trip. The shuttle program has now lost two of its six vehicles in spectacular accidents and thirteen brave Americans, as well as one Israeli national hero.

NASA, as far as government organizations go, has been surprisingly successful, actually achieving its initial goal (landing on the moon). But after that great success the organization has been aimless, consisting of a reusable shuttle program which has cost more in terms of lives and money than the system it replaced ever came close to. Also, its initial mission was a branching off of national defense. Landing on the moon was a way to win a victory in a Cold War against a regime that thought it could beat the United States in a battle of technological brawn and industrial might.

The goal of landing on and returning from the moon though has been completed and there is no longer a legitimate national defense issue regarding its existence, except of course for spy satellites, but the Air Force or Army could easily take over that task without the existence of another bureaucracy.

This is not to say space exploration isn't important, on the contrary, it's far too important to let the government screw it up. I think the X Prize is a good example of the maximum amount of government interference there ought to be in science. The X Prize is a ten million dollar privately funded prize being offered to the first person or persons who can successfully launch a privately built rocket with two people into orbit twice. If the government doesn't want to refund the fifteen billion dollar budget of NASA to the taxpayers then it should offer up fifty or so X Prizes for different scientific endeavors. That would be a thirty million dollar incentive to achieve any given goal, a fraction of the cost it takes the government to do simple lab experiments in space and get brave astronauts killed.

But the country is reacting under the impression that with more money NASA won't screw up, just like the other government agencies that get more money and don't screw up (i.e. Department of Education and the Postal Service.) Instead of subsidizing failure and waste we should be keeping our money to invest in the scientific endeavors we personally and specifically, as individuals, want to be developed.

The tragedy of the Columbia is unbelievably sad, but we don't honor the memory of anyone involved by continuing to expropriate money only to see another heartrending tragedy a decade from now. I personally don't want to pay for NASA and the dissent of one person is all that is needed to invalidate NASA's claim that what they are doing is for everyone. NASA employees should stop thinking as government employees for once and think as scientists. If they do that then they'll realize that the private sector is the place to advance science and the only moral way to do so, as the money they use will be voluntarily given rather than stolen from people.
Mandela's Thoughts Overpublicized
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 3, 2003 - Capitalism Magazine: February 28, 2003

Former South African President Nelson Mandela claims the United States wants a holocaust and that President Bush covets Iraqi oil. But what does Mandela want, and has he used any evidence or human reason to justify his claims?

The standard line is that he was in jail for 20-plus years for fighting against the unjust apartheid policies of the South African government and in doing so, is a hero. But Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in a Russian gulag because he criticized Stalin in a private letter, an experience he used to write an incredible book, The Gulag Archipelago, which won him the Noble Prize for literature. No one asks him what he thinks of getting rid of dictators, or if he thinks the United States wants a holocaust. Armando Valladares spent 22 years is one of Castro's gulags, which he wrote a book about, Against All Hope, yet he isn't consulted about international affairs. Why is it that Nelson Mandela is asked about his particular views on issues, which he may know nothing about, such as Iraq? Not to say I'm an expert on the matter, but I've never coddled up with dictators like Fidel Castro and Moammar Gadhafi, people who are on par with Saddam.

Mandela, in his speech to an International Women's Forum, said that the reason the US wants war with Iraq is "because Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get hold of that oil." First of all, as CNN pointed out, Iraq produces five percent of the world's oil and second of all, we have a large force in Kuwait right now, if we wanted oil so badly we could just push the Kuwaiti royal family out of the way and take theirs. Or we could support the capitalists in Venezuela and get rid of the communist ruffian who is redistributing their property, which would make them amiable towards us and sell more oil, not to mention Western countries have a legal claim on all the oil in the Middle East as the Arab countries stole it all from Britain and France to begin with.

Mandela then said, "If there is a country in the world that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America." But of course he didn't elaborate further, perhaps trying to show just how unspeakable these "atrocities" are. His supporters then said afterwards he was referring to things like globalization and the fact that the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II.

What!!!??? Japan started a war with us; we clearly beat them in a conventional war and then demanded their unconditional surrender to end the war. When they refused, we were faced with invading the Japanese home islands which could have caused hundreds of thousands of American casualties, not to mention hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Japanese deaths. Or, using atomic weapons, which would cause terrible and swift destruction to show the obstinate rulers of Japan our willingness to destroy their country entirely to end the war, unless they surrendered unconditionally. But even after the first bomb was dropped, they still refused to surrender. The Japanese government caused the deaths of their people and soldiers by causelessly attacking a free country and then not giving up when they were clearly going to lose, and then again when they saw that we could easily wipe them off of the planet and were quite willing to do so.

But back to Mandela, he went on to insinuate that the United States and Great Britain were ignoring the United Nations because the Secretary General of that organization is black. Apparently Mandela doesn't know how the UN works, the Secretary Generalship of the UN doesn't matter, all he can do, whether he is black or white or an albino pygmy, is give advice to the UN and go around trying to solve world disputes. As far as the UN doing anything, it requires a vote by the Security Council which contains a brutal communist dictatorship, a socialist country, Russia, along with the United States and Great Britain, as well as a rotating group of temporary members. We're ignoring them because we already have a UN resolution, not to mention numerous others from the past decade; more of them are not going to solve anything. For even if they did pass a resolution to authorize force, who do you think would do all the fighting? (Answer: the same people who will do all the fighting without a new resolution, the United States.)

Yet even with his blatant misstatement of simple facts (i.e. the amount of oil Iraq produces) and his irrational and unsupported assertions of an American desire for holocaust and our penchant for atrocities, he isn't written off as a loon, but taken seriously.

Some on the left are even baffled by his comments, but for Mandela, these comments are par for the course in terms of his ideology and actions as president of South Africa. He's always been a socialist, his recent comments merely reaffirm this point, but his wholesale destruction as leader of South Africa have been out there for near a decade now, not to mention the African National Congress' (Mandela's political party) clearly socialist policies and statements for all to read. Apartheid was horrid and unjust, but so was Mandela's socialism, and his atrocious comments on Thursday merely show us why South Africa is the mess that it is today.
Pfizer Irrationally Attacked
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: January 30, 2003

In the Jan. 27 edition of the Yell, there appeared an article titled "Pfizer Pfradulent" in which the author accused the company of purposely killing people or putting them in mortal danger for the purpose of increasing their profits.

This article was an outright assault on human reason and made no qualms about it either, saying outright of the claim, "No one can link it, but many of us have learned not to trust big corporations." It also made the ridiculous claim that "as a chemical goes up the food chain, it gets more potent." Now, I've been quizzing science majors (Biology and Chemistry mostly) on whether this supposed fact is in any way true, and none of them seem to have any idea of what the author was talking about. But seeing as this is mere hearsay, I've checked the online version of the AMA Journal and could find no articles dealing with any such phenomenon. And you'd think doctors would care as they would, presumably, be diagnosing and treating this problem all the time.

This person claims to have learned this "fact" in Environmental Science 100, which leads me to believe that some, if not all, of the professors within said college are pushing an agenda rather than any science. The college being named after U.S. Senate minority whip Harry Reid, who no doubt got the college funded through a bit of pork spending, buttresses the assertion that the faculty at that college is trying to create unreasoning and uncritical socialists who go out and condemn companies like Pfizer on the basis of a crazy theory the author admits can't be proved in any way (as Harry Reid is an unthinking socialist.)

Then the actual numbers in the article, I'll accept them for the sake of argument, prove absolutely nothing, especially to someone versed in even the basics of human history. The author says that 200-300 people get sick from food they've eaten everyday and of these 73,000-109,500 who get sick, 5,000 will die in the course of a year. What does this prove? I'm sure the numbers 100 years ago of food related illnesses were much higher, considering sanitation wasn't taken very seriously at all...not to mention the 5,000 people who die from food related illness (salmonella occurs naturally by the way) could easily have died from undercooking their meat or any number of accidents people have with food preparation. With no proof, the criterion established by the author, I could just as easily say the government is testing out chemical weapons by putting toxins into a random sample of food and that that is accounting for the 5,000 deaths. As you can see, this line of reasoning, or non-reasoning, is ridiculous and gets us nowhere.

Another crazy quote from the article (and there were many to choose from) alleged that, "These boosters are antibiotics to keep the animals disease-free and big and bulky for our super sized value meals." Even if one accepts this statement as fact, would one rather eat disease-ridden meat? Or maybe the solution is, as I've heard from many Environmental Studies students, to not eat meat at all? I smell an agenda creeping in over science again.

Pfizer is doing nothing more than creating products, ones which happen to save millions of lives every year, that people obviously want, or they wouldn't be selling anything. This attack on them for no reason whatsoever is an appalling look at what an education at Harry Reid's school might get you, a mind of mush. Objectivist philosopher Michael Berliner once said of the environmentalist movement, "The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion." And the article attacking Pfizer could demonstrate this no better. Especially the part about not proving it. Just like primitive religions (or any religion) one is asked to accept things based on the mere fact that they've been spoken, regardless of whether they are true.

If Environmental Studies produces scholars of this caliber then I think the people who run UNLV should save themselves some money and the deteriorating minds within "Harry Reid's School of Non-Reason" and shut it down. School is about reason and thinking, not propaganda and unsupported theories. If you want that, then go to church or to government.
You Pave Your Own Road to Slavery
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: January 23 & 27, 2003

The twentieth of January in the year 2003 signaled a point of no return for the state of Nevada. It was on this day that Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn delivered his State of the State speech in which he called for the largest tax increases in the history of the state, because the budget was, as he said it, "cut to the bone."

Now the real debate starts, but to my utter horror, there are only a few people actually opposing this move on the basis of principle, legislator Bob Beers being one of those few individuals with the guts to do so. But such courageous individuals are few and far between. This is not a Democrat/Republican issue as both parties are generally in favor of the new hikes. This is not a liberal/conservative issue as both of those ideologies either wholeheartedly support these measures or provide a worthless opposition. Rather this is a tyranny/freedom issue that will, as the supporters of the hikes have said, determine what kind of Nevada we have ten years down the road.

On the fifteenth of January the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce held a meeting for their members to discuss the Chamber's position on the tax cuts. I was able to get in because my dad owns his own business and is a member. Some of the more cynical on campus probably think that an organization like the Chamber of Commerce is made up of a bunch of greedy capitalists that intend to fight any taxation of themselves to the very last person, but if only half of that were true I would still have hope in this struggle. The members of the Chamber have accepted the ludicrous cliché that the state budget is "cut to the bone," and the Chamber itself has endorsed all of the tax increases except the gross receipts tax. The reason they oppose this tax is because they say it is unfair, not because the idea of taking money by force is morally repugnant. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is intellectually bankrupt and has left individuals of character and integrity like Bob Beers to stand alone.

One thing that flabbergasted me while at the meeting was how clueless these purported evil greedy capitalists are. One man said that he couldn't understand why the government always comes after businessmen and then, in the same sentence, advocated taxing some other people, not realizing that taxes are the same moral evil no matter whom they are thrown upon. Nearly all of these evil capitalists accept the notion that they indeed are evil and deserve to be taxed, just not as much as the government wants. Only my dad pointed out the fact that the government was the one being greedy, advancing a large legalized theft program. And what about the teachers and unions, the two groups pushing the hardest for these taxes? Aren't they greedy for expecting other people to have their money expropriated only for their healthcare and salaries? Is it not the government's fault for taking on responsibilities it clearly could not manage, like the schools and healthcare? Yet it is the businessmen who are expected to fix this problem by submitting to onerous taxation.

Of course the businessmen are submitting because they don't know how to defend themselves. And when someone does come to their defense, i.e. Bob Beers, they leave him to face the onslaught alone. They are driving the nails in their own coffins, but I surely hope those reading this, probably not businessmen, think this doesn't affect them, or even more disastrously, think that the businessmen deserve this treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth, this goes far beyond just businessmen and looting bureaucrats and unions. This will affect everyone in a profound way for years to come.

Taxing businessmen to give away to teachers and provide for people's healthcare is apparently an effective political argument, because it never fails to come up in election cycle after election cycle. And indeed I know a great many people who find this kind of rhetoric both morally and operationally appealing. If I were a tax and spend kind of a guy I'd do the same thing; businessmen have quite a bit of money, they rarely, if ever, defend themselves, and with just a little demagoguery, I can get many people against them.

But what is the end result and does it matter? Would the end result be improved education and healthcare? Governments at all levels have been throwing a great deal of money, none of which they earned, at the education system for nearly a half-century now and have the schools gotten any better? If they had, would the issue be a campaign tool every election cycle? How about healthcare? We hear often from the geniuses in Washington and State Capitals around the country that they know what's wrong with healthcare and they, being the geniuses that they are, can fix it. Ever since the government forced companies to submit all of their research and trials to FDA regulation and then created the HMO system, which they now decry as the most evil thing since Hitler, the overall costs of the system have been skyrocketing which Milton Friedman documented alarmingly well in his book, "Free to Choose." And since the United States is one of the only countries not setting prices for pharmaceutical drugs, the drug companies are forced to make up their profits in the United States. In fact, the United States is the only reason drug companies still research new drugs, in any other country they'd have no hope of ever recuperating their R&D costs.

But would it matter even if the education and healthcare systems were helped by these tax increases? Would that right the incredible wrong that will be done to the entrepreneurs and businesses that will have this yolk placed around them? To put it another way, would it be good for someone to mug you and then turn around and give the money to charity or feed his family? If you say 'yes' then why do you keep any money at all, or even work if you think other people have the moral right to your own labor and produce? If you endorse such a system then you are advocating your own slavery.

That is the essence of what the businessmen are doing in this case, that are paving their own road to slavery, because who will the State of Nevada come to in the future when they mess up their finances? It will be to the easiest targets, the businessmen. And everyone else in Nevada, who doesn't stand against this and fight, is accepting the same fate, but just buying themselves a little time. Businesses won't create wealth forever when those running them realize that they aren't going to be allowed to produce and keep their money, which is rightfully theirs. The government will then have to look to all those (teachers and unionists included) who stood by or joined in to crush the businessmen and demand the money needed to pay for the pensions, the healthcare, the education, and the entitlements from whoever is still around, i.e. you and me.

If these taxes pass I can think of no other alternative than active resistance, to clarify, no business should voluntarily hand over its money. If the State of Nevada wants it then they should come out in the open with their armed bandits and take it with at least the courtesy to show everyone what they are; low rotten thieves with Kenny Guinn as the ringleader.
New Anti-SUV Campaign Guzzling Misinformation
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: January 21, 2003

The Detroit Project, funded by liberal Norman Lear and supported by conservative journalist Ariana Huffington, has begun an ad campaign against SUV's with the assertion that when you fill up at the pump you are giving money to countries that then give that money to terrorists.

The suggestion is that one should then not drive SUV's because they use more gas than a smaller car. But does this response or even the entire premise make any sense at all?

Starting with the premise: the poor gas mileage of an SUV is funding terrorism; therefore stop driving them. The huge hole though is that even if you buy a smaller car, you're still buying gas and therefore supporting terrorism, just a fraction less. Not to mention even if you ride a bike or walk, chances are good that the street or sidewalk, or a part on your bike is made with or from oil products, i.e. plastic, so you're are still supporting terrorism. Not to mention much of the oil the United States uses doesn't come from the Middle East, it comes from OPEC countries, but OPEC isn't an exclusively Arab organization. Mexico and Venezuela, and now potentially Russia, are and will be our main sources of crude oil.

As for the solution to the perceived problem the commercials bring up, punishing ourselves by not buying the cars we want to buy. How is this justifiable? If there are countries funding terrorism as the commercials allege then those countries are waging war against us through the proxy of terrorism and the proper response would be to defend ourselves through war and not selling the SUV.

Or, take away the unconstitutional land restrictions the congress has imposed (through national parks and protected lands) and allow the market to decide how the land will be used, whether it's for conservation or oil exploration. But it is a logical leap to say that since we are being attacked through terrorism which is bankrolled by countries that sell oil that we should stop using it. What message is sent to the terrorists when we punish ourselves through restricting our own liberties rather than killing them? It's the same message the Arab countries got when they stole the oil fields and a military response was stopped by the United States. That message is, "keep doing it, we won't punish you for it."

There is no difference here in restricting what we can buy and drive and in taking away our civil liberties, they are part of the same philosophy, "freedom has caused these attacks, curtail it." But where is the ACLU and other liberal watchdog groups that claim to care about freedom? Ooops, this issue involves the freedom of evil "multi-national" corporations to sell products people wish to buy or in other words, they don't care and probably whole-heartedly support these proposals. If you wish to protect your rights, to free speech and privacy then protest not only the crazy state of airport security, the tips program, or some other Ashcroft chicanery, but also any of these equally pernicious suggestions to restrict our free market whether they are from Bush or television producers.
Budget Deficit Easily Solved
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: December 2, 2002

Kenny Guinn's tax commission has, (surprise!), suggested a tax raise to combat the budget crisis in the state, caused by too much spending and not enough money to pay for it by the state government. I love how it is now our fault that the state doesn't know how to balance a budget and the new legislature will be battling it out as to whether they should cut spending, a modern political heresy, or whether they should raise taxes, never popular in America (except in Massachusetts and California.) Kenny Guinn, of course is far from an inspirational leader who could lay out the case for why a tax raise oughtn't to be our course as it will only make the budgets of the future have further problems plus the fact that it's wholly immoral to be expropriating money from businesses that are making the quality of life here so swell and not the government as they always try to take credit for.

I want to know what the state of Nevada is blowing so much money on. The Millennium Scholarship program is supposedly being paid for with the tobacco settlement money, and the crummy services the state offers, and shouldn't even offer to begin with, can't cost that much money until you figure in the labor cost. But the most recent money pit the State of Nevada has come running to and embraced is the legal and political fight against Yucca Mountain. It's amazing what kind of stupid issues will get attention for the sake of scoring political points.

Yucca Mountain is probably to most misunderstood and propagandized issue in the history of this state, and no one, from the Governor on down, will expend the political capital to undo the misinformation out there. Added is the fact that the biggest fighters against it - Richard Bryan, Harry Reid, and their ilk - have spent their entire political careers asserting the ultimate supremacy of the federal government to do whatever it wants at the expense of individuals and the states. Then when the government follows their advice and does so, they get pissed off. If one wants to stop a Yucca Mountain one would first have to oppose all such Yucca-like actions every time they come up and make sure the government does what its constitutionally mandated to do, not just irrationally opposing the one government incursion that pisses your voters off and then advancing all others. That's just suicidal and idiotic.

If Guinn wished to come up with money he could drop his opposition to Yucca and negotiate a cash deal with all the states that wanted to send their waste to our desert wasteland outside of Vegas, and voila, solve this current budget crisis. But he won't because boldness has never been a word that anyone has ever put anywhere near the career and personality of Kenny Guinn, so my guess is that he'll waste more money and ask dumbly for more taxes, not knowing what to do and never able to figure it out.
Peace Protest Blues
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 25, 2002

Meghan L. Young reported in the November 21 issue of the Yell that on the 20th the Peace Coalition Protest didn't actually materialize and Young speculated that the cause is "UNLV's increasing reputation for apathy among both students and faculty." But what are some possible reasons, other than just apathy that might be holding a Peace Coalition movement back?

It certainly can't be a lack of academic support, there are plenty of leftist professors at UNLV who are quite vocal in their opposition to the war and the United States in general and would love to take their message to the students, though they do that voluminously in their classes anyway (even though none of these classes is called, "Basking Bush and the War on Terrorism.") But UNLV is lacking a really famous leftist intellectual like Noam Chomsky, John Rawls, or John Kenneth Galbraith to whip the lesser professors into order and get them working together for the untied goal of world domination.

Also, the constant berating that I've witnessed of the war and Bush seems to be having lesser effect than maybe the professors are hoping for. The people I've talked to in the classes where it has occurred find it offensive that the professors, whom we are paying to learn about given subjects, waste class time with their own political views. Consequently these professors get lower teacher evaluations than they would have gotten had they simply remained objectively tied to their subjects rather than going on tirades.

Of course, they don't believe in objectivity and tell us not to believe in it either, which is a clever way to excuse their blatant and shameful irresponsibility to the profession of teaching. That doesn't mean all leftist professors are like this, some of them realize that they are here to teach and not mold a new generation of hippies, therefore keeping their views to themselves mostly. (On a side note, I haven't had a rightist professor yet who used the class to grandstand or tell us his/her views, I may have had a rightist professor and just not realized it because they chose to teach rather than preach.) But the really diehard "antiteachers," as I like to call them, and we've all had at least one by now, will not see anything wrong in what they're doing and will not understand why the Peace Coalition cannot get its members together or convince the student population to go along with their ideas.

If there is any apathy on campus, it isn't general apathy, usually called cynicism, but apathy towards the anti-teachers and the Peace Coalition, who were opposed to the war in Afghanistan, a thoroughly indefensible position (unless of course your goal is selfdestruction as opposed to self-preservation.) The students on campus aren't uncaring or stupid as the peace coalition and the antiteachers like to imply, but just the opposite, which is why the students bypass and ignore the Peace Coalition as little more than an amusing sideshow.
Homeland Safety Vital, Wasteful Bureaucracy Not
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 21, 2002

Tuesday, the Homeland Security Bill passed the senate and that means that we'll have yet another government department and layer of bureaucracy in charge of one the government's' only primary duties: protecting us from foreign aggression. But why, when the departments of Justice and Defense weren't able to thwart the terrorists before, would a third department make the already bloated, inefficient, and unreliable government worker and political appointee system of operations function any better?

No one really knows, other than it would "shake things up" and show people that we're serious in our war on terrorism. And to show you that both parties don't care at all about the efficiency of the proposed agency or even what it is the agency actually does, besides bear the name of a popular policy, look at what they are disputing and what they let fly by. They dispute the worker protections, with the democrats arguing that they should be more extensive so that the 18 months it already takes to can someone is extended and republicans arguing to keep the 18-month policy in place. They don't dispute the increased centralization of intelligence the department of defense will be able to have in order to look up factoids on everyone, from credit card purchases to number of guns owned to your college grades.

However, this oughtn't to surprise me or anyone else. Whenever a problem arises the government's immediate reaction is always to enact legislation to supposedly correct the problem. Such as the price of prescription drugs, which are artificially high due to international drug regulations and the FDA. The government now wants to "fix" the problem they are responsible for in the first place. Of course they could fix it by doing away with all of their original legislation, but that is certainly not going to happen any time soon, even with the republicans in power.

The one arm of the government that actually works well when asked to perform its job (besides the IRS) is sitting by the wayside hoping for actual orders soon. That arm is, of course, the armed forces. Paul Wolfowitz, universally pointed to as the only guy in the administration more hawkish than Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney, originally developed a three staged assault after the September 11 terrorist attacks that I think, if enacted, would be a much greater move towards Homeland Security than this current farce. The plan was to invade Lebanon to take out the Baq'aa Valley Terrorist training camps and then move in and destroy the terrorist regime in Syria, while also removing Saddam from power and invading Afghanistan with a land force so that we wouldn't have to rely on the Pakistanis. Now while I like this plan, I don't think it goes far enough, as the regime of Saudi Arabia, a place I lived in for four years, is a supporter and great sympathizer with fanatical Islamists. Not to mention that perennial putz, Yassar Arafat, who used to coordinate world wide terrorist training in Lebanon, would still be around.

But it would be a start and it would be using a piece of government actually legally mandated to do the job, rather than extra constitutional measures like a Department of Homeland Security. And while we're at it we could get rid of all the other useless and illegal departments like Commerce, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Interior, the EPA, Health and Human Services, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and I'm sure there are others, I just can't remember them all. But that's a fight I doubt I'll see won in my life time without some sort of cataclysmic event to precipitate it unfortunately.
Private Businesses and Individuals Can Discriminate
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 18, 2002

As April draws closer and closer, the debate gets hotter and hotter.

What debate, you ask?

The one surrounding the refusal of the Augusta National Golf Club, host of The Masters, to admit a woman into their ranks. All kinds of "civil rights" (in quotations because they don't seem to mind infringements on economic liberty) organizations have lined up to take on the golf club in an attempt to force a change of policy. But why are they so angered over this issue, which in the scheme of things, especially with all of the truly despicable governmental violations of individual rights, is miniscule and unimportant? I'll answer that question shortly, but before that one must address the concept of discrimination.

We all discriminate everyday, practically every hour of our lives, even during our dreams. The route you take to work or school is discrimination against every other route you could have taken. The food you choose to eat is discrimination against all the other food companies whose products you turned down. If you're writing a paper you discriminate between source materials. If you're reading this article you're discriminating against the others. If you ever have to hire people for a job you discriminate against people for any number of reasons including merit, competence, appearance, religion, politics, or if you're so inclined, gender and race. But we've been taught that this last example is wrong, bad, even against the law, haven't we? This is true, but it is a fundamental confusion of terms that has led to "civil rights" groups protesting against a private golf club.

What people were fighting against in the 1950s and 1960s was governmental discrimination, not the discrimination of private persons. This changed with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which defined public places as almost everything, save your own house, and has led to such pernicious and tyrannical actions as the "public" smoking ban in California or the Americans with Disabilities Act. I say tyrannical, not as a dramatic overstatement, but as the unfortunate reality of what has taken place in the last four decades. While getting rid of Jim Crow laws in the south was perfectly moral and just, they have been replaced with national laws that allow the government to dictate to those who own businesses who they can and can't serve and what accommodations they can and can't have. That is the exact opposite of securing civil rights, it is taking them away in the name of civil rights, trampling wholesale upon the rights of all individuals who start businesses or are already running them.

As to whether one should discriminate or not it depends on what type of discrimination you're referring to. It would be asinine and idiotic not to discriminate based on ability, as you would soon be bankrupt. It is also asinine and idiotic to discriminate on totally unrelated factors such as race, gender (except in positions requiring intense physical labor that most women couldn't do, such as firefighting, but that would have to be done on an individual basis, not in a blind general way), or anything else not germane to the task at hand. The reason this is so should be obvious, if I turn down the most talented guy because he is black then the next guy hires him and puts me out of business, or at least does better than I. There are also philosophical and moral reasons not to do so (primarily it is highly irrational and the sign of collectivist mind), but for those not so philosophically or morally inclined the economic reason should suffice. As for a golf club, who cares? If they don't let you in, then gather all of the women who wish to play golf in your area together, form your own golf club that admits everybody, get investors, and build your own course. The simple fact that you are alive doesn't entitle you to anything expect your own life and liberty.

The answer to my original question of why "civil rights" groups focus on this as opposed to eminent domain or economic regulation and taxes should start becoming plane. It's the same reason I've been putting the quotation marks around civil rights every time I refer to the groups claiming to guard them. They don't care about civil rights at all. They only care about persecuting all forms of private property that still exist into oblivion. If this weren't the case then they would have to, as part of being a civil rights organization, protect the rights of private property owners. And this, of course, they never do, and never will. Though I don't agree with Augusta National's exclusion of women, they have every right to do so, just as I have every right to discriminate against Augusta and not watch the tournament at all, as golf bores the hell out of me.
Animal Rights Are Ridiculous
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 14, 2002

It is now becoming a greater possibility that chimpanzees will gain human rights in the United States as a great victory for the Animal rights activists. I say, "Yes! Let the chimps have human rights!"

The first action that should occur after the chimps gain human rights is there immediate release from zoos as that is clearly slavery, and the thirteenth amendment outlaws such activity. But what will the chimps do after they are emancipated?

Most of them will probably wander about, getting hit by cars and then taking the offending drivers to court. Others will defecate in public and subsequently be arrested and thrown in jail. Still others will be found sleeping on the streets and then be arrested for vagrancy. Others might be directed to the welfare office, as they can't provide for themselves. Then they'll have to get a job with no language skills or child-level learning ability. And some will even starve to death or be arrested in their attempts to steal food.

This all sounds ridiculous of course, but it is the serious idea of certain animal rights groups in this country. Of course the goal cannot be to benefit the chimps because if they were allotted human rights they would quickly go extinct. So one must conclude that these animal rights activists either, hate the chimps and wish them to be destroyed, or they hate man and wish his rights to be trivialized and destroyed.

The animals rights activists, the environmentalists, and all the other glorifiers of the primitive have only one goal in mind; the dragging down of man and all of his accomplishments. One of the paramount accomplishments of mankind, perfected by the American Founding Fathers, was the formulation of individual rights. It was the philosophical equivalent to the invention of the wheel or the formulation of writing or even a more modern equivalent, flight or the steam engine. Rights were developed as the perfect and fundamental basis of human relationships, to protect the ultimate minority of civilization, the individual. It was through reason, a distinctly human quality, that human beings developed this concept, not through instinct, feelings, the irrationalism of God or Mother Earth or the Ape Lawgiver. The apes and other lower animals aren't entitled to human rights as they aren't human and they aren't conceptual animals (in other words they can't conceive of rights or individuals or law or any other abstract principle).

Although the idea of protecting animals sounds nice, giving them human rights is certainly not the method by which one with such a goal should adhere. To protect these animals you and other like-minded people should pool your resources and raise money to buy the said animals and build them habitations. Or better yet, buy the land of their natural environment, enclose it and hire people to protect them from potential risks, like poachers. There is no justification however to take money from everyone to do these things for you though, you must do them of your own will and wealth. What do you think zoos are for, if not to protect animals and keep them away from animal testing?

But the animals' rights activists could care less for the animals, least of all for man. The irony is, of course, that capitalism (partial-capitalism anyway) allows such movements to exist in the first place. The starvation of the old Soviet Union created no respect for animals, if anyone had gotten hold of any animals they would have killed and eaten them rather than proclaim them as their brethren and take them to the next May Day parade. The next time that Lenin's Birthday rolls around (Earth Day) remind yourself that a thousand years ago people hated the earth so much they fooled themselves into thinking there was some sort of wonderful world in the sky to which they could escape. Today a certain group of people hates the works and minds of men so much that they want the earth of a thousand years ago to be restored, and they just might do it if you allow them.
Criticism of Russia Terror Response Unwarranted
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 7, 2002

The Russian government put an end to the terrorist siege inside a Moscow theatre last Saturday by pumping in what is now believed to have been a anesthesia-type gas that knocked out a large number of the people inside and resulted in the deaths of at least 116 hostages. Immediately after the situation was over, criticism from most of Europe, the Middle East, and the United Nations began to mount at the feet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Is this criticism warranted, though, given the situation Putin was dealing with? Chechen terrorists had stormed a Russian theatre and held some 850 people hostage under the threat of killing all of them unless Putin agreed to end the war in Chechnya. If Putin had agreed to these terms, how long would it have been before some other bunch of terrorists held another group of people hostage in Russia demanding foreign policy change, money, or weapons? Putin offered the terrorists their lives if they released the hostages and surrendered, a lenient position considering what he was dealing with. They refused, though, threatening to begin killing people if he didn't immediately comply with the previous demands.

At this point, Putin had a couple of options:

• He could order commandos to storm the theatre which would carry the risk of a big shootout in a small space, potentially putting hundreds at risk of being caught in the crossfire;

• He could pump in gas to knock everyone out and attempt to administer the antidote to the hostages to prevent losing them; or

• He could wait to the deadline to see if they were bluffing and risk having everyone in the theatre killed after the Chechens had already shot one person to show their resolve.

With these three scenarios, Putin obviously chose the one he thought would save the most people and neutralize the terrorists.

Why, then, is there all this criticism of Putin for having to deal with a situation the terrorists had created? This is because the people criticizing him see the terrorists as his own creation for his handling of the war in the breakaway Russian province of Chechnya. Is this really the case, though? Both sides in this ferocious war have committed atrocities already, even before Putin was in power; and if the Soviet Union were still in place, would this war even be happening?

In our revolution, Patriots didn't go to Britain or Canada and perpetrate terrorist acts against Britain; we fought their army and allies until they gave up, partly because a good portion of the British populace was sympathetic to the American cause. Would they have been sympathetic if we had terrorists in Britain or Canada killing civilians? There are far better ways to fight revolutions than the way the Chechens have decided to fight, and it can only be attributed to the fundamentalist, irrational religious beliefs they hold that causes them to see even visiting tourists as the enemy.

Instead of milling around and criticizing the victim country in this tragedy for saving over 700 people, these other agencies and governments should be blaming the terrorists because the blood of 116 people killed by the gas is clearly on their hands, not Putin's.
Wellstone's Replacement Strikes Fear in Pocketbooks
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: November 4, 2002

Remember those terrible Reagan years? I'm sure Walter Mondale does. You see, in those awful days of a reviving economy and insufferable greed Mondale received the largest electoral trouncing in American history, garnering the grand total of thirteen electoral votes. After that he got the hint that he wasn't a very popular guy and left the political scene to do things in the private sector. But with Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone's death it is now up to Walter Mondale, laughing stock of electoral history, to keep that senate seat in Democratic hands.

He has already pledged to run no campaign in respect for his departed friend, Wellstone. But don't be deceived by this seemingly nice gesture, he plans to campaign, just not the way we are used to seeing it. Every time a Democrat speaks of Wellstone now, he or she is doing two things, 1) they are bringing back the memories of Wellstone and his tragic death and 2) they are thrusting his legacy upon Mondale to carry on and preserve. So in effect Mondale is campaigning, in a very sly, highly emotional way that the Republican candidate, Norm Coleman, will be very hard pressed to counter in a way that doesn't make him look like an insensitive jerk.

But what does Mondale bring to the table, aside from his historic performance in the 1984 election? In terms of ideology he is very close to Paul Wellstone, and on the point of carrying on his legacy I agree wholeheartedly with the Democratic pundits in the media. But that still doesn't change the fact of whether one wants that legacy carried on in the first place. I'm sure if David Duke were elected to office and then died in an election people wouldn't be swayed by the argument that his legacy must live on (I certainly would not) except those who were already Duke supporters or those who were undecided and quite irrational in their thinking. I only bring this up, not to take away from the tragedy of Wellstone's death, but only to point out how fallacious the argument is.

Mondale does bring the threat of higher taxes with him for sure, unless the 1984 election taught him any lessons, and I seriously doubt that. Also I'm sure he has adopted all of the far left ideas his party has forwarded in the last eighteen years, things like nationalized healthcare, universal pre-school, minimum wage increases, all sorts of environmentalist garbage, and did I mention higher taxes to pay for all of it?

In Minnesota, the only state that voted for Mondale in the 1984 election, these stands on issues could actually get you elected rather than assure your immediate defeat as they would almost everywhere else. I suppose if you like to see your money stolen from you and thrown to losers here and abroad (this includes farmers, corporations, the homeless, and anyone else who expects other people to pick up the tab for their incompetence) then go ahead and support Mondale. If anyone can steal more of your money, it's definitely him or a Kennedy, but they don't live there, yet. But if you have any respect for the right of individuals to their own money, bodies, lives, happiness, and property then for the love of all that is right, let Wellstone's legacy die with him.
What is a Nevadan?
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: October 31, 2002

Nevada Day commemorates the day that Nevada became a state, which occurred on October 31, 1864. The War Between the States, aka The Civil War, nearly destroyed the idea of people being from their states or being loyal or proud of their states as independent, sovereign entities. I'm not one of those, I'm glad I'm a Nevadan, this is one of the only states remaining that still respects the ideas of limited government and protecting individual rights.

It's not perfect though, Question 2 is an example of a problem one gets through the referendum system, namely, should the people be able to vote away individual rights? But there is no income tax, which is probably one of the greatest things about this state, but it is somewhat offset by the presence of the large 7.25% sales tax. The state legislature only gets together for four months out of the two-year term, which greatly limits the time they are around to meddle with things and even then they just throw many of their issues onto the ballot. A tax increase automatically needs voter approval, which is quite good considering with that mechanism in place a tax increase ought to be nearly impossible. There are a couple of pockets of environmentalist statism here unfortunately, both in Vegas (Yucca Mountain Protesters) and up around Lake Tahoe, fortunately the latter is mostly on the California side. I mention that because environmentalists in general use the force of the state to advance their policies, Question 1 being typical of this. They could raise money and buy up the land in question, but no, that's not what they propose. They want everyone to be extorted of money for the government to buy up land. This is a looming menace for the future of whether Nevada will continue to support individual rights and property as it has generally done in the past.

I used to live in a state that didn't respect individual rights or property, Illinois, and the atmosphere there reflected that. In a city that used to be expanding all the time and busy with the sounds of countless businesses at work, founding, and expanding it had slipped into a nearly lethargic state. No businesses, except well established large corporations would consider moving to Chicago or starting up there unless they absolutely had too. And rightly so, the large taxes, state, county, and city as well as onerous regulations of every level of government make for an unfriendly environment for anyone who is working and any potential entrepreneurs. Illinois is still in my memory as a nice place though, as Chicago was a great place with great museums, the Cubs, the Bears, the Sears Tower, and of course, a must for any Chicagoan, the Taste of Chicago.

But there is no comparison between the amount of freedom maintained and protected between the two states, fond memories or not, reality tells me which is superior in this respect. Nevada is one reason why many people move from the eastern side of the Mississippi to the western side.

New York is a good example, it lost two electoral votes in the last census, which means it lost about one million people over the last ten years, and most of that was people emigrating out of the state. I don't know how many of these people came to Nevada, but I bet it was a more than 1/49 of the total as Nevada is a good place to come and retire.

I've been talking of all of this because it is the essence of why people form governments to begin with. Mainly, to protect individual rights, from foreign and domestic aggression and to maintain the rule of law. Nevada is still in that mold, though some things that it does are inconsistent with this mission and that is what we must remain vigilant against; if we still wish to live in a mostly free state, that is. I'm proud to be a Nevadan, proud because it is a state that realizes that it has no rights other than those we give to it, proud because it is a state that understands, on the most part, that it is in place to protect my individual rights, and proud that except for the sales tax it lets me keep my money.

On Nevada Day, this one and future ones, one should always evaluate the state of freedom in Nevada as compared to other states, particularly our leviathan neighbor to the west, and realize that despite this state's many flaws it is still one of the few states in this voluntary union of states worth sticking around in.
Reaction to Sniper Typical of Gun Control Advocates
By Alexander Marriott UNLV Rebel Yell: October 24, 2002


I thought maybe it was over; it hadn't been mentioned for some time, and even liberal law professors like Lawrence Tribe and Alan Dershowitz were conceding defeat until this schmuck with a rifle began shooting people on the Eastern seaboard. Now, it's back and as dumb and pointless as ever: the gun control debate. This time, the issue is whether or not we should have a gun ballistics database so that police can more easily track down the weapons being used in sniper-like crimes.

It sounds harmless, but that's the only time that it is so. Let us consider first of all how effective such a program could be. I'll assume first of all that the government will run this program perfectly, with no problems whatsoever (hold whilst I pick myself up off the floor) and that they get all rifling marks into a catalog. What are my options if I'm a criminal? I could use a handgun instead, oops, slight problem with the plan. There are also more than enough smoothbore and muzzle-loading muskets on the market so that anyone wishing to kill another and avoid being detected by the catalog could succeed. Not to mention I could merely steal someone's rifle and kill someone with it, leaving him to be blamed, keep in mind I'm killing someone, so stealing isn't going to be a problem. The point is, any human being, determined to kill someone will at the least be able to procure the means to do so, catalog or not.

One should now look at the cost of putting together, maintaining, and operating such a system. Here the whole idea that the government will run this thing perfectly and with no problems has to be thrown out the window, because it's not going to happen. First of all the people actually running it will be typical unionized civil servants, inept and virtually unaccountable to anyone as they aren't easily fired (it takes on average 18 months to fire a government employee). Then the government will have to operate a seemingly complex computer database with complex scientific results with millions of people and not screw it up (Social Security or Post Office), see any problems? And of course the taxpayers will be fleeced to pay for the people and the crappy service they are virtually guaranteed of getting.

Does the government therefore have the right to require law-abiding hunters or people who'd like to protect themselves from the government to submit to this system, which is clearly going to be ineffective and costly? No. This is simply because the government has no rights which the citizens of the country haven't delegated to it, and registering or controlling guns in any way isn't among those granted to the government. So legally the government has no authority to do anything whatsoever in this realm of affairs, not to mention a great many others.

But as the emotional and irrational ideas of people get roused up by the heinous acts of this murderer the debate on gun control will continue to grow and become more heated. And it will remain so until cooler, rational heads prevail as they have been ever since the assault weapons ban and Brady Bill seemed to signal the death of reason in this debate. One needs to remember that even if we ban all guns and managed to get them all, there would still be guns, monopolized by one institution, the government. One need only to think of the horrendous death perpetrated during the 20th century by the totalitarian slave states to realize that this is a non-option and a non-idea.