Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Homosexuality and Public Policy

The so-called Gay Rights movement exhausts me. Don't get wrong, all individuals are entitled to equal protection under the law. I would get very unhappy if I heard any individual citizens were denied a job, the right to assemble or to vote because of who they were, their phenotype. Equal protection is very reasonable and should be (and is) the law.

But that isn't enough. Many homosexuals want special protections and exemptions, because of who they are. Sorry folks, but this is as un-American as it gets. Allow me to be more specific.

Gays in the US military was a Clinton bugaboo. Let's be honest here; the military excuses from service those who have flat feet, color-blindness and other minor handicaps, not to mention those with more major ones. You cannot be in the military if you do not have a high school diploma or now a GED. And now you cannot admit you are gay. The military leaders set the policies they believe will help them succeed. The President should heed their advice and we the people should trust them. This is not a fairness or rights issue; there is no right to serve in the military. HOWEVER, this is really an unwise policy, as it limits the candidate pool, and in the event of a draft, God forbid!, gives an excuse to those who would rather not serve. (There is no objective gay test I have ever heard of.) I believe a better policy is to allow homosexuals to serve only in co-ed units. If the leaders have decided that integrating the sexes is worth the risk of inappropriate (heterosexual) relations for these units, then the risk is no greater than that for homosexuals. At the end of the day, this issue rates a 3 of 10 on the how-important-is-this meter.

But the most important gay rights issue is gay unions. This idea is so silly and full of logical holes, it is a shame some people even talk about it, but here we are. The main legal reason against consideration is that marriage is not a right; the public policy reasons are related to the success of the "traditional" family unit, where the male-female couple accept the obligations of marriage for the benefit of the children born to them.

Marriage is not a right. Only individuals have rights; groups only have the rights of their constituent members. A married couple does not have special rights, simply because they are married. No, what the gay marriage promoters want is the same social benefits conferred to married couples. Insurance coverage, tax breaks, and the privilege to adopt are amongst these. These benefits though are not the reason for the acceptance of marriage as public policy; the reason is to promote the family unit. Let's face it, we have a huge problem with marriage abuse as it is with gold-digging and an obnoxious divorce rate for couples whose children are still young. These are really problems for our society. We should not extend the institution or create any facsimile thereof for homosexuals, who are biologically dysfunctional with regards to sexual attraction, to further abuse the social construct that is marriage.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Homosexuality as we know it

The latest scandal in the news about U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) raises up the social issues around homosexuality once again. We as a society have struggled with ethical and moral questions of public policy regarding homosexuals. Maybe a directed review of what we know and don't know might help shed some light on things.

First I will risk being labeled a homophobe by making an absolutely correct statement. Homosexuality in a biological sense is dysfunctional. Humans have multiple systems to successfully exist as a species, including digestive, respiratory, skeletal, muscular and of course reproductive. We do not understand everything there is to know about sexual desire, but I can say one thing for certain. Without heterosexual attraction, most mammalian species, including and especially us, would face extinction. In other words if everyone is strictly gay, then there would be no children. So having heterosexuality is a necessary thing for perpetuation of our species and our society.

How and in what specific ways are we programmed with sexual attraction? I have never seen a complete explanation. I just knew one day in my early years that those of the opposite sex were more interesting to me than those of my own. What causes homosexual attraction? I cannot say personally, but I imagine it is the same mechanisms where something is just working differently. I do believe one is born with a certain predisposed sexuality, but that life experiences and development have an impact on our sexual identity after puberty.

What does this tell us? Homosexuals are most likely born, not made. Have you ever heard the rhetorical question "Why would anyone choose it?" This supports the born not made theory.

Still not convinced that homosexuality is dysfunctional? Suppose there was a shot you give to every pregnant woman that is perfectly safe and would guarantee a heterosexual child. How many heterosexual couples would pass on that? Few if any would pass. The human race would live on but those born homosexual would eventually die off. Would this be bad? There are some ethical concerns here, but it certainly shows the point.

Does this make it okay to discriminate against gay people for jobs? Of course not (unless there is a BFOQ). Does this change the fact that we should trust our military leaders to tell us how they would handle recruitment?

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Abortion non-issue

I've thought long and hard about whether to write about this, but it is time. Most of my posts here have been in response national news or Congressional actions, but this issue is such a divisive issue, it can no longer wait.

It is without a doubt in my mind that the abortion act in and of itself is immoral. However, often there are extenuating circumstances that complicate this moral choice. Maybe crack babies, products of rape or incest, or children with severe birth defects would be better off never being born? Maybe we've aborted the next Hitler or Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer? But then again maybe the next Einstein too? Is it wrong to terminate the pregnancy of a welfare mother's sixth or seventh child? What kind of life would they have?

Fortunately, as a man, it has never been and nor will ever be my choice to make.

In reality though, it is not the morality of abortion so many people debate, but the legality. Many claim it is murder. Let's look at it more closely.

In the US, states and their local jurisdictions are tasked with enforcing laws of violence, including murder. Clearly if one is the victim of murder, their right to life has been violated. It is for this reason that violent crimes such as murder correctly remain illegal: they are an infringement of rights of citizenry and our invited out of state guests. Pets cannot be murdered nor can any non-human animals.

So in order to be murdered, someone has to be a citizen: they have to have an identity and a social place in our society. Furthermore those with no brain functions who are then taken off life support and expire are not then murdered (although the circumstances of the loss capacity may still be at issue).

So this brings us to abortion. Is it murder? At the instant of birth, the newborn has a social identity and (most typically) brain function, therefore newborns are clearly entitled to the right to life. But so too is the viable child an instant before birth. A newly conceived human embryonic cell the instant after conception has neither social identity nor brain function; therefore, use of methods like a morning after pill, while potentially objectionable on moral grounds, should not be illegal.

It is somewhere in between conception and birth that murder laws become logically enforceable based on the two outlined criteria: 1. social identity and 2. brain activity. When a woman begins to show the signs of pregnancy, it is clear that the new life she is carrying is establishing an identity. It is also before the end of the first trimester that the brain activity of the fetus can be detected. Note that until the fetal stage, it is incorrect to call the developing life a fetus, instead it is properly referred to as an embryo.

So to summarize: there is no social identity and no brain activity until the fetal stage, so therefore abortions performed before this time cannot be called murder. They may be still morally objectionable, but they are not murder.

What should we do about Roe v. Wade? It was just another example of the feds sticking their nose where it doesn't belong. It should be up to the states to enforce all murder laws, including those of unborn children in fetal stages. Can the states be trusted to allow women to choose immoral actions that are not murder, including termination of pregancy for any reason up to 12 weeks? I hope so.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mark Davis: Interesting, Human, War-mongering

I just read this article by Mr. Mark Davis about one of my personal heroes, Dr. Ron Paul. I am forced to respond, even though I doubt he'll even see these words let alone actually consider their merit.

Dr. Paul has admitted he is a long-shot for President, but has never said nor given me the impression that he isn't in it to win.

As a long-time follower of Dr. Paul, I can assure Mr, Davis my head is "not full of nutty things". But let's look at what Davis considers to be nutty:
  1. Dr. Paul's long-held belief that abandonment of the gold standard was ill-advised.
  2. Dr. Paul's position that the undeclared war in Iraq is bad policy.

The money issue is probably my least favorite position of Dr. Paul's, even though I understand the principles behind his concerns. Those principles are related to the idea that the Federal Reserve bank is a private corporation set up by the US government which has some control but not complete control over things like interest rates. The idea that some economist can decide each quarter to raise or lower interest rates in the name of controlling inflation seems quixotic to me. It also strikes me a very unfree market. With the gold standard, our government had to have the real, tangible wealth to spend money, as opposed to empty promises of its good word. The result is that there is no reason not to spend, so spend we do, and do we ever! To me the gold standard is sort of arbitrary (why not a silver standard?) and something that should be unnecessary. To the credit of Dr. Paul's position, Congress has proven it cannot be trusted to balance the budget, let alone work to pay off the national debt. So I give Dr. Paul a shrug on this position.

As for the Iraq war, the ignorance in Mr. Davis statements make him unfit to be an opinion leader in the media. Since when is comparing the actions of nations to each other "phony equivalency [that] rises to the level of sheer moral idiocy"? Does Mr. Davis not believe in the golden rule, or does he simply think is shouldn't apply at the international relations level? Apparently Mr. Davis thinks our nation and it leaders are morally infallible when it comes to ideas like "spreading democracy" and fighting the so-called "war on terror". Sorry Dr. Paul is right on this one, and this is the issue that will win or lose the general election. Even a RINO like Giuliani has no chance against the Democrats if he maintains the untenable big spending, pro-war stance.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Farm subsidies are unjust and poor policy

My mother's family ran a small to mid-size farm in Illinois for three generations. My parents live on that land now. I am sensitive to the plight of the farmer, BUT...

Why do farmers require protections any more than, say, book retailers? Farming is a vocation this just running a small business; that's all. If you and I opened a bookstore tomorrow and we had too much competitition, would the government owe us subsidies? Or even if the bookstore was in the family for generations, would that change anything? Markets change with technology advances and other changes and either we adapt or we find another livelihood. The fact of the matter is the agricultural market does not need small and even mid-size farms anymore. All we're doing with subsidies are prolonging the inevitable end of the small farm as we know it, while costing taxpayers millions and opening the system up for the kind of abuse that's ever present in our federal bureaucracy.

The argument for the family farm is the same as the argument for the Mom and Pop retailer on the old square. Just as Wal-Mart will shut them down, so to will Archer Daniels Midland inevitably shut down the family farm. This is ok, because we all benefit in the long run.

This is not the only reason to be against subsidies of course. Subsidies are reprehensible because the tax revenues that fund them are in large part extorted from the American taxpayer, legitimatized only by our broken democratic processes. It is past time to stop the madness.

Is it tough to be a farmer? I have no doubt. My job is not all easy street either, but I don't get to feed at the teat of the American taxpayer's ill-gotten trough. So pick a different profession. But stop the madness.

Why open borders won't work

The illegal immigration debate will go on until its apologists understand this: The United States has the right and obligation to reserve for its own citizens the finite resources (e.g., water, land) here already, as well as ration the infrastructure (e.g., highways, utilities) put in place by the efforts of our parents and ourselves. Absolute open borders is an infeasible idea because there is only so much of the USA to go around.

If even if this weren't true, the current federal entitlement programs make it impossible to fairly adjudicate beneftis for anyone granted amnesty. Sure there is some room for more. But how much more? Through what process? By what requirements? These are the questions we should be debating, not whether we should teach English as a second language in our public schools.

We are a generous nation to allow a process by where thousands can become naturalized citizens each year. Even so, we are almost niave by allowing abuse of the birthright citizenship by those here without invitation. And we have failed our own citizenry and our legal guests and even those here in defiance of the rules by ecouraging those here illegally to be here with free education, free health care and work in an underground economy.The only tax paid by those here illegally are sales taxes and those are paid quite frugally, if at all. Illegals mostly buy food which is not taxed. They buy few clothing items and miser other supplies. They underpay property taxes by crowding into apartments and trailers. The large portion of illegals who are paid cash do not pay Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes, let alone income taxes.

Stop the madness. Deport a few hundred a day until they're gone. Fine, then close down employers after a third strike. Stop rewarding rule-breakers with mostly free education and other free services.

Might prices go up as wages go up in the short run? Maybe. But there are things we can do to minimize any negative economic impact like repealing the minimum wage. But that is another post.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First post

I will be talking about politics for the most part, concentrating on federal politics. But I will also talk about religion, sports and whatever shakes my fancy.

First topic, Executive Orders!