28 March 2012

Constitution, Please Stand

The Supreme Court completed their third day of listening to arguments for and against the constitutionality of President Obama's "Affordable Care Act." Now we wait.

I lack the legal acumen to judge whether or not Obamacare is technically constitutional, but there are only two possible outcomes to the Supreme Court's ruling: Either Obamacare will be declared to be blatantly, viciously unconstitutional, or the United States Constitution is an empty and meaningless document. 

In this sense, it is not Obamacare that is being judged, but the Constitution itself. If Obamacare--in particular, the "individual mandate"--is somehow deemed to be a permissible exercise of federal power over citizens, then there is literally nothing that the government cannot force us to do.

21 March 2012

The Incompetence of the Republicans

I am relieved to see that Rick Santorum lost by a wide margin in the Illinois Republican primaries.

I realize that some people might make the honest mistake of supporting Santorum over Mitt Romney because unlike Romney, Santorum seems to be at least distinguishable from Democrats. It is certainly true that Romney is a dreadful candidate; he is an unprincipled milquetoast, a disgusting compromiser, the creator of the Obamacare prototype. As a president, he might do a little less damage than Bush and Obama have done, but would do nothing to reverse our headlong plunge into the abyss.

Nevertheless, the support of Rick Santorum over Romney (or even Obama) cannot withstand a moment’s sober reflection. Think about what Santorum’s campaign actually means.

The United States is today buckling under an economic crisis caused by decades of devastating regulations, monetary manipulation, taxation, and government debt; we are consumed by an avalanche of government intrusion that is taking over (or has already taken over) every aspect of our lives: our health, our food, our cars, our energy, our education, our future. And, in the midst of this unprecedented abrogation of freedom—the wholesale trampling of individual rights and the dismantling of America before our very eyes—Mr. Santorum’s basic belief is . . . Americans are still too free.

Somewhere in the country, Mr. Santorum fears, a man and his wife are making love, not for the purpose of procreation, but for the very pleasure of it—and Santorum feels it would be the duty of his federal government to step in and “talk about” this fell “danger.”[1] Somewhere in America, to the horror of Rick Santorum, consenting adults are producing and consuming pornography in the privacy of their own homes—and it is these Americans that are the real menace to our country, and upon which Commander-in-Chief Santorum would declare war. 

And beware! Somewhere in the United States of America, Santorum observes in dismay, individuals are (gasp!) pursuing their own happiness, a prospect that is so counter to Mr. Santorum’s theocratic viewpoint that he cannot bring himself to believe the authors of the Declaration could have meant anything by this freedom to pursue happiness but the “freedom” to dutifully submit to God.[2]

This is pure evil—as anti-American and anti-life as it seems possible for a mainstream figure (i.e. one who is not a jihadist or serial killer) to be. I have difficulty comparing the extent of Santorum’s evil to that of Barack Obama—both are so monstrous, it is like trying to estimate the size of the Milky Way galaxy while being in it—but I think in the long run a Santorum presidency would be even more destructive than a second term of Barack Obama. And that is saying quite a lot.

I cannot help but marvel at the sheer incompetence of the Republicans to put forth even a mediocre candidate for the presidency. Obama’s first term has provided an unusual clarity to our situation—namely, that the battle of our times is between socialism and capitalism, government controls versus personal freedom, collectivism versus individualism, mindless self-sacrifice versus rational self-interest—and Obama is clearly, nakedly on the wrong side across the board. I would think that in selecting any American citizen at random one could come up with a candidate preferable to Obama—and yet the Republicans have given us Romney and Santorum. Disgusting.

1. “Santorum then promised that, as president, he’d decry contraception. ‘One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country,’ he said. Noting that many Christians think contraception is okay, Santorum continued: ‘It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to . . . how things are supposed to be.’”[emphasis mine]
From a Boston Globe opinion piece, “Santorum’s contraception deception,” 21 Mar 2012, http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-21/opinion/31215572_1_contraception-republican-rick-santorum-religious-beliefs.

07 March 2012

Simone Dinnerstein Plays Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3

I like this lovely, gentle video of Simone Dinnerstein performing Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat Major, from the Op. 90 set. Her father created the artwork shown throughout the video.

Ms. Dinnerstein was featured recently on The Bach Hour on my local radio station. If you have an hour to spend, it is worth listening to.