EppsNet Archive: Freedom

I Think the NFL is Shooting Itself in the Nuts

28 Sep 2017 /

I think the NFL is shooting itself in the nuts with these anthem protests . . .

Alejandro Villanueva

One of the things I thought was problematic with the original Kaepernick protests is that they were inarticulate. He was protesting (I think) police treatment of black citizens but what does that have to do with kneeling for the national anthem at a football game?

If he were leading a demonstration in front of police headquarters, there wouldn’t be any ambiguity about the purpose of the protest. But kneeling for the anthem at a football game? There’s no obvious connection. It requires an explanation.

So people are free to supply their own explanation, like “They’re protesting the anthem,” “They’re desecrating the flag,” “They’re disrespecting our men and women in uniform.” And once they’ve supplied their own explanation, they can get angry at the NFL about it.

The NFL is now trying to dumb it down to “We just want freedom, justice, we’re standing up for what’s right, blah blah blah . . .”

Other than a handful of lunatics at either edge of the political spectrum, we ALL want those things. No one is anti-freedom and we all want to stand up for what’s right, although we probably don’t agree on what that is. But what does it have to do with kneeling for the national anthem?

And when do the protests end? What are the criteria for declaring victory and ceasing the protest? What has to happen for America to be deemed free enough and equal enough and just enough that we no longer have to kneel for the anthem at football games?

 

NFL owners all have the same scripted response: We love it when players take a stand on important issues etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile Colin Kaepernick is still out of the league.

For his part, Kaepernick, a true man of principle, says he’s now willing to stand for the anthem if someone will just give him a job.


I Love Freedom More Than Most People and Now I Know Why

25 Sep 2017 /

https://www.studyfinds.org/government-american-history-survey/

This is from a new survey of American adults by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Also: 37 percent couldn’t name a single right protected by the First Amendment. While 48 percent of those surveyed were able to name freedom of speech, far fewer could identify other rights accorded, including freedom of religion (15 percent), freedom of the press (14 percent), right of peaceful assembly (10 percent), and right to petition the government (3 percent).

I’m a freedom-loving guy. I find that my love of freedom exceeds that of most of my countrymen and now I know why . . . because cherishing the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are, and most people don’t know what they are.

P.S. I learned to remember the First Amendment rights with the GRASP acronym: freedom to petition the Government, freedom of Religion, freedom of Assembly, freedom of Speech and freedom of the Press.


How Are You Doing?

24 Sep 2016 /

I feel like I’m confronting the challenges of existence pretty effectively, with the following exceptions: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation, and meaninglessness.


Yale Students Sign Petition to Repeal the First Amendment

16 Dec 2015 /

The video below shows documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz asking Yale students to sign a petition aimed at repealing the First Amendment. Horowitz was able to collect more than 50 signatures in less than an hour in what he called an “unbelievable display of total stupidity.”


For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? — I Corinthians 10:29


Jesus and Mo

6 May 2015 /


Let it be known: I did not fall from grace. I leapt to freedom.

Posted by on 2 Mar 2015

I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. — Socrates


150 Years and Counting

10 Dec 2013 /

Almost all of the projects of social reformers of these days are really liberticide.

— John Stuart Mill (1855)

Rearview Cameras in Cars

15 Aug 2013 /

Gov’t delays requiring rearview cameras in carsAssociated Press

Rearview cameras in cars seem like a good idea. Who wants to accidentally back over a child or a pet, right? It’s upsetting, not to mention whoever the child or pet belonged to is probably going to hold it against you forever.

Let’s make rearview cameras required by law.

In fact, let’s make rearview and frontview cameras required, because kids and pets can get under the front of your car too, and running over them is bad, no matter what direction you’re going.

I’ve seen TV commercials where cars can detect obstacles in their path and stop automatically to avoid a collision. That’s great. Let’s make that required too.

In fact, let’s make so many features required by law that you can’t even buy a car anymore for less than $50,000.

You know what else is a good idea? Freedom, which is the reason we started up this country in the first place. Let people buy and sell whatever they want.


Joyce Carol Oates Gets Slammed

11 Jul 2013 /

http://twitchy.com/2013/07/05/joyce-carol-oates-suggests-radical-islam-fosters-rape-culture-gets-slammed-as-bigot/

EppsNet stands behind Joyce Carol Oates in this Twitstorm, in opposition to those who think that while raping women may be a bad thing, what’s really deplorable is freedom of thought and questioning theocracy. In solidarity, we publish a couple of previously unseen (because they’re terrible) photos of the two of us taken with Mark Twain in the Doe Library at UC Berkeley.

Joyce Carol Oates Mark Twain bench


You Say Anarchy, Sir, Like It’s a Bad Thing

15 Jun 2013 /
Thomas Jefferson

Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.

My fellow Americans —

I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.

As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.

The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.

The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.

I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.

Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.

Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.

Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.

In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.

How soon they forget.

I bid you God speed,

Thomas Jefferson, anarchist

Thomas Jefferson


Watch Out for the Gospel of the Times

14 Apr 2013 /

everything is permitted
absolute freedom of movement
that is, without leaving the cage
2+2 doesn’t make 4:
once it made 4 but
today nothing is known in this regard

— Nicanor Parra, “Watch Out for the Gospel of the Times”


The Grand Inquisitor Addresses Jesus

11 Nov 2012 /
Jesus and the Grand Inquisitor

And now, do You see those stones in this parched and barren desert? Turn them into loaves of bread and men will follow You like cattle, grateful and docile, although constantly fearful lest You withdraw Your hand and they lose Your loaves. . . . You thought, what sort of freedom would they have if their obedience was bought with bread? You replied that man does not live by bread alone. . . .

So, in the end, they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, “Enslave us but feed us!” And they will finally understand that freedom and the assurance of daily bread for everyone are two incompatible notions that could never co-exist! . . .

They will marvel at us and worship us like gods, because, by becoming their masters, we have accepted the burden of freedom that they were too frightened to face, just because we have agreed to rule over them — that is how terrifying freedom will have become to them finally! . . .

I tell You once more that man has no more pressing, agonizing need than the need to find someone to whom he can hand over as quickly as possible the gift of freedom with which the poor wretch comes into the world. . . .

We have corrected Your work and have now founded it on miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoice at being led like cattle again, with the terrible gift of freedom that brought them so much suffering removed from them. . . .

They will tell us the secrets that most torment their consciences, they will tell us everything, and we shall solve all their problems, and they will trust to our solutions completely, because they will be rid of the terrible worry and the frightening torment they know today when they have to decide for themselves how to act.

— Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

The (Limited) Importance of Success

26 Sep 2012 /

I don’t have a problem with someone using their talents to become successful, I just don’t think the highest calling is success. Things like freedom and the expansion of knowledge are beyond success, beyond the personal. Personal success is not wrong, but it is limited in importance, and once you have enough of it it is a shame to keep striving for that, instead of for truth, beauty, or justice.


Pleonasm of the Day: Offended Muslims

13 Sep 2012 /
Thomas Jefferson

ple·o·nasm, noun

  1. the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
  2. an instance of this, as free gift or true fact.

My fellow Americans —

U.S. embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have been attacked by Muslims offended by a YouTube video.

“Offended Muslims” — there’s a pleonasm for you!

The embassy in Egypt, hoping to pacify the attackers, issued a statement opposing “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

DISAGREE! We should be APPLAUDING efforts to offend religious believers. We should be STEPPING UP efforts to offend religious believers.

My friends and I risked everything — including our lives, that’s how important it was to us — to ensure that Americans could speak their minds without interference from government.

Religion is all horseshit anyway. There’s no God. There’s no Allah. It’s all a bunch of made-up bullshit. Fairy tales!

As John Lennon — an Englishman, but otherwise a good bloke — used to say: Imagine no religion . . .


Milton Friedman Would Be 100 Years Old Today

31 Jul 2012 /
English: Portrait of Milton Friedman

What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game. The characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity. The great advantage of the market, on the other hand, is that it permits wide diversity. It is, in political terms, a system of proportional representation. Each man can vote, as it were, for the color of tie he wants and get it; he does not have to see what color-the majority wants and then, if he is in the minority, submit.

It is this feature of the market that we refer to when we say that the market provides economic freedom. But this characteristic also has implications that go far beyond the narrowly economic. Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated – a system of checks and balances. By removing the organization of economic activity from the control of political authority, the market eliminates this source of coercive power. It enables economic strength to be a check to political power rather than a reinforcement.

— Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

Man Protesting Motorcycle Helmet Laws Dies From Head Injury

4 Jul 2011 /

Town of Onondaga, NY — A Parish man who was participating in a motorcycle helmet protest ride was killed this afternoon when he went over the handlebars of his motorcycle and injured his head on the pavement, state police said.

Posting this for the irony, not because I think helmet laws are a good thing.

Should we require people to wear crash helmets in their cars? It would save a lot more lives than motorcycle helmet laws.

Hard-working Americans should not be forced to protect themselves from fatal head injuries.

FREEDOM!


The Last Freedom

22 Feb 2011 /
Man's Search for Meaning

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

— Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Well-Meaning but Without Understanding

20 Sep 2010 /
Justice Louis Brandeis

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

— Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 479 (1928)

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