Monday, November 29, 2004

Marijuana March of Folly
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 29, 2004

Michael Medved made an interesting point on his show last week. It was that President Nixon took the wind out of the anti-war movement by ending the draft. As it turned out, the anti-war movement was really the “don’t draft me” movement. Medved explained that the only way to justify being anti-draft was to be anti-war. As soon as the draft was no longer an issue, opposition to the war in Viet Nam dried up.

This week, the Supreme Court is going to hear a case involving legalization of marijuana. *Sigh* Here we go again.

The instant I bring up the subject, the anti-marijuana fanatics try to put words in my mouth. They try to create a straw man, and then proceed to attack the straw man instead of listening to my position. So there can’t be any misunderstanding, here is my position:

I don’t advocate unlimited access to pot any more than I advocate unlimited access to prescription drugs. Nor do I advocate that people should use pot. I agree with the anti-pot advocates that marijuana is not good for you. I tell people that whatever reason they are using pot, it doesn’t help. People who use marijuana are wasting their money.

There are two sides to the marijuana conflict: Pro-pot and anti-pot. (I use “pot” instead of “marijuana” because “pot” is a lot easier type than “marijuana”.) The pro-pot advocates want to use pot without restriction. The anti-pot advocates want to put all the pot users in jail. The two positions are irreconcilable. The anti-pot advocates hold sway for the time being. However, they have adopted a totalitarian approach to the matter that harms them in the long run.

The anti-pot agenda is to put as many people in jail as possible, to intrude as much as possible into the lives of all Americans, and to toss the Constitution aside regarding the matters of unreasonable searches and seizures. For example, government may seize your house if your teenager brings home an ounce of pot. Unreasonable? To say the least.

The pro-pot agenda is to turn unregulated marijuana loose on the general public. The absurdity of this position is obvious. Very few commodities are unregulated these days. Unregulated marijuana poses too many risks. It is a drug and no drug should be distributed without close scrutiny by government health agencies.

The anti-pot advocates clearly do not understand what is in their own best interest. I have heard prominent public figures make the absurd statement that if you destroy all the illegal drugs in the world, then that will end the demand for illegal drugs.


Using this non-logic, we can solve our energy problems by blowing up all the oil wells in the world. If you use the rationale of the anti-pot advocates, once you get rid of all the oil in the world, there won’t be any demand for oil. End of problem. Here’s a better one. You can solve “world hunger” by burning all the wheat fields in Kansas. Brilliant!

The anti-pot advocates have never seriously taken into consideration the natural human craving for intoxicants. We can’t help it. We like to get wasted. It’s human nature.

Folly is engaging in activities contrary to your own interests. In order to join the march of folly, the anti-pot advocates have had to abandon their own doctrine of immutable human nature. They criticize the left for advocating that human nature can be changed, then engage in the same nonsense by advocating that taking all the drugs away from drug users, or throwing them all in jail, will magically change them into tee-totalers.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, then expecting different results. Taking drugs away from drug users and throwing them in jail doesn’t seem to be reducing the number of drug users or the number of repeat offenders. The war on drugs is a monumental failure and a waste of perfectly good police officers. Sending these people to their deaths in a war that our government doesn’t intend to win is murder in my opinion.

Marijuana is a commodity. For better or for worse, there is a demand for it. As long as there is a demand for it, producers will find ways to grow, package, and deliver it to paying customers. Neither the pro-pot nor the anti-pot advocates seem to want to address this obvious fact. The market trumps morality.

In considering market impulses, you end up with the understanding that people will buy and use marijuana regardless of laws to the contrary. Anti-American leftists use this to their advantage in the same way that conservatives use anti-regulation sentiment to their advantage. The result has been that for two generations the anti-American leftists have been able to recruit a very larger percentage of the baby-boom population to their causes. They have successfully painted the anti-pot advocates as arbitrary, authoritarian bully boys waiting with fanatic anticipation to throw another teenager in the slammer for smoking a joint. The leftists have successfully taken advantage of the inflexibility and callousness of the anti-pot advocates.

Nixon gutted the anti-war movement by ending the draft. The anti-pot advocates could just as easily gut the anti-American left by taking away the issue of marijuana.

By assuming an arbitrary and inflexible position on marijuana, the anti-pot advocates continue to hand the anti-American left a gigantic advantage. The issue is not marijuana; it is the arbitrary, inflexible, fanatic, and frightening desire of the anti-pot advocates to intrude, pursue, and punish everyone. The anti-pot advocates have taken on the air of witch hunters.

I’ve known dozens of pot users in my life. They are not villains. None of them has ever deserved punishment for using pot.

Dictators throughout history have advocated that sufficient punishment can change human nature. The anti-pot advocates have this same idea. They don’t wish to reconcile with pot users; they only want to ruin their lives. As long as pot users are afraid of the anti-pot advocates, they will run straight into the arms of the anti-American left just the way the people who were afraid of the draft ran straight into the arms of the anti-American left in the 1960’s. Conservatives continue to give the anti-American left a giant cudgel with which to stave in their heads by insisting that the solution to the marijuana problem is bigger government, more police, and more jails.

This is folly.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Negative, Negative, Negative
A caution to all good people © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 24, 2004

I have recently taken measures to evict a few people from my life who are pathologically negative. Specifically, they are negative to the point of being aggressively offensive.

They insist on repeating statements that are untrue, and they insist on denying facts. They refuse to tone down their verbal attacks. They refuse to take responsibility for their own behavior. They willfully and forcefully refuse to have any sense of humor about anything, and they show open contempt for people who do.

They heap blame and shame on anyone and everyone. They play a constant game of one-upmanship. They escalate the ferocity of their attacks to the point that, if you take them seriously, you have to believe that they fear for their lives because the Secret Police are going to kick in their doors at any minute.

Most of all, they want everyone to know how profoundly unhappy they are, and to join them in being unhappy. Their affect is excessive, inappropriate, and unerringly negative. If I disagree with them, they are negative. If I say nothing, they are negative. Even if I agree with everything they say, they are still negative. They are utterly inconsolable.

And that’s the point. They are not trying to help themselves, and they are not asking for help from you. They are doing emotional dumping. They are using you (let me emphasize this: THEY ARE USING YOU) as a garbage can for their emotional poison. They want to make sure that whatever is bothering them will bother you, too.

They carelessly or maliciously ruin your outlook for their own selfish purposes. Emotional dumping and constant negative talk are acts of pure selfishness.

And they are destructive. Emotional dumping and negative talk are contagious. You involuntarily begin to feel angry and sullen. You can watch yourself becoming more negative and more hostile, and you feel yourself getting out of control.

What can you do to protect yourself from the psychological poison these people inject into your soul?

No options are pleasant. However, passively tolerating negative talk and emotional dumping ensures that you will become infected and that your mood will be poisoned.

The least destructive option is avoidance. Just as you avoid loud noises, you should avoid the negative people. You are not responsible for their unhappiness, and it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to reform them. If you hold any hope that you can change them, they will be sure to shoot your dreams down in flames. You also have no obligation to tolerate their offensive behavior.

If you cannot avoid them, or if you choose not to avoid them, then you may have to confront them. Don’t expect them to stop emotional dumping and negative talk. Be specific about which offensive behavior you want them to stop. If you want them to stop intruding on your time and space, then tell them so. If you want them to tone down their offensive talk, such as cursing and slander, then tell them that. Do not attack them unless you feel you have no other choice. It is a last resort, but it may be necessary.

Your only other option is to tolerate them. If you have to tolerate them, and you don’t care to be infected by their negative, sullen, angry, pouting psychological venom, then you will need to take affirmative steps to protect yourself. You will have to emotionally divorce yourself from them and continually reassure yourself that you are not responsible for their situation. Such people are self-sabotaging, and nothing you do for them will change their self-destructive ways.

People who are constantly negative and who do emotional dumping do not take responsibility for their own behavior. Think about this in your own life. When things don’t go the way you want them to, you have several choices. You can accept that things are not good and take affirmative measures to try to correct the situation. You can complain and do nothing. Or, you can make your problems the focus of everyone’s attention, whether they like it or not. You have the choice to either be offensive or to not be offensive.

You can be bitter, contemptuous, discouraged, and humorless. If you choose this path, like the negative talkers and emotional dumpers do, then you will have to take responsibility for the consequences of your offensive behavior.

The cure for negative outlook and emotional dumping--in case any of those people are interested--is to take responsibility for your situation. In taking responsibility, you give yourself permission to take action to make things better for yourself. Take responsibility for your feelings. If you are angry, then you are responsible for how you express your anger. Likewise with all your feelings.

Feelings are not our choice; our behavior is. The most reliable way to change your feelings is to change your behavior. If you do frustrating things, you will be angry. If you do satisfying things, you will be happy.

You can’t will a change in your feelings any more than you can will yourself to feel or to not feel physical pain. You have to change your behavior to accommodate your feelings, to change them from unpleasant to pleasant.

One simple rule that I have for avoiding possible trouble is, “mess up, fess up”. By admitting what I did wrong, I take control of the situation. Also, have a sense of humor, and don’t be unfriendly. You’ll also save yourself a lot of trouble if you don’t poison other people’s good moods with negative talk and emotional dumping. I think we all know that the best way to avoid possible problems is don’t mess up in the first place.

I hope that you have a happy Thanksgiving Day.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Friday, November 19, 2004

And the Truth Shall Set You Free
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 19, 2004

On October 2, 2004, Nicholas Antongiavanni posted a nice article at the Claremont Institute called, “Berkelefication,” or Manifesto of the Modern Protester. Please zip on over there and have a look at it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The protesters Antongiavanni talks about adhere to some of these ideas:

We are oppressed.
You are oppressors.
We are right.
You are wrong.
Agreeing with us is evidence that you are right.
Disagreeing with us is evidence that you are wrong.
It is impossible for us to cause suffering either to ourselves or to anyone else.
All suffering is entirely your fault.
We have the right to use violence against you at any time.
You cannot be persuaded by any means other than violence.
Standards of justice can only be defined by us, not by you.
Justice cannot be achieved until we say so.
As long as you continue to oppress a single person, justice is impossible.
As much as we would like to, we cannot destroy you.
You have an obligation to appease us.
As long as you exist, we have an obligation to use violence against you.
You have no legitimate grievances.

The conclusion that I draw from this is probably not what Nicholas Antongiavanni had in mind, but it’s worth stating.

The protesters are impotent tyrants.

They wish to cause the oppressors suffering in order to motivate them to change their ways; however, the oppressors never suffer. The oppressors also never have any legitimate grievances. Therefore, no matter how the oppressed define justice, and not matter how violent they are, they cannot cause the oppressors to suffer.

The oppressed respond to any perceived grievance with anger and violence. As long as there is a single oppressed person in the world, the protesters must be angry and violent. They can never achieve any actual good. Therefore, there is nothing left for them except anger and violence, both of which are impotent because they can’t actually cause the oppressors to suffer.

The positions the protesters advocate are arbitrary tests of loyalty. They have no reasonable ends. Also, philosophy and religion are illegitimate tools designed by oppressors to oppress the oppressed and must therefore be discarded. Any attempt at reasoning is evidence that you are an oppressor.

Antongiavanni says that they protest for the sake of protesting. I say that they protest because it is not only what they do; it is what they are. It defines them.

They assume that force is required and that negotiation is impossible. They are strictly anti-social. They respond to every situation they arbitrarily deem unjust by becoming angry and violent. Angry, violent people are incapable of achieving any good either for themselves or for anyone else.

Such is the case with all anti-social movements that found their beliefs on arbitrary standards of justice. By insisting that oppressors only achieve success by oppressing other people, then anyone who is successful must necessarily be an oppressor. Under this arbitrary system, success is necessarily wrong and failure is necessarily right. People who adhere to such notions cannot avoid seeing injustice everywhere.

In order to succeed in demonstrating the injustice of the oppressors, the oppressed must first fail. It is not acceptable to succeed. Success is evidence that you are oppressing someone else. This is immoral. However, a lifetime of failures eventually adds up.

Assuming yourself to be morally superior for consistently failing, then demanding appeasement in lieu of violence from people who are successful is a doctrine of trick-or-treat. It is impotent intimidation.

The first rule of confrontation is “never bluff”. The position we should all take toward the protesters is to ignore them. They are bluffing. If they violate the law, then they should be arrested and prosecuted.

If they can make their case without violence, as did the racial equality movement of the 1960’s, then they have the right to be heard. If they insist on violence as a means of furthering their ends, then we are under no obligation to tolerate them. Gandhi understood this, and so did Dr. King.

Violent protesters are impotent and arbitrary. We have no obligations to them beyond the normal obligations of civil discourse.

Another word for “oppressor” is “tyrant”. The protesters claim that the oppressors are tyrants. However, the idea that only the oppressed can define justice and can use violence against anyone they like is also tyranny. The truth is that angry, violent protesters are tyrants.

And the truth shall set you free.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

You Stupid Morons
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 16, 2004

It seems to be the opinion of the Democratic Party toward Americans in general that we are all a bunch of stupid morons. From Adlai Stevenson’s snobbish condescension toward Dwight Eisenhower and the American people in the 1950’s to Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men”, Democrats think you people are a bunch of stupid morons.

Deacon at Powerlineblog hits on this theme today and last May, and links to an article by George F. Will. Mr. Will has talked about this subject before, and seems keenly aware of the Democrats’ view of themselves and the American people. It is a position of snobbish contempt.

“How can you people be so stupid?” I have encountered this so many times I’ve lost count. I have listened patiently to incomprehensible blather from self-anointed experts, and when I ask a reasonable question like, “Well, what do you mean by...?”, I am accosted with insults, contempt, derision, and hostility. How can I be so stupid that I don’t understand what they are saying?

Simple. They don’t make sense. Their arguments include self-contradictory statements, false information, lack of evidence, and unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing by others. Their classic “war is bad” canard illustrates this perfectly. War has achieved nothing good, they say, and those who engage in war are “bad people”. If you consider independence of the United States, the emancipation of slaves in America, and the liberation of Western Europe and Japan “nothing good”, then that argument makes sense. If you consider that the greatest war in America’s history was prosecuted by two icons of the Democratic Party, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, then the argument makes even less sense. FDR, Truman, and millions of veterans who served and fought to liberate foreign countries from tyranny sacrificed more than we can comprehend. People who make such sacrifices for the good of others are not “bad people”.

Where do Democrats of today get off condemning war? Simple. Democrats of today are soft, suburban, college-educated wimps. They are fashionably cynical. They have turned self-indulgence into political doctrine. They cannot comprehend risking their lives for anything. Dying, it seems, would interrupt their schedules.

Here is another nonsensical argument by self-anointed experts who think you’re all a bunch of stupid morons: America is a socialist country because the 16th Amendment empowers Congress to confiscate all wealth from all people; therefore, you possess only those things that government allows you to possess. The argument goes that everything you acquire in your life from birth can be classified as “income”; therefore, the “income tax” permits Congress to seize all assets from all people. It gets worse. According to the know-it-alls who posit this drivel, Congress may tax income at rates greater than 100 percent. They go on to argue that Congress may tax your current income at a rate of 10,000 percent, thereby empowering them to seize all your physical assets and encumber you for life. Because of this presumed and never before exercised power to confiscate all wealth, the argument goes, you only possess what Congress allows you to possess. In other words, you have no real right to private property. Because there is no right to private property, they argue, America is socialist. They then conclude that if you disagree with them, you are a stupid moron.


To begin with, the 16th Amendment defines “incomes” (not “income”) as payments from investments. The support you received from your parents during childhood is not “income”. The assertion that everything you receive as compensation, gifts, or loot from criminal activity is “income” is unsubstantiated by the facts. Second, no asset can be taxed at a rate greater than 100 percent. Taxation is confiscation, and it is impossible to confiscate greater than 100 percent of any asset. Therefore, any tax rate greater than 100 percent is a tax on assets other than the original asset being taxed. In other words, it is an unlawful confiscation of assets.

You still retain the right to private property because no property is subject to taxation without the rule of law. Government cannot institute taxes without the consent of the people. If the people agree to allow government to confiscate all of their assets, then so be it. I don’t think the American people have consented to this, nor do I think they ever will.

The fact that the self-anointed experts are so wrong about so many points in this argument does not phase them in the least. They are wrong about fundamental facts in their argument, and their solution is to tell me that I’m too stupid to understand their argument.

[Incredulous, slack-jawed stare.] I don’t comprehend their argument because it is incomprehensible.

It does not occur to these people that anyone may actually have legitimate reasons for disagreeing with them. The failure to understand this critical fact leaves the snobs and self-anointed experts unable to realize their own situation. Their inability to understand legitimate opposing arguments leaves them unable to learn from their experiences. They are unable to learn.

While there is a lot that can be said on this subject, it is sufficient to say that refusing to learn from their mistakes necessarily results in continued failure. An analogy would be a pilot trying to land an airplane. If he makes a mistake, he suffers the consequences directly. Blaming others for his own failings won’t save his life or the lives of his passengers. If he makes the same mistake repeatedly, he will be deemed a danger to himself and others, and his license will be revoked. The pilot has only one choice, get it right the first time.

Democrats don’t understand the importance of getting it right. Apparently, they rarely suffer the consequences of their own failures. The result of shielding people from the consequences of losing is to fill the world will losers. They believe that if they don’t get it right, it’s not their fault. They operate from the position that they are right, and that the matter is therefore permanently settled. They construe all evidence of their failures as proof that people who disagree with them are stupid morons.

There is nothing ideological or religious about making correct decisions and executing your duties with precision. It requires training, humility, courage, and dedication to matters greater than your own ego.

As long as Democrats--or anyone, for that matter--are satisfied to blame other people for their own failings, then they will never progress. You can’t be progressive if you’re incapable of progress.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Monday, November 15, 2004

Junkyard Dogs
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 15, 2004

How do you make a junkyard dog?

First, you abuse him. Get him good and upset. Make him angry. The more you agitate him, the better.

Second, you neglect him. When he whimpers, ignore him. When he’s hurt, pretend he doesn’t exist. Teach him that when he shows weakness, like being sick or hurt, he’s going to get a beating.

Third, deprive him. Starve him. Take his water away. Make him desperate.

That’s pretty much it. That’s how you make a junkyard dog. He will be angry, hostile, and desperate. He will fear you, be dependent on you, hate you, and most of all, he will attack anything that moves. But be careful. Junkyard dogs have been known to turn on their masters.

It’s a funny thing, though. That’s how a lot of parents raise their children. Constant abuse, neglect, and deprivation turn normal children into vicious animals. And the parents rarely get blamed. The abused, neglected, and deprived child is labeled as a problem.

It might be a good idea to re-think how we examine our problem children. It might be time to examine the parents. After all, junkyard dogs don’t make themselves.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jefferson on Majority Rule
Opinion © 2004 by Guy L. Evans

November 11, 2004

I found this quote at The Drum and Cannon.

The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism. - Thomas Jefferson
Additional quotes by Jefferson on the subject of majority rule appear here. I picked out a few that seem pertinent to our current situation.

If we are faithful to our country, if we acquiesce, with good will, in the decisions of the majority, and the nation moves in mass in the same direction, although it may not be that which every individual thinks best, we have nothing to fear from any quarter. --Thomas Jefferson to Virginia Baptists, 1808. ME 16:321

I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:278
My greatest concern is the rights of the minority, that is, the losing side. Jefferson has this to say on the subject.

Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals. --Thomas Jefferson to Garret Vanmeter, 1781. ME 4:417, Papers 5:566

Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression. --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318
I like this one most of all.

The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society. --Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:490
Jefferson goes on to address the problem of reducing the election results to geographic locations. This is pertinent because of some Democrats are talking of breaking up the nation to suit the wishes of the political minority. To me, talk of secession is further evidence that the left wing of the Democratic Party are simply enemies of the United States, and have been since the 1930’s. I hasten to remind such people that, unlike their icon, the Soviet Union, here in the United States, the borders are open and they are free to go.

A geographical division...is a most fatal of all divisions, as no authority will submit to be governed by a majority acting merely on a geographical principle. --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel H. Smith, 1821. FE 10:191
The two important points that Jefferson makes are that 1) when the election is over, we are all obliged to conform to the will of the majority for the sake a national integrity, and 2) the majority has no right to commit crimes and acts of oppression against the minority. In other words, the law must restrain the majority from using force against the minority. Mutual respect is required between the majority and the minority; otherwise, we are left with anarchy. Jefferson makes it clear that failure of the minority to acknowledge the legitimacy of the majority leaves only the laws for force, and ultimately military despotism.

Jefferson’s thoughts on majority rule make it clear that obstruction of judicial nominees in the Senate is a clear violation of the spirit of self-government. I maintain that such obstruction is an outright violation of the law.

The refusal of the minority to acknowledge the right of the majority to enact laws jeopardizes our system of government, and eventually our nation. The radical elements of the left in America are forcing us closer to dictatorship. It would be better for them in the long run to settle down and pursue their goals through persuasion instead of force. Anti-abortion radicals could learn a lesson from this, too.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Statement of Quality
Refuting modern logic © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 10, 2004

The week of the election was not a good time to pose a symposium question. However, there is only so much political speech any sane person can listen to, and I needed to change the subject.

Here is the question from October 29.

Modern logic asserts that in the proposition “some S is not P” the subject term “some S” affirms the existence of at least one member of the subject category “S”. In other words, modern logic asserts that the proposition “some unicorns are not mammals” affirms the existence of at least one unicorn. The question is, does the proposition “some S is not P” affirm the existence of at least one member of the subject category “S”? If so, why? If not, why not?
The proposition “some S is not P” is called a particular proposition because the subject term “some S” is part of the universal subject class “S”. Modern logic teaches that the question of quantity is settled by the definition of the subject term “some S”. They teach that in order for there to be “some S”, there has to be at least one “S”. They also teach that all propositions containing the subject term “some S” are false if there is in fact no “S”. In other words, they teach that the proposition “some apples in the bowl are not green” is false when it can be demonstrated that there are no apples in the bowl.

This seems plausible. But, it is wrong.

The proposition “some apples in the bowl are not green” is a statement about the quality of the apples in the bowl, not the quantity. The proposition asserts that the quality of greenness is not true of some of the apples. The proposition neither affirms nor denies the actual quantity of apples in the bowl.

I need to clarify one point before I continue. The universal affirmative proposition (all S is P) and the particular negative proposition (some S is not P) are contradictory propositions. This means that one is always true and the other is always false. When the universal affirmative proposition “all S is P” is true (e.g., “all dogs are mammals”), then the particular negative proposition “some S is not P” (e.g., “some dogs are not mammals”) is necessarily false. Both the universal affirmative and the particular negative propositions are contradictory to each other.

Modern logic teaches that when it can be demonstrated that there are no apples in the bowl, then every proposition about the quality of the apples in the bowl is false, including contradictory propositions. For example, modern logic teaches that if there are no apples in the bowl, then the contradictory propositions (universal affirmative “all apples in the bowl are green” and particular negative “some apples in the bowl are not green”) are both false because the idea that there are in fact any apples in the bowl is false.

Since it is impossible for both contradictory propositions to be false, then either the rules of logic are in error, or the teachers of modern logic are in error. The rules of logic are correct.

The problem for modern logic is that while nothing can be said to be true about the apples in the bowl when there are in fact no apples in the bowl, likewise nothing can be said to be false, either. In plain English, it is impossible to determine that the apples in the bowl are not green. It is likewise impossible to determine that the apples in the bowl are green. It is impossible to determine any quality of any object when you have no evidence of its existence. The proposition “some apples in the bowl are not green”, when there are in fact no apples in the bowl, is indeterminate, not false.

Here is what the teachers of modern logic have gone wrong. They have presumed that the category of quantity is necessarily predicable of all subject terms. This is simply not true. What this means in plain language is that the demonstrable quantity of every subject term is indeterminate unless specifically stated in the proposition. That is, the quantity of any subject term cannot be assumed.

This is made clear in the proposition “all fish are blue”. The proposition properly stated is “fish are blue”, meaning that the idea “fish” is combined with the idea “blue”. All propositions are either a combination (“is”) or a division (“is not”) of two ideas (the subject term and the predicate term). Quantity is not necessarily established in any proposition.

It is not necessary to establish the quantity of the subject term in order to determine the truth of the proposition. The universal subject term “no S” has no quantity. Yet, propositions about such a subject term can be determined to be true. For example, “no fish are mammals” is true even though the quantity of the subject term “no fish” is zero. Likewise, the proposition “some fish are not mammals” is true regardless of the quantity of the subject term “some fish”.

Modern logic pursues the notion that when the subject class “S” has a quantity of zero, then only propositions with the subject “no S” can be true. For example, since there are no unicorns, then the only propositions that can be determined to be true about unicorns are the ones that contain the subject term “no unicorns”. In modern logic, the proposition “no unicorns are blue” is true because there are no unicorns. However, the proposition “no unicorns are blue” does not establish the quantity of unicorns, only that the quality of blueness cannot be attributed to the subject class “unicorn”. In modern logic, the contradictory proposition “no unicorns are not blue” is also true. No subject term can be its own contradictory; therefore, the subject term “no unicorns” cannot be both “blue” and “not blue”.

In fact, our only evidence of unicorns are artistic renditions. Some would say that unicorns are only a figment. However, the cosmos is a big place, and we have no way of knowing with certainty whether such creatures exist on other worlds, or have existed in times past on this one, or may exist some time in the future. It is impossible, then, to determine whether the quality of blueness can be said to be true about the subject class “unicorns”.

Modern logic pulls a con game. When the teachers of modern logic determine any subject class to have a quantity of zero, they change the subject term “some S” to mean “no S”. The result is that the meaning of the proposition “some S is not P” is changed to “no S is not P”. Modern logic asserts that this mental shell game is correct because there is no “S”.

Modern logic inserts into the proposition an element that has not been previously established. They base their assertion on the statement that the particular of any subject class is “at least one, but not all” of the entire subject class. This is the point that confuses them, “at least one”. Teachers of modern logic assert that the definition of the particular “some S” affirms the existence of at least one “S”. The absurdity of the assertion should be obvious. How can there be one “S” when “S” has not been defined?

However, this is off the point. The actual definition of the particular “some S” is not “at least one, but not all”, it is “less than the total, and not necessarily any definite or determinate number”. Another way to say this is that the particular “some S” means an indeterminate member of the subject class “S”, and is not limited to definitely one member.

A particular proposition is one containing a particular subject term. The particular subject term is generally conceived as “some S”; however, Aristotle made a more accurate distinction. He taught that the universal affirmative subject term “all S” can also be expressed as “every S”, and the particular subject term “some S” can more accurately be expressed as “not every S”. The term “not every S” is both indeterminate and indefinite.

Therefore, the answer to the original question is “no”. The proposition “some S is not P” affirms the subject class “S” as being a component in the proposition, and it affirms that some S is not P, but otherwise it affirms nothing, including the quantity of “S”. It most assuredly does not affirm the existence of definitely one “S”.

The reasons why people who teach modern logic can afford to be so wrong for so long are still a mystery to me. I think it has more to do with modern politics in universities than with knowledge of the subject of logic. I suspect that established beliefs are more important to them than actual knowledge. In any case, modern logic supposes evidence that is not established, and arrives at false conclusions as a result.

Supposing evidence that is not established is a good definition of “superstition”. Don’t be superstitious. Establish your evidence.

Hat tip to J. B. for pointing out an obvious problem in the final draft.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Monday, November 08, 2004

Interpreting the Constitution
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 8, 2004

Back to the matter of interpreting the Constitution. There are two senses in which the verb “to interpret” can be taken.

1. To explain.
To explain something is to make it understandable, to give a reason for it, or to show the logical development of it.

To interpret the Constitution in this sense would be to make it understandable, give reasons for it, and to show the logical development of it. This is the sense in which conservatives interpret the Constitution.

1. To construe.
To construe something is to analyze the arrangement and connection of words in it, or to understand or explain the sense or intention of it. This is the sense in which liberals interpret the Constitution.

Conservatives try to clarify the meaning of the Constitution as intended by the people who actually wrote the Constitution. Liberals try to change the meaning of the Constitution by dismissing the intentions of the people who actually wrote it.

This latter method is an attempt to change the meaning of the Constitution by invalidating the intentions of the people who actually wrote the document. If you apply this method to all laws, you end up with anarchy. For example, if you are driving down the street and you see a sign that says, “Speed limit, 35 MPH”, you could interpret this in such a way as to completely change its meaning by disallowing the intentions of the people who wrote the law. You could say that the speed limit only applies to a one block section of street, since the sign only appears on one section of the street, and that there is no effective speed limit on any other sections of street. You could say that the speed limit only applies to rich people because they have big, dangerous cars. You could say that the speed limit only applies when there are other cars in the vicinity, or only when the police are watching. And so forth.

However, this would be assuming authority that you don’t possess. As a citizen, I have no authority to interpret the speed limit sign. If I don’t understand the meaning of it, I run the risk of violating the law. If I am caught violating the speed limit, I can plead my case to the court. But the court has the final say in enforcing the meaning of the speed limit sign, not me.

Likewise the Constitution. The authors of the various sections of the Constitution made their intentions clear. Research into the intentions of the authors of any section of the Constitution quickly clears up any misunderstanding. For example, the 16th Amendment was never intended to empower Congress to tax wages and salaries, and was specifically written to prevent Congress from assuming such powers. The word “incomes” specifically means revenues from investments such as stocks and bonds, as well as profits from the operation of business. The word “incomes” was never intended to include wages and salaries.

The liberal intention in interpreting the Constitution is to willfully change the meaning of the Constitution to promote their agenda. In doing so, they make the Constitution a political instrument instead of the legal instrument it was intended to be. It is certainly much cheaper in terms of total dollars to change the meaning of the Constitution than it is to follow the lawful amendment process. However, the non-dollar costs are much higher.

Willfully changing the meaning of the Constitution to promote a political agenda foments tremendous hostility among people who believe that the Constitution is being used to promote an unacceptable political agenda. People who believe that the Constitution threatens them loose trust in government and in our nation. Unresolved distrust can manifest as hostility and subversion. For example, when the majority of the Supreme Court deliberately abandoned the Constitution in the Roe v Wade decision, they removed the subject of abortion from public discourse and imposed their will on the nation. There is no language in the Constitution that applies to the practice of abortion; therefore, under the 10th Amendment, the matter is left to the people and to the States to decide. The result has been a determined, sometimes violent, and occasionally lethal anti-abortion movement.

Anti-abortion activists view the government with distrust and think that their only alternative is to advocate an amendment to the Constitution banning the practice of abortion. Pro-abortion activists view this as an attempt to by the anti-abortionists to impose their will on the nation. Neither side seems interested in the alternative, which is to send the matter back to the 50 States for popular debate and legislative action.

Interpreting the Constitution, in the liberal sense, means abandoning Constitutional government in favor of superimposing party doctrine on top of the law. The Constitution contains solid protections for all political minorities. Liberals want to remove those protections for minorities either who do not support the liberal agenda (e.g., gun owners) or who can be exploited to fund the liberal agenda (notably “the rich”).

Co-opting parts of the Constitution to the Democratic Party platform undermines the rule of law, and leaves all of us, Democrat, Republican, and unaffiliated, more vulnerable to violations of our rights. Without the Constitution to restrain government, we cease being citizens and become subjects.

Interpretation of this kind, changing the meaning of things, is symptomatic of liberals. They interpret everything, and often end up with the wrong meaning. The re-election of Bush provides some clear examples. Liberals interpret the vote totals to mean that the voters were opposed to gay marriage, but they don’t interpret the vote totals to mean that the voters were in favor of winning the war in Iraq, or continuing to reduce marginal tax rates.

Facts are facts. Facts never require interpretation. If you think facts need to be interpreted, that means that you lack vital information. For example, vote totals inform us who and what the voters voted for, but they don’t inform us as to the motives of the voters.

That liberals think that they need to interpret facts, and that they think that they have to right to do so, indicates a serious flaw in their method of reaching conclusions, as well as an exaggerated notion of their own intelligence. They are satisfied to include unverified information in their arguments. Courts of law do not allow this because doing so jeopardizes the defendant’s right to be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Another word for interpreting facts without verifying your findings is “superstition”. Liberals would do themselves a great deal of good if they stopped “interpreting” the facts and started applying stricter standards of proof to their own arguments.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Fuming Mad
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 6, 2004

I heard something this week that set me off like an ICBM. I’m not sure I’ve calmed down yet. So, sit down. Take a deep breath. Get ready. Here it is.

“Do you have any clue as to the number of innocent children that have died because of our military?”

Well. How to respond?

No, I don’t have a clue. Neither does the person who posed this question. But, numbers aren’t the point. This question is aimed at heaping shame and indignity on the U. S. armed forces.

There are a few responses that come to mind.

First, does the author of this question have any clue as to the number of innocent children who have died because of kitchen workers, police officers, nurses, cab drivers, etc.?

Second, does the author have any clue as the to number of children that have been saved because of our military?

But, the only effective response to any such question is, “What do you want me to do?”

That’s it. What do you want me to do? Should I be ashamed of “our military”? Should the American people be ashamed of them? Should they be ashamed of themselves? Should we disband the armed forces to avoid killing any more “innocent children”?

Or, more realistically, should the author of this asinine question be ashamed of himself for being so stupid and arrogant?

Heaping unfounded accusations, shame, and indignity on America’s armed forces is beneath contempt. People who do such things should be ashamed of themselves. But they can’t be. They are incapable of feeling shame or regret for their own behavior. They are utterly self-centered, enclosed in a protective cocoon of ignorance and arrogance. They are perfect. They are flawless. They know everything, and everyone else is stupid.

They can afford to live in their happy little Disneyland because “our military” defends them from the horrible realities of the world outside our borders. They never have to face any real enemies.

I would be foolish to take such people seriously, but I can’t help being disgusted by these cowards.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Friday, November 05, 2004

America’s Unteachable Brats
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 5, 2004

“To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.” -- Robert Louis Stevenson, “Crabbed Age and Youth,” Virginibus Puerisque and Later Essays

I had an opinion piece ready to go yesterday related to Hugh Hewitt’s article in the Weekly Standard called “The End of the Sixties, More than a win for conservatism, Bush's victory marks the end, finally, of the '60s.” It’s a fine discussion of the end of an era. Please go there and read it.

What stopped me from posting that piece was Laura Ingraham reading an article by Daniel Henninger of OpionJournal.com called “Generation Gap, Blue Democrats lost red America back in 1965.”

For me, it was a marvelous lesson. It fits perfectly with Hugh Hewitt’s article and with most of my suspicions about the left. Here are the sections that interested me the most, and my comments.

These Baby Boomers--the generation of John Kerry, Al Gore and Bill and Hillary Clinton--transformed the world view of the Democrats, on everything from foreign policy to cultural issues. This new ethos--instinctively oppositional, aggressively secular--sank its roots deep on the East and West coasts, but it never really spread into the rest of the country, then or now.
Henninger uses the term “instinctively oppositional”. That sums it up. They protest for the sake of protesting. They oppose for the sake of opposing. They cannot live without a new cause to champion. They cannot concede either defeat or victory. They live to oppose. Yet, they will not tolerate, nor can they understand, opposition.

Expressed emotion matters greatly for this generation. The most notable phenomenon of the 2004 election was widespread liberal “hatred” of George Bush. Many wondered what sleeping volcano brought this lava to the surface. It came from the style of protest politics born in the 1960s. A famous liberal political phrase then was “the personal is political.” Letting oneself become emotionally unhinged during a protest, as at Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley, became a litmus of authenticity. It became the norm, and it still is. But again, only for people who scream themselves blue.
Henninger reduces Bush-hating to “the style of protest politics born in the 1960s.” I’ve been wondering for a long time just what mental illness afflicts the leftwing nut jobs who spew hate at George W. Bush. It’s the same hate they spewed at the military personnel returning from Viet Nam, and at Ronald Reagan. It’s the same hate they spew at every target of their choosing. Spewing hate is their “litmus of authenticity”, as Henninger says. Bingo. They’re not mentally warped. It’s all just an act. It’s a gigantic put on. It’s a show. It’s their “style”.

But the politics of the Vietnam generation wasn’t just about Vietnam. It was about changing everything, most notably the culture. This generation really opened up the culture. The old pre-Vietnam strictures on behavior and comportment--Tip O’Neill’s old Boston Catholic world of Mass on Sunday and at least a working if not functioning knowledge of the Baltimore catechism--got hammered down till the moral landscape became flat and fast. Now you can drive anything at all into theaters, music or movies. This post-Vietnam culture of non-restraint, now almost 40 years old, produced Whoopi Goldberg’s double-entendre jokes about George Bush’s name at Radio City Music Hall, the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s sudden decision on gay marriage, and hard-to-defend support for partial-birth abortion.
Henninger notes that they wanted to change everything and create a culture of non-restraint. But change isn’t always for the better, and non-restraint can quickly become debauchery. As Ronald Reagan noted, the new morality was really nothing more than the old immorality. Spot on, Mr. President.

There is no hope that the Vietnam generation braintrust who just lost this election will ever understand Red America. Until someone in the party recognizes this, the tides of demography will inexorably erode the blue islands that remain on the map.
This is the only point I disagree with. Of course they understand Red America. The left rejects Red America because accepting it would require them to take responsibility for their shameful and cowardly misconduct over the last generation. Because they decided to betray their country, they were obliged to invent a new morality for themselves that made it their duty to oppose the obligations of citizenship. I remember one disgruntled draftee saying in a letter to the editor of Newsweek that he had been duly convicted of citizenship and sentenced to two years active duty in the Army. The anti-war people wanted all of the benefits of American citizenship, and none of the obligations.

My conclusion is that the Viet Nam era generation that Daniel Henninger and Hugh Hewitt talk about have turned morality on its head. They define all morality and truth as being entirely relative to their personal situation. They judge everything according to the effect it has on their own personal experience. Whatever hurts them is bad, and whatever pleases them is good. War, work, and patriotism are bad because these things impose duties on them. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll are good because these things act to salve their emotional wounds.

They are America’s unteachable brats, well birched and none the wiser for their experiences in life. They live an endless, hopeless cycle of misplaced trust, disappointment, and self-medicating self-indulgence. They are zealots addicted to their zealotry. In their own minds, they are special, admirable, enlightened, and liberated from the shackles of civilization.

What they have actually achieved, however, they seem unable to grasp. By promoting birth control and abortion, they have reduced their numbers to the point that they will remain a minority in our population until they become extinct. By promoting cultural non-restraint, they have removed incentives to sensible self-restraint. By promoting emotional violence, they promote violence in general.

The people of that generation, whose icon lost the election last Tuesday, are self-defeating, self-absorbed, unreasoning, self-indulgent, immature, and violent. They have pursued liberation from the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and civilization, and for the most part, they have succeeded.

They are barbarians.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It’s Over
Opinion © 2004, by Guy L. Evans

November 3, 2004

I’m home sick with the flu today. Don’t worry. Norton Anti-virus is working. I just heard on 710 AM, KNUS radio that John F. Kerry is expected to call George W. Bush to concede the election. It’s finally over.

I have a few thoughts. Tell me if you agree with any of them.

1. Bush haters owe the United States of America an apology. I don’t care if they apologize to President Bush. He’s a big boy. He can take care of himself. But the rest of us have had to tolerate their infantile tantrums (or is that “tantra”?) for four years. Enough! GROW UP!

I can’t remember whom I am paraphrasing, and for that, I apologize. Hatred is the coward’s misbegotten idea of courage. Bush haters are cowards, they have put their cowardice on public display, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

2. America may be closer to doom than people realize. The major issues that pushed Bush and the Republicans over the top yesterday were national security and gay marriage. People who voted against Bush voted for the economy (how raising taxes will improve the economy is still a mystery) and the environment. Over all, a minority of voters (about 25% from what I can gather) considered national security the leading issue.

Let me ask you this, don’t you have locks on your doors? Don’t you consider keeping your family safe from intruders to be your primary concern? Don’t you believe that there are bad people out there who will try to kill you for no sane reason? Don’t you watch the evening news? People are murdered every day. Security must be your primary concern in everything you do. Lock your doors. Put your seatbelt on before you start your car. You don’t need to be hyper-vigilant, just be aware of the possibility of trouble. Why is this even an issue?

3. Pete Coors lost in Colorado, and Democrats took both houses of the State legislature. The voters approved an exorbitant RTD tax increase, as they did an exorbitant school tax increase two years ago. It now seems the people of Colorado just can’t seem to find a tax increase they don’t like.

People don’t understand Colorado politics. The Coors family is not popular in Colorado, especially among people who have worked for them. Also, Californians have been pouring into Colorado for a decade and bringing their bad habits with them, including gangs, traffic congestion, pollution, and Democrat lunacy. Colorado has been transformed into a colony of California, and will be Democrat for at least the next generation, probably longer.

4. The Republicans need to get busy finding a successor to George W. Bush, and it won’t be Dick Cheney. As much as I like Cheney, he’s really not suited for a national political campaign. The Republicans need to look for someone with genuine charisma (no, not Arnold) and the guts to stand up to the Hollywood Europhiles. It would help if their candidate could speak well and smile a warm, heartfelt smile. Not that Bush doesn’t do this, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s smiling or grimacing. Appearance matters more than ever.

5. Two national elections in a row, 2000 and 2004, the Democrats have thrown everything they had against the Republicans. This has included law suits, frightening black voters and seniors, a deliberate campaign of insane hate against Bush in particular and America in general, recruiting Europeans to influence American voters, portraying Democrats as Republicans (lower taxes for the common man), making crazy promises (keeping Social Security benefits at current levels while not raising taxes), using the main stream media as propaganda organs for the Democratic Party (CBS being the worst offender with their obvious forgeries), vote fraud, and scads of other dirty tricks that I can’t think of right now.

The Democrats pulled out all the stops, and they lost twice. Those of us with average wits understand that for the last generation, the Democrats have lost the war of ideas. Americans don’t want socialism, socialism lite, or any of the other massive government programs the Democrats have offered. Americans also understand that the United States of America is not the villain in the world tragedy. America is the most generous and the most selfless country in the world today. That is obvious. To portray the United States as evil for deposing Saddam Hussein by force is itself evil. And Americans understand that.

6. Liberty is a good thing. Liberty is the national expression of the personal virtue of courage. Courage is the first virtue because it makes all the other virtues possible. Liberty is the first virtue of nations because it makes all the other national virtues possible.

7. Since the 1960’s, it’s been “cool” to hate America, religion, the nuclear family, sobriety, and government. It has been “cool” to be cynical for cynicism’s sake. I have lived with a generation of people who have nothing to offer but unending, merciless, and senseless criticism of everyone and everything. Criticism is the fool’s idea of wisdom. I hope those days are coming to an end as the hippy generation (the baby boomers) begins to lose their influence. I hope their children and grandchildren understand how silly it all was, and don’t repeat those mistakes. I am proud to be totally un-cool.

8. The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth have a long road ahead of them, if they choose to take it. There is an ancient idea in Japanese culture that when you die, all you leave is your reputation. It is time to recover the honor of America’s veterans of the Viet Nam era from the anti-war (meaning anti-American victory in any war) movement of the 1960’s and 70’s.

I pray that they will take up the cause.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

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