Opinionated @ CFE

Irrational Self-interest


“I’m not poor. Why should I care about poverty?”

“I’m not black. Why should I care about racism?”

“I’m not sick. Why should I care about cancer?”

“I have nothing to hide. Why should I care about privacy?”

What do these four statements have in common?


Making Elizabeth Smart Say Something She Never Said


Elizabeth Smart recently delivered a speech at a human trafficking symposium at John Hopkins University about her experiences being kidnapped and raped. As she’s done many times before, she shared her feelings at the time that left her feeling trapped with her kidnapper for nine months. There are a number of important lessons we can take away from her experiences. Unfortunately, a lot of people are trying to make her says things she didn’t say to score some political points.

What is abundantly clear is that the way that chastity was taught to Ms. Smart was grossly insensitive to victims of sexual assault. The “chewed gum” analogy simply makes me queasy, and I can see how, with such an indelicate comparison, she would feel worthless after being abused. That’s a tragedy that should be avoidable, especially with the under-developed mind of a teenager.

Where this goes off the rails, however, is with the implication that this has anything to do with abstinence and sex education. In fact, I think it’s been made very clear that Ms. Smart’s remarks had absolutely no political or religious overtones to them:

Ed Smart told Fox 13 his daughter was simply sharing her experiences, speaking for herself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but she wasn’t trying to make any religious or political statements.

And yet, the progressive media has decided that this is exactly what she did. Locally, a bunch of other left-leaning individuals have chosen to repeat this falsehood. While I get that their attitudes on sexual activity lead them to attack the concept of abstinence, what I don’t get is why any of them would feel the need to explicitly lie about what Ms. Smart said to try and lend more authority to their argument. Unfortunately, I don’t see that anyone perpetuating the lie is going to issue a retraction. At best, we’ll get a mealy-mouthed explanation as to why the mixture of her statements and injected outside opinions is accurate enough that it should stay up.

What this highlights is the supreme importance of going to primary sources when these kinds of stories pop up. You’ll almost always find that what was actually said differs greatly from the sensationalized headlines. This case is no different.

What to make of Mitt’s endorsement of Hatch


The reality is that it’s very simple: Hatch is a reliable Republican Party foot soldier willing to carry water for the president, even on bad policy. That’s why he supported SCHIP, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and a litany of other bad bills from the Bush administration. Do you want a Senator that always supports the president of your party or one that answers principles higher than party loyalty?

The Federal Lands Fight is Worth It


A lot of people are saying that the current efforts to bring federal lands back to state control are misguided. What’s truly misguided is thinking that this isn’t a fight worth picking. The land in question is worth several billion dollars in one-time sales and hundreds of millions of dollars in on-going revenues. Even if the state only manages to get a settlement for better terms from the feds, it is likely to be worth much more than the estimated one-time cost of $3M to pick the fight. Yes, it’s wrapped up in a right-leaning 10th Amendment veneer, but the strategy is sound.

PS I’ve heard exactly zero valid arguments for why federal control is better than state or local control. Almost the only thing I hear is the same old FUD that we’d end up with a barren wasteland after clear-cut logging and strip-mining every one of those acres. You know, just like all of the eastern states that own their land. (Oh wait…)

Huntsman’s Hollow Romney Endorsement


Today, John Huntsman recognized reality and, after lackluster showings, withdrew from the GOP primary. What was unexpected, however, is his endorsement of Romney, a man that just days prior he said wasn’t fit to be President. It’s also no secret that Romney and Huntsman don’t really care for each other. So what gives? Simply put, Huntsman is playing his cards once again for 2016. The endorsement isn’t so much of Romney as it is of the GOP political establishment and elite that are chomping at the bit for Mitt’s coronation to be over and done with. Huntsman is likely hoping that this act of fealty and deference will win him some support from party insiders next time around. Unfortunately, it’s also sorely disappointing. I can’t be the only one thinking it.

Having the Wrong Argument


For far too long, those who want to shrink the federal government have been focused on the ineffectual arguments that individual programs are immoral, illegal, and/or unconstitutional. Despite decades of making these arguments, the scope of the federal government continues to increase as they fail to gain traction with the greater public. It is a much more effective argument to instead attack the efficacy (or lack thereof) of federal programs. It is a much easier argument to conclusively prove and appeals to our collective sense of local is better. It also does not proscribe state and/or local governments from considering such programs should their citizens so choose it.

I Think We Won the “War on Terror”


Has anyone else noticed that the only “terrorism” cases the FBI seems to get and prosecute these days are the ones where the players have been setup? When that isn’t the case, it’s because alert passengers on a plane learned to fight back. If this is the sole way we can get terrorism cases, I think we can call the “war on terror” won and bring our troops home now.

The only thing I've got to say about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


If our military leaders are certain that the benefits outweigh the risks, there’s little evidence that there will be a significant impact on operational readiness, and they’re using data-driven and not ideology-driven means to determine this, I don’t see why there’s a reason to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” around. If the converse is true or there’s no data to support repeal, drop the issue. I’m personally pretty sick of the emotional nonsense surrounding the issue when it should be a simple matter of cold hard numbers and what’s truly best for the military.

Constitutionalist is a Word without Meaning


A lot of people call themselves constitutionalists. Almost universally they claim a particular view of the US Constitution and what it means. And again, almost universally, that view is that of the anti-federalists. The implication is that federalists like Madison and Hamilton were heretics and can be conveniently forgotten when discussing the formation of this nation. That view is wrong.

I do not agree with the views of federalists. I do not subscribe to the notion that the balance of power should be tipped towards the federal government at the expense of the states. I do not support the idea that the Constitution is open to creative interpretations that turn it into a blank check for Congress. I do not think that Hamilton was even a particularly nice or honorable guy. And I do not think that their views can be written off since they were a very important part of the process of creating our nation’s founding document.

Constitutionalist and anti-federalist are not synonymous. To try and make them so it to try and re-write history.

Arizona and Immigration


More supposed constitutionalists should be questioning the wisdom of what Arizona is doing. Controlling the border is clearly a federal responsibility. Just because they are doing a sucky job at it doesn’t mean you get to step in and take over. Remember how much it cheeses you off when the feds do that to the states?

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