Trump’s Moral Confusion

February 8, 2017

I’ve delayed my promised wrap-up of the dangers inherent in artificial intelligence till my next rant to explore a topical failure in human intelligence, or at least human values.

 

At a gathering this past week I had a conversation with an acquaintance who appeared to share many of my world views. However, when the subject of Israel and the Middle East came up, we had a spirited discussion about equating loss of innocent lives during military action versus the intentional targeting of non-combatants (an argument I’ve heard before). To me, this was an otherwise reasonable man attempting to assert equivalence between collateral damage and terrorism.

 

Which brings me to President Trump. This past week he took a brief break from tweeting to sit down for an interview with Bill O’Reilly. During that dialog, he was asked if he respected President Putin, and while he acknowledged it remained to be seen if they would get along, he maintained that he respected the Russian leader. When reminded by Mr. O’Reilly that the man was a “killer,” Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

 

It behooves all of us, especially our president, to get our heads above the moral fog that seems to have enveloped us over the past few decades. No, we are not perfect; as a nation of human beings we never can be. And we should strive to be better. But even with our mistakes and missteps we’ve come the closest to assuring human rights and dignity of any system devised in the history of mankind. The principles upon which this country is based (and which, paradoxically, seem to foster this moral confusion), have created the most powerful meritocracy the world has ever known. If we lose sight of this, and focus more on our shortcomings than on our successes, as our enemies hope, we will become progressively immobilized as a people by the toxic cloud of moral confusion.

 

The slogan of Trump’s campaign has been “America First.” If he continues down this road he can join ex-President Obama on the second “Blame America First” tour.

Apocalypse in the Wings—Hint: It’s Not Zombies

January 23, 2017

The turns of history predict we’re approaching a Crisis in the next 5-15 years. There are many candidates proposed. If you were to watch popular television, it’s gluttonous zombies. If you’re PC, it’s global warming, repackaged as climate change. If you’re a historian, war and/or economic collapse rate high on your list. If your leanings are more to the celestial, it’s that pesky rogue asteroid or a well-aimed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) flaring from the sun. They’re all plausible speculations (well, maybe not the perambulating re-vivified carcasses), but let’s examine them in the light of reason.

War and economic collapse certainly occupy the 1 and 2 slots, in either order. The Middle East is a hotbed, we’re doing our best to fight, in as limited a fashion as possible, the neo-Nazi neo-Caliphate, and we’re printing money and borrowing cash as breathlessly as we can to keep up with our insatiable urge to create a more utopian society and bolster a standard of living we always seem to be just one or two paces behind (if only ancient Rome had had the Federal Reserve!).

If these weren’t enough, we’ve got the specter of global cooling to deal with (oops!; that was the 1970s). There is evidence that we’ve had progressive warming of the planet, AKA climate change. Some of my more expert acquaintances on the subject tell me that longer term evidence on past climate patterns does not jive with the short term temperature records used to define the trend. Other analyses suggest that many scientists who support the concept of global warming don’t necessarily feel the evidence supports the level of short-term risk trumpeted in the media. But the mainstream warns that such views are tantamount to denying the Holocaust. Accepting as fact that we’re into a long term warming trend, and the cause an increase in atmospheric CO2, the second proclaimed non-controversy is that mankind is the culprit. Assuming this too as fact, we must deal with (or ignore, which is safer in this political climate, pun intended) the issue that some experts have calculated that if we were to impose all the carbon restrictions the world has proposed in recent edicts, it would have a miniscule effect on the trend, but a major impact on the world economy. So, in my cataclysmic conjecture, that brings us back to economic collapse. No matter where the truth lies, we can all agree that reducing carbon emissions and levels of associated pollution isn’t a bad idea. The solutions, I believe, will come not from arbitrarily imposed carbon restrictions but from technology, which I expect to be the source of abundant, reduced-carbon and carbon-free energy much sooner than people think. Unfortunately, as I will point out, this technology boon or boom comes at the cost of one of our greatest threats. So, for your edification and convenience, I provide the true and incontrovertible risk assessment for the next Apocalypse (drum roll, please):

  • 1/2. War (including cyber warfare and man-made EMP attacks)
  • 1/2. Economic collapse.
  • 3. Artificial intelligence.
  • 4. EMP from the sun.
  • 5. Climate change (of the hot variety)
  • 6. Asteroid collision.
  • 7. The Walking Dead.

AI as number 3, you ask? Too much scifi in my entertainment diet, right? Scoff if you will. It’s true that science fiction has given about the same emphasis to numbers 3 and 7, trivializing  and desensitizing us to the former. That has been a tragic mistake. Because number 3 is very real, and coming at us like a freight train (or, more apropos, a hurtling asteroid).

I strongly recommend viewing Sam Harris’s brief but excellent TED talk on the subject here, then rejoin me at your leisure (if we’re all still here) for additional thoughts on the matter.

POST ELECTION BLAH-BLAH

November 14, 2016

I breathed a sigh of relief the morning after with confirmation that Trump had, indeed, achieved the seemingly impossible and threaded the needle to greater than 270 electoral votes. Like the majority of conservative voters, I was not a Trump supporter; but I was not a “never-Trumper,” either.

I believed, and still do, that people who truly liked either candidate are uninformed, immoral, or amoral. Of course, I disagreed with the progressive left on who posed the greater danger to our country. They allowed themselves to believe the propaganda that Donald Trump was worse than a coarse, sometimes juvenile candidate and mischaracterized him as bigoted and unstable. They falsely proclaimed reprehensible actions (Hillory’s) as less consequential than inexcusable words (Donald’s). The demonstrations/riots that followed the election serve to illustrate that belief, although it remains unclear what proportion of his detractors share this level of angst (there are talking heads that proclaim these demonstrations are not spontaneous, but bought and paid for, like those at the pre-election Trump rallies).

In the past, winning an election has been declared a “mandate,” and this election is no exception. Now, I support the concept of the electoral college and the rationale for our founders crafting a republic rather than a democracy (yes, we are the former, not the latter). But the success of our country moving forward hinges on our net values. It is not lost on me that small majority of the popular vote went to Hillary. This is the result of decades of government growth, expansion of the welfare state (handouts), and liberal education that fails to educate our children on the reasons an electoral college and a Senate exist (I recently laughed as a liberal senator was quoted as decrying the existence of the electoral college, the same concept that was responsible for giving her a job). Because both candidates were so flawed, it is difficult to determine to what extent this muddies the waters in terms of the electorate’s core beliefs.

At this point, is it in the realm of possibility that changing course, if this occurs, will reverse the steady decline (I recognize the left does not see a steady decline)? I don’t know. Already the cries for “unity” and “compromise” that have derailed previous attempts to move to the right ring out. You cannot unify mutually exclusive, disparate beliefs, only compromise on how quickly and to what extent you get there. While I strongly believe a constitutionally conservative Supreme Court will benefit the country in the years ahead over a liberal progressive one, unless we get a handle on our spending and debt and calm the turbulent international waters, a peaceful, evolutionary healing will be impossible. Historical cycles indicate we’re approaching a Crisis, and there may be no way to stop it, only overcome it.

And it will extract a great cost.

ELECTORAL PSYCHOSIS: OR THE HILLARUMP-TRILLARY SYNDROME

May 25, 2016

I came across an op-ed piece in our local newspaper recently by Eliot Cohen. His commentary boiled down to a call for a third-party candidate. He termed Hillary Clinton “easily the lesser evil” and posited that a third-party candidate would send her a message to “govern from the center.”

A bit later in the week I had a brief political sidebar with a patient (this seems to arise more often these days), and he expressed disgust with the current polarization and voiced a similar wish for more cooperation and a move to the center.

Now, I’ve been persistently perplexed by the rise to the top of two deeply flawed candidates who share at least one thing in common: They have the highest unfavorable ratings of the pack. So what would possess the American public to ostensibly rally around their least favored candidates? The call for a move to the center gelled a theory I’d been harboring.

But first, getting back to the patient, I inquired if he were $100,000 in debt, would he reduce his spending to neutral, “governing from the center,” as it were, or would he tighten his belt in an effort to climb the uphill road to fiscal recovery?

For decades now progressive Democrats and Republicans have doubled down on unprecedented “grow and spend” policies that have become so entrenched that much of the electorate cannot imagine a viable alternative. Many have adopted a similar personal fiscal policy, planning little for the future while enjoying the moment. The lines for $5 and $6 dollar Starbucks’ beverages grow even while we hear of increasing joblessness and a shrinking economy. The illusion of the status quo is buttressed by a growing welfare state supported by unprecedented borrowing, printing, and their associated campaign promises.

But the odd bird of an election we’re witnessing reflects an unease that’s starting to ripple across a growing segment of the country: a realization that things are not working. For many, the solution has taken the shape of a call for an outsider; someone who will do something—anything—differently. For some this “savior” takes the form of a blustering, fist-shaking, non-politician who talks a lot about “winning,” with populist catch-phrases in search of elusive policies and substance. For others, it’s the siren call of wealth redistribution, the indomitable phoenix of socialism and its comrade “social justice,” once again rising from the ashes even as the world watches its demise again…and again. And yet others crave a return to the only normal they can fathom after decades of intransigence, just a few more years of comforting printing and spending, and things will eventually work themselves out. This, even if the promises come from someone they don’t really trust…and who might be indicted. Finally, a growing but stunted group made an aborted attempt to place a voice that spoke to the only solution that makes sense: Shrinking government, reducing spending, stopping crony capitalism, and growing the private sector economy. But this messenger was tainted ideologically. Those on the left are conditioned to see this this viewpoint as espoused by narrow-minded bigots who love only corporate fat cats, and many in the center were put off by exhortations weighed down by right-to-life and other perceived religious undertones.

When faced with the knowledge that something must be done and the one obvious solution you’ve been told is evil, cognitive dissonance occurs, and the paradox creates…the Hillarump-Trillary Syndrome. Side effects include mini-riots at campaign stops and spending an inordinate amount of media time distracting oneself with the pros and cons of a minute fraction of the public’s right to choose which bathrooms they may enter.

A third party candidate? Americans have always been an exceptionally innovative people. Given time, I’m certain we can come up with a someone we like even less.

BOSS TRUMP

December 14, 2015

We have a new Teflon Don. The resilience of John Gotti may be responsible for the coining of the nickname, but the old mob boss is now a whisper in history to the shout that’s known as Donald Trump. And arguably, Trump is the more deadly.

 

Few people, myself included, anticipated the staying power of the new Teflon Don. I’d assumed that his refreshing bluntness (read: bah, humbug to political correctness), his financial independence immunizing him to the demands of special interests, and his outsider status burnished by an astute business knowledge often lacking in career politicians, would fuel an ascent that would, however, fizzle in weeks to months–just as Republican candidate after candidate rose and fell in succession during the prior presidential election. A barrage of self-launched anti-Trump missiles would inevitably bring the campaign crashing back to Earth. Well, like so many others, I was wrong.

 

His most recent missile, supporting a moratorium on all Muslims entering the U.S. has, if anything, increased his poll numbers. My assumption that 75% of the conservative and right-of-center independents were just biding their time, waiting for another candidate to gain enough traction, may still be correct, but may now be only 70%–and falling.

 

I hate political correctness. I hate arrogant Washington insiders with about as much understanding of economics as Stalin. I hate the ineffective prosecuting of the terrorist threat and ineffectual protection of our borders. But I never thought anger would so cloud the sensorium of the electorate as to believe that a man with bull-in-a-china-shop diplomacy skills should serve as the international face of the U.S. And I don’t care if he gets Mexico to pay for the wall (although that would be a nice perk). But the true danger is making him the face of the Republican Party.

 

Now, I consider myself a conservative but only grudgingly associate with the GOP, which more often than not is as embarrassing as the Democrat Party. However, we remain a two-party system and the only alternative is Hillary. Trump’s antics give fuel to the specious arguments that conservatives are all racist, bigoted shills for the wealthy. While Trump will have no impact on the entrenched beliefs of the far left, my fear is that he’ll dramatically influence the undecided independents and the low-information crowd that arguably decide the election to move to Hillary’s camp, and cause many conservatives to stay home on election day. And this would spell disaster for our country and possibly set back conservatism for decades. No wonder the liberal media can’t get enough of him (they gave him more coverage this past week than the San Bernadino terrorist attack).

 

I still think it likely that Trump will implode, but I’m becoming less certain of that outcome with each passing week.

 

After all, he is the Teflon Don.

 

KNOW THINE ENEMY

November 30, 2015

Continuing along the lines of my last rant, it has become clearer to me that fighting a shadow enemy is not just foolish, but incompatible with long-term survival. To fight it, you must first ferret it out.

It’s a fact that the vast majority of Muslims have been nonviolent. As previously discussed, it is not possible to know what is in the hearts and minds of these noncombatants, how many are sympathetic to the Islamists’ cause, and how many are outraged. There is no question that parts of the Koran and the Hadith, the writings of Muhammad, encourage jihad and the slaying of nonbelievers, even women and children, in the service of Islam. There is also no question that the writings encourage the practice of Islam both spiritually and as a way of life, and prescribe sharia law as the means of fulfilling this. The question as to whether a moderate practitioner of the religion who rejects violent jihad, and even sharia law, is a “true” Muslim, I will leave for the Muslim community to sort out with the Islamists. That being said, much of the confusion paralyzing the West is born precisely from this issue: Is lambasting as extremist the Muslim religion as a whole fair because a fraction of them are vicious, murdering scum?

We have a long-standing history of religious tolerance in this country—in fact, its roots trace back to the Pilgrims’ flight from religious persecution. We’re so sensitive about the issue of “separation of Church and State” that we even forget that the phrase isn’t even in the Constitution, which simply prohibits the government from adopting an official state religion. So prohibiting worship under the name of Islam is abhorrent to our culture, and our natures.

Therefore, to establish a framework for combating our enemies, it is important first to make a distinction between a moderate Muslim, assuming such a thing exists in the absence of acceptance of sharia law, and an Islamist, who embraces sharia and the establishment of a caliphate, with its attendant atrocities. The Islamist uses the same term, Allah, to describe the God he worships, but the confusion this engenders evaporates once we recognize Islamism is nothing more than a Satanic cult couched in the terminology of religion. Their Allah is Satan, their practices are Satanic, and those that “worship” in its name deserve no protection under the guise of freedom of religion.

So, in practical terms, how do we separate the Muslims from the Islamists? As we’ve established, we will not proscribe the practice of a particular religion. We can, however, prohibit the teaching and practice of sharia. We do not allow sharia law to operate in this country. Teaching it might be argued by some to be protected free speech. I disagree. We do not permit hate speech or seditious speech (nor allow one to call out “fire!” in a crowded theater, to cite the hackneyed example). I contend we cannot permit the dissemination of sharia by word or action in our land. Further, I would contend that Muslims be required to sign a contract that they neither support nor condone the teaching or practice of sharia, at the cost of imprisonment or deportation. (I recognize many will be aghast that I’m singling out a group for such a requirement, but I contend that we are in a state of war that requires extraordinary measures.) Clearly, if legal sanctions were in place, many would lie to avoid them. But perhaps some of the most devout Islamists would refuse, and, at worst, the change in tactics would provide us with the tools to seek out and deal with the enemy in a way our current approach cannot.

Things must change in the service of freedom and survival, and they must happen now, or they certainly will later, when our enemies are stronger. We are currently on the same well-worn path with the Islamists we trod with the Nazis in an earlier generation, and there is only one major difference between the two: The Nazis tried to hide their atrocities from the world, while the Islamists celebrate them. Satanism, it appears, is more extreme than Fascism.

Those that choose to interpret my words as bigotry, open your eyes. Read some of the offending parts Koran and the Hadith, pay attention to what is happening in the world … and pray, regardless of your religion, or lack of it.

Because God will always win over Satan unless we turn our backs on Him.

IRONY: OBAMA = BUSH

November 23, 2015

The ghastly events in Paris have caused me, like many others, to return to the questions of how? and why? that aren’t ever quenched by our intellectual musings on cultism and brainwashing, or even the concepts of good and evil. So my mind returns to proximate causes, and the one that comes first to mind is George Bush’s decision to remove Saddam Hussein, creating the power vacuum that has shaped events over the past decade. What motivated him? My opinion was that he had a misguided view of the values of the people of the region. Having suckled so long on the milk of freedom, hard won by generations past, Bush assumed, as did I, that given the chance, everyone would embrace liberty. All we needed to do was remove a dictator’s yoke and the people would rise up and seize the day. He didn’t fathom that sectarian hatred, and love of sharia law, the antithesis of freedom, could possibly be more powerful. In that way, he is like our current president. Obama talks of Islam as if they share our values, ignoring the evidence placed, blatantly, before us. I’ve read of recent polls in the U.S. indicating that half of American—American!—Muslims subscribe to sharia over constitutional law and as many as a quarter would condone force to institute it. Does anyone truly believe the global prevalence of these beliefs would be lower?

To those of you harboring the notion that my words are the ramblings of a hateful bigot, I put this to you: Where are the protests? Not the hordes of Muslim citizens decrying our besmirching of their religion. Rather, the hordes of devout Muslims angrily protesting the Islamist murderers’ hijacking of the “religion of peace”? Where are the placards proclaiming, “You do not represent Islam!” and “We reject sharia law!”? The signs proclaiming unity with the Constitution and its crown jewels, freedom of speech and religion? Where is the Islamic reformation? As the violence worsens the voices seem to become more distant. No longer is fear of retribution an acceptable excuse. We are in the foothills of World War III and our inability to distinguish Muslim from Islamist will result in continued, unprecedented violence.

During World War II this resulted in the infamous Japanese internment camps. While I’m proud to be a citizen in a country that has exercised restraint in our dealings with Muslim Americans, I cannot help but feel that the fear of repeating injustice to innocents has hamstrung our efforts to fight the enemy hidden within the Muslim community. I suspect that only a negligible number of spies were ensconced in the loyal Japanese-American public in the 1940s, but paranoia runs deep during wartime. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that a larger proportion of the Muslim community subscribes to, or will be converted to Islamism than most of us thought possible, and an even larger segment, while not willing to engage in violence, will secretly support them. The situation in much worse in Europe where there are many borders and large established Muslim communities, some described as “no-go zones” for the authorities, such as in France.

Speaking of borders, the recent events have stoked my anger even hotter that we’ve chosen not to protect ours.

But that’s a rant for another time.

SHAMELESS PLUG

August 4, 2014

I finally bit the bullet this past week and epublished “Close Encounter” on Amazon. (The book conversion was almost as challenging as writing it.) Even if a sci-fi thriller isn’t your cup of tea you can sample it and ogle the great job my younger daughter did with the cover.

Dr. Dan Chamberlain’s life takes a detour when he’s asked to perform a medical exam on a paranoid schizophrenic committed to a New York City hospital psychiatric ward. Kara Reesha claims to be a microbiologist from Korlon, “class H planet in the Jorlii Galaxy,” sidelined while trying to save the world from a lethal epidemic. Meanwhile, the unwitting disease vector, escaped felon Erol Tabor, is seeking to highjack the international economy. Framed as bioterrorists, Dan and Kara must work to prevent a plague and stop Tabor while eluding both the FBI and Tabor’s agents. Dan’s emotional entanglement with Kara proves to be a mixed blessing as clues to her secret past come to light. The ensuing battle between love and fear will spell the difference between success and global catastrophe.

http://www.amazon.com/Close-Encounter-David-Puro-ebook/dp/B00M7R0B8U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406655008&sr=1-1&keywords=close+encounter+puro

My interest in writing science fiction spans decades. After winning a journalism award for a college essay I developed a lifelong love of writing. I’ve written dozens and published two short stories, “Predator,” a flash fiction piece which appeared first in the small-circulation anthology Peeks and Valleys and was reprinted in Hancock College’s literary journal, MindPrints; and “In the Mind of the Beholder,” a reworked chapter from his initial foray into full-length fiction, appearing first in the ezine Aoiffe’s Kiss, then earning a second life in the print anthology Wondrous Web Worlds No 7 as a best-of-month favorite. I’ve completed four novels in the genres of science and speculative fiction, with Close Encounter being the first released for publication in ebook format on Amazon.com.

You can also visit www.davidpuro.com, a work in progress.

DERANGED

August 4, 2014

You’re a radical.

I’m a radical.

We used to be normal, but we’ve been labeled. There are only two sides: violent, bigoted, militaristic conservatives, friend of CEOs and Big Business, and liberal/progressive unwashed, tie-died communist progressive liberals who want no borders and more taxes from the rich.

The Bush Derangement Syndrome has become the Obama Derangement Syndrome. Bush was a dumb cowboy who dragged us into a war for oil on a specious pretext to benefit his wealthy friends. Obama wants to destroy the country, erase the borders, and make us the Europe of the West.

It’s time we put a stop to it. When we talk in hyperbole, we can’t talk at all. We’ve allowed the far right and the far left to distract us for too long.

No, I’m not going to become progressive. The ideology has become foreign to me. But I don’t believe Barack Obama is itching to destroy America. I believe he’s walking down a road that he believes is best for our country (or perhaps the world), that will ultimately hasten America’s downfall if we don’t reverse course. I believe he’s obsessively political due to his Chicago machine roots and has a narcissistic, arrogant streak. But he’s not Satan. He loves his wife and family and succumbs easily to a misguided charity for the “downtrodden.”

George Bush the younger was not Satan, either. I believe he is best characterized as a naïve idealist. He used the pretext of WMDs in Iraq (which he and the left at the time believed to be a real threat) as an excuse to nation build, with the ingenuous belief that everyone, given the chance, would risk their lives in the name of freedom, as our ancestors did and our brave warriors continue to do today. He believed another democracy besides Israel the in the cauldron that is the Middle East would be a game changer and establish his legacy. Events appear to have proven him very wrong.

We need to move away from stereotypes, see the true radicals for who they are, and start talking. There is a common ground. For instance, many on the left are economically conservative and socially liberal (yes, there is a Tea Party side to many mainstream liberals). We need to reexamine the principles upon which the country was founded and start strengthening them. We need to quarantine the race-mongers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. We need to take hotbed issues that divide us and keep us from solving problems, like abortion and gay marriage, off the national agenda and return them to the states. And we need to stop overspending and leaving trillions of dollars in debt for our children and generations to come.

Radical thoughts, I know.

THE RIGHT TO BE UNCIVIL

April 8, 2014

A few months ago a dinner discussion with a friend triggered a reference to Barry Goldwater, the late senator and presidential contender who lost to Lyndon Johnson in 1964. I was 12 at the time and apolitical but recall him being portrayed as a racist by the New York media. My friend, who is neither stupid nor racist, shocked me with the comment that he agreed with Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The fact that Goldwater’s dissent had nothing to do with racism is beside the point. My friend’s argument distilled to the libertarian belief that the government shouldn’t be legislating against people’s prejudices of any kind, no matter how appalling. Coincidentally, this discussion occurred at a time when I’d been thinking quite a bit about the evils of racism. Also coincidentally, I was in the process of reading a book by Lawrence Hill, Someone Knows My Name. This historical novel reconstructed in distressingly graphic detail the slave trade of the late 18th century, chronicling the life of one extraordinary black woman.

At dinner, after vehemently denying the validity of my friend’s argument, I got to thinking why a reasonable, intelligent person would even debate the issue. And I realized it merited some thoughtful analysis.

We discriminate all the time: what clothes we wear, what food we eat, the colors we paint our walls … with whom we chose to eat dinner. People often use the terms discrimination and prejudice interchangeably. Discrimination is nothing more than choosing according to one’s preferences. Prejudice, on the other hand, involves prejudging a person, thing or idea based on criteria that may or may not be valid. Things become more complicated when the actions are applied to race, religion and sexual preference.

In some ways the third category is the thorniest. In September of last year, a photographer lost her court battle after refusing to take a job at a gay wedding. In a separate incident, a baker closed his doors after being targeted legally by a lesbian couple for refusing to sell them a wedding cake. In both cases, the accused cited moral opposition and their right to free expression.

To prevent injustice, our laws have delineated certain protected groups that are excluded from our right to discriminate, regardless of whether this is motivated by prejudice. My friend believes that the marketplace should be allowed to mete out the consequences. For instance, businesses that engage in racial discrimination would have less patronage and might be driven from the marketplace by censure. In a perfect world, this argument might have validity (although I would argue that in a perfect world racial discrimination wouldn’t exist). His argument fails to take into account the concept of tyranny of the majority.

Our Founding Fathers feared this enough (otherwise known as “mob rule”) to make this country a democratic republic, not a democracy. If we were to remove the prohibition on racial discrimination, what protection would a minority have against local majorities recreating the Jim Crow laws of the early part of the twentieth century?

With the deinstitutionalization of racism over the last few decades (which is not equivalent to its absolute abolition) one might argue that there is now a substantial economic cost to racial discrimination and segregation that might validate my friend’s argument. We must not forget, however, that this economic incentive to “do good” was not operative in the relatively recent past, when these detestable practices were not only permitted, but condoned and even encouraged in some parts of the nation. It’s conceivable that pockets of like-minded bigotry could coalesce to create regional monopolies that would, in essence, impede market corrections, forcing the subjugated minorities to flee to locations distant enough to uproot them. The reprehensible nature and the consequences of this behavior, in my opinion, make it a moral imperative to act more quickly than market forces can to correct it; we need laws to preempt it. Freedom to discriminate is, in a sense, like freedom of speech. Yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater is as taboo as the freedom to subjugate.

Libertarianism without limits turns liberty into anarchy.