AK Voices: Geoff Kennedy

Geoff Kennedy lives in Anchorage.

Nineteen signs you are an anti-Semite - 2/7/2014 4:18 pm

Let's all sing together: George Zimmerman Bridge, George Zimmerman Zimmerman Bridge, etc. - 1/30/2014 9:45 pm

There you go again, and again - 1/22/2014 12:34 am

Whining "victims," anyone? - 1/11/2014 10:19 pm

Sanctions, anyone? - 12/14/2013 11:59 pm

Irony, anyone? - 11/29/2013 11:28 am

Polo (and for that matter dressage), anyone? - 11/18/2013 9:48 pm

A belated Happy Anniversary, Mr. Fortunate Eagle - 10/14/2013 9:57 pm

Don't Bother Reading This

This essay is not for the reasonable readers, the ones who demonstrate some reading comprehension skills and some ability to reason. There’s nothing here for you. If you’ve read what I have already written, you know there’s nothing really new here and I advise you not to bother with this essay.

I’m a flawed human being and sometimes do things I shouldn’t. But I’ve had it with the endless name-calling and being labeled a socialist by people who advocate far more government interference in people’s lives than I do. Most recently, I’ve been falsely accused of opposing the right of the state of Israel to exist and of trying to get Israel to return its boundaries to 1948 before it existed. Spreading such falsehoods about me leads me to conclude this accuser is far more interested in expressing personal hostility against me than in telling the truth.

So, despite the repetition, I want to set the record straight.

The plain truth of the matter is that I believe sometimes government works best and sometimes it doesn’t. I sometimes agree with Libertarians and sometimes do not.

I agree with the principle that government should not do what people can do for themselves. Its primary role is protecting people when they cannot protect themselves. Most large cities, for example, find socialized fire and police departments are more practical than ones in the private sector.

But I apply those principles differently from those who conform to the conventional wisdom. The older I get, the more skeptical I get about the government's claims of protecting our national security. The best way to defend our country is not to do whatever our leaders feel like and try to compensate for their evil and dysfunctional behavior by trying to cover up their behavior with violence and the threat of violence. The best way to defend ourselves is to behave ourselves. That means following the original golden rule—do to others what you would have them do to you. It does not mean the more modern version—we have the gold; so we make the rules.

The best way to deal with enemies is try to make friends of them. In other words, fairness. The worst way to deal with enemies is to turn friends into enemies. In other words, unfairness. This is the primary message of the founder of my religion, Jesus Christ. I do not have conclusive empirical evidence that his way works better than George W. Bush’s way. But anecdotal experience and history, in my view, support the Jesus method.

Yes, there are bullies. The best way to deal with them is not to emulate them. The plain truth is that no other nation is strong enough to bully ours. The principle that sometimes we need violence to protect ourselves is true for those who are attacked; the principle does not apply to the attackers. The history in my lifetime reinforces that message. Nazi Germany did not defend itself by attacking its neighbors. Saddam Hussein did not defend Iraq by attacking Kuwait. The USSR did not defend itself by attacking Afghanistan.

Nor do we defend ourselves by trying to impose our economic system on the rest of the world. Each country is entitled to select its own economic system. The US has no right to shove our ideas of democracy and freedom down the throats of people in third-world countries simply because they aren’t powerful enough to fight back. Imposing the federal government officials’ will on people in other countries is not being conservative; it’s being leftist.

I’ve seen estimates that our country spends up to 52% or more of its budget on military matters. The figure will vary according to which matters you consider military. We spend lots of money on foreign aid to other countries, mostly military aid which enables such countries not only to attack each other but also to attack us (and then try to evade retaliation by claiming the attack was accidental).

I believe foreign aid can best be done through the private sector. If you want money spent on some Middle Eastern countries, you can send the money yourself (like your PFD) instead of having the US government confiscate the money against your will. What it comes down to is trusting the good judgment of the American people and not the elitists who claim to know what’s best for Americans more than the American themselves do. After all, don’t we refer to such elitists as “leftists” and “socialists?”

The conventional wisdom is that such expenditures are necessary to protect our national security. As someone with more faith in Jesus Christ, less faith in the conventional wisdom and even less faith in the federal government, I challenge such assumptions. I believe we can defend our country more effectively and for far less money the Jesus way. In other words, we cannot defend ourselves simply by throwing money at the problem. Now, if I’m wrong, prove me wrong. Asserting I am wrong or sticking labels on me does not prove your point.

Now, since the Harvard Medical School study finds that 450,000 Americans have died because of the failures of the private sector health care system, I consider protecting the lives of Americans a national security issue. Systems of wealth transfer from the people to the corporations that buy our politicians is not a national security issue. It’s a socialism issue.

What it comes down to is this: if you want to charge me with having a socialist view of health care, fine. But show the guts to admit you have a socialist view of foreign aid and national defense. The issue for me is not whether the government should defend us. For me the issue is whose view of defense is the right one—mine or big government’s.

Now, you are free to disagree with me and to prove I’m wrong. But before you stick the “leftist” and “socialist” labels on me, I challenge you to show you’re any less “leftist” and “socialist” than I am.

To do that, you probably have to prove that throwing money at our defense problems works better than old-fashioned fairness.

So far, no one has done that to my satisfaction.

The more I look into foreign aid, the more skeptical I become of it. I used to believe that, as the richest country in the world, we were responsible for caring for those who have less than we do, especially those in danger of death from famine and disease. But I have seen more and more evidence over the years that the government is not using our tax dollars to save the lives of the poorest people in the world; instead, our politicians send our tax dollars to dictators who steal from the poor to give to the rich. And our politicians spend our tax dollars on weapons to kill people instead of on food and medicine to save people’s lives.

The politicians excuse their behavior by insisting handouts to provide weapons to dictators is protecting our national security. Such politicians and their supporters want me to have as much faith in them as I have in Jesus Christ. I do not.

Especially when my tax dollars are used to reward foreign countries for killing my fellow Americans. Our politicians insist the acts of homicide were mere accidents. But our politicians have also insisted the US did not send spy planes over the USSR 50 years ago, LBJ sought no wider war in Vietnam, the Nixon administration did not order bombing Laos and Cambodia and had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in, the Reagan administration did not trade arms for hostages in order to finance the Contras, George H. W. Bush did not raise taxes, Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with Monica, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, and Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were close buddies. Yet, a few on these cyberpages demonize me for not believing the politicians.

Here are some accusations:

1) Objecting to being forced to finance countries that attack Americans makes me an anti-Semite who hates all Jews, denies the right of those countries to exist, and proves I support terrorism.

2) Accidentally brushing up against a guy who wants me dead is a “hate crime.”

3) Pointing out possible inaccuracies about a foreign politician makes me a disciple of that politician.

4) Objecting to the way some politicians treat other countries proves I hate America and blame my country for all the ills of the world.

5) Criticizing some excesses of capitalism is hypocrisy because I also engage in capitalism.

6) Holding governments and corporations as accountable for their behavior as individual Americans for theirs makes me an extreme “leftist.”

7) I have no right to speak out against evil deeds. Instead, every time I point out a bad deed committed country A, I should be required to put out a bad deed by country B.

8) I have no right to espouse principles. I am responsible for ensuring that everything I write advances my critics’ political agendas and nothing else.

As a juror in a criminal case, I would judge the facts on hand; comparing the alleged crimes of the defendant with the crimes of Timothy Mc Veigh or Joshua Wilson is irrelevant. In the same way, mentioning crimes committed by Burkino Faso does not require me to mention crimes committed by, say, Lichtenstein. The point is opposing crimes, not comparing criminals.

Nor does telling the truth require me, in fairness, to balance the truth with lies.

Some don’t get it or refuse to get it and go ballistic because I don’t advance their political agendas. So they call me names, accuse me of “crimes,” and even tell lies about what I believe. I have news for them. Lying about me and my beliefs neither protects national security nor fights terrorism. All it does is destroy the credibility of the liars.

Here’s the deal: This is my declaration of independence. I refuse to conform to the good guys/bad guys, black/white, us/them way of seeing the world. I focus on whether actions and policies are good or good or bad. That means opposing crimes committed by country A does not require me to mention crimes by country B. I take sides between good and evil, not between countries. I oppose all evil, but I oppose the evils done with my tax dollars more than the evils done by the private sector in other countries. I oppose the School of the Americas/WHINSEC and al Qaida because both outfits train terrorists. But I oppose the SOA more because they bill me for their crimes while al Qaida relies on the private sector to finance its crimes.

I declare independence from today’s trendy permissiveness towards government crimes. I do not have the burden of proving I am not a terrorist; the burden of proof is on the government. As a taxpayer, I do not have the burden of proving the School of the Americas/WHINSEC trains assassins, torturers and terrorists. The SOA/WHINSEC has the burden of proof it is doing something constructive, not destructive. As a taxpayer, I do not have the burden of proof that my tax dollars are being used to kill innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. The government has the responsibility to prove it’s using my tax dollars to protect me, not appease foreign countries and special interests.

I also declare independence from the government’s approach to national security. I disagree with the practice of interfering with other countries without regard to moral principles and then relying on military power to ensure our government gets away with its crimes. I agree with Pope Paul VI, who advises that to ensure peace, we seek justice and with Jesus Christ who advises that our security depends on seeking first the kingdom of heaven. That means the best way to protect us from terrorism is to treat the rest of the world fairly and therefore to take away injustice as a tool for recruiting terrorists.

Like other flawed human beings, I am not perfect. I do plead guilty to having double standards for countries that pay for their own crimes and and for countries that bill me for their crimes, especially my own. I do expect my country to behave better than Myanmar. But, as much as possible, I try to declare independence from at least some double standards. I don’t hold teenage single moms more responsible for their behavior than megacorporations and superpower nations. If we deport individual foreigners for committing crimes, we should deport corporate foreigners for committing crimes and let countries like Iraq and Afghanistan deport American soldiers and Marines who enter their countries without passports. If we bust individuals for kidnapping and torture, we should bust government officials for kidnapping and torture. If we imprison individual Muslims without convicting them of training terrorists, why not imprison government officials without convicting them of training terrorists? Here’s the deal: If you are so eager to accuse me of double standards, then show some consistency and accuse the government of double standards, as well. Otherwise, you’ll be guilty of precisely what you accuse me of.

Now, if people can prove that the bully-‘em-then-threaten-to-nuke-‘em method works better than the Paul VI-Jesus method, I’m willing to keep an open mind. Quoting some politician or FOX pundit is not proof. Neither are name-calling, character assassinations, and lies about what I believe and do not believe.

I’ll be perfectly satisfied if no one read this. This is not for the people like Kevin Clarkson who disagree with me and engage in reasonable dialogue. But it is for those who abuse their cyberpages. I hope this long essay makes it harder for them to lie about what I say and what I believe.

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