Back in the Saddle

In the months leading up to the election in November 2014, I was quite active in my activism – writing, tweeting, posting on my Facebook page, and generally doing everything I could to help the candidates and causes I supported. After the election, which was a partial success, I took a breather.

My “breather” turned into a sabbatical as I was busy at work through year-end and had to manage some life issues that came along. I remained active on Twitter, for the most part, and gave considerable more thought to what I was trying to accomplish through my activism and the “To Advance Freedom” brand.

Second Amendment Support

Having studied the issues in considerable depth since December 2012 and participated in many debates on the subject, I am more firmly convinced than ever that the Second Amendment is necessary, and that it must be preserved and protected.

At the same time, the grief and rage of the victims of gun violence and their families are legitimate and must be respected. The fact of the matter is that these people have been injured and/or lost loved ones. Where we differ is on who or what is to blame for their injury or loss. Almost without exception, the victims blame the tool – the gun – and not the perpetrator. We 2A supporters blame the perpetrator and maintain that the right to keep and bear arms is necessary to maintain a free society.

Until we address the root causes of violence – mental illness, racial tensions, gang conflict and a general lack of civility in society – gun violence will continue. Despite the fact that violent crime is on a long decline even as civilian gun ownership is increasing, progressives are demanding ever more gun control laws and refusing to budge on the ones already on the books. Our battle to preserve gun rights is marked with small victories here, small defeats there.

I will continue in my unwavering support of the Second Amendment and the right to keep proud supporterand bear arms, but there are many excellent sites that do a much better job of educating and supporting than I do, so that will not be my primary focus in the months to come.

 

World Increasingly Becoming More Dangerous

 In February of this year, I forced myself to watch the video of ISIL savages burning the Jordanian pilot alive in a cage. It was very difficult to do, and I was disturbed by it for days afterward. As I continue to study Islam and what is going on in the Middle East, I become ever more convinced that the West and our way of life is locked in an existential struggle with men (I say “men” because women are devalued and disempowered by the so-called “religion of peace”) who believe in a 7th century vision of the world and their place in it.

I am conflicted in what I view America’s role in the world to be. My libertarian side wants to leave the rest of the world alone, to let them solve their own problems (no more foreign aid) and fight their own battles (this is why America becoming energy independent is so important.) The foreign policy stance of presidential candidate Rand Paul resonates with this side.

My inner historian sees what has happened in the past when America withdraws from world affairs, and the price in human lives that has been paid for our isolationism. This part of me believes that America should play a role in world affairs, that American exceptionalism is real and a force for good in the world; and that we must protect our national interests, our friends and allies, free trade and freedom.

Finally, the humanitarian in me sees the sheer savagery and bloodshed that is commonplace in much of the world. Whether it is being hunted by ISIL cowards in machine-gun mounted trucks in the desert, being shot down in an airliner over eastern Europe, or starving in the African desert, most people in this world do not enjoy the relative safety, peace and quality of life that we have in America and Western Europe (Western Civilization).

I plan to continue to monitor world events and refine my views of what America’s role in the world should be.

Energy Policy and Climate Change

In the months since I started studying these issues, I have become ever more convinced that the anthropogenic (human) caused climate change (ACCC) believers are no different from any other religious fundamentalists, and that the ACCC belief is itself a religion: it has its canon (humans cause global warming, America is the chief villain, and we’re facing a climate catastrophe if we don’t cut our carbon emissions), its saints (Al Gore, Barack Obama, Tom Steyer, Bill McKibben, Paul Ehrlich and others), its rewards for believing (you get to feel good about yourself and be cool in coffee shops and progressive gatherings) and its penalties for apostasy, skepticism and unbelief (unrelenting ridicule and hatred – believe me, I know).

My own views on climate change have deepened in the months since I published my climate change series – I still believe that the climate does change, and that it changes all by itself as it has for billions of years. I don’t believe that human activity has much of an effect on the climate system one way or the other, and that ACCC is just an excuse for increased governmental power and intrusion into our lives, or “socialism by the back door” as George Will has put it. I will continue to point out that science is all about free inquiry and skepticism, and that claims of “settled science” and “97% say so” are false according to the definition of science itself.

When it comes to energy policy, I am glad that I live in a day and age and a country where I have clean water (thanks to electricity), natural gas for heating (thanks to the oil and gas industry), that said gas is relatively inexpensive (thanks to fracking) and that I have gasoline (again, now relatively inexpensive) to power my energy efficient car. I’m glad and grateful for all the conveniences of modern living that we enjoy in America.

oil well at sunsetThanks to revolutionary advances in drilling and completion technologies, including hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), America is on the verge of true energy independence, something only dreamed of back in the 1970s with its oil shortages, gas rationing, 55 MPH speed limits and Jimmy Carter wearing a cardigan. Thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling, clean burning natural gas is cheaper than ever and is replacing coal as the fuel for electricity generation, thereby reducing those evil carbon emissions.

Despite this, unbelievably, there are actually people out there who think that all this is bad, that fossil fuels are evil, that renewable energy is the ultimate panacea, and that humans are a blight upon the planet.

humans are a virus
An excerpt from my climate change series.

Don't Frack CaliforniaWhile I believe strongly that oil and gas, mining and power generating companies should absolutely be held to high standards of care and stringent oversight in their use and management of the environment, I also strongly believe that the “fracktivists” and others who are trying to limit energy development, artificially reduce carbon emissions and otherwise inhibit the fuel needed to power the modern world are hypocrites of the worst kind – they fully participate in the benefits of modern living while at the same time trying to destroy it.

Much of my writing in the months to come will be in support of responsible energy development and against these “anti-modern-living” activists.

Colorado Politics, Progressives and the GOP

This year’s legislative session is underway, and while the progressive Democrats have lost some power since their big year in 2013, they are still there and are fighting tooth and nail against any rollbacks of their extreme agenda from two years ago. I am active in the #copolitics hashtag on Twitter, and will continue to oppose the Democrats on the issues where I disagree with them.

Unfortunately, the national and Colorado Republican party is wasting time and energy on several social issues – they continue to oppose equal rights for LGBT people, to limit or ban abortions, prevent the funding of a program that supports birth control for young women, among others. I strongly believe that the Republicans are not only fighting the wrong battles, but are actively contributing to the decline of America BECAUSE they are fighting the wrong battles. As I have written elsewhere, they are quibbling over cards in the first class lounge while the ship of state is steaming full speed ahead into the iceberg.

Because I have learned that a vote for libertarian candidates might as well be a vote for a Democrat, I believe that the GOP needs to be pushed away from their unfortunate focus on social issues and toward a focus on issues I think most people find important: finding a way to rein in the size, scope and power of the federal government, arresting the growth of our national debt and finding a way to scale back the federal budget, America’s standing in the world and determination of a meaningful foreign policy, restoring and buttressing the rule of law, among others. The fact that they spend so much energy on who should sleep with whom, who one should be able to marry, whether or not a woman should have a child (or even access to birth control, for God’s sake!) and other issues related to how PEOPLE LIVE THEIR LIVES is not only irresponsible, it is reckless.

While I personally dislike abortion I think that it should be a woman’s right to obtain one (but not to have it be funded by taxpayers) up until the point where the fetus is viable outside the womb. Once that occurs, I believe the abortion should only be available to save the life of the mother or if the baby would be born with some sort of defect that would render its life unlivable by normal standards. In any event, I prefer to stay out of the abortion wars for the most part, because I believe women should be the ones to sort this one out.

With regard to gay rights, I say “enough already”! This issue is what turned Colorado blue and put the progressives in power. You don’t get to win everything. The state does not have a compelling interest in who marries whom, and while I don’t support special rights for gays, they should have the same rights as everyone else. As for the religious objections, America is not a theocracy, and for all anyone knows, Jesus would be supportive of gay marriage. Those who profess to know the mind of God are the ones who are usually the most blind and are certainly not the ones who should be setting public policy.

At the same time, I don’t support the militant gays who demand everyone accept, embrace and glorify their relationships and lifestyle. So while I don’t support taking rights away from them or special rights for them, I don’t support requiring business owners to accommodate them in violation of their beliefs. In a free market situation, as people in general become more accepting of same-sex marriage, there are going to be businesses that will cater to them (I would). There will be ones who don’t. The market will reward those businesses who make the right choices and punish those who don’t. In any event, who wants a cake from someone that despises you? Would you eat it? I wouldn’t.

I will continue to push the GOP in the direction I (and many of my collaborators) think it needs to go: away from the social issues and toward the issues we believe are more important.

 

Meanwhile…

 

I’m back. I have no idea how much or how often I will post, but when I feel the need to, I will. Thank you, and have a great spring.

 

By Richard D. Turnquist

April 18, 2015

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