If you’ve ever played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you know about the level “No Russian,” in which the player goes undercover as “Alexei Borodin,” an American soldier who has infiltrated a Russian nationalist terrorist group.
In this level, the user joins the nationalists, led by antagonist Vladimir Makarov, in a massacre of innocent civilians at an airport in Moscow. It’s an important part of the game’s plot, as it sparks a war between the United States and Russia. The user can, of course, go through the level without shooting any of the fictional characters. The plot would remain the same, regardless.
But the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wants video game companies to subject players to war crimes in the games if they commit illegal acts or kill innocent people:
The International Committee of the Red Cross have called for video games to punish crimes committed in battle by adhering to real-life international war conventions.
“The ICRC believes there is a place for international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) in video games,” the organization that works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people caught in war zones said in a statement on their website.
Despite what those who say that the NSA’s spying programs aren’t a threat to Americans, James Otteson argues government snooping is, in fact, a real threat to our privacy.
In a new video from Learn Liberty, Otteson, a professor of philosophy and economics at Yeshiva University, explains that the NSA’s spying is part of a “serious and growing problem in this country” and that Americans might not learn how important the right to privacy is until it’s taken away.
“We have a serious and growing problem in this country. We’ve been asleep too long about our privacy,” says Otteson. “And when we’ve taken something for granted, we may not appreciate it until it’s taken away.
“When Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had been looking into the lives of every American, many people were shocked. Under the guise of protecting us from terrorism and crime, government agencies have dramatically expanded the spying that they do on us — on you, on me.” he explained. “The NSA and other agencies now record every single email, phone call, Facebook post, tweet, purchase, every digital transmission you make — no matter how personal or private you thought it was. No matter how anonymous you thought it was.”
Though the programs supporters say that the if “we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear,” Otteson points out that the invasion of our privacy “robs us of the power to say ‘no.’”
“When the slave can say ‘no’ to the slaveholder, when the serf can say ‘no’ to the Lord, when the child can say ‘no’ to the bully, that’s when each of them has established a boundary of freedom,” added Otteson. “That’s really the importance of privacy.”
Capitalism is truly a wonderful thing. This economic system is empowers the individual and limits government control over economies, which draws criticism and derision from the Left. They like to claim that capitalism is greed and they use that populist sentiment to push more state control and regulations.
But what the Left won’t admit is that capitalism is saving lives and reducing poverty in countries where free trade and market liberalization are being enacted. An editorial in the most recent issue of The Economist outlines the successes of capitalism:
The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.
The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.
Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave the commencement address at Michigan’s Hillsdale College. This school is known for its conservative bent, which is rare in academia today.
Cruz, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, opened with a touch a humor and self-depreciation and then went onto discuss the values of freedom and liberty and also praised the American Dream and economic prosperity. he told graduates that one of the great ideals in the Constitution is that “power comes not from the monarch on down, but instead up from ‘We the People.’”
He also went onto directly challenge the culture of dependency on government that President Obama has pushed. You might recall that President Obama clamored for more big government and warned against the voices that warned of tyranny at Ohio State University earlier this month.
“Human beings are not happiest when they’re taken care of by the state. Areas under the yoke of dependency on government are among the least joyish parts of our society,” Cruz told graduates. “The story of Julia is not an attractive utopia. We all flourish instead when afforded opportunity, the ability to work and create and accomplish. Economic growth and opportunity is the answer that works.”
Watch the speech below. It’s definitely worth it:
A lot of Americans know that the US government is out of control. Anyone who has cared enough to study the US Constitution even a little knows this. Still, very few of these people are taking any significant action, and largely because of one error: They are waiting for “the good guys” to show up and fix things.
Some think that certain groups of politicians will pull it together and fix things, or that one magnificent politician will ride in to fix things. Others think that certain members of the military will step in and slap the politicians back into line. And, I’m sure there are other variations.
There are several problems with this. I’ll start with the small issues:
During a commencement address at The Ohio State University, President Barack Obama praised government, played down the role of the individual, and urged students to reject the voices of tyranny.
“We, the people, chose to do these things together — because we know this country cannot accomplish great things if we pursue nothing greater than our own individual ambition,” President Obama told graduating students. “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works.”
“They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” he continued. “You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
The shot against “individual ambition” is ironic because President Obama himself is the defintion of that term. He was an Illinois state senator who gave a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Later that year, he was elected to the United States Senate. By 2007, he was campaigning full-time for his party’s presidential nomination, which he won in 2008, and would subsequently be elected president.
If that doesn’t define ambition, what does? That’s not a shot against him, by the way. President Obama’s personal story is one that should be admired. The problem with him, of course, is the policies he pushes, which leads us to the next point.
Sometimes, I just shake my head at the ignorance. I mean, it must require a certain willful stupidity to put your head in the sand and believe that government can make all the bad men stop.
Right now, the left is trying to figure out how to destroy our freedoms in an effort to curb future terrorist acts like the Boston Marathon bombing. Now, the irony of how they bucked at the right’s efforts after 9/11 isn’t exactly lost on me. However, that’s something to chuckle about later…after we stop this kneejerk reaction and undo the Right’s kneejerk reactions from the last decade.
Over at ThinkProgress.org, they’re already wringing their hands at the idea of restricting various kinds of powder such as black powder, smokeless powder, and whatever the hell it is they put in fireworks:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a hot commodity right now in the conservative movement. With his focus on free markets, constitutional foreign policy, and the protection of civil liberty, Paul stands out among potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders. He certainly has a long path to take to the nomination, but the seeds for such an effort have clearly been laid over the past several months.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal noted how Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster last month against CIA nominee John Brennan, is trying to turn the noterity and conversation he’s started into a national movement. The significant platform that he’s been building is one that could propel him to forefront of the Republican Party, shatter conventional wisdom about conservatives in the mainstream media, and attract new voters.
But not everyone is a fan of the role Paul has played recently. In the same Wall Street Journal article, Rick Santorum, a former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and a 2012 presidential candidate, lashed out at Paul and his views:
“Rand Paul’s brand doesn’t line up with all of what our party stands for—on national security, social values, the economy and the role of government in society,” said former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. “His message won’t ultimately lead us to be a more successful party.”
One of the most interesting debates in American politics is taking place right now inside the conservative movement. There has been a lot of focus on the shellacking Republicans took at the ballot box in 2012. Some are saying that the losses happened because conservatives have grown in influence, while others point out that Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in the last cycle, didn’t present a strong agenda.
Among those in the conservative movement who has been part of this debate is Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who is in the middle of his first term in the upper chamber. Along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lee has been among those who are not only working to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, but also a strong voice for the rights and liberties that are guaranteed in the Constitution.
Too often, conservatives are known for their opposition to various policies proposed by the Obama Administration. This has helped the Democrats and the media define them as being the “party of ‘no.’” Instead of focusing on opposition, Lee, who was elected as part of the “Tea Party class” in the 2010 mid-term, presented what he called the “positive case for conservatism” by talking about “what conservatives are for.”
Lee began his speech by noting that both Republicans and Democrats “succumb to easy negativity” and that the gridlock in Washington makes for fodder in the media. Lee explained that this “helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.”
This isn’t exactly a surprise since he’s made some high-profile speeches and interviews over the last several months and engaged in a well-covered 13-hour filibuster last month that was the talk of Washington, DC, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confirmed what most of us already knew — that he is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016:
Tea Party favorite and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he is strongly considering a 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, announcing plans to travel to at least three key primary states this summer.
“We’re considering it,” he said at a morning newsmaker breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Paul, heir to his father former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian voting and fundraising base, said that he is already planning to visit three early primary states this summer — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Paul said he “will continue to travel to the early primary states.”