Patterico's Pontifications


Beheading In Oklahoma

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:56 pm

[guest post by Dana]


A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said police are waiting until Alton Nolen, 30, is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods in the south Oklahoma City suburb told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.

Nolen severed the head of Colleen Hufford, 54, Lewis said.

Reports say that Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer, shot Nolen.

Nolen had a record and is currently on probation for assault and battery on a police officer. According to classmates, Nolen converted to Islam in 2011 while serving time in prison.

From a local report:

A classmate of Nolen’s, who didn’t wish to be identified, told this newspaper that he spoke to a close family member of Nolen’s today.

He told this newspaper that according to the family member, Nolen was telling coworkers Thursday of an Islamic teaching that said women should be stoned for an offense, and that an argument followed the mark, Nolen was later fired and returned later Thursday, when he beheaded Colleen Hufford, the family member said.

Earlier this month a woman in North London was also beheaded by a recent convert to Islam.


How Important Is Your Vote? The Tale of the Slave

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

It’s Friday and the news is stupid. Let’s have a philosophical bull session. Today let’s consider the Tale of the Slave, from Robert Nozick’s book “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” — and consider what implications it has for those who consider the vote sacred:

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3.The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Nozick at this point pauses to reflect on what he’s saying here:

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

Nozick then takes us back to his progression:

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

The point, I think, is clear: we all have a vote on various issues of the day — and our vote is all but guaranteed to have no effect on the outcome. Yet the government arrogates to itself the right to tax us for absurd ends, whether it’s taking our money to pay people who are unwilling to work, or arming Syrian rebels who are likely to use those arms against us one day. In essence, aren’t we being forced to work to pay for things we disagree with? And how is that different from slavery?

I know there are many here who believe the vote is very important. I offer this tale as a polite and friendly challenge. Discuss it in that spirit. I wouldn’t bring it up if I weren’t particularly interested in what those folks have to say.

BONUS DEBATE POINT: Feel free to raise and discuss the issue of the consent of the governed. I plan to address that in a future post or posts.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit and Hot Air for the links. I have a related follow-up post about whether we truly consent to be governed by this government, here.

GOP to Obama: Do Not Try to Confirm New AG in Lame Duck Session

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:41 am

Looks like the GOP thinks it’s winning the Senate in November — because they’re warning Obama not to replace Eric Holder in the lame-duck session:

Conservatives are warning President Obama against using a lame-duck session of Congress to push through Attorney General Eric Holder’s replacement, even as the White House signals its intention to fill the post quickly.

. . . .

But even if, as many predict, Republicans reclaim control of the Senate in the approaching midterm elections, they would be largely powerless to block Democrats from using their current majority to confirm an attorney general before the new Congress is gaveled into session in January.

“Rather than rush a nominee through the Senate in a lame-duck session, I hope the president will now take his time to nominate a qualified individual who can start fresh relationships with Congress so that we can solve the problems facing our country,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hope all you like, sir. He’ll do it anyway, and you’ll sit there and take it.

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