Coronavirus and Accumulated Wisdom

Today is Sunday, March 29, 2020. I have this premonition that I will go to work tomorrow morning and be greeted with the order to put on a face mask, ostensibly to limit the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Being that I am a rebellious, independent sort of person, my initial reaction will be that I am not sick, that there is no reason to wear a mask, that I will not be bullied into wearing a mask, that I do not care one fig about another person’s opinion of me, etc., and will culminate in the declaration that I am not going to wear a mask. Period. No matter the consequences.

In that case, this is how it will play out. My boss, a no-nonsense type of person, will give me a choice: either wear the mask or go home without pay and the potential loss of my employment. Since I am hard-headed, stubborn, and independent, I will choose to go home and take my chances with my job. After all, there are other employers.

When I get home…oooh, Momma! The shit will hit the fan. My wife, never known for mincing words, will tell me in no uncertain terms, what her opinion of my decision is. Being the stubborn, hard-headed, argumentative type of person I am, I will try to convince her that my actions are appropriate and that she should appreciate the fact that I stand up for my convictions. She will tell proceed to tell me her opinion of that! Tempers will flare and words spoken which will have to be corrected later on. At the end of it all, I will reluctantly admit that it would have been better to simply put on the face mask and shut my mouth. In addition, I will have to crawl back to my boss, admit my sin, and beg for my job back.

This is stupidity! Stupidity!! There is no other way to describe it.

Sixty plus years of life and its attendant experiences have taught me a few things, perhaps more than I realize.

1. It is futile and detrimental to argue with my wife.

2. It is not beneficial to argue with my boss about something which is not important.

3. Five of the most important words I’ve had to learn the hard way are these: It is what it is. It is useless, as Jesus Christ said (Acts 26:14) to kick against the pricks (goads). In other words, there are some things about which your effort is in vain, so you might as well simply shrug your shoulders and live with it. In fact, the more strenuously you oppose them (the goads), the more it’s going to hurt you. There are times when a person has to recognize this, shut his mouth, and go with the flow, regardless of his stubbornness, hard-headedness, and rebellious, independent nature.

Tomorrow morning, if I am directed to put on a face mask at work, I may voice my opinion, but I will follow orders. After all, it’s not really that bad and I have worn them before, especially in very dusty conditions. Besides, if my co-workers are nervous and afraid about the potential transmission of the virus, then what better way to show them my love than to subdue my own selfishness for their health and well-being—physical, emotional, and spiritual–even if they are being irrational.

I will not shave my beard, though. Final answer! That is a line in the sand which no one dare cross.

The End of the World. I Feel Fine.

“Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step.” That line from Don McLean’s 1972 smash hit, American Pie, sums up the current world condition quite well.

Today, there is such an abundance of bad news—corona virus, stock market meltdown, layoffs, quarantines, lockdowns, threats of martial law, etc., that anyone could be forgiven if it seemed that another step was impossible. Yet, life goes on, in spite of everything which appears to be destroying our accustomed and familiar way of life.

How do we go on, then? What changes will we need to make or be made for us? How will we adapt to those changes? What will be different in the future? These are all valid questions for which answers are needed and which everyone must seriously consider. There are a lot of things which we don’t know and can not answer, but there are some which require nothing more than common sense to understand.

1. You are in control of yourself and the way you respond to the situation around you. Maintain that.

2. Don’t panic or give into the palpable fear. Keep a level head about you. Stay calm. This alone will allow you to maintain some semblance of normality in your day-to-day living.

3. Don’t believe everything you read or hear, especially about the corona virus. There are so many conflicting stories, reports, “expert” opinions, and official declarations readily available that it is difficult to determine what is true and what is false. Use your own good judgment about what is best for you. Corona may be an existential threat. It may be much ado about nothing. Or somewhere in between, which I suspect, but I do not know where to draw a conclusion.

4. It is not the end of the world, especially as concerns the stock market and the economy. Humanity has experienced financial collapses like this before and survived. Somehow, someway, we will work our way through the current one as well and another generation will be born to carry on.

5. Keep a positive attitude. While the situation may seem disastrous (and disaster is likely to happen), it is important that we maintain a positive outlook about the future. Depression, anxiety, and fear will drag you down. Don’t allow your circumstances to get the best of you. Remember, you are in control of yourself and the way you respond to your situation.

With all that said, it is important that we face some truth honestly. Our world has drastically changed within the last few months and, in spite of all the talk about a return to “normalcy” once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, it is quite sure that many things we took for granted yesterday will not be in place tomorrow. Things will be different, some dramatically, some less so, but the equation has had another factor introduced into it and the implications of that are still to be seen and worked out.

Get used to the idea that the old system we are familiar with is being dismantled and another one will be erected in its place. There will be major changes along the way, both positive and negative. One positive change we can look forward to is the willingness to rely more on ourselves and our families, neighbors, friends, our faith, and our local community. If this actually happens (I believe it will), we will learn to depend less on distant, authoritarian governments, large faceless corporations, and bureaucratic institutions to provide for what we need in our daily lives. We will also learn what is really important and what is not.

All of us are going to participate in this, whether we like it or not. We have the opportunity to assist in shaping the economy and society which will rise out of the carnage and destruction happening around us. Everyone can participate in bringing this about, wherever we are, by changing our attitude from “Somebody ought to do something!” to one of “What can I do to help?” Look around you. There is plenty to do. Find a place where you can make a difference and get to it. Start close to home, branch out from there.

A better world awaits.

The End is in Sight–Four Years Later

I wrote the following article almost exactly four years ago in March 2016. I may have submitted it to a local paper as a Letter to the Editor, but am not sure of that. Nevertheless, while browsing my computer, I came across it and decided that, due to today’s circumstances, it needed to see the light of day. I have not changed my mind about what I wrote then and, if anything, am more convinced that this is going to happen.


My wife and I moved to the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana from Jacksonville, FL, in the fall of 2010 and have learned to love this area and its people. It is so much better than NE Florida, or anywhere else in Florida, for that matter. We lived in Jacksonville for almost ten years and experienced both the boom of the early 2000’s and the bust of 2008, which saw the demise of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, the collapse of the real estate market, and TARP, which bailed out the large financial firms against the express wishes of 90-95% of the population. At that time, I took a 10% pay cut in my salary and my job was looking increasingly shaky when we took a “leap of faith” and moved 2500 miles to this location. It was a good decision.

Today, I have a feeling of déjà vu, like I’ve been here before. I can’t shake the sense that the current financial climate we’re in is reminiscent of 2007. I believe that we (and the rest of the world) are right on the edge of a cataclysmic disaster, the likes of which the world has never before seen. There is no turning back. The forces built up by 100 + years of fiscal mismanagement and the widespread, deeply-held belief that we can borrow our way out of trouble are, quite simply, too great to overcome any longer. Peak debt is here, both for the individual and the conglomerate. We have sown the wind. We are going to reap the whirlwind.

If I am right, we will see the end of many, if not most (or all) of the huge multi-national banks, the disappearance of debt-ridden corporations (large and small), the popping of financial bubbles all over the landscape (including sub-prime auto loans, college tuition, and real estate again), the sheer inability of the Federal government to pay its bills or finance its operations in the manner we are accustomed to, and many other unmentioned or unforeseen changes in the way we live. The stock market will shrink dramatically, hedge funds will disappear overnight, derivatives and other fiscally unsound scams (Social Security?) will completely collapse. The casino known as Wall Street will be seen for what it really is and the Federal Reserve, which is the main driver of current monetary stupidity will be called on the carpet and, hopefully, put out of business forever. And there will be wars, wars, and more wars, up to and possibly including nuclear war(s), because when societies and governments become desperate they lash out at anyone deemed to be a threat.

If I am wrong, then no one has anything to be afraid of and I will be made to look like a fool.

Which is it? The next few years will tell the tale and everything will be different. Of that, I am certain.


To Comply with the Law–or not!

There is a small shop alongside Hwy. 93 in Lolo, MT, which has a sign posted with this message. “Slow cars to the right. It’s the law!” It has not changed in a long time. Evidently someone has a problem with vehicles in the left lane which might slow him down a little. Considering the traffic accidents which occur in that area, slowing down a little wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Daisy Luther has recently posted an article on her website, The Organic Prepper, which claims that the state of Virginia is considering passing comprehensive “gun control” bills and entertaining the possibility of calling out the National Guard to force local communities to cooperate with the state in enforcing them. The result of this is that a vast majority of counties in the state have either declared themselves “gun sanctuaries” or are leaning toward that status. Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told the Washington Examiner [concerning] local county police who may refuse to enforce future gun control measures. “The law is the law. If that becomes the law, you don’t have a choice, not if you’re a sworn officer of the law.”

Apparently, the potential of such blatant disregard of the LAW is not to be tolerated.

In Nazi Germany, citizens were ordered to report and identify any persons they knew to be Jewish. It didn’t matter that they also knew what would happen to such people. It was the LAW!

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order declaring that every person in America who physically held gold currency or gold bullion had to relinquish it to the federal government. This action was expressly unconstitutional, but it didn’t matter—it was the LAW and thousands, perhaps millions of law-abiding citizens promptly broke their piggy banks in order to follow the law.

These instances could be multiplied many times over. The point I am trying to make is that once something has been legally codified into law, an extreme psychological, social pressure is placed on everyone to comply with it. Whether the law is morally right or not doesn’t matter, it is the law and, as a consequence everyone must submit to it—even if they get hurt in the process.

We should also consider one other situation which would have had world-wide implications if the LAW had actually succeeded in accomplishing its goal.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”–Matthew 2:16, NKJV

Over 2000 years ago, in order to eradicate any possible threat to his rule, Herod, the ruler of the province of Judea in the Roman Empire, ordered that all, that is ALL, male children under the age of two years in the city of Bethlehem and its suburbs, were to be immediately killed. This directive was carried out without mercy, causing untold anguish among the civilian population. However, due to a dream, Joseph, the father of Jesus, had earlier taken his wife and newborn baby out of the area and moved to Egypt, thus avoiding the slaughter.

Where would Christmas (or Christianity) be today if Joseph had not preemptively taken action to ‘disobey’ the law? What would have been the result if he had the idea that “the law is the law, therefore I must obey it?” What if he had given up his son to be destroyed simply because it was the LAW?

The answer, for anyone who wishes to see it, is obvious. What should be just as plain to see is that if a law, any law, is unjust it should be held in contempt. Or, as Martin Luther King put it,

“”One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

In all the above examples, only the first one has any sense of morality to it and that is because there is nothing right or wrong about driving in the left or right lane. It is just a rule of the road. All the other laws can be seen as morally wrong and hurtful to innocent persons. Whether it is the State breaking your door down to take your guns or breaking your door down to kill your newborn son is irrelevant—it is wrong and because of this, it needs to be resisted.

Ultimately, everyone must determine for himself which laws can be followed and which ones must be rejected. There is no hard and fast method for making this decision. It must come from what you know, what you believe to be true and right, and how far you will go to hold to your beliefs.

Choose wisely.

Conform or Desist: the Bozeman School Controversy

In an article I posted yesterday, I laid out the reason why a club (a group of people who join together to promote a specific agenda) must, by its very nature, be exclusive. A club can’t admit nor tolerate those who advocate for competing ideologies. If it does, then it has lost its focus and become something different than it was. This is true no matter the type of club or what it stands for.

Specifically, I addressed the situation in Bozeman, MT, in which certain high school students had “challenged” the FCA, a school-recognized Christian athletic club because the club was not “inclusive”. I argued that the club had every right to maintain its position because everyone has the absolute right of association (disassociation). If people must associate with others they don’t want to, then people with power and backing can force viewpoints on others who might disagree with them.

There is, however, also the very distinct possibility that the students who are making the complaint really don’t want to join the club. It is entirely plausible that this whole brouhaha is designed to literally quash the message that is “offensive” to them. In fact, I’d lay odds on that the real intention here is not to persuade the club to accept members who have variant lifestyles, but to force it to change its base message or to drive it out of existence entirely.

This is a common tactic used to stifle opposing viewpoints. It can be summed up like this.

“You have said something which I don’t like and find objectionable. I do not want to consider what you said and refuse to make any personal changes if I find your statement valid in any way. Because I find it objectionable and refuse to consider it, I am left with only two choices: withdraw from the conversation and disassociate myself from you and/or attempt to use force to shut you up so that I don’t have to hear what you are saying.”

It is not my intention here to make any moral judgments about the issue of homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, or what constitutes a marriage. Although I do have strongly held beliefs about these issues, I don’t consider them to be the issue at stake, instead they are the narrative used to avoid addressing the core of the issue, which is the liberty to speak what you wish and to associate with whomever you want. This is the point which has triggered the complaining students.

From reading numerous news articles about this controversy, it appears that the students could join the group if they wanted to, even if they disagreed with its message. It appears that they did not make the effort, instead went to the school authorities to effect a desired outcome. It appears that they have been successful, winning a ruling that the club must either drop the offending language and become “inclusive” or lose official status if they keep it. However, if a lawsuit is brought against the school over this issue, it will probably be forced to recognize the club as legitimate—regardless of the club’s policy.

I will say it again. Freedom of association and the freedom to speak one’s mind are probably the two most important rights we have. In that order, I might add. We should be able to choose who we associate with (disassociate from) and we should be able to say what we think without having to be afraid that someone is going to use force against us because they don’t approve. Unfortunately, the Bozeman students who started this ruckus don’t understand what that means.

Ironically, the students may have shot themselves in the foot, since there has been considerable interest shown in the club after this controversy began. From the Chronicle:

“Statewide FCA has about 350 student members in college, high schools and middle schools. After the controversy broke in Bozeman, he said, about 48 kids showed up at the FCA meeting, a huge increase.”

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Clubs and Inclusiveness: A Mutual Incompatibility

I was watching NBC News (KECI) out of Missoula, Montana, this morning (11/14/2019) when I noticed a tidbit on their news feed scroller. I may not have the words exactly right, but it’s close enough for anyone to get the message.

“Bozeman High School students are challenging a Christian club (FCA) for not being inclusive.”

A news article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle can be seen here.

It would be easy to lose focus here by condemning this club for discriminating against the ‘disaffected’ students. It would also be just as easy to excoriate the students for attempting to impose their own agenda onto the club. It would be futile to try to produce some type of common ground between them so that all the participants could be happy and satisfied.

A club, any club, has to be exclusive, prejudicial, and discriminating. Every club, no matter what its religion, philosophy, purpose, bent, or goal MUST ABSOLUTELY determine what it will be and who will be part of it. By its very nature, a club is an exclusive group of people who band together to accomplish a certain pre-defined task. It simply can’t be any other way.

Think about all the myriad things that individual people have an interest in. Immediately relevant to this discussion are religion and lifestyle, not always mutually compatible. Sports, gardening, social activity, philosophical thought, guns, sewing circles, etc., etc., and on and on and on. The list is endless. However, no matter WHAT the club is involved in, it always has one purpose: to promote the interests of its members.

Let’s look at one easily defined category—chess. Chess is a game unlike any other and there are millions of people around the world who are fascinated by it. Innumerable clubs have been set up in order to bring people together who are interested in playing and have a desire to improve their skills.

World-wide, the one thing in common among all the groups, however, is that they are all dedicated solely and completely to the game of chess. Nothing else. It is an exclusive club. Non-devotees need not apply.

Imagine the consternation and chaos that would ensue if someone from outside the club wanted to join, but was determined to force the club to allow members who wanted to play Tiddly-Winks. Both are games, after all, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Except for one thing—when a chess club starts importing other games into its structure, it no longer is a chess club. It has morphed into something different which might satisfy some people, but will repel the true believers, who will likely tender their resignation from the club.

Every club has ground rules about who it will accept, what the focus is on, how that focus will be accomplished, how the rules will be enforced, why someone will be asked to leave, et al. These rules may be written or not. They may be formal or not. They may be set in stone or subject to constant change, but the one thing which can’t be denied is that they provide a structure so that the club can operate under its original charter.

As pertains to the situation in Bozeman, if the excluded students actually succeed in joining the club, they have two choices—change themselves to fit the parameters of the club OR change the club to fit their own preferences. In the case of the first, they will, by conforming to the rules, become part of the club as it was originally designed. In the case of the second, the club will become something else.

As far as the club is concerned, it also has two choices—either continue to exclude certain persons and thoughts from its structure OR to allow and accept competing ideologies which will inevitably dilute its message. In the case of the first, someone’s feelings are going to be hurt because they are not given access due to their refusal to conform. In the case of the second, the “Christian” part of the club will simply disappear and something antagonistic to it will appear.

Regardless of belief and opinion, the right of certain people to disassociate themselves from others ought to be ironclad and unassailable. No one person or any group of persons should be required to associate with anyone else who promotes or holds an incompatible viewpoint. Freedom of association (or disassociation) should be the preeminent right accorded to everyone. Otherwise, we become a society in which personal beliefs and opinions become weapons to force others into submission to ourselves and our agendas.

The True Nature of Politics: Part 2

A few days ago, I posted an article which began with this statement. “Hypocrisy in political life is not uncommon. In fact, most people pander to it in one form or another.”

In the article, I made some general statements about the way the two main parties attempt to use either the federal or state governments to get what they want. If the federal government will be more accommodating, then that is the one supported. If the states are more agreeable, then they receive the backing. This principle applies across the board. Both parties participate in the exercise.

Political hypocrisy also appears in individual form. Take, for instance, the recent revelation that Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, wore ‘brownface’ and/or ‘blackface’ numerous times in his past. Trudeau, a master politician, reacted to the “outing” in the same manner as a young child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry. I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve known better. It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time but now I recognize that it was something racist to do and I’m deeply sorry.”

This can be summed up in eight short words. “Mom, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” My question is why should anyone believe him when he says he has learned the truth and repented of all his sins. He is a politician, after all. Why did he suddenly become apologetic once he was caught? Had he previously been doing some deep soul-searching about the issues troubling his soul? Was he waiting for a good opportunity to unburden himself? Or is he simply playing the game as he has learned to do, hoping that this will all blow over and things will be rosy once more?

But I digress. The real target of this article is Don Lemon, CNN anchor, who never hesitates to get in a dig about Donald Trump if he can. Lemon has not missed a chance to denigrate, criticize, or condemn the president for any perceived social faux pas, misstep, or crime, since Trump began his campaign for the office. However he was quick to jump to the defense of Trudeau as seen in this from Zero Hedge.

“Wow, a leader apologizing. It seems odd, doesn’t it?” Lemon reacted. “Because we have one who doesn’t.”

The CNN panel also offered a defense for Trudeau, with commentators stressing that “context matters” and stressed that Trudeau’s photo was vastly different from Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1986 blackface photo.

Before wrapping the segment, Lemon offered more praise for Trudeau’s ‘heroic’ apology (he’s laying it on a bit thick here), and insisted that it “does mean a lot” to him.

“I do have to say this before we go: think about it however you want to think about it. When someone apologizes- wow!” Lemon said to the panel. “We don’t often see that here, especially in a world leader who is saying ‘I should’ve known better and I’m sorry.’ You can feel about it however you want, but that, to me, that does mean a lot.”

Rather than looking at Lemon’s attitude toward Trump, let’s consider what he had to say about another liberal politician, Ralph Northam, the Democrat governor of Virginia, who did exactly the same thing as Justin Trudeau, but with different results. Lemon ripped Northam up one side and down the other, using words such as, “disgusting”, “offensive”, and “It deeply hurt people like me.”

Why was Trudeau’s “blackface” episode different than Northam’s? Why did Lemon accept Trudeau’s apology as sincere and heroic, yet he blasted Northam’s as disingenuous?

“There’s no way he didn’t know what he [Northam] was doing when he posed for that picture ― a picture that is a slap in the face to Americans of color ― quite frankly to every American,”

Don Lemon’s hypocrisy is showing. Badly. Inconsistency on this scale catches up—sooner or later. Eventually it gets to the point where no one believes anything you say.


I want to wrap this up on a good note, so I will say that Justin Trudeau really is pretty good at dressing up and playacting. He should have gone down that career path. Heck, I might have even gone to see his movies.